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When she’d been deposited via interdimensional dragon torrent in the mountain meadow where she mourned her mother, Princess Ascendant Soleil gathered her senses as she gathered her atoms. Beginning with light footsteps down the trail, she made her way towards her home city on the horizon.

Plans had gone in advance with her friends, to set in motion for her. She’d be able to find out quickly which of them, if any, had opened up, and what she could do from there. Approaching her old neighborhoods, she disguised herself with her dragongift, to maintain her situational autonomy. If there was anything left for her to do from the shadows, she could only do it there. She looked like a hiker, just a hiker. Illusions that are partly true are easier to maintain.

Upon accessing the system, Soleil found that some of her calling cards had been received and acknowledged. This meant there were some people who’d agreed to expedite her into their books through a back door. These stones might only be good to land on once, but there they hovered in midair.

“Let’s start with brunch,” Soleil said, smiling over a com to a kindred spirit. “A lot needs to happen very quickly, and I want the whole day ahead of me.”

Margeaux Rienne’s voice patched through the earpiece at minimized volume. “This is feasible. It’ll be a pleasure working with you again.” She kept all her spoken terms generally ambiguous, keeping context as subtext like the elite partner in crime she’d always been.

“My only regret is that we couldn’t have begun this venture sooner.”

WorldCon 80 / ChiCon 8 Schedule

I’m thrilled about this rich, juicy, officialized, WorldCon record 14-item program they have lined up for me at this year’s WorldCon 80 in Chicago, ChiCon 8. Feeling like a heavy hitter! Norwescon had me on for 13, so this might be a record paneling high for my whole convention career. For virtual attendees, my reading will be broadcast over Airmeet.

A mix of central topics and delightful diversions, I’m also honored to be sharing panels with childhood bookshelf hero Tamora Pierce, Seanan McGuire, Todd Gallowglas, Jeffe Kennedy, KM Herkes, and an entire solid pantheon of creative luminaries. Yes, someone at my local venue called me a luminary, and I’m still glowing over it. I also suspect that my reputation now precedes me, and someone may actually be reading my books.


Death Be Not Proud: Character Demises That Killed Us
Many deaths of beloved characters may propel story, but often they can feel squandered or haphazard. Simultaneously, well-written deaths rip our hearts out every time. Is there a “right” way to exit a character? Are there wrong ways—like “fridging”? Experts will look at how gender and race tends to influence how individuals are killed in speculative TV shows and movies, and examine what sorts of shows show death in all of its gory details, while others let us assume someone has died without showing anything.
Crystal Ballroom B Thursday, September 1, 2022, 1:00 PM CDT

Terraforming and Alien Life
If we terraform a planet, what happens to the living things that evolved there? Would an “Earth-like” planet have living things we could live alongside? How might Earth life integrate into an alien ecology? This panel will contemplate the ecological impacts of making another planet more Earth-like.
Regency Ballroom D Thursday, September 1, 2022, 4:00 PM CDT

The Hero’s Journey for All Genders
Modern hero journeys are not created equal. Male heroic journeys often start with a scrappy underdog who comes into his own, while modern women’s heroic journeys hone in on their being acknowledged for power they already possess. How do journeys between male, female, and nonbinary characters differ? How is race a factor? How are they different in modern TV and film representations than pre-1990s? Are these gendered journeys mere cliché? What are some recent and historical examples that break the mold, and how does that change how they are perceived?
Grand Hall L Friday, September 2, 2022, 11:30 AM CDT

Story Time—Science Fiction
Attendees will vote on a Science Fiction story to be read aloud, followed by a craft.
Comiskey Friday, September 2, 2022, 2:45 PM CDT

Walking in Platforms and Heels
Many current fashions, as well as those from across media genres, feature characters soaring on heels, wedges, or platform shoes. If you are not experienced in the ways that your center of gravity, gait, and balance change when wearing tall shoes, it can be intimidating to try for the first time. In this workshop, bring a pair of shoes that you would like to practice walking in and our facilitator will guide you through the basics, as well as guiding you through some practice exercises. Folks of all gender identities are welcome to participate in this workshop.
Randolph 2 Friday, September 2, 2022, 7:00 PM CDT

Fandom Talks: Books
Do you have a favorite book or series that you love to talk about? We will collect ideas throughout the day into a jar. Then, with the help of some special guests, we will choose some topics and hear from everyone about their favorite books in fandom!
Comiskey Saturday, September 3, 2022, 12:45 PM CDT

Story Time—Fantasy
Attendees will vote on a Fantasy story to be read aloud, followed by a craft.
Comiskey Saturday, September 3, 2022, 2:45 PM CDT

Supporting Genderqueer, Nonbinary, and Trans Friends and Fans
While some fannish spaces are welcoming for genderqueer, nonbinary and trans folks, many people whose gender identity doesn’t align with cultural norms still receive intrusive questions or are treated as curiosities and information sources rather than as fans. Gender-nonconforming panelists discuss pitfalls for cisgender folks to avoid, ways to support gender-diverse friends and acquaintances in fandom, and hopes for the future of fannish spaces.
Randolph 2 Saturday, September 3, 2022, 5:30 PM CDT

Table Talk – Eva L. Elasigue
Eva L. Elasigue writes the fantasy space opera trilogy Bones of Starlight. Also a writer in other forms, she’s a conceptual and actual adventurer with varied creative interests.
Crystal Foyer Sunday, September 4, 2022, 10:00 AM CDT

Reading – Eva L. Elasigue
Virtual Reading – Eva L. Elasigue
Airmeet Readings Sunday, September 4, 2022, 1:00 PM CDT

