- Welcome to SofaCON – Tony C Smith 17:00
- Introduction – Peter Watts 17:10
- Looking Back At Genre History – Amy H. Sturgis 17:30
- Reading – Ted Kosmatka 18:00
- Film Talk The Forbidden Planet – Dennis M. Lane 18:30
- One to One with Lois McMaster Bujold and Amy H. Sturgis 19:00
- Reading – Gregory Frost 20:00
- Amazing Stories – Topic to be announced! 20:30
- Quiz – SF Signal vs. Geeks Guide to the Galaxy 21:00
- Guest of Honour – Peter Watts 21:30
- Goodnight – Tony C Smith 22:00
SF Signal contributor John DeNardo is an avid reader and reviewer. (See John’s review criteria.) His book reading comes second only to his book buying, which some (including John himself) might call compulsive. (We often use the B-word.) His frequent jaunts to the local bookstores are legendary in his own mind. Although John reads an occasional fantasy/mystery/non-fiction book, his tastes lean heavily toward science fiction. John’s tastes within any genre vary, but he is fond of classic sf even though he has a hit-and-miss experience with classic award-winning sf. John also likes to alternate novel-length fiction with shorter works, so he frequently reads anthologies between reading sessions. John’s favorite authors tend to be Golden Age authors like Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov etc., but he also likes the new kids on the block like Alastair Reynolds, John Scalzi, etc.
Steve Davidson is the publisher and Editor Pro Tem of Amazing Stories magazine. Steve has been a science fiction fan from early childhood and was fairly active in the northeast (US) fan scene until the early 80s when he Gafiated for the Xtreme Sports world of Paintball. Steve’s involvement with paintball included writing over 200 articles for specialty publications, authoring three books, competing internationally, capturing a place on the industry’s 1999 list of The Top 100 Players of All Time and owning and editing a leading news and information website for the industry.
In 2006 Steve returned to science fiction with the introduction of his blog, The Crotchety Old Fan. In 2008 he applied for the trademarks for Amazing Stories, which were granted in late 2011. Since December of that year he has been publishing and editing a multi-author “social-magazine” website, devoted to generating support for the return of Amazing Stories as a paying fiction market.
Gregory Frost is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers. His latest work is the fantasy duology, Shadowbridge, published by Del Rey Books. Booklist, in a starred review, praised the first volume, saying, “Frost has created a world containing all manner of fantastic story.” Gary K. Wolfe in Locus Magazine added: “Surpassingly lovely prose…Frost could be on his way toward a masterpiece.”
The second book, Lord Tophet, garnered Publishers Weekly’s coveted starred review: “Frost brings the charm of an ancient storyteller and the wit of a contemporary tale-spinner to this dramatic tale, effortlessly manipulating his troupe of mortals and immortals and bringing the truths and myths of Shadowbridge equally to life.” The Fantasy Book Critic called it “one of the few must-read fantasies of the year.”
His previous novel was the historical thriller, Fitcher’s Brides, from Tor Books, a reimagining of the fairy tale of Bluebeard that was a finalist for both the World Fantasy Award and the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel.
His short story collection, Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories, also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which called it “one of the best fantasy collections of the year” while hailing the author as a master of the short story form. His short stories have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s Magazine, Weird Tales, Realms of Fantasy, and in numerous award-winning anthologies. Recent work includes “Late in the Day,” in the December 2008 Realms of Fantasy; “The Final Act,” in Ellen Datlow’s Poe: 19 New Tales of Suspense anthology commemorating the bicentennial of Poe’s birth; and “The Bank Job,” in the anthology Urban Werewolves, edited by Darrell Schweitzer.
Ted Kosmatka planned from an early age to be a writer when he grew up. This mostly involved having all his writing rejected, pursuing a biology degree, dropping out before graduation, and becoming a steel worker like his father and grandfather. Then the mill went bankrupt. After that he worked various lab jobs where friendships were born and fire departments were called. (And where, incidentally, he learned the fine point of distinction between fire-resistant and fire-proof) Eventually, Ted finished college and worked in a research lab with electron microscopes. This was a pretty cool job with a pension and everything. Then came the final logical step: ditching all that to write video games at Valve. Ted’s fiction has been widely reprinted and nominated for both the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon awards. His first novel, The Games, was selected by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the best genre books of 2012 and is currently available on Amazon. His second novel, Prophet of Bones was released in April.
