So you’re thinking about self defense classes…

mako-mori(I have a lot of friends contemplating this. The following is targeted to them, not the world as a whole.)

Cool.  Go for it.  Now, let me deliver some advice about the best way to do it.

First of all, decide whether you want a one-and-done kind of thing, or something you’ll be committing to for the intermediate-long term.  If you’re looking for a one-and-done, skip the weekend seminars and rape-defense training.  Instead, get a shooting lessons package and go to a gun range.  Here’s why:

All you’re actually going to accomplish with a short seminar is feeling better.  I’m not saying that to be snide.  Feeling better is important.  Feeling better is what might keep you from shaking yourself apart while you deal with other things.  Do what it takes to feel better.

But do it in a way that’s going to be helpful, rather than harmful.  You’ll get no lasting effective skill from a weekend, whatever you do.  But a lot of the traditional self-defense weekend style trainings, or one-off classes are either:

A) advertisement for a school where you can take more classes
B) Designed to make you feel like an imminent victim, often of implausible or low-probability threats or
C) Going to give you false confidence.

They could do multiple of those.  A is actually a great use of these kinds of seminars (go to lots if you’re shopping for a longer-term commitment), but B and C are dangerous.  C could get you killed.  Not recommended.

A weekend at the gun range, however, means you’re going to have actually handled a gun.  Guns aren’t nearly as scary as a lot of you think they are.  The biggest intrinsic problem with casual gun placement is that they lower the threshold for deadly force to one a toddler can cross.  You are more effective than a toddler.  I promise.  Play with some guns.  Get a feel for their weight, recoil, how they smell.  Take them out of the realm of only-in-movies and only-in-disaster and into the realm of yeah-I’ve-done-that.  You’re unlikely to walk away from a weekend at the range thinking you’re Rambo.  You are pretty likely to be less prone to a freezing panic if you face one later.

And the freezing panic is the thing you actually need to deal with.  It doesn’t matter how black your belt is, or how many heavy-weight titles whatever you have, reflexes are contextual.  If something happens to you, and you fall into “I’m being assaulted,” mode instead of, “I’m a badass,” mode, it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re a badass.  And realistically, you won’t know which mode you’re going to fall into until it happens.  It might not happen the same way every time.  Humans are complex, brains are weird, and it’s probably your muscle memory and extended nervous system that’ll be making all the decisions anyway.  You can tilt your probable response away from panic and toward badass reflexes, but it’s not a guarantee.  The more you practice, the longer you spend reinforcing habits, the more you shift the needle.

Which leads me to my advice for anybody looking at an intermediate to long-term commitment: It doesn’t matter which martial art you do, which school you go to, or what your instructor looks like.  Go somewhere you feel safe, comfortable, invested, and welcome.  Take kickboxing, if you must.  (I did just say that.  And you know what I think of kickboxing.)  It doesn’t matter.  Because if you’re in a fight where your skills at physical confrontation matter, you’ve already lost three layers deep.  Practical skill is handy for the narrow range of circumstances where you took the wrong fork several times.  What you actually need is the ability to keep your head, and then deescalate the situation or get the hell elsewhere.  Actually being able to kick somebody’s ass is incidental to the vast majority of confrontations.  Learning practical fighting skills is only worthwhile for sport, for ego, or if you’re going to be picking a fight (as police, military, armed resistance, or street thuggery, etc.).  Are you planning to engage in the latter?  Then talk to me somewhere the NSA won’t overhear, or find a school teaching Krav Maga.

Look at who the school’s instructors are.  Do you like them?  Good.  Not? Bad.  Doesn’t matter why.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a *real* reason or just a *feeling.*  This can be extra important for people who aren’t het-cis-males.  It’s really common, especially for women, to have to push back against a tendency to corral you into anti-rape training instead of general purpose kick-assery.  Usually the people doing the corralling are well-intentioned.  They’re still assholes.  Don’t put up with it.  Or better yet, don’t sign up somewhere it’s going to happen.  Absence of women among the students is, for you, probably a bad sign.  If all the women are the significant others of high ranking students and instructors, also a bad sign.  (You’ll note, I tend to hang out in places with exactly those problems.  My motives are not yours.  Don’t follow my examples for yourself.)

