Tag Archives: capclave.2013

5 Things that Make Capclave an Outstanding Science Fiction Convention

The second day1 of Capclave was nearly as fun as the first2. I was a bit more tired on Sunday than I was on Saturday, and not long before my last two panels of the day, I had a energy crash. I made it through and the panels were fun, but boy, was I wiped out! I think that is a sign of a good convention: one that you engage with so much that you leave everything on the field and come away utterly exhausted and in need of sleep. I got sleep last night–more than 8 hours worth, which is a rare thing for me. But I also thought about why Capclave is so much fun year after year and I came up with 5 things that I think makes it a fun, successful convention, at least from my view point.

1. It is (usually) a small, intimate convention

This year, of course, was an exception. I think there were in excess of 800 people attending Capclave this year, almost double what they normally have. And yet, there was still an intimate feel to the convention for the most part. It was not hard to find the people that I wanted to see and talk to. It was not difficult to find the places where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there. Rarely were there lines for anything, the big exception being the autograph lines for George R. R. Martin. But those lines would have been long at any convention, and I think the organizers at Capclave found a way of managing the line the made it efficient for George, as well as the people waiting to get books signed.

I managed to get some business done at the convention, in addition to participating on panels and doing other things, and I find that it is always easier to do this at Capclave than it is at other conventions, simply because of the more intimate feel.

2. It has excellent programming

Capclave always has great programming and this year was no exception. Read through the list of panels to get a flavor for the wide variety of subjects that were covered. Capclave is a literary convention, like Readercon, although I’d say that Capclave is far more relaxed than Readercon. (At least, I feel less pressure on panels at Capclave than I do when I’ve been on panels at Readercon.) The subjects of the panels are accessible and interesting. When I was a newer writer, I thought Capclaves panels and workshops for new writers were extraordinarily helpful. Now that I’ve been publishing stories and articles for a while, I like being on the panels that can help new writers.

The panels I was on yesterday are a good example of the range of things covered in Capclave. I started on a panel on science in science fiction. Later, I was on a panel on “Low Tech Writers” with Howard Waldrop and Michael Swanwick. My last panel of the day was on including stuff from your life in the stories you write. All of the panels were well-attended (the science panel was the best-attended of all my panels, I think, with something like 80 people in the audience–probably because George was speaking right after us).

There were a lot of panels I would have loved to attend, were it not for the fact that I was on a panel at the same time. Kate Baker was on a couple of panels on voice-acting and podcasting. Scott Edleman and others did a panel on name-dropping that looked like a lot of fun. There were panels on specific writers (I moderated a panel on Clifford D. Simak, for instance), panels on alternate histories, panels on military science fiction. There were also writing workshop, and readings going on all day long.

3. It has great Guests of Honor

I mean, come on, George R. R. Martin! But go back and look at past years. John Scalzi, Carrie Vaughn, and Connie Willis, to name a few recent guests. And next year, Capclave will have Paulo Bacigalupi and Holly Black.

Continue reading 5 Things that Make Capclave an Outstanding Science Fiction Convention

  1. You can read about my first day here.
  2. I say “nearly” only because it takes a lot to top the Howard/George/Garnder show from last night.

Capclave 2013, Saturday

I look forward to each October because it means Capclave is just around the corner. Capclave is my local science fiction convention, and it is the annual science fiction convention of the Washington, D.C. area. The convention is generally a small, extremely-well run affair, run by a group of some of the hardest working people you’ll find anywhere.

Capclave is a little bigger than usual this year (well, twice as big at least) because of the author Guest of Honor, a scribbler with the Tolkienesque name of George R. R. Martin. Now, you might be familiar with George from his Game of Thrones series on H.B.O., but George has been part of the science fiction and fandom community since the 1960 and his achievements go far behind Game of Thrones.

The convention started on Friday but I couldn’t make it up here on Friday. I arrived yesterday at about 7:30 am, which gave me and Bud Sparhawk enough time to make sure we were all set for the 90 minute talk on technology we were giving at 9 am was all ready. It was.

My first “panel” was the joint-talk with Bud on “Online Writing Tools” and I think it went over well. We had a 100+ slide presentation and a decent-sized audience for a 9 am panel (I think we had 30 people or so). Good question and answer session, too. For those interested, our entire presentation can be found online as a Google Presentation.

