Saturday, July 10, 2010

ReaderCON 21 - Day One Details

I've got one more day at ReaderCON. The rest of the afternoon will be a series of informal 'meet and greets' with a few of the many folks I've meet. I have about an hour before then so I'll try and type up all the Day One details.

Believe you-me...I'll be processing for a while.

I arrived about ten thirty after a hellish morning at the salt mines. I'd been looking forward to the convention (as many of you know) for months.

Anyway-- I arrived, hot and a little sweaty due to typical New England summer weather. I may have been a little cranky as well.

After grabbing a coffee I jumped on the pre-registration line. That's where I overheard a gentleman discussing a story about post Civil War Vampires in Tennessee.

I was definitely at ReaderCON.

I scoped out the Burlington Marriott, mapping out the panels/readings/kaffeeklatsches I wanted to attend
when I bumped into Allen Steele.

Yeah...the SciFi writer. We chatted for a few minutes when I asked another gentleman to take a picture.

Ten minutes later when the caffeine kicked in, I realized the man who took the photo was none other then Scott Edelman. Remind me to find him on Sunday and apologize!

Writers, readers, editors and agents poured into the conference. I made my way through the throng to my first panel.

Writing Realistic Speech (I Weaving You My Story, OUI?) - Gilman, Hopkinson, Menon and Meynard. Moderated by Krasnoff

A discussion about the representation of different voices in writing, how best to represent them and avoiding stereotypical patterns (think 'Fleur Delacour' in the Harry Potter series). Ms. Hopkinson may live in Canada now, but she was born Jamaican. Mr. Menon is of western asian decent. Mr. Meynard is French-Canadian. The discussion ranged from subtile ways to convey a character in a different culture (swearing in their native language, for example. Ms. Hopkinson rattled off a wonderful Jamaican curse that I wish I could repeat here!)

Mr. Meynard spoke about translation into the French language and how English conjunctions etc. have no real equivalent in French.

Mr. Menon discussed the unfortunate and stereotypical verbal 'abuse' the Indian characters experience in various works of fiction.

The discussion became even more interesting when Ms. Gilman expanded on the problem by discussing cultures completely created from the mind of an author.

The Scientific Mystery Story - D'Ammassa, McDevitt, Steele, Swanger. Lead by Walter Hunt

Who dunnit. HOW dunnit. The SciFi mystery. A lively comparison of 'normal' mystery stories-- such as the Sherlock Holmes series and comparing how SciFi handles the genre. Discussions of Asimov's Wendell Urth stories, Jack McDevitt's ownThe Engines of God and the pitfalls of using time travel as a 'convenient device.'

New England: At Home to the Unheimlich - Cox, Kiernan, Ringel, Tremblay, Valente. Moderated by Hand.

New England is old. Older then most parts of the country (as far as Western culture is concerned). A discussion around the old secrets and horrors of New England that lend itself to 'atmospheric' horror fiction. The discussion expanded to discussions of the old South courtesy of Caitlin R. Kiernan.

Is Anybody Out There? - DiFilipo, Morrow, Meynard. Editor Marty Halpern moderates.

A panel and readings from three of the authors in the "Is Anybody Out There?" anthology put together by Marty Halpern and Nick Gevers. Click on the picture above to read more at Amazon.

There are two possibilities. There are either other civilizations in the universe, or we're all alone. Both thoughts boggle the mind. The panel began with Mr. Halpern discussing the process to get the book to launch day. 'Process' doesn't seem to cover the (YEARS worth of) work to get the book to press. The rest of the event included readings by four of the ReaderCON attending authors: Paul DiFilipo, Yves Meynard, and a man I've know for years and is a wonderful mentor: James Morrow (seen to the right with a 'paradoxical brain').

I don't want to say more yet as I'd prefer to review the entire anthology in a later post. But it was a packed house and a fantastic launch for the book!

The Unknowable Character - Antosca, Cute, Dube, and Reed. Lead by Michael Cisco

A discussion of characters deliberately (and possibly more realistically) left unknowable to the reader. Examples include Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" -- the character of Seymour Glass.

Authoritativeness in Fiction - Dirda, Kiernan, Langan, Mirabelli, and Valenti. Lead by James Morrow

Discussions of use of 'nonexistent' facts to create a sense of authority. When is the use of 'creative facts' or a non-existant citation to create an authoritative narrative wrong? When is it appropriate? and does the modern reader 'catch on' to this technique (unlike the audience in Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar").

Brainstorming Inclusive Immersive Worlds - Workshop with N. K. Jemisin

Discussion of one of the failures in modern day fantasy 'other-world' creation: The natural tendency for a society to sub-divide in to groups based on race, beliefs etc. We developed an entire world as a group and all writers are allowed to develop there own immersive fiction based on this secondary shared-developed world. More on that perhaps later!

I spent the rest of the evening attending readings and socializing. I thoroughly enjoyed Alison Sinclar's Lightborn and John Langan's House of Windows.

Next up: Day two.


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