My ReaderCon Schedule  

ReaderCon, to quote their web site is “an annual conference or convention devoted to ‘imaginative literature’ — literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called ‘slipstream.’” It’s held annually at the Burlington Marriott in Burlington, Massachusetts, this year from July 10-13.

ReaderCon is unusual in that the programming on Thursday is free. It runs from 8pm to 10pm. Everyone is welcome to get a taste of what the rest of the weekend will be like.

I’m making a special point of it this year because my reading is at 8pm on Thursday. I’ll be reading part of the story that will be published at on July 30th. (Invisible barricades! Feral libraries!) My Thursday schedule is actually kind of funny. It’s half an hour of what I’ve written followed by an hour of what I won’t write (with a half hour break in between).

 Thursday July 10

8:00 PM ENV Reading: John Chu. John Chu. John Chu reads an excerpt of A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade which will be published at at the end of July.

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

12:00 PM F The Past Is a Terrible Place. K. Tempest Bradford (leader), Christopher Cevasco, John Chu, Adrienne J. Odasso, Walt Williams. Compared to the present day, the past was filthy, bigoted, stratified, polluted, violent, and crude—whether thousands of years ago or yesterday. What possible appeal could travel into the past have? How does it vary based on your current socioeconomic status, or on the status you have (or can acquire) in the past with your knowledge of history, technology, and sociology? We’ll discuss various depictions of travel into the past, including Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book, and Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire series.

2:00 PM F When the Magic Returns. John Chu, Max Gladstone, Daryl Gregory, Lev Grossman, Victoria Janssen (leader). The “return” of magic into a mundane world is one of very few ways in which we see fantasy set in the future. Why is this? What makes fantasy and futurity so incompatible? Why is the return of magic so often associated with apocalypse, while its banishment is usually the consequence of scientific or industrial progress? From Aarne-Thompson tale types like Richard Corbet’s “The Fairies’ Farewell” to Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, panelists will talk about the ways in which magic-as-technology can be explored.

 Saturday July 12

2:00 PM CO Educated Guesses: Tech Pros Writing SF. Saira Ali, John Chu, Jim Freund, Jeff Hecht, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Walt Williams. In response to a Silicon Valley technologist frustrated with the current state of science fiction, blogger Andrija Popovic wrote, “Change the question from ‘Why are people not writing about the future I’m making?’ to ‘Where can I find and support people who are writing about this future I see coming?’ Or better: tell your story.” Tech professionals like Ramez Naam, Brenda Cooper, and Daniel H. Wilson are doing just that. What do their portrayals of the future say about our present, and conversely, about the visions of the future that are driving today’s technological development?


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