This year, the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction's usual Campbell Conferenceserves as the academic-programming track for MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City. Want to attend some of those? *Full academic-track program schedule here(.pdf)* Don't miss this one, because we'll have hors d'oeuvres for 200 and a cash bar:

And here's McKitterick's MACII Program Schedule:

Thursday Aug 18, 2016

12:00 noon - 1:00pm: Kaffeeklatsch
Convention Center, 2211
Kathleen Ann Goonan (Georgia Institute of Technology) | Bill Higgins | Christopher McKitterick | Brianna Spacekat Wu

7:00pm - 8:50pm: Campbell & Sturgeon Awards Ceremony
Convention Center, 2501D
Join us as the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction honors the winners of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel of the year and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best science fiction short story of the year. These awards are unique in that they are selected by incredibly well read authors and scholars in the field. This process side-steps the politics of other award methods. Tonight we will announce the winners and honor their talent with a brief reception. 

Friday Aug 19, 2016

5:00pm - 6:00pm: Autographing
Convention Center, Autographing Space
William Dietz | Derwin Mak | Ian McDonald | Christopher McKitterick | Martha Wells | Sheila Williams

Saturday Aug 20, 2016

9:30am -10:45am: Campbell Conference Round-Table: "The World of Tomorrow is Today: John W. Campbell, Astounding, the Futurians, and the Legacy of the Golden Age”  
Convention Center, 2201
Kij Johnson | Christopher McKitterick | Michael Page | Dr Gregory Benford (UCIrvine) | Elizabeth Anne Hull | Joe Haldeman | Robert Silverberg | Sheila Finch | James Gunn | John Kessel | Elizabeth Bear

This year’s Campbell Conference round-table discussion, as part of the MidAmeriCon II academic programming, considers how the Golden Age shaped science fiction (including this convention) and contributed to the shaping of the present world at large.  We will discuss how the legacy of the Golden Age (especially the legacy of the namesake of this conference) continues to provide inspiration, discussion, and criticism among the writers, scholars, and fans within the field; and how contemporary science fiction extends from (and sometimes diverges from) that legacy.  We will also consider in what ways the World of Tomorrow envisioned by the Golden Age writers exists in the World of Today.

Sunday Aug 21, 2016

10:30am -11:00am: Reading: Christopher McKitterick 
Convention Center, 2203

I'll also be in the Benefit Auction as soon as I can after my Sunday reading, because the Gunn Center's educational-outreach program, AboutSF, is one of the recipients.

Hope to see you there!

This weekend is Kansas City's annual SF convention, ConQuesT 46! I'm doing several panels, a writing workshop, and a reading, and I'll be at many of the night-time room parties and the Sunday-afternoon Charity Auction. My schedule is now on Sched, like all the other presenters', but here's the short version:

Friday 3:00pm: World Building - Creating Alien Languages.
Friday 4:00pm: ConQuesT Writers' Workshop.
Friday 7:00pm: Opening Ceremonies.
Friday night: Find me on the Party Floor!
Saturday 1:00pm: Writing For Younger Audiences.
Saturday 4:00pm: Reading - Ad Astra Road Trip (Book 1 of the Galactic Adventures of Jack & Stella).
Sunday 10:00am: True Heroines and Diversity in Speculative Fiction, hosted by Hadley Rille Books.
Saturday night: Find me on the Party Floor!
Sunday 1:00pm: AboutSF.
Sunday 2:00pm: Charity Auction.

Hope to see you there!
Hey, folks -

This weekend is ConQuesT, Kansas City's science-fiction convention, and I'll be there! Here's my schedule:

Friday 1500 Best new SF&F authors of the 21st century
Friday 1700 Novels from last year you should read
Saturday 1100 Teaching SF
Saturday 1300 Writing for younger audiences.
Saturday 1500 Where has all the Hard SF gone?
Saturday 1600 Hadley Rille Books: Small Press, Big Plans
Saturday 1700 Reading
Sunday 1400 Charity Auction

Here's with more details and other panelists:
Best new SF&F authors of the 21st century
Friday 3:00pm
Bradley Denton
Chris McKitterick
Who are the best authors to have joined the genre since 2000?

