Infinitus, Part the First

I was promised monsoon season in Tucson. Robyn was all like, “Oh, the skies will open and we’ll be drenched and it will make that sound on the roof you like so much,” and I was all, “Hurrah! For I do not think I can manage six weeks in Tucson in the summer without rain!”

It didn’t rain. Robyn has never seen a monsoon season so incalcitrant.

Naturally, the second we left for Phoenix, drops started spattering on the windscreen. Unfair, universe, unfair!

Phoenix itself was pleasant and I did a very nice reading and signing at Changing Hands, which is a terrific bookstore. Then I bought books, naturally. I mean, they were there.

The next morning I flew to Florida to attend Infinitus as a Special Guest, where LO, the skies had opened!

SHUTTLE DRIVER: This weather, so terrible!
ME: Water from the SKY, let me walk around in it!

I met Sarah Rees Brennan and RJ Anderson, who are as delightful as could be imagined. They brought me MORE books. The next day we joined Ali Wilgus, Peg Kerr and Naomi Novik to talk about being fandom trained writers.

PEG: What did you get out of your participation in fandom?
ME: Confidence, craft, criticism, introduction to activist thought, and my BFF.

Fandom, pretty damn good to me.

After that I signed things, (and bought books) and then there was a panel with and about addressing Real Life Issues in Fiction, by which we meant, let us discuss -isms and privilege and oppression and what can be done about them as writers, readers and reviewers.

My part of the panel went pretty much like this:

1) It is important to try! For lo, the world is marvellous and varied and there are great injustices in it that ought to be fought for the Benefit of All. I am super in favour of people trying to save the world.
2) As an ally to various groups to which you do not belong, you will screw it up sometimes. I have screwed it up many times! This doesn’t mean you are forever irredeemable as a person and should give up on every attempt to save the world immediately. It means you have screwed it up.
3) When you get critique for the things you have screwed up, listen, and reflect.

Then we attacked the pool.

SARAH: Isn’t the sun wonderful? Let us lie out in it and soak up the gorgeous rays!
RJ and I: It burns us! It burns!

I, who live under a hole in the ozone layer and only inherited Irish skin from my ancestors, was cringing from the day star and following the shade, while Sarah, who is Irish, lounged around like a sleek cat in perfect satisfaction. Unfair, universe, unfair AGAIN. So I was not really au fait with this whole stretching out by the pool business until I discovered I could get refills on my Diet Coke.

Which I did. For two hours.

ME: *after third refill* I think I forgot to mention that I sort of have a problem.
SARAH: I didn’t want to be the first to say it.
ME, cheerfully: Oh, you wouldn’t be.

My other problem? Fear of rollercoasters. So, while we were right next door to Universal Studios and all its scariest rides, including DOCTOR DOOM’S FALL OF FEAR, I eschewed these in favour of the Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter.

Sarah, despite being more of a rollercoaster girl herself, came with me.

ME: EEEEEEE! A DRAGON! AUGH! SPIDERS! GASP! A DEMENTOR! EEEEEEEEEEE!
SARAH: Mmm? Oh. I dozed off for a bit there.

That Sarah. If she’s not defying death by burning to a crisp or throwing herself off heights, life just isn’t exciting enough. No wonder she writes so well about demons.

Then I had MORE ADVENTURES. Of which more, possibly later! I mean, I have an awful lot of books to get through.

Events and Such

Hello internets! Are you having a lovely summer/winter [delete whichever is inappropriate]? I sure am. I have been having a nice relaxing break of learning how to do front kicks and back bear hug throws, and also of reading a lot of theory.

I sometimes think critical theorists are the wackiest science fiction authors there are, and nobody knows.

But I am getting back on the book promotion wagon, thus!

July 14, 7pm. Changing Hands, Tempe, Arizona.

Yes! A bookstore event where I shall tell you where I get my ideas from! Also, read a bit. Also, sign books.

Also, lie outrageously.

The very next day I am off!

July 15-18, Infinitus. Orlando, Florida.

Infinitus 2010 is a huge Harry Potter convention. Ooh, I am excited.

FRIDAY noon: Friday’s Keynote Luncheon in Pacifica 6 Room with Naomi Novik, RJ Anderson, Ali Wilgus, Peg Kerr and Sarah Rees Brennan. I will be discussing going from fan to pro (while still actually being a fan.)

