My schedule for ReaderCon 2016  

I’ll be at ReaderCon from July 7th-10th. This year, they’ve moved to Quincy, MA. It should be a fun con. They’ve put me on a bunch of panels, plus I have a reading:

Thursday July 07 #

8:00 PM    5    Living in the Future. John Chu, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Andrea Phillips, Tom Purdom, Terence Taylor. Today, if we’re going to see another person, we have cellphones to instantly communicate with that person, and maps on the cellphones to help us find our agreed-upon location. Twenty years ago we would have had to phone each other on landlines, pick a restaurant in advance or agree to meet at a landmark known to both of us. Five hundred years ago we wouldn’t have had watches on our persons, so even keeping to the correct time of the appointment would have been difficult–how would we even know when the agreed-upon time of our meeting arrived? Our panelists will discuss some of the conveniences, large and small, that we take for granted, and the absence of which would cause difficulties of the sort that are often elided in fiction. The discussion will also discuss science fiction novels and stories that incorporate and project modern technology into their fictions, and which fail to take these things into account. 

Friday July 08 #

5:00 PM    6    Non-Explanation in Fiction. John Chu, Scott Edelman, Kenneth Schneyer (leader), Ann Tonsor Zeddies. “Never complain, never explain,” said the Lady Mendl, and “Fuck the exposition,” said David Simon, “just be,” but as Junot Díaz said, “Motherfuckers will read a book that’s one third Elvish, but put two sentences in Spanish and they think we’re taking over.” What are the pleasures of writing for an audience that already gets it—and the dangers of assuming they’ll understand? What can you get from reading works that don’t cater specifically to you? And how can refusing to spell it out bring depth to the fantastic?

Saturday July 09 #

12:00 PM    C    Engineering in Fantasy. Scott Andrews, Richard Butner, John Chu, Ken Liu, Fran Wilde (leader). From wings and kites to bridges and plumbing, engineering is a necessary underpinning of fantasy and science fiction both. Panelists will discuss why engineering makes for great crossover science in fiction. 

1:00 PM    C    My Character Ate What?. John Chu, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ada Palmer, Lauren Roy, Catherynne M. Valente, Fran Wilde (leader). “My Character Ate What?,” based loosely on Hollywood Squares, that uses food in SF as the subject matter for questions. You are signing up to be a contestant in Fran Wilde’s game. 

Sunday July 10 #

1:00 PM    C    Keytars in Science Fiction! . John Chu, Yves Meynard, Sarah Pinsker (leader), David Shaw, Catherynne M. Valente. Alien or futuristic music can play a large role in SF, but how is it best conveyed? Music has evolved to encompass a vast array of styles, instrumentation, and sound. How can we make something seem alien or futuristic instead of just “experimental”? Is it unusual instruments, ranges of sound, different scales, some combination of these or something else altogether? On TV and movies new isntruments can be shown, like Spock’s lute, but how do we make sure the sound isn’t just ours? How would alien instruments be different? Would we be able to make sense of it? The soundtrack to Forbidden Planet was created with entirely original, electronic instruments to make a seemingly alien sound, but how often can something like this be done before it becomes generic? Are we stuck with making sure the lyrics convey the alienness or futuristicness?

2:30 PM    B    Reading: John Chu. John Chu. Ignore the description in the program. I will definitely be reading from an unpublished work, the one that I should be writing right now, actually.


Now read this

Spec fic in August

The Past # My story “A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade” is now live at It was edited by the brilliant Ann VanderMeer and features an amazing piece of Julie Dillon cover art. It... Continue →