I’ll be attending Readercon next weekend in Quincy, Massachusetts. Here’s my schedule. Three panels and a reading! Hope to see you there.
I’ll be attending Lunacon in Tarrytown, NY on April 8-9th. I’ll be on the following panels/readings:
“Writing the empathic character”, Hudson Writing Sat 1:00 PM
If you’re enclosed in the bubble of your own life, can you imagine the lives of others?” How do you write an empathetic human or alien? Is it ethical to force empathy? What is the opposite of an empathic character?
“Writing Social Change in SF” Hudson Writing Sat 2:00 PM
This panel explores how speculative fiction can present the social, environmental and political challenges of our society. What is the best way to discuss these challenges without alienating readers? Is it our responsibility as artists to incorporate these issues in our work, whether overtly or covertly? How can we avoid prejudices and stereotypes in our work?
Are You Lost In the World Like Me? Grand Ballroom A Media Sat 5:00 PM
After a showing of “Are You Lost in the World Like Me” of Animation by Steve Cutts (music by Moby and the Pacific Void Choir), we discuss today’s cyberpunk-like dystopia and where we are headed in the future. Moby says “These systems are failing.”
Reading: Matthew Kressel Dutchess Reading Sun 11:00 AM
Reading: Matthew Kressel (of Altered Fluid writer’s group)
I’m excited to be participating in a panel called “From T-1000 to Hal 9000: How Realistic Are Sci-Fi’s Robots?” at the 10th annual BRITE Conference held at the Columbia Business School. The panel will be held on March 6th from 11:10am-12:00pm. The official panelists are: Dan Abella, Director of the New York Sci-fi Film Festival and Philip K. Dick Film Festival, Matt Kressel (yours truly), Nebula-award nominated sci-fi author, Peter Asaro, PhD and Assistant Professor at the New School, and Mike Massimino, former NASA astronaut. The panel will be moderated by Christopher Mahon.
From T-1000 to Hal 9000: How Realistic Are Sci-Fi’s Robots?
Sentient robots have been a classic science fiction trope for decades, and with the popularity of works like Her, Ex Machina, and Westworld, they’re not going away anytime soon. In this panel, artificial intelligence and pop culture experts discuss famous depictions of sentient AI and their respective levels of scientific plausibility. Is Samantha from Her the logical extension of Siri and Google Home? Do we need to preemptively afford artificially intelligent robots “human” rights in order to avoid the enslavement of sentient beings? If we ever build a robot that can approximate emotion like Hal 9000 or Ava from Ex Machina, would we ever be sure that they are *feeling* emotion rather than simulating it? Join us for a discussion of all of the most fascinating questions (and most entertaining pieces of fiction) about the burgeoning growth of artificial intelligence.
ABOUT THE BRITE CONFERENCE:
Now in its 10th year, BRITE ’17 (March 6-7, Columbia Business School, NYC) will bring together 500-600 executives, entrepreneurs, academics, and students to discuss the future of business, technology, media, and society. Participants at BRITE come to learn about how innovative ideas are changing society and the ways that brands are built and maintained. Current confirmed speakers for BRITE ’17 include: Maryam Banikarim (CMO, Hyatt), Dana Anderson (CMO, Mondelez), Jonathan Becher (CDO, SAP), Raj Subramaniam (EVP, FedEx), Andrew Kassoy (Co-Founder, B Lab) and Chris Welty (Senior Researcher, Google).
I’ll be at the Arisia convention in Boston this weekend. It’s a great convention, and I’m looking forward to it! Here’s my schedule. Hope to see you there!
Story Architecture: How to Plot Your Story
Marina 3, Writing, Sat 5:30 PM
Deborah Kaminski (m), Michael Carr, Felicitas Ivey, Matthew Kressel, Suzanne Palmer
“A well-crafted story resembles a suspension bridge. How much backstory do you need at the beginning? How quick should you get to the inciting incident? What the heck is a midpoint? What milestones should you plot before you write a single word? And how do you get to your ‘all is lost’ moment without losing track of why the heck you started writing in the first place? Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, creating a roadmap will help your protagonist get to their destination.”
How to Self-Edit That Steaming Hot Pile of Crap
Adams, Writing, Sun 10:00 AM
Trisha Wooldridge (m), Jacqui B., Alexander Jablokov, Matthew Kressel, Ken Schneyer
“Have you ever gone back to edit your story, only to ask “Who wrote this $#!t?” Can you fix it? Where do you start? Our experts will teach you how to identify which elements you wish to save, how to spot plotting and pacing issues, why adverbs are so bad, and what tools are available to make self-editing easier. Bring a butcher knife…it’s time to conduct surgery on your baby…”
Is Optimism Just Nostalgia in Disguise?
