Because Scalzi made us do it

Next weekend Scott Westerfeld and yours truly will be guests of honour at the 2008 High Voltage ConFusion science fiction convention. It’s our very first time being guests of honour and we are stoked. TOTALLY stoked. In fact I’m so very stoked I’m thinking of celebrating with the purchase of a new dress. Surely, being guest of honour requires new clothes, right? I gotta look pretty, don’t I? If you have an opinion on this Very Important Matter please to express it in the poll to your right.

I’m thinking this one, though with black gloves not white:

Vivienne Westwood’s Watteau ball gown

Here’s Scott and mine’s schedule. Because we are joint guests of honour we are doing everything together:


1900 Den 1 Interview: Author GoHs by John Scalzi
Tee hee! Mr Scalzi will ask us questions and we will plead the fifth and get away with it because we know where he buried the bodies. I suspect zombies will be mentioned.

2000 Salon FGH Opening Ceremonies
We will say a few words but there won’t be an actual speech speech. Some of my words will be “quokka”, “zombie”, and “oscillate”, or maybe not. Depends.

2100 Salon FGH Dessert Reception
Where we eat dessert and natter with folks what want to natter.

2200 Den 1 Originality is Overrated
There’s this idea that writers work entirely alone and create their work out of whole cloth. That’s rubbish. If a work were wholly original no one would be able to read it. All writers are influenced by those who came before them. Most writers talk to other writers. Many are in writers’ groups and even those that aren’t frequently read and comment on each other’s work. Let’s talk about the influence and community that writers share. Even when they don’t know each other. Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld (M), Patrick Nielsen Hayden, John Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss and Doselle Young.

I confess that I wrote this description on account of it’s something that drives me crazy and I’m looking forward to talking about it with such esteemed and smart companions. Especially Doselle. Everything is better if Doselle is involved.


1100 Den 1 Fantastic Sports
Organized sports are a vital part almost every culture on the globe. But sf and fantasy novels tend to overlook this key aspect of world-building. We examine what sports are and what they tell us about a culture, and dig up some good examples in sf and fantasy. Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Steve Ainsworth, Dave Klecha and Catherine Shaffer.

Mmmm . . . sport. If I weren’t moderator I would just spend the session teaching USians cricket.

1300 Salon G Juvenilia
Writers dust off the storage trunks, turn off the shame meter, and read from their 5th- through 12th-grade works of unalloyed proto-genius. A great way for young writers in the audience to feel much better about their own efforts. Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Merrie Haskell, K. Tempest Bradford and Marcy Italiano.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that Scalzi is not on this panel. Laughing at his early writing efforts was the whole reason I agreed to go to ConFusion!

1400 Den 1 SF Is Not Dead
More sf is written and consumed these days than every before, in the form of manga, video games, rpgs, and YA lit. Yet our beloved field constantly bemoans its own demise, while ignoring those 100,000 crazy kids down the road at Comicon. How do we connect these two worlds of sf? Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld (M), Anne Harris, Jim Frenkel and Peter Halasz.

Because me and Scott are sick to death of hearing the folks in the old sf people’s home whingeing about the death of sf. It ain’t dead! It’s doing just fine, thanks.

1500 Den 1 Golden Age of Young Adult Lit
Some argue that the YA books being published now are some of the best the field has ever seen. There are more of them, the quality is better, and the authors are being paid more. Is now the Golden Age of Young Adult Literature? And if so what does that mean for the next generation of readers? Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Steve Climer, Suzanne Church and Peter Halasz.

I think it is. I also think it’s just going to get better and better and better.

1700 All-Author Autographing Session
If you have books you want strange author types to scribble on here’s your chance.

2100 Concierge Literary Beer
The only thing we’re doing that you have to sign up for. It’ll be me and Scott sitting around with a smallish group of interested folks and answering their questions while we all drink beer (or water or whatever you wish to drink. I wish to drink Krug—I hope the ConCom is on top of that!).


1100 Salon H Gluten-Free Fantasy
Most medieval cultures didn’t have chainmail, swords, horses, or wheat. Yet the overwhelming majority of medieval cultures in fantasy do. What do we stand to gain by breaking the bonds of Europe on our collective imagination? And what’s so scary about bolas, sled-dogs, and rice? Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder, Jim Frenkel.

This panel is also something me and Scott came up with. It has a backstory. Way back in the dark ages we were on a panel together about fantasy where we panelists suggested that there were other settings for high fantasy other than mediaeval Europe. Scott went as far as to say that wheat is not essential to high fantasy.

The audience turned on him. “We LOVE wheat!” they proclaimed. “We hate fantasy that isn’t set in mediaevel Europe. We hate wanky literary fantasy. In fact, we hate you writers on the panel who are trying to take away our wheat!”

Scalzi was in the audience along with the wonderful Karen Meisner and they both say it was one of the most extraordinary things they have ever seen. Karen even sent Scott a Canadian license plate wth a beautiful picture of wheat on it. Scott still contends that we were caught in the wave of an Atkin’s diet backlash.

