July 3rd, 2014
Happy summer! As has been mentioned on the Appearances page, next week I’ll be heading down to the sunny Americas to attend both Readercon in Boston and DetCon in Detroit, with a small Boston chillout in between.
That means I bring you not one, but two (2) convention schedules today!
Thursday, July 10
8:00 PM F Many Things Worry You, but Nothing Frightens You: Outgrowing Horror. Leah Bobet, Ellen Datlow, Elizabeth Hand (moderator), Kit Reed, Graham Sleight, Sonya Taaffe. In the Nightmare Magazine essay “The H Word: The Failure of Fear,” Dale Bailey wrote about enjoying horror despite no longer finding it horrifying. How does what scares us change as we age? How does horror written for children differ from horror written for adults? Can you outgrow horror, or are adults and children simply frightened by different things?
9:00 PM CO Where Is Clarion for Editors?. Leah Bobet, Ellen Datlow, Liz Gorinsky, Bart Leib, Julia Rios, Cecilia Tan (leader). The speculative fiction field has many workshops for writers, such as the various Clarions, Odyssey, and Viable Paradise, not to mention MFA programs like Stonecoast where one can do genre work. But where’s the “Clarion for Editors”? Some of the most vital work being done in our field is coming from web magazines, small publishers, digital publishers, and others who are largely forced to learn to edit “on the job.” This discussion, led by Cecilia Tan, will examine the need for a structured workshop for aspiring and established editors, and propose ways that such a workshop might be made to happen.
Friday, July 11
11:00 AM G This Whole Situation Is Monstrous!: Supernatural Excuses for Abusive Behavior. Leah Bobet (leader), Liz Gorinsky, Catt Kingsgrave, Natalie Luhrs, Veronica Schanoes, Peter Straub. Paranormal romance for adults and teens often provides supernatural excuses for abusive behavior. For example, in Cassandra Clare’s The City of Lost Souls, a character’s abusive behavior as a teenager stems from his confusion over being turned into a werewolf. Years later the teens reunite, explanations are given, and the boy’s redemption story briefly takes center stage in the narrative. Instead of focusing on abusers’ redemption through human aspects overcoming monstrous aspects, and obscuring the unpleasant truth that abuse is a very human behavior, is there a better way to use the supernatural to talk about abuse?
7:00 PM ENL Emotion, Archives, Interactive Fiction, and Linked Data . Leah Bobet (leader), Toni L.P. “Leigh Perry” Kelner, Sarah Smith, Walt Williams. In a 2013 blog post, archivist Mx A. Matienzo drew a line between the “linked data” of interactive fiction (IF) and the connections within an archive of materials and works. Matienzo suggested creating a hybrid of the two that would bolster the emotional impact of fiction with links to relevant factual information—or, from the other side, that would bolster the intellectual weight of nonfiction with more nebulous but equally important information about feelings, thoughts, and experiences.How else can archivists, authors, and others collaborate on hybrid storytelling that brings these disparate components together?
9:00 PM E Autographs. Leah Bobet, Rick Wilber.
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM CO How to Write for a Living When You Can’t Live Off Your Fiction. Leah Bobet, Barbara Krasnoff (leader), Adam Lipkin. You’ve just been laid off from your staff job, you can’t live on the royalties from your fiction writing, and your significant other has taken a cut in pay. How do you pay the rent? Well, you can find freelance work writing articles, white papers, reviews, blogs, and other non-SFnal stuff. Despite today’s lean journalistic market, it’s still possible to make a living writing, editing, and/or publishing. Let’s talk about where and how you can sell yourself as a professional writer, whether blogging can be done for a living, and how else you can use your talent to keep the wolf from the door. Bring whatever ideas, sources, and contacts you have.
