GIFCon 2018 schedule

Next Thursday 26th and Friday 27th April, we’ll be running our second annual Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations event, GIFCon 2018. Keynote speakers include acclaimed celtic studies and children’s literature scholar Dr Dimitra Fimi, author of the Children of the Damned series, Arianne “Tex” Thompson, SF and metafictions scholar Dr Will Slocombe, and Victorian Studies Professor Dr Alice Jenkins — plus we have creative writing workshops, and more than 50 papers across two days. It’s been a lot of hard work for the committee over the last few months, but we’re really looking forward to bringing this wonderful programme to you!

Aside from running about getting content for our social media updates, I’ll also be giving a paper and running a creative writing workshop.

Here’s where you can find me at GIFCon 2018:

Friday 27 April 2018

8:30am – 10:00am (University Gardens 4, room 202)
Workshop 1: Discovering New Worlds Through WritingOliver Langmead and Ruth EJ Booth

If you missed our workshop at Edinburgh International Science Festival, Oliver Langmead and I will be presenting a special Fantasy version at this year’s GIFCon. Bring pens, paper, and a good whack of imagination, as we explore worlds beyond the portal.

10:15am – 11:30am (University Gardens 5, room 101)
Panel 11: Escape in Japan Hannah Greenblott, Miguel Cesar, Ruth Booth
[…]
3) Ruth Booth: Growing-up in the Time of No-Face: Escapism, Illusion, and Identity in Spirited Away.

In this paper, I’ll be examining how Spirited Away confounds the division between fantasy and reality in children’s narratives through its use of magic, identity, and the consequences of actions. Join me for an exploration of escapism in one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films!

For details of the rest of the programme, head to https://gifcon.org/programme-2018/.

GIFCon 2018 is now sold out, but you can join the waiting list by clicking here.

Eastercon 2018: Follycon schedule – UPDATED

The official programme for Follycon is now up! Here’s where you can find me over 30th March – 2nd April.

SATURDAY
4:00pm – Posters Exhibiton (Half Moon Room)
Ruth EJ Booth

Follycon is holding a poster exhibition across the event, including my poster ‘Mapping the Way: Taoism and Landscape in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet’. If you’ve got any questions about the poster, this is the first of my two half-hour sessions where I’ll be available for chat.

7:00pm – BSFA Awards Ceremony (Dining Room)
Nnedi Okorafor, Kieron Gillen, Christina Lake, Kim Standley Robinson, Claire Boothby, Dave Lally, Ruth EJ Booth (MC), Niall Harrison, Rosie Oliver

I’ll be MC for this year’s BSFA Awards ceremony – and, as it’s the 60th anniversary of the awards, this one’s bound to be a bit special. Do join us, if only to see if I managed to find summat proper to wear. In the meantime, if you want your say in this year’s vote, please note that advance online and postal voting for BSFA members is open until 26th March, while Follycon attendees (BSFA members and non-members) can vote at the convention until 12 noon on Saturday 31st March.

SUNDAY
4:00pm – Posters Exhibiton (Half Moon Room)
Ruth EJ Booth

If you’ve got any questions about my poster, ‘Mapping the Way: Taoism and Landscape in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet’, this is the second of the two half-hour sessions where I’ll be available for chat.

MONDAY
2:00pm – Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin (Dining Room)
Edward James (M), Nnedi Okorafor, Patrice Sarath, Ruth EJ Booth, Sarah Ash, Matthew Colborn

If you’re still about, come join us for a celebration of the life and works of the late, great Ursula K. Le Guin. Looking at the line-up for this panel, it’s bound to be an interesting and insightful hour’s chat.

ALL WEEKEND

As previously mentioned, Follycon is holding a poster exhibition across the event in the Half Moon Room , and this will include my poster ‘Mapping the Way: Taoism and Landscape in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet’. It’s based on work I completed as part of my MLitt in Fantasy, and this poster was last displayed in August at Worldcon 75 in Finland. So, if you missed it then, now’s your chance to see it!

You can click here for my main schedule in Grenadine. Outside of these times, I’ll likely be in the bar, if you’d like to say hi. Hope to see you there!

