I’m very happy to be back at Readercon (“the conference on imaginative literature”) in Boston the weekend after next – July 12-15. I’ve been away for a few years for life reasons, and am really looking forward to, well, just catching up with people. (If you catch me there, do say hello!). I’m doing a few panels, plus a solo talk at 1pm on Friday. This last – “Whose Story” – contains a bunch of ideas I’ve been mulling for a while about the history of sf, and I hope it’ll be of interest to a few people. Anyhow, my full schedule is as follows:

Friday 13th July

1:00 PM Blue Hills:  “Whose Story?” Graham Sleight
What’s the dividing line between SF of the “Golden Age” and work being published now? How does science fiction square telling a story and showing you a world? How does the “science” element of science fiction coexist with the unreliability of human perceptions? Graham Sleight has a theory about these questions, taking in works by Octavia Butler, Samuel R Delany, William Gibson, N.K. Jemisin, M. John Harrison, Robert Heinlein, Ursula K. Le Guin, and even some authors whose names fall in the second half of the alphabet.

3:00 PM Salon 5 On Dislike: Between Meh and Rage J.R. Dawson, Auston Habershaw, KJ Kabza, Lauren Roy, Graham Sleight
Writers know that reading widely is vitally important for a multitude of reasons, including learning from great books and learning what not to do from poor ones. But what can writers get out of books they feel indifferent to? Or should they just DNF and move on?

4:00 PM Salon 6 Fire the Canon John Clute, Jess Nevins, Graham Sleight, Tracy Townsend, Gary K. Wolfe
So much great speculative fiction is being produced every year – more than any one person can read. The differences among the annual award shortlists show how hard it is to achieve consensus about the best works of the year, let alone those that will be considered classics in the years to come. The “canonization” process has also frequently favored certain demographics over others. Given all this, what value – if any – remains in the concept of the speculative fiction canon?

Sunday 15th July

12:00 Noon Salon 5 It Takes a Village to Raise a Protagonist Andrea Corbin, Scott Lynch, Nisi Shawl, Graham Sleight, John Wiswell
Conflicts in speculative fiction often tend toward hyperindividualist solutions, but there are other ways to build those stories. Gene Roddenberry and Ray Bradbury both often wrote stories of cooperation in which the community is the protagonist. In Cory Doctorow’s books, long sequences are devoted to the process of achieving consensus. What other stories center collaboration and cooperation, and what are some best practices for writers who want to explore these types of stories?


~ by grahamsleight on July 3, 2018.

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