I’m skeptical of anywhere that will start you on serious knife training out the door.  This is prone to the false-confidence-fail mentioned earlier.  Just about anything you do, (excluding sword/fencing, archery, or similar) should start by focusing on how to throw a good punch.  There’s a lot you can do wrong in throwing a punch.  Getting that right will give you a foundation for everything else you need to learn.  If they gloss over this, and it’s not because you’re already good at punching, be skeptical.

If all of the students are injured, that’s a warning sign.  Depending on what they’re teaching, baseline level of injury shifts around.  You probably aren’t interested in something where the baseline is more than 0.

And my final piece of advice: Stick weapons are fun.  Like, super fun.  Also, if you’re uncoordinated, or lacking in the kinesthesia and proprioception departments (Hi!), they’re really good at giving you unambiguous feedback about what you’ve done wrong.  Most people start stick weapons with foam covered practice weapons or very light rattan or bamboo ones.  (I know I’ve led you wrong with my collection. Your motives still aren’t mine.)  Go for the fun things.  As with any physical activity, it’s probably going to hurt one way or another.  Make it earn that.  Make it something that makes you feel better.

The Water Bottle and the Cell Phone

I really want to have something thoughtful and worthwhile to say about Orlando.  I don’t.  Instead, have a funny story where the only thing that gets hurt is my pride. There’s a funny animal picture at the end, for no reason at all.

Several weeks ago I committed one of the minor tragedies of our modern era: I dropped my cell phone into a sink of water.  I did this not five minutes before I needed to be out the door to meet a client.  Woops.  I was very cool about it, though.  I turned off the phone, yanked the SIM card, shoved the phone in a bag of rice, then popped the SIM into my old cell phone and set it to charge.  I always completely ignore my phone when I’m having a sit down meeting with a client anyway, so this was annoying but not a real problem.

Let’s pause here for some back story about that “old phone.”  The old phone is, in fact, identical to the new phone except in one critical way: its screen is cracked so badly it actively loses shards of glass as you use it.  I dropped it while I was visiting friends in December and that was pretty much the end of that.  It was the phone I got two weeks before I left Wisconsin to move to Seattle.  It was the last phone I intended to get until design trends shift back to a “smaller is better” paradigm.  It was also old enough that it cost just as much to have the screen repaired as it did to buy a new copy of the same phone off eBay.  About six hours after “my phone extruded shards of glass onto my face while I was talking on it,” became a thing I could truthfully say, I went ahead and ordered a new copy of the old phone.  Which I’d been using quite contentedly until I dropped it in the sink.

Generally you leave a phone that got wet to dry for about 24 hours.  The sink incident happened on a Thursday afternoon.  Halfway through Friday I decided that I’d go ahead and be really paranoid: I’d leave the new phone to dry until Sunday night.  I was doing an open house on Saturday, but Sunday was (theoretically) a day off so it didn’t matter that the phone I was using had a few quirky flaws, like sharing jagged stabby bits with the unwary user. Nothing could possibly go wrong with this plan.

On Saturday, armed with my open house supplies which included, among other things, a cookie sheet tucked under my arm, I realized what was happening.  As my finger dragged across the crumbling, textured surface of my old phone, deftly dodging glass splinters, I recognized my true motivation in putting off switching back: I’m emotionally invested in the old phone.  It rode with me all the way out to the west coast and was there for me as I set up my business from scratch again and then faithfully took a train with me all the way back to visit people, only to be cruelly and clumsily dropped onto the chilly concrete of a garage floor, then discarded for the damage it suffered.  That phone was supposed to be my constant companion for an entire product design fad and I callously set it aside just because it couldn’t hold up to my negligent care.  And yet, there it was, ready to step up and rescue me when my clumsy disregard for my electronic companions struck out at its replacement.  Did my old phone chide me for my behavior?  No.  It spent four hours installing updates and randomly crashing, but then it went to work as if I’d been as faithful to it as it was to me.

