ConFusion Appearances

Here’s my panel schedule at ConFusion in Novi Michigan, the weekend of January 28-21!

Saturday 11am, Isle Royale
Reading: Benjamin C. Kinney, Angus Watson, Marie Bilodeau

Come hear me read an excerpt from one of my short stories coming out in 2018! I haven’t yet decided which – could be “Spies and Border-Magic,” maybe “Dead Battleship Romance Politics,” or else perhaps “Fairies Gentrify Manhattan.”

Saturday 1pm, Saugatuck
SF and Philosophy: Exploring the Connections

Benjamin C. Kinney, Andrea J, Dyrk Ashton, Ken Schrader, Nathan Rockwood

SF has been called the literature of ideas, and the ideas explored in SF have become increasingly philosophical throughout the history of the genre. What are the most illuminating thought experiments in recent and classic SF? Which philosophical questions do they raise? And how are philosophers in today’s universities employing SF in their teaching and research?

Saturday 5pm, St. Clair
Autograph Session (5pm)

I don’t have any books to autograph, but I will have something to sign, if anyone wants to stop by and say hello! I won’t be too busy, so this could be a great place to find me and chat, about Escape Pod or anything else. Consider this my “office hours” – you’ll know where to find me for sure!

Sunday 2pm, Charlevoix
A Novel Look at the Short Story

Lucy A. Snyder, Jessi Cole Jackson, A. T. Greenblatt, Benjamin C. Kinney, Scott H. Andrews, Amal El-Mohtar

Short stories require a different approach to pacing , character , world-building , exposition , and plot than longer works. Let’s explore the tools we use to convey important information to the reader when we have a lot fewer words to do it with.
Unfortunately, I will probably miss this panel due to travel timing. But you should go anyways, it’s a great topic and an amazing set of panelist!

Solstice Detection (Slow Vision)

A special solstice edition of NeuroThursday this week: the eye’s special mechanism to detect the slow light changes of day and night, winter and spring.

Since Storify is closing, I’m going to have to find new ways to present Twitter threads here. For now, here’s the thread start!

Story Sale: Toward Lands Uncharted

Contracts are signed, so I’m thrilled to announce that my short story, “Toward Lands Uncharted,” will appear in Mind Candy Volume 1, the inaugural anthology from Myriad Paradigm publishing!

This is a brand-new publisher, but they’re professional-rate, and they’ve got a great lineup for Volume 1. The anthology concept is right up my alley: intricacies and alterations of the mind, strange psychologies and mental oddities. The anthology is mostly science fiction, but my contribution is a fantasy story. I wrote the first draft during one of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Short Story Intensive workshops, around the concept of someone with the job or title Censor of Maps.

In the real world, the drawing of borders like the Sykes-Picot line are often an exercise of blithe and terrible power. But what if that power went beyond the political, into reality itself?

Awards Eligibility 2017

So here we are, approaching the end of 2017. That means the Eye of Awards have fallen upon us all, with its bleak and terrifying gaze.

I sold five stories to professional markets this year, but three of them will be published in 2018, leaving me with only two pieces of flash for 2017:

  • The Setting of the Sun, in Compelling Science Fiction: a 1300-word piece encompassing nine hundred million years in the life of a Dyson swarm. Of my publications this year, this is the one I’d like to imagine as potentially award-worthy.
  • Cyborg Shark Battle (Season 4, O’ahu Frenzy), in the Cat’s Breakfast anthology: an 800-word satire about backstage politics in a remote-controlled-shark-combat reality TV show. Also it is the most neuroscientific thing I have yet published.1
    • Not available for free online, but if you don’t have the anthology, you can contact me directly or check the SFWA forums if you’re a member.

Also, this has been my second and final year of eligibility for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. In the last two years I have:

  1. Published seven original short stories, six of them in professional magazines: Strange Horizons twice, PodCastle, Flash Fiction Online, Cat’s Breakfast anthology (Third Flatiron Press), and Compelling Science Fiction. Also one semi-pro story at Metaphorosis.
  2. Sold another three professional short stories (to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Mind Candy, and Diabolical Plots), but those won’t be out until next year.
  3. Served as the Assistant Editor of Escape Pod since May 2017. In this role, I decide which stories to pass up to our illustrious Co-Editors, write ~80% of the personal rejection letters2, and recruit & manage our amazing team of Associate Editors (first readers).
  4. Published nonfiction pieces about neuroscience in Clarkesworld, the File 770 blog, and Baen.com. I later expanded the Clarkesworld one into a solo presentation at the 2017 Nebula conference.
  5. Written thirty (and counting) Twitter essays about neuroscience via my NeuroThursday feature.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been a so-called “pro” for only two years. In that time I’ve accomplished a lot more that doesn’t fit on that list (written novel, edited novel, started querying novel, sold another couple short stories), but most important of all is the amazing community I’ve found: at workshops (well before I was doing anything “pro!”), conventions, online, and in person. So many new friends, mentors, and fellow-travelers out there, and I’m honored to know every one of you.

I’d love to conclude with some recommendations, since there are so many amazing writers out there, new and veteran, young and old. Unfortunately, he majority of my reading happens in the Escape Pod slush pile these days, so I don’t read nearly broadly enough. I look forward to reading your recommendations in the weeks and months (and years) to come!

Story Sale: Where the Anchor Lies

Delightful news! My short story “Where the Anchor Lies” has been bought by Beneath Ceaseless Skies for their 2018 Science Fantasy month!

BCS is one of my favorite online magazines, and I’ve been hoping for quite a long time to sell something there. This is a worthy tale, I think, and I hope you’ll all agree when the time comes. I refer to it as my Sentient Battleship Romance, but in truth it’s more of a Sentient Battleship Graveyard Love Story (Inspired By Kellyanne Conway).

I am confident it’ll be the best Sentient Battleship Graveyard Love Story (Inspired By Kellyanne Conway) you read in all of 2018!