It’s almost time for Readercon, my first and favorite con! I’m especially excited because this is my first year on programming.
Readercon is July 12-15 in Quincy, and programming on Thursday night is free. For more info, visit their website, Twitter, and Facebook, and if you want to join me… here’s my little schedule! In between I will be wandering, socializing, and trying not to buy All The Books.
7:00 PM – From What Mad Universe to Radiance: The Livable Solar System Andrea Corbin, Jeff Hecht, Kathy Kitts, Sioban Krzywicki, Catherynne M. Valente The notion of the other planets in the solar system being habitable by humans and/or inhabited by aliens held appeal long after it was known that this wasn’t the case. How do we tell these stories and why? Is reimagining the physics and reality of our own solar system easier than FTL? Or is there a romance about it that is lost in the reality of our universe?
12:00 PM – It Takes a Village to Raise a Protagonist Andrea Corbin, Scott Lynch, Nisi Shawl, Graham Sleight, John Wiswell Conflicts in speculative fiction often tend toward hyperindividualist solutions, but there are other ways to build those stories. Gene Roddenberry and Ray Bradbury both often wrote stories of cooperation in which the community is the protagonist. In Cory Doctorow’s books, long sequences are devoted to the process of achieving consensus. What other stories center collaboration and cooperation, and what are some best practices for writers who want to explore these types of stories?
In a few weeks, I’ll be at Boskone, New England’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. Boskone is Feb. 16-18, and I’ll be there for most of it. For more info, visit The Boskone Blog, Twitter, and Facebook, and if you want to join me, register here!
Friday – 2/16 8:00pm – Fresh Fantasy Worlds Gerald L. Coleman, Andrea Corbin, John R. Douglas (M), Marshall Ryan Maresca, Patrick Nielsen Hayden “High” fantasies in much of western speculative literature lean heavily on the European Middle Ages for inspiration. Pastoral landscapes, Camelottian castles, noble knights, distressed damsels. All much loved — all done to death. (Or killed off by George R. R. Martin.) Why do we still cling to them so? What’s it take to create a fresh fantasy world? Besides European models, what other options are there? And how do you enliven tropes, settings, and situations that have become old hat?
Saturday – 2/17
10:00am – Feminist Fairy Tales Jane Yolen, Victoria Sandbrook, Andrea Corbin, Julia Rios, E.J. Stevens
Women frequently serve as the main characters of fairy tales. (Why, by the way?) It’s hard not to notice they’re often presented as victims, or the subjects of a lesson learned. Do any tales instead offer strong female role models? What can modern feminist perspectives contribute when considering stories from so long ago and/or far away?
4:30pm – Reading by Andrea Corbin
Me! Reading to you! I don’t know what to read yet!
Oh my goodness, it’s almost time! Once again, I’m going to be at Arisia in Boston, and that’s this weekend! How the time flies. I’ll be around Sunday and Monday, and can’t wait! Here’s where you can find me:
Sunday, January 14
11:30am – You Got Your Science in My Magic Ken Gale (moderator), Victoria Sandbrook, Andrea Corbin, Roy Kilgard, Gwendolyn Clare
We often talk about science fiction, realism, and fantasy as separate things, but the genre borders are awfully fuzzy. In stories, what does magic look like in a modern setting? We’ll explore what happens when science collides with magic, especially when that magic isn’t rule-based, and books or movies where magic and non-handwavy science work together.
5:30pm – Mystery and Supernatural Reading Andrea Corbin, Debra Doyle, Hildy Silverman
Authors will be reading their own original tales of mystery and the supernatural.
Monday, January 15 2:30pm – Houses of the Dead: Haunted Houses in Fiction Andrea Corbin (moderator), Gordon Linzner, Leigh Perry, Lauren M. Roy, Morgan Crooks
Many popular genre staples, such as Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House, Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, and many of Stephen King’s works, feature haunted houses. What is it about a confined haunted space draws us in and keeps us hooked? And what can this tell us about ourselves?
Though I’ve lived nearby for years, this year was the first time I went to Vericon. The sun was out! I didn’t want to sit down and edit! Friend was there! So what if I hadn’t read anything by most of the authors there? I was nearly done with Seth Dickinson’s novel! Good enough.
That ends up not mattering much, because authors are delightful, funny, excited people, and everyone is very nice.
I tried to come up with accolades for everyone on the panels I saw, but I’m not that prolific. Instead, the two notables:
Author who made me laugh the hardest: Seth Dickinson (lord, I’ll never think of vegetable oil the same way again. Or writer’s block.)
Author whose history class I most want to take: Ada Palmer (she made me deeply interested in medieval scholars debating the degree of divine inspiration involved in texts! That’s a trick.)
Last weekend I went to ReaderCon for the first time. Somehow, it’s happened for the past 24 years without me having any idea. This is a travesty that I’m pleased to have corrected, because I loved it. (So, thanks Gillian!)
I could go on for 4,000 words about it and detail every moment that I remember, but no one wants that, least of all me. And let’s be real: There is one thing that happened that was, for me, the highlight of the entire weekend:
I got to sign something I wrote.
I walked up to the Crossed Genres table and pointed at the latest print issue. “I’m in that one!”
“Congrats! Want to sign it?”
I knew I should have been practicing my signature all these years.
So that was a delightful moment, and for that I thank Bart Leib, one of the publishers at Crossed Genres, who published my story back in January. You can read “The Gaps in Translation” here.
Other highlights of Readercon 2014:
Coffee in the con suite. Bless the con suite.
Admiring the poise and style of Sofia Samatar, and getting A Stranger in Olondria signed.
All the readings I got to go to! Sofia Samatar, Daniel Jose Older, Max Gladstone, seven contributors to Long Hidden… such riches. I’m spoiled.
Kaffeeklatsch! It’s an absolute must. I missed out on Max Gladstone and Lev Grossman (as I expected to happen) but got my name down for Daniel Handler (with Kit Reed and Kate Maruyama)!
Daniel Handler said many great things, but one in particular that’s going to stick with me: Writing is like going to work. I mean, I’ve been doing this drive for fifteen years. Shouldn’t the commute be shorter by now? But no, writing doesn’t necessarily get faster over time.
I’m nothing if not predictable. On Sunday I went to an Unreliable Narrators panel, and Unlikely Cartography. Yes, please, talk to me about lying narrators (and the lies of a map, even!)
I was absolutely thrilled with the amount of discussion of diversity throughout the weekend.
Also thrilling: The number of panels that had a “token” man, or no men at all. It can happen!
In conclusion, I’m still tired. And have so many books to read!