Dragon*Con 2017

At the end of the day, I wound up doing more panels than I’d officially been put on.  The grand total was 19 for the con and it was a lot, but I had a blast doing them.   Even though I work the con, rather than attend, I always have a good time.   This year was one of the best years.

So if you’re coming to here from having seen me at Dragon*Con, welcome! I really am just as weird as I am in person, only I use taller fonts to make my words seem larger.

Here is the link to the Patreon – there’s a 1.00 tier for if you just want access to the short stories!

You can also find me on Twitter over at  @DorothyJoanGray  and it’s some writing, some humor, some politics, and a lot of signal boosting.

So if you’re finding me through D*Con, leave a comment with where we encountered each other and I’ll send you some free flash fiction!

This month is going to be pretty busy with another con this weekend and then a weekend trip up to NYC from the 15th to the 18th.  However, I do have some reviews and essays that will be going up just as soon as I can have the brainspace to sling them up.    For reasons of not having much of a brain, I generally don’t post anything much until the weekend after D*Con.

Stay  weird, my lovelies.

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Dragon*Con Final Schedule: Where I’ll Be and What I’m Talking About!

So here is the Dragon*Con Schedule, ya’ll. And if you can’t find me at one of these, then I generally lurk in the hallways like the raspberry seed you can’t floss out.

Title: Alternates
Time: Fri 11:30 am Location: Hanover AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Craft alternate realities, histories, & time-travel fiction. Historian Bethany Kesler reveals everything needed to craft historically authentic alt- worlds–what research is good, how to avoid the rabbithole of too much research, and how to pick your cascade points.

Title: History Will Be Televised: Accuracy May Suffer
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: M301-M301 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
Description: History as covered by the media will be will cover many of the shows that say they are showing things like they were…or the way we’d like to think they were. Discussion will cover Reign, the White Princess, Will, & others of this ilk.

Title: How the Westworld Was Won
Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: M302-M303 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
Description: The reinvention of this classic has really turned reality on its ear. Questions of sentience, humanity, conspiracy, & religion are all combined with story that often left us puzzled & amazed.

Title: Queer-Coded Villains in Classic Sci-Fi
Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Ever watch classic Sci-Fi & think the bad guy is a little flamboyant or the villainess is too super-assertive? Discuss how perceptions & stereotypes of homosexuality & gender-nonconformity made classic villains such as Star Trek’s Q seem more villainous & the ways it still happens today.

Title: Practical Time Travel for the Storyteller
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Athens – Sheraton (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: This panel discusses the real science behind time travel, as well as how these scientific theories can place both challenging & rewarding demands on the stories we tell. Time dilation, the grandfather paradox, & others will be explained & these theories discussed.

Title: Lost Worlds: The Science Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for Sherlock Holmes, but he also wrote SF! Our panelists help to shed light on Doyle’s futuristic works.

Title: Earth Station One Presents: The Princess Bride’s Inconceivable 30th Anniversary
Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Have fun storming the castle with fans of the movie that taught us the meaning of wuv. True wuv.

Title: American Classic Musicals & All That Jazz
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Musicals & geekiness go jazz-hand in jazz-hand. American? Yep. Classic? Yep. Sci-Fi? Well, how do you explain all that choreography?

Title: A Ladies’ Guide to the Apocalypse
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Chastain F-H – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: From Katniss to Furiosa & beyond, now more than ever female characters are taking the end of days head on. Discuss the increasing presence of heroines in apocalyptic media, as well as paying tribute to those characters who helped pave the way.

Title: KRULL: Witness the Glaive
Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 2 Hours 30 Min)
Description: March toward a solid face of rock to discuss Krull, the glaive, the cyclops, & raisins in our brain-cases.

Title: Superhero-versary: Batgirl, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, & More
Time: Mon 08:30 am Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Celebrating the debut years of the greatest heroes. We refer, of course, to Detective Chimp, Captain Carrot, Ch’p, & tThe Human Fly.

Title: Westworld: Labyrinth of Lies
Time: Mon 02:30 pm Location: M301-M303 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
Description: The web of plots & sub plots, mysteries & time lines leads to some complex organization & not a few eureka moments as things click together. We’ll look back over all those threads & what ones might be coming up in the next season.

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Book Review: The Ice Orphan of Ganymede

Book two in the The Jupiter Chronicles, The Ice Orphan of Ganymede kicks off with a bang.  The Jovians are free from Phobos, but there’s still a lot of cleanup to be done and a civil war that is threatening to erupt.    First Petros’ popularity has taken a hit and one of the Jovian General is advocating for his replacement.

