mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)
mabfan

Readercon 19 Schedule

For those of you planning to be at Readercon this weekend, here’s my schedule. For convenience’s sake, I’m listing it twice. The clipped version is just the titles and participants of the panels I’m on, and behind the cut there’s more detail on what the panels are about.

I’d also like to make a request. For my final panel, I’m moderating a discussion of Arthur C. Clarke and the other writers we lost in the past year. If anyone has suggestions of writers they feel we ought to discuss, please do let me know.

Thursday 9:00 PM, Salon G: Panel
Snape, Gollum and Other Moral Linchpins. Michael A. Burstein (L), Elizabeth Hand, Yves Meynard, Cecilia Tan, Ann Tonsor Zeddies

Friday 12:01 AM: “The Dark Knight” at the AMC Loews Burlington 10

Friday 11:00 AM, ME/ CT: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)
Science Fiction as a Mirror for Reality. Robert J. Sawyer with discussion by Paolo Bacigalupi, Michael A. Burstein, Lancer Kind, Hildy Silverman, et. al.

Friday 2:30 PM, NH / MA: Reading (30 min.)
Reads a selection from his story "Empty Spaces."

Friday 10:30 PM: Meet the Pros(e) Party

Sunday 11:00 AM, ME/ CT: Panel
The Fermi Paradox Paradox. Michael A. Burstein, Jeff Hecht (L), Steven Popkes, Robert J. Sawyer, Ian Randal Strock

Sunday 12:00 Noon, Salon G: Panel
Remembering Arthur C. Clarke (and Others We've Lost This Year). Michael A. Burstein (L), Shira Daemon, Walter H. Hunt, Rosemary Kirstein, Allen Steele




Thursday 9:00 PM, Salon G: Panel

Snape, Gollum and Other Moral Linchpins. Michael A. Burstein (L), Elizabeth Hand, Yves Meynard, Cecilia Tan, Ann Tonsor Zeddies
*Leader (Participant / Moderator) *

The two most popular fantasies of all time portray a battle between pure good and absolute evil in which a morally divided character proves to be crucial to the plot. Was Severus Snape ultimately as successful a character as Smeagol / Gollum? What other fantasies have used this device? How is it that we as readers accept a morally labile linchpin character without questioning the solidity of everyone else? Or does moral grayness sometimes leak out from the linchpin to tint the otherwise black-and-white world?


Friday 11:00 AM, ME/ CT: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

Science Fiction as a Mirror for Reality. Robert J. Sawyer with discussion by Paolo Bacigalupi, Michael A. Burstein, Lancer Kind, Hildy Silverman, et. al.

Science fiction has always been a powerful vehicle for commenting on the here-and-now, letting us explore the burning issues of today in the guise of talking about tomorrow. Sawyer is currently under contract with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to host and co-produce a pilot for a web-based new-media series based on this idea. He'll talk about sf as a mirror of reality, discuss the project, and brainstorm with audience members about recent sf that comments on the here and now and might be worth spotlighting should the CBC series go beyond the pilot stage.


Friday 2:30 PM, NH / MA: Reading (30 min.)

Reads a selection from his story "Empty Spaces."


Sunday 11:00 AM, ME/ CT: Panel

The Fermi Paradox Paradox. Michael A. Burstein, Jeff Hecht (L), Steven Popkes, Robert J. Sawyer, Ian Randal Strock

The Fermi Paradox--the absence of any evidence of extraterrestrial civilization despite the huge size and age of the universe--seems like it should be the basis for much hard sf. The paradox has numerous solutions (e.g., that nearly all civilizations quickly leave this reality and go somewhere else, or they destroy themselves as quickly, or they're consciously hiding from us), and all the solutions seem to be storyable. What sf writers have explored the paradox, and why are there so few of them? Is it because the vision of a galaxy essentially devoid of extraterrestrial intelligence is just a downer?


Sunday 12:00 Noon, Salon G: Panel

Remembering Arthur C. Clarke (and Others We've Lost This Year). Michael A. Burstein (L), Shira Daemon, Walter H. Hunt, Rosemary Kirstein, Allen Steele
*Leader (Participant / Moderator) *

It's a truism that "sf is not really about the future," but Clarke was both exemplary futurist and visionary storyteller. We'll spend most of the hour discussing his extraordinary career, and we'll also pause to remember the other writers (including Madeline L'Engle and Janet Kagan) who've left us in the last year.
Tags: conventions, personal, science-fiction
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