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Posts tagged ‘Ravencon’

A Mad Genius Goes To RavenCon – Part the Final

Part the Third (for those who missed it see Part the First, and Part the Second)

As the appointed hour for the Villain’s Journey panel did draw nigh, Kate the Impaler did venture forth from that refuge of good alcohol (which, she – alas – could not imbibe)(damn medications) and amiable company, Barfly Central, that she attend the panel. It must be said the warrior maiden eagerly anticipated the conclusion of the panel, for she was greatly wearied by the day, and must be well-rested for the panels she was due to attend upon the morn.

Such unfortunate state did not prevent Kate the Impaler from joining with those worthies Emily Lavin Leverett, D. Alexander Ward, and Jean Marie Ward to discuss the nature of the Villain’s Journey… or at least discuss matters pertaining to Villainy and the characterization thereof. In a curious quirk of fate, the nature of the Villain’s Journey was ne’er to be found in the topics touched upon that night, though much was said unto the nature of the antagonist and how therefor an author incapable of depicting a villain might make use of that creature known as the shadowy Big Bad which is most famed (or notorious) for never truly revealing itself, lest its nature as a pathetic dweeb be exposed unto the entire world. This creature, it was agreed, is one best disposed of by such arcane means as dropping enchanted rings into volcanoes, since to bring it into view would be to strain the imagination of author and hero both.

Much was made of the nature of the Villain-as-Hero, on which the warrior maiden waxed prolific, as she did inherit her noble title from that most famous of historical villains, Vlad the Impaler (Dracula, as if there’s anyone who reads this that doesn’t know that already)(And besides, he was a hero, not a villain. He just had lousy publicity and got worked over by the media of his era)(Sound familiar?)(Ack! My parentheses are talking to each other!).

In due time the panel did end, and Kate the Impaler bade farewell unto her noble fellow panelists and tottered to her room, whereupon she did fall into a deep and (for her) restful sleep.

The final day of the Convention of Raven did dawn fair, though the narrator must concede that Kate the Impaler did lament much upon the earliness of the hour, the soreness of her feet (for the armor most suited to slaying Dragons of Social Justice Glittery Hoo Haas is far less comfortable for lengthy wear than the armor the warrior maiden uses for slaying less obnoxious dragons), and the hoarseness of her voice, for lo! In the space of one and a half days, Kate the Impaler had spoken more than she might normally do in an entire month. (The narrator wonders what they put in the water at these things).

With her armor firmly in place, the warrior maiden did take herself unto the breakfast buffet, wherein she did destroy quantities of bacon, sausage, and eggs that she might fortify herself for the day to come.

After conversing with a fellow warrior and touring the works of art gathered unto the convention that others might be enticed into rewarding the talents of the artists by showering them with green paper whose designs, though not especially attractive, are as fresh bread to a starving man, and the greatest accolade of all (for what greater praise is there than parting with the money one has labored long and hard to earn?) (Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh yes…)(Stupid narrator) After touring the works of art, Kate the Impaler did go unto the panel “Death Isn’t Cruel” where, with the aid of L Jagi Lamplighter, a small gathering did celebrate the life and works of Sir Terry Pratchett.

Much joy and laughter was had as those who could be enticed to share their experiences with Sir Terry or his works did regale the gathering with their fond memories. The warrior maiden did confess that she would be sore disappointed if at the time of her passing she was not met with a tall black-robed skeleton with twinkling blue eyes, and spoken to IN ALL CAPS before being carried off to her final destination by a white horse named Binky.

With a mere hour remaining ere her final panel of the day, Kate the Impaler did rest for a time, whereupon a member of that most secret guild of SMOF did approach her and divulge that the campaign to end the sorrow of young canines was indeed sending waves of shock through the grand halls of fandom, and how in response some sought to wrest that jewel of fandom, the Convention of World, from any locale where the friends of sorrowful young canines might gather, and take it to a far distant place that in isolation they might gather in force and thereby bring about changes to the Rules of Hugo, thus condemning the young canines to eternal sorrow. (For those not inclined to translate: read up on the contenders for the 2017 Worldcon, pay your $40 and vote. You’ll be a supporting member for 2017 before the price rise kicks in, and you get to choose where it is. Vote for the best candidate. Ignore that I like Washington, DC as a venue. I only like it because it’s the only one I could drive to).

