This past weekend at Readercon was filled with great conversations, superb author readings, interesting panels and the inevitable hijinx. I’m still going through pictures that folks have sent me of my readings, panels and friendly gatherings. Here are a few.
I’m very much looking forward to attending Readercon this week. The drive up to Quincy, Massachusetts will be great — with Samuel R. Delany and Dennis Rickett. However, we’ll miss Tom Purdom who won’t be joining us this year, and especially Gardner Dozois who has left this earth. Then, we’ll have a weekend dedicated hanging with friends (old and new) as well as interesting conversations, panels, author readings and opportunities to learn from each other.
If you’ll be in Quincy, Massachusetts for the conference, here’s my schedule:
Thursday, July 12th
8:00 pm — Panel: Complicating the Redemption Narrative (Blue Hills Room)
I’m the moderator. Panelists: Gemma Files, Hillary Monahan, Tracy Townsend, Gregory A. Wilson
Some antagonists and wrongdoers are given texture and context until
they come all the way around to being understandable and sympathetic,
perhaps culminating in a heroic or tragic death. Others are
evil forever. Which types (and demographics) of villains are allowed
to have redemption arcs? How do these stories reflect and shape this
cultural moment of moral upheaval? Can alternative reconciliation
models such as restorative justice be used to transform the redemption
Friday, July 14th
11:00 am — Panel: Being Alien (Blue Hills Room)
Gwendolyn Clare (moderator). Panelists: Layla Al-Bedawi, David DeGraff, Samuel R. Delany, and me
Being alien often relates to the preconceptions and points of reference that make the borderlands among people so dangerous, unpredictable, and exciting. This panel will explore what it is to be “alien” and various works that have used otherworldly creatures or non-humans in ways to get readers thinking about the nature of being human.
1:00 pm — Group Reading: Broad Universe (Salon A)
Authors reading: Terri Bruce, LJ Cohen, Randee Dawn, Elaine Isaak, Emily Lavin Leverett, Dianna Sanchez, Sarah Smith, Tracy Townsend and, very briefly, me.
Broad Universe is a collective of women and female-identifying authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
8:30 pm — My Solo Reading (Salon B)
As a solo reading, I’ll be able to read a significant portion of my recently completed novelette Beyond Our Hidden Stars.
Saturday, July 15th
11:00 am — Group Reading: Tabula Rasa
Randee Dawn, Barbara Krasnoff, Terence Taylor and, rather briefly, me
Tabula Rasa is a Brooklyn-based writers group.
Looking forward to seeing my friends and making new ones!
My short essay “Novelist as Poet or Philosopher; Meditation Inspired by Samuel Delany‘s The Atheist in the Attic” was recently published on the SFWA blog (Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors of America).
The Atheist in the Attic is a “fictive reconstruction” of a meeting between the philosophers Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Baruch de Spinoza, told from Leibniz’s point of view. An intriguing read, it sent my mind in a variety of different direction. At one point, I took a discussion of the differences between a poet and a philosopher and considered how it might apply to different kinds of novelists. I’ve decided that I’m essentially a philosopher; no surprise there. As I wrote in the essay, “I write to understand. My characters and plots are formed in a subconscious that churns with confusion or concern about how the world functions (or fails to function). As I write the story my characters tell me, I find myself posing questions that [as Delany wrote in The Atheist in the Attic] “reflect and even explain the differences and forces that relate them all… hold them together… or tear them apart.”
Please read the essay here, and let me know what you think. What kinds of authors do you prefer to read — poets or philosophers, as defined by Delany’s book? And if you’re a writer, are you a poet or philosopher… or something else?