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Posts Tagged ‘icfa’


I have chosen my ICFA reading. And I’m getting good at eyeballing these things; my selection, when test-read, turned out to be twenty minutes on the nose.

For the record, everything in this selection will eventually be posted on my site as part of the teaser excerpt. But you’ll have to wait a while for it, so what you really want to do is get up at 8:30 in the morning on Friday to come hear me read it. Right?


Yes, that is officially my time slot. <sigh> Beggars can’t be choosers and all, but still — I’ll have to hope some of Alex Irvine’s and Judith Moffett’s fans stick around, or I’ll be reading to my co-panelists and Farah, who’s moderating.

back from ICFA

It pleases me that I already have twenty-three comments on this weekend’s rant, without me having had a chance to answer any of them yet. For those who have contributed to the discussion so far, I will respond, but probably not until tomorrow. For those who haven’t read it: go see me compare SF elitists to nineteenth-century anthropologists. As I said to ninja_turbo, the post lacks swearing only if you think “warmed-over nineteenth century unilinear cultural evolutionary theory” isn’t me swearing.

ICFA? ICFA was good. It’s moving to Orlando next year, and from the sound of it that’s going to be all-round a positive change, but I confess I will miss the familiarity of that hotel. (And I’ve only been going for five years; what of the people who have known it for twenty?) I would still love to see someone kidnap the Con Cat and bring him to Orlando, even if he does have fleas. Because I will miss having a kitty to pet.

My paper seems to have gone over well, despite being ten pounds of idea shoved in a five-pound sack. I will probably expand it a bitsy and then try to sell it to Strange Horizons, for those who wanted to read it. The expansion will be a Good Thing, though it will necessitate another round of prioritizing information, since I still won’t be able to get remotely everything in there. (What, you mean trying to cover twenty-eight novels, three and a half editions of D&D, and thirty years of textual history in five thousand words isn’t a manageable idea?)

Every paper and discussion I attended was good. This is unique in my conferencing experience so far. Either ICFA’s getting better, or I had good karma this year.

I have a head full of thoughts, not all of them fully baked. Look out in the near future, though, for a manifesto on Anthropological Fantasy, coming to an LJ near you.

I have reached the point where I have a Manifesto.

This is an interesting place to be.

draft . . .?

Crap. I was doing so good — but then patching a hole and putting on a conclusion spiked my wordcount to 4292, when 4100 is about the most I can fit in the time limit without talking too fast.

Well, that’s what revision is for, and more ruthless reduction. Alas, Jarlaxle may end up on the cutting-room floor. (Along with other things, since I didn’t spend two hundred words on him.)

But I think I may leave that for tomorrow. I’ll have more perspective then, which is critically important when cutting stuff. And besides, I’ve worked hard the last two days; I want to read a book for a while before I go to sleep.

Wake up — time to die.

Ruthless cutting of my paper this morning removed three hundred words or so, pulling me back from the rapidly-approaching wall that is the length limit for a conference. (I made it to 85% of the way done by bedtime; now I’m hovering just north of 75%.) Will this be enough space? Probably not. But at least I bought myself a tiny bit of breathing room.

I need to step back and let it compost a bit more, though, so I can figure out the most efficient way to organize this last section. It would be easy to bog down in detailed textual analysis, but I don’t have that luxury. Broad patterns only, thank you, analysis-brain. We have approximately 4000 words to play with, and no more. And no, just speaking more quickly isn’t an acceptable answer; we’ll lose our audience and confuse everybody. We must be succinct. You do know what “succinct” means, right?

Don’t answer that.

halfway . . . there . . .

I don’t want to think about how many hours today I have spent wrestling with an unwieldy and oversized mass of information in order to produce the half of my ICFA paper I have so far. It’s funny to think that I once contemplated finishing it in time for the February 1st grad student award deadline, given that I wrote the first sentence today. (I was going gangbusters on the reading back in January, but when I realized I just wouldn’t have the time to write it, I stalled and got almost nothing done until today.)