The warrior maiden did assure the SMOF that voting would indeed be encouraged, and promised that no secrets would be divulged, for yea, as the house of fandom is divided, so too is the secret guild of SMOF.

Kate the Impaler did attend her final panel, “If Mary Sue is so Awesome, Why Does Everybody Hate Her” prepared to do battle with dragons disguised as Social Justice Glittery Hoo Haas, for the description of the panel did suggest that well-written, competent female characters were equal to that most loathsome of authorial self-insert, the Mary Sue. But no! With the aid of Barb Fisher, Gail Z. Martin, and Fiona Quinn, a lively discussion was had on the differences between competent female characters and Mary Sues, and all did agree that a protagonist who protags is not a Mary Sue (or her male equivalent a Marty Stu/Gary Stu).

When it was revealed that some consider themselves threatened by competent female characters, the warrior maiden did state most bluntly that teaching girls both that they are wonderful in all ways and that the least setback is a mighty blow from which she might never recover left those poor creatures in such confusion that they did commit idiocy when confronted with evidence that they were less wonderful than they had been told, to fervent agreement from her fellow-panelists and many of the audience.

All agreed that crippling our characters is unnecessary and mean in spirit, and thus, we must all strive educate others that a character who is more capable than they is one to aspire towards and not a mockery of their inadequacy.

Thus did the panel end, and with it, Kate the Impaler’s time at the Convention of Ravens. Wearied and satisfied, she did retreat to her room, wherein she might rest ere once more braving the horrors of DC area traffic in order that she might return home and return to her day job.

A Mad Genius Goes to RavenCon (Part the Second)

And it came to pass that as the second day of the Convention of Raven dawned, the warrior maiden Kate the Impaler did fortify herself at the buffet of breakfast, wherein quantities of bacon were consumed and strong tea was imbibed (the warrior maiden’s dislike of coffee hampering her ability to caffeinate). Thus, as the hour of ten approached, the warrior maiden prepared to join the “Writing Dialogue” panel.

And lo! With the aid of fellow-panelists Lou Antonelli, Karen McCullough, Noah McBrayer Jones, and Lawrence M Schoen, wit did sparkle and discussion did flow as mighty principles of dialogue were examined (when writing dialect and accents, less is more, attributions like “he said” vanish, and word choice matters). Much was made of the difference between the way people really speak and how such speech be represented in dialogue, with the worthy panelists exhorting the audience to avoid such evils as phonetically representing accents unless they be writing plays. Indeed, to spell an accent is to force a reader to work, and such an act pulls that worthy from the tale.

Yea, though the panelists were greatly diverse in origin, all did agree upon the evils of forcing the reader from the spell woven by their words, lest he abandon their works altogether and buy them no more.

With cheer and goodwill did the panelists part ways, expressing hope of further meetings, and so the warrior maiden did venture unto the Den of Vile Commerce known as the Dealers Room, wherein she sighed over the pretties on display at Forgotten Treasures and enjoyed conversation with that mighty warrior Mad Mike, whose Sharp Pointy Things were in very deed an array of sharp, pointy things to make any warrior dream of a greater bank balance and the screams of dying enemies (but alas, the bank balance must be honored lest the wails of dying credit card attract the demons of insufficient funds).

Much joyous conversation was had upon the nature of weaponry, the importance of ending the Sadness of the Canines of Youth, and the prospect of selling buttons with the arcane cantrip “Barfly Central is my Safe Space”. And lo! The Convention of Raven has not descended to the madness of the Safe Space, for among the Secret Masters of Fandom in the shining city of Richmond there are those who know the never-to-be-spoken truth: that the Safe Space so celebrated by the Glittery Warriors of Social Justice is merely the demon of Apartheid masquerading under a pretty name and suit of demonic glitter.

