Totally Different Careers

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Every year, the Las Vegas Book Festival takes place three blocks from my condo. Every year, I watch the tents go up for the outdoor presentations and the book sales, and every year, I think, Hmmm, maybe I should go.

A few years ago, I tried to get a ticket the day before to see one of the featured speakers, not because of a book he’d written, but because he’s a personal hero of mine. Unsurprisingly, since he’s uber-famous, the tickets had disappeared months before. (The festival is free, but you still need tickets to attend the big events.)

As you can probably tell, I don’t pay a lot of attention to the literary scene here in Las Vegas. There’s a writers institute here that focuses on traditional publishing. It condescendingly includes “genre fiction” in some of its programming, but the people it puts on panels wouldn’t make a panel at a major sf convention or comic convention. Maybe a small town sf convention in the 1990s that had no budget at all. Maybe. Because they just don’t have the credentials.

This year’s Las Vegas Book Festival has some good panels on romance and a rather silly “genre fiction” topic combining…wait for it…history, horror, and sci-fi. There is a worldbuilding panel with a few writers who actually build popular sf/f worlds. But for the most part, this festival still shows its literary and traditional publishing roots.

Which is why I keep forgetting about it, year in and year out.

I do keep an eye on the book programming of the various tiny local festivals, just to see if a friend will show up or to get tickets to see someone whose work I adore. Last year, a friend and I went to see Roxanne Gay as part of the Wave In festival (which included music and art as well as books). We sat outside in the heat at Springs Preserve to listen to her excellent talk, as well as the interview conducted afterwards.

My friend, also a writer, asked why I didn’t go up and introduce myself to Roxanne Gay before the event, when she was sitting alone. I didn’t for a variety of reasons. Usually those introductions are awkward. If the featured writer hasn’t heard of me, then they’re embarrassed or dismissive. If they have, and it’s through my editing, there’s a chance that I rejected them. If they have, and it’s through my writing, there’s a chance that they don’t read or like that sf (mystery, romance) crap.

Just better to let me be a reader-fan than it is to try to impose on their moment in the sun.

Besides, I’m keeping a low profile with the local literary scene, a decision that I realized was a good one when another friend with a long career in science fiction moved to the area. She was treated by one of the organizations like something that needed to be scraped off their shoes. That’s embarrassing too, but not as bad as being recognized.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.


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