Readercon Jitters

Behold, my schedule for this year’s Readercon, which is next week.

Friday July 12

12:00 PM    G    Writing Others I: Theory. Michael J. DeLuca, Andrea Hairston, Rose Lemberg, Maureen F. McHugh, Daniel José Older, Joan Slonczewski (leader), Sabrina Vourvoulias. Authors who want to write outside their own experiences of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, and sexuality face a multitude of challenges. How do we present each character’s unique perspective while celebrating their distinctive identity and avoiding stereotypes and appropriation? How is the research and writing process affected by differences between the author’s and the character’s levels of societal privilege? Is it possible to write about future diversity without oppression, or does today’s reality require us to write in today’s frame? Which authors have handled this well, and what form does “handling this well” take?

Proposed by Joan Slonczewski and Michael J. DeLuca.

1:00 PM    G    Writing Others II: Practice. Michael J. DeLuca, Rose Lemberg, Daniel José Older, Joan Slonczewski, Sarah Smith. This practical discussion, led by Joan Slonczewski and Michael J. DeLuca, is for writers who have read Writing the Other, or otherwise carefully studied the pitfalls of cultural appropriation, and decided to take the plunge of writing about people whose experiences differ significantly from the author’s. How does one go about acquiring sufficient understanding of another culture, gender, or sexuality to write about it respectfully, productively, and effectively? We’ll discuss research techniques and writing methods used by successful writers of the other, as well as problems and solutions we’ve encountered in our own work. Attending “Writing Others I: Theory” is recommended.

Saturday July 13

10:00 AM    VT    Reading Michael J. DeLuca reads “Remorse and the Pariah,” a mini-epic poem published in Abyss & Apex.

Sunday July 14

10:00 AM    G    Digital Marginalia: A Conversation with Your Future Self. Neil Clarke, Michael J. DeLuca, David G. Shaw (moderator), Ruth Sternglantz, Gayle Surrette. Electronic reading devices allow us to carry huge libraries wherever we go. They also provide us with the ability to highlight, annotate, and share what we read. In a 2012 blog post, Clive Thompson described this enhanced reading experience as “a conversation with the author, with yourself, and in a weird way, if you take it along as a lifelong project… a conversation with your future self.” According to Craig Mod, “The book of the past reveals its individual experience uniquely. The book of the future reveals our collective experience uniquely.” What tools will we embed within digital texts to signal this shifting relationship with literature, and how will readers use them?

I’m the token white guy on those Writing Others panels. This comes as no surprise—it was partly my idea—but that doesn’t make me any less nervous. I have only the shallowest command of the theory, have not read nearly as widely as I should (though struggling to correct that as we speak) and have participated not at all in the great debate. Believe me, I will be showing up prepared, with copious notes and humility. Not that it will do any good. You know what might do some good? A friendly face or two in the crowd. So please come. Because it’s an important topic, getting more important pretty much in real time. Because it’s something we all need to know. And because I have put myself in the unenviable position of really, really needing it in order to keep writing what I want to write.

Nerves aside, I’m sure it’s going to be a great weekend with people I love dearly and don’t get to see enough.

Come to my reading too!

I Bail on GoodReads

GoodReads is a social reading site I had come to be quite a fan of and used extensively to track what I read and wanted to read. The other day they were bought out by Amazon, a bookstore-devouring, everything-selling, future-eating juggernaut I do my level best to avoid interacting with whenever possible. I hemmed and hawed a bit, asked some people I trusted if I might be overreacting, but came to the conclusion, based on who I am and where my money comes from, that I should sever ties.

To that end, as soon as this post here gets syndicated over there (yes, I told GoodReads it could follow my blog, an indication of just how much fun I was having tracking my books in public where some mindless corporate algorithm could track everything I read and rub its hands together maniacally thinking about how much money it would make advertising to me based on that information), I’m deleting my account. I’m removing GoodReads from the sidebar of this blog. I have already removed it from Weightless Books.

