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Next weekend: Boskone

I'm guest of honor at Boskone 48 from February 18-20, at the Boston Westin Waterfront. That's next weekend. Read below the cut for a detailed list of what I'll be doing there.

The week after Boskone I'll be in New York. Tor are organizing a fund-raiser for Housing Works (an HIV/AIDS charity helping homeless and low income New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS), and I'll be reading there, along with Jo Walton. There'll be music, too, by Ninja Sex Party. if you happen to be in Manhattan on the evening of Tuesday 22nd here's how to get there.

... And while I am away, there will be a surprise guest blogger!


7pm: Panel: Has SF Eaten Itself?

(With Kathryn Cramer, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Allen M. Steele)

Has our genre consumed itself so that we now cannot imagine a future for it ? One of SF's lasting strengths has been as a continuing conversation between writer and reader -- and between writer and writer. Each new idea has spawned replies and elaborations, pushing the genre along. But is it possible that SF today is so deep into this conversation that it's lost its appeal to the neo? (Could this lack explains some of the attraction of fairly elementary SF such as that on TV or in anime?) Do you need a master's degree in SF history to really appreciate modern SF?

8pm: Panel: Welcome to Lovecraft's World

(With Theodora Goss, Jack M. Haringa, John Langan)

Considering the worldview of New England's master of weirdness H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), fantasy writer Theodora Goss observes: "Lovecraft's universe has turned out to be the place we actually inhabit He tells us that our world operates by laws we do not understand. That the universe is larger than we know, and older, and that it does not care about us. He tells us that we can lose our humanity more easily than we imagine." Discuss. (Cthulhu visual aids are optional.)


12 noon: Reading

1pm: Panel: Amber with Economics — Stross' Merchant Princes

(With: S. C. Butler, Vince Docherty, Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

The Miriam Beckwith stories written by our Guest of Honor, Charles Stross, depict the adventures of a Boston business journalist who learns she belongs to a family of crosstime Corleones. How do Stross's alternate world chronicles compare to Roger Zelazny's Amber series, or the fun use of medievalish settings in S. M. Stirling's Emberverse? What cool speculations does Stross work in about theories of economic development and of history, especially the history of technology?

3pm: Panel: The Steampunk Trilogy: 3 — The Dark Side

(With Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

So is there a dark side to steampunk? Zepplins are fun and all that, but does a subgenre which turns SF into fantasy and hides the dark side of the Victorian era really deserve our enthusiasm? Charles Stross has written on this in his blog.

4pm: NESFA Press Book Launch & Tea Party

(With: Karen Anderson, Rick Katze Charles Stross, Geri Sullivan, Jo Walton)

The book in question is the limited hardback edition of "Scratch Monkey".

5pm: Autographing

9pm: Awards Ceremony

(With: Karen Anderson, Charlaine Harris, Greg Manchess, Erica Neely, Joan Slonczewski)


11am Panel: The e-Book Market

(With Jeffrey A. Carver, Neil Clarke, John R. Douglas, Gavin Grant, Eleanor Wood)

(No description)

12 noon: Autographing

1pm: Kaffeeklatsch

2pm And Now a Word from the Antipope: A Charles Stross Interview

(Note: Ginjer Buchanan — my editor at Ace — will not be interviewing me, due to a scheduling clash. Actual interviewer TBA.)



Hi Charlie

The is a broken link in:

"Victorian era really deserve our enthusiasm? Charles Stross has written on this in his blog."

The "his blog" link has an extra space in the middle of it.

have fun alc


Hi Charlie, not exactly related to this article, but I was wondering if you are going to publish the transcript of the Strathclyde University talk you mentioned few weeks earlier.

Cheers, G


No, or not for a while.

Strathclyde wanted to podcast the talk. But the voice recording sucked, and I was going to re-record it for them. Then a major family emergency blew up, and I hit a patch of travel. So I didn't get time to hole up and record for an hour.

I'm probably going to post a tidied up version of the talk here, but not until (a) I have time to do some editing, and (b) I'm around to ride herd on the comments (because it will attract religious zealots). (b) is incompatible with foreign travel, so it'll have to wait until March.


My, they are keeping you busy, aren't they? That looks like the sort of convention events killer schedule you swore off a year or two ago.