Novels from last year you should read
Friday 5:00pm
Chris McKitterick (M)
Julia S. Mandala
Robin Wayne Bailey
Panelists will share the favorite novels from the past year.

Teaching SF
Saturday 11:00am
Chris McKitterick
Deb Geisler
Gera L. Dean
Kij Johnson
Discussion on science fiction in the classroom from middle school through college.

Writing for younger audiences
Saturday 1:00pm
Bryan Thomas Schmidt (M)
Chris McKitterick
Deanna Sjolander
K.D. McEntire
Writing for adults and writing for YA, MG and Children differ. Authors and Editors discuss the differences, the approaches, and fine examples.

Where has all the Hard SF gone?
Saturday 3:00pm
Carol Doms (M)
Chris McKitterick
Rich Horton
Rob Chilson
The shelves are full of fantasy, zombies, vampires, etc. Is anyone writing Hard SF anymore?

Hadley Rille Books: Small Press, Big Plans
Saturday 4:00pm
Karin Gastreich (M)
Chris Gerrib
Christopher McKitterick
M.C. Chambers
Founded in 2005 by Eric T. Reynolds, Hadley Rille Books is Kansas City’s own small press specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. Meet our authors and learn about the trials and triumphs of small press publishing. Snacks will be provided, and attendees can participate in a book giveaway. For more information about Hadley Rille Books, including a complete listing of our titles, visit

Fiction Reading
Saturday 5:00pm
Excerpt from the (almost complete!) Galactic Adventures of Jack & Stella.

Charity Auction
I'll be at the Charity Auction from 2pm - onward. Proceeds benefit AboutSF, the Gunn Center's educational-outreach program, AboutSF.

Hope to see some of you there!

mckitterick: (write hard die free)
( Sep. 5th, 2013 01:35 pm)
I've been writing a ton lately, so time for a little update:

The Galactic Adventures of Jack & Stella progress:

Crossed the 36,000-word mark! Woohoo! That's up more than 3000 new ones since leaving for WorldCon!

Also good news: I've been working on all-new scenes now that I'm happy with the early material. Wrote a ton of notes en route to San Antonio, plus a bunch there, too, while listening to intelligent and insightful speakers. Also got a lot of inspiration from being around so many pros. This is why we go to cons.

Okay, now off to office hours and then today's science fiction class: The Time Machine and Childhood's End.

The new Riddick: Rule the Dark! (exclamation mark added for emphasis; why doesn't it come with an exclamation mark? All Riddick movies should come with exclamation marks) comes on in just over a week!

As if I needed any more reasons to see this movie, this'll do it: Riddick saves a space-puppy!

Click the image to see the short clip.

I love Vin Diesel for many reasons, but here's another one:


Click the image to see the Penny Arcade page.

In other news, I'm heading to LoneStarCon3 on Friday morning (meaning I miss the James Gunn Guest-of-Honor reception on Thursday evening, which I helped organize... stupid first day of only-once-a-week class). Here's my WorldCon schedule (with a couple items I helped organize but can't attend):

6:00pm - 8:00pm: Reception for students and close associates of Guest of Honor James Gunn

If you want to be part of this but haven't yet gotten an invite, let me know ASAP and I'll try to get you on the invite list! I'm sad that I can't attend, but I get to see Jim every week. Still, what's up with WorldCon starting on the Thursday of the first week of classes? ARGH.

5:00pm: "When is Hard SF Too Hard"
008A (Convention Center)
Nancy Kress, Michael J. Martinez, Christopher McKitterick, Jack Skillingstead.
Our panelists discuss the delicate balance between punching a button to go into hyperspace, and reaching for your calculator to figure out if you really could.

4:00pm: "Cartography of Genre: Roman Epic Space Opera and the Academic Legacy of Jim Gunn"
008A (Convention Center)
Christopher McKitterick (Mod), Donald M. Hassler, Bob Cape
This includes a couple of papers: "Space Opera and the Greco-Roman Epic" Bob Cape, Austin College; "A Key Cartographer of the Genre: Jim Gunn" Donald M. "Mack" Hassler, Kent State University.

5:00pm: James Gunn Tribute
103B (Convention Center)
Michael Page, Gary K. Wolfe, Kij Johnson, Christopher McKitterick, John Kessel, and hopefully others!
A tribute by our panelists to LoneStarCon 3 Guest of Honor, James Gunn.

