So, last week didn't turn out as I'd expected it to. I was let go from The Verge: my last day was Wednesday. The reasons are both simple and complicated, and I'm not going to go into a whole lot of detail, other than to say that I'm bummed to be out, will miss a bunch of my former co-workers, and being able to talk about some of the things that I really love to a big audience. I began work there three years ago, after applying on a complete whim. My time there has made me a much better writer from where I started, so that's a plus.

We're also not getting thrown out into the streets: Megan has a steady, full-time job, and I picked up a teaching position at Champlain College — ironically, about online journalism.

I'm not going anywhere just yet. I'm planning on sticking on the SF/F book beat for the foreseeable future, and am working on lining up places to continue to review and commentate on the genre, book recommendations, reading and tech, and some other things. While there are some downsides to getting fired right before one has another kid, it'll give me plenty of time to work on the cosplay book.

Plus, I get my weekends back for the first time in nearly five years. I've already begun signing up for a bunch of troops with the local 501st, something I have really missed.

War Stories: New Military Science Fiction

I edited an anthology with my friend Jaym Gates a couple of years ago: War Stories: New Military Science Fiction. We're very proud of the book, and it's sold pretty consistently since it was released. Given my newfound unemployment status, moving some copies to new readers would be neat: if you like military science fiction (or are interested in some good character stories or know people who like it with birthdays coming up, etc.) feel free to check it out. It includes some of my favorite authors, such as Ken Liu, Joe Haldeman, Linda Nagata, Karin Lowachee, and others. And, if you want a taste, Karin's story Enemy States can be found here, you can listen to Rich Larson's story Ghost Girl on StarshipSofa, and Yoon Ha Lee's story Warhosts can be found at Lightspeed Magazine.

Conventions & Cosplay

Getting fired does have one upside: I don't have to fight tooth-and-nail to get time off to work on the book and to actually do the required research. This was becoming a major frustration. Now, I'll have a bunch of cons (and regular 501st troops) that I'll be able to attend. I just attended Boston Fan Expo, and Labor Day Weekend, I'll be at Dragon*Con for the first time.

After that, there are a bunch of local cons and troops that I'm planning on heading out to after those: Vermont Pride Parade (Burlington, September 8th), Catamount Comics and Collectibles Expo (Burlington, September 14th) Granite State Comic Con (Manchester NH, September 15th), Plattsburgh Comic-Con (Plattsburgh NY, September 21st). After that, maybe New York Comic Con in early October (depends on when Baby!Liptak arrives), and Rhode Island Comic Con, in November. If you're at any of those shows, let me know!

Further Reading

  • Hugo Awards. The past couple of years, Joel Cunningham at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has unsubtly hinted that he wanted me to send him reviews after I'd left freelancing. So, I published my first post back there on Friday, a look at the history behind the name of the Hugo Awards, and the man who inspired them.

    In other Hugo Awards news, I've rounded up the winners of this year's awards, along with some initial thoughts. In short, I'm particularly thrilled to see that The Calculating Stars earned the Best Novel award — it's easily one of my favorite books from last year. (My original review for it and The Fated Sky can be found here.) I'll have some additional thoughts at some point in the nearish future, probably for the next newsletter.
  • The faces of Boston Fan Expo. Weirdly, I already had this weekend scheduled off to attend Boston Fan Expo. I had picked up a press pass for the cosplay book, and everything was already booked. So, Friday, we headed down, and I spent the weekend taking pictures of the cosplayers, and conducted a couple of really fruitful interviews with some people for it. You can see an album of the pictures here.
  • The future of Star Trek. Another week, another big merger between big media companies. CBS and Viacom have remerged with one another, and one big interesting thing here is how that pieces the Star Trek franchise back together — the films and TV properties were split apart back in 2005. Now, they're back together, right as Star Trek is becoming a really interesting franchise once again. CBS, armed with CBS All Access, has some big plans for a number of shows after the success of Star Trek Discovery, and with Picard on its way. The Hollywood Reporter has a good look at what this means for the franchise as a whole. The film franchise has largely stalled in the last couple of years since Star Trek Star Trek Beyond, and while there have been some efforts to helm a fourth film (as well as an R-rated film by Quentin Tarantino), it's been in a state of flux.
  • Correction: last letter, I mentioned it was odd that Mary Robinette Kowal's novel The Calculating Stars was left off of the Dragon Award ballot. Turns out, I missed it — it was nominated in the Best Alternate History category.

Currently Reading

Hopefully, I'll have some more time to read in the coming months. I just finished J. Michael Straczynski's new memoir, Becoming Superman: A Writer's Journey from Poverty to Hollywood with Stops Along the Way at Murder, Madness, Mayhem, Movie Stars, Cults, Slums, Sociopaths, and War Crimes, which is a dramatic, gripping, and fantastic read about his life. I came to know about him via his TV show, Babylon 5, but not much beyond that. It turns out that his life was pretty horrible growing up, and while there are points where I thought that for sure, he was exaggerating a bit, those notions vanished by the end. It's a painful look at someone enduring a violent and abusive childhood, and also a pretty inspirational story when it comes to writing and storytelling.

I'm currently reading two others: This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and The Moon by Oliver Morton. The usual suspects are up after that.

Okay, back to work. As always, thanks for reading. If you liked this, please consider sharing it with a friend, or telling people about it!


Well, that was unexpected