Category Archives: Appearances

Social & Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology Notes (2016)

As part of Storify’s shutdown, I now want to use my website to archive important Twitter threads. So here are some awesome threads from the first Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (SoCIA) conference. These are incomplete, and sometimes abbreviated, but there’s still a lot of fascinating science, philosophy, and theory in here!

If you think these topics look awesome, keep an eye out for SoCIA 2018 this coming April!

“Is talking to aliens like talking to your cats?”, Sara Waller

“Cosmic complexity,” Kelly Smith

“Impossible Friendships: human-alien relationships,” Jonathan Trerise

“The role of worldview in predicting societal impact of discovering ET life,” Connie Bertka

“Anthropocentrism, exoplanets, and the cosmic perspective,” Neil Manson

“The life bias in planetary protection,” Jim Schwartz

Keynote: “Homo Astronauticus: cultural implications of space colonization,” Sheyna Gifford

“Astrobiology research & policy dilemmas in public decision making,” Margaret Race

“Astrobiology education via interactive alien construction,” Randall Hayes

“Astrobiology, ET, and ETI: science & speculation,” Linda Billings

“Replicator Theory: testing evolutionary theories of life,” Lucas Mix

“Toward a Family Resemblance definition of life,” Erik Persson

“Extending the Idea of Wilderness Beyond Earth,” Alan Johnson.

“Human life and ethics in outer space,” Koji Tachibana

“Astrobiology and the precautionary principle,” Mark Lupisella

“Convergences in the ethics of space exploration,” Brian Green

“Ethical obligations between us and extraterrestrial life,” Adam Potthast

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!

Archon panel schedule

I have my schedule for Archon 41! I’m participating in 3 panels, moderating a fourth one, plus a a reading. If you’re anywhere in the greater St. Louis area, come on down and say hello!

Space Colonies and Planetary Chauvinism

Saturday 9/30, 13:00 – 13:50, Great Rivers A (Gateway Center)

Should our major effort be settling on worlds or building inside out worlds in free space?  Can we do both?

Benjamin C. Kinney, Christine Nobbe (M), Bob Perry

The Mystery of H.P. Lovecraft

Saturday 9/30 15:00 – 15:50, Marquette B (Gateway Center)

Why do so many fans read and enjoy H. P. Lovecraft while others find faults in his writing?

Benjamin C. Kinney, Mr. Brian Katcher (M) , John Jacobs, Shawntelle Madison

Short-Story Podcasting for Writers, Readers, and Voice Actors

Sunday 10/1, 10:00 – 10:50, Salon 6 (Gateway Center)

Podcasts are a huge opportunity to publish and listen to short fiction, and engage with the fan community. They can also provide an avenue into audio book narration and voice acting. Join us to discuss the podcasts we love, how to build a recording setup, and the path to publication.

Benjamin C. Kinney, Setsu Uzume

Author Readings with Benjamin C. Kinney, Jim Pyre, and Jimmy D. Gillentine

Sunday 10/1 12:00 – 12:50, Cahokian (Gateway Center)

Benjamin C. Kinney, Jim Pyre, Jimmy D. Gillentine

Editing: Behind the Scenes

Sunday 10/1, 13:00 – 13:50, Marquette A (Gateway Center)

A chance for new authors to understand what happens to stories after they’re submitted.

Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Mr. Brian Katcher, Mr. Adrian Matthews, Rich Horton

Worldcon 75 Schedule

Less than three weeks until the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki!

If you want to know where I’ll be, check out the appearances list of Escape Artists staff!

My two panels are:

  • Superintelligence (Thursday noon, 2014)
  • Critiquing: how to give and how to receive (Thursday 8pm, 209)

You can also find me at:

  • Escape Artists fan meetup (Wednesday 3pm, fan lounge)

Otherwise, I’ll be around acting excited!

Nebula Neuroscience

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m going to have a speaking slot at the SFWA Nebula Conference in June!  My talk “Understanding Neuroscience: The Evolved Brain” will take place on Sunday at 10am for anyone with enough fortitude to shake off their hangover and come here me talk about neuroscience, and how we can improve our understanding and portrayal of the human brain in fiction.

I haven’t yet developed the talk, so if you have any questions or issues too complex for #NeuroThursday, let me know! Or ask me over a beer1 afterward.

I hope to see some of you there! I’ll only be at the Nebula conference Sat-Sun (arriving late Friday night) due to the travails of work, but so it goes.

Archon 40 Schedule

I’m excited to announce my schedule at Archon, the St. Louis area’s fan-run SFF convention! This year, Archon 40 will be September 30 – October 2, 2016.

All of my panels are on Saturday, October 1. I don’t expect to be there on Friday, but I may on Sunday.

Author Readings with Benjamin C. Kinney and Lloyd Kropp

10am, Cahokian (GC).