New Column in Shoreline of Infinity’s International Women’s Day issue

Shoreline of Infinity has put together a special International Women’s Day edition for Issue 11. Dedicated to Ursula K. Le Guin, this edition contains brilliant stories from the likes of Aliette de Bodard and Katy Lennon (you can hear her read this wonderful story here), non-fic from Jonatha Kottler and SJ MCGeachy, and much, much more! Click here for the full line-up.

Alongside these excellent stories, articles and poetry, you’ll find Beyond the Mountains, the latest installment of my Noise and Sparks column. Written shortly before the passing of Ursula K. Le Guin, this essay explores a quote from her 1986 Bryn Mawr College commencement address, in light of Wonder Woman and the portrayal of women in mainstream genre.

If you’d like to pick up a copy, head to www.shorelineofinfinity.com.

March/April ’18: BFS Open Night, Edinburgh International Science Festival, FGTS 40 Launch and more!

Readings, a workshop and more – here are my official plans for March and April.

March 15th – BFS Open Night (Waterstones Argyle Street, 6:30pm)

My next reading will be part of the British Fantasy Society’s Glasgow Open Night on 15th March. Joining host Shona Kinsella (Ashael Rising, Mirnya’s Oath), Neil Williamson (The Moon King, Secret Language), and I (other stuff) will be R. J. Barker, author of Age of Assassins, and we’ll all be reading and chatting about fantastic things for your entertainment. The night kicks off at 6:30pm on 15th March at Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow. For more details, see the Waterstones event page or Facebook event page.

If you can’t make this, I’ll also be doing a warm-up reading as part of the MLitt in Fantasy Reading Party on 7th March at DRAM! If you’re interested in attending this, please let me know and I’ll pass on the details.

March 30th – April 1st – Eastercon: Follycon (Harrogate)

More on this soon! Click here for details of my full schedule!

April 5th – From Glasgow to Saturn: Issue 40 Launch (The Raven, 6pm)

From Glasgow to Saturn will be holding a launch party for issue 40 at The Raven in Glasgow on 5th April. We’ll be hosting readings from some of this issue’s authors and poets, plus music, an open mic, and the infamous FGTS raffle. This is the first issue for which I’ve been an editor, so I’d love to see you there.

Update: Click here for the facebook event page!

April 7th – Workshop at Edinburgh International Science Festival (Summerhall, 2pm)

Edinburgh area writers, I’ll be joining Oliver Langmead (Dark Star, Metronome) for ‘Discovering New Worlds Through Writing: A Creative Writing Workshop’ as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival on 7th April. We’ll be taking you through exercises on exploring the galaxy, new worlds, and what it takes to get there – and this will be the first workshop I’ve given! Be warned this event will be limited availability, so best pick your ticket up sooner rather than later. The workshop runs from 2pm – 4pm on 7th April at the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Summerhall. Click here to buy tickets.

April 26th – 27th – GIFCon 2018 (University of Glasgow)

Finally, GIFCon 2018 takes place over 26th – 27th April at the University of Glasgow. If you’ve submitted an abstract to the event, you should be hearing from us soon, but in the meantime, please keep an eye on our twitter, facebook, and instagram accounts, and on our website for announcements of details of how to register.

Hope to see you at one of these!

In the meantime, Shoreline of Infinity have uploaded video footage from February’s Event Horizon — where Hal Duncan, Neil Williamson and I staged a GSFWC invasion — to their facebook page. You’ll find us starting at about 1 hour 13 minutes in.

Event Horizon February 2018 and The Anniversary Reviewed

2018 already has a bunch of events in the works, and the first is in Edinburgh on Thursday 8th February.

Event Horizon will feature a showcase of writers from the GSFWC, including magnificent speculative and slipstream author Hal Duncan, the masterful “Laureate of Loss” Neil Williamson and, well, me. It’ll be another splendid night from the folks at Shoreline of Infinity, and you can find the full line-up in the image below – or by clicking here. The night kicks off at 7:30pm on Thursday 8th February at Frankenstein Edinburgh.