As the hour of one drew near, Kate the Impaler did gird her loins (not literally – stop slavering) once more and ventured unto the panel “It’s Only a Flesh Wound! Realistic Injuries in SF and Fantasy” where with the doughty warriors Chris A Jackson, Stuart Jaffe, Darin Kennedy, and Mike McPhail she did opine on the nature of injuries and how the injury of penetration is – unless such injury chances upon a vital organ – by far less damaging than the injury of blunt force.

Yea, the nature of injury and the horrors therein were examined by those who inflicted such injuries in their profession and those who healed them, as well as the warrior maiden who in her mundane life merely researches them with thoroughness and joy. Kate the Impaler did extol the virtues of that most amusing and enlightening of locales to be found within the Internet of Tubes, “Things I Learn From My Patients“.

Much was said about the quality of Hollywood injury depiction, little of it flattering for lo! No mere human can fall a great distance and be able to rise, for not only are most of his bones broken unto fragments, said fragments have opened many of his major blood vessels, and he has bled out ere he can be aided even if his brain was not damaged by the contact of his head with a hard surface at terminal velocity.

Upon completion of the panel, the warrior maiden did retreat to her “safe space” (Barfly Central) wherein she did converse with many of the Flies of Bar and did meet in person the redoubtable warriors John C Wright and L Jagi Lamplighter (for as with many in these modern times the warrior maiden had conversed with both through the Internet of Tubes). ‘Twas here that Kate the Impaler did learn of the attempt of the GOH of Wrongness to have a person ejected from the Convention of Raven and that the GOH of Wrongness did have no copanelists. Speculation there was that the GOH of Wrongness was of such wrongness that no other wished to join for any panel.

And it came to pass that the space of Barfly Central did empty for the Baen Road Show, but the warrior maiden was wearied, and remained, where she spoke unto the Guest Liaison of the nature of managing conventions and the difficulties therein (and learned much from that worthy, though of such nature it may not be disclosed in public, for the Guest Liaison sees much and must keep peace among such a diversity of Guests of Honor that leakage may cause great damage unto a Convention).

Thus, while the Guest Liaison did prepare repast for the Flies of Bar, Kate the Impaler did aid her, for the narcoleptic warrior maiden must remain awake beyond the night hour of ten, that she might contribute mightily to her final panel of the day, “The Villain’s Journey”.

(to be continued)

A Mad Genius Goes To RavenCon

Lo! The day was yet young when the warrior maiden, Mad Genius, and Charter Member of the Evil Legion of Evil, Kate the Impaler, did take up her raiment and Armor of Righteousness, and take her self and her trusty steed Ye Olde Camry (actually ye very young Camry, but who’s checking?) that she might make pilgrimage to that haven of Baen Barflies and their sworn enemies the Glittery Warriors of the Social Justice Hoo Haas, the Convention of Raven (RavenCon, okay?)

Though the journey was long and wearying, the fair maiden did not shrink from the task, slaying the dragons of Heavy Traffic as her trusty steed bore her along the dread I-95, ever closer to that wretched hive of scum and villainy known to those of lesser worth as Washington, DC.

But lo! Kate the Impaler’s mission this day did not require her to perform the Herculean task of cleaning the swamp of vile emissions of heated politics, and she did give thanks as she and her trusty steed skirted the dread city. Yea, and the tendrils of evil reached from the city in the form of useless HOV lanes and endless road works, but still Kate the Impaler held to her mission, for she must reach the shining gates of Richmond in time for an afternoon panel.

The dire Heavy Traffic did indeed cause the fair maiden some distress, for unbeknownst to her, the organizers of the righteous Convention did schedule their event to coincide with that mass entertainment known as Race Weekend, and so the hordes of NASCAR did make pilgrimage to the shining gates and clog the roads.

