Readercon got underway Thursday with some big intellectual panels (OK, most panels here are Big Intellectual) with a lovely panel on Revolutionary Movements in the field. We heard about Mundanity (no, Goeff Ryman says, they’re not trying to keep us from writing off-planet adventures. . .) and Cyberpunk — and how these movements productively shake up the status quo. They even talked about the New Wave, but no one brought up feminist sf as a movement, a really odd lapse, I thought.
Then, just when you thought you couldn’t stand anymore intellectually challenging ideas (and that was only Thursday night!) they give us a panel on how to read aloud for readings and broadcasts. Very cool.
Friday kicked into high gear first thing with Four Categories of Fantasy, Farah Mendelsohn’s theories; but, forced to choose, I just had to see Rob Sawyer’s SF as a Mirror for Reality. He talked about how SF tackles issues of the day, and why we can get by with it better (less offensively) than mainstream. And if you’ve never caught a Sawyer presentation, make it a goal. He’s a class act. Mind stuffed full of new insights, I managed to find an empty seat for Carl Frederick’s Quantum Reality for Children. We actually killed Shroedigger’s cat. He did use a wind-up cat, so you kind of get the level at which we were talking, here.
I have make a vow to see any panels that James Morrow is on. He is marvelously well read and accessible, and tends not to use as many polysyllabic words as some of the great minds here. Meanwhile I managed to talk about using theme as a way to recover your faith in a faltering novel, and, as the day waxed on, found that I am perhaps the only person in the galaxy who does not think writers’ groups improve one’s writing!
Meeting new people: Paolo Bacigalupi, Paul di Fillippo, Goeff Ryman, Suzy McKee Charnas, James Patrick Kelly, and seeing David Lewis Edelman, whose book Infoquake is featured here this year; also Elizabeth Hand, Scott Edelman, Delia Sherman, and perennial travel buddy, Louise Marley.