Here’s my schedule for Readercon.
“Subversion Through Friendliness”
Friday July 13, 11:00 AM G
Glenn Grant, Victoria Janssen (leader), Toni L.P. Kelner, Alison Sinclair, Ruth Sternglantz.
In a 2011 review of Vonda N. McIntyre’s classic Dreamsnake, Ursula K. Le Guin quotes Moe Bowstern’s slogan “Subversion Through Friendliness” and adds, “Subversion through terror, shock, pain is easy—instant gratification, as it were. Subversion through friendliness is paradoxical, slow-acting, and durable. And sneaky.” Is subversion through friendliness a viable strategy for writers who desire to challenge norms? What are its defining characteristics? When do readers love it, and when does it backfire?
Friday July 13, 1:00 PM, CL
Victoria Janssen, Paula Guran.
“Sherlock Holmes, Now and Forever”
Friday July 13, 4:00 PM, Room G
Ellen Asher, Michael Dirda (leader), Victoria Janssen, Fred Lerner, Veronica Schanoes
Sherlock Holmes is everywhere right now: in TV series like House, BBC’s Sherlock, and the upcoming Elementary; in the Robert Downey Jr. movies; and in books and stories being written about Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. What accounts for the endless appeal of this character? Are we ever going to get tired of brilliant and slightly mad detectives? Or is it all really about Watson, as suggested by our collective urge to keep telling and retelling Holmes’s stories?
“Guess Who’s Coming to Fairyland”
Friday July 13, 7:00 PM, Room F
Gwendolyn Clare, C.S.E. Cooney (leader), Victoria Janssen, Kate Nepveu, Joan Slonczewski
Many fantasy and SF novels struggle with an issue that, at first glance, looks downright old-fashioned: interracial marriage. The races are non-human, and some of their problems are unique; for example, in Cheryl Brooks’s Cat Star Chronicles, the near-extinct Zetithians must breed with other species or die out. Others face very familiar concerns such as being rejected by their families or peers. Their risk-taking is often rewarded with the birth of children who display enhanced or unusual abilities–though those children have their own concerns about not fitting in. How do these themes reflect and interact with real-world tensions around race, marriage, and culture?