Southbound

kingston kenI am bound for London — well, actually Kingston-on-Thames first for the conference. Never been to this campus before but it looks lovely. I’ll be near Hampton Court so I might finally go there. The Royal Horticulture Society had a big show there: the gardens are bound to be lovely.

Of course the conference ought to be a blast. I really get to enjoy it because I am the first speaker after the welcome! Heh, that makes a difference from going in the last panel of the last day. Far more relaxing. All the papers look interesting — after all, it’s Ken Russell!

I’ll be flying down which is a change. Rail tickets have gone up so much it was actually cheaper (not to mention quicker). Going by way of Surbiton which always puts me in mind of Monty Python.

I will have adventures to share, of course: at least a couple of concerts in London afterward, too. I will doubtless share my opinions here. In the meantime I’m just glad to have my paper finished well before time!

2017-07-11 14.45.25

Representing the skulk always!

Vonnegut Talk

I had a great time at my talk on Saturday. There was a big crowd who proved very enthusiastic. I was rather glad that Vonnegut’s nephew Kurt and his son didn’t introduce themselves until after the talk or I would have felt rather self-conscious talking about their family members. Kurt said that his father Bernard had been recording video for the forthcoming documentary. I was one of the Kickstarter contributors, so I am eagerly looking forward to it. I remembered to take a picture of the sign for the talk but I realise I took the wrong side so my name isn’t even there.

The Mabee Farm site is quite interesting. There’s even an old cemetery and of course, right now there’s the It Came from Schenectady exhibit of SF/F from the capital region, including some Albacon members.

Accidents in a Very Busy Place: Kurt Vonnegut in Schenectady
presented by K.A. Laity
Saturday 4/11/15 at 2:00 PM at Mabee Farm Historic Site

Kurt Vonnegut, the renowned and beloved author, spend an important part of his life in Schenectady. The region influenced his work, and Schenectady appears as the setting for many of his stories. K.A. Laity will discuss Vonnegut’s time in Schenectady– as a PR man for GE, and as a volunteer fire fighter– and the region’s legacy in his work.

I’m making the talk available because it’s not really something intended for publication, but I know people who weren’t able to be there are interested. It’s a bit of a DIY situation because I don’t have time to combine the two pieces: so here’s the text and here are the slides. It’s far more entertaining with the slides.

sci fi poster smallIt Came from Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region
(at Mabee Farm Historic Site through September 2015)

What if you had a superpower? What if you could travel through time? What if machines overtook Schenectady? “What if” questions inspire writers, artists, and filmmakers to create new worlds and imagine alternate realities. Featuring an Apollo EMU spacesuit (and a replica you can try on!), experimental equipment and machinery from GE, original science fiction cover art, hand-made costumes, an interactive studio set, film footage, and more, It Came from Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region invites you to discover the “what ifs” that inspired the creations of local science fiction innovators, including Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Nelson, and Glendora. Join us on a journey through time and space as we explore the legacy of science fiction in Schenectady County!

Today: Vonnegut in Schenectady

Vonnegut TalkJoin me at the Schenectady Historical Society’s Mabee Farm at 2pm for a talk about Kurt Vonnegut’s Schenectady years. I talk a lot about Player Piano as well as a bit about Cat’s Cradle and Welcome to the Monkey House. Quite shamelessly I mention Owl Stretching, too and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention So It Goes as well. I hope all the jokes work — how can you go wrong with Vonnegut after all? Part of It Came from Schenectady: Science Fiction in the Capital Region, so I look forward to seeing what else is there.

Do note, if you’re coming by boat: The Mabee Farm is located on the south side of the Mohawk River about 1 mile east of Lock E-9 and four miles west of Lock E-8. 

I should have chartered a boat!