Setting the Narrative in Politics and Defining the Future

One of my business mentors once told me that “to win” you must be the first to establish the argument (setting the opposition up to be on the defensive), to choose the terminology (so that they are using your words as defined by you), and to keep the dialog going until you get the answer or resolution you want (even if that is just establishing the narrative the way you want it to read in the future).

I have seen this play out time and again in the business and academic realms, and I am now seeing it play out on a national level in politics. So, from this point forward, I refuse to use terminology that is misleading and that softens the actual events that have occurred.

Words have Meaning.
Statements have Consequences.

This means that EVERY time I see a new incident citing “alternative facts” or outright falsehoods, I will repost it with the words “This is a LIE.” because I refuse to promote the use of terms that will lead to confusion in the future or the softening of the seriousness of what has been done/said.

One example of this is the use of the term Obamacare. There is nothing called Obamacare. There is no law or statute that says Obamacare. This is a term that the Republicans concocted and it has negative connotations because there are a lot of people who do not like the idea of the government providing assistance to the poor, they don’t like the idea of a black man being President, and they don’t like feeling as if they are “paying” for someone else’s healthcare. The result is that Obamacare makes a large number of people upset and they want it repealed.

48853031 - stock imgage doctor in surgery examining little girlHowever, the Affordable Care Act is much more well received. It’s a positive term. It makes people feel like they have a realistic health plan alternative, it makes them feel like the recipient is paying for the health care and not just leaching off of the government, and it makes people feel like their existing health issues will not go untreated if they have to change insurance providers.

Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are the same thing. One is positive and one is negative. The Republicans had a big meeting to discuss how to dismantle Obamacare and to tie it’s demise to the Democrats. They also agreed to keep the negatives of Obamacare in the public eye so that the Republicans didn’t get tied to the loss or dismantling of the Affordable Care Act because that would look bad for the Republican Party. You’ll notice that they talk about repealing Obamacare and replacing the Affordable Care Act with something better. It’s a very subtle manipulation of words and meanings. This keeps the negative/Democrat/Obamacare words together while also pairing the positive/Republican/Affordable Care Act words together.

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This is just one example of how the Republicans have been masterful in defining the arguments and the terminology in our current political sphere. They are doing the same thing with “Alternative Facts.” So, regardless of WHO is making up false terminology and facts, I am going to call them on it because I am choosing to put Nation above Party in this instance and I do not want false narratives to continue to take root because a year or two from now, many people won’t remember what was real or false without looking it up.

So, please, help me in ending the term Obamacare and help me by posting the word “lie” when you repost notes that include “alternative facts”… because they aren’t a true alternative. They are false.

Posted in Activism, politics | 1 Comment

Raising My Voice

Yesterday, I went to the Marblehead Town Clerk’s office to find out when I could pick up the paperwork to run for town selectman. I’ll admit to being a little nervous as I parked outside of the Town Hall and walked inside the building. I even had two faint little voices in the back of my head that were arguing with each other. One was saying, “They’ll never believe this is why you’re here. You look and act too young.” The other voice was a bit more cynical as it said, “There will be so many people running that you won’t stand a chance. Give up now.”

The good thing is that these are voices that I have heard all of my life, being a girl and being a girl who grew up in low income housing, raised by a single mom who struggled to keep food on the table and the lights turned “on.” I heard those little warring voices as well when I moved across the country on my own in order to get my college degree when I was 29 years old. I heard those voices when I applied to grad school, when I published my first book, when I interviewed to work at MIT. Those little voices used to be giant booming sounds when I was younger and kept me from doing many things I could have achieved, but was too afraid to try. Now, “my” voice is a booming voice and it drowns out those faint little worries that try to keep me from moving forward out of fear and self-doubt. I simply won’t be held back any longer. In fact, I haven’t been held back for a long time, and I have achieved some pretty incredible things in my life.

So, I opened the door to the Town Clerk’s office. The staff was really nice and very welcoming. Unfortunately, the paperwork wouldn’t be available until February 1st, but I can pick it up anytime after they open. Yes, I’ll be back on February 1st at 8:00 am sharp.

I’m also in the process of setting up a fairly simply website for my political candidacy and my political future. I’m no cookie cutter politician nor am I a career activist, and while I am a registered Democrat and a liberal, I have a wide variety of beliefs and political interests that don’t always fall neatly within political buckets. So, I may set up my web page to reflect “me” and my politics rather than just the party to which I belong.