Marina 2, Literature, Sun 11:30 AM
Andrea Hairston (m), MJ Cunniff, Matthew Kressel, Nalin Ratnayake, T.X. Watson
Description We are hearing, after a long sojourn in dystopia and postapocalypse, that optimistic SF is making a comeback. Is it really the case or is the optimism of yesterday just another type of nostalgia? When climate change, postantibiotic medicine, and resource depletion are major factors in our lives (topics that are not always as well addressed in optimistic SF), is there a way to temper our optimism and inspire those who might be able to face these problems?
I’m coming up for air after finishing a large literary project and will (hopefully) have time to blog a little more again. During these past two weekends, I attended two conferences. The first was the Queens Book Festival, held at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens. Moderator Jennifer Marie Brissett did a great job herding us, the panelists Steve Vera, Elizabeth Crowens, and myself. The panel was supposed to begin at 11 am, but as this was the first-annual Queens Book Festival there were a few bumps and they didn’t start letting people in until 11:40 or so. But this was a non-issue for moderator Jennifer, who vamped like a pro. We spoke about our geek influences and favorite books, TV shows, and films to a small group until the audience arrived, totaling around 50-60 people. We spoke about where we would like to see the SF field head and took some good questions from the audience. After, I wandered around the many publisher booths and bought a book called Necessary Evil by Kareem Hayes, a fictionalized version of her former life in prison. I haven’t read it yet, but it seems fascinating. Despite the bright sun, I had a great time and would definitely do the festival again.
Here’s a picture courtesy of panelist Elizabeth Crowens:
Then tis past weekend I participated in the Writer’s Digest Conference, held at the Hilton Hotel on 53rd Street & 6th Avenue in Manhattan. Saturday night I signed books with David Mack, well known for his many Star Trek novels, and author Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstor and My Best Friend’s Exorcism. We had a lot of fun just talking geek for a couple of hours as people came to check us out and have books signed. Then, Sunday, I was on a panel called “The Art and Science of Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy.” Moderated by Tor editor Diana Gill, this panel included David Mack, Elizabeth Crowens, Jeff Somers, and Debbie Dadey, and I have to say was one of the most enjoyable panels I’ve ever done. All the panelists had intelligent things to say, Diana Gill did a superb job moderating, and the audience asked excellent questions that kept us all on our toes, in a good way. You could really feel the energy in the room.
Here’s a photo also courtesy of Elizabeth Crowens:
I finished off the conference by listening to Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven, give the closing keynote speech. Despite her great success, her authenticity and humility shone through her speech, and I was definitely impressed by her (and her novel, which is brilliant). All in all, it’s been a busy, but rewarding couple of weeks, and I’m looking forward to showing you all the fiction I’ve been working so hard on soon.
In August I’ll be appearing at the Queens Book Festival and the Writer’s Digest Conference. Hope you can come by to watch the panels, get your book signed, or just to say hi!
Queens Book Festival
Sunday, August 7th, Marquee Stage, 11:00 A.M.
The umbrella genre of speculative fiction, including science fiction and fantasy, has gained a broader popularity over the last decade and has opened the door for authors of various backgrounds to write their own stories more reflective of their worlds. In this panel, authors will discuss their visions for the future of speculative fiction, and how broadening the scope of the genre and engaging with various communities better enriches on the world. Moderated by Jennifer Marie Brissett, with panelists Elizabeth Crowens, Carlos Hernandez, Matthew Kressel, and Steve W Vera.
Writer’s Digest Conference
Saturday, August 13, Mass Autographing Session, 6:30 – 8:00 P.M.
I’ll be here signing books. I’ll also have copies of King of Shards on hand.
Sunday, August 14th, 10:15 – 11:15 A.M., The Art (and Science) of Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writing speculative fiction requires a level of imaginative thinking unmatched by other genres. And yet, it’s not simply a matter of wild creativity. The people, places, environments, political systems, flora and fauna must all adhere to an internal logic, being both fantastic, yet believable at the same time. In this panel, we’ll examine what special considerations are required when writing superior fantastic fiction and how to address those considerations properly, without limiting the power, impact, or pace of your story. (Panelists Elizabeth Bear, Debbie Dadey and Matthew Kressel).
Thanks to Noah Beit-Aharon, the video of our “Bible as Fantasy Literature Panel” from Arisia 2016 is now available for your viewing pleasure. This was a lot of fun so I’m happy it’s now online.
Here’s the description:
“What can we gain from viewing the Bible as fantasy literature, rife with active gods, prophecies, and larger-than-life heroes, and complete with centuries of fanfic from Dante to Milton and onward? How is the Bible treated in fantasy?”
It was a great discussion, so I’m glad it’s now available for rewatching.