cons


I’ll be reading with Broad Universe at WorldCon, Sunday at 10am in 007B (Convention Center).  I plan to read from “Ondine’s Curse,” which will appear in an upcoming issue of Electric Velocipede.  Come by and say hi!

The WisCON panel description:

Who gets your ebooks when you die? Your Twitter feed? The baby book that mostly exists on LJ? Do you have an estate plan for all these intangible but valuable assets? When you go, do you want your pages taken down or kept up for all time? Who do you trust to preserve or annihilate your online presence? The legal status of digital media is still a little fuzzy. With more of us and our parents moving that direction, we should think about this not just for ourselves, but our elders. What is the digital equivalent of inheriting grandad’s books, or is it even possible now? Join the discussion on legacies, files, and virtual tombstones.

Yeah, I was on that 8am panel.  ;)  With another sysadmin, mind you!  The two sysadmins had two basic approaches to the topic:

  • Love your data.  Cuddle your data.  Back up your data.
  • Embrace bit rot.  All things die, including your data.  Don’t get attached to data, because Buddha says attachment leads to suffering.

I’ll open with my final comment, which is that this is not for you.  It’s a form of consideration for your survivors, and they’ll decide what’s valuable or not in the end.

What if your family is hostile, and doesn’t see the value in what you consider valuable?  Well, if you disagree strenuously, make your works public domain and put them online.  I put a lot of family photos on Flickr, Creative Commons Attributions No Derivatives so my family could download any of them without contortions.  I also had a friend at one point who died, and her mother found out she wrote fan fiction with same-sex romances in it, and her mother embraced that as part of who her daughter was.  (The moderator suggested that “I love my dead slash-writing daughter!” was a whole other possible panel topic.)  That could have gone in a completely different direction, though.

Frankly, I’m not really that concerned about my ebooks, movies, music, etc.  I’m more concerned about my facebook/twitter/personal websites, particularly the obituary sites I put up for my parents.  So my greatest concern with that is the technical know-how associated with maintaining them.  I’d rather they be left up, though, because I had another friend who was sick but didn’t intend to die, and she pre-scheduled a lot of WordPress posts that were tied to her Twitter and Facebook, and those started rolling in after she died.  “New music!” and a link to her playing.  Our first reaction was, “Wahhhhh,” but after a couple of months it was kind of nice.

On the opposite end, I have another friend who has an arrangement with a buddy that if he dies, the buddy will come in and wipe his hard drive so his Mom won’t find his porn or nekkid pictures.

Don’t count on encryption.  Even the best encryption standards get broken over time, so it’ll just make your hard drive a puzzle.  Then it turns out to be a case of whether or not someone thinks the drive is worth the effort.  (“Oh, it’s porn.  2D, how quaint!”)  Do think about the portability of your data (plain text, or HTML, which is plain text with a little markup that can be easily stripped out).

Obituary sites:  I wrote my Mom’s site because someone quoted my sister some exorbitant sum for an obituary online for some limited amount of time, and I said, “Bah, I’ll put it up on my own site.”  So I did, and it remains, and at least one friend of hers found out she was dead by googling her.  My father’s site… well.  My stepmother is not a native English speaker and was really upset, so the funeral home wrote the obituary and it didn’t mention that he had children.  My site for him outranks that other obituary in google–SEO REPRESENT.  However, antispam and upgrading the software is a thing, and does require technical know-how.  You might want a digital executor to be in charge of things like that.  In particular, the spambots will find the site and post 5000 links to “Buy Viagra!” if you let them, and that’ll feel like someone spraypainting on their headstones.  So be prepared.

Last but not least, I’ll reiterate that it’s not really about you.  If you believe in an afterlife, you’ll be in heaven and won’t be too concerned about your Facebook.  If you don’t, you won’t exist and won’t care about your Facebook.  It’s about being considerate to your survivors.

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  1. I’ll be reading at the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading at Dragoncon on Sunday, September 2, at 5:30pm in Greenbriar.
  2. Woe, my current story is 23,000+ words long and conflict-poor.  It needs some serious, serious editing.  But I was not writing at $previous_job, so this is an improvement.  Right?
  3. I’m running 3-4 days a week and about to start running outside.  I’m also in the market for a 5K, if you know of one.

High Points:

  1. Haiku Earring party: Every year Elise Matheson throws a party where you pick a pair of earrings you like, she gives you a prompt, and if she likes the haiku you write in response she gives you the earrings. My prompt was, “What Faeries Did in the Renaissance”:

    Keep your iron, your steel.
    Your art, your plays, your poems.
    We’ll take your children.