2:00 PM F Becoming a Better Reader. Marc Abrahams, Robert Jackson Bennett, Leah Bobet, Michael Dirda, Yoon Ha Lee, Resa Nelson (leader). In a 2013 Twitter comment, Caitlín R. Kiernan wrote, “Too often, the problem isn’t that an author needs to be a better writer, but that a reader needs to be a better reader.” As readers, we can sometimes tell whether we liked a book, but it’s much harder to step outside and evaluate ourselves as ideal readers and how our pleasure/displeasure in a work relates to what the author was trying to do. How can we become different readers, or better readers? What makes one reader better than another, in the context of a given work or in general? Is there even such a thing as a better reader, or are there only readers who are more or less prepared for a particular book?
Sunday, July 13
11:00 AM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Leah Bobet, James Morrow.
1:00 PM EM Reading: Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet reads “Mountaineering”, which is a short story forthcoming in Exile Editions’ Start A Revolution: QUILTBAG Fiction Vying for Change.
Friday, July 17
12:00 PM KaffeKlatsch 1 Kaffeklatsch: Leah Bobet. A small group discussion led by author Leah Bobet. Your opportunity for a more informal discussion with one of our participants.
Saturday, July 18
12:00 PM Nicolet A The State of the Science Fiction Magazine Market. Scott H. Andrews (moderator), Leah Bobet, Neil Clarke, Michael Haynes. Our panelists give their views on the current state of the science fiction magazine market. Is this another golden age? What various business models are in play? How is digital transforming the field? This is a Detention-inspired panel. In 1959 the panelists included editors of Astounding Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Fantastic Stories, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Fantastic Universe.
1:00 PM Mackinac West Sexuality and SFF. Gregory Gadow (moderator), Mark Oshiro, Bernadette Bosky, Leah Bobet, Traci Castleberry, David Sklar. Science fiction and fantasy are genres with great opportunities to explore ideas and concepts without the constraints of current reality. How have these genres explored the complex and multifaceted subject of human sexuality?
2:00 PM Mackinac East Cross-Platform Narrative: Multimedia on Steroids. Forest Handford (moderator), Dan Berger, Leah Bobet, Tony Daniel, Marc Tassin. Our panel discusses the pros and cons of integrating various forms of production/performance to deliver a narrative. Comics & music, web & stage, TV & video games—what combinations have we seen and what else could be tried? To what extent are large scale franchises that cross formats integrated cross-platform narratives? How can it be done on a smaller scale?
5:00 PM Ambassador Salon 1 Current Voices: YA Literature. Aurora Celeste (moderator), Joshua Kronengold, Sarah Zettel, Leah Bobet. What are the recent trends in YA SF and fantasy? Which writers are currently active in the field? What are the hot new titles? What works do our panelists particularly recommend?
Sunday, July 20
11:00 AM Joliet A Reading: Acks/Bobet. Rachael Acks and Leah Bobet read from their work.
And that’s the ballgame! If you’ll be at either convention, I look forward to seeing you!
June 26th, 2012
I’m going to be at Readercon in Burlington, MA, on July 12-15 — probably my favourite convention all year long! — and the program schedule is live today. If you’re attending, here’s where I’m going to be:
Friday, July 13
11:00 AM NH Group Reading: Mythic Poetry. Mary Agner, Mike Allen, Erik Amundsen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files, Gwynne Garfinkle, April Grant, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Shira Lipkin, Adrienne J. Odasso, Julia Rios, Darrell Schweitzer, Sonya Taaffe. Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, Cabinet des Fées, Jabberwocky, and the now-defunct Journal of the Mythic Arts showcasing a new generation of poets who’ve redefined what this type of writing can do. Come to the reading and hear new and classic works from speculative poetry’s trend-setters.
