Use #boskone to share your thoughts and photos

Screenshot 2016-02-18 at 7.46.10 AMNot everyone can brave the cold New England winter to make it to Boskone. If you’re using social media, like Twitter or Instagram, considering tagging your posts with #boskone to share your experiences and photos.



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Registration opens at 1pm on Friday

Welcome to the first day at Boskone 54!

Registration is open on Friday from 1pm-8:30pm.

If you have already purchased a Boskone 54 membership or if you need to purchase one, head to our Registration area by taking the up escalators near MJ O’Connor’s pub. Registration will be located at the top of the escalators in the Harbor Foyer.

Here for the Free Friday Programming from 2pm-6pm? You don’t need to stand in line at Registration, but  you’ll be able to pick up a pocket program on tables in the area.

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B54 Mini Interviews: Jo Walton and Robert B. Finegold

With one day left until Boskone 54 begins, we give you the last of this year’s mini interviews. Thanks to all the program participants who took part!

Jo Walton

jowalton_55Jo Walton has published thirteen novels, three poetry collections and an essay collection. She won the John W. Campbell Award in 2002, the World Fantasy Award for Tooth and Claw in 2004, the Hugo and Nebula awards for Among Others in 2012, the Tiptree Award for My Real Children and the Locus Non Fiction award for What Makes This Book So Great in 2014. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal. She reads a lot, enjoys travel, talking about books, and eating great food. She plans to live to be ninety-nine and write a book every year.

Her most recent novel is Necessity. Find her online at her website or on Twitter.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m just finishing writing my first ever actual science fiction novel. Fantasy is easy for me, because fantasy leans on history, and I’m pretty good on that. Alternate history too, it’s history. Science fiction, while it has always been what I most like to read, is more challenging, because when you’re dealing with the future you have to make it all up but you can’t get it wrong. I always worry about scientific consistency and getting everything the right level of real. I’ve written science fiction at short length, but this is the first time I’ve done it as a novel. So that’s exciting!

If you could recommend a book to your teenage-self, what book would you recommend? Why did you pick that book?

Does it have to be something that was already written when I was a teenager? Because when I was a teenager I did nothing but read, and most of what I read was SF, and so there really wasn’t much that was available that I didn’t read at the time. I’d do insane things like order the complete backlist of Robert Silverberg from the library. Of course there have been a lot of things published since that I’d have loved when I was a teenager, and that would have been really useful to me, but they weren’t around then.

What were the gaps? Stuff that never had a UK publication, of course, but I’m blanking on what specifically would have been around then.

Hmm, waaaay back — oh, I know. Tale of Genji! I didn’t read that until this year and it’s really bizarre and really great. I’d have loved it. The Decameron! Yes, totally. Purgatorio and Paradiso. I read Inferno, but I never got on to the other two, and they’re amazing, did you know there’s no gravity in Paradiso? It all takes place floating in the air and rising upwards. It must be the first book in zero gravity. Some idiot told me they weren’t as good as the first volume, but I shouldn’t have listened, the whole trilogy is great. Not sure if the Ciardi translation was around then, but it is now. But not Orlando Furioso. I tried to read that when I was a teenager, because C.S. Lewis compared it to Tolkien, but I couldn’t.

Who is your all-time favorite fictional character? What is it about this character that you love?

I think today I’ll say Therem Harth rem i’r Estraven. I love his honour and his openness and his curiosity and his forward-looking open-eyed vision, and his practicality, and his tenderness, and the complexity of his past, and the fact he really is human without being a man or a woman. He’s always my first pick for “if you could have a dinner party with anyone from history or fiction”. I like to imagine him sitting down with Pico and Cicero and Ada and Emilie du Chatelet and Alexander the Great and asking them quiet incisive interested questions.

Robert B. Finegold, MD

robertb-finegold_275Robert B Finegold, M.D. is a radiologist living in Maine. He has an undergraduate degree in English (Creative Writing and British Literature), has been a university newspaper cartoonist, and served as a Major in the U.S. Army during the first Gulf War. He is a two-time Writers of the Future Contest Finalist whose work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, GigaNotosaurus, Straeon 2, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and the anthologies Robotica: The Real Relationships of Artificial Lifeforms, 1st & Starlight, and 2nd & Starlight. On Facebook, find him at Robert B Finegold’s Kvells and Kvetchings.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’ve a completed an “occult thriller”, a novel-length sequel to a Kabbalist novelette that will one day appear in Marc Blake’s Straeon 2. I’ve written the first third of a Jack Vance-like “science fantasy” that takes place on Precipice, the cliff world setting of my tale Lirazel’s Heart that appeared October 2015 in Elizabeth Hirst’s anthology Robotica: The Relationships of Artificial Lifeforms.