One of the things that I am still trying to decide is what to do with this blog, which I am using to talk about various activities that I enjoy as well as random political thoughts. However, the rashness and brashness of the current President and his cabinet has become extremely upsetting for me and for many, many Americans. I feel like our country is reeling out of control and too many people are in the “wait and see” mode while others simply don’t know what to do … and then there are those who agree with everything that is happening and support it despite the chaos and destruction. I do not like anarchy and that’s what I feel taking root.

We are at a turning point. We either need to turn toward a brighter future or we will head off in the wrong direction, careening headlong down a dark and dangerous path. We must all do what we can to ensure the safety and security of our communities, country, and world. Whether it’s a phone call, making a contribution to a group, or showing up in person, we must all raise our own voices to be heard and to make lasting change for a brighter future.

Posted in politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Dream, My Past, and a Look Toward the Future

[A quick reminder that this is no longer just a book blog that talks about science fiction and fantasy literature. You are welcome to unsubscribe at anytime.]

I woke from a dream last night that felt so real that I swear I could feel the grass on my feet and the mist on my face. It was incredible and terrifying. While I can’t remember most of it, the ending is still vividly clear.

I got into an elevator with a group of people as we all tried to escape to the surface. We still had a lot of room in our elevator car, but the others choose to go up a stairwell that was just there for decoration and was a dead end. The elevator door closed as I called out, “Why aren’t they getting in?”

When we arrived at the surface, everyone ran out of the elevator to safety, but I stayed behind in this grassy field that was filled with hundreds of other people who were sorting themselves into groups. I was growing increasingly nervous because I didn’t fit into any of the groups. So, I stayed behind in the big open field as they went to find shelter.

The sky was dark now with mist blocking out the stars, but the moon still burned brightly enough for me to see shapes flying in the air, headed toward the direction I had come. Then a group of people came out of the shadows, a large group, who were organized and running toward the same direction as the planes shaped like witches. In the middle of that group, leading the people, was my real-life coworker DLo.

I called out to her as I joined them.  “Look,” I shouted. “It’s like Mordor!”

Above the tops of the buildings in front of us, in the direction that they were running, was a fire so large that it painted the night sky with shades of orange and yellow. DLo smiled at me and said, “People need help.”

I nodded and ran along side her.

Yes. This was just a dream, but it is clearly my subconscious finding a way to talk to me and to help me process current events. I grew up very poor and had some bad things happen in my life that left me feeling raw and victimized as a child. However, there were two things in my early life that kept me moving forward and gave me hope.14566763 - usa betsy ross flag

The first thing was Mrs. Goff’s 7th grade American history class in which I learned about the American Revolution. I heard about people escaping their homelands because of religious persecution, people who came to this new land called “America” in order to start a new life where they could live in peace with others from different countries and different religious backgrounds without the fear of being hurt. (It wasn’t until later that I learned what happened to the native people who were here first.) I read the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and The Constitution, and HOPE blazed inside of me like a beacon. I was a 7th generation Californian, I came from immigrants from all over Europe, and I believed in the American Dream.

52479868 - illustration digital painting dragon huntingThe second thing was the discovery of science fiction and fantasy when I was in 5th grade. Let me tell you now that in the late 70s and 80s, it was not easy to be a geek girl. I would often hide my books so that people wouldn’t know what I was reading, but those stories were invaluable in helping to build my character and teach me right from wrong. My mom worked 2-3 jobs for most of my childhood just to put food on the table, and my dad was nowhere to be seen. So, instead, I was raised by adults like Gandalf, Ben Kenobi, and King Arthur while my best friends were princes, fighter pilots, minstrels, rogues, and aliens — all of whom were fighting to save the world from evil. They often sacrificed themselves for the greater good in order to bring down evil overlords, emperors, and kings.

So, when you blend these two things together you’ll see that I was raised with hope despite the desperate conditions of my early life and I have been trained to think critically and smartly about how to help people and why that’s important. In fact, I often say science fiction and fantasy saved my life, and now it’s my time to pay that favor forward by helping others.