In the meantime, my Horror flash piece ‘The Anniversary’ has had some very kind comments as part of reviews of Black Static 61. So, if you need a little incentive to come out to Edinburgh next month, here are a few of them so far:

TANGENT ONLINE
“Beautifully written, it is elegant, timeless, and deeply painful in all its tragedy… It is the high note within this issue.”
https://www.tangentonline.com/print–bi-monthly-reviewsmenu-260/219-black-static/3703-black-static-61-novemberdecember-2017

GRIM READER REVIEWS
“A work of poetic yet ugly storytelling and one that will stay with you for some time after.”
https://beavisthebookhead.com/2017/12/10/magazine-review-black-static-61/

And possibly the most poetic review I’ve ever had:

DES LEWIS’ GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS
“A tantalising pearl of fiction as love’s requital – a pearl to scry, to smile or to gurn?”
https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/black-static-61/#comments

Thank you to Seraph, Adrian, and Des for your kind comments.

So, see you in Edinburgh next month, then?

2017 in Review

There’s only hours left until the end of the year, so since it’s the season here’s a look back on my year in genre.

This year’s been rather quiet in terms of new stories. THE ANNIVERSARY was my first sale to Black Static, and appeared swiftly afterwards in Issue 61, which was a delightful surprise for the end of the year. Also, turns out flash fiction is eligible for all the awards, as far as I can work out, so if you read it and think it’s worth a nomination, please do so.

In reprints, GOOD BOY also made its first appearance in audio format on Pseudopod‘s Flash on the Borderlands XXXVIII: Letting Go episode. THE HONEY TRAP was also reprinted for the first time in the Edinburgh International Book Festival Special Issue of Shoreline of Infinity 8 1/2. I also made my first translation sale in Chinese of this story, which should be appearing in the new year. More on that soon, I hope.

I’m still writing the Noise and Sparks column for SF journal Shoreline of Infinity, which is also eligible for Non-fiction awards, if you reckon it’s worth a nomination. ‘The Legend of the Kick-Arse Wise Women’ (Issue 8), about the relationship between age, experience, and imposter syndrome, seemed to resonate with a lot of folks, so thank you for your kind responses. My favourite is still ‘The Company of Bears’, from the current issue (10), but party because this year I fell in love with the fact that there are real cosplay Faerie Markets over in the US, a discovery I made with the paper given by Georgia Natishan at this year’s GIFCon – and, in a way, isn’t that what all cons kind of are?

Most of my New Things this year have been in non-fiction. I helped organize my first symposium, in 2017’s inaugural GIFCon event, with keynote speakers Julie Bertagna, Phil Harris, Stefan Ekman, Robert Maslen, and Maureen Farrell. I also presented my first paper there, on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and superhero modes of adaptation and revision, and I gave my first academic poster at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, on Taoist Landscape and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea sequence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worldcon was my only con of 2017, but it was grand to get another chance to attend one of these in Europe. Once again, I appeared on panels, this time on Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’, and ‘From Literature to Movies and Television – Adaptation of Scifi and Fantasy’ – a pair of great discussions that not only gave us the chance for a bit of role-play, but a chance to catch up with old friends and new (and nerd out in front of Margaret Dunlap, who is currently working on the new Dark Crystal TV series – eeee!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around that time, I was also sitting on the jury for the British Fantasy Society’s Non-fiction Award, my second year out – and a tricky job this time, as anyone else in on the final decision will attest, but thrilling to find these conversations around genre criticism to be so difficult, indicating as they did the high standard of the shortlisted works. I also squeezed in a couple of interviews with authors at various things – Oliver Langmead‘s Glasgow launch for Metronome at Waterstones Argyle Street, and a chat with Laura Lam about Shattered Minds at October’s Event Horizon.