5:30pm - 6:00pm: Reading: Christopher McKitterick
This one is uncertain, as at first I had thought I wasn't going to still be at the con on Sunday evening, so maybe and maybe not. *sigh*

Do you know a teacher, parent, librarian or anyone else interested in getting SF into the hands of young folks? The Center's two new AboutSF Volunteer Coordinator student-employees will present a "Teaching Science Fiction: A Workshop for Teachers, Librarians, and Parents" for much of the day on Monday. In their trial-run at ConQuest this year, they gave a fantastic presentation, and have been working hard at this longer version. I can't participate, as I'm on the plane during this time, but they'll do a great job, I'm sure. Check 'em out!

Okay, back to 1) writing and 2) work!

Hope you had a good weekend. Mine was wonderful! Always great to see old friends and new acquaintances at ConQuest, the KC SF convention. I only wish I had more time during the days not serving on panels to hang out with people. The nights are full of great parties (especially RoomCon - thanks, Jimmy!), but not everyone attends, and it's not always easy to talk there. Oh, and I remembered to bring swim-trunks this year, so I finally got to swim in the rooftop, salt-water pool.

Last week, I wrote Jack and Stella into deep trouble, and finished the first few chapters just in time to read at the convention. I mean literally just in time: I finished the chapters just as Opening Ceremonies began. Whee!

Adventures of Jack and Stella progress:

Here's from the Saturday reading; what I'm holding up are the hand-scribbled original pages from 1983 or something when I first started working on what would later become the idea for this book:

Oh, and I should point out that I donated to the charity auction (which benefits AboutSF) a "Tuckerization" in the book. It saw some hot bidding and ended up raising a nice sum. The winner didn't just want her name but as much about her as a character as I would like to use. Bwahahahaha! This'll be fun.

On the Thursday evening before the con, a bunch of Hadley Rille authors got together at Prospero's Books in KC. I read a couple pages of my story, "The Empty Utopia," from the wonderful anthology, Ruins Extraterrestrial. It's a pretty cool place:

We also held a big chat at the con. Nice to meet so many interesting brothers-and-sisters-in-Hadley-Rille! Another large-group panel highlight for me was the "Taste of the Campbell Conference" with 8 authors onstage. We could have talked for hours about the publishing industry, ebooks, and so on.

While at the con, I also decided it's time to upgrade my portable communicator. That's right: I didn't say I'm replacing my beloved and long-abused Sanyo Katana, did I? I'm going to buy a 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablet. All I really need a smart-phone for, a tablet can do better, right? Texting, email, GPS, video-calls, getting onto the internets while out and about, and so on. I can even save all my writing onto it, and work on stuff using apps or even MS Word - handy for cons. And as opposed to smart-phones, tablets don't come with $100/month fees unless you really want that. Viola! Plus, how geeky is it to walk around downtown, holding a 7" tablet up to one's ear, in a VOIP call? Aw, yeah. Puts a whole new spin on drunk-dialing.

Okay, I should get back to work. Just wanted to let y'all know I'm still alive and that the weekend was a BLAST.

mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (monkey at computer)
( Feb. 27th, 2012 01:35 pm)
That keynote address I'm delivering this Wednesday at the University of Central Oklahoma's Liberal Arts Symposium XXIV? Done!

(Check out the promo poster they made! Love it!)

One of the most difficult writing tasks is revision - especially when one has to meet a maximum word-count. Even more challenging is when minutes read aloud, not word-count, determines the length. I've not given a one-hour talk before, and it's complicated because one hour thins down to about 40 minutes when taking into account the introduction and Q&A - so it was pure guesstimation on my part about how long it should be. I knew what I wanted to say, the structure and content, but one never knows how long it'll end up after one's research and writing are complete. To get a handle on this, I used some other people's keynote talks as guidelines.

Everyone reads at different speeds, and because I learned to talk in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I speak more quickly than some. I figured I could use a few more words than my models if needed.

My first draft came to 9000 words, quite a bit longer than my generous target. Typical. When I've tried to write short-short stories (or flash fiction), I end up with a couple thousand words. My short stories turn into novelettes, novelettes into novellas, and novels into giant bricks of interwoven stories. Revision usually lengthens them as I enrich the setting or character or fill in plot holes.

