May 8th, 2013

robot traveler

Welcome to the 2014-15 SF Writing Workshops!

NOTE: Keep an eye on this post for updates!

Hello, everyone -

Welcome to the Center for the Study of Science Fiction's Summer Workshops! This post should give you all the info you need to be ready for the Workshops; if you need anything more, let me know and I'll add it. Feel free to read older posts here to get an idea of how things have gone in the past. I've posted here so you can easily find this info wherever you are, I can easily update it, and y'all can respond in a single place as opposed to digging around in the Google Groups messages. I've also created Google Groups for the Workshops; if you haven't yet joined yet or the invitation got lost, let me know.

Check-in: Go to Rieger Scholarship Hall, just north of Krehbiel , to check in (a student-worker is supposed to be on hand 24 hours). There you'll get your keycard, key, and internet password IF YOU ASK.

Short Story Workshop: We're fast approaching the May 21 deadline for submitting your three stories or two novellas, so be sure to finish them soon and send them to everyone via our Google Groups site so your fellow workshoppers can begin reading!

Novel Workshop: Kij and y'all should have your chapters and outlines now. Be sure to watch the Google Groups discussions!

Internet Access: This year, the scholarship hall is equipped with WiFi, so you’ll have internet access. Information on login procedures will be provided to you at check-in IF YOU REMEMBER TO ASK. Also, many cafés, bars, coffee shops, some campus locations, and bookstores in Lawrence have free wireless access. Here is a pretty complete listing; go here for another.

Meeting Schedule and Location: We'll meet in the lobby on our new facility, Rieger Scholarship Hall at 1323 Ohio Street at 1:00pm - 5:00pm (sometimes we wrap up a little later, sometimes earlier) each weekday. However, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, Chris McKitterick, and many of the Workshoppers often first lunch together at noon at the KU Memorial Union, just up the hill.

In the evenings, we usually gather in the lobby at 6:00pm and head downtown for dinner and a stroll through the streets; at night, people usually gather in our lobby space to talk, write, watch SF movies, watch thunderstorms... you can be as deeply immersed as you want in either writing, connecting, or both.

If you're staying in the hall, you'll get an access card; if you're a local, we'll either get you an access card or make sure you can get into the hall before 1:00pm.

Our lasts Friday afternoon is the annual "Secrets of Successful Science Fiction" chat with our attending guest authors (and editors, if they're here) as the professional conclusion to the Workshops. That evening is the Campbell Conference Awards Ceremony. Don't forget that CSSF Science Fiction Summer workshoppers get free general admission to the Conference!

Workshop Web Pages: What follows is all kinds of information to help you prepare. You'll also find lots of useful info about travel, restaurants, and so on at these pages:

Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop page here.

Here's our Facebook page.

SF/F/H Novel Workshop page here.

By the way, this year you enjoy some bonuses:

  • Three-time Nebula Award (among others) winner Kij Johnson, who runs the Novel Workshop, will be hanging out to talk writing every evening, having lunch with us most days, and dining downtown with the gang most evenings.

  • Multiple award-winner John Kessel returns to the Workshop for his first visit since his student days at KU! He joins us during the first weekend and will participate throughout Week Two, critiquing each workshopper's final story and revision. {C} He's also staying on-site at the ScholHall for the second week!

  • SF Grand Master James Gunn will not only join the Workshop for the first week, but also for lunch each day and some dinners, as well.

  • In addition to leading all the critique sessions, I'll also be on-hand for lunch, dinner, evening activities, and so forth.

  • And don't forget that this year's CSSF Science Fiction Summer attendees get free admission to the Campbell Conference! You still need to register, of course, and if you want to eat the lovely dinner during the Awards Banquet, that is not covered, but this is a $40-$45 savings!

Phone: Bring a cell phone!

Sheets and linens: You'll need to bring your own long-twin sets as well as blankets, towels, a pillow, and wash clothes; alternately, I have a bunch of sets that I store - they're available on a first-grabbed, first-taken basis (in the 2nd floor hallway). The blanket is for if you get chilled at night; the rooms have their own thermostats, but it's a good idea just in case. Yeah, I know it's summer in Kansas, but just ask some previous years' participants about over-active AC... (though this year, we can control our thermostats). Most years, one or more participants leave behind a set of these supplies, so pretty soon we'll have enough for everyone.

