Author Archives: Tom Becker

Potlatch 25 Recap

The Potlatch 25 overlay assembled in San José to discuss Book of Honor Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson. First we stood in a circle and threw this constellation:


We discussed the Book of Honor for about an hour. The readers thought it was well written, funny, and subtle. Some readers did not like Ariel, the main character, which is understandable because he is rather self-centered and unreliable. For them, the book took off when it became more about other characters. Others thought his predicament was realistic and empathized with him. We talked about computer games, artificial intelligences, ethics, relationships, saving the world, and what happens when they all get entangled.

Leonard joined us on Skype for a Q&A session. He answered questions about why Judy Chicago (because The Dinner Party is big but human-scale, and it is art that Jenny would really be into), his writing influences (Douglas Adams and Ken MacLeod), whether the Constellation has a Special Circumstances (yes, and it’s Curic, although she doesn’t use violence or coercion), and so on for 45 minutes. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

The writers workshop earlier in the day was small but well run, and the submitted stories were excellent.

Getting to Potlatch 25

The San José Martin Luther King Jr. Main Library is at 150 E. San Fernando St., San José, CA 95112.

There is a city parking garage right across the street from the Library entrance. Enter from San Fernando St. or South 4th St.

The light rail is 2-3 blocks away on South 2nd St. and South 1st St.

There are several bus lines that are convenient to the library. See the King Library information page for details.

Silicon Valley Comic Con will be happening at the San José Convention Center. If you would like to go to both SVCC and Potlatch, it’s only a 15 minute walk or an even shorter bus ride.

Potlatch 25 Restaurant Guide

For Potlatch 25, David Bratman has updated his epic restaurant guide to focus on just the restaurants that are very close to the San José main library. That’s 58 restaurants right there. And there are 8 other favorite restaurants that are downtown within walking distance. One of the highlights of downtown San José is how much it has become a great place to eat. Check it out!

Potlatch 25 Date and Location

Potlatch 25 will be held on Saturday, March 19th at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José, California. The King Library is jointly operated by the San José Public Library and the San Jose State University Library. It is on San Fernando Street in downtown San José.

The King Library has a large meeting room that will be great for the Book of Honor discussion.

Because we are meeting in a public library, and because we want to encourage everyone to attend, even if they have never been to a Potlatch before, Potlatch 25 will be free.

The King Library has excellent transit access. It is a short walk from the light rail, and there is frequent bus service from the Caltrain station. There is a public parking garage (with EV chargers) just across the street.

March 19th is the same weekend as Big Wow! Comic Fest in the San José Convention Center. It is about half a mile from the library. You could easily go to both Potlatch and Big Wow! in the same day. If you just want to come to Potlatch and are driving in, you probably will want to park near campus instead of in the Convention Center garage. No matter what, be careful and watch out for superheroes and animé characters crossing the streets.

Please mark your calendars and plan to come to Potlatch 25 on March 19th!

Potlatch 25

Potlatch 25 is a virtual Potlatch. We will have a Book of Honor and an on-line Clarion West Benefit Auction. The Book of Honor will be announced soon. We are planning to have a Book of Honor discussion at a library in the San José area. The discussion will be free and open to the public. There will also be a Clarion West style Writers Workshop.

Please subscribe to the Potlatch mailing list to get the details as soon as they are announced.

Potlatch 23 Review

Potlatch 23 happened on February 21-23, 2014 in the Sainte Claire Hotel. As the chair, I’d like to thank everyone who attended the conference. It was great to see how it was in full swing even before opening ceremonies.

The program was a success. I didn’t see as much of it as I wanted, because I was running around, but I liked what I saw, all the panels were well attended, and I heard a lot of discussion continuing between panels and on into the evening. The program ideas were suggested and voted on by members of the conference, who also volunteered to be on the program. This was an experiment in self-organization. My thanks to everyone involved for making it work so well.

The Clarion West Benefit Auction was a big success. It raised over $1700, which is above average and particularly impressive given that Potlatch 23 had fewer members than most. Only two unsold items were left at the end. Thank you to Dawn Plaskon, Cindy Scott, Linda Deneroff, and Peggy Rae Sapienza for organizing, and to auctioneers Ellen Klages and Tom Whitmore for a very entertaining performance.

There were many positive comments about the consuite. We have to give a huge thanks to Karen Schaffer who had to overcome many obstacles including key staff members who could not attend, and not even having a room for the consuite until a week before the con. Thanks also to Rich McAllister, Mike Ward, Ruth Leibig and Donya Hazard White for their help in making the consuite such a welcoming and comfortable place.

Randy Smith organized at-con registration. Unfortunately, because of a funeral that came up at the last minute, Randy was not able to be at most of the con. Thanks to Glenn Glazer and Amy Martin for putting in a lot of extra hours at the registration table and making it work.

Thank you to Lucy Huntzinger for the program book and David Bratman for the monumental local restaurant guide.

The dealers room had Other Change of Hobbit, Cargo Cult Books, and PM Press, offering books, books, and more books. It went over very well with the Potlatch crowd. Thanks to David Gallaher for organizing it.

The writers workshop was well attended, with eleven participants. Thank you to Jude-Marie Green for organizing, and to David D. Levine, Rachel Holmen and Cliff Winnig for serving as critiquers.

The Potlatch 23 T-shirts featured another stunning design by Freddie Baer. There is one shirt hasn’t been sold yet, so it now is a rare collector’s item. Look for it at the Clarion West Benefit Auction at a future Potlatch.

There will be a Potlatch 24. Watch this space, and subscribe to the Potlatch [announce] mailing list for information. See you next year in Seattle!