Fri 2:00p Registration, Info & Sales open.
Fri 3:00p Bookshop opens.
Fri 4:00p You're Mad as Hell, What Do I Do? Ellen Datlow,
Scott Edelman (M), Harlan Ellison, James Alan Gardner, Carolyn Ives Gilman.
Much powerful fiction has been inspired by anger and outrage. There is a
wide range of possible responses to reading these works; we might run right
out the front door and go protest or picket something, we might briefly feel
an intense human connection with the author and forget about the whole mess
ten minutes later. What is the nature of the contract between author and
reader in these works? Do they carry with them some implied responsibility,
or is that unfair?
Fri 4:00p Bookaholics Anonymous Annual Meeting. Discussion (60
min.). Allegations continue about this most controversial of all 12-step
groups. It has been suggested by some that despite the appearance of
self-approbation, despite the formal public proclamations by members that
they find their behavior humiliating and intend to change it, this group
in fact secretly encourages its members to succumb to their addiction.
The shame, in other words, is a sham. Within the subtext of the members'
pathetic testimony, it is claimed, all the worst vices are covertly
endorsed: book-buying, book-hoarding, book-stacking, book-smelling,
book-loving, even book-reading. Could this be true? Come and testify
Fri 5:00p Lest We Forget. Ellen Asher, Richard Bowes, Harlan
Ellison (M), Kit Reed, Gene Wolfe. As long as "The Whimper of Whipped
Dogs" and "Jeffty is Five" are in print, some of us won't forget Kitty
Genovese's murder or how big Clark bars used to be. How important is
maintaining our collective memory? Is this one of the moral duties of
fiction? If so, how much can writers really do?
Fri 5:00p Robot Lib. Michael Burstein, Glenn Grant, Geary
Gravel, Robert J. Sawyer (M), Stephanie Smith. The robots in most sf
stories are artificial servants, but that's only one of many possible
roles they could actually play. Why has sf's treatment been so narrow?
What does that tell us about ourselves? What works have explored the
Fri 5:00p Who Should Have Been On The Hugo Ballot This Year? Joseph
Mayhew. Discussion (60 min.).
Fri 5:00p Aline Boucher Kaplan reads either from a just-
completed novel Crossing the Line: Vol. 1 of the Demons of Godsworld, or
from Vol. 2 (in progress) (30 min.).
Fri 5:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Nalo Hopkinson; Paul Williams.
Fri 5:30p Mark Rich reads from a novel-in-progress. (30 min.).
Fri 6:00p Slipstream Fiction and the SF Community. Bryan
Cholfin, F. Brett Cox (M), Ellen Datlow, Kit Reed, Gordon Van Gelder.
Jonathan Lethem, in a Village Voice piece reprinted in NYRSF #121, raised
the issue of the proper relationship between sf as a genre and community,
and the wealth of non-realist, non-f&sf fiction we've come to call
"slipstream." Since we've had slipstream panels as far back as Readercon
Fr1, and since we've had a longstanding goal to get some of these writers
here, we could hardly resist continuing the discussion.
Fri 6:00p Any Resemblance is Intentional. John Clute, Paul Di
Filippo (M), Barry N. Malzberg, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Madeleine E.
Robins. A look at a growing subgenre of imaginative literature, stories
which use historical figures in ahistorical settings.
Fri 6:00p Pro-life Themes in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vor Series.
Lise Eisenberg. Talk/Discussion (60 min.). These books portray an array
of human societies, from a semi-feudal backwater planet to a collection
of cutting-edge bioengineering merchants, to an isolated planetary colony
inhabited solely by homosexual men. Wherever one goes, the one trait that
separates the good guys from the bad guys is a deep reverence for human
life, in whatever form it takes.
Fri 6:00p Shariann Lewitt reads (30 min.).
Fri 6:00p Connie Hirsch reads "The Judas Cup" (her first sale,
from several years ago). (60 min.).
Fri 6:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Paul T. Riddell; Michael Swanwick.
Fri 6:30p John Cramer reads (30 min.).
Fri 7:00p Is Hollywood Getting a Clue?. Harlan Ellison, Henry
Jenkins (M), Aline Boucher Kaplan, Paul T. Riddell, Steven Sawicki. Our
quasi-semi-annual media panel. The last three years have seen an
inordinate number of good f&sf movies: Gattaca, p,Dark City, The Truman
Show, The Matrix, Pleasantville, The Fifth Element, Men in Black,
Contact, yes, even The Postman (your mileage may vary). Is this a trend,
or a fluke (or are we wrong with this assertion)?
Fri 7:00p Text, Meaning, and the Changing Self. John Crowley,
James Alan Gardner, Greer Gilman, Faye Ringel (M), Ann Tonsor Zeddies.
