typewriter monkey

2013 Workshop preliminaries

Right now, I'm setting up our Google Group for the attendees of the 2013 Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop, led by Chris McKitterick with special guest-authors Andy Duncan and James Gunn. We'll use our Google Group to share stories, information, tips, and whatever else strikes our fancy!

Most of you have not yet submitted your registration materials to Lydia Ash ( lash@ku.edu ), who needs those ASAP. Very soon, we'll know the cost of the dorm rooms (if you need one); when we have that info, she'll send out a request for monies for your room, which you can pay for when you arrive. If you haven't already sent Lydia your check and registration materials via snail-mail, just email her the registration, and bring your check when you arrive. Don't forget that this year all attendees of the CSSF Science Fiction Summer program get free general admission to the Campbell Conference, so don't forget to register for that, too!

On May 20, I close the Workshop application window - I think we have an excellent variety of writers right now, but I might accept a few more attendees if they fit the mix. That's also when I'll ask you to submit your stories to the group: You have until May 24 - at the latest - to submit all three of your stories to this group. Please keep the total word-count under 30,000 words; if you're submitting novellas, you may submit two pieces (total) instead of three. No novel chapters, please; it's tough to workshop such in this format, and that's what Kij Johnson's Novel Workshop is for!

Clean up any mechanical issues before you submit your work, and use good manuscript format, as in this example.

When you get the stories, dig in right away! Give them a read, then give them a solid critique. Feel free to mark up typos, punctuation, and grammar issues, but for time's sake, please don't bring up those details during the discussion. Primarily, your goal is to identify the "Platonic ideal" of the story and then suggest ways to help the author achieve that ideal. Here's James Gunn's excellent introduction to the concept:

I'll post logistics and other information in my next message coming soon. Until then, write hard!

write hard die free

Andy Duncan: This year's guest author for the CSSF Writing Workshop!

Breaking CSSF News: Andy Duncan is this year's guest author for the second week of this summer's Science Fiction Writing Workshop! For 2012, the Workshop meets from June 24 - July 6, followed by the Campbell Awards and Conference, which runs from July 5 - 8. Andy will be here for the second week plus the Conference.

The Workshop is a great experience, intended especially for writers who have just begun to publish or who need that final bit of insight or skill to become a published writer. We work with all brands of speculative fiction, including horror, fantasy, magical realism, slipstream, speculative philosophy, hard SF, and so on, and it's a wonderful way to bond with fellow writers in a friendly and dedicated atmosphere. Plus we go out to dinner every night at a different restaurant in lovely downtown Lawrence, KS, watch lots of (usually bad) SF film, and write our brains out.

Starting last year, it's also available for graduate credit through the University of Kansas (ENGL 757). If you're a KU student, perfect! If not but you wish to take the Workshop for credit, be sure to contact us right away for how to make that happen. Most attendees, however, simply enroll as a normal, professional workshop rather than for credit.

Interested? We are open for applications right now through June 1, but sooner is better as we usually fill early. See the website for details.


Campbell Conference this weekend! Awards news!

Just a reminder that the Campbell Conference starts tonight. Even if you don't wish to attend everything, don't forget the free events like tonight's Awards Ceremony at the Holidome, the Oread Book Store readings and giant SF book sale.

And some news (begin official press release tone, ahem):

LAWRENCE, KS - July 9, 2008

The Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas has announced the winners of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel of 2007 and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction of 2007.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, July 11, in conjunction with the center’s annual Campbell Conference and the annual meeting of the Science Fiction Research Association, which is taking place July 10-13 in Lawrence. This year the Campbell Conference offers “Teaching Science Fiction: A Portable Workshop.”

The Campbell Award will be presented to Kathleen Ann Goonan for In War Times. Second place goes to Michael Chabon’s Nebula Award-winning The Yiddish Policeman's Union, and third to Ken MacLeod for The Execution Channel.

For the first time, there are two winners of the Sturgeon Award: “Finistera,” by David R. Moles, and “Tidelines,” by Elizabeth Bear. Interestingly, second place for the Sturgeon Award was also a tie: Gene Wolfe’s “Memorare,” and Ian R. MacLeod’s “The Master Miller's Tale.”

The Campbell award is one of the three major annual awards for science fiction. The award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (now called Analog). Many writers and scholars call Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, the father of modern science fiction.

The Sturgeon award was established in 1987 by James Gunn, professor emeritus of English and director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon as a memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.

The Science Fiction Research Association is the oldest professional organization for the study of science fiction and fantasy literature and film. This year’s conference is titled “Creating, Reading and Teaching Science Fiction.” Notable guest speakers include Karen Joy Fowler, author of “The Jane Austen Book Club”; Paul Kincaid, author of “What We Do When We Read Science Fiction”; and Joan Slonczewski, a professor at Kenyon College who uses science fiction to help teach biology. Breakout sessions explore varied topics such as “Reimagining the Future of the Past in Science Fiction Film and Television”; “Aliens, Animals and Environmentalism in Science Fiction”; and “Playing the Universe: Reading and Teaching Science Fiction With Video Games.”



Giant SF book sale - coming soon!

Put this in your calendar:

Huge Science Fiction Book Sale (6000 + books!) coming on Saturday, July 12 from 8am to 5pm at KU's Watson Library.

Click the image to see the story.

There will be a lot of amazing material in this sale, partly because of how the KU Library has changed what they consider for the rare-books collection. Also duplicates of things they do consider important for the collection. Oh, and prices are obscenely low. So check it out!


more tips and answers

More answers to some common questions!

LAN: You'll need a KU login account for using the KU network, LAN or otherwise; however, if what Housing says is accurate, LAN will be free! Wireless doesn't work in the dorm.

To set up your LAN and get a logon, just call ResNet (785)812-0000 when you get to your room to have then activate your LAN and give you a login. Their hours:

Monday through Thursday 8am-8pm
Friday 8am-5pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm

Printers: Looks like there'll be three printers at least on our floor, so that should do it. There is a Kinko's downtown, and the dorm occasionally has a computer lab open (but don't rely on it).

Clothing: Dress is whatever you find comfy! Be aware that outside temps will likely be in the 90s most of the time, but might drop into the 60s at night or during storms. Sometimes, our dorm A/C has gone crazy and we've been cold, so bring a sweatshirt and long pants, just in case. If you're going to the Campbell Confernece Awards ceremony, many of the attendees use it as an opportunity to dress up. Up to you!