Changing Landscape: Science Fiction Then and Now

12pm, Illini A (GC). Science fiction has rapidly evolved in the last 60 years. Discuss current science fiction and if the changes have been for the better.

Van Allen Plexio (M), Rich Horton, Lettie Prell, Benjamin C. Kinney, Sara M. Harvey.

Writing and Selling Short Stories

3pm, Marquette B (GC). Short stories behave differently than full-length novels in many ways. Come get tips for writing, editing, and selling your best short stories.

Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Ellen Datlow, Joey Froehlich, Joy Ward, Lettie Prell.1

Writing Sexuality and Gender in Science Fiction

6pm, Marquette B (GC). A conversation on the whens, whys, and hows of addressing sexuality and gender in your writing.

Cole Gibsen (M), Tex Thompson, Betsy Phillips, Sara M. Harvey, Benjamin C. Kinney.

Mars Landing

So, remember a year ago when I said my wife was going to Mars?

Well, she’s on her way back. Tomorrow morning, she steps out of the dome, back to Earth; still the red-rock slopes of Mauna Loa, but with no spacesuit on, and the breeze in her face for the first time in a year.

I am excited beyond words. So far beyond words that I’ve had no brainspan to update this blog, not even after the amazing time I had at my first Worldcon. No promises that I’ll have a monthly update this week, either. I may have some downtime on Hawaii while she spends her days in debriefing, but I rather expect some internet scarcity!

If you want to read more about her mission, check out her blog or the mission webpage. I’d also love to point you toward the kickstarter for “Red Heaven,” an upcoming documentary about the mission. Both my wife and I have already worked with the creators & crew, and they’re amazing people, excited about the science and project. Consider supporting them – or just enjoy the trailer!

July 2016 Update

How was your July? Was it amazing? Mine was!

  1. My story “Sweeter than Lead” came out at PodCastle. Neo-Lovecraftian dark fantasy about addiction, succession and malevolent timelines!
  2. My story “The Time Cookie Wars” came out at Flash Fiction Online1. Black comedy about time travel and delicious cookies!
  3. I finished the first draft of the Conquistador Dragon novel: 106,000 words of Age of Exploration epic fantasy, now titled The Cannon and the Coin!
  4. I got my Worldcon panel schedule!
  5. I attended Mary Robinette Kowal‘s short story intensive workshop. Folks this class is fantastic. My favorite parts were the tools for expanding ideas into stories at turbo speed, and especially the methods for plot structuring. And in the process I wrote up the openings to two super exciting new stories.

I think that’s it? It sure feels like enough! This coming month will bring yet more of the joyful chaos. Two weeks until Worldcon! And after that, only one week until my wife returns from Mars!

Worldcon 74 Panel Schedule

I just received my panel schedule for Worldcon! I can’t wait for the chance to go up there and share my knowledge, and I hope to see lots of you there!

The Real Lab

Thursday Aug. 18, 18:00 – 19:00, room 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Sometimes things go very right in the lab, and sometimes things go horribly wrong. Professional scientists discuss the sometimes terrifying, often hilarious, crazy things that can happen when working in the lab. How does science happen and is it really as clean cut and precise as we are led to believe? How has science organized itself so that error corrects solid knowledge out of the human stew?

Dr Helen Pennington, Dr. Ronald Taylor, MR. Donald Douglas Fratz, Benjamin C. Kinney, Sharon Joss (M)

Thinking Through Neuroscience in SF and Fantasy

Saturday Aug. 20, 16:00 – 17:00, room 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Neuroscience is a complex and rapidly developing area of technological advancement. We look at some of the recent advances as well as discussing how these are reinterpreted in SF and Fantasy media.

S.B. Divya (M), Anna Kashina, Benjamin C. Kinney, Caroline M. Yoachim

I Don’t Believe In Science

Sunday Aug. 21, 13:00 – 14:00, room 2204 (Kansas City Convention Center)

All too often we hear about people who “Don’t Believe in Science,” but science isn’t about belief.  A discussion about why talking about science in terms of belief does science, and faith, a disservice.

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ1, Carl Fink, Benjamin C. Kinney, Dr. Heather Urbanski (M), Renée Sieber

June 2016 update

Heyyyy, it’s monthly update time! Everyone’s favorite time.

Maybe someone’s favorite time?

Either way, it’s been a good month! Chock-full of exclamation points:

  1. My story “The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R.” came out in Strange Horizons! I’m super proud of this one!
  2. I sold two stories! “The Time Cookie Wars” to Flash Fiction Online, and “Shiplight” to Metaphorosis.
  3. I returned to the Fourth Street Fantasy convention. I got to speak on a panel! I learned tons of things (including 45 specific action items for my novel)! I got to talk to lots of amazing people!
  4. I revised 2 short stories, and drafted one new piece of flash!
  5. The novel is on track! Currently at 76,000 words, and I’m hoping to finish the first draft at the end of July, if it doesn’t end up running long.