Readercon 2019 Schedule

I’ll be at Readercon in a couple weeks, as usual. Here’s what I’m doing:

Afrofuturism and Solarpunk in Dialogue

Rob Cameron (mod), Bill Campbell, Michael J. DeLuca, Tananarive Due, Cadwell Turnbull
Thu 8:00 PM, Salon A
Afrofuturism: an African-American creative movement that reimagines the past, present, and future. Solarpunk: subverting the cyberpunk future, it explores sustainable solutions to global environmental crisis. Both have a strong “maker” tradition and are, at their core, hopeful. Panelists will brainstorm converging issues, technologies, and ideas that would make for compelling solarpunk Afrofuturist stories.

Rob has been talking about this panel idea for years and I’m very excited to be part of it. I’m representing solarpunk, in case that wasn’t completely obvious. In which role I expect I’ll be keeping quiet and listening carefully.

The Implications of SFWA’s Rate Increase

Scott H. Andrews, Pablo Defendini, Michael J. DeLuca (mod), Paul Levinson, Romie Stott

Sat 12:00 PM, Salon 3

SFWA will be be raising their designated qualifying rate for fiction from 6 to 8 cents per word in September. It might seem a small change, but it has the potential to alter the field significantly for a lot of writers, readers, editors, and publishers. This panel, led by Michael J. DeLuca, will discuss what the change means for specific markets, who’ll be able to meet the new rate, who benefits and who doesn’t, and how this relates to the broader economic and political climate.

I wrote the above panel topic sometime in February. I’ve been fundraising and applying for grants in hopes of raising Reckoning’s rates to match, and my thinking about this has changed quite a bit since. I hope we’ll get to think together about what pay rates actually mean for writers, readers, editors and publishers, whether an increase means more of the kind of writing each of us wants and why.

Reading: Michael J. DeLuca

Sun 1:30 PM, Salon C

I expect I’ll read a bit from a novella about Detroit I’ve been working on.

I’ll also be in the dealer’s room for most of the rest of Friday, Saturday and Sunday selling books (including Reckoning) at the Small Beer Press table. Please come on by! I might be lonely.

What is Solarpunk? from Commando Jugendstil on Vimeo.

ConFusion 2019 Schedule

As much for my benefit as for yours, here’s my panel schedule for ConFusion 2019, which happens next weekend, January 18-20th, in Dearborn, MI.

Cultivating a Fanbase as a Publisher

Friday 4:00 PM Erie
Just as fans follow specific authors or magazines, with the proliferation of small presses, we’re increasingly seeing publishing houses develop followings of their own. Apex Publishing, Subterranean Press, World Weaver Press, Small Beer Press and many others have distinct voices and aesthetics which distinguish them in the marketplace. Some, such as Ugly Duckling Presse and Restless Books, offer annual subscriptions to their catalogs. Are readers following publishers as they follow authors, and what are publishers doing to cultivate fan bases?
A. Carina Spears (M), Pablo Defendini, Yanni Kuznia, Michael J. DeLuca, Joe R. Lansdale

Escapism, Coming Back, and Beyond

Friday 5:00 PM Allen Park
Fans of SFF can get pretty prickly about their escapist pleasures. In the era of #metoo, #ownvoices and bot-fueled reactionary troll backlash, it’s time to unpack that. What do we get by escaping the real world into fiction for a little while? How does it feel coming back? How else can fiction help us weather and overcome the hardships of the real world, and how can it hurt?
Michael J. DeLuca (M), Eric Anderson, Sandee Rodriguez, Andrea Johnson, Jessi Cole Jackson

Reading: Michael J. DeLuca, Clif Flynt, John Wiswell

Saturday 1:00 PM Rotunda

New Trends in Post-Collapse Fiction

Saturday 5:00 PM Dearborn
The prospect of a world where the march of social and technological progress has drastically reversed course seems a lot closer than it used to be. What has changed in the way we imagine post-collapse futures? How do post-collapse futures of the past and present exist in conversation with the social and political worlds in which they were written?
Marissa Lingen (M), Andrea Johnson, Michael J. DeLuca, Petra Kuppers, Anaea Lay

About ‘Forest Spirits’

I had a story out in 2018! “Forest Spirits” came out in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #266 at the beginning of this month. I always try to share a little bit of background about a story when it comes out, but I’m only getting around to it now due to Reckoning 3 prep and then the holidays. I guess this is going to amount to my “awards eligibility” post too, such as it is, today being my last chance.

I haven’t written a whole lot this year, obviously. If you’re really hankering for more of my work, please read Reckoning 3. It means a lot to me.