We've talked in the past about how texts can change their meanings when
reread, but we've focused on changes that are latent in the texts
themselves. Sometimes, though, it's what happens to us in the interim
that's crucial. Often it is reading another text which unlocks secrets in
the first. Sometimes, it's a real-life experience; these may even draw us
back towards a text without our quite knowing why. A look at these and
Fri 7:00p Creating Interesting and Believable Characters In SF:
How to Get it Right. Jeffrey A. Carver. Discussion (60 min.).
Fri 7:00p Candas Jane Dorsey reads from her new novel, A
Paradigm of Earth. (30 min.).
Fri 7:00p Rosemary Kirstein reads from The Lost Steersman, a
(hopefully) just-completed novel. (60 min.).
Fri 7:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Gregory Feeley; Shariann Lewitt.
Fri 7:00p Autographs. Pat Cadigan; Doranna Durgin.
Fri 7:30p Elizabeth Hand reads (30 min.).
Fri 8:00p Misfit and Outcast Literature. F. Brett Cox (M),
Nalo Hopkinson, Rebecca Ore, Allen Steele, Robert Charles Wilson. The
murders on Hitler's birthday focused attention on society's misfits and
outcasts. Media coverage focused on the games and movies these outcasts
preferred, while completely ignoring the literature (and the fact that
the vast majority of misfits are not murderers). In solidarity with the
many non-murderous misfits everywhere, we'll discuss the stories and
books that helped shape our identity as misfits, and made that special
Fri 8:00p The Fiction of Gerald Kersh. Simon Bloom, Daniel
Dern, Paul Duncan, Harlan Ellison, Ken Houghton (M).
Fri 8:00p Book-Making. Leigh Grossman. Talk (60 min.).
How does a manuscript become a book? Is it necessary to leave a saucer of
milk out for the production faeries? A discussion of the steps a manuscript
goes through in the pre-press production process, and what can be done to
make the process smoother. Do author disks make things easier or not? How
does one learn to get along with one's copyeditor? Does all this talk of
desktop publishing really mean anything? Why doesn't my editor ever seem to
know anything about the production process? Learn the answers to these and
many other questions that come up in the course of creating a book.
Fri 8:00p A Unified Theory of Consciousness. Eric M. Van.
Chautauqua (60 min.). A proposed solution to the mind/body problem,
beginning at the level of quantum mechanics and ending with the role of
neurotransmission in mediating the nature of subjective experience.
Deconstructs or supercedes (we think) traditional oppositions like
dualism vs. materialism, and answers such vexing questions as the nature
of free will and how the brain coordinates its massively parallel
computational modules. No prior background in quantum mechanics,
philosophy of mind, or neuroscience required; we can explain all that in
Fr60 minutes, too!
Fri 8:00p Jack McDevitt reads three items: two pages from
Moonfall, a cliffhanger, leaving his characters in an impossible
situation; and two short-shorts from Standard Candles, "Cruising Through
Deuteronomy, in which a preacher worries about what a timemachine might
reveal; and "To Hell with the Stars," in which an old science fiction
anthology changes the course of history. (30 min.).
Fri 8:00p Andrew Weiner reads "The Disappearance Artist", from his
Fr1998 short story collection This Is The Year Zero (Pottersfield Press)
Fri 8:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Scott Edelman; Warren Lapine.
Fri 8:00p Autographs. Michael Swanwick; Gene Wolfe.
Fri 8:00p Registration, Info & Sales close.
Fri 8:30p Darrell Schweitzer reads (30 min.).
Fri 8:30p Michael Cisco reads excerpts from his novel The Divinity
Student. (30 min.).
Fri 9:00p Linguistics and SF. John O'Neil. Talk/Discussion
Fri 9:00p Mikhail Bakhtin: A Master Class in Writing. John
Crowley. Chautauqua (60 min.). Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) was a Russian
"formalist" literary critic, whose concepts are very useful (we think)
for working writers. Among other things, he's a response to
Deconstruction (though he probably never heard of it).
Fri 9:00p Esther M. Friesner reads (30 min.).
Fri 9:00p Eleanor Arnason reads miscellaneous short pieces, plus
some poetry. (30 min.).
Fri 9:00p Kaffeeklatsches. John Clute; Stephanie Smith.
Fri 9:00p Bookshop closes.
Fri 9:30p Pat Cadigan reads (30 min.).
Fri 9:30p Paul J. McAuley reads "Alien TV," set in a convention
about ? Alien TV, and possibly a companion piece, "Before the Flood." (30
Fri 10:00p Meet the Pros(e) Party. Each pro writer here
tonight has selected a favorite sentence (or two short ones) from their
own writing. Each is armed with a single sheet of narrow mailing labels
on which this sentence appears. On the tables around you are pieces of
wax paper. Meet the writers. Ask for a label. Put it on the paper. Make
Art. Atheists, agnostics and the lazy can trust strictly to chance, and
keep them in the order they obtain them (even while transferring them to
a more permanent medium). Result: one of at least Nine Billion Random
Prose Poems. Those who believe in the reversal of entropy can assemble
them to make a Statement (one popular game consists of finding a sequence
in which every juxtaposition is meaningful). But wait, there's more.