Here’s the con’s full schedule.

Hope to see some of you there! I mean if this wussy Aussie girl can brave the dead of winter in Detroit. Surely some of you can?


  1. PJ Hoover on #

    If you wear that dress, no one will care (or even notice) what color your gloves are.
    No question about it. Go for it!

  2. dragonfly on #

    ack! in another life i lived in michigan. for awhile i even lived in a detroit suburb! but now, when cool people are going to be there, i’m in germany. *sigh*

    have buckets of fun!!

  3. dragonfly on #

    (and what’s with caps being allowed again? it just seems wrong!)

  4. adrienne vrettos on #

    va va va voom! you must buy that dress!

  5. Patrick on #

    have you confirmed that’s not what scalzi is going to wear?

    i’m just saying… it’d be embarassing if both you and john wore the same dress.

  6. Justine on #

    Patrick: It’s cool. I checked. Scalzi’s going with sequins.

  7. Patrick on #

    that’s going to be a challenge to wear on the plane. not that i am speaking from experience or anything. no. none.

  8. Justine on #

    Patrick: Don’t be silly! Tracky dacks on the plane; posh frocks are for when you land.

  9. Mary Elizabeth S. on #

    I would kill (figuratively speaking) to be there! But, sadly, I am in Phoenix, Arizona and have no killing license (figurative or otherwise), so I will be missing it. *sadness*

    You must be sure to go about having a really marvelous time for the sake of all us would-be-attendees who can’t get in on it.


  10. Lauren on #

    You’d better not be joking about that dress. If I don’t see photographic evidence of you wearing it, I’m going to be very disappointed. Also, wheat sucks. That’s right, I said it.

  11. emily on #

    i am open to that dress, a purple jumpsuit, a gold lame suit, or this: i do require pictures, though. and now i want more sequins . . .

    also, when are you going to do an event in ny? and please announce it here, so i can find out!

  12. kim on #

    that is so not your type justine!!! 🙂 just joking!!!!!!!!!! i want proof of you in it.

  13. Little Willow on #

    Darn it, Justine, I was going to wear that!

  14. rebecca on #

    if you wear that dress, i will give you ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

  15. Justine on #

    Rebecca: Coincidentally that’s about how much the dress costs . . .

  16. kim on #

    it looks like it is made of green plastic table cloths, like the disposable ones

  17. emily on #

    i will pay you TWO MILLION DOLARS to wear that dress and post pictures of it. pretty please?

  18. Jeff Beeler on #

    You might add this:

    The Juvenalia Panel is ON!

    Its on Saturday at 1 PM in Salon G

    Juvenilia: Writers dust off the storage trunks, turn off the shame meter, and read from their 5th- through 12th-grade works of unalloyed proto-genius. A great way for young writers in the audience to feel much better about their own efforts Justine Larbalestier (M), Scott Westerfeld, Merrie Haskell, K. Tempest Bradford and Marcy Italiano

  19. ysa on #

    Hiya Justine and Scott! (am posting this here because you posted the con schedule first and because you have fewer comments for me to get lost in.) But anyway, the workshop thingie about “Gluten free fantasy” reminded me of this fantastic article by Poul Anderson called “Thud and Blunder” which touches on some of the stuff you mentioned. I read it some years ago, and wanted to see it again but no longer have the tattered photocopy that was passed around my ESL literature class. (Yes, they do have those!) I love Google, by the way. Here is a link to it:

  20. steve buchheit on #

    See you there. Also, as a confirmed NE Ohio kid, I’m also kinda of leery of the weather this weekend.

  21. Ellie on #

    Since your going to be in the Detroit area anyway can you do some signings or something that won’t cost me 45 bucks to get into? Because I have no money even if it is something totally cool. There’s plenty of bookstores around just pick one, I’ll be there with all my friends.

  22. Justine on #

    Ellie: We’d truly love to, but we’ll be way too busy with the con. Don’t worry though I guarantee we’ll be back in the Detroit area doing free stuff before too long.

  23. Steve Buchheit on #

    Ellie, well, if you’re willing to take the label of “Stalker” and if the con is laid out the same as last year, there’s a lot of walking through the lobby that goes on. The lobby is generally open, including the bar, no admission necessary. But you’ll need to have a good picture to go by, and you’ll need to scan the crowd. You’ll just need to have a badge to get into the conference rooms, or the con suite. Other than that it’s a hotel. Lots of people come in. Last year, as I was drinking with Tobias, I saw a couple on their wedding night (or they were WAY over dressed for shopping) checking in.

    Just saying.

  24. Steve Buchheit on #

    Although, it’s nicer to go to actual signings and such.

  25. Ellie on #

    Yeah I’m not so in to being a stalker. I can me patient…mostly.

  26. Ellie on #

    *Sorry be patient not me patient

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