Category Archives: Science Fiction

Dr. Eli Sheff at Outlantacon May 13 & 14

 

images.jpg

I will be presenting on the Fandom Culture track at Outlantacon this weekend, so if you are in town come on down to the Atlanta Marriott Century Center to check out the cosplay and panels. On Saturday I present “Which Form of Consensual Non-Monogamy is Right for You?” at 8 pm and “Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Round: An Unabashed Introduction to BDSM” at 10 pm. On Sunday I will play in the Hollywood Squares on the Gaming track, hosted by Candace Weslosky-Miller  and with other panelists Lee Martindale, Pinky Shear, Kiernan Kelly, Moxie Magnus, Kage Alan, Heather Ness, Brent Seth, and Andrea Judy.

http://www.outlantacon.org/

Leave a comment

Filed under BDSM, bisexual, Conference, consensual nonmonogamy, convention, dating, diversity, Gender, jealousy, love, non-monogamy, open relationships, Polyamory, relationships, Science Fiction, sex, sexuality, Uncategorized

Review of Counsel of the Wicked

 

images.jpgThis fall I had the great fortune to visit with the publishers at Fantastic Fiction Publishing. When I mentioned to the primary editor that I had just finished the book I had been reading and was looking for something new to read, she recommended Elizabeth Schechter’s Counsel of the Wicked . “I don’t like erotica” I said, thinking back on the sappy romance novels I had started occasionally and always left unfinished.  “Trust me, you’ll like this one” she said. Knowing her to be a woman of integrity and good taste, I took her at her word and purchased a copy.

 

Turns out, it’s not that I don’t like erotica, it’s that I don’t like badly written drivel with thin plot lines padded by pages of awkward sex. Even the sex scenes in Laurel Hamilton’s Anita Blake vampire hunter series left me cold, and I quickly found myself skimming over the sex scenes that seemed initially steamy and quickly became repetitive (and used the word spill far too often) to get back to the much more interesting vampire hunting and shape shifting.

 

Far from needing to blur past self-conscious or redundant sex scenes, Schechter’s gem is so well written that the sex scenes are not only interesting to read, but integral to the plot. Mercifully devoid of the kind of florid Harlequin romance language that hobbles so many other erotic novels, Counsel of the Wicked has complex and well-developed characters who do all sorts of interesting things, one of which happens to be interesting sex as well. Each sex scene flows perfectly with the twists of the plot, always fitting in quite realistically with the characters’ other actions. One of the main characters appears to be asexual, a true novelty for romance novels.

 

Luckily for me and other readers of smart and sexy fiction, this is just book one in the Rebel Mage series. I look forward to reading the second book in the series, Haven’s Fall, to find out what happens to the band of intrepid travelers.

Leave a comment

Filed under book review, romance, Science Fiction, Uncategorized

Sexuality and Relationship Related Conventions in Atlanta

imgres.jpg

As home of a thriving film industry, the Black Glitterati, and the largest gay population between Miami and Washington DC, Atlanta is a city of rich cultural diversity. One of the elements of that diversity shows up in the incredible range of relationship and sexuality related cons to which the lovely city of Atlanta plays host. Listed in chronological order below, these conventions add a smart and sexy strand to the vibrancy of Atlanta.

 

All of these cons have online registration, meet in large hotels, have social and learning components with panel presentations and gaming rooms, and include vendors rooms with merchants selling everything from jewelry, books, and crafts to corsets, kilts, and sex toys. While the cons usually have blocks of rooms reserved for reduced rates, it can be cheaper to stay in smaller or more modest hotels nearby.

 

InfinityCon – February

imgres.jpgFresh from its first excellent year, InfintyCon specializes in the kinky side of polyamory. Touting itself as an educational conference with flair, InfinityCon aims to deliver a wide variety of information on polyamory and other forms of ethical non-monogamy. It is a sister con to Atlanta Poly Weekend with a more adult focus to contrast to APW’s family-friendly goals. In addition to their educational tracks, InfinityCon hosts a fun track designed to help folks connect with like-minded people with social time, dancing, and relaxation. InfinityCon is scheduled for February 9 – 12 in 2017.