This is my “throw wide the doors” romp with world-building: descendants of crash-landed Society of Creative Anachronists, “alien” natives, political intrigue, loss of innocence/coming of age, a wealth of strange characters, unique cities and cultures above and below the Sea of Clouds, and…skyships. It has been a lot of fun to write.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

This is my first Boskone. I’ve long wanted to attend, but family, career, and nasty pixies have long thwarted my attempts.

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

My grandfather, of blessed memory, shared a story of students who were told they each must speak to the learned assembly regarding chesed and tzedakah, i.e. kindness and charity…and the assembly had already begun! As the students ran to the assembly hall, each passed a beggar who sat shivering in the cold, his empty supplication bowl before him. In their alarm at being late, and in their self-absorption in recalling their lessons, none of the students paid heed to him–none save one.

The doors of the assembly hall closed. The students formed a line upon the stage, jostling for position. The first awaited his invitation to speak; but the seated rabbis said nothing, their expressions dour.

The door to the hall opened again, and the last student entered, hatless and coatless. Together, the rabbis and students turned and stared silently at him. He blushed; and murmuring apologies, got to the end of the line. Still, none spoke.

The door opened a final time, and the beggar came in, wearing the student’s coat and hat. From his bowl he placed a small coin into the tzedakah (charity) box, and took a seat among the assembly.

The rabbis smiled.

*[ It is not enough to learn our lessons, we need live them. ]*



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B54 Mini Interviews: Sarah Beth Durst, Melinda M. Snodgrass and Vincent H. O’Neil

With only two days until Boskone, we know how to get you into the spirit! Check out our latest set of mini-interviews.

Sarah Beth Durst

sarahbethdurst_146Sarah Beth Durst is the author of eleven fantasy novels for adults, teens, and kids, including Drink Slay Love, the basis for the upcoming TV movie of the same name, airing on Lifetime in 2017. Her latest book for kids, The Girl Who Could Not Dream, came out in November 2015 from HMH/Clarion Books, and her latest book for adults, The Queen of Blood, came out in September 2016 from Harper Voyager. Sarah won the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times.

She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat. Find her online at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I am working on an epic fantasy series called The Queens of Renthia, set in a world filled with bloodthirsty nature spirits. The first book, The Queen of the Blood, came out in September from Harper Voyager, and the second book, The Reluctant Queen, will be out in July. It’s been one of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had. Extremely immersive. Sitting down at my computer every day feels like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia (except instead of Narnia, it’s a world that wants to kill all humans).

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember (except for a brief time when I was five and wanted to be Wonder Woman), but I’d never actually met a writer or knew anyone who had. Writers were these mythical beings. Or dead. I wasn’t sure an ordinary person like me could become a writer. But then when I was ten years old, I read Alanna by Tamora Pierce, about a girl who becomes a knight in a land where only boys become knights. I remember closing that book and thinking, “If Alanna can become a knight, then I can become a writer.”

Who is your all-time favorite fictional character? What is it about this character that you love?

My all-time favorite fictional character is Silk from The Belgariad by David Eddings. I first read The Belgariad when I’d finished devouring all the books in the children’s section of the library, and my mom brought me upstairs and showed me the SF/Fantasy shelves. (I’m fairly certain this moment was accompanied by trumpets playing and a chorus singing.) These books were the first real epic fantasy series that I’d ever sunk into, and the thief Silk brought humor to the adventure. Since then, I’ve always loved a dose of humor with every tale.