And now we at Weightless and some others are thinking about how we might go aboutcreating something GoodReads-like that isn’t owned by our corporate overlords. If you’re interested, please join us.

Stuff (Fiction) I Have Coming Out in 2013 (in Theory)

To remind myself when I forget. Also, once in awhile one must break down and do a little self-promo. Alphabetical by title.

  • “Construction-Paper Moon”, a father-daughter SF story, in Space & Time #118, reprinted from The Homeless Moon 1.
  • “Deer Feet”, a YA urban fantasy story set in my old neighborhood in Jamaica Plain, Boston, in Urban Green Man.
  • “Other Palimpsests”, a Borgesian horror story, in Bibliotheca Fantastica.
  • “Remorse and the Pariah”, a mini-epic poem about the cyclops from Homer, in Abyss & Apex.
  • “The Unicyclist’s Fate”, an electropunk love story set in the ’30s, in Airships and Automatons, reprinted from The Homeless Moon 3.
  • “The Urchin’s Dark Kite”, a fairytale, in White Cat, reprinted from the now-defunct A Fly in Amber.

I think that’s everything so far. Three new stories, three reprints.

I need to write more.

Immortal ConFusion

has nothing to do with either navel-gazing vampires or an opiated Duncan MacLeod. Not much, anyway. It’s the name of a Detroit-area speculative fiction convention I’ll be at this weekend along with suspects such as Saladin Ahmed, Justin Howe, Scott H. Andrews et al. Maybe we’ll see you there.

My schedule is as follows:

Saturday 11:00 AM Reading: Michael J. Deluca & Scott H. Andrews Windsor
Join Michael J. Deluca & Scott H. Andrews as they read from forthcoming work. Michael J. DeLuca, Scott H. Andrews

Saturday 2:00 PM So Your Protagonist Is An Orphan… Southfield
Batman. Luke Skywalker. Cinderella. Frodo Baggins. Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. Harry Potter. James Bond. Superman. One of the few things that heroic characters have in common is that they often have dead parents. While this does sever their ties to past and family, and while this often kick-starts the hero’s journey…can we lay off for a while? What is it about the orphan angle that we can’t seem to leave alone, and what kind of alternatives could provide an equally compelling Batman? Carrie Harris (M), Diana Rowland, Doug Hulick, Mary G. Thompson, Michael J. DeLuca

Sunday 10:00 AM Religion In SF/F Erie
Is there a place for religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction beyond a tool for the villainous? How do we produce fantastical faiths, or imagine a future society that does not lampoon people who believe? Aspects of religious demagoguery are often the go-to model in speculative fiction, for good reason, but what else should authors be looking for from theology? Alastair Reynolds, Brian McClellan, Howard Andrew Jones, Michael J. DeLuca (M), Saladin Ahmed

Sunday 11:00 AM What The Heck Is Literary Fiction? Erie
Literary fiction has cachet. Publishers love it – but what exactly do they mean? When “Literary” works can include post-apocalyptic scenarios, science-bending technology, generation-spanning storylines that run from sword swinging to future technologies, how does one define “Literary”? Should we, as authors or audience, even try,? Is this definition a cover for “serious” writers dipping their toes into our favorite subjects? Kat Howard, Michael J. DeLuca, Myke Cole, Ron Collins (M)

Hoo I signed up for too many of these. If nobody strenuously objects, I shall likely not post panel notes this time. They’re not that interesting, and anyway I’d rather be posting more Guatemala pictures instead.

If you come to just one thing, make it the reading. Saturday at 11 AM. Scott and I will make an effort to have something cool and homemade for (some of) you to taste. First come, first served.

World Fantasy 2012

I’ll be at World Fantasy in Toronto this weekend. I’m on a panel Friday at 3 PM about the trope of the mysterious/eldritch tome in fantasy and horror, “Bibliofantasies” (with other clever people from the Bibliotheca Fantastica anthology), for which I have been idly developing a vague theory about Borges, Orbis Tertius and the Necronomicon. I’ll post the notes here later. Aside from that…well, you probably know where to find me (hint: it’s where they pour the beer).