Blog Archives

Whippets…… In Spaaaaaaaaace!

Whippet puppies!

Whippet puppies!

Congratulations to my mother’s dog Jessie Bell, who over the course of a very long day has had four puppies! (we’re not entirely sure if she’s done — there might be one still left in there, but since Jessie is now taking a break to eat dinner, it’s kind of a Shrodinger’s Puppy kind of situation)

My mother has agreed to let me name them (always the first mistake), so I have chosen to name these puppies in honor of some of the best living writers of sci-fi. (how did I choose this genre? well, in the interests of not being a total puppy naming hog, I chose the speculative genre that my brother and I both have the most overlap of interest in)

At the far left, and the first puppy born (and the one who looks most like Jessie in her coat pattern) is Asaro (named of course for Catherine Asaro, physicist and author of the amazing Saga of the Skolian Empire series). At the far right with the really funny spot pattern is Scalzi (named for John Scalzi, whose Old Man’s War series my brother and I both really love).

In the middle are Tepper (named for the amazing and prolific Sheri S. Tepper, whose books I discovered in graduate school and which utterly blew my mind) and Brin (named for Davin Brin, whose Uplift fantasy series is so beloved by my brother that he very seriously tried to get me to shlep all the books in the series down to WorldCon to get them signed). All puppy genders match their namesakes.

If there does end up being a Puppy #5, then it will be named (regardless of gender!) Reynolds — not for Mal of Firefly, but for Alastair Reynolds, because in my brother’s words about his book Pushing Ice, “Long journeys are the best journeys.” Let’s hope so, Possible Puppy #5! (I had the pleasure of being on a panel with Alastair Reynolds at Worldcon, and he is such an amazingly nice guy that I really hope he will not be INCREDIBLY CREEPED OUT by having Possible Puppy #5 named in his honor. I feel like Scalzi can accept this canine naming tribute in the spirit to which it is offered, and I have no basis to make a guess regarding Asaro, Tepper, and Brin, so I’m going to figure that what they won’t know certainly won’t hurt them).

There will be more photos to come over the next few weeks, but I hope that everyone enjoyed meeting Whippets…… in Spaaaaaace!

January 22 Update: Potential Puppy #5 turns out to be… not. Sorry, Alastair Reynolds! If she ever has another litter, you’ll be Definite Puppy #1!

Here’s a picture of Jessie and her 1-day-old puppies!

Scalzi is having breakfast, Asaro is snuggled in Jessie's front paws, and I'm honestly still having trouble telling Tepper and Brin apart, but they're the puppies bookending everything.

Scalzi is having breakfast, Asaro is snuggled in Jessie’s front paws, and I’m honestly still having trouble telling Tepper and Brin apart, but they’re the puppies bookending everything.

Whippets…… in spaaaaaace!

Advertisements

Back from WorldCon!

WorldCon items

That was a very busy weekend! I was lucky enough to meet a number of writers who I admire, several very lovely and kind fans of Generation V, and quite a few interesting and kind-hearted people who listened to my spiel and professed themselves very interested in checking out Generation V.

My cat gives my business card five lazy blinks of approval. Pretty heady, I know.

My cat gives my business card five lazy blinks of approval. Pretty heady, I know.

Now, as fast as I was handing out my cards and info, people were handing great cards and info back to me. Check out my collection!

WorldCon cards and items

Pretty nice, right? I know I have two of Taylor Anderson’s cards, but that’s because I ran into him twice – once at a party, and once at breakfast. What a great guy, with an absolutely fascinating skillset!

Definitely take a close look at the flier at the bottom – when I was doing my autographing session (which, actually, went very well – a combination of everyone’s love of free books, plus being seated next to the amazing Cat Rambo) I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah, and they told me about their newest project – it’s a Kickstarter for a story-driven RPG that’s set in their Sime~Gen universe! Gamers, particularly the gamer ladies, this one is definitely one to take note of. You can check it out in more detail at
Ambrov X.

I’ll talk about the con (so much fun!) and San Antonio (seriously, San Antonio, what the hell is going on with that river? it looked like Chtulhu’s bathwater!) in a bit more detail later, but for now, I’m going to tell you about something important.

A quest.

A quest that happened when I suggested to my hard sci-fi loving brother that he check out the list of WorldCon attendees to see if there was anyone that he really liked, because I’d be happy to get a book signed for him. Well, it turned out that there were quite a few of my brother’s SF heroes at the con, and we entered into some fairly intense negotiations about exactly how many books I was willing to shlep down for him. (I drew the line at bringing David Brin’s entire Uplift series. Yes, I am heartless)

So my brother managed to narrow it down to his top five picks, which he then mailed to me from San Francisco. Here’s what that stack looked like:

Right now there are books in my brother’s apartment that simply will not even look at him, so disgusted are they that they didn’t make the cut.

