Worldcon 2019 (Dublin): My Schedule and Other Shenanigans

Well well. It's been a long time since I've posted here. I have been a busy bee, from moving to the northwest corner of Minnesota to a new job to writing a textbook to partly semi-producing a podcast. Yup. Busy. And that means I've neglected this blog along with a lot of other things.. Sadface. Speaking of podcasts:  The Skiffy and Fanty Show is once more a Hugo Award finalist. Ballots are submitted, so we'll find out if we're winners in about 2 weeks. Wish us luck! And since I am part of that show, I'll be at Worldcon in Dublin. As the title of this post suggests, that's what I'm here to talk about today. As it turns out, I'm on programming at Worldcon, which means some of you might have the opportunity to hear me babble about a variety of topics. With that in mind, here's my schedule for the event:
  • The use of SF in higher education 17 Aug 2019, Saturday 15:00 - 15:50, Wicklow Room-2 (CCD) Professors from different disciplines discuss the possible uses of speculative fiction as a tool for teaching. From humanities to sciences via legal studies, how have academics used SFF in the classroom in the past, and how can we dream of speculative fiction – and the technology it posits! – being used in future? Panelists:  Mary Anne Mohanraj (M), Nora E. Derrington, David DeGraff, Dr. Shaun Duke, Corry L. Lee Ph.D. (corry.lee@gmail.com)
  • Literary Beer: Dr Shaun Duke 17 Aug 2019, Saturday 17:00 - 17:50, Liffey-A (Fan Bar) (CCD) Basically, you can come talk to me while having a beer, water, or air. For 50 minutes. So please come say hello. Please!
  • Academics and acolytes: learning in SFF worlds 18 Aug 2019, Sunday 12:30 - 13:20, Odeon 4 (Point Square Dublin) Whether they’re apprenticed to an assassin, a grunt in basic training, downloading knowledge from an online academy, or learning spells from wizardly professors, characters often need to gain skills and qualifications of some kind. How and when they do this is an important element of worldbuilding and there are endless options. What does it tell us about the Discworld that wizards attend university and witches are apprentices? How does Starfleet Academy differ from the Imperial Academy? From Hogwarts to Brakebills to the Oha Coven, how does magical instruction differ? Panelists:  Dr. Shaun Duke (M), Karen Simpson Nikakis, Prof. Kenneth Schneyer, Ali Baker
  • Fan podcasts 18 Aug 2019, Sunday 15:30 - 16:20, Odeon 5 (Point Square Dublin) Podcasts have become a popular way to talk about and hear about our fannish favourites, share the latest theories and plot developments, and find new things to love. Our panelists discuss the challenges and delights of podcasting, and help you find new podcasts to check out. Panelists:  Heather Rose Jones (M), Alexandra Rowland, Dr. Shaun Duke, Jonathan Strahan, Jen Zink
I'll also be in attendance for the Hugo rehearsals and the Hugo Awards proper. I don't expect to do much more than clapping for the latter event, but you never know! Beyond these events (please come!), I'll also be hard at work on various other podcast activities throughout the convention AND some Dublin shenanigans around those days. Speaking of podcast activities:  if you're a creative type with a nifty project to talk about OR a fan with a cool blog, podcast, or other super fan thing to plug, get in touch at skiffyandfanty[at]gmail[dot]com OR via Twitter DM @SkiffyandFanty. We're interested in interviewing folks! Anywho. That's all for now. Hopefully, I can get back into this blogging thing again...soon.

Mastodon and My Happy “Project”

I just joined Mastodon. I'm also on the wandering.shop "instance," too. Yup, you can follow me in two places. So what the heck is Mastodon? It's sort of like Twitter, but it allows people to create their own "instances" (or sub-communities) with their own guidelines, etc., effectively making it an answer to the hellhole of infinity that is Twitter. From what I can tell, a lot of creative types, especially from marginalized communities, have joined to escape Twitter's endlessly disappointing reaction to rampant abuse and bigotry on its platform. Whether they're leaving permanently or just taking more of their energy elsewhere, the vibe seems pretty clear:  it's kind of a joyful zone. Read More