Scissors. Those who lack respect for living authors (at least) can use
them to combine one writer's subject with another's predicate. Try to
match your friend's result (without consultation) and win valuable prizes!
The party will also feature Those I Honor, Those I Despise, a talk by
Sat 9:00a Registration, Info & Sales open.
Sat 10:00a Bookshop opens.
Sat 10:00a The Autobiographical Voice. Harlan Ellison,
Elizabeth Hand, James Patrick Kelly (M), Barry N. Malzberg, Robert
Charles Wilson. Making the reader believe a story is in some way
autobiographical can be a powerful literary device (perhaps all the more
so in f&sf, precisely because it isn't the norm). What's it like to write
these stories? Do they work only for certain types of writers? What are
the techniques? Can this be done covertly as well as overtly?
Sat 10:00a The Obscure Funny Stuff I Like. Glen Cook, Esther
M. Friesner, Craig Shaw Gardner, Joseph Mayhew (M), Darrell Schweitzer.
Recommendations, and a look at why some people think that's funny.
Sat 10:00a Idea Triggers: Writing and Interactive Inspiration.
Katya Reimann. Talk/Discussion (60 min.). Why talking to fans about one's
books can be a good thing.
Sat 10:00a The First Public Appearance of Artemis Magazine.
Ian Randal Strock. Chautauqua (30 min.). The magazine, its goals, and its
Sat 10:00a Paul T. Riddell reads "The Doom That Came to
Cyberpunk." (60 min.).
Sat 10:00a Jennifer K. Stevenson reads from her contemporary
fantasy novel Trash, Sex, Magic, about trailer-trash sex magicians living
on a riverbank in the Chicago suburbs. (30 min.).
Sat 10:00a Kaffeeklatsches. Terry Bisson and Paul Park;
Sat 10:00a Autographs. Ellen Datlow; Robert J. Sawyer.
Sat 10:00a Listening Lounge. Judging A Book By Page 117 (taped at
Readercon 3): Ellen Kushner, Eluki Bes Shahar, Alex Jablokov, John
Kessell. Can you actually judge a book by opening to a random page and
reading? Can this very useful skill be learned? Complete with
Sat 10:30a Incas: The Aliens In Our Past. Suzanne Blom.
Chautauqua (30 min.). When we imagine alternate societies, we generally
turn to distant planets, but when we create those far civilizations, we
come to them with the assumptions of Western Civilization, and most often
create them in that image. Yet there have been totally alien
civilizations on this planet that shared none of those assumptions. The
Sa3000-mile-long Inca empire had no money or markets, no word for evil, and
a different apparent perception of color. Learn about these and many,
many other differences.
Sat 10:30a Kelly Link reads (30 min.).
Sat 11:00a The Career of Harlan Ellison. Paul Di Filippo,
Scott Edelman, Marcel Gagne, Mark Rich (M), Paul T. Riddell.
Sat 11:00a Writing For Our Children. Pat Cadigan, John Clute,
Kathryn Cramer (M), Paul Levinson, Paul Park. Many of us are having
children these days. How is that changing our perspective on children's
literature? What type of stories will we want them to read? Won't we
write some of them ourselves? What might they be like?
Sat 11:00a Canadian SF. Joel Champetier, Candas Jane Dorsey, James
Alan Gardner, Glenn Grant, Yves Meynard, Robert J. Sawyer (M), Jean-Louis
Trudel, Peter Watts, Andrew Weiner, Robert Charles Wilson. Discussion (60
min.). Is Canadian sf a cohesive literary school, or just a random
collection of authors, all of whom happen to be taxed way too heavily?
Why is most Canadian sf published in the U.S.? Is the current Canadian sf
boom going to translate into apermanent market force, or is it just a
blip? Does Canadian sf have any relationship to Canadian mainstream
literature -- does Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale seriously belong in a
discussion of Canadian sf, or has it just been co-opted by the genre for
Atwood's literary cachet?
Sat 11:00a The Secret Museum: The Lost Collections of
the Boston Museum of Natural History. Cortney Skinner. Chautauqua (60
min.). Little did Cortney know, when he opened that first trunk in his
father's attic, that he'd be unearthing the past of a long-forgotten museum
and its strange collections. Through documents and artifacts recently
uncovered and displayed on the web, this new project will invite the public
to help view, theorize about and discover the centuries-old history of this
Sat 11:00a Ellen Kushner reads "The Death of the Duke," from
Starlight 2.(60 min.).
Sat 11:00a Carolyn Ives Gilman reads a chapter from her science
fiction novel in progress (working title Ghost ). (30 min.).
Sat 11:00a Kaffeeklatsches. Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden;
Charles C. Ryan.