It's Boskone and NESFA -- they're programming n*zis. (I knew what it'd be like when I said "yes" ... hopefully the next con I go to will be a relaxacon!)


Housing Works is a nice space. My friends Alexandra and Jim got married there.


That's nice to know.

Oh, I'm also -- hopefully -- going to put out a call for a pub meet while I'm in town; it'll be one of Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday nights (Tuesday being occupied by Housing Works and Friday being occupied by Air France). Any suggestions for a venue with decent (preferably cask conditioned) beer where it's possible to hear someone at the other side of the table screaming in a mild tone of voice would be welcome.

a Word from the Antipope

Finally dropping the "It was a typo" pretense, I see!


I do not control the programming items at Boskone.


Damn right you don't! That's the Kalonian's job.


What " cool speculations .. " are these? And what manner of ' COOL ' ... are you expected to Dress the Part and to say DUDE a lot? Ah, well ...its got to be more cheerful than California's Cities ..

"California's troubles helped it land eight of the 20 spots on our annual list of America's Most Miserable Cities, with Stockton ranking first for the second time in three years."


What worries me is "Lovecraft's universe has turned out to be the place we actually inhabit"...


You can't buy Scratch Monkey until all the Boskone attendees who want it have bought it. But there's usually some left, so keep an eye on the page.


Just have Rob Killheffer do it again.


It's so true isn't it? I have this image of science becoming a Lovecraftian enterprise, where the laws of the universe are so strange and incomprehensible that physicists are driven mad trying to understand them. From what I've seen of a lot of physicists, that day isn't far off!


Cask? hm. d.b.a. comes to mind.

Checking, their Manhattan/East Village branch is renovating their hand-drawn room, but it's open at their Brooklyn/Williamsburg branch. If you want to take a look:

Middle of the week should be quieter.


"...where the laws of the universe are so strange and incomprehensible that physicists are driven mad trying to understand them. From what I've seen of a lot of physicists, that day isn't far off!"

As far as deep physics problems go, might reasonably argue it's the case now. Running into the intuitive/pattern recognition constraints of our evolved simian information processors, rather headlong, at present -- throwing lots of theoretical poo at the wall to see if anything sticks. Need more data.

Fortunately, applied stuff -- materials science and what not -- is cranking along pretty nicely.


If you want to come 250 km north, you'd be welcome at Mahar's in Albany. You could experience our embarrassingly slow, but very scenic, train system on your trip.


Hi Charlie

The Friday night "Welcome to Lovecraft's World" discussion sounds really interesting (to anybody that way inclined) Will the transcripts be published online?


Can't. Flights booked, Acela tickets from Boston to NYC booked. Hotels booked. Business meetings with agent and editor booked. Basically, my schedule's locked in except for some wiggle room wrt. what to do on Wednesday and Thursday night next week.


Oh well... It's not the end of the world... This is the 21st Century so I'll just keep a hopeful eye on You-Tube.


Options for cask and craft beer in NYC:

The Stag's Head 252 East 51st Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues).

The Long Room 120 West 44th Street (at 6th Avenue).

Cask Bar + Kitchen CASK ALE 167 East 33rd Street (at 3rd Avenue).

Waterfront Ale House CASK ALE 540 2nd Avenue (at East 30th Street).

Blind Tiger Ale House 281 Bleecker Street, NY 10014


Completely, totally off-topic:

After Egypt, is it time for a Russian REvolution and a claen-up of the torture and corruption there?

As for "Belarus", don't even think about it.


I hadn't thought of it like this before, but yes, now it's mentioned there are parallels between the Amberverse and the Merchant Princes. Can I leave more detail until I've at least had a chance to re-read the section on Shadow-walking in the Amber RPG rulebook?


That Friday evening item looks fantastic. I'm doing my own item (games with kids) a couple of hours earlier, so I know I'll be there already. Might be worth giving up the chance to get out of the hotel for dinner (not that the restaurants in the hotel are bad, but the Fish Pier is in walking distance).


Shucks, I was just in NYC and had good beer at Heartland Brewing (the one in Union Square, near Forbidden Planet), but as a brewpub, their stock is limited to what they make. Wish I'd seen the advice here earlier.