Reader, I am such a heel.  I realized this, acknowledged it, then patted the phone and in deference to its tireless work (and my desire to avoid glass splinters) turned my attention to my book.I got off the bus.  I retrieved my bike from the rack on the front of the bus.  I reached into my pocket for my phone, my cherished, devoted, faithful little phone.  The little phone which was, right that moment, faithfully sitting right where I put it, on the bus seat.  The bus was already pulling away.I stashed the cookie sheet in my bike’s basket and started searching through every pocket in my bag.  Things I pulled out of my bag while looking for my phone:

  1. A box of business cards
  2. A stack of folders with information about the condo I was holding open
  3. A stack of information about similar listings
  4. A stack of fliers about low-income grants and loans for first time buyers, also fliers about buyer discounts available from some home insurance companies.
  5. A 32 oz.  water bottle I stole from Dr. Unicorn roughly ten minutes after we moved in together, full of iced tea.
  6. A hexagonal black plate
  7. An oven mitt
  8. A spatula
  9. The crushing realization that I didn’t actually put the cookie dough in my bag and I’ve carried a cookie sheet this far for absolutely no reason
  10. The rest of the list doesn’t matter, I’ve made my point

My phone was nowhere in there.  Because of course it wasn’t.  It was on the bus seat.  Where I put it.  Moments after admitting that I’m sentimentally attached to it.

I very calmly put everything back in my bag.  Then I took my cookie sheet wielding, bicycle pushing, business casual self to the first stranger foolish enough to make eye contact with me.  Let’s call him Arjun.  His name wasn’t Arjun, but he didn’t consent to appear as a bit character in this story, so I don’t think he’ll mind that I changed his name.

“Excuse me,” I say, as if it’s not part of the greater Seattle area norms that strangers only try to talk to you when they’re asking you to sign a petition or for money.  “I’ve just left my phone on the bus that pulled away.  Could you help me?”

Arjun very clearly wanted to be nice to me.  He was also clearly scared by the very calm, slightly manic, but mostly calm over-dressed lady with the huge bike.  I chose to focus on his desire to be helpful and pretend I was not at all scary.

“I need to look at a map to figure out how to get to the place I’m supposed to go.  Could I do that?” I asked.

Arjun handed me his phone.  This is how I learned his name, which, recall, I changed.  I pulled out one of the folders with the information for the place I was supposed to hold open, then looked up directions to the address I wanted.  Then I stared at the map.  I stared at the map really hard.  Addresses around here defy logic and order and I haven’t yet met a map program that didn’t suffer as a consequence.  Normally, upon finding an error, I sigh, prod the address input a bit, then keep going.  But I can’t do that.  Arjun is going to be rather upset if I get onto my bike and ride away with his phone, and unless I do that, I need to know exactly how to get all the way to my destination without further help.  It’s really important that I don’t screw this up.  It was a little after noon when I got off the bus.  The open house is supposed to start at 1pm.  I would rather die than call the listing agent to tell him I can’t do this after all.  Also, I can’t, because his number is in my phone and I carefully eradicate all signs of the listing agent from the material I bring to an open house; the point is to have people contact me.

I spent a whole second and a half wondering how much of a head start I’d get just from Arjun being surprised if I got on my bike and ran off with his phone.  It was uphill to my destination, though, so he probably could have outrun me.  My bike is ergonomic for somebody with bad joints and prone to biking in fancy dress slacks and moderately dressy shoes but it is not fast.  Also, morality and golden rules and not biting the hand that was nice to you and all that.  Also also, it would have been wrong to betray my poor damaged phone so quickly by literally running off with the first modern behemoth I could get my hands on.

The “ethics” routines in my brain are sometimes complicated.

