Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July Christian SF/F Blog Tour - Day 2

Today continues the SF/F blog tour featuring Christian Fandom , which was begun by a group of Christian fans who met at SF/F conventions back in the 80's. I've been to exactly 2 such conventions myself, both also back in the 80's, though at the time I did not know Christian Fandom even existed. My first convention was the World Fantasy Con in Tucson, which I attended with Kathy Tyers before Firebird ever saw print. In fact, the book was under consideration at the time by an editor at Bantam Books who also happened to be present at the conference. Kathy was dying to meet with her, but worried she might seem too forward if she just went up and introduced herself. Finally on the last night at the awards banquet, she gathered up her courage and did it, and the editor was very happy she did. Shortly after that, Bantam contracted her for Firebird.

The next year (or more likely a couple years later -- my memory is vague) we attended the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) at the convention center in Phoenix, an even bigger con than the WFC because it included all genres, not just Fantasy and Horror.

The things I most remember: riding the elevator with Imperial storm troopers; the woman at the buffet wearing a bikini made of chain mail (ouch! and brrr!); an author whose first book had just been released and been included in the packet they gave to all attendees, who I thought might be on crack, but have since decided was more probably on a first-book-release high... There was also a panel of learned research scientists, one of whom made the startling revelation that when she was conducting her experiments she would often get an epiphany of what the result of the experiment should be/was and would "bend" the data to support it. I sat in gape-mouthed astonishment. You mean... you aren't objectively evaluating the data after you've collected it as they taught us in all our science classes? Nope. And she wasn't the only one. Numerous heads nodded agreement and approval throughout the room.

I passed Dean Koontz in the hallway back when he still had his mustache, and at the second con, when Kathy had passed into the vaunted realm of published writer but I had not, I got to observe and experience what it's like to be a potted plant. Whenever we would meet new people, their eyes would drop at once to my nametag, and seeing it had no "author" ribbon would move immediately to the next person without saying a word or even looking at my face. Only when they found the "author" ribbon would they stop and show any interest at all. It happened again and again. I don't recall it actually bothering me, being more amazed and amused by it than anything. Yes, I was somewhat naive... Anyway, there were lots of fascinating panel discussions on writing and such, a competition of incredibly elaborate costumes, and famous people appearing in the halls when you least expected it... overall it was fun, exciting, and absolutely crazy, but in many ways also very intimidating.

In a more serious vein (ahem), yesterday I mentioned that the Christian Fandom site has a number of interviews of Christian authors, agents and artists posted, and one I have found to be especially interesting is that of my agent, Steve Laube. Steve was formerly a Christian bookstore manager, then a top editor at Bethany House (he was the one who persuaded them to buy Arena and the Legends of the Guardian-King books) and now has gone on to become an agent. Obviously he has a lot of experience and knowledge about the industry, its roots, its pitfalls and how it works. He also loves speculative fiction and to say he is widely read in the genre is an understatement. In this interview he talks about fantasy and sf in particular, his role as agent, how the genre was doing in the industry at the time and why it struggles -- remarks that remain applicable to today's market. I found it a fascinating interview. You can find that one HERE.

When you're done with that, check out what these other bloggers on the tour have to say about the Christian Fandom site and Christian SF & Fantasy:

Valerie Comer, Kameron Franklin, Beth Goddard, Rebecca Grabill, Leathel Grody, Elliot Hanowski, Katie Hart, Sherrie Hibbs, Sharon Hinck, Pamela James, Tina Kulesa, Shannon McNear , Rebecca LuElla Miller, Mirtika Schultz, Stuart Stockton, Steve Trower, Speculative Faith