 

Frolicon – April

imgres-1.jpgKnown among locals as DragonCon’s slutty little sister, Frolicon is a chance to “join all your favorite deviants for a fun filled weekend of debauchery and decadence.” A kink and think con for the “naughty side of paradise,” Frolicon features fun for thinkers, artists, and kinksters. Think tracks include those for writers, LGBT+, costuming, and polyamory, The kink track has classes on techniques, theories, and relationships, and the sync track helps frolickers make connections through meetups, speed dating, and mingles. For the kinksters, there is an incredibly well-equipped dungeon (configured by Sadistic Engineering) that fills the hotel’s largest ballroom and hosts open play as well as theme parties. Partiers will enjoy the Saturday night Party Battles in which groups of people try to outdo each other with making their party the most fun. Frolicon happens in the spring, when it is time to frolic, and is scheduled for April 13-16 in 2017.

 

Atlanta Poly Weekend – June

images-2.jpgHaving just completed its sixth year, Atlanta Poly Weekend is the only child-friendly con that features a kid track and pg-13 programming during the day, with the NC-17 programming scheduled after 9pm. Established by the Relationship Equality Foundation, APW offers polyamorous or poly curious folks the opportunity to meet and mingle, learn new skills, get advice, make family connections with other polys with kids (or without kids :), and learn about the wide world of communication, negotiation, and honesty among multiple partners. Atlanta Poly Weekend is scheduled for June 2 – 4 in 2017.

 

South East Leather Fest SELF – June

Iimgres-2.jpgn addition to lots of classes and opportunities to learn everything from An Introduction to Biting or Conflict Resolution Within a Master/slave Framework to Erotic Shaving or BDSM and the Law, SELF also hosts a range of competitions. Titles include Master/slave, Ms. SELF, SELF Boy/Boi, Mr. SELF, Southeast Bootblack and Southeast Person of Leather. SELF also hosts a huge dungeon with some very sophisticated scenes – dedicated to a much more serious version of kink than Frolicon, which also has a giant dungeon but is focused more on play and less on protocol. This next SELF is scheduled for June 22-25 2017.

 

DragonCon – September

images.jpgWhile not officially a sexualities-related convention, DragonCon is the kind of sci fi geek paradise that appeals to the kinksters, queers, polys, and cosplayers. Founded in 1987 and now in its 30th year, DragonCon touts itself as the largest muilti-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe. It hosts one of the most impressive parades I have ever seen and brings media figures from Sarah Gellar to William Shatner who speak to adoring throngs. The many fan tracks focus on everything from alternate history, animation, and armory to paranormal, puppetry, and robotics or urban fantasy, video gaming, and young adult literature. My personal favorites are the science and skeptic tracks. The mingling of thousands of imaginative people in sexy cosplay (with a decent dose of alcohol) leads to sexual exploration and fantasy play. DragonCon is a great place to get your geek on, and your freak on. It is scheduled for September 1-4 in 2017.

 

Sex Down South – October

images.jpgOrganized by a cadre of smart young queers, Sex Down South focuses on the intersections of sexuality, race, class, gender, ability, religion, social justice, and pleasure. In 2015, the first year of this excellent con dedicated to diversity and sexual liberation for everyone, speakers included psychologist Dr. Rachel Kieran, writer Fiona Zedde, sexy disability activist Robin Wilson Beattie, Velvet Lips founder and sex educator extraordinaire Marla Stewart, performance artist Ignacio Rivera (aka Papi Coxxx), minister Aldalphie Johnson, and author, podcaster, and cliterati Tristian Taormino. Sex Down South is scheduled for October 13 – 15 in 2016 and includes an impressive line-up including Tyomi Morgan, Sinclair Sexsmith, Orpheus Black, Ken Melvoin-Berg, Sunny Megatron, and yours truly (Elisabeth Sheff). SDS is coming right up — October 13-15 2016 at the Hilton in downtown Atlanta.