I had a short break after that panel and I made a quick pass through the dealer’s room, where I ran into an editor, who told me that she was buying an article I’d sent her for the magazine. That was a nice was to start the convention!

Next, I dashed off to a panel on Writers and Fandom. Pamela Kinney moderated the panel, which included Hildy Silverman, Catherine Asaro, and Laura Anne Gilman. That was a fun panel because the panelists were basically talking about how we became fans, how we went from being fans to being pros, and how we interact with fans today. Big audience for that one and some good questions from the audience as well.

Right after that, I was part of a panel that I was, by far, the least qualified panelist. The panel was on “Space Wars” and the moderator was Christopher Weuve. On the panel was Chuck Gannon, Ed Lerner, Catherine Asaro, and Jenine Spendlove. When panelists were introducing themselves, they all had some background (technical or otherwise) in combat of various kinds. For example, Jenine is a Marine and a C130 pilot! When it came time for me to introduce myself, I said something like this:

Continue reading Capclave 2013, Saturday

Where You Can Find Me At Capclave This Weekend

I believe this is more or less my official programming schedule for Capclave this weekend. Please note that while I’ll be there all day Saturday and Sunday, I won’t be there on Friday. I should arrive around 7:30 am on Saturday. If you are on the fence about going, I saw go! It’s a lot of fun, they have great programming (as they always do). And the guest of honor is a New York Giants and Jets fan. But I can’t remember his name.

Saturday

  • 9:00 am: Online Writing Tools (Ends at: 10:25 am)
    Panelists: Jamie Todd Rubin (M), Bud Sparhawk
    Bud Sparhawk and Jamie Todd Rubin guide you through the use of some of the most helpful tools available today.
  • 11:00 am: Writers and Fandom (Ends at: 11:55 am)
    Panelists: Catherine AsaroLaura Anne GilmanPamela K. Kinney (M), Jamie Todd RubinHildy Silverman
    Some authors were fans before they wrote, others came to the convention scene after getting their start. How does that affect fan interaction? Does it make a difference in how authors view conventions?
  • 12:00 pm: Space Wars (Ends at: 12:55 pm)
    Panelists: Catherine AsaroEdward M. LernerJamie Todd RubinJanine SpendloveChristopher Weuve (M)
    How would it be waged and why? Why would you want to go to war with a planet that takes 30 years to get to? What books have the best space wars?
  • 4:00 pm: The Worlds of Clifford Simak (Ends at: 4:55 pm)
    Panelists: Jamie Todd Rubin (M), Darrell SchweitzerAlex ShvartsmanMichael Swanwick
    50 years ago Simak won a Hugo for Way Station. He also wrote City and the Hugo and Nebula winning “Grotto of the Dancing Deer.” Yet today, few younger fans have read his work which is available only in the small press and “public domain” compilations. What happened? What makes his stories so timeless? What do you think is his best work and how can it be revived for today’s audiences?

Sunday

  • 10:00 am: Hand Waving or Sci-fantasy? (Ends at: 10:55 am)
    Panelists: David BartellD. Douglas FratzInge HeyerJamie Todd RubinLawrence M. Schoen (M)
    Many classic Science Fiction authors didn’t spend a lot of time describing the technology or science of their futures. Things worked, but if you look more closely, they may not make sense. Today authors still use this technique. Is this a legitimate form of science fiction or lazy writing? Have the standard furniture of sf — the FTL drive and time machine — become so common the author does not need to explain them, just use them for a story? Do all the details and the scientific equations get in the way?
  • 2:00 pm: Low Tech Writers (Ends at: 2:55 pm)
    Panelists: Dina LeacockJamie Todd Rubin (M), Michael SwanwickHoward Waldrop
    Harlan Ellison uses a typewriter, a manual typewriter. Asimov refused to fly. And our special guest Howard Waldrop doesn’t use email. Why might some writers about the future refuse to use technology? How does this influence their fiction? What would happen to society if more people followed their example and opted out?
  • 3:00 pm: Anything You Say May End Up In My Novel (Ends at: 3:55 pm)
    Panelists: Charles E. GannonLaura Anne Gilman (M), Annette KlauseJamie Todd RubinJim Stratton
    How do writers mine their own lives? Are they always on duty, ready to steal what they see and hear? What changes do you make to real life in your fiction (assuming you don’t normally hang out with elves and aliens)?

