Readercon 30

Readercon is one month away!

Readercon is July 11-14 in Quincy, MA, and programming on Thursday night is free. If you want to join me, here’s my schedule!


11:30 AM – Reading: Andrea Martinez Corbin


9:00 PM – Food at the Corner of Fiction and Community
Andrea Martinez Corbin (mod), N.S. Dolkart, Greer Gilman, Michael Swanwick, Sabrina Vourvoulias
Food plays a central role in many cultures and accordingly takes center stage in the work of many speculative fiction writers. How does cuisine help define, or build, a community? How can food be used to communicate important information about a people to the reader? What are some particularly noteworthy examples of the way food can be used to set, or subvert, expectations?


11:00 AM – Lloyd Alexander, Existentialist 
C.S.E. Cooney, Andrea Martinez Corbin, Chris Gerwel, Marissa Lingen (mod), Sonya Taaffe
Lloyd Alexander, translator of Jean-Paul Sartre, wrote an existentialist epic fantasy series. As Jesse Schotter writes on Full Stop, “The end of The High King, and Taran’s choice to remain in Prydain… salvage[s] the idea of free will within the deterministic framework of the genre.” How did existentialism influence Alexander’s other work (Time Cat, the Westmark trilogy)? What are other examples of existentialist speculative fiction epics? With the present deconstruction of prophecy-driven epics, how can writers learn from Alexander’s work?

(Please note that I appear to be the Existentialism Expert for this panel, considering I am reading Lloyd Alexander for the first time in preparation. Hooray!)

Readercon 29

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?


8:00 PM – Come find me at the Speculative Boston party! There will be snacks.


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?



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.

Signed copy of my story in Crossed Genres Magazine
The first signature of at least a few, I hope.

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!