I returned Arjun’s phone, climbed onto my bike, and set off to my destination.  I arrived there some unknown quantity of time later; I only wear a watch when I’m teaching so my phone was my only time keeping device.  I have no idea how much time I have to get there and finish setup before 1pm.  Hey, at least I don’t need to worry about getting the cookies baked. *sigh*  It’s okay, though, because the oven doesn’t work, so I couldn’t have baked the cookies even if I had remembered the dough.

I did my usual setup.  Information on the counter, thermos in the fridge, signs out at nearby intersections and leading to the building.  Then, because the unit had absolutely no furniture in it (insert grumbling about listing agents too cheap to do even basic staging in one of the most expensive markets in the country) I sat on the steps, book in hand, and waited.  About the time I guessed it was one, I set the clock on the microwave (which, unlike the stove, was working).  The first person who showed up to the open house met a cheerful, relaxed me who could only answer questions if she had the information stored in her brain or on her printouts, but I’d prepared pretty thoroughly so the need to look up information was small.  Also, very smoothly, I asked them the time and then corrected the clock on the microwave so I would know when it was time to pack up and go home.

Do you know what happens when you respectfully don’t make your phone work while you ride the bus, then don’t have it on hand when you are at the open house, and the listing agent you’re hosting for is the kind of cheap skate who doesn’t stage and takes ugly pictures?  Nobody comes to your open house.  And you finish reading your book.  And you have nothing else to do.

On the one hand, this feels like appropriate cosmic justice for being the kind of feckless person who rewards a phone’s faithful filling in by abandoning it on the 520 bus to Everette.  Not to be all dramatic or anything, but a little boredom is the least of what a wretch such as yourself deserves for the reckless disregard for your own property you’ve been displaying lately.

On the other hand, I’m really bad at not having anything to do.

When 4pm rolled around, or a time close enough to it for the hastily set microwave to release me, I packed away my fliers and business cards.  I put away the signs.  I locked up the unit, stowed my pointless cookie sheet in my bicycle basket, and set off to catch my bus home.

Only when I reached the transit center, thinking fondly of how kind it was of Arjun to let me look at the map on his phone and how happy I am that I didn’t rob him, do I realize what I didn’t pack away.  See item 5 in the list above.

A 32 oz.  water bottle I stole from Dr. Unicorn roughly ten minutes after we moved in together, full of iced tea.

It was no longer full of iced tea.  It was full of water.  Also, it was in the fridge of the condo where I’d had my open house.  Also, my bus was, right now, arriving.

You’ve seen how attached I was to a phone that would literally cut your finger open if you weren’t paying attention while you used it.  Imagine how attached I am to a bottle I brazenly pilfered from a beloved roommate.  Reader, my crisis in that moment was painful and real.  But I was aware that I was going off the deep end with regard to sentimental attachment to physical objects.  I put my bike on the bus.  Then I put myself on the bus.  Then I rode home, head hung low, desperate for reading material.  (“I could listen to a podcast!” I’d think to myself.  Then realize that this would require me to have my phone.)

For reference, I lost that same water bottle for a few hours at WorldCon last summer.  People seemed puzzled by my alarm when I realized it was gone. This is strange to me.  I stole it. From somebody I live with. That’s a serious category of theft, imparting significant value to the object. They might want it back, and then instead of saying, “No, it’s mine now, I licked it an everything,” I’d have to say, “Sorry, I’m a careless flake.”

Needless to say, when I was out with a client and, consequently, had a car, I shamelessly tromped right back into that unit and rescued my water bottle from its seclusion in the fridge of a moderately well renovated and poorly marketed condo. The client didn’t care, but I petted that water bottle for the rest of the evening.  It’s a good water bottle.  A reliable water bottle.  I’ll strive to never abandon it like that again.