Dennis M Lane
Dennis M. Lane is a British writer who left the shores of the UK in 1986 and hasn’t looked back since; he has now lived in South Africa for eleven years. His first poetry collection “8 Million Stories” was published in November 2010, followed by the collection of science fiction poetry and short stories “The Poring Dark” in September 2012 (two of the poems have been nominated for the 2013 Rhysling Award) his first novel “Talatu” was published in March 2013. He is currently working on the first book in the five novel “Helix Key” series. When not writing, Dennis enjoys narrating and voice acting and recently set up Dramatic Voice Productions in order to take his interest further. To relax Dennis watches old movies from his extensive DVD collection, his three loves being science fiction B movies, Hong Kong martial arts, and anime. He has been presenting “A Review from the Jacaranda City” since May 2011 and has looked at classic old movies from “On The Beach” to “Creature from the Black Lagoon”.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Lois McMaster Bujold, one of the most respected writers in the field of speculative fiction, burst on to the scene in 1986 with Shards of Honor, the first of her tremendously popular Vorkosigan Saga novels. She has received numerous accolades and prizes, including two Nebula Awards for Best Novel (Falling Free and Paladin of Souls) and four Hugo Awards for Best Novel (Paladin of Souls, The Vor Game, Barrayar, and Mirror Dance), as well as the Hugo and Nebula Awards for her novella The Mountains of Mourning. She has, in fact, won more Hugo Awards for Best Novel than any other author with the exception of Robert A. Heinlein, and her latest novel, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, is a finalist for the 2013 Hugo Award. The mother of two, Bujold lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Tony C. Smith
Host/Editor/Producer of the Hugo Award winning StarShipSofa podcast.
Amy H Strugis
Amy H. Sturgis holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Vanderbilt University. She teaches both at Lenoir-Rhyne University and at The Mythgard Institute, specializing in the fields of Science Fiction/Fantasy and Native American studies. Sturgis is the author of four books, the editor of five others, and the writer of over forty published scholarly and mainstream essays and articles. Her most recent publications include essays in Star Trek and History (Wiley, 2013), Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy (McFarland, 2013), and Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine (2013).
Sturgis is a frequent public speaker at universities, conferences, and genre conventions, with over 200 presentations to her credit. In 2006, she was honored with the Imperishable Flame Award for Achievement in Tolkien/Inklings Scholarship. She also contributes regular “History of the Genre” features to and narrates contemporary science fiction stories for StarShipSofa. In both 2009 and 2011, she was honored with The Sofanaut Award in Podcasting for Best Fact Article Contributor. In addition, she has made special appearances on more than ten other genre-related podcasts.
Along with her husband, Dr. Larry M. Hall, and their Boston terrier, Virginia, Sturgis lives in the foothills of North Carolina in the United States. Her official website is amyhsturgis.com.
Peter Watts is the author of the so-called “Rifters trilogy”; an obscure video-game novelization; and the semi-obscure semi-hit Blindsight, which was nominated for a shitload of awards (even winning a couple) and which somehow ended up as a core text for a smattering of undergraduate neuropsych and philosophy courses despite an unhealthy focus on space vampires. Watts’s work is available in 15 languages; he is inexplicably popular in Poland. He owes at least part of his 2010 Hugo (for the novelette “The Island”) to fan outrage over an unfortunate altercation with armed capuchins working for the US Department of Homeland Security, but he’s okay with that. The following year he decided to play the Sympathy card, by nearly dying of flesh-eating disease contacted during a routine skin biopsy. That strategy also worked insofar as “The Things” made the finals for a bunch of other prizes and even won a couple (including the Shirley Jackson Award). Watts is already hard at work on The Next Horrible Thing to catapult him towards future trophies, perhaps for his upcoming novel Echopraxia. Given his past life as a marine mammalogist, the smart money is on being gang-raped by dolphins.