Readercon, Readercon (every three syllable word carries a tint of Washington, Washington). It’s a blast. Unfortunately we are terrible at writing up cons. Oh well.
They added Thursday this year which made it less of a Friday night to Sunday morning (brunch? maybe…) deal. Instead it was a mellow drive into Burlington (where apparently it won’t be next year, yay!—although, that Indian food at the mall next door may be missed) and finding that some peeps were there already.
The Readercon crowd really liked the Interfictions book—enough so that we sold out and pretended to sell chits. Honest, missus, we’ll mail you a copy. Why don’t you give us some of your hard earned Washingtons and we’ll take your name on the back of this chocolate bar wrapper and mail you a copy as soon as we get back to the office. A quick $100 later, we went to the Suffolk Downs and we have funded next spring’s books. Thanks folks!
But what are you really interested in? Karen Joy Fowler is reason enough to travel to a convention. She and Lucius Shepard were the guests of honor. On Friday morning Karen read the first chapter of her newly completed and perhaps-temporarily-titled novel Ice City (sorry chaps: no ISBN or ordering yet but you may have heard it at WisCon) to an enthusiastic crowd which she thought of as a mystery and may not quite be. (Also: ask her sometimes about her strategy for answering those who want her to categorize her books.
Later Karen was on the “Brilliant But Flawed” panel with John Crowley, Kelly, Barry N. Malzberg, and Darrell Schweitzer. Most of the panelists had T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone in mind but over the hour there were discursions into Crowley’s own books, The Worm Ourobouros, and maybe some newer books.
Adam Golaski’s wife had their first kid during the con so F. Brett Cox sturdily stepped into Adam’s shoes and interviewed Karen on Saturday afternoon. It was an often hilarious hour with Karen’s tales of discovering her idyllic early years in Indiana were actually an exile in hell for her parents; her deal with her husband (she would try writing for one year: she sold her first story another four years later); and just toward the end of the hour her experience of seeing her bestselling novel The Jane Austen Book Club being turned into a movie.
Friday was the easiest day for us to see panels. After that the book room was busier, although we had much help from Jed, Michael, and Emily Cambias (the youngest of the Zygote Games peeps). There was an awful lot that went on that we didn’t see—the mafia made an appearance and so did some people with no pants looking for someone else’s key. Must remember to stay up late at these things, not miss all the fun.
That’s it. Crap, ne?
Next year (July 17-20) they have Jim Kelly and Jonathan Lethem as the guests. On the website there is an easily accessible list of past guests from 1997 to the present (in other words, the first eight years are probably accessible somewhere, but not without searching . . . 2008 isn’t included because the memorial Guest of Honor wasn’t on the flier):
- 2007: Lucius Shepard, Karen Joy Fowler; [Angela Carter]
- 2006: China Miéville, James Morrow; [Jorge Luis Borges]
- 2005: Joe Haldeman, Kate Wilhelm; [Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore]
- 2003: Hal Clement, Rudy Rucker, Howard Waldrop; [R.A. Lafferty]
- 2002: Octavia E. Butler, Gwyneth Jones; [John Brunner]
- 2001: David Hartwell, Michael Swanwick; [Clifford D. Simak]
- 2000: Suzy McKee Charnas, Michael Moorcock; [Mervyn Peake]
- 1999: Ellen Datlow, Harlan Ellison; [Gerald Kersh]
- 1998: Lisa Goldstein, Bruce Sterling; [Leigh Brackett]
- 1997: Algis Budrys, Kim Stanley Robinson; [C.M. Kornbluth]
21 Guests of Honor (14 male, 7 female)
11 Memorial Guests of Honor (8 male, 3 female)
32 total (22 male, 10 female)
Readercon is a great con that’s interested in looking inward at itself as well as outward at the world of literature. There are Readercon favorite authors (John Crowley is definitely one!) and the list only expands by the year. This isn’t an excuse or a call to action or anything. Just noting another asymmetry and wondering if and when and all that.