Dancing for Uncanny

It’s no secret around here that I’m a fan of Uncanny Magazine. It isn’t just that the editors are friends of mine, though they are. They publish plenty of fiction that is to my tastes, like here and here…and, uh, here, here, and here. They’ve also published me, so I have every reason to be biased.

Still, there are plenty of people who agree with me that Uncanny is well worth supporting. You might even be one of them. This is part of the reason I’ve offered up two rewards in their Kickstarter to pay for their second year of publication.

PICK A SKEPTIC BRAIN. Stephanie Zvan of Freethought Blogs (Almost Diamonds) will blog about a topic chosen by you. Includes everything from the SUSTAINER level.

Want me to write about a topic that interests you? No problem. You get a year’s subscription to great art and essays as well, plus additional fan goodies.

Or maybe you want to go for something a touch more cruel.

TORTURE A SKEPTIC Do you love to hate ghost/monster hunter or UFO shows? Choose your best-worst episode of paranormal TV and have skeptics Dr. Rubidium, Jason Thibeault, or Stephanie Zvan rally the Mock the Movie crew to watch and live-tweet the pain. (We’ll contact you to select the episode and skeptic. First come, first choice.) Includes everything from the SUSTAINER level.

This reward was built out of the long-standing trolling of one of the Uncanny editors who loves to tell me how much he’s enjoying his ghost-hunter shows. (Yes, Michael, I said, “trolling”.) He’s been telling me I need to watch them for years and finally found a pitch I couldn’t resist.

Even if neither of those rewards suits your fancy, go check out the Kickstarter. Basic subscriptions are available, as are plenty of other rewards. Uncanny has just a few days and $6,000 to go to to maintain its ability to support diverse stories, new writers, great fan writing, art, and kindness. Help make that happen.

Dancing for Uncanny

SSA Week: On Criticism, Improvement, and Asking for Help

We’re in the middle of SSA Week right now, the Secular Student Alliance’s annual major fundraising push. It’s unusual for a fundraising drive in that the SSA often concentrates more on the number of donors than on the amount raised. This is particularly true this year, when their challenge grant isn’t a matching grant but $20,000 in donations that will kick in if 500 people donate by June 17. Small donations mean even more this year.

Text banner for SSA Week: "Secular students week, June 10th-17th, 2015. Help us get to 500 donations!",
I know a lot of people are burnt out on atheist organizations after the last few years. I am less so than most people I know, but even I feel it from time to time. Still, the SSA is one of the groups that continues to regularly receive the revenue I make from this blog. Let me tell you a little bit about why. Continue reading “SSA Week: On Criticism, Improvement, and Asking for Help”

SSA Week: On Criticism, Improvement, and Asking for Help

Finding an Audience for Longer Work

It seems that even when I write about starting a Patreon, a little screed about the value of women’s writing pops out. Hmm.

I’ve been blogging for more than eight years. For the last four of those years, a lot of my blogging has necessarily been reactive. I don’t regret that work in any way, but it has changed how and what I write.

I used to write more long-form posts, posts which took a step back from the events of the day to examine issues from multiple perspectives. I used to write more about science, divorcing questions from the single studies of news cycles and putting them back into context. I used to do more noodling on culture and the complex relationship it has with our lives. I used to play more with format. Continue reading “Finding an Audience for Longer Work”

Finding an Audience for Longer Work

Your Chance to Put Words in My Mouth

First of all, I’m speaking at River City Reason Fest in September. Never heard of it? That’s because it’s a new conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It’s the weekend of September 19 and 20, and the lineup is worth traveling to see. The speakers I do know, I enjoy. Those I don’t sound intriguing.

It’s also the weekend before my birthday, so I’ll be taking the opportunity to celebrate with people I don’t get to see often enough, like Greta and PZ.

One thing I don’t know yet about the weekend is what I’ll be speaking about. Continue reading “Your Chance to Put Words in My Mouth”

Your Chance to Put Words in My Mouth

Come See Me in LA

One week from today, I’ll be speaking in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group meeting at the Center for Inquiry building. My talk is titled “Taking a Pollyanna Break: Celebrating Our Wins”.

I know this may seem like an odd time to focus on the positive. With the Mark Oppenheimer article and the subsequent behavior of many of Shermer’s colleagues, it’s incredibly difficult to escape the realization that many in our movements thinks sexual harassment and assault should be swept under the rug. Frankly, that’s demoralizing. So is watching them say this with little reaction from movement leadership.

On the other hand, this is exactly when we need to remember that we’re changing this movement. Continue reading “Come See Me in LA”

Come See Me in LA

It's Uncanny!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’re already well aware that my friends Lynne and Michael Thomas are running a Kickstarter to pay for the first year of their new magazine. Uncanny Magazine will pick up where they left off with Apex Magazine, only on a grander scale. A few authors who have pledged to contribute in the first year of the bi-monthly magazine:

  • Neil Gaiman (poetry)
  • Mary Robinette Kowal (fiction)
  • Kameron Hurley (essay)
  • Kat Howard (fiction)
  • Jim Hines (essay)
  • Emily Jiang (poetry)
  • Scott Lynch (fiction)
  • Ken Liu (fiction)
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts (essay)

In addition to that impressive (partial) list, Lynne and Michael have a very good track record of publishing new authors found through their unsolicited submissions (slush). That makes their magazine both somewhere you will be able to read old favorites and somewhere you can discover new ones.

If all that isn’t enough, this Kickstarter offers an array of rewards from the sublime to the silly. Would you like to name a space unicorn? How about just wear the patch of the space unicorn rangers (available at any pledge level)? Get poetry or art or a guided shopping trip through New York’s vintage shops or a writer’s retreat with multiple award-winning editors in residence? Or the Scary Ham Funeral Kit?

