The Vampires of New England Series--Inanna Arthen



Rewriting The Rules


July 7, 2017

My Schedule for Readercon 28

I’m going back to Readercon, after a long hiatus–during which they changed their venue and are now down in Quincy!

Thursday, July 13
8:30 p.m. (Salon B) Author Reading. I got a reading time! I’m still deciding what to read, but it will be something new, probably a short story.

Friday, July 14
11:00 a.m. (Salon 6/7/8) Writing Characters with Flawed Beliefs. Throughout history, many people held unquestioned beliefs we now consider ridiculous or even offensive. What should we do with historical characters who believe things that are now taboo or simply wrong, and how do we handle a protagonist who holds beliefs modern readers may find unbelievable or offensive? In addition, how do we integrate our own assumptions and beliefs into fiction while knowing that readers decades or centuries from now will find them flawed or risible? with Michael Dirda, Tom Greene, Jim Kelly, and Tracy Townsend (leader).

10:30 p.m. Meet the Pros(e) Party. Where all the writers mingle with sheets of stickers printed with a quote from their work, and everybody collects the stickers. I decided nothing could beat the opening sentence of “The Fishman and His Wife” (just released in the anthology  Twice Upon an Apocalypse!), and hopefully it will fit on the stickers. To see what it is, you’ll have to come to the party or buy the book. :-)

Saturday, July 15
1:00 p.m.  (Salon C) A Technology Not Traveled. Alternate history and historical fantasy often engage with technologies that once seemed like the way of the future: airships, clockwork, mechanical computing. There’s a certain dreamy wonder around many modern depictions of early industrial inventions. Why are we fascinated with what became technological dead ends? There are many magical fantasies where wizards can’t use computers; is this a different expression of the same anxieties about modern gadgets? Is there really a possible timeline where clockwork became ascendant while electronics never took off, or is it all just an excuse for some gorgeous cosplay? with John Chu, Chris Gerwel, Jeff Hecht, Sioban Krzywicki (leader).

3:00 p.m. (Salon 5) It’s Shirley Been 100 Years. December 2016 was the 100th anniversary of Shirley Jackson’s birth. She’s best known for her story “The Lottery” (1948) and her novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle are almost as widely known. What is Jackson’s legacy in modern horror and fantastical fiction? Which authors, particularly those who share her focus on domesticity, most clearly show her influence? with Elizabeth Hand (leader), Jack Haringa, Faye Ringel, Paul Tremblay. 

Of these, I’m the most pleased to be on the Shirley Jackson panel. I’ve been a Shirley Jackson fan since I was in junior high school. Believe it or not, it was a while before I read the story that made her notorious, “The Lottery,” and I didn’t think it was that interesting. The first work of Shirley Jackson’s I read was her novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle, followed by The Haunting of Hill House. But if I had to name one single piece of Ms. Jackson’s writing as my favorite, it wouldn’t be fiction at all, but the essay she wrote for her daughter, “Notes for a Young Writer,” which contains the best writing advice ever. Shirley Jackson is one of two writers I like to credit with “teaching me how to write.” (The other one is Peter Straub, who attends every Readercon. I’ve never spoken to him. I’m too intimidated by him. :-( )

I’ll be commuting to the convention and won’t be there on Sunday. I procrastinated on getting a room in the con hotel before the block filled up, but there are alternatives. I decided even a budget hotel was more of an extravagance than I could justify at the moment (and Readercon isn’t a party convention). But I hope I can see lots of friends while I’m there!

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