So it goes.

The problem is, I really did bite off more than one ought to chew for a conference paper. In addition to about two dozen novels, I’m also looking at a good dozen or more gaming supplements from four different editions of D&D. Plus artwork, which I’m hardly mentioning at all. There are all kinds of nifty-keen subtleties that have happened along the way — well, okay, most of them aren’t actually nifty-keen, but some of them are — but they just won’t make it into the paper; I’ve got another six years of publishing history to get through before I start on the analytical part of the paper, and I’m already halfway to my page limit.

Certain sayings about ten pounds into five-pound containers come to mind.

But I’m brain-melty at this point, so I think it’s time to take a break, and maybe chew on it a bit more before bed tonight. (It would be nice to finish the historical part of the paper, so I can do the analysis tomorrow and Tuesday.) And then, someday well after ICFA, I shall ponder whether I want to go back and expand the paper with some of the finer details for the purposes of submitting it to Strange Horizons.

You know, the original tongue-in-cheek title for this paper was “Drow: The Black Hole of Otherness.” I think it is also “Drow: The Black Hole of My Sunday Before ICFA,” given how much time it’s eaten today.

call for paper help

Looking for some help here. The conference topic for the next ICFA is “Representing Self and Other: Gender and Sexuality in the Fantastic,” and I’ve been trying to think of a paper that would fit in. (You’re not limited to the topic, but I’d like to give it a shot this year, instead of ignoring it entirely.) Gender and sexuality aren’t my usual stomping grounds, though, so it’s been a little tough. In fact, for a while the only thing I could think up was “Drow: The Black Hole of Otherness,” which is not so much a paper as an exercise in shooting fish in a barrel, and dead fish at that.

But I think I’ve found a way to develop that into a paper, by looking at the original appearance of the drow in a game module, and then their development since then in game materials and fiction — specifically, what work certain writers have done to try and rehabilitate them as something other than a horrible, horrible stereotype of Otherness. (I’ve gotten some indications that there have been some moves in that direction — enough to persuade me that reading a dozen or so new Forgotten Realms novels won’t be a complete waste of time that leaves me with nothing to talk about when I’m done.) So I’m halfway to being able to write an abstract. What I need now are academic references.

Y’see, I really haven’t taken any classes on this topic, and so I barely know where to begin. Who should I read if my focus is on the process of de-Othering a black-skinned, matriarchal, subterranean, racist, slave-owning, rigidly stratified, back-stabbing, religiously twisted and sexually perverted race of chaotic evil people? I think I can talk well enough about why it’s happening, but I need more on the how.

return from ICFA; contest results

The only bad part about going to Florida for a weekend in March is coming back to Indiana’s winter weather advisories.

My fourth ICFA was delightful. My paper (on Meredith Ann Pierce’s The Darkangel) went well; Pythia’s paper went better, winning the grad student paper award. Go her! The Bloomington posse is beginning its domination. I also got very publicly promoted by Rick Wilbur of the fomerly-Asimov-now-Dell Award, who, in accepting a different award for his service, talked about the successes of the finalists, and made me stand up and display a copy of Doppelganger to the entire banquet room. I am so very very glad that my author’s copies arrived in time for me to take some south.

And speaking of the novel . . . .

Adam Zolkover wins the contest for spotting Doppelganger in the wild. There will be a character named after him in the urban fantasy sequel I’m working on. Even though the contest is done, though, go ahead and send pictures! Or, if you don’t have easy access to a digital camera, just tell me when and where you see the book appearing. I’d like to track its progress. The local Barnes & Noble has called the people who special-ordered it, so the process has begun.

Time to hide under the bed, I guess.

Unfortunately, I do have an excuse for being hermit-like. Two papers and a grant proposal to write in the next week and a half. Urk. Guess I’d better get to work.