Jul 8 2017

Unintentional radio silence, due to general thrashing and scrambling. Plus: Readercon!


No, I haven’t forgotten my blog readers.  Well, okay, I have, but only temporarily.

What I’ve mainly been doing is thrashing about on many fronts (including, be assured, Books 5 and 6), and trying very hard to Get Things Done.   I’ve basically locked my self away from most social contact for a bit.  And since my sister is currently cat-sitting  for our pals in New Hampshire, I don’t even have to maintain a minimum marginal level of civility!   Yep.  Don’t have to talk to a soul.

The upside of this, of course, is that when the time comes to hang out with people I will be really ready to do so.   I’ll chat and schmooze, and wave at people from across the room, meet entirely new folks, have all sorts of fascinating conversations, and be glad doing it!

And when will this be?  Well, next week. At Readercon, of course.

Readercon (in case you don’t know) takes place in Quincy Massachusetts, just south of Boston.   It’s the one convention focused mainly on the written word — so… don’t come dressed as your favorite anime character.   There are plenty of other conventions for that.

This year’s guests of honor are Nnedi Okorafor and Naomi Novik.  Now, as it happens, I had never read a word of Naomi’s work before.   And there’s plenty of it.  And I’ve heard nothing but good about it.  I just, somehow, never got around to it.   So, I thought I’d try to correct that.

I must say, I’m having so much fun reading In His Majesty’s Service.  This is actually an omnibus, gathering together the first three books in Novik’s Temeraine series: His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, and Black Powder Warwith an additional short story, “In Autumn, a White Dragon Looks Over the Wide River.”

It’s possible that I was kept from approaching these books before because, in general, I’m not wild about Military SF/F, and not wild about alternate history.  But that’s in general.  There will always be writers who make me love what I don’t expect to love.  (Like, say … novels of manners.  Generally don’t like ’em.  But you know what I love?  Elle Kushner’s Swordspoint.  And Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw.)

I’m about two-thirds through His Majesty’s Dragon, and I’m utterly charmed.  Alas, I won’t be able to read everything Novik has written before I meet her at Readercon.   But I’m glad to find something that’s this much fun.

Oh, and here’s my Readercon Schedule:

Friday July 14

3:00 PM    5    Good Influences.   Scott Edelman, Greer Gilman, Elizabeth Hand (leader), Rosemary Kirstein, Ilana Myer, E.J. Stevens. In contrast to the bad influences panel from past Readercons, these panelists will discuss authors who were positive influences on their writing during their formative years. Who showed them what good worldbuilding is, what strong narration looks like, and how to deepen a plot with social commentary? Panelists will share, discuss, and praise their problematic and unmitigatedly awesome mentors.

6:00 PM    B    Reading: Rosemary Kirstein.   Rosemary Kirstein. Rosemary Kirstein reads a section of a YA novel set in the universe of the Steerswoman series. (…Yeah, you read that right.  I’m not reading from Book 5, because at the moment it sort of looks as if someone set off a hand grenade in the middle of it.  Which, basically, is exactly what I did.  For very good reasons, trust me.  But I won’t know what will remain and what will be discarded until I reassemble it into some semblance of a narrative — except for one stabilized section, which I’ve used for several readings already.   So, rather than introduce you to Artos, the Duke of Wulfshaven and the Lower Wulf Valley yet again, I’m pulling out some work I’ve done on a Young Adult novel that runs parallel to the events in Book 5.  I rather like it. )

7:00 PM    5    The Commonalities of Magic and Science.   Erik Amundsen, David Bowles, Rosemary Kirstein, Naomi Novik (leader), Nnedi Okorafor. Specialized and secret fields of knowledge create barriers to understanding and can become mechanisms of cultural control. They can also be foundations for resistance. They can support or destroy communities and instill gratitude or resentment. All these things could be said of both magic and science, and the wielders thereof. The tradition of pitting magic and science against each other goes back to Tolkien’s anxieties about industrialization, but today’s speculative works have moved beyond it to recognize that the two can coexist and are often used similarly as metaphors. We’ll examine Guest of Honor Naomi Novik’s mix of historical technology and dragons, Guest of Honor Nnedi Okorafor’s mix of futuristic technology and sorcery, and other successful amalgamations and integrations.

Saturday July 15

11:00 AM    AT    Autographs.  Rosemary Kirstein, Susan Matthews.

1:00 PM    CL    Kaffeeklatsch.  Rosemary Kirstein, Sarah Pinsker (Do you know about kaffeeklatches?  I think they were invented at Readercon, if memory serves me.   It’s a small gathering of an author and a bunch of readers, where we basically just hang out for a bit, over coffee or tea, and talk about whatever you like.  Space is limited, so if you’re interested, you have to sign up for it. )

And that’s just what I’m doing.  There are a lot more panels, with plenty of writers you love.   And — get this — the Thursday night programming is open to the public.  For free.  So, if you’ve never been to a convention, here’s a chance to try one out for one night, with no monetary commitment.

Oh, look, here’s a link to the entire Readercon Program Guide, listing every panel and panelist.  That should be useful.

Hm.  Must go now; more later.