The recent political climate in the United States is such that “hope” is being assaulted and the very beacon of light that has always attracted people here is under threat. To refuse people who are suffering under threat of death (or worse) the opportunity to escape from political persecution and the savagery of war is the antithesis of everything this country was founded on and it erodes the pillars upon which our society stands.

44266935 - copy of ""washington crossing the delaware"" by emanuel leutzeAll of these things, along with a deep-seated desire from my childhood to go into public service, are working together to change me. So, on Monday morning, I am going to the Marblehead Town Hall to pick up papers and find out what I need to do in order to run for Town Selectman.

It’s a small step, but an important one for me. I love my town and I love my state of Massachusetts, where I have lived for the last 14 years. I believe there are ways that I can help to change things for the better on a local level. Truly, I am just a regular, ordinary person. Over the years, I have worked hard and sacrificed to get where I am today, and I am sure my path is not done yet. A shift has taken place in my life, and I have found my voice and my place in the future.

This year, I will run for Town Selectman of Marblehead. Next year, well, we’ll just have to see where the future leads…

Posted in Activism, Personal, politics | 3 Comments

Journey Planet: Boskone is Here!!! (Available 12/31/16)

jp-boskone-page-01_origWhat is Journey Planet: Boskone? It is a fantastic new fanzine published in December 2016 by the Hugo Award-winning Journey Planet and this issue features Boskone through the years!

When I agreed to chair the 54th Boskone convention, I really wanted to do something special to share and to celebrate Boskone, its history, and fandom with as many people as possible…especially people who may not be able to journey to Boston for a winter convention.

That’s when the idea for Journey Planet: Boskone was born! I reached out to Journey Planet’s regular editors James Bacon and Chris Garcia with my idea to do a Boskone themed edition of the fanzine. They loved the idea and invited me to be the Guest Editor. So, I jumped at the chance, pulling in author and graphic designer Errick Nunnally to pitch in and help out.

The real beauty of Journey Planet: Boskone is that it is very much like a convention in a box…or a convention in a PDF fanzine to be more accurate! 🙂 This amazing fanzine celebrates the past 53 Boskone conventions and features a variety of reprinted guest introductions, cover images, and other historic tidbits from past Boskone Souvenir Books for you to enjoy.

With Boskone 54 coming up in February 2017, I hope you enjoy this edition of Journey Planet: Boskone that reflects Boskone’s unique personality, spirit, and style. If you are not able to attend Boskone this year, hopefully this special fanzine will provide a little mid-winter fannish fun for you to enjoy.

Special thanks to all of our contributors, to Boskone, and to Tony & Suford Lewis for access to their complete collection of Boskone Souvenir Books. YOU have all helped to make this fanzine possible. Thank you!!!

SIGNAL BOOST: Please feel free to share Journey Planet: Boskone with anyone who might enjoy it. If you have any questions, please let me know.

  • Journey Planet: Boskone
  • Publication Date: December 31, 2016
  • Guest Editor: Erin Underwood
  • Designer: Errick Nunnally
  • Available: Online as a free PDF
  • Publisher: Journey Planet
  • Executive Editors: James Bacon & Chris Garcia
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Thoughts on How Winners Lose and Losers Win

As previously mentioned, I’m thinking through some things in regard to politics and our political system. The one thing that keeps sticking out like a sore thumb is the fact that a presidential nominee can lose the race and still receive the highest number of popular votes by the electorate. What is the point of voting, if your vote doesn’t count, and that’s the feeling a lot of people have right now.

This is the second time in only 16 years that a candidate has lost the Presidency despite having won the popular vote. There were two other instances in 1801 and 1824 when none of the candidates receive the required number of Electoral College votes, primarily because there were strong 3rd party candidates running. So, the vote was sent to the Senate to choose the President. (This is a very simplified version of how the voting process works.)

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However, in today’s political climate, it is highly unlikely for a 3rd party candidate to ever win the Presidency. If the vote goes to the Senate, the majority party in the Senate will choose their party’s candidate, and that is a forgone conclusion. This outcome is a combination of simple math and party politics. I believe that this is why both Trump and Sanders chose to join one of the two major political parties in order to mount an effective campaign. They knew they had no chance to win outside of the two party system.