Melinda M. Snodgrass

Melinda Snodgrass studied opera at the Conservatory of Vienna in Austria, graduated from U.N.M. with a degree in history, and went on to Law School. She practiced for three years, and discovered that while she loved the law she hated lawyers so she began writing science fiction novels. In 1988 she accepted a job on Star Trek: TNG, and began her Hollywood career where she has worked on staff on numerous shows — Reasonable Doubts, Profiler, and has written numerous television pilots and feature films. Presently she is the Executive Producer on the upcoming Wild Cards series for UPC. In the prose world she writes for the book series and co-edits Wild Cards with George R. R. Martin. She has finished the second book in her five book space opera series for Titan Books and is working on book 3. Book 1— The High Ground was published in July. The three books in the Edge series — The Edge of Reason, The Edge of Darkness and The Edge of Dawn are currently available from Tor Books. For fun she rides her dressage horses, plays video games and spends a lot of time in the gym. Find her online at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

Developing the Wild Cards books as a TV series. As one of the executive producers and writer for the show I get to think about everything from the opening credits, composers, actors for the various roles and how to bring this complex world to life.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

Seeing East Coast friends, but also the great programming and the artist reception on Friday night.

Who is your all-time favorite fictional character? What is it about this character that you love?

Kip from Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit Will Travel because he never gives up, he never stops trying and caring. Whenever I’m sad I reread this book and decide I can keep going.


Vincent H. O’Neil

vincentoneil_41Vincent H. O’Neil is the Malice Award-winning author of the Exile mystery series (Murder in Exile, Reduced Circumstances, Exile Trust, and Contest of Wills) as well as the theater-themed murder mystery Death Troupe. He has also written two horror novels called Interlands and Denizens, featuring the historian Angela “Ree” Morse.


Under the name Henry V. O’Neil, he is currently writing the Sim War military science fiction novels with Harper Collins. The series currently consists of Glory Main, Orphan Brigade, Dire Steps, and CHOP Line. A native of Massachusetts, Vincent is a graduate of West Point and holds a master’s degree in international business from The Fletcher School. Find him online at his website and on Facebook.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I just finished writing the fifth and final book in my military science fiction Sim War series with HarperCollins, and I’m very pleased with how that story ended. The last book will come out in ebook at the end of February, so right now I’m working on a fantasy short story set in a world loosely based on Renaissance Italy. I’ve been reading a lot about the Borgias and the Sforzas, and was struck by the casual relationship many of them had with violence. In my fantasy short story, I’m exploring the different attitudes of the people who pay others to commit murder for them, and the people who perform those tasks for money. It’s quite a challenge, and something very new for me.

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

I graduated from West Point in the 80s, and one of the training experiences available to me was a course known as Ranger School. Ranger is one of the toughest programs the army has, and it goes for two months. You’re not allowed to sleep very much, you’re not fed very much, and you carry heavy rucksacks over challenging terrain while performing complex tasks. I did Ranger during the wintertime, which posed an added degree of difficulty in training locations in the mountains of north Georgia and the desert in Utah. That course was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I learned a lot about myself as I went through it. My military science fiction novel Glory Main draws from that experience, as it pits four marooned soldiers against the elements with no water, food, or weapons.

Who is your all-time favorite fictional character? What is it about this character that you love?

The character of Felix in John Steakley’s military sci-fi novel Armor. Without giving too much away, I always loved Felix’s humanity. Convinced that he’s not up to the requirements of combat, Felix puts his faith in a part of his personality that he calls Engine. In battle, Engine takes over and does all the things Felix believes he’s too scared or too squeamish to do. It’s a marvelous response to stress, but as Felix’s service continues he begins to wonder if there might be a point where even Engine will break.

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Evening Events at Boskone

Given the variety of options available at Boskone, we wanted to share a few of the evening highlights to help you plan your nighttime entertainment.

FRIDAY, February 17th

FridayNightOn Friday at 8:00 pm, we invite you to join us for Boskone’s Opening Ceremony and meet this year’s guests in the Galleria. Immediately following the Opening Ceremony is the Boskone Reception and the kickoff for the Art Show, which brings together a spectacular array of art and artists.

Friday evening also includes our very special Featured Filkers Concert, an event in which pretty much anything can happen! …and probably will.

SATURDAY, February 18th

Saturday night includes our annual Boskone Book Party, which takes place in the Galleria and features a dozen authors and publishers. There will be books. There will be swag. There will even be come very cool posters for kids from Dreamworks such as the new Troll Hunters movie and the Voltron series on Netflix.SaturdayNight

Immediately following the Book Party is a new event at Boskone (7:30 pm), The Memorial Toast, which gives us a special opportunity to come together as a community to remember our friends who have passed since last year. At 8:00 pm, you can join the Open Mic: Villains! or just sit back and enjoy poems, stories, and music about this year’s theme, which is villains.