Sat 11:00a Autographs. Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.
Sat 11:00a Listening Lounge. Taped reading: Jack Dann from The Memory
Sat 11:30a Stephanie Smith reads from Baby Rocket, a
novel-in-progress. (30 min.).
Sat 12:00n The City as Character. Terry Bisson, Samuel R.
Delany, Esther M. Friesner, Ellen Kushner, David Alexander Smith (M). As
we've noted before ("Landscape as Character," Readercon 9), the setting
of a story sometimes plays a role at least as central as the protagonist.
A discussion of quintessentially urban fiction.
Sat 12:00n 1998: The Year in Short Fiction. David G. Hartwell,
Tom Jackson (M), Mark Rich, Michael Swanwick, David Truesdale.
Sat 12:00n Smut And Nothing But: SF and Romance in Search of
Redeeming Social Importance. Nalo Hopkinson, Kelly Link, Jennifer K.
Stevenson (M), Cecilia Tan. (120 min.) A special report on sex scenes in
science fiction and in romance. The first hour is devoted to readings
from the panelists' favorite sex scenes from both genres. The second hour
discusses the contrasts and similarities in these genres' treatment of
this absorbing topic.
Sat 12:00n Cambridge Kit Reed reads "River" from her new collection,
Seven for the Apocalypse, just published by the Wesleyan
University Press. (30 min.).
Sat 12:00n Ellen Brody reads "The Shady Life of Annibal," by
Gerald Kersh (60 min.).
Sat 12:00n Kaffeeklatsches. Eleanor Arnason; Doranna Durgin.
Sat 12:00n Autographs. Jeffrey A. Carver; Jack McDevitt.
Sat 12:00n Listening Lounge. A Book To Change Their Minds (taped at
Readercon 6): Gregory Feeley, Don Keller, Rob Kilheffer, Steve Pagel.
Elsewhere in this program we ask "what can we do to gain mainstream
acceptance for f&sf?" Well, how about an anthology of short fiction
designed expressly for that purpose? Not sf for people who hate sf, but
sf for open-minded people who are willing to be convinced that sf can be
great -- if we prove it. An anthology designed not so much to sell, but to
be read by the right people (book reviewers, editors, book review
editors). It must thus feature our best talents in stories that play by
mainstream rules, that live up to their standards of prose style and
characterization (or circumvent them in a powerful postmodern way) --
while of course doing much more. (That f&sf can play hard by its own
rules is something we can demonstrate later.) It should be dazzlingly
good. Which authors should be included? Which story by each would be
best? Would anyone actually publish such a book and give it the highly
targeted marketing push it would need to do its job?
Sat 12:30p Paul Park reads from a new fantasy novel about
Romania. (30 min.).
Sat 1:00p Must Art Be Difficult?. Samuel R. Delany (M),
Harlan Ellison, Lissanne Lake, Patrick O'Leary, Gene Wolfe, Joey
Zone. "Making it easier, I think, is invidious. It is a really bad
thing. Art is not supposed to be easier! ? Ridding the world of heart
attacks, making the roads smoother, making the beer better, but not Art.
Art should always be tough. Art should demand something of you. Art should
involve foot-pounds of energy being expended. It's not supposed to be
easier, and those who want it easier should not be artists. They should be
out selling public relations copy." - Harlan Ellison.
Sat 1:00p The Techno-Thriller. Don D'Ammassa, Thomas Easton,
Alexander Jablokov (M), James D. Macdonald, Allen Steele. Another in a
series of panels exploring genres tangential to sf proper. To what extent
is the distinction between the techno-thriller and sf just a marketing
one? Are some techno-thrillers closer to sf than others? Does that
necessarily make them better, or even more interesting to sf readers?
Includes a survey of the field.
Sat 1:00p Katya Reimann reads from Prince of Fire & Ashes,
forthcoming from Tor. (30 min.).
Sat 1:00p Greer Gilman reads from "A Crowd of Bone," a novella.
Sat 1:00p Kaffeeklatsches. James Alan Gardner; Donald
Sat 1:00p Autographs. Elizabeth Hand; Robert Charles Wilson.
Sat 1:00p Listening Lounge. Taped reading: John Kessel, "Some Like It
Sat 1:30p Madeleine E. Robins reads an excerpt from a work in
progress, Point Of Honour, which can best be described as
Jane-Austen-meets-Dashiell-Hammett ? kinda. (30 min.).
Sat 2:00p The Short-Short Story. Terry Bisson, Janice M. Eisen
(M), Jack McDevitt, Michael Swanwick, Gene Wolfe. (90 min.) The best of
these are more than stunts; they can be an art form unto themselves.
The Last Starship From Earth (John Boyd), Black Easter, The Masks of Time,
City of Illusions, The Goblin Reservation ? what was going on? The glib
answer, "the first year of the Ace Specials," is clearly confusing cause and
effect. What produced this fireball of talent that Terry Carr noticed?