As a regular citizen, I personally found it strange that both the Republican and Democratic Parties accepted these two candidates just so that they could have a chance of becoming President. Frankly, I don’t think the Republicans knew how to get rid of Trump because of their political structure paired with the fact that he became a lightning rod for a large portion of their base who desperately wanted change. However, the Democrats have a much tighter political structure, and (my personal feeling is) they did not want a third party candidate using their platform in order to run for president. So, they voted for Clinton. Again, this is a much more complicated process than the simplistic way that I have described it here, but I think this sums up how we arrived at a Trump vs. Clinton election in 2016.

Now, back to my original point. Twice in the last 16 years, the Presidential nominee with the highest number of popular votes lost the election because of how the Electoral College votes are distributed to the states. More people wanted Clinton, her policies, and the path that was set by President Obama. As a result, she received nearly 1,000,000 more votes than Trump. That is a lot of votes!

Yet, Clinton lost. Not because we didn’t want her and not because she didn’t receive the highest number of votes. She lost because of an outdated mechanism that was written into the voting process for our elections — a mechanism that has proven to elect the second most popular candidate and a mechanism that effectively eliminates any potential for a 3rd party to win the Presidency. That means the kind of change people want just isn’t possible.

While I don’t want to be hasty, in saying that it is time to end the Electoral College, I do think it is important that the President-Elect receive a majority of the votes cast by the electorate. The emerging pattern of Presidential losses caused by the Electoral College is disturbing. This rule was created to help us choose a candidate when there was no clear winner. However, it is now caused us to elect the runner up, not once, but twice in fewer than two decades. This is one of the primary reasons that the people who voted for Hillary Clinton are so upset. Their candidate WON the popular vote and still lost.

True change within a democratic system comes with fair rules and equality in the voting system, and the Electoral College may have outlived its original purpose and could now be causing more harm than good as people begin to distrust the process and outcome. However, if we were to get rid of the Electoral College, we may end up with something worse. Perhaps we just need to adjust it to more accurately reflect the voting public’s choice.

I am not sure of the answer here, but I do believe that it’s important for us to think about these things and for people who voted for Trump to empathize with the frustration that Hillary voters have in losing the election despite having nearly a million more votes. Quite simply, it does feel like a rigged system, and I hate saying that since it was one of Trump’s favorite lines when he thought he might lose.

2016-dems-repsSo, please remember that a Trump Presidency was not a mandate by the people, endorsing his policies. He lost the popular vote. In other words, more people voted against him than for him in 2016:

  • Hillary = 61,279,925 Votes
  • Hillary + 3rd Party = 68,287,994 Votes
  • Trump = 60,586,111 Votes

Trump’s win is not the American people’s endorsement of his Presidency, his policies, and his choices. Therefore, we must remain vigilant and protect the policies and practices that a majority of American’s actually desires. This is not something we can do every 4 years. We need to participate much more actively on a regular basis.

Posted in Activism, politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

An Update on the Underwords Press Blog aka My Blog

I have not been using this blog very often due to lack of time and a change of focus. I’ve still been writing and publishing, but I have also been learning how to run fan conventions like Boskone and Worldcon. My latest anthology, The Grimm Future, is now an eBook, I’m chairing this year’s Boskone, and I’m trying to figure out what comes next.

I VotedThe whole “figuring out what comes next” is what brings me to writing this blog post. I still plan to write, publish, and plan conventions. However, after this election, I also plan to become politically active in the service of women, minorities, and the poor. I am not happy about the election results and I am struggling to come to terms with having Donald Trump as our next President.

I don’t have a TARDIS or a Time Turner. I can’t go back to change the result or do things differently. Instead, I can only move forward and protect our country against the damage that is likely to be done with Trump as a President. The election has changed something in me. It has galvanized me, changing me from victim to something more. So, I’m going to over share here to help you understand why this change is happening.

I was raped as a teenager, I was sexually abused as a child, and I was sexually harassed at work in my twenties — all by different men. I also dealt with all manner of other sexist remarks from catcalls to being told that I couldn’t be a fighter pilot in the Air Force because I was female. A college recruiter also told me that my family was too poor to attend his college. I was also hired because I was pretty and my boss liked my look despite the more qualified candidates.

When these things happened, I was young and scared. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself because the few times that I tried, the results were not good. So, I just kept it all inside of me. I got tough. I learned how to fight and I learned how to write. I protected myself and have been very careful about what I say publicly as well as how I say it.