Long did Kate the Impaler bless her foresight in leaving these many hours ere her first panel, for the dragon of the traffic did consume a full extra hour of travel time (we won’t mention that unscheduled rest stop for biological needs: the fair warrior mislikes signs of aging) yet still she did arrive at the site of the Convention in good time.

And thus did her true campaign begin, for Kate the Impaler did not make such a journey lightly. Nay, she sought to learn more of the nefarious plans of the Hoo Haas of Glitter, and to perform reconnaissance for the Fourth Canine of Youth Engladdening, that she might avoid the snares the Hoo Haas of Glitter sought to lay in her path, for yea, the Hoo Haas did cry unto their lord Social Justice that the Canines of Youth were unworthy and must remain sorrowful until the day when they accepted the power of the Glittery Side.

So it was, as the hour of four approached, the warrior maiden did disguise herself in glittery mail that she might do battle in her first panel, “Playing God: Building Your Own World”, where she encountered fellow writers Lawrence Ellsworth, Kevin Kelleher, and Mike McPhail. Yet, the battle she feared did not eventuate, for lo! All were receptive to the notion that history contains much of value for the building of a fictional world, and that such a world may be far richer than one built without the references of such sources (She didn’t even have to be the first to mention this). Much laughter did ring from the audience as the warri… writers did jest about their craft, and the warrior maiden did count herself fortunate to have aided in causing such happiness – for as all Evil Legion of Evil members know, happy humans make puppies happier.

As the hour grew later (8 pm might not be late to you lot, but the narcoleptic warrior maiden had a long day) Kate the Impaler did gird herself for battle once more and join the mighty Harry Heckel and KT Pinto for the panel “Just like the Last Time, Only Different”, in which the ability of sequels to maintain their freshness and not become like elderly seafood (and one of the Guests of Horro… Honor, who, to the warrior maiden’s distress, seemed distinctly… not right).

Once again good humor and laughter did flow as the participants discussed techniques to write sequels and continuations without reusing their plots. All panelists did lament the difficulty of avoiding the traps of sequelae, most especially the seductive demon of Stakes Escalation, for lo! When thy character grows more powerful with every book, in time he becomes as dull as the Goo of Grayness for he can defeat all enemies with the least shrug of his over-powered shoulders.

As the panel drew to an end, the warrior maiden did bid her friends and fellow panelists farewell for the night, for she must be awake on the morn in order to once more battle the demons of boredom in the panel, “Writing Dialogue”…

(to be continued)

A Kate Goes To Ravencon

You know it’s going to be an eventful convention when the hotel gets struck by lightning on the first day. Naturally, the power flickered and set off the fire alarms. Rumor also had it that there was a tornado touchdown somewhere “nearby”, but rumor is an attention whore and will say things like this to be noticed. I don’t know if there was a tornado, but con ops confirmed the lightning strike at the opening ceremony. Several people apologized.

Of course, the same storm gave the elder half of the Hoyt Collective (Sarah and Dan) one of their travel adventures. Because nothing was landing at Richmond airport during that storm, they got diverted to D.C., a misfortune they were able to survive although it meant they arrived at the hotel a bit frazzled and very hungry just before Sarah’s first panel was due to start. Which led to my second act of evil for the con.

My first act of evil was my first panel, fittingly about writing believable villains. This happened before the lightning strike (who schedules panels at 3pm on the first day? Ravencon) – but we had a good audience and it was a fun discussion covering things like what the villain side of the hero’s journey looks like and the difference between heroes, antiheroes, and villains. Everyone on the panel agreed that a well written villain is in a lot of ways the hero of the other side, albeit one who loses. After the panel I found myself having to explain precisely who was the “Austrian painter” who considered himself a hero bringing back his people’s honor and pride – which ended rather badly. At least the person who asked me who I meant admitted she was lousy with history (I behaved. I simply told her the fellow’s name without any snark or commentary on the quality of schools these days).