Random chance? Some cycle of age and influence? Or was the environment of
the mid-sixties conducive to brilliant speculation in a way that just hasn't
happened since? If either of the latter, when might we see another year like
Sat 2:30p Daniel Hatch reads (30 min.).
Sat 3:00p How I Wrote Black Light. Elizabeth Hand. Talk (30 min.).
Sat 3:00p Paul Williams reads essays from his forthcoming Tor
book The 20th Century's Greatest Hits, on Philip K. Dick's Martian
Time-Slip, Theodore Sturgeon's "Mr. Costello, Hero" and "And Now The News
. . .", and 2001: A Space Oddyssey. (30 min.).
Sat 3:00p Mark W. Tiedemann reads "Psyche." (30 min.).
Sat 3:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Samuel R. Delany; Katya Reimann.
Sat 3:00p Listening Lounge. Taped reading: Pat Cadigan, "The Lost
Sat 3:30p How I Wrote Darwinia. Robert Charles Wilson. Talk (30
Sat 3:30p In the Shadow of the Ring: Female Fantasists and
Tolkien. Faye Ringel. Talk (30 min.). Female fantasists (including
Patricia McKillip, Delia Sherman, eluki bes shahar, and Greer Gilman) and
their relationship with Tolkien, based on an essay in a forthcoming
Sat 3:30p Other Fringe Lives. Rebecca Ore. Chautauqua
(30 min.). Rural Virginia cockfighters and Midwestern spammers.
Sat 3:30p James Patrick Kelly reads (30 min.).
Sat 3:30p Robert J. Sawyer reads from Calculating God, forthcoming
from Tor in the summer of 2000. (30 min.).
Sat 4:00p Ellen Datlow and Harlan Ellison: A Conversation
Sat 5:30p The Fallacy of Genre. Candas Jane Dorsey.
Talk/Discussion (60 min.).
Sat 5:30p The Science of Wormholes, Warpdrives, and Time Machines.
John Cramer. Chautauqua (60 min.). A new "game" is being played in the
theoretical physics literature -- serious journal articles are being
published about wormholes, warp drives, and time machines, based on
Sat 5:30p John Crowley reads from the final volume of Aegypt,
still far from completion. (30 min.).
Sat 5:30p Donald Kingsbury reads from Pyschohistorical Crisis, an
expansion of a story in Far Futures, taking place in an Alternate Asimov
Galactic Empire. (30 min.).
Sat 5:30p Kaffeeklatsches. Pat Cadigan; Joseph Mayhew.
Sat 6:00p Terry Bisson reads "The Old Rugged Cross"
(forthcoming in Starlight 3), about a man on death row who wants to be
crucified. (30 min.).
Sat 6:00p James Alan Gardner reads from either Vigilant, his most
recent novel from Avon EOS, or Hunted, his next (scheduled for June
Sa2000) (30 min.).
Sat 6:00p Reception and Banquet.
Sat 6:00p Bookshop closes.
Sat 7:00p Registration, Info & Sales close.
Sat 8:00p How Writers Go Wrong. Jack McDevitt. Talk (60 min.).
Sat 8:00p The Dharma of Buffy. Donald G. Keller. Chautauqua (60
Sat 8:00p Samuel R. Delany reads (30 min.).
Sat 8:00p Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald read "Remailer",
from the recent anthology Not of Woman Born. (60 min.).
Sat 8:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Glen Cook; Elizabeth Hand.
Sat 8:30p Michael Swanwick reads "Moon Dogs," an sf story
which his wife refers to as "another one of Michael's grim little fables."
Sat 9:00p Strangling Cats, and Other Happy Pastimes. Harlan
Sat 10:00p The Best of the Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Prose
Competition, Vol. 2. Adam-Troy Castro, Craig Shaw Gardner (M), Geary
Gravel, Shariann Lewitt, Eric M. Van (M). (c. 75 min.) Blurb for
newcomers: Our traditional evening entertainment, named in memory of the
pseudonym and alter ego of Jonathan Herovit of Barry Malzberg's Herovit's
World. Ringleader Craig Shaw Gardner reads a passage of unidentified but
genuine, published, bad sf prose which has been truncated in
mid-sentence. Each of our panelists ? Craig and his co-moderator Eric M.
Van, twelve-time and current champion Geary Gravel, and first-time
challengers Adam-Troy Castro and Shariann Lewitt ? then reads an ending
for the passage. One ending is the real one; the others are imposters
concocted by our contestants (including Craig) ahead of time. None of the
players knows who wrote any passage other than their own, except for
Eric, who gets to play God as a reward for the truly onerous duty of
unearthing these gems. Craig then asks for the audience vote on the
authenticity of each passage (recapping each in turn by quoting a pithy
phrase or three from them), and the Ace Readercon Joint Census Team
counts up each show of hands faster than you can say "like a wall of
stinking jelly." Eric then reveals the truth. Each contestant receives a
point for each audience member they fooled, while the audience
collectively scores a point for everyone who spots the real answer. As a
rule, the audience finishes third or fourth. Warning: the Sturgeon
General has determined that this trash is hazardous to your health,
should you be recovering from fractured ribs, pulled stomach muscles, or
the like (i.e., if it hurts to laugh, you're in big trouble).
