What I Read in 2016

  1. THE SANDMAN, VOL. 5: A GAME OF YOU – Neil Gaiman
  2. THE SANDMAN, VOL. 6: FABLES AND REFLECTIONS – Neil Gaiman
  3. THE SANDMAN, VOL. 7: BRIEF LIVES – Neil Gaiman
  4. THE SANDMAN, VOL. 8: WORLDS’ END – Neil Gaiman
  5. THE SANDMAN, VOL. 9: THE KINDLY ONES – Neil Gaiman
  6. THE SANDMAN, VOL. 10: THE WAKE – Neil Gaiman
  7. CANNERY ROW – John Steinbeck
  8. MY FRIEND IS SAD – Mo Willems
  9. ALL MY FRIENDS ARE DEAD – Avery Monsen
  10. GOODNIGHT ALREADY! – Jory John
  11. GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP – Adam Mansbach
  12. 2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson
  13. THE REFERRAL ENGINE: TEACHING YOUR BUSINESS TO MARKET ITSELF – John Jantsch
  14. ASK – THE COUNTERINTUITIVE ONLINE FORMULA TO DISCOVER EXACTLY WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT TO BUY…CREATE A MASS OF RAVING FANS… AND TAKE ANY BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL – Ryan Levesque
  15. ACCEPTANCE – Jeff VanderMeer
  16. TREES, VOL. 1: IN SHADOW – Warren Ellis
  17. THE FOREVER WAR – Joe Haldeman
  18. HOOKED: HOW TO BUILD HABIT-FORMING PRODUCTS – Nir Eyal
  19. LISTEN, LIBERAL: OR, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE PARTY OF THE PEOPLE – Thomas Frank
  20. THE SHADOW RISING – Robert Jordan
  21. THE INEVITABLE: UNDERSTANDING THE 12 TECHNOLOGICAL FORCES THAT WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE – Kevin Kelly
  22. LOST CAT – Jason
  23. HELL HOUSE – Richard Matheson
  24. ORYX AND CRAKE – Margaret Atwood
  25. FOUNDATION – Isaac Asimov
  26. FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE – Isaac Asimov
  27. INDEPENDENT PEOPLE – Halldór Laxness
  28. THE GIVER – Lois Lowry
  29. THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION – Samuel R. Delany
  30. DARK MONEY: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE BILLIONAIRS BEHIND THE RISE OF THE RADICAL RIGHT – Jane Mayer
  31. SECOND FOUNDATION – Isaac Asimov
  32. JOHNNY THE HOMICIDAL MANIAC: DIRECTOR’S CUT – Jhonen Vásquez
  33. HOW TO WRITE COPY THAT SELLS: THE STEP-BY-STEP SYSTEM FOR MORE SALES, TO MORE CUSTOMERS, MORE OFTEN – Ray Edwards
  34. A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA – Ursula K. Le Guin
  35. THE TOMBS OF ATUAN – Ursula K. Le Guin
  36. THE 1-PAGE MARKETING PLAN: GET NEW CUSTOMERS, MAKE MORE MONEY, AND STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD – Allan Dib

Back from Iceland

I don’t have any words to describe the beauty of Iceland. Beautiful, amazing, spectacular, awesome and all their synonyms don’t quite cut it. “Otherworldly” is the closest I can get, I think.

10 days wasn’t enough to take it all in, not when you need to pull the car over every five minutes to look at something incredible that’s completely different from what you pulled over to look at the last time. The variety of landscapes on that tiny island is staggering.

With its volcanoes and glaciers, it’s truly the land of ice and fire and it’s no wonder that Icelanders have so many sagas and that so many fantasy authors and filmmakers have drawn inspiration from this place.

Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien’s “nanny” was Icelandic and told the young man all about Iceland and its sagas? Did you know that Gandalf is a dwarf in Norse mythology?

Balticon 50 Recap

I’m always terribly sad when Balticon is over. Those four days during Memorial Day weekend are a welcome break from work, the blues of the news and the nastiness of this election cycle, and the grimness of life in general.

For those four days, it’s nothing but good feelings. It’s non-stop science fiction and fantasy. It’s a chance to meet cool people and geek out over stuff you’d dare never bring up in your day-to-day life. This is a place where you can attend presentations about dinosaurs and Pluto by paleontologists and scientists who actually work on the New Horizons probe. It’s a place where you can have drunken late night conversations with philosophy professors and bioethicists about your favorite Doctor. A place where you can see science fiction grand master Larry Niven walking the hallways in the middle of the night on his way to a filk concert. A place where you’ll be forced to get up in front of a crowded room and read from “The Eye of Argon” until you mess up and are cheered for messing up. A place where you can attend a live podcast where two people wearing luchador masks engage in a rap battle to determine the fate of earth.

In other words, it’s a magical place.

This was the fourth year I’d gone and every year has been better than the last. This year was particularly insane with the Guest of Honor George R.R. Martin who is, despite all of the fame and acclaim, a very down-to-earth, nice and generous man, and a true fan. Every talk he gave was full of tweetable nuggets of wisdom mixed with interesting stories from his life, from the inspirational role comics played in his early and impoverished life to the memories of attending past Balticons as a fan.

He had nothing but nice things to say about Balticon and he made a very good distinction between fan-run, all-volunteer conventions like Balticon and for-profit conventions that mostly feature actors – you purchase a “membership” to Balticon and you purchase a “ticket” to these other conventions. It’s fandom versus profit and it’s a big part of what makes Balticon special.

Other cool stuff:

  • Connie Willis, one of the most awarded science fiction and fantasy writers of all time, dropping some serious knowledge on the craft of writing at an 8am panel.
  • Writer and all around hero Kim Stanley Robinson signing my copy of 2312 and giving good advice and encouragement to a new writer.
  • The volunteers who run the ship. They’re amazing!

ksr-2312 signed asoiaf meeting-grrm