Or, at 8:00 pm, you can come up to Harbor II&III and enjoy a short concert by our Featured Filkers followed by the Boskone Awards Ceremony in which we announce the winners of the short story contest, the Gaughan Award, and the Skylark Award. Then we have an extra special surprise in store for you. The Play’s the Thing! Join some of our funniest program participants for a special Shakespearean reading of a play that takes place in a galaxy that is far, far away!

Friday Schedule of Evening Events at Boskone

Friday 8:00 PM
Opening Ceremony: Meet the Guests
Erin Underwood (M), Brandon Sanderson, Dave Seeley, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Lorraine Garland, Lojo Russo, Milton Davis, Ken MacLeod
Galleria – Stage · 15 min · Event
Welcome to Boskone, New England’s longest-running convention for science fiction, fantasy, and horror! Whether you are attending for the first time or the fifty-fourth, we invite you to join us in the Galleria to meet this year’s guests.

Friday 8:15 PM
Boskone 54 Reception
Erin Underwood (M), Gay Ellen Dennett (M), Milton Davis, Lorraine Garland, Lojo Russo, Ken MacLeod, Brandon Sanderson, Dave Seeley, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, David G. Grubbs (M)
Galleria – Art Show · 105 min · Event
Connoisseurs and philistines alike: welcome to the Boskone Art Show! Join us in the Galleria for an upscale social mixer. Meet our program participants while enjoying refreshments, stimulating conversation, and exceptional art that’s a feast for the eyes. Experience the music and the festivities as Boskone celebrates another year of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in Boston.

Friday 9:00 PM
Featured Filkers Concert: The Fabulous Lorraine & Lojo Russo
Lorraine Garland, Lojo Russo
Marina 1 · 60 min · Event
The Fabulous Lorraine (aka Quiche Me Deadly) and Lojo Russo, longtime friends and coconspirators, have come to Boskone to entertain us with their fanciful and farcical music — which has yet to disappoint anyone, including themselves.

Saturday Schedule of Evening Events at Boskone

Saturday 6:30 PM
Boskone Book Party
Galleria – Stage · 60 min · Event
Join us for Boskone’s Book Party! See what’s just out from authors you love, and discover new favorites. The book party will include E. C. Ambrose ( Elaine Isaak ), Neil Clarke, LJ Cohen, Milton Davis, Grady Hendrix, Carlos Hernandez, Jeremy Flagg, Hillary Monahan, Cerece Rennie Murphy, Ian Randal Strock, Christine Taylor-Butler, and more!

Saturday 7:30 PM
Boskone Memorial Toast
David G. Grubbs
Galleria – Stage · 15 min · Event
Join Toastmaster David G. Grubbs in the Galleria, immediately following the Boskone Book Party, for the Boskone Memorial Toast at 7:30 pm sharp as we raise a glass in memory of Boskone’s and Boston fandom’s recently departed friends. The Boskone 54 Souvenir Book’s “In Memoriam” section includes a partial list. (Non-alcoholic drinks are available in the Con Suite and alcoholic drinks will be available at the cash bar in the Galleria.)

Saturday 8:00 PM
Open Mic: Villains!
Kenneth Schneyer (M), Linda Addison (M), C. S. E. Cooney, Kate Baker, Milton Davis, Ada Palmer, Vincent O’Neil, Don Pizarro, Tom Kidd, Julie C. Day, Emma Caywood
Galleria · 90 min · Event
Live from Boskone … enjoy the unsavory stylings of our program participants and audience members. They share their open mic skills in the second annual Boskone Open Mic, which this year features our favorite fictitious villains! Each person gives his/her best 5-minute villainous performance — story, poem, song, skit, interpretive dance, or whatever!

OPTIONAL: For extra-appalling appeal, feel free to come dressed as your favorite fictitious villain!

The Rules: Boskone members are invited to join our participants in the open mic by signing up for one of the six open slots at the door to the event, which opens for sign-ups at 7:30 p.m. Each performer is given a firm 5-minute time limit (max), including setup time. So a quick transition between acts is key.

Saturday 8:00 PM
Lojo & Lorraine: Making Music
Lojo Russo, Lorraine Garland
Harbor II+III · 30 min · Event
Join Boskone’s Featured Filkers Lorraine Garland and Lojo Russo for a short concert that kicks off our Saturday night programming with a bang!