This election changed me. I am not a victim. I am going to fight for women, for minorities, and for the poor in any way that I can…even if it’s only through words on my blog. However, I plan to go beyond the role of blogger and to become an activist in these areas. I want to let you know this now because I want you to have the opportunity to unsubscribe from my blog, if these are posts that you don’t want to receive.

Yes, I will still blog about science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I will still write about books and conventions. However, I will also voice my opinion and share my experiences…and you may not want to be a part of that. I am tired of being half of a person online. So, I will be sharing and over sharing upon occasion. You don’t have to agree with me, and I don’t have to agree with you. However, I will not be silent or silenced. I’m done being quiet about issues that need to be pulled out from under the rug where we have left them for so very long.

As I get myself moving on this front, I’d love to hear about groups, organizations, and people who would align with my goals. I have a lot of research to do on how to be most effective, and I would deeply appreciate any suggestions — even if I am not able to take them all.

Also, if you don’t agree with my choices or you have unkind things to say about this post, I will delete your comment. This is not a post for those kinds of comments and I ask you to respect my choice. Again, you are welcome to unsubscribe from this blog, if these topics are uncomfortable for you.

Posted in Activism, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“The Grimm Future” is now an eBook

At Boskone 53, NESFA Press introduced its new hardcover science fiction anthology The Grimm Future, edited by me. 🙂 NESFA Press received a number of requests for an ebook, which is now available to purchase online for $9.95 at:

GrimmDJ-Front-FINAL

Book Description:

Blending fresh new science fiction with a futuristic dash of magic, The Grimm Future is a unique anthology of reimagined Grimm fairy tales from some of today’s most exciting authors—along with the original stories that inspired them. The Grimm Future examines our humanity and what that term might come to mean through the eyes of future generations as society advances into an age when technology consumes nearly every aspect of our lives or has ultimately changed life as we know it. How might these timeless stories evolve? Given the relentless onrush of technology, there is even greater need for fairy tales and Grimm magic in our future. Read on!

Table of Contents:

  • “Introduction” by Erin Underwood
  • “Pair of Ugly Stepsisters, Three of a Kind” by Garth Nix, based upon multiple Grimm fairy tales, including “Little Brother and Little Sister,” “Rapunzel,” “Little Red-Cap,” and “Cinderella”
  • “The Iron Man” by Max Gladstone, based upon “Iron John”
  • “Zel and Grets” by Maura McHugh, based upon “Hansel & Gretel”
  • “For Want of a Nail” by Sandra McDonald & Stephen D. Covey, based upon “The Nail”
  • “The Shroud” by Dan Wells, based upon “The Shroud”
  • “Long-Term Employment” by Mike Resnick, based upon “Death’s Messengers”
  • “Swan Dive” by Nancy Holder, based upon “The Six Swans”
  • “The White Rat” by Dana Cameron, based upon “The White Snake”
  • “Origins” by Carlos Hernandez, based upon “The Star-Talers”
  • “Angie Taylor in: Peril Beneath the Earth’s Crust” by John Langan, based upon “The Brave Little Tailor”
  • “The Three Snake-Leaves” by Jeffrey Ford, based upon “The Three Snake-Leaves”
  • “The Madman’s Ungrateful Child” by Peadar Ă“ GuillĂ­n, based upon “The Bremen Town-Musicians”
  • “Stories of the Trees, Stories of the Birds, Stories of the Bones” by Kat Howard, based upon “The Juniper Tree”
  • “Be Still, and Listen” by Seanan McGuire, based upon “Little Briar-Rose”
Posted in Books and Literature, Science Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment

Free Comic Book Day is Awesome!

IMG_4657There is this thing in the comic book industry that is pure gold…and it’s called Free Comic Book Day. On that special day, comic book shops in a bunch of different countries designate certain comic books to give away for free. They even bring in authors, artists, colorists, editors, publishers, etc. to sign the comic books and to talk to fans. Okay, it sounds a little crazy to just give a bunch of comic books away for free, buy truly…Free Comic Book Day is true genius.

On Sunday, May 8th, I decided to pop into my local comic book shop in Salem, MA. Harrison’s Comics & Pop Culture is a pretty big store with lots of variety.The staff is also very knowledgeable and helpful.