The second act was to take Sarah’s place at her first panel – since she’d only just arrived, hadn’t eaten all day, and was being whisked off for food by Speaker (Tedd Roberts) and assorted others, I gave the panelists the choice of me impersonating Sarah or me apologizing for her. They accepted impersonation, so for the panel on finding and training the muse, I was Sarah Hoyt. Mostly. The accent isn’t one of hers, and I can’t do accents worth shit, so they got the Australian accent. Still, we do share a muse (although the bitch seems to spend most of her time off in the Bahamas somewhere admiring the dancing boys while she enjoys one of those fancy drinks with the little umbrellas). That one was fun – as well as my commentary about our muse, there was a lot of discussion of how the way to get the bitch doing her job is mostly setting up a bunch of cues that tell her “this is writing time – do your job” and then getting your conscious mind out of the way. A lot harder than it sounds, I might add, and made even more fun by everyone on the panel relating tales of being hit by stories that demanded they be written right bloody now.

Then I had my second panel. At ten pm. I can hear those of you who know I’m narcoleptic going “oh God” already. This was nominally about the books we loved from our childhood and the ones that influenced us, which turned into something more along the lines of a bunch of SF nerds talking about books we’d read and what was memorable about them. Pure fluff, basically.

Saturday was spiced up by the hotel lifts failing – and since Barfly Central was on the 8th floor, this was a serious problem. Sarah’s signing session was marked by a steady stream of people wanting books signed, which she didn’t expect. After that I had a panel on “Writing the Other” which did not turn PC despite repeatedly flailing in that direction (folks, “other” does not mean “the sex/sexual orientation/skin color I am not”. At least, not exclusively. It also means “aliens, elves, people from more than a few decades ago, people from a different state than you, and damn near anyone who isn’t actually you”). I may have hammered that point a little do hard, but when someone asked the panel if they’d ever refrained from writing a character who was “other” in some way for fear they’d be criticized for either doing it wrong or not having the ‘right’ to write this particular group, I er… opened up a bit. And pointed out that you do your research, talk to people and do your best to get the facts right, and if people still object the problem is theirs. Mentioning how disappointed I am I never got a fatwa over Impaler may have startled a few people…

Poor Sarah had to contend with a horrible combination of fluffy-headed social justice warrioress, equally fluffy-headed brown-noser, and the Interchangeable Feminist Author of the sensible clothing and All Males Are Evil style (also a brown-noser). She and the panel moderator could probably have had a fun discussion about female archetypes instead of the flapping about how “we” need to write more older women that the Matron and Crone panel devolved into. Every time it looked like there might be meat, the terrible trio fended it off.

In a fit of insanity (or something) I found myself on an 11pm panel. Even more shocking it was serious – despite a title of “The Shrinking of American Heroes”. Honestly, a panel with that title at 11pm on Saturday night? Everyone is either well lubricated or so tired they might as well be sloshed. This was the panel where Dan Hoyt and Mrs Kilted Dave had to pull Sarah back from berserker (she was my designated heckler) when one of the other panelists made the mistake of comparing America to various empires that declined and ultimately fell (although I don’t think Germany was precisely a case of ‘decline’ so much as ‘barking mad boss got them into wars they couldn’t win’). Not good. Funnily enough, I don’t think the unfortunate panelist actually believes America is an empire or that it’s in decline. Headed for a much-needed kick in the ass, unquestionably, but that isn’t a decline. More a course correction that may or may not avert an actual decline. On the empire front, you could say it is if you think of the states as countries (which is kind of accurate), but when you talk about the rest of the world, America is a bloody awful Imperialist power. The tendency is to go in, do what needs doing then go home. If we were really about imperialism, Afghanistan and Iraq would be the latest additions to an empire that would include such minor states as Japan, large chunks of Italy, Germany (and probably Austria as well), South Korea… You get the idea. Anyway, this one turned into more of a combination of what makes a hero, the difference between heroes and idols, and the kinds of heroes that are preferred at different times. After which I staggered to bed because…

At 9 am Sunday morning I was on a panel about comedy in SF & F. Right 9am Sunday morning. Okay, Sarah was also on the panel. So was Stephen Simmons. Alas, the moderator was a terribly earnest gentleman (quite nice, but oh, so very earnest and serious) and managed to leech all the fun out of things. I tried my best but… we lost people. Tragic, really.

