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Readercon 20 Schedule

Yes, it's true. Nomi and I will be at Readercon this weekend, although chances are we won't be wandering around a lot. More likely, Nomi will pick a place to sit and stay there, so we'll expect the wandering vortex to come toward her.

I will be bringing hardcover and softcover copies of I Remember the Future for anyone who wishes to purchase an autographed book directly from me. If you know you'll want one, let me know in advance which kind. Copies should be available at the SF Scope table and directly from me at my Sunday 12noon Autographing.

Speaking of which, here's my schedule, including descriptions (let me know if you have any questions):

Friday 6:00 PM, RI: Workshop (60 min.)

Speculative Poetry Workshop.  Mike Allen with participation by Leah Bobet, Michael A. Burstein, Vylar Kaftan, Ernest Lilley

What is speculative poetry? How do you write it, why would you want to, and which editors will buy it? Come prepared to write on the fly.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, ME/ CT: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

The Genre Roots of the Mainstream Tradition in American Fiction.  C. C. Finlay with discussion by Michael A. Burstein, Helen Collins, F. Brett Cox, Debra Doyle, Chris Nakashima-Brown

The plots of Charles Brockden Brown, America's first novelist, frequently hinged on scientific speculation. Washington Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne employed fantasy elements, Edgar Allen Poe invented a range of genre tropes, and  James Fenimore Cooper introduced the series character-a staple of modern genre fiction.  In the last century, some of F. Scott Fitzgerald's earliest works depend on fantastic elements.  Mainstream American writers, in fact, have regularly created fiction that would now be considered part of the speculative genre.  Finlay will argue that genre elements are not isolated in a separate branch of the American literary tradition, but are instead at the heart of it.

Sunday 10:00 AM, ME/ CT: Panel

The Future of Speculative Fiction Magazines, Part 1: Introduction / Print Magazines.  John Benson, Michael A. Burstein (L), Warren Lapine, Tom Purdom, Hildy Silverman, Gordon Van Gelder

Are print magazines doomed?  (Heck, if _newspapers_ can't make it ...)  Or will they survive in their tiny niches? Are there ways to make them more viable?  Is that even worth the bother?  After all, online magazines are now easy and relatively inexpensive to start-are they the answer?  Part one of our discussion begins with an overview and then examines the future of print magazines.

Sunday 12:00 Noon, Salon F: Autographing

Sunday 1:00 PM, Salon A: Panel

We Won, We Lost.  John Joseph Adams, Michael A. Burstein, F. Brett Cox (L), Paul Di Filippo, Robert Killheffer, Michaela Roessner

[Greatest Hit from Readercon 12.]  It's an sf world. Our once-visionary iconography is now commonplace. The present turns into the future even before we wear it comfortably, let alone wear it out, and this sense of constant change is now the common currency of our culture  rather than our precious private truth. And yet the sf readership shrinks, or at least gets older, every year; as sf media ascends (and merges with real life), the written sf word seems ever more irrelevant-and certainly wins no greater prestige for its creators than in the past. Maybe this has nothing to do with sf, but just reflects the death of reading (a development we perhaps ironically foresaw). But maybe somehow the contents of sf, the accidents, have conquered mass culture, but some crucial part of the form, the essence, has been left behind. Is it an sf world after all? Or just a holographic simulation of one?

Sunday 2:00 PM, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

Lasers, Death Rays, and the Quest for the Ultimate Weapon.  Jeff Hecht with discussion by Ian Randal Strock

Nature invented lightning bolts first, but the ancients put them in the hands of their mythical gods, and ever since we've had dreams of destruction in fiction and in fact. H.G. Wells armed his Martian invaders with heat rays; Nikoka Tesla and others tried to build real death rays. In 1958, the director of the then-new DARPA said his agency would be interested in far-out ideas like death rays, and a few months later Gordon Gould arrived at their door with a plan to build the laser. Hecht will talk about the real (and the questionable) science, the fictional visions, the bizarre history, and the quest for the ultimate weapon of directed energy.

Comments

I'm jealous! I wish I was going this year; it looks like a fun line-up.
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