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Readercon 26 Book Clubs!

Readercon Book Club

We are the con that assigns homework! We hope you’ll join in the funby reading some or all of these wonderful selections and share your thoughts in the discussion events for them at Readercon 26.

Recent Fiction: Persona, by Genevieve Valentine

In a world where diplomacy has become celebrity, a young ambassador survives an assassination attempt and must join with an undercover paparazzo in a race to save her life, spin the story, and secure the future of her young country in this near-future political thriller. Restraint is a mode of composition with Valentine, both in the beautifully understated sparsity of her prose and in her protagonists' taut, tense stillness. In Persona especially, where the degree to which one has or has not smiled reveals or conceals a wealth of information, restraint is crucial to a Face's survival. Persona brings up questions of identity and celebrity, managing to be a tense, carefully wrought thriller while still nodding and winking at the camera. You'll never look at a red carpet the same way again.

Classic Fiction: Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A prominent turn-of-the-century social critic and lecturer, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is perhaps best known for her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," a chilling study of a woman's descent into insanity, and Women and Economics, a classic of feminist theory that analyzes the destructive effects of women's economic reliance on men.

In Herland, a vision of a feminist utopia, Gilman employs humor to engaging effect in a story about three male explorers who stumble upon an all-female society isolated somewhere in South America. Noting the advanced state of the civilization they've encountered, the visitors set out to find some males, assuming that since the country is so civilized, "there must be men." A delightful fantasy, the story enables Gilman to articulate her then-unconventional views of male-female roles and capabilities, motherhood, individuality, privacy, the sense of community, sexuality, and many other topics.

Decades ahead of her time in evolving a humanistic, feminist perspective, Gilman has been rediscovered and warmly embraced by contemporary feminists. An articulate voice for both women and men oppressed by the social order of the day, she adeptly made her points with a wittiness often missing from polemical writings.

In Memorium YA Fiction: Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett

The second book in the Tiffany Aching series sees Pratchett's young heroine ready to begin her magical apprenticeship, which goes nothing like she expects and leads to trouble, especially with other young witches-in-training. What she doesn't know is something insidious is coming after her, and none of the other witches can help. We wanted to do something to mark the passing of genre giant Pratchett, and while any of his books would be worth talking about, the Tiffany Aching series is some of his most thoughtful work. The adventures of a young girl learning what it means to be a witch, demystifying some aspects and finding deeper mysteries of life and magic in others, all while learning to be clever, kind, and brave, speak deeply to us. We hope you'll consider sharing this book with your children and bringing them to the discussion as well.

Recent Non-Fiction: Dataclysm: Who we are (When we think no one's looking), by Christian Rudder
Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses it to show us who we truly are. For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers. Rudder grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible.

Coming soon: How I Wrote Talks!



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Happy Monday Readercon friends! Earlier I was here talking about a fundraiser for sound equipment, and today is the day that the fundraiser begins! Please take a look at our Indigogo page for all of the super cool stuff people have given us to entice you! We actually have so much we couldn't even fit it all on the page at once, so the overflow prizes are listed here.

What's that, you want a sampling of what we're offering you? Ok check this out: Allen Steele gave us a gorgeous map of his Coyote world. There are only three of these in existence, and he signed this one and gave it to us to give to you. Wow. Another incredible one-of-a-kind thing? Barry Longyear gave us a giant monster. I'm not kidding. He calls it his first-born son. You should probably just go look, I'm not going to be able to do this thing justice. It's science fiction history though, and it's wild.

There's original art, signed books, critique sessions from editors and even one from John Clute. Yeah, THAT John Clute, it's going to be awesome. We have t-shirts, mugs, hats, I'm even offering some hand-knit robot mittens, and some fingerless mitts that will be perfect for Salon F on Saturday during Readercon!

So yeah, we have awesome cool prizes from our awesome cool community and everyone should GO LOOK at it all and SHARE THE LINK EVERYWHERE thank you thank you thank you.

And finally, I promise not to post about this here so often it becomes tedious, but there will be a few more posts as the campaign continues. Definitely no more than one a day. Thank you.

Help Readercon Sound Better! (Part One)

Hello Readercon friends! We're looking to buy new sound equipment for Readercon this year and we'd love your help. We'll be running an Indigogo campaign in a few weeks and we're looking for donations of prizes. We're getting some really intensely cool stuff from the guests that come to Readercon, and wanted to extend this to our whole community. If you have books, ARCs, neat things that you think would be of interest to someone else in the Readercon community and want to donate it to us for the campaign, we'd love the help. If you have something to donate please email and tell us:
1. What it is
2. A description of the item, or pictures
3. Quantity if more than one and
4. Approximate value.

If you don't want to give us something for the campaign but want to help, get ready to send us money and signal boost this thing once it goes live. We'll post here, twitter, and Facebook and every retweet and share gets us closer to our goal. When the campaign is live we'll also explain what we're going to be doing with the new sound equipment, but one hint I'll drop now is: clip on mics. "What?" I hear you asking. "Why?" Well if you've ever been towards the back of Salon F while a panelist up front speaks everywhere *except* their mic, you'll understand why. It's going to be awesome, and the Readercon community of authors and editors is already showing us some super cool stuff that you're going to get excited about.

Thanks for reading!

