Who was I back then? Just a 17 year old kid from the Bronx with dreams of becoming a scientist. And somehow, the world’s most famous astronomer found time to invite me to Ithaca in upstate New York to spend a Saturday with him.
I remember that snowy day like it was yesterday. He met me at the bust stop and showed me his laboratory at Cornell university. Carl reached behind his desk and inscribed this book for me. ‘For Neil, a future astronomer. - Carl’.
At the end of the day he drove me back to the bus station. The snow was falling harder. He wrote his home phone number on a scrap of paper and he said ‘If the bus can’t get back through, call me, spend a night at my home with my family’. I already knew I wanted to become a scientist, but that afternoon, I learned from Carl, the kind of person I wanted to become. He reached out to me, and to countless others, inspiring so many of us to study, teach and do science. Science is a cooperative enterprise spanning the generations. It’s the passing of a torch, from teacher to student to teacher. A community of minds reaching back to antiquity and forward to the stars.
ASFA is taking suggestions for the Chesley Awards!
If you’re a fan of SFF art, please consider adding your suggestions for Chesley nominees at http://t.co/kzJ43MvRYA - you don’t need to be a member of ASFA to contribute, and we’d like to hear from as many people as possible!
(Please signal boost this post if you can. Thanks!)
MedievalPOC at WisCon!
I took the plunge and registered for WisCon, thanks to a donated membership from an awesome author! FYI, WisCon is The World’s Leading Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, running May 23-26, 2014. This year’s Guests of Honor are Hiromi Goto and N. K. Jemisin.
One problem: I can’t actually afford the plane ticket or lodging. If possible, please consider donating to my travel fund, or boosting this post.
Any donated funds over travel expenses would go to food, transportation, Medievalpoc hosting and webmaster costs, software, and related expenses.
I had received some private inquiries about being on some panels about “historical accuracy” and representation in speculative fiction, and I’m genuinely enamored with the idea. If I can do anything to contribute to the think tanks that go on during a Con like this, I’d relish the opportunity. I’m sure I’m well capable of contributing to the fansquee!
I have applied to some assistance organizations, like the esteemed Con or Bust, but if I can raise the funds independently I would retract my request.
I can’t wait, and I’m looking forward to my first Sci Fi/Fantasy Con! If you’re going to be there, feel free to send a message!
If you want me to be on your WisCon panel PLEASE LET ME KNOW and I’ll see what I can do!
Hello everyone! As many of you know, I’m starting a side business, creating badges for conventions, cosplay, LARP, and all kinds of useful, nerdy-type uses.
In order to help spread news far and wide, I’m going to be doing a couple of giveaways! This one is the Early Bird giveaway. It ends March 31st at midnight, CST.
First prize: One Deluxe badge, including shipping anywhere in the world
Second prize: one Basic badge, including shipping anywhere in the world!
You can enter this giveaway up to five times:
- Reblog this post
- Like PurplePonyBadges on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter
- Post about the giveaway on Twitter
- Answer a one-question survey! (on the Rafflecopter form)
You must enter your reblogs, etc, in the Rafflecopter form at http://knitmeapony.tumblr.com/giveaway
And remember, please to check out my Indiegogo!
We Need to Talk About Art in the SFF Community
That title’s not some kind of folksy intro, “C’mon in, we should chat about this” - that’s my thesis here, and perhaps a call to arms. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately, and it’s tough to unpack, so consider this post a preface, somewhat, an attempt to galvanize discussion and a start to organize my thoughts in a way that leaves gaps for future conversations.
Lately, there have been a lot of truly interesting (and occasionally divisive) discussions in the SFF community about writing and about the community as a whole. Rarely, however, has the subject been art (& design) in the genre, unless it’s to point out good or bad examples. The “shiny/terrible” binary is rather reductive (and, of course, subjective), although there’s much material that has been mined in the latter category, from “eschergirls” to skimpy costumes, unreasonable armor, and posing disparity.
However, just as discussions of narrative content are rarely limited to Exemplary vs Terrible, so too I believe that discussions of art in SFF have more potential than that simplistic binary.