But that’s not all,  Ian back on Earth is sick and getting sicker.   Nothing on Earth is able to help him, so Callie tries to take him back to Jupiter to see if they can cure him.    What they find is a mess of a situation and a possible lead in the Book of Ganymede.     Except the Book of Ganymede is missing so Ian and Callie have to go off to find it first.  In doing so, they find much more than just something to help Ian.

The second book in this series ably builds on the framework set up by the first novel and opens up more the intriguing universe set up by the author.   We learn more about Jupiter and its inner workings and the plot twists are delightful.   I can hardly wait to see where the next book takes us.

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A Response To The Anti-Diversity Screed Leaked Today

https://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-d…

So this went viral today and I want to encourage every white male I know seeing this to go ahead and read it. Because this is one of you. This is one of your peers.

The document is well put together, sounds calm and reasonable, uses bullet points and proper grammar. It is also tearing away at the humanity of women and non white men. Someone who looks just like you, who jokes around at the watercooler/coffeepot, who is one of the “generally good guys” felt comfortable enough to write this 10 page document and actually post it on the internet.

It is important for you to understand that this man? This educated engineer who wrote this steaming pile of absolute garbage? He is NOT an anomaly. He is part of the status quo and has been for a while. He’s not going to stop or pay any attention to any of the women who have responded to this document. We don’t matter.

The document made the news and has been circulating around everywhere and yet not once have I seen any article name the man that wrote it. The press had the courage to publish his screed that claims that women are biologically inferior to men, but not the courage to name him. If that claim sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been used for centuries to discredit anyone different who might present a challenge to the default white male status quo.

This is the kind of power that men like him have.

But how you respond to it will be important. Men like him are dime a dozen. Silence will be treated as tacit approval of these viewpoints. It’s rough to speak up – there will push back and I know the societal pressure will be to keep quiet. To not rock the boat.

This boat, however, needs to be rocked. Women and POC’s have been confronting things like this on a daily basis. So my question to you is will you stand up with us?

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The Con of Dragons Approacheth!

Here is my tentative schedule for Dragon*Con this year.  I’m once more an Attending Professional, which is always an honor and a pleasure.   I say this is a tentative schedule, because sometimes panels change and things get all swapped around.

I also know that the After Hour Sprints for the Hourly Workshops are not on here and I will be doing those as well alongside my partner in fiction writing,  Alison Sky Richards.  They’re Friday from 7-9.

Provided schedules align properly, I’m also planning on being at the Star Wars Holiday Special (yes, THAT one) shindig that the SciFi Classics track is throwing.  And I am always down for coffee or munchies during the moments I’m not presenting.  Come find me.  I promise not to dress as Waldo this year, and make it easier to locate the tiny person in the LOUD Hawaiian shorts.
Also side note – if you’re looking for me in the app, I’ll be under the muggle name for all my panels.
Title: Alternates
Description: An exciting look into how to craft alternate realities, histories, & time-travel fiction. Historian Bethany Kesler AKA DJ Gray will outline the rules, do’s and don’ts, as well as equip you with the all the tools needed to craft historically authentic worlds for all your fiction needs. What research is good research, how to avoid the rabbit hole of too much research, and how to pick your cascade points.
Time: Fri 11:30 am Location: Hanover AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: History will be televised – Accuracy may suffer
Description: History as covered by the media will be will cover many of the shows that say they are showing things like they were… or the way we’d like to think they were. Discussion will cover Reign, the White Princess, Will and others of this ilk.
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: M301-M301 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel

——————-
Title: How the Westworld was Won
Description: The reinvention of this classic has really turned reality on its ear. Questions of sentience, humanity, conspiracy and religion are all combined with story that often left us puzzled and amazed.
Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: M302-M303 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel

——————-
Title: Gender-Queer Villains in Classic Sci-Fi
Description: Ever watch classic sci-fi and think the bad guy is a little flamboyant or the villainess is too super-assertive? Discuss how perceptions & stereotypes of homosexuality and gender-nonconformity made classic villains such as Star Trek’s Q seem more villainous and the ways it still happens today.
Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: Practical Time Travel for the Storyteller
Description: This panel discusses the real science behind time travel, as well as how these scientific theories can place both challenging and rewarding demands on the stories we tell. Time dilation, the grandfather paradox, and others will be explained and stories told that reference these theories discussed.
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Athens – Sheraton (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: Lost Worlds: The Science Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle
Description: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for Sherlock Holmes, but he also wrote sf. Our panelists help to shed light on these works.
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: American Classic Musicals and All That Jazz
Description: Musicals and geekiness go jazz-hand in jazz-hand. American? Yep. Classic? Yep. Sci-fi? Well, how do you explain all that choreography?
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: A Ladies’ Guide to the Apocalypse
Description: From Katniss to Furiosa and beyond, now more than ever female characters are taking the end of days head on. Discuss the increasing presence of heroines in apocalyptic media, as well as paying tribute to those characters that helped pave the way.
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Chastain F-H – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: KRULL: Witness the Glaive
Description: March toward a solid face of rock to discuss Krull, the glaive, the cyclops, and raisins in our brain-cases.
Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 2.5 Hours)

