So, right off the heels of CONvergence, I have a smaller, lit-focused con I’m attending this weekend outside Boston – Readercon. This will be a much slower-paced con, as I’m told there are only about 750 or so folks there, mostly writers and book-loving folks, which I anticipate will be a very, very different con experience. Certainly more my regular speed that busy CONvergence, but also, I suspect less fan energy!
I did very much enjoy connecting with fans at CONvergence. I do hope to see some old and new faces at Readercon – and meet a TON of folks I’ve only ever spoken to online as yet. Super excited.
As before, I will have a few copies of God’s War, Infidel and Rapture (though I suspect many in this crowd will have read it), as well as both postcards and about a dozen sample chapter booklets for THE MIRROR EMPIRE, which I expect will go over better with this particular crowd.
Here’s where you can find me:
Thursday July 10
9:00 PM G What Won’t You Write?. John Chu, Kameron Hurley, David Shaw (moderator), Romie Stott. Charles Stross has said publicly that he won’t write about children being harmed or exploited. Seanan McGuire refuses to write about female characters being raped. Many other writers have no-go topics. Panelists will discuss their personal choices for off-limits subject areas, and their reasons for the ban.
Friday July 11
3:00 PM CO Militarism and Pacifism in Speculative Fiction. Chris Brown, Michael Cisco, Kameron Hurley (leader), James Morrow, Bud Sparhawk. Wars and military service often feature prominently in genre fiction, as plot devices, settings, occupations, and motivations. The presence of a standing military in a culture implies conflict—past or present or future, realized or potential. Wars in speculative settings are often presented as inescapable and morally unambiguous; it’s hard to be a pacifist when the enemy is a group of vampires or aliens bent on human extinction. How do we write about military spaces and their implications for created cultures? What can be done in military settings that can’t be done in civilian ones? And how do we make space for pacifism and critiques of militarism as well as battlefield action and military strategy?
6:00 PM ENL The Convergence of Utopia and SF . Lila Garrott, Chris Gerwel (leader), Kameron Hurley, Paul Park. In a blog post about Readercon 24’s utopia panels, Chris Gerwel wrote, “Utopian thought is a systemic ‘what if’ game: If we adjust the systems that shape our society, how will our society change?” Observing that “what if?” is at the heart of science fiction, Gerwel adds, “Can we have science fiction that isn’t utopian? Or can we have a utopia which isn’t science fictional?” This panel will tackle these and other deep questions about the nature of utopia and its relationship with SF.
8:00 PM E Autographs. Kameron Hurley, Toni L.P. “Leigh Perry” Kelner.
Saturday July 12
10:00 AM G Imaginative Resistance. Matthew Cheney, Felix Gilman, Kameron Hurley, Anil Menon, James Morrow (leader), Paul Park. In Mimesis As Make-Believe, Kendall Walton describes a reader’s “…curious reluctance to allow fictional worlds to differ in fundamental moral respects from the real world as we understand it.” This reluctance, now called imaginative resistance, manifests when a reader is wiling to accept fantastical claims as long as they don’t violate a personal belief. Even readers who accept the logic behind the decision in “The Cold Equations” (which not all readers do) will balk at the inevitable conclusion. How does this resistance affect the interplay between reality and fantasy when it comes to morality? Why are we comfortable with dragons, but not with lovable murderers? Do authors have enough control to overcome this resistance?
12:00 PM F New Models of Masculinity. Erik Amundsen, John Benson, Kameron Hurley (leader), Catt Kingsgrave, Bart Leib. In a comment on Chuck Wendig’s blog, Nobilis Reed wrote, “I think one of the ways that speculative fiction can really change the world in a way that it needs right now, is to provide models of masculinity that don’t involve oppressing people.” There’s no denying that today’s speculative heroes are frequently brooding, violent, incapable of healthy relationships, and otherwise not exactly role model material. This panel will brainstorm ways to create fictional men and masculine people who we’d actually want to spend time with.
6:00 PM Women Destroy…. Reading. Amal El-Mohtar, Sarah Pinsker, Holly Schofield, Kameron Hurley, Liz Argall, Livia Llewellyn, Gemma Files. Come meet some of your fav Women Destroy SF/Fantasy/Horror collection writers.
Sunday July 13
11:00 AM G Publishing and Marketing. Neil Clarke, Liz Gorinsky (leader), Kameron Hurley, Tom Purdom, Ian Randal Strock. This panel will address the business side of writing and publishing. Panelists will discuss marketing department decisions and other parts of the publishing machine. How these decisions affect the ways we write and read?
Hope to see folks there!