I got a brand new SIM card to put in the sufficiently dry new phone and completed my weekend none the worse for wear.  Even happier, when I called the Community Transit customer service people to check their lost and found, somebody had actually turned in my phone.  Apparently the market for selling stolen phones that hemorrhage glass at the unsuspecting user is small enough for happy endings.  The old phone lives on my desk once more, where I periodically stroke its screen and assure it, “Yes, I am still weird enough that deep down, I like you more than the other phone.  I’ll never recycle you.  You are a good phone.”

And I have learned an important lesson: Sometimes we’re idiots to the things we love.  They are things, and incapable of punishing you for your abuse.

Did I do that learning a moral thing correctly?  I can never tell.

And now, the real reason you’ve scrolled down so far, the promised picture of an animal.parrot-phone

Too on the nose?  Okay, fine.  Here’s something subtler.  Colorful Parrot Desktop Background

“James and Peter, Fishing” is up at PodCastle

http://sunao17.deviantart.com/art/Peter-Pan-and-Killian-Jones-Captain-Hook-524554696Summer is practically here, the sun has been unpleasantly eager to make its presence known, and I’ve got a new short story out.  “James and Peter, Fishing,” a heartwarming tale about the innocence of childhood and the power of dreams, went up at PodCastle this week.

Okay, it’s probably not that heartwarming.

And I have a mild allergy to the concept of childhood innocence.

Actually, it’s a story about tricksy mermaids and the power of friendship.

Except not really.  Or even a little bit.  You know what, why don’t you go listen to it?  The reader for the story, Thomas Busby, did an excellent job.  His voice was a spot on choice.  I’m very pleased.

The previous paragraph contained no lies.

*The artwork is actually not remotely appropriate for the story.  But I found it while looking for artwork that was and I liked it too much not to use it. This is the most misleading story publication announcement on the planet. I blame the sun.

The Editor is Retired, Long Live the Editor

the_olympic_cauldron_in_vancouverYou know Ciro, right?  The deep, rumbly voice that periodically graces the Strange Horizons poetry podcast, and filled in for me when I was moving?  The one who gets more fan mail than I do?  That Ciro? I’ve got good news.  You get more of him!

The December poetry podcast was my last as host, and Ciro has taken over for me.  This is awesome!  I had literally not changed a thing about how the final product worked since I hit a rhythm, and there was, frankly, room for improvement.  It just wasn’t going to happen with me.  Ciro, on the other hand, has already mixed up the format to make it more user-friendly (and producer-hard. Simple things on the listener end are super finicky on the back end) and I’m pretty sure it’s going to all be ass-kicking glory from here on.

I’m glad the poetry podcast is in the hands of somebody who has the time to treat it well, and I’m extremely glad that somebody is Ciro, because he’s great.  Give him a listen.

Even if you think you’re not into poetry, do it.  It’s short, so it’s a low-cost gamble that you’ll find something you like.  If you’re into flash fiction you should especially be looking at speculative poetry – the two forms have a lot going on that can inform each other.

I am still the Fiction Podcast Editor at Strange Horizons.  As of now I have no intention of ever not being the Podcast Editor at Strange Horizons.  That doesn’t actually mean I’ll never move on, just that right now I can’t foresee when/why that would be.  After three years, that’s a pretty cozy position to be in with a job.

Things Upcoming and Upcome

Want to read a story by me featuring romance, cannibalism, and Dr. Who jokes?  Then you’d probably be doing yourself a favor if you checked out the fourth volume of Unidentified Funny Objects, which came out earlier this month.

Let me tell you a funny story about this funny story.  The first volume of UFO was announced as upcoming relatively closely to when I started submitting for publication.  I sort of second-hand knew the editor, Alex Shvartsman, and he’s good folks.  Also, I like writing stories about bad things happening to good people or bad people having a good time and other light-hearted, cheerful things like that.  I can do amusing.  I am a master of sardonic.  But funny?  Not so much my thing.

At the same time, I have a raging ego the size of some continents you could mention and am more or less convinced I should be the master of all things.  So I wrote a funny story and I sent it to UFO1.  “I don’t think anybody will get your jokes,” the rejection said, which is a nice way of saying, “It wasn’t funny.”