Saturday 8:30 PM
Boskone 54 Awards Ceremony
David G. Grubbs, Gay Ellen Dennett, Michael Sharrow, Jane Yolen, Bruce Coville, Greg Manchess
Harbor II+III · 20 min · Event
Saturday night’s theatrical extravaganza continues with the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) event in which we present our annual Skylark and Gaughan awards. The Skylark Award honors the work and personal qualities of an exceptional contributor to science fiction. The Gaughan Award is presented to a talented emerging artist. Tonight, we will also be announcing the winner of the annual NESFA Short Story Contest.

Saturday 9:00 PM
The Play’s The Thing!
Laurie Mann (M), Lojo Russo, Lorraine Garland, David G. Grubbs, Erin Underwood (M), Jane Yolen, Bruce Coville, David Anthony Durham, Darlene Marshall, John Chu, Kate Baker, Sage Durham
Harbor II+III · 90 min · Event
Boskone’s theatrical extravaganza features a live reading of an abridged adaptation of a faux-Shakespearean play that is based upon an Empire far, far away that has striketh back against an intrepid group of friends who are “forced” to confront the dark side. There will be capes and a lighted saber (or two) and shenanigans to entertain audiences of all ages!


And don’t forget to check the Pocket Program to see what other evening panels and discussions are happening. You can win chocolate, play games, talk about the Hugos, etc! Plus, be sure to check out the party board, which is located just outside of the Galleria at the bottom of the escalators. This is where you’ll also find the fan tables where you can learn about other conventions as well as other local groups!

Boskone is all about building community and making friends. We hope you enjoy your daytime fun as well as all of the activities that we have in store for the evening as well. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Buy Your Membership at Boskone

While online registration is now closed, Boskone memberships are still available. If you still need to purchase your membership, it’s easy!  All you have to do is come to Boskone at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel and head up to Registration, which is located to the left of the hotel lobby at the top of the escalator.

Registration opens at 1:00 pm on Friday, February 17th. Don’t forget to bring a government-issued or school-issued photo-ID, such as a driver’s license, with you to pick up your badge. Everyone (attendees, staff, program participants, artists, hucksters) must pick up their badges and convention materials at Registration.

On-Site Registration Hours

  • Friday:  1:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Saturday:  9:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Sunday:  9:00 am – 12:00 noon

Full Weekend Rates

  • Adult Full Convention: $65
  • College Student Full Convention: $40 (school ID required)
  • K-6 Full Convention: $25 (school ID may be required)
  • 7-12 Full Convention: $25 (school ID may be required)
  • Kids-in-Tow: See Below

One Day Rates

  • Friday One Day: $25
  • Saturday One Day: $45
  • Sunday One Day: $25

Memberships for Children

All children (ages 7–12) who use Dragonslair services must be convention members. However, children under 10 who stay with their parents at all times are considered “kids-in-tow,” and need not have memberships. (“Kids-in-tow” do not receive any convention materials.)

We are not able to offer babysitting through the convention.

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B54 Mini Interviews: Flourish Klink, Paul Di Filippo and Lisa Hertel

It’s finally here! Boskone kicks off this Friday at the Westin Waterfront in Boston. We have a few more mini interviews to help you through the week.

flourishklink_74Flourish Klink

Half of Fansplaining, a podcast by, for and about (transformative media) fandom. Chief Research Officer and Partner in Chaotic Good Studios, which the PR people say is a “franchise-focused content company” out in LA. Board member of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation. Continual fanfiction author. Find her online at her website and on Twitter.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

“My day job and my fannish life are pretty separate. In my day job, I study audiences—fan cultures, and also other people who might not be “”superfans”” (Lord, I hate that word, but it seems to have caught on) but who are particularly devoted to particular movie franchises. Then I help guide those franchises to better choices about what to do: what movies to make, what tie-ins to create, etc. I like the job because I think that when a franchise gets it right, they make the right choices both for fans and for their business. I don’t think the two things are mutually exclusive.

In my fannish life, though, I write fanfic and am deeply engaged interactive storytelling—I’m a board member of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation along with Andrew Plotkin, who is another Boskone regular. I’m especially interested in forms of interactive storytelling that anyone can access, that is, that don’t require you to be a AAA videogame producer. So I like making things like visual novels and interactive fiction. Right now, I’m working on an original visual novel about time travel, my first original work in a very long time—but like much SF, it’s so intertextual that it might as well be fanfic. (And yes, I’ll go to the mat for that, too: in fact, I’ll say that fantasy often is as well… fight me!)”