And those who wish to point out the irony that I am giving a talk on Online Writing Tools and moderating a panel on Low Tech Writers, well, I’ve kind of already noticed that. It should be interesting.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there. If you are looking for me, but can’t find me, give me a shout on Twitter.

My Preliminary Capclave Programming Schedule

The good folks who run Capclave have once again graciously included me in the programming for this year, which is wonderful. Capclave is my local convention and I get to see a lot of local writer/editor/artist/fan friends there. For those who have never heard of Capclave, it is described on its website as follows:

Capclave is a small relaxed literary convention with a program that usually focuses on the short fiction form. Our Guests of Honor and other notable authors, editors, artists, and fans of the short fiction form will explore the creation and enjoyment of short fantasy and science fiction genre stories.

The author guest of honor this year is a rabid New York Jets and Giants fan. He’s also written a few books and edited and co-edited a few more. You may have heard of him. His name is George R. R. Martin.

The convention goes from Friday, October 11 through Sunday, October 13. I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday and here is the programming I’ll be on, if you are interested in stopping by and checking it out:

Saturday, October 12

  • 9:00 – 10:25 am: Online Writing Tools (Jamie Todd Rubin and Bud Sparhawk).  Bud Sparhawk and Jamie Todd Rubin guide you through the use of some of the most helpful tools available today.
  • 11:00 – 11:55 am: Writers and Fandom (Catherine AsaroLaura Anne GilmanBob GreenbergerPamela K. Kinney (M), Jamie Todd RubinHildy Silverman). Some authors were fans before they wrote, others came to the convention scene after getting their start. How does that affect fan interaction? Does it make a difference in how authors view conventions?
  • 12:00 – 12:55 pm: Space Wars (Catherine AsaroEdward M. LernerJamie Todd RubinJanine SpendloveChristopher Weuve (M)). How would it be waged and why? Why would you want to go to war with a planet that takes 30 years to get to? What books have the best space wars?
  • 4:00 – 4:55 pm: The Worlds of Clifford D. Simak (Jamie Todd Rubin (M), Darrell SchweitzerAlex Shvartsman). 50 years ago Simak won a Hugo for Way Station. He also wrote City and the Hugo and Nebula winning “Grotto of the Dancing Deer.” Yet today, few younger fans have read his work which is available only in the small press and “public domain” compilations. What happened? What makes his stories so timeless? What do you think is his best work and how can it be revived for today’s audiences?

Sunday, October 13

  • 10:00 – 10:55 am: Handwaving or Sci-Fantasy. (David BartellD. Douglas FratzInge HeyerJamie Todd RubinLawrence M. Schoen (M)). Many classic Science Fiction authors didn’t spend a lot of time describing the technology or science of their futures. Things worked, but if you look more closely, they may not make sense. Today authors still use this technique. Is this a legitimate form of science fiction or lazy writing? Have the standard furniture of sf — the FTL drive and time machine — become so common the author does not need to explain them, just use them for a story? Do all the details and the scientific equations get in the way?
  • 2:00 – 2:55 pm: Low Tech Writers. (Dina LeacockJamie Todd Rubin (M), Howard Waldrop). Harlan Ellison uses a typewriter, a manual typewriter. Asimov refused to fly. And our special guest Howard Waldrop doesn’t use email. Why might some writers about the future refuse to use technology? How does this influence their fiction? What would happen to society if more people followed their example and opted out?
  • 3:00 – 3:55 pm: Anything You Say May End Up In My Novel (Charles E. GannonLaura Anne Gilman (M), Annette KlauseJamie Todd RubinJim Stratton). How do writers mine their own lives? Are they always on duty, ready to steal what they see and hear? What changes do you make to real life in your fiction (assuming you don’t normally hang out with elves and aliens)?

It is possible that I will also have a reading scheduled. (I was scheduled for a Friday evening reading, but since I won’t be there until Saturday…) If I end up getting one scheduled I’ll let you know.

Capclave is a fun, friendly convention, run by good people and focused on short fiction. If you are in the area and are looking for something fun on the weekend of October 11-13, stop by and say hello.