Tag: balticon

Balticon, a Song of Ice and Fire, and Q&A with George R. R. Martin

Yes, this weekend we are at Balticon in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and it is their 50th anniversary which means there are a LOT of people here and a lot of great authors.  So…from the title, you can guess who one of them was. Over the weekend there are several Q&As and for those of us who didn’t quite make it in to the very crowded rooms, Hamfast42, took some great notes.  You can find them here and here but I put a few of the Q&A stories down below to whet your appetite.

From his Introductory Remarks:

  • In the 70s, GRRM had “six hippy roomates” in Chicago
  • The first time he came to a Baltimore Convention was to “chase women”. Specifically he went to meet up with his now wife Parris.
  • So in 1983, George had a bit more change in his pocket, so he decided to splurge. The harbor in Baltimore has normal padleboats but he poneyed up and rented electric paddleboats. “Something about being out in that harbor made us feel like we were pirates. So we started talking like pirates.” Then he got other boats to talk like pirates. Then he went to a succession of parties where he got everyone to talk like pirates. He even got one of the keynote speakers, Norman Spinrad to talk like a pirate. Soon the whole con was talking like pirates. (Note from Day: There was quite a bit of talking like a pirate THIS YEAR too!)
  • He ended his speech quite nicely with something to the effect of “I want to be remembered not just for my professional work. But also for the time I got a whole con to talk like a pirate.”

From his more informal Q&A:

  • When asked why he doesn’t write “easy black and white villains” he had a lot of good stuff to say. “as a kid i was fed this narrative of good and evil. From all entertainment. Cowboys, comic books, even Tolkien.” But in all these he had a problem with the “externality of evil. Like ugly villains that wore all black.” Like in Vietnam, there are layers and layers of complexity. Not just bad guys and good guys but all these historical groups and complicated factors like colonialism. He didn’t like how some of the blue collar people were taking a very black and white approach of “getting those commies” without thinking critically. But he also didn’t like how the anti war movement was so black and white as well and thought everyone over there were baby killers. The soldiers made the best of the situation they had. “anytime you have more than two people in a group, it becomes very dangerous to generalize.” And in researching Vietnam, some people were “heroic on Tuesday and horrible on Wednesday.” Even in Henry the fifth, a normally great king also kills a bunch of unarmed prisoners. GRRM said that he really wanted to show the complexity of the human condition.

Balticon 50 Banner with dark swordsman and white wolf with bsfs logo

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Video Saturday: Tips for Reading Fiction from Mary Robinette Kowal

At Balticon this year I had my first reading.  Yay!  At Balticon this year I had my first reading.  Eeeep! <insert other sounds of fear>  I’ve bought books based on people’s reading.  I know how they can excite readers, and motivate potential readers.  It is an opportunity to put yourself and your work forward.  Which basically in my head translated to:  “Don’t muck this up.”

In the end, I did all right.  Not perfect, but good enough that afterwards I did not collapse, run for cover, or swear I’d never read again.  In fact, a couple of people liked my reading so much, they asked where to find the story I’d read.  <insert appropriate squee noises here>

However, for today’s Video Saturday I found something that would have definitely helped.  Hugo-award winning novelist and professional puppeteer, Mary Robinette Kowal, has a couple of fantastic and simple YouTube videos where she provides tips for reading fiction out loud.  And as she says in the video, she used to do competitive reading. (I never even knew it was a sport!)  🙂

This is a two-part video but because there is SO MUCH COOLNESS, I didn’t want to put them both out this week. Of course, for you smarties out there, here’s a link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GT9NbaogoE


Balticon 44

Balticon 44. This will be my 5th Balticon. I fell in love that first time five years ago. Their guest presenter was Neil Gaiman so I had to attend. It has been a great event for me every year. Partly because of the sessions and discussions with authors and agents and publishers, but mostly because of the “vibe.” That sounds so ephemeral, but it is the truth. Every year, I return home reinvigorated and ready to write.

This year, the guest of honor is Tanya Huff. I remember falling in love with the Blood Price novel and then really enjoying the Blood Ties television series when it came out. In no small part, having the heroine be a character with a disability was to me personally interesting. You can find out more about what is going on this weekend at: http://www.balticon.org

I hope to add more updates as the weekend continues.

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