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

I really love the community feel of Boskone. I’m from a younger fan demographic, and a lot of people don’t have the same experience of fandom being something that’s built by fans for fans, or the same experience of communities that have gathered together over many years. To me, that’s one of the greatest things about fandom, and Boskone really exemplifies it.

From a fan perspective, what new book, film, TV show, or comic are you most looking forward to seeing/reading?

I’m thrilled—THRILLED—about the new Twin Peaks. It’s not traditionally “fannish” in the sense of being sci fi or fantasy, but of course it has its adherents. But what I’m really thrilled about is how coherently the whole thing hangs together. “Twin Peaks, coherent?!” you might say. Yes! I mean this: Twin Peaks has several tie-in novels and an audiobook, and they are all 100% canonical, they reference each other and they have not been “Jossed” or deleted the way the Star Wars Extended Universe has been. What’s more, they’re incredibly high quality (try reading The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer; you’ll really believe it’s a teen girl’s diary… and it’s just as chilling as Fire Walk with Me, which I will defend to my death). The latest just came out, written by Mark Frost (co-writer of the original series) and it’s fantastic, The X-Files like it should have been, just playing with all the ideas that sprang out of Twin Peaks‘ original run and doing them better than ever. My expectations are incredibly high and for once I don’t think they’ll be disappointed.

Paul Di Filippo

Paul Di Filippo has been writing professionally for nearly forty years. His latest book, Lost Among the Stars, appeared in December of 2016. He lives in Providence with his mate Deborah Newton. Find him online at his website and on Facebook.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

My fiction is all over the map of fantastika, as I thnk my latest collection, Lost Among the Stars, illustrates quite well. I even just finished a totally mimetic crime novel, as part of my continuing pursuit to conquer every mode of fiction. next up, a nurse novel? A western? Who knows!

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I am editing a Readers Guide to SF/F for Magill’s, and the chance to be on the other side of the writer/editor fence is something new for me. Never too late in a career to try something different!

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

I truly enjoy the family atmosphere, where all attendees, even newcomers, are invited to feel like brothers and sisters of fantastika. Also, the putting aside of partisan passions in honor of shared values.

lisahertel_61Lisa Hertel

Lisa Hertel is an artist in a variety of media, including pottery, watercolors and encaustics. She is currently illustrating classic animal tales from around the world and writing up the accompanying stories, and intends to publish a book eventually. See her work at her studio at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell MA, or on her website, You can also find her on Twitter.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

Recently, I’ve been expanding into new media. I really like alcohol inks and encaustics, the ancient art of painting with wax. Because the pigment is embedded in beeswax, so long as you keep it out of the sun, it won’t fade, so some of the few colored things we have from the ancient Greeks and Egyptians is encaustics. Both alcohol inks and encaustics are fairly abstract media, which is good for me; I felt I was getting too tight with my watercolors and pen-and-inks. Of course, I still do a lot of pottery as well. Working in a building with 200 other artists has really expanded my repertoire.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

Some days, I’m not sure I can describe my work to myself! I’m one of those people who refused to develop a style — or rather, I’ve developed several. The watercolors over pen-and-inks gets a lot of compliments, but it’s very exacting work; it’s a long process of penciling, inking, erasing the pencil lines, and then painting. The large pencils are physically demanding, as I have to work at an easel, which hurts after a while; they take months to complete. The encaustics and alcohol inks are faster and more fun, but I keep wanting them to be less abstract, and am exploring ways to do that. Finally, the pottery is physically demanding in a whole different way; it requires strength to manipulate the clay, and so many things get recycled before they even finish drying because I feel they aren’t worthy. They turn-around time for any pottery item is minimally two weeks, so it’s also a slow process. My motto is “art is not for wimps.”

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

When I was in high school, two friends walked in after February vacation wearing cool buttons with the word “Boskone” on them. I asked where they got them; they told me “A science fiction convention.” Wide-eyed, I replied, “They have those?” I started going to Boskone the next year (1979) and have been to almost every one since. As for my friends, they became well-known in the comic book field — Kurt Busiek & Scott McCloud.

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