clued me in to Readercon
, an SF/F book-focused con that takes place locally: this year in Quincy. For my own mental health, I decided at the last minute to take a day off work and give it a try. Then it took more than a week to summon enough energy and semi-articulateness to write a post. Sorry about that.
- Meeting Rosemary Kirstein
, author of the ongoing Steerswoman
series! She spoke on a panel about how to motivate female protagonists besides trauma. No blockbuster notes from that session, but I went up afterwards along with a few other attendees to say how much I liked her books. She was nice. She mentioned how difficult it's been to pick up the next draft after her health scares etc., and agreed with a laugh that it's hard to sign an e-book since the series is largely out of print. Also I learned that it's Kir-stine, not Kir-steen.
- Meeting Kelly Link
(author of Get in Trouble: Stories
, among others)! She took part in a big, fun panel about "bad influences"—more on that in the next post—and agreed to sign books for two of us afterwards. Hilariously/embarrassingly, a combination of weeks-long brain struggles and being in passive panel-listening mode meant that I totally blanked when she asked me a few questions, like whether I write, what sources I've written fanfiction for and what town in Texas my friend lives in who recommended the book. *facepalm* At least her signing the other guy's book gave me the moments needed to recall a few books and TV shows I've written fic for lately; then we talked for a minute about The Vampire Diaries
and how that introduced her to online fandom. She wore deep blue lipstick.
- Joining stultiloquentia
on Saturday for lunch she arranged with people who turned out to be kate_nepveu
, who runs Con or Bust
, and yhlee
, founder of festivids
, whose book Ninefox Gambit
just came out. (I haven't read it yet but have it on order at the library.) I'd learned from the #readercon hashtag that yhlee
was coming and I'd hoped to meet him, so lunch was serendipitous. And they knew my vids (!!!). An unexpected moment of LJ/DW/AO3-style fannish connection at a con focused on pro SF/F authors and editors and publishers. We talked SGA, metatagging, vidding, panel moderation, math and English education, storytelling in different media, recs for a project stulti's working on... They were both a delight to meet, if briefly. ♥ our people ♥
- Panel about robot narratives as slave uprisings
, with bonus etymology + awesome Seder reference. Details to follow.
- Seeing Catherynne M. (Cat) Valente
on a panel after our book club read Deathless
. It seems Samuel R. Delaney
was also a Readercon guest
, but I missed him. :( :( Also Junot Diaz
, obviously, but he's local and so I've been adjacent to him on many occasions, heh.
I'd thought that, if anything, being around so much enjoyment and analysis of science fiction and fantasy texts would boost my motivation to get back to my own writing. Instead, I felt something closer to despair at the whole endeavor of publishing. So many authors and books I'd never heard of, current and past, even in my favorite genre; so many people struggling for their work to be recognized, or who've published numerous books to little effect… I asked myself, as I do every so often: What's the point? What are the chances of conceiving a compelling story, and telling it so well, that it rises above the voluminous mediocrity and makes a lasting mark? Is there a point to writing a book if it doesn't? Did I just go to a bad combination of panels for thinking about these questions? Does Readercon attract mostly a certain level of author that made this stand out to me? Is part of my brain simply trying to talk me out of attempting a novel one day because not trying is better than failing? When did I stop believing that I could produce something extraordinary?
(And yet, the satisfaction of producing a fic or a vid or a creative product for my job is often enough in itself, which suggests that it would be the same for a book, and I get all "eeee" inside when a single stranger compliments something I've made, especially if I trust their judgment. It's all very confusing.)
As a first-time attendee who didn't do her homework, I had no connection to the communities of panelists or attendees and only afterwards began to learn about other people's histories with the con (fx, I'd forgotten that Readercon was the one with the notorious harassment case
), about what was going on around me, behind the scenes and in panels I didn't attend. I only witnessed a few of the instances of racism, sexism and lack of discussion on intersectionality that other attendees wrote about at length. I'd accepted that the con was book-focused, only to learn that others were expressing their frustrations with its reluctance to embrace other SF/F media and with some panelists' literary snobbery.
Further reading: https://sabrinavourvoulias.com/2016/07/11/readercon-27-confronting-the-fails/ https://mikkikendall.com/2016/07/13/readercon-low-point-lessons/
- The aforementioned mental health/biochemical stuff meant I missed Sunday's programming
—panels on magic in space, blue collar SF and short story anatomy—the latter two of which seem to have been notable. Sad face.
Next post: Panel notes
Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/338144.html
, where there are