Read aloud, 9000 words amounted to about 80 minutes - though a lot of that was stopping to make changes, or hearing [profile] chernobylred's feedback. Even so, it would surely run longer than an hour read as-is.


After a revision (that added words) and some cutting, I got down to 8800 words, which took almost exactly one hour to deliver. CRAP.

[profile] chernobylred suggested some major cuts, I cringed, but one cannot create time, so back to the cutting table. I targeted about 15-20% shorter, because that's how many minutes I needed to trim.

After two more passes, I got it down to 6900 words. Pretty close. After one more set of brutal cuts this morning, it's down to less than 6500 words: a full 20% off the top.

I can't tell you how helpful it is to have another set of eyes, another perspective, to determine what's really necessary and what just gets in the way. It's also incredibly useful to get the kind of completely honest suggestions that only [profile] chernobylred can offer, because she doesn't feel the need to sugar-coat her candor. Ahem. Thanks to her, I now feel confident not only in my delivery (she patiently listened to me read it twice), but also the content.

And, y'know, being able to finish the talk during the time alotted.

Can't wait! It's called, "Science Fiction: Mythologies for a Changing Age." I think it's a really good talk. Hope the audience finds it inspiring.

mckitterick: At NASA's Moon-rock exhibit when it came to KU. (NASA Chris)
( May. 28th, 2010 11:19 am)
ConQuest is Kansas City's annual spec-fic convention, something I look forward to each year. Click here to see this year's guests.

My schedule:

Today (Friday), 4:00pm, in the Pershing Reading Lounge (or maybe Choutaeu, if I'm sharing with other Hadley Rille authors):
Reading: “Trancendence” An Excerpt

Today, 6:00pm, in Empire C:
Hadley Rille Book panel (including more readings)
Authors: Chambers, Gastreich, me, Murray, and digital Schoen.

Today, 7:00pm, in the Main Programming room:
Opening Ceremonies

Room parties!

Saturday, 11:00am, in the Main Programming room:
"Decline of the Written Empire: A Peek into the Campbell Conference"
This round-table discussion was designed to simulate part of the Campbell Conference we run each year in Lawrence, and includes 16 of the guests, including guest of honor Michael Swanwick. Should be cool!

Saturday, 2:00pm, in Empire C:
"Does Size Matter?"
(Beats me, but sounds fun!)
With James K. Burk, Jan Gephardt, and Dana Bell

Saturday night:
Room Con with James Hollaman

Sunday, 1:00pm, in Main Programming:
"The Science in Science Fiction"
With Michael Swanwick, Lynette Burrows, and Tori Weisskopf.

We'll also have an AboutSF panel on teaching SF that I might be on - not sure! Check the programming booklet.

Hope to see you there!
AboutSF and the 2009 World Science Fiction Convention are hosting a free Science Fiction Educator Workshop (in both English and French) at AnticipationSF. We now have a full schedule under the cut. )

Just getting back to normal life after a grand ConQuesT SF convention in Kansas City. Some highlights:
click for report with photos )
If you live within driving distance of the KC area, you really ought to check out ConQuesT.

PS: If you posted photos and con reports, link to 'em in a comment, please!

mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (typewriter monkey)
( May. 20th, 2009 03:55 pm)
Hi folks -

If you're going to be at ConQuest this weekend, you can find me at these events. Stop by and say hello!

    7:00PM: Opening Ceremonies
    8:30PM: Authors and Artist Reception (or is it really at 8:30AM on Saturday?)

    11:00AM: Writers Workshop. This is a one-on-one; if you want to do this with me next year, let me know at least a month in advance so we can schedule it!
    3:00PM: Writers Workshop (as above)
    Night: Party! Be sure to stop by the Hadley Rille Books room party; I'll be there at least part of the time.

    Noon: Reading! I'll be reading from the first chapter of my upcoming novel.
    1:00PM: AboutSF with Nate Williams
    2:00PM: Charity Benefit Auction (for AboutSF)
    4:00PM: Closing Ceremonies
    5:00PM: Dead Dog?

Hope to see you there!


mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (Default)


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