Way back in 2004, Mike came up with the crazy idea of hosting a convention in Richmond, VA. He’s been chairing RavenCon ever since.
In addition to running RavenCon, Mike Pederson was the publisher/editor/graphic designer responsible for the fanzine Nth Degree (2002-2019). Mike began his career as a writer/publisher in 1988 when his SF short story, “Dust Storm,” won first place in a local writing contest. In the 1990s, he wrote and published the Raven comic book series and edited and published Scene, a Virginia-based entertainment magazine. In 2001, Mike was part of the “Best in Class – Master Division” winning presentation (Pre-Emptive Strike) at the Millennium Philcon Masquerade. Three months later he started Nth Degree. In 2007, he wrote a chapter on “Writing for Magazines” for Dragon Moon Press’ Writing Fantasy: The Author’s Grimoire. During the pandemic, he edited and published CORVID-19: A RavenCon Anthology and is working on CORVID-19: The Second Wave.
Mike has also run programming for Trinoc*coN, been Fan Guest of Honor for ConCarolinas and Mysticon, co-chaired a successful NASFiC bid, headed the Brainstorming team for DisCon 3, and served as Master of Ceremonies for MarsCon. Between Nth Degree and his many convention appearances, Mike has become the East Coast’s go-to guy for interviews. He’s interviewed guests for Balticon, ConCarolinas, ConGregate, MarsCon, Mysticon, RavenCon, and StellarCon. In the last several years, Mike has interviewed a wide range of writers, gamers, artists, and actors.
In 2017, Mike was honored with the Rebel Award for his contributions to Southern Fandom.
If you could time travel to any point in history, which era would you choose, and why?
The 1920s, and I would (of course) bring an ample supply of alcohol with me. The roots of so much of what influenced me started in the ’20s that it would be amazing to be there to witness and take part in their inception—the first commercial radio stations, the birth of science fiction, early cinema (including the advent of talkies and moving production from New York/New Jersey to California). And, most importantly, I’d be able to see all of the Marx Brothers’ original stage shows including the long-lost I’ll Say She Is.
If you had to choose between being a time traveler or a space explorer, which would you pick and why?
Easy: Time traveler. I’m fascinated by the past. But I may not be the most ethical time traveler; I’d be stomping on butterflies right and left just to see what happens.
If you could have any sci-fi gadget in real life, what would it be and what practical uses would you have for it?
Who wouldn’t love a (properly) working version of Sam Beckett’s quantum accelerator? The ability to target yourself at key points in your life and go back and relive the highlights and fix the mistakes would be amazing. The whole “If I knew then what I know now” perspective changes everything.
What off-beat location would you like to see host a convention, and why?
I was once approached by an indoor water park who tried to convince me to move RavenCon to their facilities. And now I can’t get the image out of my head of happy little family units on vacation being deeply confused by the hordes of cosplayers and geeks roaming the halls. And Klingons on water slides, who doesn’t want to see that?
Mash together two of your favorite SF properties. What’s the new work about?
I’ve had the idea of trying to mash-up Edgar Allan Poe and E.E. “Doc” Smith for awhile. I’m not sure what it would be about yet but I definitely like the idea of taking a pulp-hero uber-mensch-type and subjecting him to deep psychological terror. I’ve also got an idea that combines Frankenstein with pretty much every YA novel of the last 20 years that’s also an alternate history story set in the 1830s American South, so lots of mashing going on there.
I’m rather proud of the first anthology that I’ve edited: CORVID-19: A RavenCon Anthology. I’m hoping to have the follow-up out in 2024 and would like to start work on a two-volume Best of Nth Degree collection after that.
And, of course, RavenCon 17 is coming up April 26-28, 2024 with Ellen Datlow and Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher as our Guests of Honor.
Plus, RavenCon will be hosting the OFFICIAL 100th Anniversary of Science Fiction in 2026. That’s going to be a big one!