FRIDAY directly after lunch – Everyone is signing in the Vendor Room until at least 2:30, though I will have to take off a little earlier to get to

FRIDAY 3pm: Privilege, Appropriation, and Real Life Issues in Fiction, Pacifica 8/9, with Aja Romano (bookshop) and Clio. We will talk about doing badly and doing better. Hopefully it will be awesome and productive!

SATURDAY 11 – Noon in Banda Sea Room

Three authors for the price of one!

Sarah Rees Brennan, RJ Anderson and myself will be doing readings from our novels, and also giving away prizes, and also doing a big Q&A so that any questions that don’t get answered on Friday/if you can’t make it Friday, you will still have all the answers in the world! So many answers, we have.

Most of mine will be lies.

SATURDAY Noon – 12:30 – Karen, Rebecca and Sarah are signing in the Vendor Room.

ComicCon San Diego, July 21-25.

Karen, the heck are you doing at ComicCon, you say?

Internets, I reply, have you forgotten that by day I am a layabout author, but by night I am a comics scholar? I am presenting a paper here where I say “neo-baroque” and “archontic literature” a lot and summon the spirit of Derrida in a ghastly ritual that destroys language as it is spoken. So that should be fun!

SATURDAY 24 10:30-12:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #13: Superhero Comics as Meta-Fiction.

Matt Yockey: Batman is Coming
Whitney Donaldson: Self-Referential Superheroes: Metafiction and Narrative Complexity in Alan Moore’s Watchmen”
Karen Healey: Superhero Comics As Fan Fiction: An Archontic Approach
Andrew J. Friedenthal: Monitoring the Past: DC Comics’ CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS and the Narrativization of Comic Book History

I do not know where that is going to be held, but doubtless it will be in the programme. There are some excellent paper subjects and I am very much looking forward to the academic side of ComicCon.

And also to the Dealer’s Room.

That is my Upcoming Life, Internets! How about you?

Local Customs

Yesterday I celebrated the cute American holiday of Independence Day, which takes place every July 4th.

Robyn and Jimmy don’t have an American flag at home, because they are unpatriotic!

So I grew one in a jar.

A grow-your-own American Flag floating in a pickle jar.

I realise that most of my readers will be entirely ignorant of this holiday, which receives little world-wide press compared to more dramatic July events like St Ulrich’s day or Umi no Hi, so I have done some research and will now present:

The True Story of Independence Day

A long time ago, the American demi-god George Washington saw that his people were oppressed because instead of being able to keep all the profit from lands they had illegally acquired, they had to pay tax without representation to the Englishmen across the sea! Or it might have been Irishmen. It must be Irish because Americans remember their defeat every March 17 by wearing green (which represents the envy the Irish felt for the land of the free) and drinking until they fall down to simulate the collapse of the Irish forces.

Actually, I think English and Irish are different names for the same thing. Those wacky UKians!

So George Washington hung on a tree for nine days and nine nights and gave up the ability to tell a lie. He therefore gained the ability to give strength to others! So he endowed Bruce Willis with the power of ten men, and he became Yippee Ki Yay, who protects the lands of America from English terrorists with German accents. Then he endowed Will Smith with the power of ten hundred men and he became the Fresh Prince, who protects the skies of America from Irish leprechauns with tentacles. Then he endowed Paris Hilton with the power of ten thousand men, and she became Celebutante, who protects the oceans of America from BP.

It’s okay to say “men” when I mean “people” because this was Olden Times.

Anyway, on the seventh day of the war, the English or Irish god George the Third met George Washington in primal battle! George the Third plundered the seas, ravaged the coasts, burnt the towns and destroyed the lives of people with his laser vision, but at the start of the third act Jeff Goldblum came up with the solution! And Paris Hilton let loose her armies of small yappy dogs and Will Smith punched out the Redcoats, and Bruce Willis pressed the button at the very last second and the asteroid flew off course and hit George the Third so hard that he went mad!

That day, my friends, was July 4th, and Americans remember it by making fireworks that look like bits of mothership entering the atmosphere.

I hope you have found my discussion of this quaint, but moving, tradition educational!