Undaunted, lesson not learned, I did it again for UFO2.  With similar effect.  I would have done it again for UFO3, but last year was a rather full one and there just wasn’t time to write a third not funny story.  That was okay, though, because then Alex announced that UFO4 would have a theme, and it would be dark humor.  I think the word “sardonic” may even have been in one of the submission calls.  So, as all professional writers do when practicing their most finely honed craft, I cackled uproariously and began a deep study of the human condition in order to craft the most perfect, hilariously dark story I could.

That last line is a lie.  What I actually did was carry out a threat I’d made to Dr. Unicorn about immortalizing certain in-jokes in fiction, made a couple Dr. Who jokes, then got very, very stuck.  I knew how the story needed to end, there was only one acceptable ending, but I couldn’t really find a funny way to get there.  This is the problem with being a pantsing, special snowflake of a writer trying to write for a specific theme.  My muse, she’s a fickle beast.

Betrayed by my own creativity, I went for the second set of tools I have, stealing from other writers.  I stared at the story’s middle, said, “What would Charlie Jane Anders Do?” and typed my way to a finish.  A finish that was not the ending the story had to have because I’d intended my funny story to have a happy ending, but if you think about it for a minute, the actual ending is actually really, really not good.  But it was the ending I felt like writing, and the submission window had about four hours left open before it closed and gosh darnit, I’m going to get an editor to declare that I Have Written A Funny Story.

Reader, the story sold. (Obviously)

Hurray!  It only took four years, but mission accomplished, I am the master of all things, I have written a funny story!  The ending definitely isn’t a happy ending, but it’s funny!  Alex Shvartsman said so, by implication, when he bought it.  Or did he?  Here’s what he says in his foreward:

Among the twenty-three stories collected within there are horror tales with a touch of humor, such as “The Monkey Treatment” by George R. R. Martin and “Armed for You” by Anaea Lay.

Oh.  Well.  A horror tale with a touch of humor.  Nevermind then.  Not funny after all, apparently.  I guess I’ll go sulk in the…

I’m in the same sentence as GRRM?  VICTORY!

* * *

While I’m bragging, Beneath Ceaseless Skies just bought a story from me.  They’re an awesome market I’ve been trying to sneak my way into even longer than I’ve been trying to be funny.  This story has the distinction of being my first rhyming title, “The Right Bright Courier.”  It also provoked the very first time I’ve argued with an editor about a comma.  It wasn’t really an argument, actually, but still.  Me and commas.  They’re slippery little critters, aren’t they?  I usually leave their care and maintenance entirely in the editor’s hand.  Here, have a teaser to tide you over until it comes out.

The sensor feeds of our approach washed over me as I sat in Shalott‘s cocoon, guiding her with my breath and thought and anticipation. The ether roads between worlds were long and we both bore the scars of our journeys. She furled her sails and pulled them tight to her hull, then turned on her side and beached herself upon the shores. Trails of nebula dust scattered in our wake, rippling out in a cascade of color and radiation that sparkled in the depths of our shared vision. We had arrived. But she did not withdraw the cocoon. Her warm, humid breath encased me, clutching me tight.

“You will not come back to me,” she whispered in my ear.

Find me at WorldCon!

In a couple weeks I’ll be wending my way out to Spokane for Sasquan.  I’m the only one from Strange Horizons who’s going to be there, so I get to have all the Hugo nominee glory to myself. (Muahahahahaha!)  For those of you who want to stalk either me or Strange Horizons, here’s a handy schedule to help you do that thing. Please don’t be creepier than I am.

Kaffee Klatche – Anaea Lay

Thursday 10:00 – 10:45, 202B-KK4 (CC)

This is a small discussion where you get to hang out with me and around 7 other people who want to hang out with me and ask me all sorts of things.  This early, on the first day of the con, I’ll probably be in hilarious “Feels persecuted by the entire universe” mode.  You should come, or I’ll be bitter about getting up early for it.