 

 

 

 

The last quarter of the year also bought some firsts: I was the lead for the Creative Writing Station at Night at the Museum: Fantasy Scotland event at the Hunterian Museum in Scotland, in partnership with the MLitt in Fantasy at the University of Glasgow. As the rest of the team will agree, this was an amazing night, and we were thrilled to see people at the event and online responding to our challenges so imaginatively. Huge thanks to my fellow station folks Oliver Langmead, Sarah Tytler, Angie Spoto, Mary-Kate Wagamon and Luc Bateman for their brilliant work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also became an editor for From Glasgow to Saturn, the arts and creative writing journal at the University of Glasgow. We recently sent out the acceptances for our 40th issue of the journal and, come the new year, we start working on readying these submissions for publication in early Spring. I can’t wait to share these wonderful tales with you!

There were also a few personal writing highlights: getting to see Nalo Hopkinson, Malika Booker, Alasdair Gray, and Christopher Priest read in person – and sharing a TOC with Nalo as part of Shoreline of Infinity 8 1/2. I also got to meet Samuel R. Delany, which was not only a delight because of how utterly charming and insightful he is, but because his biographical documentary ‘The Polymath’ helped me work through some personal issues earlier in the year. I also gave cosplay a try for the first time this year, going to Worldcon as The Corinthian from Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman comics, and Night at the Musem as Lottie from Neil Williamson‘s The Moon King. And I had the joy of watching my coursemates graduate from the University of Glasgow, and another friend win her first Hugo Award. So that’s a good year, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 will not only see my first issue of From Glasgow to Saturn as Editor, but also the second outing of GIFCon, for which I’m handling the social media presence (give me a wave sometime on twitter, facebook or instagram). I’ll be giving at least one workshop in the first half of the year in Edinburgh, as well as a brand new reading in Glasgow. Right now, I should be working on my column for the next issue of Shoreline of Infinity, a special issue for International Women’s Day. I’ll be entering the final stretch of my Masters degree in Fantasy next year.

As for what I’ll be doing after that, well I can’t officially say right now, but I hope you’ll stick around to find out.

Shoreline of Infinity 10, GIFCon 2018, and From Glasgow to Saturn

It’s been a while since I committed bloggery, so let’s get down to some housekeeping.

Firstly, huge congratulations to Shoreline of Infinity, who celebrated their milestone 10th issue recently. It’s testament to the hard work and persistence of Noel Chidwick, Russell Jones, Mark Toner and the rest of the team, who not only put out Scotland’s only SF magazine, but run the celebrated Event Horizon night in Edinburgh. Long may it continue!

A new issue also means a brand new column from me. ‘The Company of Bears’ is about… well, it’s there in the title really, but it gathers some thoughts on genre community that I’ve been considering for a while. You can pick up Issue 10 of Shoreline here.

Secondly, in case you’ve missed my tweets, GIFCon, aka Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations, is back again on 26th – 27th April 2018. Our call for papers is out now, and we’ve got a really thought-provoking topic for you – Escaping Escapism in Fantasy and the Fantastic.

If you’re a researcher in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and related genres, you can check out our call at www.gifcon.org – or follow the links from facebook, twitter, and instagram, where I’ll be doing social media. We’re looking forward to receiving your abstracts!

Finally, last week, the editorial team at From Glasgow to Saturn spent a massive 4.5hrs going through 70+ submissions to our upcoming issue 40. At this point, it’s usual to make noises about the quality of what was received and the difficulty of making choices. Speaking from the inside of the process this time, I have to say, it really was pretty damned tough to choose between submissions at points. We only wish we had room for more. If you submitted to this issue, you should have heard back from us by now. If you haven’t, please get in touch asap via fromglasgowtosaturn@glasgow.ac.uk.

The Anniversary in Black Static, From Glasgow to Saturn, and A Night at the Museum: Fantasy Scotland

I’m sure the only reason this looks like so many things is because it’s in a title list… right?

First things first, then.

My horrific new flash fiction story, ‘The Anniversary’, appears in the latest issue of Black Static. It’s my first acceptance from any TTA Press publication, and is set in some quite wonderful black and white artwork (sorry, I’m afraid I don’t know who the artist is).

I was stunned when this piece was accepted – not least because I hadn’t realised Black Static took flash fiction – but also because I thought something quite this dark would be an incredibly difficult sell. ‘The Anniversary’ was one of those stories where you’re not entirely sure where it’s come from, neither are you sure you want to know… Combine that with approaching a magazine at the level of Black Static and, well, talk about self-rejection! I guess it just goes to show it’s worth taking chances with the places you submit to, if there’s any chance your story might be their thing.

