Thanks for all your great suggestions for the Uglies Guide. Keep them coming, and I’ll be doing more posts about the Guide in the near future.
But in the meantime: On Thursday, Justine and I are headed to Confusion in Detroit. For any of you attending, here’s our schedule. Justine and I are on all the same panels—so I give you Justine’s interpretation from her blog:
FRIDAY 18 JANUARY:
1900 Den 1 Interview: Author GoHs by John Scalzi
Tee hee! Mr Scalzi will ask us questions and we will plead the fifth and get away with it because we know where he buried the bodies. I suspect zombies will be mentioned.
2000 Salon FGH Opening Ceremonies
We will say a few words but there wonâ€™t be an actual speech speech. Some of my words will be â€œquokkaâ€, â€œzombieâ€, and â€œoscillateâ€, or maybe not. Depends.
2100 Salon FGH Dessert Reception
Where we eat dessert and natter with folks what want to natter.
2200 Den 1 Originality is Overrated
Thereâ€™s this idea that writers work entirely alone and create their work out of whole cloth. Thatâ€™s rubbish. If a work were wholly original no one would be able to read it. All writers are influenced by those who came before them. Most writers talk to other writers. Many are in writersâ€™ groups and even those that arenâ€™t frequently read and comment on each otherâ€™s work. Letâ€™s talk about the influence and community that writers share. Even when they donâ€™t know each other. Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld (M), Patrick Nielsen Hayden, John Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss and Doselle Young.
I confess that I wrote this description on account of itâ€™s something that drives me crazy and Iâ€™m looking forward to talking about it with such esteemed and smart companions. Especially Doselle. Everything is better if Doselle is involved.
SATURDAY 19 JANUARY:
1100 Den 1 Fantastic Sports
Organized sports are a vital part almost every culture on the globe. But sf and fantasy novels tend to overlook this key aspect of world-building. We examine what sports are and what they tell us about a culture, and dig up some good examples in sf and fantasy. Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Steve Ainsworth, Dave Klecha and Catherine Shaffer.
Mmmm . . . sport. If I werenâ€™t moderator I would just spend the session teaching USians cricket.
1300 Salon G Juvenilia
Writers dust off the storage trunks, turn off the shame meter, and read from their 5th- through 12th-grade works of unalloyed proto-genius. A great way for young writers in the audience to feel much better about their own efforts. Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Merrie Haskell, K. Tempest Bradford and Marcy Italiano.
I canâ€™t tell you how disappointed I am that Scalzi is not on this panel. Laughing at his early writing efforts was the whole reason I agreed to go to ConFusion!
1400 Den 1 SF Is Not Dead
More sf is written and consumed these days than every before, in the form of manga, video games, rpgs, and YA lit. Yet our beloved field constantly bemoans its own demise, while ignoring those 100,000 crazy kids down the road at Comicon. How do we connect these two worlds of sf? Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld (M), Anne Harris, Jim Frenkel and Peter Halasz.
Because me and Scott are sick to death of hearing the folks in the old sf peopleâ€™s home whingeing about the death of sf. It ainâ€™t dead! Itâ€™s doing just fine, thanks.
1500 Den 1 Golden Age of Young Adult Lit
Some argue that the YA books being published now are some of the best the field has ever seen. There are more of them, the quality is better, and the authors are being paid more. Is now the Golden Age of Young Adult Literature? And if so what does that mean for the next generation of readers? Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Steve Climer, Suzanne Church and Peter Halasz.
I think it is. I also think itâ€™s just going to get better and better and better.
1700 All-Author Autographing Session
If you have books you want strange author types to scribble on hereâ€™s your chance.
2100 Concierge Literary Beer
The only thing weâ€™re doing that you have to sign up for. Itâ€™ll be me and Scott sitting around with a smallish group of interested folks and answering their questions while we all drink beer (or water or whatever you wish to drink. I wish to drink Krugâ€”I hope the ConCom is on top of that!).
SUNDAY 20 JANUARY:
1100 Salon H Gluten-Free Fantasy
Most medieval cultures didnâ€™t have chainmail, swords, horses, or wheat. Yet the overwhelming majority of medieval cultures in fantasy do. What do we stand to gain by breaking the bonds of Europe on our collective imagination? And whatâ€™s so scary about bolas, sled-dogs, and rice? Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder, Jim Frenkel.
This panel is also something me and Scott came up with. It has a backstory. Way back in the dark ages we were on a panel together about fantasy where we panelists suggested that there were other settings for high fantasy other than mediaeval Europe. Scott went as far as to say that wheat is not essential to high fantasy.
The audience turned on him. â€œWe LOVE wheat!â€ they proclaimed. â€œWe hate fantasy that isnâ€™t set in mediaevel Europe. We hate wanky literary fantasy. In fact, we hate you writers on the panel who are trying to take away our wheat!â€
Scalzi was in the audience along with the wonderful Karen Meisner and they both say it was one of the most extraordinary things they have ever seen. Karen even sent Scott a Canadian license plate wth a beautiful picture of wheat on it. Scott still contends that we were caught in the wave of an Atkinâ€™s diet backlash.
Hope to see some of you there! I mean if this wussy Aussie girl can brave the dead of winter in Detroit, so can you!