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Harrison’s is also well-kept, bright, and clean. There’s a game room down stairs, and you can literally get lost for hours wandering from rack to rack looking as comics, posters, and toys.

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I really wasn’t planning to buy anything, but while I was there, I found some great comics that I just had to have in addition to the freebies.

One of the freebies was the PREVIEWS comic magazine for the “DC Universe Rebirth” series that will be launching soon, which will also include the new Wonder Woman comic book series by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott Art, and Paulo Siqueira.

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Regarding the Wonder Woman “Rebirth” series, the story, the art, and the coloring all look amazing. It comes out in June 2016 and should be fantastic. There are a bunch of other articles, artwork, etc in the PREVIEWS issue. It’s literally packed with every superhero that is going to be part of the “Rebirth” series. I’m definitely thrilled to have picked this up!

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Some of the other comics that I bought include the new Dresden Files comic (which should be fun!), Lock & Key #1 by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodrigues (which only cost $1), and a couple of Justice League of America comics that (I admit) I bought because I loved the old skool art work on the covers, which feature my favorite girl–“Wonder Woman.” All in all, a very good day!

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Harrison’s also has a fantastic Star Wars section, which I spent far too much time perusing. I would have liked to see more options that feature Rey, but I have a feeling that once the film trilogy is done, we’ll see more Rey stories in the Star Wars comics and novels.

…and they also have a great selection of Doctor Who comics!

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I am hoping that the trend will catch on with book stores. I think it would be great for bookstores to do a Free Book Day in which they give away stuff for free to help promote reading, books, etc. Plus, anything to encourage people to come into a bookstore rather than buying online is a good thing.

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If you managed to pick up a few comics at your local shop on Free Comic Book Day, let me know what you picked up. I’d love to see what you got!

Did you find any favorites? Did you get anything signed? What comic book shop did you end up visiting? I want to know!

Posted in Comics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Come to Boskone (Feb 19-21, 2016) in Boston, MA!

Hey Everyone! The Underwords Blog has been quiet for awhile, and I am taking this moment to break the silence and share with you one of the projects that I have been working on over the last six months. BOSKONE!!!

As you may (or may not) know, I also help to plan and organize science fiction and fantasy conventions. The one I love most is Boskone, which takes place in Boston, MA from February 19-21, 2016 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel.

If you love books, movies, games, and anything connected to science fiction or fantasy, you should consider coming to Boskone this year. We have have a fantastic line up of Guests as well as over 150 other authors, artists, musicians, scientists, and publishers who are coming…and it is going to be a fantastic event.

Online registration is open through midnight on Saturday, February 13, 2016. So, if you want to save some time, definitely take a moment now to register online. However, if you miss the window, you can still buy your membership at the door.

Membership Registration Information:

Full Weekend Rates
Adult Full Convention: $65
College Student Full Convention: $40*
K-12 Full Convention: $25*

One Day Rates
Friday One Day: $25
Saturday One Day: $45
Sunday One Day: $25

* Valid school ID may be required.

Boskone’s Signature Evening Events Include:

Boskone Reception & Meet the Guests: Step it up, and join us in the Galleria for an upscale social mixer where with Boskone’s Guests and program participants. Come meet this year’s guests:

  • Guest of Honor:  Garth Nix
  • Official Artists: Richard Anderson
  • Special Guests: Arnie & Cathy Fenner
  • Featured Filkers: Vixy & Tony
  • NESFA Guest: Bob Eggleton

The Videri String Quartet will be performing in the galleria from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM! Cash bar available. (Friday)

Featured Filkers Concert with Vixy & Tony: Vixy & Tony (disguised by day as Michelle Dockrey, mild-mannered officemouse, and Tony Fabris, mild-mannered codemonkey) are award-winning musicians with an easygoing style, catchy songs, accessible lyrics, and energetic performances — enjoyed by both SF fans and mainstream music enthusiasts alike. (Friday)Noir at the Bar

Noir at the Bar – Special Edition: Noir at the Bar is a popular literary series that has “sprung up all over the country.” Boston’s Noir at the Bar series comes to Boskone on February 19th for a special night of readings, fun, and prizes with our noir, crime, mystery, and horror writers.