There was more humor in Sarah’s panel later that day, on Xeno-linguistics. That one went interesting places what with comments about Klingon, the ways language shapes culture and thought and how languages work. I will admit to feeding a few questions intended to liven things up a bit. Only with the best intentions, of course.

Now the “alas” list – the panels I wish I’d been able to get to. The big one is of course Seriously Inventive Ways of Killing People. With Mad Mike Williamson and our very own mad scientist Speaker to Lab Animals. Dan Hoyt’s Epic Fail panel sounded like it would have been fun, but that was 11pm on Friday night, and I’d have fallen asleep.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this I got to about ¾ of the Baen Traveling Roadshow, encountered a flood in the ladies room, and while attempting to disguise myself as a sparkly Interchangeable Feminist got entangled with a glitter bomb and ended up trailing glitter everywhere I went. I kid you not. There was glitter everywhere except the hoo haa. It was terrifying. Seriously.

And that was Ravencon 2014. I had a blast, talked more in 3 days than I’d normally talk in a month, and had a wonderful time catching up with Sarah and Dan, meeting a bunch of other folk I only ever see at conventions again, and of course meeting new friends. Barfly Central was as usual wonderful, and the con suite two doors down (and run by mostly the same folks) was the best con suite I’ve ever seen. Seriously. Real food in the mornings. Individually packaged cookies with labels that included whether they were safe for attendees with food allergy or intolerance issues. Fruit. Ye gods these people are awesome.

I’m going back there next year if they’ll have me, 5 hour (plus) drive and D.C. Area traffic be damned.

Inconceivable (Lunacon, Ravencon, and assorted observations)

It’s time for a much-delayed Lunacon report, and since Ravencon happened in the interim, I’ll report on that too. The combination of moving house immediately after the con and a major release at work (our software is like Klingon software – it is not released, it escapes, leaving a trail of battered and bloodied testers in its wake) did interesting things to my ability to focus on anything but what was right in front of me and had to be done NOW.

So. Lunacon. As always, held in the M. C. Escher Memorial Hotel (otherwise known as the Westchester Sheraton), but with a sadly reduced attendance. They don’t know if there’ll be a next year. I hope there will. I had a very leisurely-paced signing (a few people stopped by to chat) and an even more leisurely reading (no-one there at all, so I sat and relaxed for a while). I did have fun at my panels, neither of which was in any danger of needing to invoke the Bar rule (if the panelists outnumber the audience, adjourn to the bar) which was just as well since the Bar was mid-renovations and semi-functional, just like most of the hotel’s public spaces. There were some interesting rumbles to be heard about Amazon, distribution, and the rest of the industry, rumbles which weren’t the kind of thing big publishing would want to hear. Another interesting factor – for a convention within spitting distance of NYC, there was precious little publishing representation. This is a convention that used to be bristling with editors and agents, but had if I recall correctly precisely one editor from one of the big players, and this one of the younger/newer ones. No agents. No panels about agents and how they work, either, and those used to be a staple.

At Ravencon, it was obvious that big publishing in its current form is doomed. Something with the same names might survive, but the current setup is going away. The only things in doubt are when, and how hard it’s going to hit. Not surprisingly, the Department of Justice antitrust suit was big news – so much so that three panels (Amazon vs IPG, Amazon is not Evil, and Myths of Independent and Small Publishing) all turned into discussion of the lawsuit and the future of the industry. The consensus from those panels would give any editorial demon from the big 6 a bad case of heartburn.

First up, no-one is buying the line that this is all Amazon’s fault. No-one. The closest I saw was the entirely understandable concern from those midlisters at greatest risk that if Amazon does become an effective monopoly it will have the power to cause a whole lot of damage. The author whose books are published through IPG was asked why IPG has made no attempt to compete with Amazon on ebooks and do it better.

