Readercon Reflections

Talks I attended:

  • The Best: Dealing with Discouragement. This panel was exactly what I needed out of Readercon. If I had gone to no other events, only this one, I would have felt I got my money’s worth. The panelists discussed their own rejections and how they cope with discouragement, and implored audience members to not give up. (To paraphrase) To succeed in writing you don’t just need to be a good writer, you need to cope with the frequent rejection and not take it personally. Even if you give up on one story for a time, don’t stop writing. That one story is not your career.
  • The Most Disappointing: Modern Gods. A look at corporations and governments actings as modern religious institutions in fiction, as well as how in fantasy gods sometimes take on more modern roles. This talk had so much potential and the moderator was incredibly excited about the subject, so whenever she brought the discussion back on track it seemed like it could become good so I continued to hang around until the end. The biggest issue was that two of the panelists weren’t really fiction writers, they had signed up for the panel because they work(ed) for Fortune 500 companies. They felt they could provide insights into that world and did so liberally, frequently steering the discussion off course. A few of the insights were interesting, but seeing as this was supposed to be a talk about fiction at a convention dedicated to fiction… The talk finally got interesting in the audience Q&A as everyone in the audience seemed to have a better grasp of what the topic was than the panelists did.

Other panels and brief synopses:

  • Strange Horizons reading – Panelists who have had poetry published in Strange Horizons read some of their works
  • Successfully Writing About Horrible Things – Less is more unless it’s a horror novel
  • The Animate Universe – The universe acts with agency. The most unique angle of this was looking at evolution as deliberate action by the universe. The most obnoxious was a pair of white American writers monopolizing the conversation with a discussion of Shinto while the people on the panel actually from cultures with “animate universe” beliefs couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
  • Beautiful and Terrible as the Morn – Celebrating older women writers (the panelists had their own opinions on what qualifies as “older”). My favorite moment was when one panelist read off a list of sf/f women writers over 80 who are still writing.

Best bookroom find:

First editions of a few David and Leigh Eddings books from the Belgariad world! I’m not a fan of the Eddings’s other books, but I love the series and stand-alones set in this world.

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