——————-
Title: Superhero-versary: Batgirl, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and More
Description: Celebrating the debut years of the greatest heroes. We refer, of course, to Detective Chimp, Captain Carrot, Ch’p, and The Human Fly.
Time: Mon 08:30 am Location: M103-M105 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: Westworld – Labyrinth of Lies
Description: The web of plots and sub plots, mysteries and time lines all leads to some complex organization and not a few eureka moments as things click together. We’ll look back over all those threads and what ones might be coming up in the next season.
Time: Mon 02:30 pm Location: M301-M303 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

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Sale and A Patron

There will be more reviews coming shortly,  in addition to the Book Log, I have a stack of media reviews to queue up.    Due to some illness, I’ve been a bit delayed in getting them up.   My apologies, everyone,  my lungs have been on a bit of a strike.

So there are two pieces of news that are quite exciting that I want to share.   The first being that I have sold a short story that will be included in the latest Lovecraft anthology from Alban Lake Publishing,  The Mad Visions of al-Hazred.    Publication date still to come and I will keep you updated!

The second major bit of news is that the Patreon for my short stories is now live.   Find it here .     I am super excited to have launched it and I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of that!

A lengthier update to follow later this week.   For now,  stay lovely and don’t eat those mushrooms the lady down the street offered you.  They’ll take you down the wrong sort of rabbit hole.

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Podcast Recs: TANIS

Because storytelling is storytelling, no matter what form it takes.  There are some truly astounding podcasts out there for whatever you seem to be interested in. One of my favorites is TANIS, produced by the Pacific Radio Alliance and hosted by Nic Silver.  They have other amazing podcasts, but TANIS has a special place in my heart.

Tanis Logo (taken from Tanis Podcast website)

 

 

This podcast blends real life facts and fictional mythologies to give us a genuinely intriguing mystery.  Currently on season three, you’ll easily get swept away by Nic’s narrative as he tries to untangle the mysteries surrounding this maybe mythical, maybe not, place called TANIS.    You’ll meet some really amazing secondary characters and the web of Tanis will slowly but surely suck you in.   Like the website says, “Tanis is an exploration of the nature of truth, conspiracy, and information.”   What happens when the lines between reality and fiction start to blur together and you’re left wondering which side of the line you’re actually on.

Runners Wanted Poster ( taken from Tanis podcast website)

If you are anything like me, at some point, the words “NIC SILVER NO.  DO NOT DO THAT THING” will come out of your mouth at the phone/IThing/computer because there are several of those moments where you get involved in the lives and the shenanigans and you will possibly wonder if maybe, just maybe you are going to hear someone actually die over the radio. 

Anyways, if you enjoy things that are weird, things that are mysterious, the Cthulhu mythos, Jack Parsons, or random disappearances into strange forests, give this podcast a try.

Because after all.  There are wondrous things.  There are magical things. There are dangerous things.  We get what we deserve.

Runners Wanted.

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Book Review: Invisible 3: Essays and Poems about Representation in SF/F

So as a quick disclaimer, I was always going to buy this book.  I was always going to make it part of the library of both digital and dead-tree format books that I have.   I personally know one of the people featured in it and Jim Hines as an editor was a huge selling point.    I have met him in person and while they say never meet your heroes, I was not disappointed in the slightest by meeting him.   He also gives super awesome hugs.   I had also heard great things about  Mary Anne Mohanraj who co-edited it with Jim.

I was always going to buy this book.   I knew I would read it and I had a feeling I would love it.  I knew from the premise that it would probably emotionally compromise me and I was not wrong there.  My tears are good tears, because this collection, while it points out where SF/F has failed or where we can do better as a genre with regards to representation for POC  and people with disabilities and alternative sexualities, it’s ultimately hopeful.

Cover of Invisible 3 ( taken from the Amazon page)

It starts conversations that we need to have.   Points out viewpoints that maybe we hadn’t stopped to consider before.   The essays and poems presented here are some of the finest writing I have seen and what each piece contributes is priceless.  The knowledge, the wisdom, the heart behind each piece is invaluable.

I can’t pick a favorite piece.  I’ve re-read this book twice now and I love all of them.   I will be purchasing it in every single format that it is released in because I want to support the people in it, because I want to support what they are after in producing such a work, and because I lend books freely to people and I need to have it accessible in whatever formats someone might need it in.  It is a wonderful collection that is both brilliant and necessary.