Another option for cask and craft in NYC:

DownTown Bar & Grill 160 Court Street, Brooklyn, Just over the bridge from Manhattan. Has over 800 beers.


I am so there the next time we visit NYC; I now remember seeing a program about them on the Food Channel, but had totally forgotten.


I wonder if hatred for Lovecraft's racialism is somewhat muted by his diminution of human status in the universe in general---though he obviously thought that the finest and canonical 'human being' was a square-jawed Northern European or British sort, he plainly would have agreed that as far as The Real Bosses were concerned....

More likely, and especially easy for those white people among our ranks (that is, most of us): we forgive him, much as we forgive his often terrible writing, for all the other, literally wonderful/terrific/fantastic, stuff.


Putin is a completely different animal from Mubarak, so I doubt it very much. Plus the impression I get is that people are satisfied he's made Russia appear strong once more, so they'll forgive a lot. Also I'm not aware of any history of personal corruption from Putin himself, though I may just not be aware of it.


You think that Lovecraft's racialism is the Acme of Racialism in the Genre of Fantasy? Have a look at Sax Rohmer.

"He published his first novel Pause! anonymously in 1910 and the first Fu Manchu novel, The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu, was serialized from October 1912 - June 1913. It was an immediate success with its fast-paced story of Denis Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie facing the worldwide conspiracy of the 'Yellow Peril'. The Fu Manchu stories, together with his more conventional detective series characters—Paul Harley, Gaston Max, Red Kerry, Morris Klaw, and The Crime Magnet—made Rohmer one of the most successful and well-paid authors of the 1920s and 1930s." .. it was in the Fearful climate of the times when the ?White Races did anticipate the fall of the British Empire ..were it not for those Stalwart 'Clubland Heros ' of the time ...

Note the resurrection of " The Yellow Peril " in the current Wave of Worry in the Right wing Press over the ? Decline ? and Fall of the Western Democracies and the Failure of the US of American Empire ... WE are Doomed, All Doomed I tell you!


Lovecraft was one of the great cosmic visionaries, whose philosophy of Cosmicism was way ahead of its time and is being vindicated every day by modern science. We are clearly living in a Lovecraftian universe that is incomprehensibly vast and alien, but the philosophical ramifications of that still haven't really sunk in.

I'm sure Lovecraft would be quite amused by the pettiness of modern "progressive" ideologies and criticisms such as yours; like religions of centuries past, they are manifestations of the futile human tendency to project our values on an uncaring universe. Quite simply, the Cosmos doesn't give a flying f*ck about modern notions of political correctness, socialism or equality any more than it cares about God, the prophets, sin or the afterlife, and Lovecraft had the insight and the courage to confront this cosmic truth. Long after such celebrated 20th century icons of progress as Gandhi and MLK have faded into history, Lovecraft will be revered as one of the first prophets of the post-Hubble age.


The West may or may not be doomed, but human civilization will continue forward with or without us. Vladimir Putin is a great man who is reviving the sense of cosmic destiny started by visionaries like Tsiolkovsky and the Russian Cosmists. American values are very "last century" and have declining appeal in much of the world. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Russians and/or Chinese reach the Moon and Mars while a bankrupt and rocketless West is still fighting over the first principles of its civilization. The sun may be setting on the West, but in the East they are thinking big and reaching for the stars.


Really? And which part of the 'East ' would that be? Aren't 'Vladimir Putin ...who is reviving the sense of cosmic destiny started by visionaries like Tsiolkovsky and the Russian Cosmists.' and the Russian heirs to the late Great Soviet Empire having just a Little bit of Difficulty in dealing with Mother Russia's rebellious and Islamic children in the ... " Caucasus Emirate (Chechen Cyrillic: Имарат Кавказ Imarat Kavkaz, Russian: Кавказский Эмират-Kavkazskiy Emirat) also known as the Caucasian Emirate is a self-proclaimed virtual state entity,[2][3] partially successor to the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and was officially announced on October 31, 2007 by former President of Ichkeria Dokka Umarov, who became the first Emir. Its military branch is the Caucasian Front. The Russian Federation[4] and the United States[5] consider the Caucasus Emirate to be a terrorist organization." ?


