Sirens

Remember me…? I don’t blame you if you don’t. I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. Whoops.

I’ve been traveling a ton–I’m about to leave for Laos and Vietnam for two weeks. I just got back from Vail, Colorado, where I was at Sirens, a conference for women in/of science fiction and fantasy literature (click the link for some idea of the programming). It was my second year attending, and like last year I’m afraid the whole experience got my brain firing in seventeen new (and somewhat dangerous) directions. I’m trying to sit calmly on my ideas for a while to see which ones filter out as completely-crazy-heat-of-the-moment-fling ideas and which ones are actually worth sticking in the creative oven for further baking.

Talking thematically about science fiction and fantasy is really itchy for me. I read all over the board, but somehow sff tends to strike me as more important when I come away from it, or worms more deeply into my brain. This is a soft, unsupportable statement to make, I know. I don’t usually think sharply enough about anything I read to write coherently or worthily about it, but I sure like to listen to other people talk about it. And with sci fi and fantasy the talking goes on, and on, and on…

Anyway this is just a holding post re: where I’ve been. I hope for something smarter to grow out of my current thought bubble, but I still have to work through all the fragments in my head.

In the meantime, anyone been to Laos or Vietnam and want to leave me any recommendations?

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11 Responses to Sirens

  1. Hey, it’s good to hear that you’re out doing stuff! I don’t have any personal experience with Laos or Vietnam, but I’m told that Vietnamese cuisine is incredible (and usually healthy, too). Eating where the locals eat is highly recommended.

  2. Wisteria789 says:

    I know someone staying in Laos you should visit.

  3. JES says:

    Sorry, no SE Asia tips for you. Except maybe to watch something like The Scent of Green Papaya or Indochine beforehand.

    So glad to know you’re doing okay. Or more than okay, if we factor in the ideas popping for SF/F (which I gather are ideas for your own writing, not for someone else’s!). I was afraid you’d hung up your blogging spurs for good — but didn’t want to ask. Color me neurotic.

  4. Briony says:

    In Luang Prabang (I think) you can rent an inner tube and go tubing down the river. Every so often people will hook you in, sell you beer and then send you on your merry way. I’ve yet to go to Laos, but when I heard about this I WAS SOLD.

    Vientiane is meant to be beautiful. As for Vietnam, the one thing I know is to book a tour to Ha Long Bay, rather than just turn up in town. My brother and his girlfriend did that and ended up being in a hotel straight out of The Shining and then were held hostage for two hours on a ship (CALLED THE BLACK PEARL!!!) while the captain threw a tantrum about someone breaking a toilet. Nha Trang is also recommended.

    Also, seafood dinnner and cocktails will set you back about ten bucks. If you need accomodation recommendations, I can ask around for you! But that’s all I’ve got off the top of my head. I’m v. jealous by the way!

    • good advice all around. just today my friend was suggesting (because I have failed to get my act together) that we just drop in on Halong Bay without a reservation and I was like NO! For Briony hath told me not to do that!

      The toilet tantrum sounds very traumatizing. No repeats, please!

      Unrelated, but I flatly refuse to go inner tubing, although I’m sure that sounds lovely to you and other sane people. No water or winter sports of any kind for me, thank you. 😀

      I will check back in with news on how all this went in due course.

  5. Froog says:

    I have a friend who used to run tours down there, but I’ve lost contact with him since he moved back to Oz last year. I gather there’s no too much to go wrong down there – cheap living and friendly people. Beer Lao (usually available cross-border in the near neighbour countries too) is THE BEST in Asia, by a mile. Watch out for the ‘black’ variety, which has a dangerous 6.5 or 7% alcohol content.

    A surprisingly great movie about ‘those parts’ (actually set in Cambodia, but close enough – the spirit of place is pretty similar) is City of Ghosts, a remarkably atmospheric little thriller written by, directed by, and starring Matt Dillon (don’t be put off). I was seduced into giving it a try by the supporting cast: cameos by James Caan, Stellan Skarsgaard, and Gerard Depardieu! To top it off, the end credits have a haunting version of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now, sung in Cambodian.

    Have a great trip! We expect a ‘blog postcard’ about it when you get back.

  6. ooo!!! Joni Mitchell in Cambodian?! wahoo!!

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