The LTUE 2019 Report: Day One!

Good evening readers! Welcome to the LTUE Report for Day One!

First things first: For the last few weeks, I’ve been keeping something secret. Something that, after the official book launch for Trace the Stars, LTUE’s first benefit anthology of short stories, I can finally talk about, since it was announced at the launch.

Remember a few months back when I was excited about a short story I’d written called A Game of Stakes? One that I submitted to an anthology collection? Well, that anthology collection was next year’s LTUE anthology, titled A Dragon and Her Girl, and my story?

It’s going to be in it. That’s right: A Game of Stakes will be published in A Dragon and Her Girl, launching at 2020’s LTUE.

And I’m pumped. I mean, look at the names of some of the folks published in these collections. Kevin J. Anderson. David Farland. Brad R. Torgerson.

That’s pretty cool. I’m geeking out a little here to be included in a collection set that has names like that under its belt.

Trace the StarsBut speaking of the collection, you can take a look at the first release, Trace the Stars here on Amazon and order a copy if you can’t make it to the convention to grab it. It’s a benefit anthology, which means that no one gets any profit from your purchase. Instead, the money supports the LTUE convention, specifically the $5 ticket price for all students.

That’s right, attending LTUE is $5 if you’re a student, and sales of this book help fund the convention to keep it that way. That’s an absolute bargain for students of grade schools and colleges alike, and LTUE would love to keep it that way!

So yeah, check out Trace the Stars, then get ready for next year’s A Dragon and Her Girl! I’m in it!

Yeah, still happy about this. And relieved to finally be able to tell everyone!

Okay, I’m gonna stop geeking now. As awesome as that was, it wasn’t all that happened at LTUE. We’ve still got a recap of the day’s events (as seen through my eyes) and panels! Hit the jump!

Okay, so first up, I totally hit up a panel on the evolution of Science-Fiction first thing. It sounded like good fun, and it was. The panelists had a lot of thoughts on how Sci-Fi has changed, and how it continues to change. But there were two things that really stuck out to me from it.

The first was that, as they pointed out, the term “Science-Fiction” where genre is concerned has become only more nebulous in the last few decades. Where in the 50s, for example, it was in the realm of pulp, now Sci-Fi is a very wide term that can cover a large swath of territory. While the panelists disagreed on some things, they both held that Sci-Fi involves science and technology in some way or form. Past that, though? It’s a wide net. Science-Fiction/Romance, Western, Thriller … all of that is possible and under the umbrella of Sci-Fi.

Or not. Both panelists brought up how Crichton kept his works out of the Sci-Fi shelving and in the thriller sections (often they were called ‘Techno-Thrillers” which honestly just makes me think of a cyborg rave) because more people bought thrillers than Sci-Fi, and insisted his books weren’t Sci-Fi.

You fooled no one, Michael. We all know they’re Sci-Fi. But the broadness of the genre is now why some insist that Sci-Fi is, as the panel brought up, literary fiction, or gender politics. Or speculative fiction (though both suggested this was a bit of an overlapping Venn diagram).

There was another point that was raised, however, in that both panelists agreed that writing Science-Fiction was a bit harder than it used to be. Why? Because we’re living in a Sci-Fi world now! Drones fly the skies! Cars drive themselves. Phones are practically The Guide. We’re building up to colonize Mars. We live in the Sci-Fi future, and it’s hard to predict how much crazier it may become when we’re already seeing things progress by leaps and bounds.

They have a solid point.


After that, I hit up a Writer’s Meetup for Epic Fantasy, looking to disperse advise and aid since I’ve got some experience there. And advice and aid was given to grateful folks!And I moved on …


To a panel on salt and food preservation. Which was both cool and informative. I hadn’t realized how vital of targets salt works were in old wars, right up even to the Civil War! But they were massive targets: Destroying salt works destroyed an enemy’s capability to store and preserve any kind of food. Plus it kept the soldiers from getting salt, and they needed it in their diets.

All in all, a very cool panel, and one more aspect of worldbuilding to consider. The human body needs salt. If you go without it for a week, the panelist pointed out, you will collapse into a coma and die as your nerves shut down.


From there, I went to a panel on Homesteading the Moon. Homesteading being when colonists show up and make homes someplace, usually with legal authority but sometimes not.

This was a cool panel. Basically, it was all about Frontier settlement and law, but with regards to the moon (and then space) where a lot of the laws are nebulous at best. One of the panelist was literally a lawyer who studies these laws and their application in his spare time for fun, so … Yeah, there was a lot talked about in this one. For example, he pointed out that despite there already being laws in place … there’s no one to enforce them past other countries shaming them. If China starts laying claim to the moon, who’s going to go up there and stop them? Etc.

A lot of this, as kept coming up, can be boiled down to a few things: Possession is 9/10ths of the law, first come first served, and the one with the ability to back their claim up with force is the winner.

Lots of speculation, however, since there aren’t many laws in this regard (for example, while over 100 nations have signed the space treaty requiring them to render aid to stranded astronauts, there’s nothing in that treaty about stranded tourists, colonists, or other non-astronaut personnel).


After a nice lunch, I then went to a panel on explosives for mining and construction work. Neat, informative, and useful knowledge from someone who had spent quite a few years blowing rock and dirt up. Oh, and he had videos.


The last panel of the day I attended was on writing religious themes into your work without going overboard. Which I’ve spoken about here on the site before; I went because I was curious to see what the panelists would say about it. And while it wasn’t anything new, it was nice to catch a few other perspectives on things.


Of course, panels aren’t the only thing going on at LTUE, and I had plenty of time to chat with fans, meet new fans, talk shop with other authors, and just generally hang out and have a blast.

And tomorrow? I do it all again! Catch you then!

And don’t forget: My entire library is on sale in honor of LTUE! Buy something will ya?

 

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