Monday, June 28, 2010

Readercon 21

I'm just starting to get my schedule for this years Readercon. Unfortunately, I'm only going to be able to be there for one day, Friday, July 9th. I'll have to cut out that evening to head up to Maine for the Stonecoast MFA residency. That will be great fun too, but I'm sorry it clashes with Readercon - one of my favorites cons.

Still, I'll be there for one action packed day. I have two panels with some great folks. They are as follows...

In Search of Lost Time: History and Memory in Historical and Speculative Fiction
Friday, 12:30 p.m., Salon F
Christopher M. Cevasco, Alan DeNiro, David Anthony Durham (L), Andrea Hairston, Howard Waldrop

"[I]n places like the Caribbean, West Africa and so on, we have two distinct elements. We have history which is written in books about the white people — how they came to Guadeloupe, how they colonized Guadeloupe, how they became the masters of Guadeloupe — and you have memory, which is the actual facts of the people of Guadeloupe and Martinique — the way they lived, the way they suffered, the way they enjoyed life. We are trained to rely more on our memories and the memories of people around us than on books" — Maryse Condé, explaining the genesis of her new novel Victoire: My Mother's Mother. Clearly the best historical fiction attempts to bridge the gap between these two modes of understanding by bringing the richness of memory to the rigor of history. But it's also a commonplace that history is the trade secret of speculative fiction. How is the interplay of history and memory in imaginative literature like and unlike that of historical fiction?

Why Aren't I Repeating Myself? Why?
Friday, 8:00 p.m., Salon F
with David Anthony Durham (L), Patrick O'Leary, Paul Park, Jennifer Pelland, and Michael Swanwick

Some writers hone a single approach for their entire careers, while others are much likelier to produce work that is, by their own track record, sui generis. Why are these writers driven to explore new genres, styles, themes, and structures, when most of their peers need less variety? Is it simply a product of having wide-ranging interests? Or something deeper? Since we suspect that many such writers may find the phenomenon mysterious to themselves, we encourage them to trade notes about their specific motivations for writing works that took them to new stylistic, structural and thematic territory.

That (L) means I'm the leader of both panels. An honor, I guess, although it means added preparation to the already daunting amount of stuff I need to have ready for Stonecoast. Oh well, it's nice to be wanted. They haven't announced readings and individual talks and all that stuff yet, so maybe I'll soon have more to report.

If you can make it for any of this con (it's outside of Boston, MA). It's a great one in terms of a real focus on authors, readers and the books they love. Pretty much no dressing up or Stormtroopers or anything like that. Great panels. Ideas flying like crazy. Lots of accessibility to authors. And readers!

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