Readercon is an always excellent speculative literature-focused con. The panel topics and guest list are fantastic. Nicola Griffith, one of my favorite authors, is one of the Guests of Honor this year. Below is my schedule for the weekend. Can't promise there won't be one or two more changes, but I think this is pretty much set. See you in Burlington!
Friday July 10
1:00 PM G Winter Is Coming: Feminist SF and the Frozen Tundra Buddy Trek. Gwendolyn Clare, Malinda Lo, Caitlyn Paxson, Sarah Pinsker (leader), Sonya Taaffe. During the Ancillary Justice book discussion at Readercon 25, it was brought up that many favorite feminist SF novels feature pairs of characters slogging through an inhospitable landscape: Nicola Griffith's Ammonite, Maureen McHugh's Mission Child, Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice, and of course Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. Having a pair of characters traveling together generally leads to opportunities for trust and relationship building, but what is it about the tundra trek (or equivalent) that lends itself so well to feminist SF stories in particular?
IN Accessing the Future Reading.
Nicolette Barischoff, Andi Buchanan, Sarah Pinsker. Group reading from the Accessing the Future anthology of disability-themed SF.
7:00 PM IN Outer Alliance Reading. Susan Jane Bigelow, CD Covington, Kelly Eskridge, Nicola Griffith, Claire Humphrey, Malinda Lo, Brad Parks, Julia Rios (host) Sarah Pinsker, Jill Schultz. Celebrating QUILTBAG speculative fiction. Rapidfire readings.
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 11
11:00 AM CO Dog, Cat, Snake: Predicting Pets with Literary Taste. Beth Bernobich, Stacey Friedberg, Sarah Pinsker, Rick Wilber, Navah Wolfe. Let's play a game! Can you predict whether someone is a cat person or a dog person by what they read and write? Do you think dog people prefer predictability while cat people like surprises? Are horror fans more inclined to keep spiders and snakes? Panelists will discuss their literary preferences and see whether others can guess their pets.
12:00 PM E Autographs. Malinda Lo, Sarah Pinsker.
Sunday July 12
10:00 AM F Reading Stance and Genre. Peter Dubé, Chris Gerwel, Nicola Griffith, Alex Jablokow, Sarah Pinsker. In 2013, Nicola Griffith's Hild was nominated for the Nebula award, alongside Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Under Best Novella that same year was "Wakulla Springs" by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages. Going further back, Peter Straub won a World Fantasy Award for Koko. By most critical definitions none of these are works of speculative fiction, but, as Gary K. Wolfe said on an episode of the Coode Street Podcast, "if you approach Hild with the expectations of a fantasy reader, you’ll still get most of the asethetic delights you’re looking for." He asked, "What if we approach genre not from the point of view of theoretical definitions or market categories or even the author’s intention, but from how we choose to read a particular work?" This panel will explore the many answers to that question, from many perspectives.
12:30 PM EM Reading: Sarah Pinsker. Sarah Pinsker.