My NASFiC / San Juan 2017 Schedule and Podcast Interviews

I'm going to Puerto Rico! I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it... [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iwBM_YB1sE[/embed] OK, enough of that... I've got good reason to be, too. I've never been to Puerto Rico, so the second I found out about it, I bought a membership and began planning. The crazy thing:  they gave me a TON to do while I'm there, including running an interview panel with one of my favorite authors:  Tobias Buckell! Before I give you my schedule, I do want to remind potential readers and attendees that I'm a podcaster. I run The Skiffy and Fanty Show, and I will be open to recording discussions and interviews at NASFiC. So, if you're an author, fan, creative type, or whatever and you'd like to be interviewed, hit me up! Alright. Here's my schedule: Read More

Space Opera Course Update

A few months ago, I asked for input from folks interested in the online space opera course I planned to teach/run at some point during the summer. Many of you gave me some excellent feedback about the form the course should take, the readings, cost, and so on, and so I set out to try to put something together in time for summer 2017. Well, it's officially summer, and as should be obvious right now, things aren't exactly put together. And there's good reason for that. Read More

2016 Hugo Awards Recommendations: What should I read/watch?

It's that time again:  time to ask for recommendations for the Hugo Awards.  The nomination period will open up soon, and I haven't done as much reading/watching as I would have liked this year.  The only categories I feel comfortable voting in at the moment are Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), Best Novel, and Best Podcast.  That means, as always, there are a lot of gaps. So, this is your chance to let me know what you loved reading or watching this year.  To make things a bit more organized, I've created a Google form with options for every category.  You don't have to fill the whole thing out to suggest a work.  In fact, you can come back to the form as many times as you like.  If you want to let me know what you loved in the comments below, you're free to do that, too. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Shaun’s Rambles: RSS Feed / iTunes / Stitcher Ahoy!

Just a quick update for folks who have been listening to the Shaun's Rambles stuff and would like to point their podcatcher to an appropriate feed.  You can now subscriber directly to Shaun's Rambles via the following links (also shown in the sidebar): As with the previous message, regular programming should begin on Friday.  Expect one or two more non-regular posts between now and then!

This is a Test of the Duke Broadcast System

If you are receiving this post, then you are either directly subscribed to my new RSS Feed or Feedburner is correctly redirecting its feed to my new RSS feed.  Either way, if you're seeing this post, everything should be good to go. In the next few days, you may see some old posts pop up.  These are hangovers from the move. I'll delete this post once I'm satisfied that the feeds are working correctly.

On the Hugo Awards: Two Scholarly-ish Projects to Come

As you may well be aware, I am currently working on two projects related to the Hugo Awards.  I know I've mentioned both of these at some point, though the second is certainly the most visible of these projects.  I'm also sure you know that the Hugo Awards have been enormously controversial this year, earning mainstream attention in major newspapers and entertainment sites such as The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Boing Boing, and so on.  That conversation is still happening; one need only look at File 770 to see it. Read More

Patreon Update: Ch-ch-ch-changes and a Question

My Patreon page has been updated to reflect the changes to my blogging/writing efforts.  If you'd like to support what I do, please become a patron! Patreon+Image On a related note: I've had some difficulty thinking about how to change the patron levels to better reflect what folks would want from such a thing.  In principle, folks support a Patreon because they like what a person does, but I also like the idea of adding something additional to the pot.  Thus far, that "addition" has been varying levels of voting ability and/or topic suggestion ability.  Now, I wonder if it might make more sense to make topic suggestions and votes a public function and replace the current levels with something else. The question:  what would I replace those things with? Some things I've considered:
  • Quirky handwritten letters w/ handwritten maps and other weirdness (I love drawing maps)
  • The Encyclopedia Obscura entries (absurd, quirky alternate history entries to an encyclopedia)
  • Access to fiction (which some said I shouldn't offer)
  • No idea...
I suppose what this comes down to is a confusion over what works for something like Patreon, especially when what you're offering is written content that isn't fiction.  So if you have any ideas, do let me know.  Otherwise, I'll just leave the page as it is for the time being.
Anywho!  Thanks for the support!

The Reboot: New Schedule, the Focus, and New Beginnings

Here we go.  I've been thinking about this for the past month.  A number of people have offered their thoughts on what I should do about this blog and my various blogging efforts (thanks!).  The following list is a far more compact set of regular (in italics) and irregular features, with the former having a set schedule.  I think it's more focused and better tuned to what I want to be doing in each space.  Having a set (but reasonable) schedule is also good for me, since it gives me a structure that isn't too cumbersome. Here it is: Read More