Hosted by Chris Irvin and Errick Nunnally. Cash bar available. (Friday)

Boskone Book Party: Join the party, buy books, grab some swag, and have a fantastic time adding new material from nearly 20 of your favorite Boskone authors to your bookshelf.

Publishers and authors come together to in the Galleria to share what’s new since last year. This year NESFA Press is also launching two anthologies: The Grimm Future, edited by Erin Underwood, and Conspiracy!, edited by Tom Easton and Judith K. Dial.  (Saturday)

Boskone Rapid-Fire Theater and NESFA Awards Ceremony: Tonight’s presentation: a fast-paced theatrical extravaganza, featuring a set of mini-shows that resemble live-action “podcast experiments.” This special Saturday night program has something for everyfan. We hope you’re entertained, amused, soothed, gratified, provoked, intrigued, informed, or if possible all of the above in swift succession. Hosted by Boskone’s very own David G. Grubbs. (Saturday)

  • Music with Vixy & Tony.
  • NESFA Awards Presentation: The New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) presents its annual Skylark and Gaughan Awards as well as the winner of the NESFA Short Story Contest.
  • The Wesley Chu Interview.
  • At the Movies with Boskone (Dan Kimmel and Garen Daly)
  • Mystery Radio Play (Bruce Coville, David Grubbs, Bob Kuhn, Laurie Mann, Melinda Snodgrass).

Superhero Open MicSuperhero Open Mic: Kapow! Live from Boskone … enjoy the knock-out stylings of our program participants and audience members who share their open mic skills in the first-ever Superhero Open Mic. Each person gives his/her best 5-minute superhero performance – story, poem, song, skit, interpretive dance, or whatever! OPTIONAL: For extra appeal, feel free to come dressed as a superhero! Cash bar available.

THE RULES: Boskone members are invited to join our participants in the open mic by signing up for one of the eight open slots at the door to the event, which opens for sign-ups at 8:30 pm. Each performer is given a firm 5-minute time limit (max), including set-up time. So a quick transition between acts is key. (Saturday)

In addition to these signature events, we also have over 350 other program items . . . and much, much more! You can view the Boskone 53 Program Schedule here.

We also have more than 150 amazing writers, artists, publishers, scientists, and editors coming back to Boskone. Some of our program participants include:

Ginjer Buchanan, Wesley Chu, Neil Clarke, C.S.E. Cooney, Bruce Coville, Gardner Dozois, Brendan DuBois, Esther Friesner, Charles Gannon, David Gerrold, Christopher Golden, Theodora Goss, Joe Hill, James Patrick Kelly, Thomas Kidd, Flourish Klink, John Langan, Ken Liu, Darlene Marshall, Cerece Rennie Murphy, E.C. Myers, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Robert Sawyer, Melinda Snodgrass, Charles Stross, Django Wexler, Fran Wilde, Gary K. Wolf, Walter Jon Williams, Brianna Spacekat Wu, and E. Lily Yu.

You can view the full list of program participants here.

AN INCREDIBLE ART PROGRAM AND ART SHOW!

Bob Eggleton doing an art demo.

This year’s Art Show is truly amazing, featuring work by our Official Artist Richard Anderson, a retrospective by NESFA Press Guest Bob Eggleton, and a Spectrum inspired exhibit in honor of our Special Guests Arnie & Cathy Fenner (organized by Edie Stern and Joe Siclari), which includes work by more than 35 artists that spans more than 20 years of speculative art.

There are also dozens of speculative art program items, demos, and discussions. In addition, we also have a number of artists who are attending as program participants as well as members this year, including Tommy Arnold, Rick Berry, Kristina Carroll, Scott Grimando, Stephen Hickman, Ingrid Kallick, Tom Kidd, Gary Lippincott, Sheeba Maya, Omar Rayyan, Ruth Sanderson, Dave Seeley and many others!

There is so much more to share, but let me finish by saying…. I love this convention and I am so happy to be able to share it with you. If you’re going to be in Boston, MA from February 19-21, 2016, it would be awesome to see you there.

Remember to register for Boskone! You can either buy your membership online by midnight on Saturday, February 13, 2016 or you can buy your membership in person at the convention.