So. “Forest Spirits” is a story about what it takes to rebel against an impending ecological catastrophe that has been making your life easier and better for a long time, to which you have been actively contributing. I imagine my inspiration for all that doesn’t need a lot of explanation. But it’s also a story about the revelatory experience of showing a part of the natural world that was instrumental in making you who you are to someone you love. I’ve been through that a few times. It’s not easy. It takes a hell of a lot of trust; it’s making yourself vulnerable, opening yourself up to the possibility that they won’t understand. At least it was for me. A lot of what I am, a lot, comes from my relationship with nature. The Mary Oliver poem I quoted in the upper right on this site communicates it probably better than I’ll ever manage.

I came up with the idea for this story at a writing retreat hosted by BCS editor Scott Andrews at his family’s house on Buck’s Elbow Mountain in the central Blue Ridge, over a week of very early, misty mornings spent hiking around fire access roads and cow pastures with Justin Howe. Yes, both Scott and Justin are people I trust with the part of my soul that is a product of mountains, mist, mushrooms, summer squalls, owls, trees, water trickling through moss, etc. Justin and I had a series of conversations about a kind of story that could take place on a path through wilderness, a story that would undermine certain traditional dramatic expectations by occupying the interstitial space between big set pieces, the parts that tend to get glossed over, particularly in adventure fantasy. We talked about Western plots that work that way, and bits from samurai films and what they have in common. And I ended up working out a set of story furniture I thought I could work with: small stakes both foreshadowing and emerging out of larger stakes, just a few characters, one of them being the setting itself, lots of backstory. I’m not sure if Justin ever did anything with this idea—I hope he tells me when he does. I’m very grateful to Scott for getting on board with it—the ending was entirely a collaborative effort between us, figuring out how to lead up to the edge of a climactic conflict without actually going there.

The setting of “Forest Spirits” is something between the central Blue Ridge, the eastern Berkshires and the colder, rockier White Mountains of my youth, all of which I miss dearly from here in the inland-sea geological flatness of Michigan. I’m indebted to Miyazaki—as I’m sure I didn’t have to tell you—and also to Thoreau’s “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers”.

Photo credit I believe goes to Erin Hoffman.

For the record: go into the wilderness with someone you love, trust and admire. Show them the parts of your soul you usually only visit alone. Take that risk. It’s worth it.

World Fantasy 2018

I’ll be at World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore this weekend, November 1-4, 2018. I get to do a reading and a panel.

Reading

Time: Saturday – 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Location: Guilford

I think I’m going to read my Reckoning 2 editorial, even though I’ve been avoiding doing so because it’s deeply personal and emotional and hard, because it’s directly relevant to the panel they put me on, because after the IPCC report and three days before the election I feel like it’s time and I’m out of excuses.

Optimism in the New Dark Age

Time: Sunday – 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Location: WaterTable BC
Panelists: Michael J. Deluca, Sarah Beth Durst, Matthew Kressel, James A. Moore, A.C. Wise (M)
Description: The ’00s brought us a glut of dystopian fiction, but in this new dark political era, what value or function can positive or so-called “hope-punk” fiction bring? Is optimistic fiction head-in-the-sand denialism, or is it mindfully visionary? Who are some of the writers creating this type of fiction? #HopePunk

Readercon 2018 Schedule

I submitted a lot of panel topic and content suggestions for this year’s Readercon, and lo, they took some, and lo, they even put me on a couple.

Friday, July 13, 1:00 PM: Reading: Michael J. DeLuca

My solo reading, at which I’ll read “Forest Spirits”, a short story forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Friday, July 13, 3:00 PM: Group Reading: Reckoning 2

Contributors to Reckoning 2, the second annual nonprofit journal of creative writing on environmental justice, read from their work.

Featuring contributors Marissa Lingen, Jess Barber and Justin Howe.

Sunday, July 15, 12:00 PM: Solarpunk for Everyone

Solarpunk has become established as a progressive, proactive, optimistic, climate-aware, politically aware field of speculative fiction. As solarpunk authors imagine the future, how can they make sure that future includes everyone? How can solarpunk develop and showcase remedies not only [to] the climatological errors of the present and past but the social flaws of oppression, bias, and exclusion?

This conversation will feature T.X. Watson, Marissa Lingen, Darcie Little Badger and Tom Greene. I’m moderating.

Sunday, July 15, 1:00 PM: Speculative Economics

Many theoretical economic systems have been proposed by economists, academics, and writers. Some of those cross the line—if there is a line—from theoretical economics into speculative economics. What are some of the more interesting and entertaining possible economic systems that could form the basis of speculative stories, from utopian SF to dystopias and horror? What makes a depiction of a fictional economic system feel plausible?

Featuring Sioban Krzywicki (moderator), John O’Neil, Malka Older, Michael Cisco, and me.