Okay, mammals! Here is what I know of my Readercon schedule, since I have a minute to tell you. If you’re going to be there, look for me in these places, or in the places you would generally look for a person (the lobby, the bar, the green room, the meet the prose party, the ’90s dance where I will be wearing an authentic ’90s dress and an authentic ’90s flannel shirt against the authentic hotel air conditioning…).
Thursday 9:00 PM Highway to the Weirder Zone. Samuel R. Delany, Max Gladstone, Maria Dahvana Headley (leader), Chandler Klang Smith, Marissa Lingen. Surrealism, magical realism, paranormal romance, and other genres of the weird have different methods for getting the reader to suspend disbelief and acclimate as the roses rain down and the protagonist turns into a cockroach. Can authors of less-weird science fiction and fantasy borrow those tricks to ease reader dislocation, or is dislocated exactly what a reader should be? Are there different approaches that work for a phantasmagoria of ideas or a phantasmagoria of sensory impressions? And what problems arise from applying the assumptions and techniques of one genre or subgenre to another?
Friday 2:00 PM In the Heartland. Chris Gerwel, Marissa Lingen, Natalie Luhrs, Peter Straub, Catherynne M. Valente. What about the middle of the U.S. makes heartland stories such as Stephen King’s The Stand and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven so powerful? Recognizing that the U.S. is far from perfect, does the baked-in concept of American exceptionalism negatively affect these stories? What do they teach readers who aren’t American about Americans and their values?
Friday 4:30 PM Reading: Marissa Lingen. Marissa Lingen reads a selection of short fiction.(That’s what the program says! I can tell you that it will be something that is sold to BCS but has not yet been published with them and will be published in the issue just before the first Tuesday in November. If that timing and venue gives you enough clue to content. Come and hear it! Also please keep me from reading to an empty room.)
Saturday 11:00 AM Engineering in SFF, the Sequel: A Bridge Too Far. Scott H. Andrews, John Chu, Jeff Hecht, Marissa Lingen, Fran Wilde (leader). At Readercon 27, our panel of SFF writers with engineering backgrounds discussed bridges, flight, castle fortifications, and why engineering often gets short shrift compared to other technical sciences. They pointed out that readers never see a school at Hogwarts for magical engineering, or classes for building magical tools. This year a new panel will go deeper with some of these topics, getting into the different types of engineering such as bio, hydro, civil, and mechanical, and how these can inform your worldbuilding.
Sunday 10:00 AM Reckoning Group Reading. Christopher Brown, Michael J. DeLuca, Marissa Lingen. Reckoning is a new, pro-paying, annual journal of environmental justice fiction [and nonfiction and poetry] edited by Michael Deluca. (And special guests who are not otherwise on the program! It will be great, you should totally come.)
Sunday 12:00 PM The Works of Judith Merril. Andy Duncan, Marissa Lingen, John Stevens, Gordon Van Gelder. Celebrate and discuss the life and works of the 2016 winner of the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award. (Possibly also rage at the times in which she lived! Do some of both maybe!)