Lunches: You aren't required to buy lunch meal plans this year, though restaurants are nearby, so we usually lunch together at noon (right before the workshops) at the KU Memorial Union in one of the alcoves (look for the "today's events" sheets posted around).

Dinners: We usually do an "around-the-world" restaurant tour of Lawrence. We have a million great eateries in town (see this page, this page, or this page for info about many of them), and the majority of the workshoppers (plus the writers-in-residence) get together every night for dinner. If you prefer to eat more economically, plan to bring your own cooler and/or dorm fridge. I'll supply a small fridge or two for use in the lobby, but that is not always enough. The schol-hall has an ice/water machine, a microwave, and another fridge; we supply a hot-water pot for things like tea, plus a coffee-pot or two. Lawrence also has many supermarkets within a few minutes' drive (or a long walk) from the hall - including a whole-foods place about a mile away - so you can stock up once you get here.

Beverages: I'll bring a couple of dorm fridges you can keep in the lobby area or in designated rooms - and I'll supply a starter supply of a couple 12-packs of soda-pop, tea, and such. The main kitchen area has a large refrigerator, ice machine, and teapots. Beyond that, it's up to you to keep it stocked with your preferred beverages! Also, you're responsible for cleaning up your own dishware (and messes).

Hall Check-in: If you arrive during the daytime, call the number on the door to check in at Rieger (a student-worker is on hand 24 hours). There you'll get your keycard, key, and internet password IF YOU ASK. They'll have your name and room reservation info... except for those who haven't yet sent us that info. Be sure to let Lydia know when you plan to check in so they can have staff on hand. On the evening of Sunday, May 31, we'll have a get-together at about 6:00pm in the lobby of our floor of Rieger Scholarship Hall (also where we'll meet for the Workshops, next door to where we stayed last year), and we'll order pizza or such and have soda and such on hand. I'll probably also invite some local SF writers to hang with us so you can get to know some other "Young Gunns" - Workshop alums.

Plan to stay through the late afternoon or evening of June 16th, because the Center hosts the Campbell Conference right after the Workshops. That Sunday morning, we'll have time to listen to our guest authors (including the Campbell, Lifeboat, and Sturgeon winners, if they can make it) talk about their work, and starting at noon, local fan and Conference administrator Ruth Lichtwardt hosts an informal gathering at her house - everyone's invited. Haven't yet registered? Do it now - it's free for CSSF Science Fiction Summer registrants (except for the Awards dinner)! And if you had been planning to leave early and registered saying so, feel free to change your registration ASAP to reflect staying through Sunday.

Many of the scholarship-hall rooms have a kitchen area with cupboards, sink, and counter tops. There's space for a microwave, too, and there'll be one for the main kitchen area. Beyond that, it's pretty basic. I have several boxes of additional stuff that I store for y'all to use: coffee pot, toaster, ice chest, hangers, some sheets and pillows, etc., plus I'll bring a pile of SF and idea-generation magazines.

Looking for a room-mate? I suggest you write to your Google Group or post here ASAP so you can make proper housing arrangements with Lydia. As of Friday, May 20, it will be too late to make room changes, so if someone decides they’re rooming together, Lydia needs that by noon on Friday.

Entertainment: Lawrence, a college town, is full-up with entertainment. You'll find live bands aplenty (see this page for info), and much more. If people are interested, I'm happy to host movie nights. I'll bring dozens of SF films (and a Blu-Ray/DVD player) to the dorm. Bring your own offbeat favorite movies if you want (a couple of years ago, Jean provided the complete, original Flash Gordon!). We also have a multiplex theater in town, plus an art-house theater (theater listings here). It's a college town, so you'll find many bars of all types if that's your thing, plus multiple restaurants of every type, several bookstores (new and used), museums, bicycle paths, lakes, rivers.... Check out for listings of these attractions.

Printing: Is anyone bringing a printer? Would you mind sharing it with the others while you're here if, say, they provide a toner or ink cartridge? We have a good Office Depot that should carry what you need. I have a couple of old printers that were donated a few years ago, but I can't guarantee operation. There is a FedEx Kinko's downtown, too.