1:00 PM G Through a Glass, Dystopianly. Leah Bobet, Gwendolyn Clare, Jack Haringa (leader), Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shira Lipkin. Millions of words have been written on the current dystopian trend in young adult literature; the consensus seems to be that dystopias are a reflection of the state of being a modern teenager, feeling trapped and uncertain of who you are. Fair enough. But given that the teen years are often when people first become engaged with wider world concerns—and given that these books are written by adults aware of those concerns—perhaps there are also particular anxieties about the current state of society and the world feeding the popularity of books like Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games or Ali Condie’s Matched. The Hunger Games, for example, can be read as commentary on the issues surrounding the Occupy protests, with those in power controlling resources as a way of maintaining order at the cost of tremendous collateral damage to the innocent. Is this a useful way of reading these stories? Are there similar issues we can discern in other recent young adult fictions? And what issues might we expect to see reflected in future YA works?
3:00 PM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Leah Bobet, James Morrow.
6:00 PM F Speech Patterns. Judith Berman, Leah Bobet, Greer Gilman, Sarah Smith (leader), Vinnie Tesla. Writers can adopt the convention that people in the future (or past) speak just as they do now. Or they can take contemporary speech patterns and tweak them to suggest the different time or place. Or they can go for verisimilitude (historical or imagined). Why do we see more tweaking of speech patterns in stories set in the past than the future? Is altering speech patterns to give a flavor of the future an underused technique, or does it present more difficulties (see Riddley Walker, A Clockwork Orange, or Ambient)? Some writers the altered speech pattern for the aliens reserve, as a way of underscoring their different psychology. What other techniques are available?
8:00 PM F Reimagining Protagonist Agency. Nathan Ballingrud, Leah Bobet (leader), John Clute, Scott Lynch, Jo Walton. Historically, the bulk of SF&F has dealt with protagonists taking direct physical (or cognitive) action to solve problems. They were brilliantly competent men and women, or destined healers of a wounded land: their agency in their story was obvious and indisputable. Recently, a number of authors have been depicting protagonists with more subtle types of agency. Many readers and critics have reacted by labeling such protagonists, negatively, as passive. Our panelists discuss why and how they’ve tried to expand the limits of what is popularly considered to be agency, and lessons they’ve learned for effectively communicating these ideas to readers.
Saturday, July 14
12:00 PM E Autographs. Leah Bobet, Jo Walton.
2:00 PM G The City and the Strange. Leah Bobet, Amanda Downum, Lila Garrott (leader), Stacy Hill, Ellen Kushner, Howard Waldrop. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs writes, “By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.” N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy demonstrates that epic-feeling fantasy can still take place entirely within the confines of a single city. Fictional metropolises such as Jeff Vandermeer’s Ambergris, China Miéville’s New Crobuzon, and Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest are entire worlds in themselves, and the fantasy cities of Lankmar and Ankh-Morkpork shine as centers of intrigue and adventure. In what other works, and other ways, can cities be stand-ins for the lengthy traveling quest of Tolkienesque fantasy?
3:00 PM NH Group Reading: Ideomancer Speculative Fiction. Mike Allen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Amanda Downum, George Galuschak, Claire Humphrey, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Kenneth Schneyer, Sonya Taaffe. Authors and poets read work from Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, one of the longest-running speculative fiction webzines still publishing.
Sunday, July 15
10:30 AM NH Reading. Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet reads from an upcoming novel.
1:00 PM F When Non-Fantastic Genres Interrogate Themselves. Leah Bobet, Lila Garrott (leader), Liz Gorinsky, Ed Meskys, Delia Sherman. When other genres interrogate themselves, the results are often fantastika. Works such as China Miéville’s The City & The City, Jedediah Berry’s The Manual of Detection, and Kelly Link’s “The Girl Detective,” for example, are in some ways interrogations of the building blocks of crime fiction: criminals, crimes, detectives. To what extent is it useful to read paranormal romance as a result of traditional romance interrogating itself; or alternate history—or steampunk—as a result of historical fiction interrogating itself? Is this something modern fantasy is especially good at? Is it even part of what modern fantasy is, a space that permits such interrogations? And if so, what happens when fantasy interrogates itself?
It’s a full schedule, and I’m really excited. So, do I see you there?