VCon Debrief: the Shebeen Club for October 3

VCon Poster

VCon Poster

Calling all SciFi fans… just a quick and dirty note to let you know our next Shebeen Club meeting will be this coming Monday, October 3, upstairs at the Revel Room, 238 Abbott Street just off Water in Gastown. Once again, they’re laying a special menu on for us as part of the meeting, for only $20: please pay your proprietor Ian Alexander Martin of Atomic Fez publishing. Dinner and a drink is included with your admission.

VCon, for those of you who live in the 17th Century, is the biggest event of the year for speculative fiction of all kinds. We’re hoping to coax a few special guests to overcome their shyness and share Monday with us. Given that the guests of VCon run the gamut from Larry Niven to, well, the Shebeen Club’s Fearless Leader, it’s guaranteed to be an entertaining and speculative indeed crew.

Please note: the Shebeen Club meeting is NOT officially a cosplay event. But discreet Spock ears are welcome.

6pm-9pm Monday, October 3 2011, Revel Room Upstairs lounge, 238 Abbott Street, Vancouver

$20 cash includes dinner, a drink, the VCon debrief, and our glamorous and scintillating company.

This is short notice, so while RSVPs are welcome, they’re not compulsory. Just show up with your smiling face and try not to wear a red shirt.

Jack Layton was afraid of NOTHING I tell you!

Jack Layton was afraid of NOTHING I tell you!

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Larry Niven is Now a VCon Guest of Honour!

Larry Niven, author of the “Ringworld” series of books

Larry Niven, author of the “Ringworld” series of books

Yes, that Larry Niven!

Apparently the original writer Guest of Honour (or ‘GoH’) Dr. Gregory Benford is unable to attend VCon 36 due to an unavoidable summons from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (aka: DARPA). As the organizers of the September event put it: “America needs him”. Look for him to be among next year’s Guests at VCon 37 in the autumn of 2012.

If you need to learn more about the specifics about him at the event, head here to the page on the VCon web-site.

VCon is is held from September 30 to October 2, 2011 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, in Richmond, near Westminster Highway and #3 Road. I’ll be there, both as a panel member and in the Dealer’s Room selling books I publish.

VCon is the oldest general-interest science fiction and fantasy convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The convention has promoted the interests of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver BC and its environs since 1971, offering events and exhibits focused on a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom interest areas such as literature, art, media, music, costumes, comics, games, etc.

VCon is organized by a subcommittee of the West Coast Science Fiction Association — a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and understanding of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver BC and its environs. VCon is not, nor will it ever be, owned by a big business or corporation. For now and for as long as efforts continue VCon will be a convention built “For the Fans, By the Fans”.

How to Pitch Your Thing to the Media: the AUDIO

So, finally, I have completed the editing of the audio for last month’s event with Stephen Quinn: How to Pitch Your Thing to the Media. Profuse thanks again to Mr. Quinn for his amazing generosity and enthusiasm throughout the entire organizing and carrying-out of the event.

Due to a few limitations that WordPress.com has for blogs hosted on their servers, the file is being stored over on the Atomic Fez Publishing web-site, in its own little Shebeen-dedicated folder. Thus, the MP3 ends up being declared an “outside source” by some anti-virus programmes and ad-block-based browser plug-ins. Should you get some sort of “hey! whattya doing! this could be bad!” warnings when you click the link below, reassure your software or browser that all is well, and to let you do what you want to.

Instead of clicking the little [PLAY] button immediately below and not moving for awhile, some of you might want to [right click] the words in the link, and select something like “Save link as…” or “Save target as…”, and thus download the file to listen to on your iPod or in the car, or wherever you listen to sound files that run 85 minutes in length.

How Not to Get the Media’s Attention

How Not to Get the Media’s Attention

How to Pitch Your Thing to the Media

Yes, that’s right, the file is nearly one hour-and-a-half long. I tried to trim out as much irrelevant material as possible — especially my prattling nonsense — but the problem is that Stephen Quinn is so gosh-darned informative and entertaining, that this is the shortest I could make it without taking forever to provide the audio. Hopefully Mr. Quinn will be amenable to returning in the near future so that we can hear more specifically on the topic of “journalism in the new millennium”, now that we’re in the post News of the World reality that he had the fortune of investigating whilst filling in at As it Happens this past fortnight.

The media package Mr. Quinn mentions at the 15 minute mark is the one you see in the photo above. An astonishingly odd piece of promotional material, even without the context that he places it within as part of his talk. Click the image for “biggification”.

The material Mr. Quinn plays is from Ira Basen’s six-part series “Spin Cycles”, which was twice run as part of CBC Radio1’s The Sunday Edition in 2007. You can learn more about that series — as well as access all six highly informative instalments — at this link RIGHT HERE.

I look forward to repeating the success of this event September 19th, upstairs at the Revel Room (on Abbott, between West Cordova and Trounce Alley).

Patience, Grasshopper

I’m still working on the audio track from last week’s event with Stephen Quinn. Originally running one hour and forty minutes, I’m trying to get it down to something more reasonable, as well as remove any un-necessary nattering on my part. the end result ought to be nothing but informative yummy goodness about how to make your information appeal to the ever-cynical, un-caring, heartless bastards of the media.

In the meantime (and partly because none of the media seems to give a damn about my exciting news), have a look OVER HERE about how Atomic Fez Publishing has been short-listed for Best Small Press by the British Fantasy Society’s awards.

What’s in a Name? Would a Shebeen by Any Other Name be as Intriguing?

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

A few years ago, the group regularly met in the tiny, upstairs room of the Irish Heather that was called “The Shebeen” (for the origins of that word head here), and thus the name was applied to the literary group which we have today.

Today, however, the Irish Heather has moved across the road, the room is now its own Shebeen Whisk(e)y House out the back of the gastro-pub, and the group mainly meets at the Revel Room a few streets west from ‘The Heather’. The name itself has never meant much more than the location of origin, and doesn’t reflect its raison d’etre: to exchange information and promote the arts of writing in all forms, be it journalism, novels, poetry, plays, or marketing of all those.

So: how do people feel about any of the following options:

  • The Vancouver Algonquin Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Bloomsbury Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Literary Circle (which is dull, but somewhat self-explanatory)
  • Keep the extant name
  • [insert your own suggestion here]

Anyone…? Anyone…? A what kind of revolution…?

My feeling here is that what we have is the opportunity to create a central group and/or monthly event where people can discuss their trials and tribulations, exchange intelligence and information, and generally enjoy fellowship with their fellow travellers in the hacking together of words into paragraphs, as well as promotion of them therefore.

The idea of this group has always been to create a group for professionals and semi-pros who use words to gather, but the active welcoming of people other than novelists and short-story writers has met with less-than-the desired results. Where are the playwrights, the non-fiction writers, the journalists, the publishers, the book-sellers, the editors, the newspaper people, the marketing people, and so on? Is this partly because the name ill-befits our purpose? What do people think of that as a solution? Do you think it simply is a good idea, simply from a marketing standpoint so as to attract ‘fresh brains’* to the monthly meetings?

* mmmm… brainz…!