Readercon schedule

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Photo from the Amtrak Café car n route to Readercon three years ago.

I’m headed to Readercon 28 next week and I just got my schedule.

Pre-Readercon:

Wednesday, July 12

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Reading, etc. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

With Max Gladstone and Yoon Ha Lee at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA (4 Pleasant St.). This event is free and open to public. Click here to get more info.

At Readercon:

Friday, July 14

Our Dystopia – 1 p.m.

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Since the election, many on the left have been calling attention to George Orwell’s 1984 as a missed warning. Guest of Honor Nnedi Okorafor said in a radio interview that she believes Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower is a more appropriate dystopia for our current climate. Orwell’s Animal Farm, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and other books have also warned of surreal authoritarianism. Do they map to our current world or are we projecting? What other books have warnings for us that we might heed?

Panelists: Susan Bigelow (leader), Cameron Roberson, Tui Sutherland, Gordon Van Gelder, Sabrina Vourvoulias.

Reading – 7 p.m.

I’ll be reading my short story “Sin Embargo” which was published in the anthology Latin@ Rising in early 2017.

 

“In ‘Sin Embargo,’ Sabrina Vourvoulias plays with translation and transformation in interesting ways.” — Publishers Weekly

 

Come hear me play with language(s), live and loud … 😜

Saturday, July 15

The Long Tail of the Tall Tale – 1 p.m.

graffiti-419931Tall tales, like their fairy tale cousins, are reinvented in every culture around the world. These tales, handed down through generations, provide context for how humans relate to one another and to storytelling, as well as giving an intriguing look into cultural history. Panelists will discuss the ways tall tales and oral storytelling traditions have influenced the work of present-day speculative authors such as Andy Duncan, Andrea Hairston, Catherynne M. Valente, and Daniel José Older, and explore what helps a tall tale hit the sweet spot of both exaggerated and believable.

Panelists: David Bowles, Christopher Brown, Michael Dirda, Miriam Newman, Sabrina Vourvoulias.

The Life Cycle of Political SF – 2 p.m.

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 9.40.57 AMSF writers have often written deeply political books and stories; some stand the test of time, while others become dated very quickly. John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Joanna Russ’s The Female Man, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The New Atlantis,” to name just a few, directly addressed major issues of their day and are still relevant now—but differently. What affects how political SF ages and is read decades after its publication? What are today’s explicitly political books, and how do we expect them to resonate decades in the future?

Panelists: Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Dennis Danvers, Alex Jablokow, Sabrina Vourvoulias, T. X. Watson.

There is a registration fee for Readercon weekend, except for Thursday programs which are free. There are day passes are available ($55 each for Friday and Saturday programs, $25 for Sunday programs). The schedule of programs is pretty spectacular, even on Sunday. The full schedule (except for individual readings) is here.

Hope to see you in Cambridge or Quincy!

 

 

My Readercon schedule

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From July 7 through the 10, I’ll be in Quincy, Mass. at Readercon. For those of you who haven’t heard about it, here’s a description:

Although Readercon is modeled on “science fiction conventions,” there is no art show, no costumes, no gaming, and almost no media. Instead, Readercon features a near-total focus on the written word. In many years the list of Readercon guests rivals or surpasses that of the Worldcon in quality. Readercon is the only small convention regularly attended by such giants of imaginative literature as Gene Wolfe, Samuel R. Delany, John Crowley, Barry N. Malzberg, Kit Reed, and Jonathan Lethem. The program consists of two tracks each of panel discussions, author readings, and solo talks or discussion groups, plus kaffeeklatsches (intimate gatherings with an author) and autograph signings. The program also currently features the presentation of two major genre awards: The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award for a neglected author and the Shirley Jackson Awards for dark fantasy and psychological suspense.

This year’s Guests of Honor are Catherynne M. Valente and Tim Powers; the memorial Guest of Honor is Diana Wynne Jones. I’m slated to be on three panels, and I’ll be giving one reading. If you are at Readercon, please stop in and say hello.

Friday, July 8, 2 PM:

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Cozy Dystopia

Gili Bar-Hillel, Bart Leib, Shariann Lewitt, Kenneth Schneyer (leader), Sabrina Vourvoulias.

When we think of the world of Harry Potter, what comes to mind first—the magic and childish delights of Hogwarts, with its cozy dormitories and feasts and flying lessons, or its numerous, creeping dystopian elements (even discounting Voldemort!), from the enslaved house elves to Umbridge to the Dementors, which are, frankly, the tools of a fascist state? Can we make an argument that HP is actually more like a dystopia than a fantasy? Even if we’re half joking, there’s still an interesting discussion here: how do these two sides of the wizarding world play off each other, and how do they compare with other dystopian YA? Maybe we need a new subgenre: Cozy Dystopia.

Friday, July 8, 3 PM:

Fantastical Dystopia

Victoria Janssen, Ada Palmer, Andrea Phillips, Sabrina Vourvoulias, T.X. Watson.

Dystopia is popular in YA fiction for a variety of reasons, but why do authors frequently base their future dystopian society on some flimsy ideas, rather than using history to draw parallels between past atrocities and current human rights violations? Is it easier to work from one extreme idea, such as “love is now considered a disease” rather than looking at the complexities of, for example, the corruption of the U.S.S.R or the imperialism of the US? If science fiction uses the future to look at the present, is it more or less effective when using real examples from the past to look at our present through a lens of the future?

Friday, July 8, 6 PM:

Who Gets to Tell My Story?

Keffy Kehrli, Mikki Kendall (leader), Robert V. S. Redick, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Sabrina Vourvoulias.

Some calls for diverse submissions focus on the identity of the author, while others focus on the identity of the characters. What are the differences between the stories that result? Is there something problematic in a cis/het writer taking on a queer character’s story, or a white author with a protagonist who is a person of color? Does it depend on the story they are telling? Their skill telling it? Their awareness/avoidance of tropes? What responsibility do they have toward their protagonist’s community?

Saturday, July 9, 1 PM:

Upcoming

Reading

Sabrina Vourvoulias reads either “El Cantar de Rising Sun” scheduled for the July/August issue of Uncanny Magazine, or “Sin Embargo” which is included in Latino/a Rising (early 2017)