 

Do you know of any relationship or sexuality cons in Atlanta that did not make the list? Let me know by emailing me at drelisheff@gmail.com and I will be sure to add them.

Leave a comment

Filed under BDSM, bisexual, Conference, consensual nonmonogamy, continuing education, dating, diversity, DragonCon, Families, Gender, Health, human rights, jealousy, love, marriage, non-monogamy, open relationships, Polyamory, race, relationships, Research, romance, Science Fiction, sex, sex education, sexuality, social equality, Transgender, Uncategorized

Dr. Eli Sheff Two Presentations at DragonCon in Atlanta This Weekend

imgres.jpgI will be giving two presentations this year at the fabulous DragonCon this year. On Friday September 2 at 1pm I will present Multiple Partner Marriage After Same Sex Marriage for the Skeptic Track, and on Saturday September 3 I will present The Polyamorists Next Door for the Science Track at 5:30pm. I hope to see you there!!!!

 

2 Comments

Filed under book tour, Conference, Media, non-monogamy, Polyamory, Science Fiction, sex education, Uncategorized

Sex Down South Conference Tons of Fun with Sexy Brains

imgres

This first year of the Sex Down South conference was FANTASTIC!!!!!!

Tons of fun, lots of new ideas, great people to chat with, and so many amazing sessions it was difficult to choose what amazing thing I got to learn next. Lucky for us, the organizers plan to do it again next October so start planning now to have your socks knocked off by all of the incredible presenters and attendees.

Some of the highlights:

Tristan Taormino talking about how to make open relationships work

Dinner with Ricci Levy from the Woodhull Alliance for Sexual Freedom

Meeting so many fun new people I can’t even name them all

Seeing some wonderful old friends I had not gotten to see in too long

The absolute best burlesque/spoken word combo I have ever seen

I can’t wait for SDS 2016! Hope to see you there…

Leave a comment

Filed under BDSM, Conference, dating, diversity, Families, Gender, human rights, Media, Polyamory, race, Race and Ethnicity, racism, romance, Science Fiction, sex, sex education, sexuality, social equality, Transgender, White Privilege

Review of Ascension

happy black woman with books cartoon
Some of you have probably already read Jacqueline Koyanagi’s wonderful science fiction adventure Ascension, because it was published in 2013. Those of you who enjoy sci fi and have not yet had a chance to read this excellent book are in for a treat. A blend of a closely-knit crew on semi-legal runs throughout the universe reminiscent of Firefly and a sentient ship similar to Moya in Farscape, the plot of Ascension has a few twists that will surprise and delight even the most jaded reader who has seen/read it all. Ascension chronicles the adventures of Alana Quick as she stows away on the ship Tangled Axion in the hopes of not only saving her sister from unknown villains, but also of seeing the universe. Of course Alana is discovered and skirts the edge of annihilation by expulsion into deep space to eventually become part of the crew. Alana’s relationship with her sister is complex and compelling, a rare treat to see women’s non-sexual relationships with each other treated with such tenderness and depth.

Of potentially specific interest to readers of this blog, Koyanagi’s skillful depiction of polyamorous relationships blends in to the plot so well that it does not stand out as an artificial addition but as an integral part of the characters’ lives. After reading a raft of sci fi novels that focus extensively on sex scenes — sometimes at the expense of a decent plot — it was refreshing to read Koyanagi’s descriptions of the passion Alana feels for her wayward captain, the alluring and dangerous Tev, without such a detailed description of their sexual interactions that nothing is left to the imagination. Koyanagi’s plot is quite strong enough to stand on its own, and it keeps readers engaged without having to resort to gratuitous sex.

Not only do I highly recommend this excellent read to anyone who enjoys science fiction about badass queer women and their mostly human male lover/companion, I hope that you join me in encouraging Koyanagi to write more about the Tangled Axion crew. While the complex characters would make for a great series, it does not appear that Koyanagi has written any more about this fascinating crew. Please join me in purchasing Koyanagi’s existing book Ascension and lobbying her to write some more.

1 Comment

Filed under book review, Books, Families, Media, Polyamory, Science Fiction