I'm not aware of any history of personal corruption from Putin himself ...

Start reading here. Google "putin corruption" and you'll get an eyefull.


Yes, it was well worth visiting. The food was also good.


Actually, I'm going to more or less completely recant #25 after re-reading the Amber RPG. So the following is all based on Mssrs Zelazny and Stross' own writing.

For an Amberite who has Pattern manipulation skill, Shadow-walking to a "world" that matches their desires is easy. So easy they can literally do it all day, or just make a quick tweak so that they have more pocket change than they did a minute ago. If they take it easily, they can carry a small army, say 10_000 fighting troops plus their baggage train, with them; if they make a hard ride, it takes more out of them but they could get from "our Earth" to a Hollywood "Middle Ages Earth" in an hour or two. There is no known way of "blocking" a Pattern-walker from reaching your Shadow World.

Conversly, for a MP character who can World-walk, it is hugely hard, to the extent that they risk heart attack or stroke every time they cross Worlds more than once a day, and they can't (normally, but this may be about to be changed by the USA) carry more than about their own body mass with them. Also, they're limited to a small (again so far, but this may also be about to change) number of destinations. "Doppelganging" your $securelocation is (or was) a means of preventing anyone from World-walking into $securelocation.


In my opinion, Heartland Brewery is not that good. Foodservice frozen tray entrees, bag salads, and an indifferent grill line pair with subpar, overpriced beers served in small glasses.

I gave it three chances in the 2005-2007 timeframe. No more.



'plastic surgery marketing guide' @ #40

(Looks to me to be doing Markov chaining based on current content of thread, but may be some 5c/hour guy not even trying to make sense.)


Yup, nuked it. We've come under heavy spam attack in the past 48 hours, as luck would have it.


The ones I've seen recently would appear to be all the same type - cosmetic surgery sites - and using the same methodology - posting a mash up of the thread's previous content. Which means it's one particular spam gang doing it.

I have a nasty feeling that they probably don't invest the effort to see if the links stay there, which means they probably won't even notice that they've got about the same life expectancy as a mayfly on speed. About the only thing that would help would be if Google allowed you to (automatically) mark links to be actively down-ranked, but I can't see how that wouldn't also harm the genuine ones.


Yes, I hadn't really looked into it, most of my information on Russia comes from reading the exiled (But, it's not even Russia based anymore).

I did find this clip about Putin talking about how corruption is endemic in Russia, and making a joke.

And in this quote from an interview when he's directly asked about his wealth

"This is true. I am the richest person not only in Europe, but also in the world. I collect emotions. And I am rich in that respect that the people of Russia have twice entrusted me with leadership of such a great country as Russia. I consider this to be my biggest fortune."

He's quite the comedian.

Anyway, regardless of his personal wealth or lack thereof, the original point is confirmed by the economic increase, improvement of standards of life and descent of poverty in Russia during his premiership. Much like the Chinese regime, as long as he continues to deliver improvements people will support him and an Egypt style revolution is very unlikely.


I found their IndianA Pale Ale reasonably good (get it? Heartland, Indiana), in pints that were reasonably full (I've given up on full-pint pints in the US). The fish and chips weren't even fully cooked. I'm quite happy this thread now exists so I can refer to it before the next time I visit NYC. For some reason it seemed to be insanely popular.


Here after a link from todays U.K . ' Daily Telegraph ' in the U.K often fondly called the 'Tory-graph ' so it's very far from being on the Left of Politics ...

" Vladimir Putin 'has £600 million Italianate palace' Vladimir Putin has had a lavish £600 million Italianate palace built for himself near a Black Sea resort with the proceeds of "corruption, bribery and theft", a Russian businessman has alleged. "


Well, I never bothered to read Sax Rohmer---picked up a dog-eared paperback, read a few sentences, neither continued reading it nor threw it against the wall.....

Now "The Castle of Fu Manchu" has Christopher Lee and Rosalba Neri acting in it, and though Neri is largely wasted in Mackie-Messer drag....



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on February 12, 2011 12:12 PM.

Depraved nurses! - Langor! - Suicide! - Damn you, James Nicoll! was the previous entry in this blog.

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