Regarding a complaint

We are aware of a Readercon-related harassment complaint posted to Facebook, and have reached out to the complainant in hopes of learning more about her concerns. We have already asked the person mentioned in the complaint to refrain from contacting the complainant, including through intermediaries.

Room poems

Dear Readercongoers: in honor of the Marriott's absurdly renamed rooms, and inspired by sairaali, I give you the small gift of some small poems.

as the lights come on
and the tide ebbs
two rivers
caress Manhattan

Sewing is so old-fashioned.
I have woven this corpse
from strands of protein
and fragments of genes,
carefully following the pattern
from Frankenstein magazine.
Throw the switch!

they said she would never walk again
but it turns out
being a butterfly is pretty great

The worst thing about
these nightmares
is my nagging certainty
that they belong to someone else.
Whose warnings am I getting?
What fears could they conquer
if they only knew
they were afraid?

I'm sorry. Antibiotics do nothing
for bronchitis. The only cure is rest.
Take a long hot lava bath.
Curl up on your hoard
and read a novel. Let your body heal.
And no flying! The cold thin air
will do your lungs no favors.
I know it's hard, but rest. Rest.
In no time at all, you'll be back
to your old self.

no, small child, you cannot fit
the spoon up your nose
no matter how hard you try
but I admire you
for dreaming big

her turret has an excellent view
of the training grounds
the ladies titter as she perches on the sill
and watches the squires spar for hours
she dreams of muscles and sweat
the whack of stick against padding
the cheers and laughter of comrades
a brotherly arm flung around her shoulders
as they stagger their bruises
off to the baths

This parking lot is full of cars.
People drove the cars. Reverse that:
every car means a person. Maybe two or three.
You came by air and rail and road
because we said, "There will be a party
and we hope you can be there." Reverse that:
until you arrived there was no party,
only the hope of one.

He cooked you comfort food.
I took you shopping for baby clothes.
We squeezed your hands
as the doctor said, "Ready?"
Yes. Yes, we are ready. We are.


Roommate Sat. night?

My friend Liz is looking for a room to share on Saturday night.  She's quiet, non-smoker.  Probably one other person only.

bake sale Saturday!

Hotel renovations are done so there'll be one this year, Saturday morning as usual (place and exact start time to be determined). Come by, bring something if you can, eat delicious food, and support the Tiptree Award and Con or Bust!


Announcing the Readercon 25 Book Clubs!

You've been waiting patiently, and here they are!

Recent Fiction: Ancillary Justice.
Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice is a fantastic space opera with a thriller pace and sensibility. Critics are hailing Leckie's worldbuilding in the story of Breq, the remaining ancillary consciousness of a formerly great war ship. We'll explore Leckie's themes of humanity and justice, as well as the way the book's use of nearly exclusively female pronouns shakes up or affirms our notions of a gender binary.

Classic Fiction: Memoirs of a Space Woman
Published in 1962, Naomi Mitchison's classic exploration of what a life lived nearly entirely in space has deep humanist themes, and narrator Mary tells the story of her life as a space explorer. Mary's specialty in alien communication leads to a life and profession of embracing the Other, literally realized in her accidental pregnancy via a Martian. We'll discuss criticisms of the book's heteronormativity and biological determinism as well as the themes of Mary's immersion in alien cultures.

I missed getting this posted on April 1st so this is not a joke! A book club selection for kids, teens, and adults to join!
Classic Children's Fiction: Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang
Written by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame and published in 1964, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang has been beloved by children and adults, and continues to delight new generations partly thanks to the musical movie version starring Dick Van Dyke, with a screenplay co-written by Roald Dahl. This year is the 50th anniversary of Chitty's initial publication, so let's talk about Fleming's obsession with cars and gadgetry and thrilling cliffhangers, and ask the children and teens among us to discuss if they agree with a critic from the year of publication who said "we have the adult writer at play rather than the children's writer at work. The style is avuncular, the writing down too evident."

In addition I'm thrilled to announce that this year's "How I Wrote" talk will be given by Felix Gilman on The Revolutions, and a "How We Edited" talk by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older on Long Hidden: Speculative fiction from the margins of history.

We are, as always, "the con that assigns homework". Please join us in reading all these works and discussing them at Readercon.

See you in July!

Mobile app is ready!

Good news! Our mobile app is ready to go, and you can get it here: It's different this year, and you won't need to download anything. Point your device's browser at it once, and after that you won't need internet access to keep it working. It's like magic! Except actually it's something fancy with HTML5 caching that I won't pretend to understand. Huge thanks to Eemili Aro for setting this up for us. There's a lot more information about how it works and how to use it on the page. Have fun!

Hotel update

The Readercon concom had our final meeting yesterday at the hotel, and would like to share some knowledge gained. The Burlington Marriott has decided to proceed with hotel renovations that will include the likely closing of the pub and the lobby during Readercon. Nothing is guaranteed, and the construction has not yet even begun, but the renovation plans have proceeded to the point where we have contingency plans.

The Summer/Winter restaurant is scheduled for extended restaurant hours, in addition to having a bar menu option until 1 am.

The lobby or hallway will include extensive concessions this year, including grilled vegetables and grilled meat options, and hopefully salad.

We have also added an additional adjoining room to the Readercon Consuite, so as to accommodate possible increased traffic, and the Green Room will possibly be relocated further down the hall from program rooms this year, but it will include more privacy.

We appreciate everyone's patience during this trying time, and will do our best!

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May 2015


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