    New earrings: awesome.

  2. I was tragically forced to shop. *back of hand to head*
  3. My reading went well. :)
  4. The GenderFloomp Party: You’re encouraged to do something to mess with your gender presentation. There were a lot of women in suits and men in lumberjack boots and red satin negligees. They were one of the two best dance parties. We floomped until we dropped.
  5. Seeing awesome people I only see in person at WisCon!

My cats missed me.

I’ll be reading at WisCON again this year!

May 26, 1pm, Conference 2, Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin.

A chance to meet the writers and hear the work of some of the most exciting new talent in our genres. The readers of Broad Universe will drop you into their fictional universes with dynamic readings. You will need warp drive because within the session you will hear from ten writers who will transubstantiate you from the subgenres of space opera, speculative fiction, alternative history, steampunk, fantasy, intergalactic romance and generation starship to new mythologies and the paranormal. Come prepared to lengthen your To-Read-Immediately list.

Moderator: Karon Crow Rilling. Kimberley Long-Ewing, Karon Crow Rilling, Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, Ada Milenkovic Brown, Gwynne Garfinkle, Deirdre M. Murphy, Michelle Murrain, Larissa N. Niec, Katherine Mankiller, Phoebe Wray

Let me show you it:
May 27, 2011
4:00 PM – Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Conference 2, Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin
Members of Broad Universe, an international organization dedicated to promoting and celebrating women in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and everything in between, will present snippets of available and on-going work. Expect the touching and irreverent, humorous and frightening, action-packed and emotional, poems and prose, and at least a few surprises! Additional readers: Katherine Mankiller, Kimberly Long-Ewing, Deidre Murphy, S A Bolich
May 28, 2011
2:30 PM – The Future’s Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed
Room 634, Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin
Many SF books presuppose dramatic technologically-led transformation for the human race. But even in a high-tech society, not everyone can or will adopt technology at the same rate. Will developing countries leapfrog the industrialized world and go right to the newer technologies, as several countries did with cell phones? What will happen to the late adopters when the singularity comes?
May 29, 2011
4:00 PM – Where Is the Indigenous American Fantasy?
Wisconsin, Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin
Why is American fantasy so Eurocentric? If you believe our fantasists, American cities are populated with imported Romanian vampires, Russian werewolves, Celtic faeries, Nordic gods, Germanic witches, and the (very) occasional African god or Arabic djinn, but scarcely a homegrown magical being to be found. In fact, indigenous magical beings abound in the Americas and their stories of magic, wonder and horror are widely told by spoken and written word. North American mythology is rich with magical beings. Do these stories get adequate air time? Is it easier to imagine an Old World teeming with supernatural beings than to visualize a North America enchanted with indigenous mythical beings? Is it difficult to believe that we live in a naturally magical place? And if we did, what would it look like?

I’ll be reading at Dragoncon tomorrow and Saturday with Broad Universe. Friday 4pm, International C, and Saturday, 11:30am, Greenbriar.
I know, short notice. It’s been a long summer.

I didn’t write much last year, and the reason why is that I was constructing a different kind of narrative. My mother died unexpectedly last year while I was at WisCon, and finding a way to tell yourself the story in a way that makes sense is an important part of grief. Unfortunately, the whole thing was so sudden and unexpected, and so followed by the near death of my father and the death of my friend who was my primary support during this time that I feel like I need to instead retell the story of who I am.
I have, however, learned a lot of things about how much of what I think of as myself is a construct. Having the ground yanked away from under your feet will do that to you.
I’ve also learned that I have a deep psychological need to write, even if it’s just a sentence a night. I think that part of the that is that I like fiction better than life because fiction makes sense. Life seldom does. Life tells the truth, but it’s a dry, factual truth. Fiction tells you the truth in a way that won’t hurt you.
It’s almost the spring equinox, and I am Persephone, returning from the dead. Only it’s a sort of reversed version of the story, with Demeter in the earth, and my return is leaving her behind. And the ground opened up beneath me last spring. And I’m not quite back yet.
But I will be.
Flowers for Mom

I’ll be reading with the Broad Universe group at Dragoncon!
The Lit Track Reading is on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 7:30 PM; Fairlee – Hyatt Regency Hotel
The Alternate History Track Reading is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 11:30AM; Piedmont – Hyatt Regency Hotel

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