art in the age of chaos

August 30, 2017

I’ve been feeling guilty. Many, many writers and artists on social media have been talking about how the current political situation, the fear and uncertainty, has made it difficult to work. Editors and agents are talking about how, across the board, the artists they know are missing deadlines and freezing up. It’s hard to make art when your brain is locked in panic mode.

This hasn’t happened to me. Rather, art has been my refuge. I flee to my work.  It’s the only thing I really have control over right now. I’m fortunate and grateful to have work and deadlines. My work has been a comfort, these last several months. So now I feel lucky twice over, that my art hasn’t left me.

Working on the sequel to Bannerless has been strange in some regards. First, I had more time to work on that than just about any book I’ve written over the last decade. (A whole year between deadlines, what?!) But while writing it, I watched it become more relevant in real time. Bannerless is a more subversive, relevant novel than it was when I wrote it a year ago. In it, I posit a cascading failure for civilization. As more and more infrastructure and support gets knocked out, disasters like storms and epidemics become more difficult to recover from, until recovery is impossible. (For example, imagine Hurricane Harvey happening in conjunction with an epidemic on par with the Spanish flu of 1918. If you’re able to help with storm recovery, please do: here are some links to get you started.) And now we have an administration that has proposed cutting, if not eliminating, so many of the support structures that are specifically designed to help our society survive and recover from disasters.

Bannerless depicts a society where economic strength is measured by whether or not everyone is healthy and taken care of, not by how much profit is accumulated. I’m writing this while facing an administration that is giving the Ferengi a run for their money in terms of sheer, amoral acquisitiveness.

I was aware of Bannerless #2’s relevancy in a way I wasn’t with the first book. And this gave me incentive. Art is relevant. Art is important. Like so many others, I feel so helpless in the face of forces that seem determined to destroy things that are important to me. But I can still write.



sitrep: the return!

August 18, 2017

Turns out last weekend was a pretty good time to be out of the country.

So, I’m back. I spent a day riding an Icelandic horse, I bought a lot of Icelandic yarn, I experienced a Finnish sauna, I ate a bunch of cod in one country and then a bunch of salmon in another, added maybe a dozen birds to my life list including the Atlantic puffin.  I took the fast ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia — so that’s three new countries checked off on one trip! I learned what Finland did during World War II, which it turns out is very complicated. I caught up with a lot of friends, went to the Hugo Losers Party at Steam Helsinki, a steampunk bar. And yes, I lost a Hugo, and had a great time.

Modern communication being what it is and wifi being everywhere, I kept up with the news pretty well, though I might have wished to be a little more cut off.  Strange days indeed, so while I’m still plowing through emails and doing laundry and sorting out the gifts I brought back for people and planning an eclipse viewing roadtrip (yes, I’m gonna do it!), I leave you with this:

Ten Ways To Fight Hate, from the Southern Poverty Law Center.



Worldcon Helsinki!

August 9, 2017

Worldcon Helsinki starts today!

Let’s do this thing! Adventure ho!


Worldcon Schedule

August 7, 2017

This week I’m at the 75th Worldcon in Helsinki. Woooooo!!!

Here’s my official convention schedule:

  • Romance and the Power of the Female Gaze:  Thursday 15:00 – 16:00, 208 (Messukeskus):  Romance novels out-sell science fiction and fantasy novels all over the world. How important is the “female gaze” in SF novels and do the best sellers in SF reflect this?

(I’m looking forward to this, because this is one of those topics where I expect to learn tremendously from my fellow panelists.)

  • DC on Screen Now: Friday 12:00 – 13:00, 102 (Messukeskus): There is a huge divide in the way the DC movies and TV shows work – DC’s superheros tend to work better on a smaller screen. The panelists talk about these, compare, contrast and critique.

(Yes, this panel has ME written all over it. Do I have opinions? Oh yes I do. I’ll be your guy in a chair.)

  • Signing: Carrie Vaughn:  Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Signing area (Messukeskus)

(What it says on the tin. Really looking forward to the chance to chat with people.)

It’s a light schedule, which I’m actually looking forward to because it means more time enjoying the convention. And the Hugo Awards are Friday night! If you see me around, unless it looks like I’m rushing off, I’m usually happy to stop and chat and sign books on the fly.

Worldcon ho!


Monday thoughts!

July 31, 2017

BANNERLESS has been out for three weeks.  Woohoooooo!!!!!

I’ll be working on revising Bannerless #2 (and I think we just about have a title for it!) when I get back from my Helsinki trip.

Which means….It’s time to figure out what I’ll be working on next!  Answer:  I don’t know.  I made a list of novel projects I could possible work on.  These are all ideas I have notes for, if not experimental chapters written and so forth.

What I came up with:  Fifteen. That’s fifteen potential book-length — or in a couple of cases trilogy-length — projects I have living in my brain right now.

This is why I am pretty much constantly distracted.


Wednesday update

July 19, 2017

I’m still, slowly, unwinding and putting my brain back together from my week of A) new book release yay! and B) turning in new new book wah!  It’s taking a long time for my brain to clean itself out, but it’s happening. I’m even able to sort of start getting ready for the next round of travel. And do some relaxing. Finish up knitting projects, that sort of thing. I should probably clean house.

Last night’s event at Barnes and Noble went great! We even had a real Irish Wolfhound attend! So many people and so much fun!

Here’s my long review of Wonder Woman, with a couple of bouts of analysis of what historical settings mean and why it’s been so hard to get a viable superhero movie featuring a woman main character.

My take on the New Doctor announcement. Meh? I know it should be more than that, particularly with the casting of a woman, but I stopped watching Doctor Who regularly a few years ago. I’ve heard this last year, post-Clara, has been quite good, and maybe I’ll try to catch up and watch the new doctor. But I’ve got so much to watch right now. At any rate, I’m happy to see changes in the show and I’m happy that so many people are happy. I like Jodie Whittaker, and if you haven’t seen Attack the Block, which features both her and John Boyega, you totally should. Like, right now.


Just a reminder, Kevin Hearne and I are doing a joint event at the Barnes & Noble in Boulder on Tuesday, July 18. Come visit!