Get crafty Christian--he saw a Wikihow article on making a model of the Starship Enterprise out of a floppy disk, and he got right to it. All the kids are now enthusiastic Trekkies, since Santa brought all three seasons of the original series on DVD to our house this year. Daniel runs around with an action figure he calls "Mr. Spot." Once or twice a week, the whole family curls up on the den couch to watch an episode or two together. It's been terrific fun. Bonus: the kids now understand just exactly how funny Galaxy Quest is. Or they will once they've visited a real live SF convention.
Speaking of which, I'm about to send off my early registration for Readercon. Years ago I went with my friend Deb to Readercon and fell in love. Deb and I returned the following year, but after that, I was on maternity leave for quite a while.
You won't see folks running around in Klingon uniforms at Readercon, just a lot of really smart people who love good books, science, and conspiracy theories. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, baby; I'm pretty much a pig in mud when I'm there. The panels are terrific and the bookstore is great.
Last year, my best pal Kara and I applied and were admitted to Readercon's Writers' Workshop, led by Steven Popkes. We got a lot of valuable input from Popkes and the other students and came away inspired, energized, and validated about our own writing. The other highlight was the infamous Kirk Poland Bad Prose Competition. There are no words to describe how funny this event always is. It alone is worth the price of registration and the trip to Burlington, Mass. No, REALLY.
Last year's Guest of Honor was that rock star of the SF world, China Mieville. His book Perdido Street Station is one of the best works of speculative fiction that I've ever read (and I've read quite a few). China was even more satisfying to listen to on the panels than he is to read: funny, literate, thoughtful, bold. Note to self: stop swooning at the memory. This year's Guests of Honor look fabulous as well: Lucius Shepard and Karen Joy Fowler. I've just ordered a couple of their books in preparation for learning at their feet (and for getting signed as I tell them what a Big Fan I am of Their Work). Can't wait!
In the meantime, the kids' school has asked me to give a presentation on speculative fiction to the entire second grade in April. I've got to come up with something interactive and engaging to do with 60+ 8-year-olds for 45 minutes. Yikes. I'll keep you posted on my progress.