Charles E. Gannon
Charles E. Gannon

Dr. Charles E. Gannon‘s award-winning Caine Riordan/Terran Republic hard sf novels have, as of this writing, all been Nebula finalists and national best-sellers. The fifth in the series, Marque of Caine, will be available late in 2018. His epic fantasy series, The Broken World, is forthcoming from Baen Books. He also collaborates with Eric Flint in the NYT and WSJ best-selling Ring of Fire alternate history series, and with Steve White in the NYT best-selling Starfire series. His other novels and short fiction straddle the divide between hard SF and technothrillers. Much of this work has appeared in anthologies set in the Honorverse, Man-Kzin, and War World universes, the rest appearing in collections and Analog.

His best known work of non-fiction, Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda Setting in American and British Speculative Fiction, won the 2006 American Library Association Award for Outstanding Book, and was the topic of discussion when he was interviewed by NPR .

Among various media appearances, his most recent was as an expert commentator on The Discovery Channel’s second installment of its premier series “Curiosity”.

Along with 45 other SF writers (such as Niven, Pournelle, Brin, Bova), he is a member of SIGMA, the “SF think-tank,” and has served as a consultant for various intelligence and defense agencies, including including the Pentagon, Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, NATO, DARPA, NRO, DHS, NASA, and several other agencies and defense contractors (NDAs preclude disclosure). In many cases, these organizations have had a direct interest in the innovations and concepts he presents in his novels. Notably, the first public reading from the approved manuscript of Fire With Fire (first book in the Caine Riordan series) was part of a presentation to an annual conference held by the National Reconnaissance Office.

Dr. Gannon has been a Fulbright Fellow at Liverpool University, Palacky University [Czech Republic], and the University of Dundee, and received two Fulbright (and multiple U.S. Embassy) Travel Grants to these countries as well as to The Netherlands, Slovakia, England, and Italy. He has published extensively on the interaction of fiction, technology (particularly military and space), and political influence.

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Gannon worked eight years as a scriptwriter and producer in New York City, where his clients included the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and The President’s Council on Physical Fitness. He has also worked in game design, primarily for GDW’s roleplaying lines (Traveller, 2300 AD, Twilight 2000, Dark Conspiracy), as well as crafting tactical-level simulations for other clients.

Gannon lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and four children.

Story as Engine: Tinkering with What Makes Your Narrative Tick—or Not

4-hour Master Class. $79.00
(includes general addmission)
Holiday sale $69
(ends Jan 15th 2018)
Class is limited to 25 students
Saturday, June 23th, 9am-1pm

Why go to a masterclass? In part, to get what you can’t get elsewhere. So when it comes to the craft of writing stories, here’s what we’re not going to do: close readings, line edits, critique of mechanics. Most writer’s groups—either in person or on-line–already do that. So what we’re going to do in this Master Glass is to go after what makes—or fails to make—a narrative tick: the story itself. Plot, maintenance of tension, action arcs and sub-arcs, choice of narrator(s) and point-of-view characters: that’s a brief skim of the topical wave-tops that we’ll be sailing through.

This is a seminar-based workgroup where the emphasis is not upon line edits and mechanics, but the guts of story itself. Bring two primary “problems” with your latest/most frustrating/most important piece of fiction to the seminar. You’ll share those, round-robin style. Through a discussion of those “problems,” we will not only diagnostically come up with alternatives and strategies for taking your story to the next level, but you’ll discover (and possibly be surprised) by how many of your fellow group-members come with similar (sometimes identical) challenges.

The design of this class means there’s no “waiting your turn.” Expect to be engaged immediately, both personally and as part of a group discussion. Since troubleshooting common problems is the focus of the conversation, everyone spends time as both one of the people bieng helped, or doing the helping. And since there’s no direct comparison of writing, writers at a variety of skill levels will find it useful and no one has to spend any time worrying about whether “their prose is ready to be presented.”

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Worldbuilding for Fun and Profit

4-hour Master Class. $79.00
includes general addmission)
Holiday sale $69
(ends Jan 15th 2018)
Class is limited to 20 students
Saturday, June 23th, 9am-1pm

… although you write because you love it, making a few dollars along the way sure wouldn’t hurt, would it?

But that’s not just a catchy phrase: it’s deadly serious. Unless we are like Tolkein, and are engaging in worldbuilding as an open-ended hobby with no time frame for completion, professional world-building requires not just extraordinary creativity, but exacting interdisciplinary knowledge and a keen sense of proportion.

For instance, you have a planet where there are four species, each of which speaks its own language, and each language is further divided into multiple dialects. Question: how many of those different tongues do you need to invent? All? The most important? Any at all?

The answer is ultimately informed by the stories you wish to tell in that world, but reflexively, what you ultimately create and detail will begin to shape those stories. Everytime you define something about your world, it is like a cornerstone, an orientation point: it begins to influence all the world’s other elements, particularly those which you have yet to define.

This iterative process can be great fun. It can also consume a great amount of time. So here’s the challenge that we will address: how do you make your world rich, consistent, exciting, novel, relatable, original…and do so in a manner that involves a reasonable amount of time and effort?

We’ll use familiar science fictional and fantasy worlds as our basis of examining the needs of worldbuilding for different media, but most especially, we’ll be focusing on the written narrative and together explore and take a test drive through the incredible possibilities and pitfalls of serious and yet disciplined worldbuilding.

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