One could make the argument that writers contribute more significant content - or, at least, a larger volume of more easily-discussed content - than artists, or that there is something intrinsically more accessible about discussing narrative content as opposed to visual content. But I propose that conversations about writing happen because people have started the conversation and built a foundation for further discussion, and that is exactly what I hope to do here. Just as the mechanics of plot and narrative/characterization tropes aren’t always immediately apparent without discussion and research, so too can art-related topics be made accessible, for those who are willing to explore the subject.
The following is simply a rough outline of questions/conversation starters that come to mind, and ones that I may well bring up again in future posts, if I find there is interest.
History: What is the history of SFF art, and who were the major players in shaping that history? What are the most distinct and influential elements of SFF art/design? What does SFF history look like without - or as a direct result of - SFF artists/designers? How has SFF art/design impacted real-world technology and progress?
Process: What are the usual steps in / requirements for creating work for publication? What tools are best suited to a particular style, and which are the most readily available / most easily accessible? Are there any prominent mentors, guides, or workshops for beginners, journeymen, masters? What are the best tools for building/showcasing your work? What are the best venues/methods for exhibiting work to a new audience?
Recognition: How many artists do we recognize, discuss, and reward? How many artists’ organizations are on our radar as distinctly as, say, SFWA is? How many artists do we ‘follow’ on social networks, on blogs, look for at conventions? How often are artists/designers featured in interviews or in guest posts on high-profile blogs/websites - and when they do happen, are they by/about the same handful of people, or are up-and-coming artists given the same kind of spotlight as, say, up-and-coming writers? How well or poorly are artists rewarded for their contributions, either financially, w/r/t copyright and licensing, or when credit is given for achievement? What are the major awards for artists in the SFF genre, what attention are they given by the community, and how well do the recipients reflect current trends?
Community Events: At conventions, how many panels or art/artist-related events are there? When was the last time you visited a convention art show or artists’ alley? Did you purchase something? Did you have a conversation with the artist about their work, their influences, their themes? Did the art show have awards, and if so, did you vote on or contribute in some way to those awards? Are there conventions or workshops equally dedicated to celebrating/exploring/improving on SFF art (SFAL comes to mind) as there are writer-focused gatherings, and if so, have you attended any? What do they look like? Are there as many as there are for writers? If not, why not?
Culture: Just as narrative content has been examined of late regarding diversity, inclusivity, & reliance on tropes, how well does SFF art succeed or fail in that regard? Cover art / advertising is somewhat limited to reflecting the content of the goods they represent, but how frequently does cover art/advertising accurately depict ‘nonstandard’ narratives or protagonists when possible? What do the hiring/employment demographics look like at the major publishers w/r/t artists? Where are the in-depth analyses of fanart as opposed to, say, the myriad discussions of fanfiction and the monetization of same?
…there are undoubtedly more questions and conversations on the topic of art in the SFF community, but those are probably a good start. If anything ought to be clarified/expanded/added, let me know.
Table of Contents:
Song of the Seven by Carrie L. Clickard
By King’s Order by Matthew Wilson
A Dwarf’s Dilemma by Sharon Fedor
The 8th Dwarf by Evelyn Day
Glow by Pamela Love
The Great Garden Heist by B. Lee Draper
The Fire of Bones by Nathan Protopapas
The Magic Thief by Daliso Chaponda
Kai and the Menhune by Keely Sarr
Saga and the Wolf by Laurel Klein
With artwork by Mimi Alves, Rosaria Battiloro, Rebecca Palmer, Sonal Panse, Vicky Pratt, HP Santoro, Joanne Wojtysiak and Beth Zyglowicz.
Our sixth issue. I feel so incredibly lucky to publish Spellbound again.
I LOVE THIS ISSUE.
Well, I love all of them. But this one is pretty great.
Hey hey! Fresh off the Final Cut Pro. It’s the latest episode of The Con Men. Chad Burns and I, Jason Huls, went to Capricon 34 and lived to tell about it! Among the interviews are members of Zombie Squad, an artist who uses a particle accelerator and a bronze sculptor who will amaze you. Thanks for watching and we hope you enjoy!
For those interested, this is a great series of interviews with people at Capricon 34… including a bit with me rambling about the Art Show! :D