Remembering Victor Milán

Last week, sad news came in that prolific New Mexican author Victor Milán passed away after complications with pneumonia. That’s a bit deceptive as he had been in and out of emergency room since early December, but so much time in the hospital took its toll and robbed us of one of the greatest adventure writers out there. Some good retrospectives on his writing career can be found at Locus, File 770, Tor, and GRRM’s blog.

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Victor Milan, John Jos Miller, Jane Lindskold, Lauren C. Teffeau, S.M. Stirling and Emily Mah at Page 1 Books, June 2015

Vic had a tremendous impact on the local science fiction and fantasy community here in Albuquerque, and it’s only fitting there will be a remembrance ceremony celebrating his life and work at Bubonicon, the local SFF convention, this August.

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Victor Milan at the Dinosaur Lords release party / birthday — August 2015

I met Vic through the NM-based Critical Mass writers’ group, which I first joined back in fall of 2012. He was always witty and kind and an insightful critiquer. I felt privileged to have read his work in turn, most notably his Dinosaur Lords series with Tor. His encouragement and support of my own writing over the years was a huge gift, and one I’ll carry with me for a long time.

 

 

 

When he got sick, getting shuttled from emergency rooms to hospital beds to nursing rehabilitation facilities only to be sent back to the ER for the process to start all over again, it was hard seeing such a gentle vibrant man brought low by illness and an indifferent healthcare system. But he was fighting up to the very end.

My last visit with him, a few days before his passing, was a good one. I wanted to see him before I left town for a weeklong trip back East to visit family. There were the usual gripes about the facility, interruptions by staff members taking vitals or administering meds, but he brightened up considerably when I mentioned some editorial feedback I’d received on a project, happy to talk about the writing process he’d devoted so much of his life to. When I left, he was still weak but showing outward signs of improving, even as pneumonia and sepsis were unknowingly setting in. I didn’t realize that would be the last time I’d see him.

After that visit, he sent me the following text:

 

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I didn’t respond—I was going to see him as soon as I got back to town. We could talk then, right? Wrong. In any case, here’s my belated reply:

No, Vic. Thank you. And wherever you are now, happy voyaging!

 

Bubonicon 2017!

The 49th iteration of Bubonicon, New Mexico’s science fiction and fantasy convention, is in just a few short weeks. C. J. Cherryh and Sherwood Smith are guests of honor, Ursula Vernon is toastmistress, and Elizabeth Leggett is our artist guest of honor. Back in time is this year’s theme.

The festivities are August 25, 26, and 27 at Albuquerque’s Marriott Uptown.

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There are a number of panels and events scattered throughout the weekend, so if you are local, be sure to check out the programming guide.

On Friday, you can find me participating in the following:

Panel # 4 – FACTS BEHIND THE FANTASY: RESEARCH IMPACT

Panel # 7 – REBEL SCUM: OPPOSING THE EMPIRE

Saturday, we’ll be talking about the science in science fiction.

Panel # 12 – HEY, YOU GOT YOUR SCIENCE IN MY FICTION

Hope to see you there! Be sure to check out bubonicon.com

Where You Can Find Me at Bubonicon 2014

I’m very excited to be a part of my local convention, Bubonicon, in Albuquerque, New Mexico this year. New Mexico has an amazing group of speculative writers writing across many different sub-genres of the field, and they’ll all be in one place! If you find yourself in the Land of Enchantment for the first weekend of August, be sure to check it out.

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Here’s where you’ll find me:

Friday: ASPIRING WRITERS 201: KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES – RESEARCH
To be successful in SF, a writer must keep up with the technology, the competition and the field. Why are those all so necessary? How do the panelists do that? How does one balance the writing needs with mundane life? What happens if a writer doesn’t keep up? Are the panelists worried about being left behind?

Why I’m excited: Because I get to geek out about research and how my time in grad school and academia shaped the writer I am today!

Saturday: WRITING THE CHANGE: ANTHOLOGY DISCUSSION
An anthology based on SM Stirling’s “Change” series will be released in 2015. Contributors to the anthology (including me!) talk about their stories, what inspired them, what part Stirling played in their creations, the rules to playing in one person’s sandbox without contradicting each other, etc.

Why I’m excited: I get to talk all about my forthcoming story in the anthology along with both the editor and some of the other contributors—a unique opportunity to see how other authors tackled their stories for the anthology.

Sunday: HIGH SCHOOL IS HELL: YA DYSTOPIAS
Why are dystopian futures so popular in the YA market? Are they analogies for how teenaged youths feel about high school? What are some of the good YA dystopian works beyond The Hunger Games and Divergent? Is this sub-genre just a fad or is it here to stay? What might replace it? What’s being done that’s new and different? Has the dystopian theme become a crutch for writers and publishers?

Why I’m excited: Well, it’s no secret that at least half of my published short stories are YA in nature. I’m a big fan of speculative fiction for young adults and look forward to hearing my fellow panelists’ take on the genre.

So mark your calendars and be sure to say hi!

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The Albuquerque Marriott Uptown
2101 Louisiana Blvd NE (Louisiana & I-40)
Albuquerque, NM 87110

Guests of Honor: John G. Hemry and Cherie Priest
Toastmaster: Steven Gould
Guest Artist: Darla Hallmark

http://bubonicon.com/