Following a conference at Capclave, I invariably find myself torn between what to do first: write more or read more.

It has been made newly clear to me that I need to compose a number of short stories and submit them to everyone who has a submission process, plus I have come away with a fat stack of new words to ingest.

(Spoiler: I chose to write!)


Some truly masterful writers got together for a photo… and look! I’m in there too! (Genevieve Valentine, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kevin Kelleher, Holly Black)

Bill Lawhorn and the folks at the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) have again put together a stunningly rich weekend of immersion into the vasty world of everything related to SF/F (science fiction and/or fantasy) literature. It was truly amazing to get to meet the Guests of Honor: Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, and Genevieve Valentine. Each was a delightful person, which might be a rarity in the field, as we discussed in a panel labeled “Abusing the Author.”

Paolo and Holly brandished their astounding expertise within the craft by dissecting the problems of volunteered stories and coming up with workable solutions in one segment, and Genevieve revealed the secrets to her literary success in another. (Hint: she can magically operate on as little as four hours of sleep a night!)


My attendance at the “No Means No” panel opened my straight, white, male eyes to an understated plight I knew very little about: harassment within fandom. For one tidbit, I didn’t even realize that Capclave had a printed Harassment Policy, or that the very having of one was entirely crucial to the success of every Con ever. I, having the good fortune to not yet be harassed, had just never thought about it. But the shared thoughts and experiences of panelists like Emmie Mears, Jean Marie Ward, Natalie Luhrs and Inge Heyer helped to educated me.

Lord Ramirez

Lord Ramirez

But my favorite of this year’s installments was the slew of classes taught by the fascinating Lord Ramirez, who is a master of seemingly everything. We learned about the societal implications involved in the constabulary restraint of feudal samurai,* the “hanky” codes of post-World War II-inspired homosexual biker culture, and proper technique when martially wielding a chain.

Amongst other things. (Lots and lots of other crazy things!)

Indeed, I found Lord Ramirez (and his extremely brave assistant, Fleur) to perfectly symbolize that which Capclave has come to be renown for: the exploration of some wildly interesting subject (that you might never have even known existed before), deconstructed in expert-level detail for your learning pleasure.

From this year’s Capclave, I have 30 pages of notes. And that’s just from the panels and workshops I was able to attend – for each one, there were one to four others occurring simultaneously. (If anyone’s interested in reading them, email me.)

If you are a writer, or a reader, or have any interest at all in the world of SF/F, I cannot make a better (or higher) recommendation for how to spend your time.


My fat stack of new books










Dodo parade, featuring Bluedo, the Azure Wonderbird

Dodo parade, featuring Bluedo, the Azure Wonderbird










*Turns out humiliation plays a very important role in Japanese culture. If a person were being taken into custody, it would make a big difference to everyone involved if the ropes binding said person were plainly visible to onlookers, or if they were subtle instead, and whether or not the ropes were knotted instead of wrapped up.