I’ve been looking forward to Readercon for months, especially (though not only!) because my application to be on programming was accepted. Getting the program ratings packet to help drill down into where I could best be scheduled only amplified my anticipation. One hundred thirteen pages of sessions, panels, readings, and get-togethers later, I found I had requested to take part in seventeen different sessions. Take that kind of overexcited squee and multiply it by the dozens of other people ranking their programming desires and I can hardly imagine how the scheduling team tackled making anything coherent.
Fortunately for me and everyone else planning to spend July 13-16 in Quincy, Massachusetts, they did, and it’s brilliant.
If you’ll be at Readercon, or just considering stopping by (remember that Thursday the 13th is open to the public, free of charge, and I’m on the bill that night!), here’s where you can find me on panels and programming. Come say hello!
- 8 PM Thursday, July 13: Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading – Come hear me read from The Nine and meet two other authors, Randee Dawn Kestenbaum and Susan Matthews, at this group reading sponsored by Broad Universe, an international organization supporting women writing sf/f/h.
- 11 AM Friday, July 14: Writing Characters With Flawed Beliefs – I’m honored to be the panel leader for this discussion of how to manage writing characters whose beliefs, because of historical context or other factors, are problematic or even repulsive to modern readers. Is there a way to write a hero whose beliefs are likely to offend readers, and still have them be a hero? How will our own beliefs as writers stand the test of time in generations to come?
- 2 PM Friday, July 14: Writing Disability in the Future – I’m very excited to take part in this panel where I’ll be discussing accurate, thoughtful portrayal of disability in sff, particularly when technology and magic make “cure solutions” so tempting. There’s much to be said about how we examine our assumptions about “ability” as both writers and readers, and how those assumptions are acted out or dismantled in the text. This is an important subject for me because of the people in my family and working life with disabilities and my ongoing experiences with them. I hope to do it justice.
- 4 PM Friday, July 14: The Souls of Stories – I deserve no credit for this panel idea, but it’s one that could have been lifted from my thinking about my job as a teacher. To quote the panel description, “What does it mean to relate to a story the way one relates to people? How does this intersect with the stereotype of the introverted reader who chooses stories over human interaction? What are the advantages and limitations of this way of looking at the reading experience?” My whole function as a teacher is helping students connect to the soul of a story, giving them the language they need to speak about how they relate to it, and how it relates to them. If stories have souls – an essence that’s meant to grab on to readers in a very particular way – what responsibility do we have as authors to take care of our readers’ souls, in return?