Readercon 20

Guests of Honor

Elizabeth Hand

Elizabeth Hand

For twenty years Elizabeth Hand has been one of the major voices in the field of imaginative literature. Equally at home with fantasy, sf, contemporary realism and supernatural horror, she has explored the transfiguring and annihilating power of the fantastic in settings as multifarious as Victorian London and post-apocalyptic D.C., present-day Maine and 1970's New York.

All three volumes of her initial sf trilogy (Winterlong (1990), Æstival Tide (1992), and Icarus Descending (1993)) were finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award, and the first was a finalist for the Locus Award for first novel. Her fourth novel, the 1994 contemporary fantasy Waking the Moon, established her as a major figure in the field; it won the James Tiptree, Jr. and Mythopoeic Awards and was a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. Glimmering (science fantasy, 1997) was a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the 2004 historical fantasy Mortal Love was a finalist for the International Horror Guild and the Mythopoeic. Her latest, the contemporary thriller (with a covert but unmistakable fantasy element) Generation Loss, won the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award at last year's Readercon and was an IHG finalist. Her short fiction has been even more honored: novellas "The Erl-King" (WFA finalist), "Last Summer at Mars Hill" (Nebula and WFA winner), "Chip Crockett's Christmas Carol" (WFA finalist), "Cleopatra Brimstone" (IHG winner and WFA finalist), "The Least Trumps" (WFA finalist), and Illyria (WFA winner and Shirley Jackson finalist); novelette "Pavane for the Prince of the Air" (IHG winner), and short story "Echo" (Nebula winner). The stories have been collected in Last Summer at Mars Hill (WFA finalist) and Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories (an expansion of Bibliomancy, WFA winner and IHG and Bram Stoker finalist). She has also been an important book reviewer whose work has appeared not only within the genre in F&SF, but prominently outside it in The Washington Post Book World, The Village Voice Literary Supplement, online at Salon, and elsewhere.

She once described Readercon as a "literary Brigadoon, or one of those ephemeral islands rising from the sea for a few days, then disappearing again." She has been a regular visitor since our first early appearances; we are pleased to make her a permanent resident.

Greer Gilman

Greer Gilman

Greer Gilman's formidable reputation within the field of fantastic literature rests on just two books. Her debut novel, Moonwise (1991), won the William L. Crawford Award for first fantasy novel, was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, made the shortlist for the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and earned Gilman a nomination for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Donald G. Keller called it "a work of inexhaustible richness" in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, while David G. Hartwell, at Readercon 18, nominated it as the single book that best exemplified the convention. 2009 will see the publication of Cloud and Ashes, a volume of three linked stories set within the same world of Cloud: the Nebula-finalist novelette "Jack Daw's Pack" (2000), the World Fantasy Award-winning novella "A Crowd of Bone" (2003), and the new novel-length Unleaving. As a longtime resident of Cambridge (she works at Harvard's Widener Library as a preservation librarian), Greer has been a Readercon regular; she's a "writer's writer" whose insight and erudition have made her panel appearances must-sees, and her readings of her dense and infinitely allusive prose don't just aspire to the condition of music but frequently achieve it. Readercon is delighted to recognize the long-awaited publication of Cloud and Ashes with a celebration and exploration of the limitless depths of Cloud. We hope you'll join us.

Hope Mirrlees

Hope Mirrlees

It's been said of the Velvet Underground that they only sold 500 records, but that everyone who purchased a copy started a band. The VU of fantasy is unquestionably Hope Mirrlees, whose sole fantasy novel Lud-in-the-Mist (1926) has slowly grown in reputation from obscure oddity to full-blown classic. Since its reappearance in print in 1970 in Lin Carter's Ballantine Adult Fantasy line it has become a huge influence on a generation of fantasists, including Joanna Russ, Neil Gaiman, past Readercon GoH Michael Swanwick and both of this year's Guests of Honor. Mirrlees (1887–1978) led a fascinating life (see Swanwick's "The Lady Who Wrote Lud-in-the-Mist") that is well worth exploring, but we will of course focus most of our attention on her sui generis masterpiece. If you haven't already encountered this taproot text of modern fantasy, now is the time!

Program Participants

171 confirmed guests as of 7/01.

Click on the book icon to see the guest's bio-bibliography. Asterisk (*) indicates former Guest of Honor.