Clothing: Dress is whatever you find comfy! Be aware that outside temps will likely be in the 80s and 90s most of the time, but might dip into the 60s at night or during thunderstorms. Sometimes, our dorm A/C has gone crazy and we've been cold, so if you get cold easily, bring a sweatshirt and long pants, just in case. Other times, the space doesn't get enough cooling. Plan for what makes you most comfortable! If you're going to the Campbell Conference Awards ceremony, many of the attendees use it as an opportunity to dress up. But it's your choice! There also a full-featured laundry room on-site (looks like it might use a card system this year; check your Google Group for updates).

Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop Readings: Please submit your work ASAP to the Google Groups file-sharing space, preferably in basic .doc format or Rich Text Format (.rtf) for ease of reading by multiple programs and operating systems - so everyone in the Workshop has a chance to critique them before we get started. Deadline for submitting your stories: May 20!

SF Workshop Critiques: Read and mark up (digitally or manually) the works well before you arrive so you can enjoy your stay and get some work done rather than having to stay up late crazily reading. James Gunn wrote a fine essay on "How to Be a Good Critiquer and Still Remain Friends." It's required reading! I recommend writing up and printing out formal critiques for the other authors to take away after the discussions. I have also posted more detailed critiquing guidelines via our Google Group.

Campbell Conference: If you plan to partake of the full Campbell Conference and haven't yet registered, let us know ASAP. It will be really amazing this year and well worth it - more special guests are planning to come than just those on the website right now. Here's the page with full info on the Conference, our special guests (to be updated regularly), and more. Sometimes, the year's special guests even stay in the dorm with us, so you'll have a chance to spend one-on-one time with some of our genre's finest authors and sometimes editors while you're here. At the very least, it's a cozy event where you'll have the opportunity for more elbow-rubbing with the pros than pretty much anywhere else.

Getting Around: Kij, recently hired as the new Fiction Writing Prof at KU, and I both have cars and scooters, so we'll have at least one car that can carry 4-5 people in style. Who else will have a vehicle here? On the plus side, now that we moved to the scholarship hall, we're close enough to walk most places downtown. If you're driving, you might find the University of Kansas maps page useful:

Also, if you haven't already worked out transport from the Kansas City airport to Lawrence, now's the time to do so. The airport is about 50 miles from KU. If you're driving, or if you would like to share a ride or a shuttle, drop a note to the group on our Google Groups site.

The shuttles most people use to get to and from the Kansas City International (MCI) airport to Lawrence are:

  • There's a new, low-priced shuttle service now running. However, it's only low-priced if you share a ride with others. Check 'em out! More travel information here.

  • KCI Airport Shuttle (also known as the "Roadrunner Shuttle"). Full information here (scroll to the bottom of the page for rates). Toll-free phone contact number: (800) 747-2524 or call your travel agent.

  • Ground Transportation Services, Inc. (a local Lawrence business) 888-467-3729 or 785-838-4500. See a schedule here.

  • Finally, here's the Yelp airport-transport list.

Of course, if you arrive via train or bus, you'll need to get a taxi or arrange something with a local. Here's the Yelp taxi list.

We have all manner of stores in Lawrence, so if you don’t have something that you'll need while here (including sheets, pillows, scuba gear, and so on), it's a short drive to go get it.

Some people like to send a box of stuff to me rather than carry things on an airplane. That's fine.Use my home addressCollapse )

Please no signature-required boxes! Be sure to mail enough in advance so things arrive before you do.

Tuition and Housing Checks: Tuition for all the Workshops should be in the mail to Lydia by now. If it isn't, you're probably best bringing it with you and handing off when you arrive. When we get this year's dorm housing prices (hopefully very soon), we'll send a request for those. (Locals not staying in the dorm and taking the Workshop for KU credit only need to give Lydia the $100 guest-author fee, unless it was waived as a partial scholarship.)

Campbell Conference: If you haven't yet registered for the Conference (and why wouldn't you take the opportunity to rub elbows with lots of authors and editors, when it's included in your Workshop registration?), do so ASAP - especially if you would like to register for the Awards banquet on Friday (you still need to pay for your meal).

Anything else? Let us know and I'll add it here!

I'm very much looking forward to meeting those of you I haven't yet met and seeing old friends again!


PS: If you don’t already have a LiveJournal account - and why wouldn’t you? - you can sign up and get one for free by just going to the LJ main page. You can also use some other online profiles to post here.