I’m headed for Lawrence, Kansas, in three weeks to participate in James E. Gunn’s annual SF Writers’ Workshop at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction on the University of Kansas campus.

I will admit there is a bit of hero worship involved.

Gunn is an author of witty and thought-provoking science fiction, an editor and educator for the past sixty years, and I learned to love the genre, back in the day, reading his early novels and short-story collections, such as The Joy Makers and Future Imperfect, along with the works of Robert Heinlein, Issac Asimov, Hal Clement and Arthur C. Clarke.

The workshop uses the Clarion method of critiquing, so that each of the nine participants is required to submit three pieces of short speculative fiction in advance. I should be receiving everyone else’s stories any day now and all twenty-four have to be read and critiqued by June 28th. A lot of work.

I submitted a couple of retitled stories that I’ve talked about here before — For The Plucking (previously titled Toward Heaven Still) and As A Wind Among the Reeds (previously titled We Who Still Labor) — and a new piece I just finished — A Prayer to Saint Barbara.

The first is a post-apocalyptic adventure tale that involves magic and a search for lost technology.

The second is urban fantasy, a rough-and-tumble story involving escaped convicts, a plucky waitress named Darlene Comer and Moccus, one of the old Celtic Gods.

The third is hard science fiction set twenty years from now in low-earth orbit. it’s the piece that involves the most stretch for me. I haven’t done much hard science fiction and there was a ton of research involved. I just hope I have all the details right.

I also hope to do some posts while at the workshop. I’m looking forward to the two-week event with considerable anticipation. And I am crossing my fingers, knocking on wood and saying a small prayer to Moccus that all will go well.

3 thoughts on “Workshopping

  1. Wow, sounds like a great adventure, KC…and a lot of prep time. It should be very benefical to get all that feedback from writers as skilled as yourself withing those genres. I’ll look forward to your posts.

  2. Wow… that sounds like it will be an awesome experience. I hope that your crits are both considerate and constructive, and that the workshop is a great experience. I’ll be interested to read how it goes!

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