Blurb for veterans: This Best-Of recaps two rounds from the Fourth
Competition (at Noreascon 2 in 1989), one from the Fifth (Readercon 3,
Sa1990), and two from the Sixth (Readercon 4, 1991). The latter three were
also featured in a suspiciously similar Best-Of we just did a year ago at
Bucconneer in Baltimore. Please don't vote for any rounds you remember,
or we really will defenestrate you!
Sat 10:15p Listening Lounge. A radio adaption of Samuel R. Delany's
novella "The Star Pit", narrated by the author; produced and directed by
the late Baird Searles (2:15)
Sun 08:30a Closed Workshop. Kelly Link, David Alexander
Sun 10:00a Registration, Info & Sales open.
Sun 10:00a Bookshop opens.
Sun 10:00a Again, Dangerous Visions? Eleanor Arnason, Ellen
Datlow, Harlan Ellison (M), Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Andrew Weiner. In
theory, recent anthologies like Full Spectrum and Starlight have filled
the same market niche that Dangerous Visions did:the state of the art in
f&sf, with some emphasis on new writers. But they have not had the impact
on the field (and outside it) that DV did. It's not hard to guess why: DV
had the hook of "forbidden" stories, and the introductions and
afterwords. Could and should we try to emulate these features in an
original anthology? What could the hook possibly be, now that everything
goes? (Or does it?)
Sun 10:00a John Clute's Model of Fantasy Structure. John
Clute, John Crowley, Candas Jane Dorsey, Donald G. Keller, Teresa Nielsen
Hayden (M). Embedded in the Hugo-winning Encyclopedia of Fantasy is a
theory about the structure of fantasy texts: they move from Bondage
(Wrongness, Thinning), through Recognition and (often) Metamorphosis, to
Eucatastrophe and Healing. A discussion of the model, and of the wealth
of other critical terminology gathered (or invented) to elaborate it.
Sun 10:00a How I Wrote Flashforward. Robert J. Sawyer. Talk (30
Sun 10:00a Kathryn Cramer reads stories for young children,
written by both her and others. (60 min.).
Sun 10:00a Autographs. Paul Levinson; Patrick O'Leary.
Sun 10:00a Listening Lounge. Fifty-Five Panels in Five-Sixths of an
Hour. (taped at Readercon 5): Steve Brown, Janice Eisen, John M. Ford,
Ellen Kushner (at end), Eric Van, Gordon Van Gelder. Here at Readercon,
ideas that ordinary, lesser cons spend entire hours beating to death
puzzling over can be summed up in sixty seconds or less. In just one
hour, we can cover all the ground of an entire Worldcon program! Our five
know-it-alls have all the answers.
Sun 10:30a The Small Press. Steven Sawicki. Talk (30 min.). Is
the small press a breaking ground for new writers, or a trap for those
who can't cut it in the big world of publishing? What is the small press,
who is the small press, why is the small press . . . and how to use it as
both a reader and a writer.
Sun 11:00a Not Since Tolkien: Fantasy Without World-Building.
John Clute, Greer Gilman, Yves Meynard (M), Katya Reimann, Michael
Swanwick. Once upon a time, all that it took to establish a convincing
fantasy world was the magic phrase "once upon a time"(in a land far, far,
away). Now it requires a map, a glossary, chronology, genealogies,
recipes, URLs, etc.. But aren't there certain stories which are better
off without this apparatus? (Much of the magic of William Morris's The
Well at the World's End would have been neatly negated by a frontispiece
map showing us exactly where the legendary Well was.) Whatever happened
to "beyond the fields we know," anyway? Have any recent novels bucked
this trend? Would some have been better off if they had?
Sun 11:00a The SF Computer Game: A New Art-Form?. Pat Cadigan,
Janice M. Eisen (M), Carolyn Ives Gilman, Kevin J. Maroney. The pure text
adventure game (like the original ADVENTURE) may be dead, but there are
still computer games with significant texts, in some cases written by the
likes of Thomas M. Disch and Marc Laidlaw. Is there a nascent art form
here? If so, where might it go and where might it take us?
Sun 11:00a Your Ticket to the Moon: The Artemis Project. Ian
Randal Strock. Chautauqua (60 min.). This commercial venture is an
outgrowth of a science fictional idea, perpetrated by (mostly) sf
writers. NASA's been to the Moon, and they're not going back. The Artemis
Project has decided that it's time for private citizens to go to theMoon,
and now you, too, can get involved.
