Readercon! In Boston next week, July 9- 13? Come by Readercon to talk books. That’s right, my favorite literary-dedicated genre convention on the East Coast is finally here!
Here’s where I’ll be (plus all the panels I can’t wait to listen to):
Friday July 10
2:00 PM CO What’s Cookin’, Doc?. B Diane Martin, David Shaw, Fran Wilde. Deconstructed eggs Benedict, meat fruit, turbocharged blowtorches, immersion circulators, an overtaxed waffle iron, and liters of liquid nitrogen: all of these things were used in the Belm Utility Research Kitchen in pursuit of delicious, interesting food. Our panel of experts will discuss cooking techniques, answer audience questions, and perhaps provide a live demo.
3:00 PM G Women of Technology. Karen Burnham, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Shariann Lewitt, B Diane Martin, Fran Wilde. Current technology is the handmaiden of hard science fiction. What can SF literature learn from the women who have made a difference in tech today? What have been their challenges, experiences, and frustrations? How can we use them as prototypes for the inhabitants of our imagined futures? And from the point of view of women in scientific and technical fields, what science fiction works have succeeded (or failed) in extrapolating not only future technology but the role of women within it?
7:00 PM ENL Recent Fiction Book Club: Persona. Victoria Janssen, Kate Nepveu (leader), Fran Wilde. In a world where diplomacy has become celebrity, a young ambassador survives an assassination attempt and must join with an undercover paparazzo in a race to save her life, spin the story, and secure the future of her young country in this near-future political thriller. For author Genevieve Valentine, restraint is a mode of composition, both in the beautifully understated sparsity of her prose and in her protagonists’ taut, tense stillness. In Persona, where the degree to which one has or has not smiled reveals or conceals a wealth of information, restraint is crucial to a Face’s survival. Persona brings up questions of identity and celebrity, managing to be a tense, carefully wrought thriller while still nodding and winking at the camera. You’ll never look at a red carpet the same way again.
Saturday July 11
11:00 AM F Not Just Pointy-Eared Humans. Susan Bigelow, Don D’Ammassa, Sioban Krzywicki (leader), Allen Steele, Fran Wilde. How do authors create aliens that are drastically different from humans, and how do readers respond to them? Many non-humanoid aliens are insectoid, such as the Buggers of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and the parasites in Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild; to what extent does this allow for aliens who are clearly nonhuman but still recognizable? How do aliens like Octavia Butler’s Oankali, who evolve to become more humanoid, or China Miéville’s sexually dimorphic species, which have one humanoid sex and one nonhumanoid sex, play into or subvert this dichotomy? And how might portrayals of truly alien aliens continue to evolve?