Readercon programming schedule

Classic Nonfiction Essay Club: “Estrangement and Cognition” by Darko Suvin
Meg Elison (mod), Tom Greene, Alexander Jablokov, Marissa Lingen, Graham Sleight
Fri 1:00 PM, Salon B
Darko Suvin’s preferred edition of his essay “Estrangement and Cognition,” coining the oft-repeated statement that SF is the literature of cognitive estrangement, first appeared in 1979. (Strange Horizons later reprinted it online.) It was a decade in the making, and the world and SF both changed quite a bit from 1969 to 1979. We’ll consider “Estrangement and Cognition” in the context of SF’s New Wave, the political upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s, and the subsequent shifts in speculative genres.

17776 and All That: The Crumbling of the Jock-Nerd Divide
Susan Bigelow, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Robert Killheffer, Marissa Lingen (mod), Cecilia Tan
Fri 6:00 PM, Salon B
Jon Bois’s wild digital narrative “17776: What Football Will Look Like in the Future” appeared on SB Nation, a sports news website, and aimed straight at the commonalities of sports and SF fandoms: rules and ways around the rules, glorious absurdity, tragedy alongside heroism. The jock-nerd divide has crumbled. What does that mean for nerd lit? Will cerebral SF embrace sweaty physicality? Will epic hockey games replace epic battlefields? This panel of sports-fan fans will discuss these possibilities and more.

Reading: Marissa Lingen
Sat 11:00 AM, Salon C

You Know, It Kinda Grows on You
James Patrick Kelly (mod), Marissa Lingen, Arkady Martine, Eric Schaller, David G. Shaw
Sat 3:00 PM, Salon B
Spaceships that are giant plants, humans whose brains rival supercomputers, lizards bred to function as flying flamethrowers—these are just a few science-fictional examples of how humans might manipulate their bodies and environments to support the human race’s spread throughout the universe. This panel will examine imagined technology that lives and breathes, and how human life might change and grow alongside it.

Lloyd Alexander, Existentialist
C.S.E. Cooney, Andrea Martinez Corbin, Chris Gerwel, Marissa Lingen (mod), Sonya Taaffe
Sun 11:00 AM, Salon 3
Lloyd Alexander, translator of Jean-Paul Sartre, wrote an existentialist epic fantasy series. As Jesse Schotter writes on Full Stop, “The end of The High King, and Taran’s choice to remain in Prydain… salvage[s] the idea of free will within the deterministic framework of the genre.” How did existentialism influence Alexander’s other work (Time Cat, the Westmark trilogy)? What are other examples of existentialist speculative fiction epics? With the present deconstruction of prophecy-driven epics, how can writers learn from Alexander’s work?

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