Sun 11:00a Harlan Ellison reads a just-completed short story.
Sun 11:00a Listening Lounge. Taped reading: Kit Reed "Mommy Nearest"
& "The Sibling" (:45)
Sun 12:00n Just Say "Wow!": Drugs and SF. John Crowley,
Elizabeth Hand, Paul J. McAuley, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Cecilia Tan (M).
"Science fiction" and "drugs" are both punchlines for the same joke
("Reality is a crutch for people who can't handle ?"). That says
something, doesn't it? When we add the alterations of reality that
accompany drug use to the altered reality of an invented future, we open
the door to all sorts of interplay between the two.
Sun 12:00n The Career of Ellen Datlow. Pat Cadigan, F. Brett
Cox (M), Jim Freund, James Minz, Gordon Van Gelder.
Sun 12:00n Galaxies, by Barry N. Malzberg. Paul Di Filippo, Scott
Edelman, Gregory Feeley, Donald G. Keller, Eric M. Van (M). It might be
the greatest work of sf criticism ever written (certainly it's the
funniest) ? except it's a novel ? except itisn't. It's back in print (in
Three in Space, selected by Jack Dann, Pamela Sargent, and George
Zebrowski, White Wolf Press). We'll talk about it.
Sun 12:00n Paul Levinson reads from The Silk Code, an sf novel
(forthcoming from Tor in October) featuring NYC forensic scientist Dr.
Phil D'Amato, whose prior exploits were detailed in three novelettes (two
Nebula nominated) in Analog. (30 min.).
Sun 12:00n Patrick O'Leary reads from The Impossible Bird, a
nearly-complete novel about hummingbirds, aliens and death. (60 min.).
Sun 12:00n Kaffeeklatsches. Geary Gravel, Rosemary Kirstein,
Cortney Skinner and Ann Tonsor Zeddies; Jack McDevitt.
Sun 12:00n Autographs. Kathryn Cramer and David G. Hartwell; Samuel
Sun 12:00n Listening Lounge. Fantasy Can Save The World, Can't It?
(taped at Readercon 7): Ellen Kushner, Iain McCaig, James Morrow, Susan
Palwick, Terri Windling. If fantasy stories are capable of transforming
readers' lives, do the writers of these stories bear a certain moral
responsibility to young readers? In the introduction to her forthcoming
anthology The Armless Maiden, Terri Windling addresses the therapeutic
value of fairy tales in helping abused children cope: "? what is
important about these stories from the point of view of any of us who
have gone through the deepdark woods in childhood ourselves is not the
expectation of ending Happily Ever After. Rather, it's the way that
ending is achieved, through the process of transformation. It is all too
easy to get lost in that wood, stuck in the mindset of victimization.
These stories urge us to pass on through, to toss off the spells and the
donkey-skins, to pick up the sword, the stone, the ring, and transform
ourselves and our lives with the old-fashioned strengths of ?goodness,'
persistence, and action." Is it possible to say "It's only fantasy." and
not have it sound like a glib dismissal?
Sun 12:30p Jean-Louis Trudel reads from his translation
of Joel Champetier's novel, published by Tor in May as The Dragon's Eye,
and perhaps some of his own fiction. (30 min.).
Sun 1:00p Literary Life After Death. Harlan Ellison, Arthur
Hlavaty, Teresa Nielsen Hayden (M), Darrell Schweitzer, Paul Williams.
Philip K. Dick's posthumous career has arguably been more successful than
his living one. Sturgeon, Bester, and Avram Davidson are back in print,
and small presses like NESFA have had success with the likes of
Cordwainer Smith. What's going on here? How do estates and publishers
make this happen?
Sun 1:00p SF After the Space Age. Jeffrey A. Carver (M),
Carolyn Ives Gilman, Jeff Hecht, Ed Meskys, Allen Steele. "One of the
elements in Ballard's work which seemed uniquely offensive to the
then-dominant credo of American science fiction was histendency to set
stories in a relatively near future in which the "Space Age" was already
a thing of the past . . . If we contemplate the future without the
rose-tinted spectacles of American sf, it now seems highly likely that
Ballard was right. We have indeed come to the point of realizing that the
Space Age-as American science fiction understood it-is effectively over."
Brian Stableford, in NYRSF #115. While Stableford may overstate the case,
there's no denying that the progress of space exploration has been
nothing like American sf envisioned it. Must stories about future space
exploration acknowledge this? If we haven't been back to the Moon in
thirty years, how do you make your lunar colony or trip to Mars credible?
Sun 1:00p SF in French: The Current Renaissance. Joel Champetier,
Yves Meynard, Jean-Louis Trudel (M). Talk/Discussion (60 min.). In
France, sf is undergoing a definite renaissance after some fallow years
(and fantasy is being born), while Canadian francophones continue to put
out quality works. So, for those interested in finding out more about the
rest of the world ?
