I’ll be at Readercon this weekend in Quincy, Massachusetts. Hope to see some of you there! Here’s my schedule.

Friday July 08, 2016
3:00 PM, C
Fantastical Dystopia.
Victoria Janssen, Ada Palmer, Andrea Phillips, Sabrina Vourvoulias, T.X. Watson.
Dystopia is popular in YA fiction for a variety of reasons, but why do authors frequently base their future dystopian society on some flimsy ideas, rather than using history to draw parallels between past atrocities and current human rights violations? Is it easier to work from one extreme idea, such as “love is now considered a disease” rather than looking at the complexities of, for example, the corruption of the U.S.S.R or the imperialism of the US? If science fiction uses the future to look at the present, is it more or less effective when using real examples from the past to look at our present through a lens of the future?

Friday July 08, 2016
4:00 PM, BH
Integrating the Id: What Fanfic can Tell Us About Writing Sex, Sexuality, and Intimacy.
Samuel Delany, Victoria Janssen, Natalie Luhrs, Kate Nepveu (leader), Kenneth Schneyer, Ann Tonsor Zeddies.
Sex scenes can be difficult to do well, but when they succeed, they can be highly efficient ways to reveal aspects of character. What are some pitfalls of writing sex scenes, and can fanfic teach us how to do it well? Does a sex scene need to be explicit, and does it even need to have “sex” at all, or is the key the intensity and intimacy that we associate with sex?

Friday July 08, 2016
7:00 PM, 5
Single Wise Advisor Seeks Same.
Victoria Janssen, Shariann Lewitt, Robert V. S. Redick, Lauren Roy.
Epic fantasy abounds with wise advice-givers who help steer heroes in the right direction. These figures are often depicted as elderly, unmarried or widowed, and childless. (Exemplars are Gandalf, Dallben, and Granny Weatherwax. The rare exceptions include Belgarath, Nanny Ogg, and Miracle Max.) Why do we find it so difficult to imagine these grandparental figures having emotional lives of their own? How might the shape of epic stories shift if advisors have more to do with their time than sitting around advising?

Saturday, July 09, 2016
3:00 PM, 6
Ladybromances.
C.S.E. Cooney, Gwynne Garfinkle, Theodora Goss (leader), Victoria Janssen, Navah Wolfe.
Our friendships are hugely important relationships in our lives, but fiction focuses primarily on romance. Friendships between women receive especially short shrift. We tend to have many more friendships than romantic partners and they can be just as strong and passionate as romances, so why does romance take precedence? What fiction has displayed strong friendships or romances between women? What kinds of stories would we like to see about this kind of relationship?