I’m going to Readercon this year! By which I mean — in TEN DAYS AHHH! Below is my schedule. I’m very excited about all of these panels.
I’m also scheduled for a reading and kaffeeklatsch! Both of these are Readercon firsts for me; I’ve read at Readercon before, but only in the context of a Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadour show, or a poetry event, or the Miscellany. A solo reading of the sort where people come only to see you is new and prompts all sorts of “gah will anyone show” feels, etc, but nevertheless I signed up. If you’re burning to hear me read a particular thing, now would be a great time to let me know.
I’ve also only run one kaffeeklatsch, at LonCon3 last year, and loved it. Signing up to this is a great way to make absolutely certain we get to hang out, if that is your wish — cons are such high-octane events, I’m almost always in hummingbird-mode, and plans always teeter on a house-of-cards-like brink. I love meeting new people at cons, or people with whom I’ve been acquainted from afar for a while, and I’m looking forward to the irrevocably scheduled space in which I get to do just that.
Friday July 11
11:00 AM G Drift-Compatible Fictional Characters. Amal El-Mohtar, Victoria Janssen, Nicole Kornher-Stace (leader), A. J. Odasso, Navah Wolfe.
The film Pacific Rim created the idea of two people who are “drift-compatible,” able to live inside each other’s minds and memories without sustaining massive psychic damage. Let’s use this as a metaphor to explore our favorite speculative fiction duos—whether they’re friends, traveling companions, siblings, or spouses—and talk about what makes those deeply intimate pairings work.
2:00 PM E Autographs. Amal El-Mohtar, Gary K. Wolfe.
5:00 PM G I Put Books in Your Books So You Can Read While You Read. John Clute, Amal El-Mohtar, Francesca Forrest, Greer Gilman, Kenneth Schneyer (leader).
Nested stories consist of at least one outer story and at least one inner story. Usually the characters in the outer story are cast as the audience of the inner story, as in Hamlet or the Orphan’s Tales books. But inner stories have another audience: the reader. How do we read inner stories? When our attention is brought to its story-ness, are we more conscious of being the audience than when we immerse ourselves in outer stories? Do we see ourselves as separate from the audience characters—thinking of them as the “real” audience even though they’re fictional—or do we connect with them through the mutual experience of observation? And when do inner stories take on lives of their own, separate from their frames?
7:00 PM G Modern Gods. Amal El-Mohtar (leader), Natalie Luhrs, Romie Stott, Ian Randal Strock.
Corporations, multinationals, and governments (or seats of office) can be like modern gods: they exist solely because people believe in them and build up rituals to affirm and perpetuate that belief. Non-governmental entities often have political power, and they can theoretically live forever if they can find ways to remain relevant. They fight with other “gods” and may be broken into multiple demi-gods, a place from which they rise again or simply fade away. How do portrayals of gods reflect our interactions with the godlike legal and corporate entities of the modern world? When works such as Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings, Max Gladstone’s Craft sequence, and Daniel Abraham’s Dagger and the Coin series explicitly address corporations, systems of government, and economic systems in fantastical settings, how do those stories resemble or diverge from folklore and fantasy about more literal gods?
8:00 PM F Revealing the Past, Inspiring the Future. Amal El-Mohtar (leader), Max Gladstone, Alena McNamara, Sarah Pinsker, Julia Rios.
When writing Hild, Nicola Griffith was aiming for historical accuracy where possible, including in her depictions of women, queer characters, people of color, and slavery in seventh-century Britain. She writes, “Readers who commit to Hild might see the early middle ages differently now: they see what might have been possible, instead of the old master story about the place of women and the non-existence of POC and QUILTBAG people 1400 years ago. And if it was possible then, what might be possible today and in the future?” What other books and stories expand our notion of the possible by revealing the truth of history? How can creators of future settings learn from the suppressed or hidden past?
Saturday July 12
11:00 AM G When Should We Argue with Reviews? Michael Dirda, Amal El-Mohtar (leader), Adam Golaski, Resa Nelson, Vinnie Tesla. When is it appropriate to argue with reviews of your own work? The usual rule is “never”—but that “never” is a one-size-fits-all solution to an increasingly complex issue, especially when the categories of reviewer, reader, and writer are increasingly blurred. Is “appropriate” the same as “advisable”? What are the limits and ethics of responding to or arguing with reviews?
Sunday July 13
10:00 AM EM Reading: Amal El-Mohtar. Amal El-Mohtar. Amal El-Mohtar reads from her recent short fiction.
11:00 AM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Amal El-Mohtar, David G. Hartwell.