I just got back from attending my first conference ever, The Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR), wherein I also presented my first paper ever! The paper is about how Gaia Theory is altered through three works of science fiction: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, “Vaster than Empires and More Slow” by Ursula K. LeGuin, and the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane. It was incredibly fun to write and even more fun to share with a room full of academics.
Meanwhile, I stayed in my second fanciest hotel room ever and generally luxuriated. I had good intentions to be productive in my down time, but instead found myself taking advantage of the huge bathtub, the not-too-atrociously-expensive room service, and the free soaps.
Some things I learned from this conference:
- Fun topics at conferences get people excited
- I’m better at public speaking than I thought I was
- I’m way better at networking than I thought I was
- Sometimes it’s ok to be a little hedonistic in your fancy hotel room
In sum, I spent this weekend making really cool friends, learning really cool things, and ignoring the little voice in my head that worries about stuff like impending thesis deadlines. So, to everyone out there who can’t fathom taking a break right now: do it anyway. Just for a day. It’ll be time well spent.
My extended family is in town today, so I don’t have time to write a very long post–I’ll make up for it next week. My friends are doing some amazing literary things right now, so I thought I’d spread the word. Below are a blog and book recommendation.
- The Edwin Project: Zoe Kaplan is reviewing old science fiction stories published in magazines owned by her grandfather, circa 1950s. She is reading through the volumes and deciding which have stood the test of time, and which truly have not. Follow for 50s slang, corporeal ghosts, and mysteries of the universe.
- Waters of Salt and Sin: An epic new release by Alisha Klapheke, starring a sea-faring salt witch in a quest to rescue her. The author is awesome, and so is the story. High-stakes sailing, creepy sea wraiths and a unique magic system, and some killer worldbuilding lie within.
I’m off to go play Apples To Apples with my grandparents.
I don’t write about space very much (read: at all). But if I did, I would liberally use The Space Educator’s Handbook.
If you can get past the frankly painful web design, this is a darn useful site, provided by NASA no less, for anyone teaching space stuff…or, in our case, writing space stuff.
Can’t get past the yellow-on-space-print background? Here are some specific useful links:
Aerospace dictionary, so you can learn everything from ablations to zeniths.
Sci-fi/Space technology, complete with handy scientific laws, necessary tech, and reference manuals.
Astronomy information, about planets, cool questions about water and life elsewhere in the universe, and theoretical situations like playing sports on the moon.
There’s a ton of info on here, if you can brave the asterisk page breaks and pages of bolded text. Use it wisely.