Fandom Talks: SFF Anime and Comics
Let’s have a conversation about SFF anime and comics with some special guests who know a lot about these topics. We will collect ideas all day long and make a jar that we can pick out of for some conversation starters!
Comiskey Sunday, September 4, 2022, 2:45 PM CDT

Superhero Action Poses
Liven up your day with invigorating poses inspired by comic book superheros and villains! Non-traditional movement activity, for all skill levels and abilities.
Grand Hall GH Monday, September 5, 2022, 10:00 AM CDT

Autographing – Eva L. Elasigue
Autographing – Eva L. Elasigue Note: Autographing allows a maximum of 3 items per trip through the signing line.
Autographing Monday, September 5, 2022, 11:30 AM CDT

The Super Scientists of the Multiverse Panel
The super scientist is a popular trope across comics of all genres. Who have been the greatest successes in this area? Have there been any stand-out failures? Is it possible to write a true “super genius” scientist archetype without reducing them to an arrogant villain in waiting? Can intellect be celebrated without vilification?
Randolph 3 Monday, September 5, 2022, 1:00 PM CDT

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– I think this is important.
– I believe that not only should you be involved, you are involved.

In the Fray, they held nothing back. The beaming Dragon eye could be their enemy, but they recognized the potentialities as a precipitation of their process. If anything, they were less careful about what they said, digging deep to dredge up every last faceted nuance of perspective within their grasp. Their importance was being acknowledged, and they were stepping into the nascent advisory role with aplomb.

– There are other parties.
– Well, they’re all welcome to the Fray. If they’re at all concerned with the matter at hand, then they’re already in it.
– If they can get here.
– They have to be willing to see every perspective, if they want this perspective.

Arkuda realized that’s what ‘e’d been doing – seeing every perspective available as clearly as if thinking it. Subtle and easy to normalize, yet a different kind of mind. Bias makes one blind; there could be no blindness in the Fray, lest one should fall, though there be blindness everywhere. Arkuda knew er own blindness, which didn’t mean ‘e lacked any – except perhaps for here, this place ‘e could only see and sense by a means of permission. That agreement to disagree was key.

The invitation to bring others to the Fray also stunned Arkuda. That seemed reckless of them. Characteristically so?

– That would be a different avenue of approach. Possibly dangerous.
– No one gets here by avoiding danger.
– Courage is required to face dissent. You would know, having shown enough of it.

ArmadilloCon Austin On Now

These are my panels at ArmadilloCon 44 in Austin, TX this weekend. The Naming panel was cool, and from here I’m headed to the next:

-Chek Lonescrum: The Art of Making Fantastical Character Names – Fri 5:00 PM
Panelists discuss notable speculative character names, naming conventions and techniques, and apply fresh fantasy names to audience members.

-Human Nature/ Alien Nature – Fri 10:00 PM
Our panelists talk about the often implicit assumptions authors make about what makes humans or aliens tick. Are we/they inherently greedy or self-serving or violent or empathetic or subservient or… is writing a true “alien” mind something we aren’t even capable of?

-Pushing Characters To Their Limits: How Do They Survive Your Stories? – Sat 11:00 AM
How much can you punish your characters? How much damage can they take and reasonably keep going? How long can they go without food? And if the situation is extreme enough, where will they find it? How much can magic or technology save them before it’s not believable, or just removes all tension from the story?

-Kaffeeklatch – Eva L. Elasigue Sat 2:00 PM

-Signing Session – Sat 3:00 PM

-Integrating Your Hobbies Into Your Writing – Sat 5:00 PM
“Write what you know” they said. So the best way to do that, even when writing SFF, is to bring what you know– the things that you obsessively do in your spare time– into the story. Here’s how to tap into that deep love and knowledge you have to enrich your stories, while going so deep that you lose everyone but the true believers.

-The Future of Identity in SF – Sat 7:00 PM
As SF continues to explore transhumanity, artificial intelligence and alien life, concepts of who we are, of what defines the self and personhood— in terms of consciousness, gender, humanity, even physicality— can be explored through wider and wider lenses. How do we best express these explorations of the possible?

-Reading – Eva L. Elasigue – Sun 10:30 AM

-The World of Analog Horror – Sun 1:00 PM
Local 58, The Mandela Catalog, Gemini Home Entertainment. Explore the world of this unique subgenere of horror, and why it can be so effective.

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Rays of hazy sunlight beamed from the eye, a curving elemental mirror in which their scene was reflected. Dragon Food looked into the eye from around the eye, and recognized the Dragon.
– Arkuda! At the beginning and the end of my personal journey. What brings you here?

– That is what I am wondering. I sense that that there is something that brings me here. And, what is this? What are you?

– This is whatever you think it is, and whatever I think it is, which may not be the same thing. I am whatever I think I am, and possibly some of what you think of me. I’m really trying my best to say it in a way you will understand, because I don’t have to understand it. It just is, we just are.
– Welcome to the Fray, Dragon Arkuda. Where we Kao-Sidhe battle wits until we drop, then recuperate forthwith to begin again.
– Debate or debacle? You decide!
– Here we are inclusively divisive. I’m not sure I remember if we’ve ever had a Dragon drop in; this seems to be a unique circumstance.
– It’s my fault, I did it. But it was already trying to happen.

The context delivery was acting upon the Dragon, who like the others could now follow between fragmented opinions with the facility of one who knows what everyone is talking about. These varied considerations contained high relevance to matters the Dragon had been pondering and discussing with other Dragons. These Kao-Sidhe were good at making points, though they jabbed them about so. Arkuda could project voice into here, which came through like a whisper through water.

– I can work with this.

Dragon Food popped out, and through to a place that was a place, landing squarely on a bed of rose petals.