If you have just $5 you can spare for fiction, you can help support the writers whose work I link here week after week. Uncanny will pay pro rates for fiction. You’ll still be able to read the stories, though not as early as you would be able to if you could afford a full subscription. And more good writers get paid to produce more good stories.

If you like science fiction and fantasy, particularly of the sort I tend to highlight, check out the Uncanny Magazine Kickstarter. Find your level and chip in to make this happen.


It's Uncanny!

Start Your CONvergence Early with Quiz-O-Tron

Will you be in the Twin Cities Wednesday evening, just waiting for CONvergence and SkepchickCon to start? Come on down to the Bryant-Lake Bowl for Quiz-O-Tron. Rebecca Watson explains.

You know you’ve got a good show going when the professional birder on stage continually threatens to steal the show from the professional comedians. Quiz-O-Tron will be a great show, and the BLB is a great place to grab a meal. Plus, if all that’s not enough to pull you into the theater, proceeds from the show help pay to bring scientists and skeptics into town for SkepchickCon.

Start Your CONvergence Early with Quiz-O-Tron

Counting Down the Days

Do you live in the Los Angeles area? Are you a woman looking for for an atheist group that you don’t have to worry will be unfriendly to women or to feminist viewpoints? You only need to hang on one more week.

The Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group (LAWAAG) is a group for people who primarily identify as women who live a secular lifestyle or are in the process of leaving religion. LAWAAG focuses on building community and friendship among freethinking women and organizes activist and community outreach art projects. We welcome new members at our monthly meetup.

LAWAAG was formed in 2014 by multi-media artist, Amy Davis Roth with the goal of fostering a safe and supportive space for those who primarily identify as women, who are leaving faith, or who already live as part of a secular community.

Our group meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7pm at  The Center For Inquiry, Los Angeles. Along with regular monthly meetups, the group also organizes art, activism and outreach projects and works towards building community and support for women without faith.

In order to foster a safe space that acknowledges and can focus on the specific issues women encounter and deal with in a secular community, we currently only accept members who primarily identify as women. However, we often participate in and sponsor co-ed events. We welcome new members at our monthly meetup and welcome all to attend our publicized co-ed events. Please go to our events page for a list of upcoming and current events.

The group is free to members but has costs to run. Amy had a sale over the weekend to benefit the group and, being Amy, she’ll probably have another. Still, you can donate at the group’s site to help them fund their activities.

Counting Down the Days

Throw It Out!

Promotional image for baseball game. Details in the post.

Throw the First Pitch!

Bidding is open now through June 23rd

Minnesota Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation are sponsoring a St Paul Saints game on Friday, July 11th. They are renaming their team the Mr Paul Aints for the evening and calling it the Night of Unbelievable Fun: The 3rd Strike.

As the sponsor, we get the honor of throwing the first pitch.

  • In 2012 American Atheists president, David Silverman, threw the first pitch.
  • In 2013 Minnesota Atheists president, Eric Jayne, threw the first pitch.
  • In 2014, it could be YOU who throws the first pitch!

We are putting the honor up for auction with proceeds going toward offsetting the costs of the game and corresponding conference the next day. If you’re interested in winning the opportunity to get the unbelievable fun started by tossing out the first ceremonial pitch, email your bid with your name, address, and phone number.

For bidding rules and to view the current bid (updated daily), go to: mnatheists.org/first-pitch.

Details on the game:
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM – Tailgating Starts
7:00 PM – Game Starts

St. Paul Saints Midway Stadium
1771 Energy Drive, St. Paul MN

Ticket Prices:
$22 = Infield Reserved Ticket + Hat
$12 = General Admission Ticket + Hot Dog + Soda

Aints T-Shirts, Baseball Caps, and Jerseys are also available.

Purchase tickets and Aints merchandise.

Throw It Out!

Day of Reason at the MN State Capitol

Every year, religious groups bus people into Saint Paul for the Day of Prayer rally outside the state capitol. Every year, Minnesota Atheists organizes a Day of Reason event inside the capitol rotunda. There’s always a little fun to be had looking at the weather and musing about what it would tell us about the preferences of an interventionist deity if one existed. To be fair, early May in Minnesota tends toward volatile weather, so it’s stacking the deck, but the game is still entertaining. This year, for example, people rallying outside are predicted to have their sixth consecutive day of heavy, drenching rain.

Inside is much more appealing, and not just because of the weather. The theme for this years event is “30 years and growing, with good reason.” The Humanists of Minnesota are joining us this year to co-sponsor a celebration of 30 years of organized atheism in Minnesota. From the Meetup page for the event:

The theme of this year’s Day of Reason will be “30 Years and Growing with Good Reason”. While the Day of Prayer simultaneously occurs on the steps leading to the capitol, we will be in the rotunda celebrating the continuous presence and growth of secular organizations in the State of Minnesota throughout the last 30 years. We will hear from several organizations which have had a positive secular presence in Minnesota, and hopefully we will also hear from a few representatives on how they view the benefits of separating government and religion.

This is a family friendly event. Children might find speeches boring, but educating them on the importance of standing up for your rights and making change in the world is invaluable! This is a great way to do that. You may also call ahead to schedule a tour of the capital building for your visit.

Let’s represent secular society by filling up the rotunda, letting ourselves be heard, and celebrating reason in Minnesota!

We’ve confirmed that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will welcome us to the capitol for the event. If you can make it to the capitol over lunch on a Thursday, come on down and join us!

Day of Reason at the MN State Capitol