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Surreal Time Press Reviews GEEK THEATER – The Complete Collection

[Mirrored from the Underwords Press website.]

surrealtimespressIn what is turning out to be one of the most fascinating reviews that I have seen done in a very long time, Surreal Time Press (STP) is publishing a complete set of reviews that feature each play within Geek Theater. It is really quite stunning when someone takes the time and initiative to put together a project like this (all on their own), and it is more than a little humbling. I think, putting it quite bluntly, that this is an editor’s dream. Clearly, STP isn’t going to be enamored of every play and will find things to critique. That’s just how reviews work. However, it’s truly amazing that they have taken the time to sit down and parse each play, pulling out the good and the bad, and then putting it all online for everyone to see.

This list of reviews is currently incomplete as the process is still ongoing, but I will post links to the new review as they are made available. I offer my sincere thanks to STP for this amazing series of reviews for Geek Theater.

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 1: INTRODUCTION
http://surrealtimepress.com/2014/12/18/geek-theater-review-part-1-introduction/
Introduction by Jen Gunnels and Erin Underwood

“If there ever was a moment for a collection of plays like Geek Theater: Fifteen Plays by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers, this is it. The recently published volume has been carefully curated by editors Jen Gunnels and Erin Underwood to celebrate the current proliferation of “geek” related content in theater. As a New York theater critic, I have had the great privilege of witnessing this invasion of geek genres and ideas first hand over the last ten years … In the tradition of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, the plays collected in Geek Theater keep the big ticket special effects mostly off-stage and instead find their stories in the human moments and mind-blowing ideas in the spaces between. I’m fascinated and invigorated by the idea that while mindless effects-laden movies are becoming common in Hollywood, the pure science fiction of the mind lives on and thrives in live theater.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 2: MISSION TO MARS
http://surrealtimepress.com/2014/12/23/geek-theater-review-part-2-mission-to-mars/
Mission to Mars by Jeanne Beckwith

“The ending is masterful.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 3: FOR THE LIVING
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/01/07/geek-theater-review-part-3-for-the-living/
For the Living by Chie-Hoon Lee

“It kind of blew my mind.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 4: THE REST OF THE SHORT PLAYS
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/01/14/geek-theater-review-part-4-the-rest-of-the-short-plays/
Rapunzel’s Haircut by Cecil Castellucci

“Fractured or post-modern fairytales are certain nothing new, so it’s admirable that despite the murder and brainwashing, Castellucci pries out of this old fairy tale a compellingly modern concept about love in the discussion of Rapunzel’s two suitors.”

The Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly

“Kelly’s story works because it is driven by character.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 5: CONSIDER THE SERVICES OF THE DEPARTED
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/03/30/geek-theater-review-part-5-consider-the-services-of-the-departed/
Consider the Services of the Departed by F. Brett Cox

“Delivered by a non-gender specific speaker in formal attire, Cox’s script is instead brisk and bracingly funny, correlating the shuffling deceased with the plight of the migrant worker – why not let them rise from their graves and do the jobs that nobody wants to do?”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 6: THE ZOMBIES OF MONTROSE
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/01/geek-theater-review-part-6-the-zombies-of-montrose/
The Zombies of Montrose by James Morrow

“We are in refreshingly new territory.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 6: THE ZOMBIES OF MONTROSE
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/01/geek-theater-review-part-6-the-zombies-of-montrose/
The Zombies of Montrose by James Morrow

“We are in refreshingly new territory.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW – PART 7: THE CLOCKWORK COMRADE
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/03/geek-theater-review-part-7-the-clockwork-comrade/
The Clockwork Comrade by Carlos Hernandez

“I never knew I wanted a story about a talking grandfather clock meeting Castro, but this play is so charming and unique that it completely won me over.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW — PART 8: THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF LONG TERM MEMORY
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/13/geek-theater-review-part-8-the-long-and-the-short-of-long-term-memory/
The Long and the Short of Long Term Memory by Cecil Castellucci

“I feel like the tremendous little piece of stagecraft with the hand raising sells the whole thing.”

GEEK THEATER REVIEW — PART 9: GEEK!
http://surrealtimepress.com/2015/04/21/geek-theater-review-part-9-geek/
GEEK! By Crystal Skillman

“There’s a good chance you’ll be won over before you even get to the actual script for Crystal Skillman’s play GEEK!”

~

Links to each new review will be posted here.

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