Right now there are books in my brother’s apartment that simply will not even look at him, so disgusted are they that they didn’t make the cut.

I packed them into my bag, and took them down. Something to keep in mind – first, I made my brother prioritize them, just in case I had only a chance to get one signed and not another. Then he took it a little further and wrote up a post-it note for each one so that I could read it to the author to explain just why this book was beloved.

Okay, so I set myself up to go – firstly, I didn’t get down to WorldCon until Friday afternoon, which means that the first thing that happened was that I completely missed Joe Haldeman and David Brin’s signings. Nuts. Now, they both had programming later in the con, but the problem there was that I’d scheduled myself pretty tightly for most of the con and I actually didn’t get to go to many panels. (‘cuz I was there to, you know, *work*) And then I couldn’t find Greg Bear anywhere on the programming, and was told that he’d had to cancel at the last minute. Whoops. But that still left Gregory Benford, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Alistair Reynolds. And Alistair Reynolds was actually on my panel, so that seemed very doable!

So, the quest began. (impressive music) I flew down to San Antonio, got to the hotel room, and packed my shoulder bag for the day. Off I went to pick up my badge – and guess who was in front of me at the programming table? DAVID BRIN! And I was all, “FUCK, I left the book back in the room!” (which is probably something that David Brin is not un-used to hearing when people meet him) But he was absolutely lovely, and had a stack of fliers for his new book on him, so he personalized one of those for my brother. And then even let me take a photo with him. Awesome!

And then I realized about forty minutes later that I’d actually had the book in my bag at the time, and I screeched obscenities at myself for about five minutes. Good times! (seriously, the moral of this might be – I kind of suck at this thing) And I really tried, but I never saw David Brin again.

Which, in all honesty, isn’t surprising. I mean, somewhere a deity was just shaking Its head, all, “Seriously, ML? I arrange it so that the very first person you bump into at WorldCon is David Brin, who is your brother’s personal SF hero because of the Uplift series, AND that he’s in a good mood, and you completely fumble the moment? Forget any favors in the future.”

Bummer.

But after that I went the solid route – autographing lines. And I learned a few things – firstly, that autographing lines are actually a good way to meet some pretty neat and nice people. Secondly – there are people who are kind of in the business of getting autographs. There were people with *carts* of books! And lists! (at one point I was at the SFWA table, and after I introduced myself to a very nice woman, she pulled out her list to see if I was on it – it turns out that I was, but only sort of. She’d actually put *Marie* Brennan on her list, because she thought we were the same. This actually turned out to be kind of a theme, so I’ve made an adjustment to my FAQ sheet.)

This is Marie Brennan. I am definitely not Marie Brennan. I love her books, but all we have in common is the fantasy genre, potato-digging forebearers, and one letter of the alphabet.

This is Marie Brennan. I am definitely not Marie Brennan. I love her books, but all we have in common is the fantasy genre, potato-digging forebearers, and one letter of the alphabet.

I also learned that it’s usually kind of important to get to the autographing line a little early. That way you can save some time. But on Friday I was able to get two of my brother’s books signed!

See? That’s Gregory Benford holding my brother’s book post-signature, and that’s David Brin *thinking* about my brother’s book. Or, you know, space. Or cheese.

See? That’s Gregory Benford holding my brother’s book post-signature, and that’s David Brin *thinking* about my brother’s book. Or, you know, space. Or cheese.

Single-author books are a bit easier. That’s Kim Stanley Robinson, who was very nice about me fucking up the first photo and having to re-take.

Single-author books are a bit easier. That’s Kim Stanley Robinson, who was very nice about me fucking up the first photo and having to re-take.

Then on Saturday I went to my panel on writing horror. It was very fun, very sharply moderated, and there were some pretty cool questions from the audience. One interesting thing that came out was that all five of the authors sitting on this panel were completely obsessed with non-fiction accounts of Himalayan mountain climbers – particularly when someone loses fingers or a nose to frostbite and then keeps climbing. Make of that what you will, but to those of you who like getting writing advice? Apparently you should be reading Into Thin Air and watching some documentaries.

Anyway, it was lots of fun, and then at the end Alistair Reynolds was very lovely and signed my brother’s book!

We were getting kicked out of the room so that the next group could come in, but he even took the time to reference the post-it note!

We were getting kicked out of the room so that the next group could come in, but he even took the time to reference the post-it note!

That was basically the end to the quest. However, my brother did have one specific desire to make his nerd life complete, and that was a photo of Benson, Brin, and Bear all together. And I completely delivered.

This might look photo-shopped, but I assure you, all three of these men were standing together! It was just a very complicated room design!

This might look photo-shopped, but I assure you, all three of these men were standing together! It was just a very complicated room design!