Violence in Speculative Fiction

Thursday 16:00 – 16:45, 401C (CC)

War, torture, combat, cruelty – are physically violent conflicts necessary for good fiction What purpose does it serve? Is it getting worse? How much is too much? Do authors set personal limits?

Carol Berg, Rory Miller, Anaea Lay, Jack Campbell

Reading – Anaea Lay

Friday 10:30 – 11:00, 301 (CC)

I’m going to do it the way I usually do my readings, i.e. let the audience choose their fate and have baked goods on hand as an apology in case they choose a bad fate. You should come for the baked goods.

The Future of Short Fiction: Online Magazines Today

Saturday 14:00 – 14:45, Bays 111B (CC)

10 years ago reading original fiction online was limited to the occasional author’s web site. Now, online magazines are a major force — maybe THE major force — in publishing short fiction. The panel looks at what and why?

Scott H. Andrews, Anaea Lay, Mike Resnick, John Joseph Adams, Neil Clarke

Demigods, Chosen Ones & Rightful Heirs: Can Progress, Merit & Citizens Ever Matter in Fantasy?

Saturday 15:00 – 15:45, 300C (CC)

Science fiction often centers around meritocracies (or at least “knowledgetocracies”) but fantasy? Not so much. Or, as Dennis famously said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “…Strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.” Has fantasy ever overcome this classic trope? Can it?

Darlene Marshall (M), Anaea Lay, Mary Soon Lee, Setsu Uzume, Katherine Addison

Autographing – Anaea Lay, Ann Leckie, Bud Sparhawk

Sunday 10:00 – 10:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)

I’M GOING TO SPEND 45 MINUTES STANDING NEXT TO ANN LECKIE!!!! Nobody come talk to me, I will be preoccupied with being creepy.

Writers Workshop section 20

Sunday 13:00 – 16:00, 201A (CC)

You can’t get into this.  I’m just listing it here so you can see the next line.

Lori White (M), Anaea Lay, Ann Leckie, Gillian Redfearn

For the record, I totally understand if Ann shows up to the con with a pre-filled restraining order.

UFO and the Overcast, Parsecs

I’ve been bad about doing updates on things.  I’d feel bad about it, but I’m too busy doing all the things that have been keeping me from updating to indulge in human emotion, so I’ll just pile a bunch of it here.

First, I have overcome my hatred of joy, happiness, and comedy and snagged a place in Alex Shvartsman’s fourth Unidentified Funny Objects anthology.  This year’s iteration had a dark humor theme and in the forward he says what I actually did was right a horror story, but I think it’s actually a very sweet tale about dating a cannibal.  I’ll say something somewhere about this again when the anthology comes out so you can snag yourself a copy.

Also, should you feel you don’t get enough of my dulcet tones at the Strange Horizons podcast, you can listen to me slaughter so Russian like a James Bond villain over at the Overcast.  I narrated Anatoly Bellilovsky’s Of Mat and Math for them. This process included a continuation of the trend where my voice disappears right when I have a podcast obligation.  I think possibly the Podcast Editor position at Strange Horizons is cursed and if you try to do anything else your throat swells up and starts to grow things. Or I’m only foolish enough to volunteer for extra work when I’m on the verge of becoming ill.  I think the curse is more likely.

Finally, the Strange Horizons podcast was nominated for a Parsec award this year.  That was so awesome that I quietly freaked out about it for months rather than saying anything.  Woops.  The initial nominations come from fans, so I basically already won.  I mean, seriously now, I have no idea who the judges are and so I don’t really care what they think of my podcast.  But Strange Horizons fans like it enough to tell people to give us an award!  That pretty much means I’m the best thing ever, you can’t touch this, victory laps for everybody.  Or, you know, that I’m going to chew off all my finger nails between now and when the winners are announced at Dragon*Con in September.  ONE OF THESE THINGS IS TRUE.  Maybe two.

I’m going to be at WorldCon, too, and I’m all over the programming there, but I’ll post my schedule tomorrow so you can bask in…pixels.