Worse, people, including authors published through the big 6, are openly describing the big 6 accounting practices as fraud, and advising everyone to spread their risks by using every publishing outlet they can. Self-publishing and small press aren’t stigmatized any more. They’re a blessing because they mean a savvy author can get a whole lot of different channels to sell their stuff – and damn near everyone in the audience knows how to get it without going through the big 6.

Even worse, at least as far as big publishing is concerned, they’ve lost their lock. People aren’t thinking that they must be weird or odd because they walk into Big Box Bookstore and see nothing worth buying. They’ve worked out that the industry has been systematically ignoring the things they want to read, and that they can get it from Amazon. If Amazon ever stops providing what they want, they’re willing and ready to look elsewhere.

Best case, they’re doomed. Worst case, they’re doomed and they bring down a good chunk of everything else with them.

Here’s where I see it. Best case is that all of them – including Apple – settle on the DOJ anti-trust suit. This will prevent DOJ lawyers and accountants inspecting their books for irregularities. I’m pretty sure Apple’s accounting is impeccably laundered, but the publishing industry has yet to bring their accounting practices into the 20th century, much less the 21st. Even being highly optimistic and presuming that there’s no fraud, individual or systemic, no accountant will accept that publishers could possibly have no idea how many copies of any book were printed, sold, or returned. So, given any shred of sanity at the top, they’ll settle. The fact that three of them had already settled within 24 hours of the suit being announced suggested that they knew charges would be laid and weren’t going to take any chances. So… they settle, the ebook market adjusts a bit, and they continue their decline until they hit the tipping point and crash. We won’t even go into what the IRS would think of industry accounting…

Worst case, one or both of the holdouts fights, or the statements authors are sending to the DOJ as supporting evidence trigger another investigation, this on racketeering and fraud charges. Or one or another of the multiple suits filed by the states sets off the same kind of investigation. This is the nuclear option: investigators will quickly move to the two main distributors and from there to the bix box chains to try to trace where the impossible sales figures are coming from. Not one of the entities involved can survive that kind of investigation – and it will drag in smaller publishers that have tried to do the right thing but needed the distribution arm of the larger publishers. If things work out this way, the industry will collapse in a spectacularly nasty round of legal argument, and take entirely too many smaller publishers and authors with them. The DOJ is quite capable of claiming that the winners of the current system should reasonably have been aware that their sales numbers were inflated and chase them on those grounds. They’re also capable of requiring publishers to pay authors what they should have been receiving, plus interest, based on DOJ calculations. It doesn’t take much to see that any decision like this will shatter the industry. Even if they’re able to successfully appeal a decision along those lines, they’ll be effectively out of business until they clean up their accounting, as will the distributors and big box stores. Oh, yes. If things go this way, the IRS gets involved, and I think in those circumstances the publishers would prefer to be dealing with the DOJ.

I suspect the most likely outcome is somewhere in between, but I do think the whole house of cards is collapsing, no matter what. Personally, I’d prefer not to see it take out authors and smaller presses as well.

Ravencon Schedule

Tomorrow I head south for Ravencon, where I will be a very busy Kate.

Here’s the schedule for those who are considering being in the area:

Friday 4:00 pm Building Suspense
Friday 5:00 pm Brilliant But Cancelled (m)
Friday 8:00 pm Dealers’ Room Signing
Saturday 11:00 am Amazon vs Independent Publishers Group
Saturday 7:00 pm Getting The Science Right (For Writers) (m)
Sunday 11:00 am Worldbuilding For Writers and Gamers (m)
Sunday 12:00 pm Amazon Is Not Evil
Sunday 2:00 pm Reading
Sunday 3:00 pm Debunking the Myths of Indie/Self Publishing

Now you know what/where to avoid.

Those who aren’t headed that way (most of you), stay tuned. A little birdie whispered that there will be an interesting post from Amanda this Saturday.