Possibly of interest: Torque Control has started a virtual panel on blog reviews of fantasy & science fiction, having taken issue with the reported content of Readercon's panel on the same topic.

(Nb. comments apparently require human intervention to be released to public view, but get there eventually.)

[ Readercon link roundup ]

I found this one stimulating, especially for a Sunday morning. And now I'm done (granted, by doing even more minimal editing on my typewritten notes than usual, but still.).


See it Like Saruman: Reconciling Fantasy and Progress.
Judith Berman, John Crowley, Ken Houghton (L), James Morrow, Michael Swanwick.
History is written by the winners. That explains why Tolkien never mentions that the destruction of Fangorn Forest and other efforts towards industrialization by Saruman significantly raised the standard of living for the wild men of Dunland, in fact creating (for the first time in Middle Earth) a comfortable middle class. While there is a natural opposition between the romantic and pastoral ideal embodied in traditional fantasy and the Enlightenment ideal of progress (especially in its modern industrial and technological modes), we don't believe they are completely incompatible. What works of fantasy have attempted to accommodate both? What interesting new direction might the heroic fantasy novel be taken if the true positive effects of modernization were acknowledged? Readercon hopes to put the audio recording of this panel online at some point after the convention.

panel notes )

[ Readercon link roundup ]

Immediately after the "Inner Landscape" panel, so it had the same sound problems, though less so—I think the panelists were better about their mikes, or I was more used to it.

The Case for Archetypal Evil in Fantasy.
Ellen Asher, S. C. Butler, Jeanne Cavelos, James Morrow (L), Joshua Palmatier.
The pervasive trend in modern fantasy is to give the bad guys moral complexity and psychological depth-good reasons to be bad. This approach stands in stark contrast to the legions of past Dark Lords who were utterly evil because, well, they were utterly evil. Tolkien, however, wrote pages of philosophy on the nature of Melkor / Morgoth (published in Morgoth's Ring), suggesting that our rejection of the old model was a reaction only to badly done Dark Lords. Is there an argument for making things at least somewhat black and white (how much psychological depth does a human sociopath have, anyway)?

panel notes )

[ Readercon link roundup ]

I'd say this was disappointing, but I didn't really understand the panel description in the first place, so I can't complain that it wasn't what I expected.

Also, the mikes and/or speakers in this room really did not work well, so I frequently had to struggle just to recognize the words coming out of people's mouths.


Fantasy as Inner Landscape.
John Crowley, Greer Gilman, Kelly Link, Kathryn Morrow (L), Paul Park, Michael Swanwick.
It's easy to criticize fantasy for its apparent acceptance of outmoded social structures, and in fact we've done so in past panels such as "Efland Über Alles" and "The Return of the Prime Minister." But are the social structures of fantasy actually a metaphor for inner experience? The king, the knights, the aristocracy, and the noble peasants who aspire to one or more of the above—do these appeal to writers and readers not because of any fondness for their reality, but because they provide a map of human experience and growth? Readercon hopes to put the audio recording of this panel online at some point after the convention.

panel notes )

[ Readercon link roundup ]

This was a good one. Description:

Other Points of View.
David Louis Edelman, Laurie J. Marks (L), Maureen McHugh, Wen Spencer, Peter Watts.
In several places, Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club adopts a first-person plural viewpoint: "we" are thinking about the conversation described, and the reader gets to think about who, exactly, "we" may be—not everyone in the room! While third person and first person singular are the standard viewpoints in fiction, here we talk about the alternatives, and when we (you?) can best employ them.

panel notes )

[ Readercon link roundup ]

Previously-scheduled doctor's appointment this afternoon, after which I just came home because I feel lousy. So have a panel report, and an updated roundup.


The Readercon Book Club.
Judith Berman, Ron Drummond (L), Elizabeth Hand, Graham Sleight, Konrad Walewski.
In celebration of its 25th anniversary edition, an in-depth discussion of John Crowley's Little, Big.

I hadn't planned to take notes on this, but I was very sleepy and thought it would be a good way to keep myself awake. Disclaimer: I haven't read Little, Big for a long time, so my notes may be misguided in places.

panel notes )

Panel writeups will come later. Also, I've created a link roundup over at [livejournal.com profile] readercon; comment here or there with links to be added.

Readercon, cut for length )

Possible Readercon panels (this weekend!), behind the cut.

Readercon possibilities )

Given that I have to read,

by July 20:

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,

and by July 27,

  • Rainbows End,
  • Eifelheim,
  • Blindsight,
  • The Mirador (ARC, woo!),
  • Five novellettes,
  • Four novellas,
  • and a partridge in a pear tree (that is, Red Seas Under Red Skies, on the very unlikely chance that the nice people at Bantam didn't just delete my e-mail request for an ARC),

It would be foolish to try and re-read Little, Big by next weekend, so I could participate in Readercon's book club, right? (Right?)

Actually, does anyone know when the book club is? With luck, it'll be Friday morning and I wouldn't be there for it regardless.

(Yes, the Hugo & Campbell voting deadline is July 31, but we're going to be Internet-less then.)

May 2017

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