My short story “Crimson Sky”, which appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of Analog, is a finalist for this year’s Prix Aurora Award in the category of Best Short Fiction — English. The Aurora is the Canadian national award for excellence in science fiction and fantasy. Thank you to everyone who nominated, and congratulations also to Derwin Mak, Suzanne Church, Tony Pi, Peter Watts, Tanya Huff, Julie Czerneda, Karl Schroeder, Edward Willett, Charlene Challenger, Helen Marshall, Hayden Trenholm, Yvonne and Lloyd Penney, Sandra Kasturi, Derek Künsken, Farrell McGovern, Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, Alana Otis Wood, Paul Roberts, Steve Fahnestalk and all of the other finalists. Voting begins June 1st and closes October 17th, and the voters package will be available at that time to members of CSFFA (Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association). Membership is open to all Canadian citizens and landed immigrants, and you can sign up to participate in the Aurora Awards.
My interview on The Skiffy and Fanty Show is now online. The episode was originally recorded at Loncon 3 back on August 15th, 2014. It’s a little noisy because we were standing near the runway of London City Airport, but the plane spotter geek in me was up to the challenge (my hosts found me “informative and fascinating”, at least in this regard). A big thank you to Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer and Julia Rios for a truly fun late summer chat in London. Enjoy the episode!
I will be having a one-on-one conversation with Jeff Beeler about Carbide Tipped Pens at GenreCon 2015 this Saturday, May 2nd at 1:00pm. We will be talking about the origin and creation of this new anthology of hard science fiction, how Ben Bova and I came up with the idea, found a publisher and the authors, obtained the stories, and put them together to create the collection. GenreCon will be held at the Sarnia Public Library, located at 124 Christina Street South in Sarnia, Ontario. Here is my full programming schedule:
10:00am — How Books Get Published
What is the way books are created and how can you access it to get the books you want to read or write in print or electronically?
Sandra Kasturi (moderator), Sylvia Hubbard, Brett Savory, Dennis Collins, Monica Royal, Eric Choi
11:00am — Meet and Greet
1:00pm — Carbide Tipped Pens
A conversation with Eric Choi about the origin and creation of this new anthology of hard science fiction he created with Ben Bova, how they came up with the idea, found a publisher and the authors, obtained the stories, and put them together to create the collection.
Jeff Beeler (moderator), Eric Choi
2:00pm — The Weird and the Wonderful
The attraction of reading and writing science fiction, fantasy, mystery and horror.
Sandra Kastury (moderator), Brett Savory, Dennis Collins, Monica Royal, Eric Choi
This is my programming schedule for this year’s Ad Astra, Toronto’s premier SF and fantasy convention, April 10–12 at the Sheraton Parkway North Toronto Hotel. Please note the schedule is subject to change. I will be posting updates and corrections as required.
The Big Birds are Flying: The State of Aviation Today
Time: 7:00pm — 8:00pm
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Helicarrier? Where are we at with aviation and where are we going? Hear some pros discuss the possible, the impossible and the why not .
Predicting the Future: How Wrong Are We Going To Be?
Time: 9:00pm — 10:00pm
Room: Richmond B
Welcome to “Where’s my hovercar?” the panel. Discuss the history of predictions that have failed the test of time and make predictions for the predictions in current SF!
SFWA General Meeting
Time: 10:00am — 11:00am
Room: Richmond B
SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) is a professional organization for authors of science fiction, fantasy and related genres that informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members. In this panel for writers who are interested in learning more about SFWA, four longtime members will talk about their experiences with SFWA and what it does for them, as well as answering audience questions and providing information about the new qualifications standards for self-published and small-press authors.
Space Battles: Lens Flares and Camera Shakes
Time: 11:00am — 12:00pm
Space battles have generally been in one of two camps: World War II naval engagements or World War I ace pilot dogfights. Where can we go from here to realize what actual space combat will be like without inserting our silly terracentric prejudices into the mix?
Readings: Madeline Ashby & Eric Choi
Time: 12:00pm — 1:00pm
Room: Event Suite
Commercial Space Flight: 40% Off! Book Your Seats Today!
Time: 1:00pm — 2:00pm
Virgin Galactic is taking reservations today! Sort of. Commercial spaceflight is at our doorstep. How much would you pay to take a trip into the cold black void?
Hollywood is Running Out Of Ideas
Time: 2:00pm — 3:00pm
Room: Markham A
Just like it says on the tin. Come and have a jovial discussion about the sad state of Hollywood and share your favourite alternative media companies or one-offs.
Carbide Tipped Pens continues to garner positive reviews.
Nancy Hightower in the Washington Post says: “The strongest stories, by Liu Cixin, Aliette de Bodard and David DeGraff, explore a dynamic interplay between human psychology and technological advancement while also delivering thrilling plots.”
Alex Good in the Toronto Star writes: “As the stories in this new collection, edited by Choi and SF master Ben Bova, indicate, hard SF can go down many different roads. And the point is never just the science and engineering itself, but rather what people do with it, or what it does to them.”
The book is also a Bakka Phoenix recommendation.
A big THANK YOU to many people for a terrific launch of Carbide Tipped Pens: Lorna Toolis, Annette Mocek, Donald Simmons and the Friends of the Merril Collection volunteers; the Toronto Public Library; Chris Szego of Bakka-Phoenix Books; Kate Story and David DeGraff who made long journeys to be here so that they could share their wonderful stories; and of course, everyone who came out to share the evening with us. Thank you!
Ben Bova was not able to join us in person, however, I would like to share his prepared opening remarks:
“To me, hard science fiction is the most exciting and mind-expanding field of writing. At its best, hard science fiction takes the reader to places no human eyes have yet seen — but someday we will reach those alien scenes and meet the strange and wonderful creatures who dwell there. Good fiction tests the human heart in a steaming crucible. Hard science fiction allows writers to make the crucible hotter, and test the human heart in new and fascinating ways — all while playing true to the known facts of the Universe. From the far future to the distant past, from here on Earth to the farthest galaxy, hard science fiction shows the Universe and the humans who inhabit it as they are, and as they will be. The stories in Carbide Tipped Pens are all excellent examples of this demanding, enthralling and enriching field.”