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Readercon 2010 Report

Well, I’m back in the The Girl’s apartment and her cats have deigned to let a lowly creature like me return to their kingdom. I just woke up from a nap and found both of them staring at me as if they were calculating how many calories my body might contain.

Anyway, this was my first Readercon, and it was a wonderful experience. As the name suggests, the culture of the con focused on literature. The programming (panel discussions, readings, etc) were very well planned and attended. The was a ‘book room’ rather than a ‘dealer’s room,’ and the all-star participant list (which I don’t really know how I got on to) was fantastic, headlining for us were Nalo Hopkinson (who’s book The New Moon’s Arms, I loved) and the celebrated Charles Stross. The hotel was wonderful with a wide and comfortable lobby. The Con’s only weakness was the bar, which closed at 12:30. And, sadly, there were few room parties to spill out into. Though…we did come up with an impromptu solution…there’s photographic evidence in fact..but let’s do the name-dropping, link-out report on the way to get there.

  • Showed up Friday and made straight for the pool with roommate and Fantasy author David Forbes. There we met up with a few of the lovely ladies from Tor.com, my old drinking buddy Paolo Bacigalupi, and the guest of honor Charlie Stross. We were splashing around and talking speculative fiction when Charlie realized that he was 10 minutes late for a panel…that was about him.
  • Had dinner with the blogosphere’s rising star Andrew Liptak, Art Generalissima Irene Gallo, Tor.com Grand Puba Megan Messinger, and the lovely and talented Nina Lourie, who has some lovely locks of hair that everyone insisted I put on.
  • The event that night was the “Meet the Prose” party in which the authors submitted the first line of their next novel to the programming folks, who printed the lines up on labels. There was general milling around in, the authors sticking their prose on anyone who they could get to talk to them. Mostly I tried to stick mine on the head of my one time editor and good friend John Joseph Adams and Realms of Fantasy Chieftain Douglas Cohen.
    • And, yes, I did let fly the first sentence of SPELLBOUND. Here it is “Francesca did not realize she had used an indefinite pronoun until it killed her patient.
  • On Saturday, I woke up at the crack of noon.
  • We were joined by the Bard of SFF, John Anealio. Andrew and I are currently campaigning for a lyrical version of Paolo’s Wind Up Girl (Death Metal perhaps?).
  • After making sure there was enough blood in my caffeine system, I sat on a panel entitled “The Body and Physicality in Spec Fic.” On it were an array of co-speakers: the amazing Elizabeth Bear captained the event and along with Anin Menon and Kestrell Verlager lent short story SF writerly wisdom. Athena Andreadis (who, btw, medical types, was the first researcher who sequenced the FRAKKEN TAU PROTEIN; yes, as in all the tauopathies) provided razor sharp witty remarks and the perspective a bench scientist. I chimed in once or twice from a medical perspective.
  • Afterward I had a lovely autographing session and got to give a signed copy of Spellwright to my dyslexic SFF author hero Samuel Delany.
  • I somehow sweet talked my way into a locus dinner with the Master and Commander of the magazine, Liza Trombi. Along for the ride were the newly debuted Amelia Beamer (The Loving Dead), yon drinking buddy Paolo, and the world’s most captivating performance reader Mary Robinette Kowal.
  • The parties that night limped along until sometime after 2PM. Isn’t that always the way? That’s when things got interesting. Into our room party, the remains of the con suite cake were brought. Probably Eugene Myers deserves the credit (or blame) for what happened next. He began gesticulating with the frosting, which was a deep aqua marine blue. Nina and Megan look from the frosting to my head and…well…they decided to stage an impromptu lampoon of the fact that M. Night Shyamalan whitewashed the Asian characters in “Avatar: the Last Airbender” by making me just as silly as Shyamalan’s creation: The Last Cakebender. He was found frozen in the ice…cream.
  • So, falling asleep at 4:30AM was not rad. Nor was getting up the next morning. But my Kaffeeklatch with the king of snark Steve Berman made up for the fact.
  • Thereafter I caught the uber cool N.K. Jemisin at her autograph session and got her to sign my copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
  • Ended official con business with a reading, which despite being late on a Sunday drew in a few folks. We had a lovely discussion afterwards.

All in all I give Readercon an enthusiastic endorsement for anyone passionate about speculative fiction. It’s a serious convention but one that still can throw a glass back and have a great time. See you there next year?


19 Responses to “Readercon 2010 Report”

  • Sounds fanschmastic. Regarding The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, does that come highly recommended? I’ve been eying it coyly from a distance wondering if I should invite it to join my evergrowingnevershrinking to-read list.

  • Tyson: Yes, you should read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms! I’m reading it for a second time now – it’s one of those that really almost needs two readings to fully absorb, and is at least as enjoyable the second time.

    Blake: Loved chatting with you, and looking forward to having a signed Spellbound on the shelf next to my signed Spellwright. If you ever have time to read “Throwing Stones” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies I hope you don’t hate it, because if you do I will become very emo for at least a half hour.

    (P.S. I was the blonde chick from Clarion, with the baby.)

    • hi mishell! wonderful wonderful to meet you in person 😉 i’m planning on savoring 100,00 kingdoms for sure. i’m looking forward to checking out ‘Throwing Stones!’

  • Blake, it was a pleasure to meet you in person, finally! I had an excellent time at ReaderCon, and hope to cross paths again!

  • SO. JEALOUS. *sniff*

    Next year, for sure. 🙂 I haven’t been to a con since ’09, and I’m feeling the lack, particularly for cons of the readerly variety. WANT.

    Glad you had a good time 😀

  • Steve Berman

    9:47 am Jul-12-2010


    Was truly wonderful to snare a bout of Klatch with you. I will have to bring my scepter next time.

  • Douglas Cohen

    11:26 am Jul-12-2010


    I’ve never been called a chieftain before …love it! 🙂 Great seeing you @ Readercon, Blake!

  • It was great getting to meet you at Readercon! I have never had the chance to chat with an author about a book I enjoyed. (Robert Jordan was grumpy and wouldn’t even look up when I attempted to speak to him at a signing.) It was nice talking to you. 🙂

  • Hi Blake,

    You didn’t mention John Crowley (nor he you) so is it possible you haven’t read Little Big?
    I picked up NK’s “Kingdooms” and enjoyed it a lot.


    • Hey Dough, welcome to the party. No, I haven’t read Little Big. Though it’s been recommended to me three times now (you being the third). I’ll have to check and see if there’s an audiobook of it. Between med school and my disability i do best listening to books. I can only really manage a dead-tree edition with some confined time. I’m planning on knocking off 10^5 Kingdoms on my flight back to CA. Pretty happy about that Nora gave a brilliant talk.

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