Sun 1:00p Geary Gravel reads "The Man Who Went Out of His
Way," a story set in the same universe as The Alchemists and The
Pathfinders. (60 min.).
Sun 1:00p Adam-Troy Castro reads "The Last Straw," a horror story
that appeared in Tampa Tribune Fiction Quarterly. (30 min.).
Sun 1:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Rebecca Ore; Gene Wolfe.
Sun 1:00p Autographs. James Alan Gardner; Katya Reimann.
Sun 1:00p Listening Lounge. Tony Daniel, "Automatic Vaudeville" -- A
selection from the monthly live sf radio drama, complete with original
music and a cast of 12 including Robert LeGault. Written & directed by
Tony Daniel; produced & engineered by Jim Freund (:55)
Sun 1:30p Don D'Ammassa reads "Wormdance." (30 min.).
Sun 2:00p A Literary Taste Continuum. Debra Doyle, Moshe
Feder, Donald G. Keller, Fred Lerner (M), Patrick Nielsen Hayden. We have
a theory about literary tastes regarding sf and mimetic fiction. The
following genres (or subgenres) exist on a continuum: hard sf, classic
sf, literary sf, slipstream, mimetic "literary" fiction (part of
"mainstream"). Most readers have a true love and preference among these
five, readily enjoy works one slot away, occasionally enjoy works two
slots away, but generally avoid works in the subgenres further removed.
Is there truth and usefulness in this, or have we only described our own
catholic tastes (as lovers of literary sf and readers of all of these)?
Sun 2:00p Why I Love/Hate Science Fiction. Rosemary Kirstein,
Barry N. Malzberg, Joseph Mayhew (M), Paul T. Riddell. [This space
intentionally left blank].
Sun 2:00p Ask Uncla' Harlan, Revisited. Harlan Ellison. Talk (60
min.). Our Guest of Honor responds to questions sent to him by convention
members. "All questions will be answered thoroughly and completely."
Sun 2:00p Glenn Grant reads "Thermometers Melting," from
Arrowdreams: The Anthology of Alternate Canadas. (60 min.).
Sun 2:00p Kaffeeklatsches. Kathryn Cramer and David G.
Hartwell; Michael Burstein and Paul Levinson.
Sun 2:00p Listening Lounge. The Real Year (taped at Readercon 5):
Constance Ash, Daniel Dern, Gregory Feeley, Barry N. Malzberg (from
audience), Susan Palwick. John Clute maintains that every sf text,
regardless of the year it claims to be set in, has an underlying "real year"
which shines through, the secret point in time that gives the work its
flavor entire. The real year of any Bradbury story is 1927, or (our example)
any Spider Robinson story, 1970. Get it? What a neat critical notion! (See
the January, 1991 issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction.)
According to Clute, as the real year of a book approaches the present, the
harder it is to write or read or understand. Agreed? Which sf texts have
been this cutting-edge? What happens to these texts as time passes -- do
they make more, less, or different sense?
Sun 2:00p Bookshop closes.
Sun 3:00p The Killers Inside Us. Michael Cisco, Samuel R.
Delany, Connie Hirsch, James D. Macdonald (M), Paul Williams. There is no
obvious division between normality and horrific psychopathology (a
thought that occurred to us long before Littleton, bythe way). How have
writers exploited this fact? What's it like to read a text that reminds
you that you exist on a continuum with the monster?
Sun 3:00p How We Would Have Edited Differently. Debra Doyle,
Lise Eisenberg (M), Stephen Popkes, Cecilia Tan. Sometimes when we read a
book-whether we are editors, authors, critics, or just readers-we can't
help thinking how itcould have been different, and better. A look at some
good books and their undeveloped potential, and a discussion of how the
editing process works to remedy this.
Sun 3:00p The New Foundation Trilogy. Paul Levinson. Discussion
(60 min.). What are the disappointments and strengths of the new
Foundation trilogy (by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, and David Brin)? How
do they compare to the original trilogy, the robot books, and the
Foundation-robot books Asimov wrote in the 80s? In what ways is the new
trilogy loyal and disloyal to the qualities that made the original
trilogy so important? What are the differences among the three new
volumes themselves? Are the robots ultimately not compatible with the
mechanisms and issues ofthe original trilogy? Is there a future for
further Foundation books?
Sun 3:00p Nalo Hopkinson reads from Midnight Robber, an sf
novel (forthcoming from Warner Aspect next March) with elements of
Trinidadian and Jamaican language, folklore and culture, set on a planet
settled by Caribbean people.(30 min.).
Sun 3:30p Ann Tonsor Zeddies reads from Typhon's Children, a
novel (forthcoming in October) by Toni Anzetti, a "friend" who was
regrettably unable to attend this year. (30 min.).
Sun 4:00p Readercon 11 Debriefing. Members of the Readercon
Sun 4:00p Registration, Info & Sales close.