Black Static‘s November/December issue will also feature new stories from recent BFA Award winner Georgina Bruce, Ralph Robert Moore, Carly Holmes, Mel Kassel, and the first new short story in ten years from Andrew Humphrey, as well as columns from Gary Couzens and Lynda E. Rucker.

For more details on how to pick up Black Static 61, including how to get it for free, head to the official website here (http://ttapress.com/blackstatic/).

Secondly, I’m chuffed to announce I’m now an Editor for From Glasgow to Saturn, the creative writing magazine from the University of Glasgow. Despite the name, From Glasgow to Saturn publishes a range of genres, as well as poetry, writing, and artwork. If you’re a writer/poet/artist, and an alumnus, student, or staff member of the University of Glasgow, I’d really like to hear from you. So, please either follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or keep an eye on the official website (https://glasgowtosaturn.com/), as we’ll be sending out a call for submissions really soon.

Finally, A Night at the Museum: Fantasy Scotland takes place on 24th November at the Hunterian Museum, run in collaboration with the wonderful MLitt in Fantasy programme at the University of Glasgow. There’ll be stations on Harry Potter, Gothic and Science Fantasy, the Loch Ness Monster, Scottish Comics, and more. There’ll also be live performances, including a specially comissioned piece from Markee de Saw and Bert Finkle.

Along with the splendidly fantastic Angie Spoto and Oliver Langmead, I’ll be manning the Creative Writing station at this year’s event. So why not pop along and get inspired by the Hunterian’s amazing collection? Tickets are available now.

 

Event Horizon with Laura Lam

Here’s a heads up for those of you who can get to Edinburgh next month.

I’ll be chatting with Laura Lam about her brilliant new novel Shattered Minds at the next Event Horizon (11th October) in Edinburgh. The latest in her Pacifica SF series, it’s one of those novels where the words ‘rollercoaster ride’ don’t quite cover how thrilling it really is. And if that’s not enough, Laura will also be reading from the novel. So, if you’ve not picked up a copy yet, why not pop along and hear what you’re missing?

Joining us will be wonderful Orcadian SF poet Harry Giles; artist Stephen Pickering, who’ll be giving us an insight into cover creation; and intriguing dream popsters L-Space. So, it’s sure to be another fine night from the Shoreline of Infinity folk.

Event Horizon kicks off at Banshee Labyrinth (Nidry Street) on Wednesday 11th October at 7:30pm. For more information, head to www.ShorelineOfInfinity.com.

The Honey Trap in the Edinburgh Book Festival edition of Shoreline of Infinity

Now that Worldcon is over, on to the next thing: the Edinburgh International Book Festival is on now, and Shoreline of Infinity have produced a special issue in partnership with the event.

The line-up includes *deep breath* Iain M Banks, Shelly Bryant, Monica Burns, Thomas Clark, Benjamin Dodds, Gary Gibson, Pippa Goldschmidt, Lewis Grassic Gibbon (James Leslie Mitchell), Caroline Grebbell, Nalo Hopkinson, Russell Jones, Katie Gray, Ken MacLeod, Iain Maloney, Ada Palmer, Dee Raspin, Adam Roberts, Marge Simon, Charles Stross, Jo Walton, Andrew J Wilson, Jane Yolen, and Grahaeme Barrasford Young. You’ll also find my BSFA Award-winning story, ‘The Honey Trap’, in there, and I’m thrilled to be in such wonderful company.

You can find it at the Book Festival Bookshop over 12th to 22nd August – or you can pick it up online here.

Shoreline of Infinity are also hosting a special event this Wednesday (16th August) as part of Unbound at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The line-up includes Ken MacLeod, Jane Yolen, Nalo Hopkinson, Jo Walton, Bram E. Gieben, Pippa Goldschmitt, and Markee de Saw & Bert Finkle, so it’s going to be a wonderful night. It’s free, so if you’re about why not join them at The Spiegeltent from 9pm?