Sunday, July 11, 2010

ReaderCON - Day Two Details

Day one was a marathon session. I got home around midnight the night before. So the next morning at 5 AM when the cats decided to serenade Tina and I for their breakfast was a raucous and hilarious affair.

Made back to the Burlington Marriott around 9-ish for Day two. There was a glorious shrine to the Starbucks god where--when I deposited the proper amount of Drachmas--a goddess poured me a large coffee-flavoured ambrosia.

The dealer room was already hopping and it is the scene of a serious credit card incident on my part. I bought a few of Caitlin Kiernan's latest books (The Red Tree and Daughter of Hounds), Deborah Noyes' The Ghosts of Kerfol and a dozen or so other paperbacks to replace those lost a few years ago when I moved up to Boston.

Finally, I drained the last of my coffee and went into my first panel.

Avatar and the Future of Planetary Romance - Anreadis, Slonczewski, Sturgeon, and Waldrop. Moderated by Kathy Morrow

I can hear you all groaning now. Stop it! It was fun and the first session of the morning that was a bit light--or so thought it would be. I have to say, the discussion around the sex scene in Avatar degraded rapidly into a discussion of James Cameron's writing style. And no, it wasn't pleasant. But yes, it was quite funny.

The best line of the day (and I paraphrase here): "It all has to do with the four 'F's' of biology: Feed, Fight, Flight and...Reproduction." It was from a later talk but I thought I'd mention it here before forgetting.

Starmaker My Destination: Teleological SF - Houghton, Keller, Morrow, and a jet-lagged but brilliant Graham Sleight. Lead by Jeffery A. Carver.

An interesting discussion (which was expanded on in my Kaffeeklatche with Jim on day three) of Science Fiction usurping the place of religion in olden times by creating some sort of wish fulfillment regarding a true ultimate destiny of the human race.

Folklore and its Discontents - Kornher-Stace, Ringal, Schweitzer, and Swanwick. Lead by Judith Berman.

Definitions of folklore were debated and discussed. How the evolution of folklore leads to re-interpretations, then mis-interpretations. This panel fed nicely into some of interpretations in my book The Prodigal's Foole which delves into the folklore surrounding the Catholic Church and will expand to urban folklore and ancient legends in books two and three.

The Fiction of the Unpleasant - Allen, Cramer, Reed, Straub, and the always fantastic Barry Malzberg. Lead by Adam Golanski.

"I'm not sure what this panel is supposed to be about!" - Barry Malzberg

The discussion was centered on Peter Straub's recent online essay comparing the best 'horror' and 'literary' fiction noting the only difference is that 'horror' acknowledges that life is filled with "crappy, low-rent feeling states." While fear and disgust dominate horror, other darker emotions such as shame, loss, envy, insecurity are used in Straub's argument. But this potential new genre wasn't discussed...leading to Malzberg's comment.

After this experience, I decided on listening to readings for the rest of the sessions. I heard Robert V. S. Redlick, Liz Bear, Alaya Dawn Johnson read Moonshine and Adam Golanski read Green (a translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight).

By this time, it was time to head home. But the evening was far from over. I had a whole new set of books to dig into.

Next: Day Three


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