So if you have means, pick this up.  You won’t be disappointed at all.   And if you don’t have the ability to grab it or the library doesn’t have  it yet,  drop me a line and I am happy to lend it to you or send it to you.

Here is the link to the Kindle format on Amazon:  Invisible 3    The editors, Jim Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj are both on Twitter and elseplaces at @jimchines and @mamohanraj

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Book Review: The Bishop of Port Victoria

One of the great things about conventions is that occasionally people hand you things once they know that you a) read and b) review things.   This was the case with this book, the author and I have floated around similar circles for a while, both being writers and local to the Nashville area.    So I was handed this novel and wow what a ride it’s been.

Picture a world where a super serum transforms three college students into heroes.   Superheroes that took to the street and fought crime and racked up a body count that the mobs could only dream of.   What if you had someone who was dedicated to ending this experiment by any means possible, to wiping out anyone tainted with the serum permanently.

The titular character of this book is such a person.  And I will tell you that this book is gripping and well-written.   Alan’s craft is solid and good, the imagery is incredibly vivid.    This character, however,  this Bishop who’s alternate persona of a goodly local priest… Eric Raven is a horrible human being.

Because this book, this series of interconnected short vignettes, is about the rise and eventual fall of Father Eric Raven, The Bishop of Port Victoria.     A man who hates the supers so much that he will murder babies in their sleep to prevent the super bloodline from propagating.    He is the worst kind of human and just like a horrific car crash happening in front of you on the freeway, once you pick this up, you’ll have a hard time looking away.

It’s not an easy read by any means, and it hits especially hard, given the current climate of fear and hatred that permeates our country at the moment.   Father Raven is the embodiment of the darker uglier sides that exist in this country.   I was not sorry to see how he eventually winds up.

If you like darker fiction and the gritty pulp styles of writing, give this a try.   If you are at all sensitive to racial/religious violence and/or violence against women, I’d stay away from it.  It can get triggery in places.

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Everything Old Is New Again

Everything old is new again.  

A fact for which I am profoundly delighted.  The latest from Shonda Rhimes,  Still Star-Crossed takes a centuries old play and breathes new life into it.  Everyone knows how the story of Romeo and Juliet ends.   The tragic end of the two heirs of the great houses and how their death ended a feud between their families. The title of the show even comes from that very first monologue.  “A pair of star-cross’d lovers…”   

Lashana Lynch as Rosaline ( taken from Lashana Lynch’s Twitter: @LashanaLynch )

This show takes that ending and runs with it, spinning out for us a glorious tapestry of politics, murder, intrigue, and marriage. For anyone like myself, who always wonders about what happens next, this show is an marvelous delight.   It takes what we already know and elevates that knowledge from a two hour play into a larger story that plays out extraordinarily well on the television screen. 

The deaths of the two heirs is simply a drop in the bucket of the much larger story unfolding in Verona. The death of the old Prince, leaving his son, Escalus and daughter, Isabella in charge of a city that is lacking only a spark to set off the powderkeg that dwells beneath it.

There are some lovely new twists as well that add more depth and intrigue to what we already know from the play.  Lord Montague having known already of the marriage between his son and Juliet, and indeed, having paid Friar Lawrence to make it happen.  Count Paris is not dead after all, but secretly recovering from his wounds in the basement of the Capulet stronghold. It is not said whether Paris is related to Escalus and Isabella, however there is a notable change in that Mercutio is not kin to them.  They’ve slotted him firmly in as belonging to House Montague.   A curious change, but easily understandable.

Wade Briggs as Benvolio Montague (taken from the ABC Still Star Crossed website)

The show displays elegantly exactly how precarious the situation for some city-states in Italy could be during this time period.   As Escalus states, there are threats within the city walls and outside of them and in order to preserve their lives as well as their seat of power, they have to walk a very tight line through all the factions.

I do wonder a little that instead of forcing Rosaline and Benvolio to marry, Escalus didn’t think to marry Rosaline himself and order Isabella to marry Benvolio and solve the issues that way.   Both houses now joined with the royal one and therefore now having a greater stake in what happens to Verona.   It would have allowed him to marry the woman he loved as well as solving some of the touchier political issues (and creating whole new ones as well, but there is no such thing as a perfect marital alliance during this time period).   Alas, he did not.  Which turns out to our benefit, as it would be a different show, if he had.

The casting for this show is lovely.   It’s a similar style of casting to the 1997 Disney version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and I, for one, adore it.   I wish all my favorite shows would look like this, with the care and the talent and the attention to detail.   Lashana Lynch as Rosaline is absolutely perfect.  

Still Star-Crossed airs on Saturdays on ABC 10/9 Central and if you enjoy period television at all, you won’t want to miss this one.   There are currently only four episodes out, so it should be simple to catch up if you’ve missed the first few.

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