I really should do a better job keeping up with this blog — and also telling people where I’m going to be. In an effort to be a better person, here’s my schedule for Readercon, one of my favorite conventions, starting in just a few days. Next up, my schedule for Confluence and Worldcon!
Friday, July 11 2:00 PM When the Magic Returns. John Chu, Max Gladstone, Daryl Gregory, Lev Grossman, Victoria Janssen (leader). The “return” of magic into a mundane world is one of very few ways in which we see fantasy set in the future. Why is this? What makes fantasy and futurity so incompatible? Why is the return of magic so often associated with apocalypse, while its banishment is usually the consequence of scientific or industrial progress? From Aarne-Thompson tale types like Richard Corbet’s “The Fairies’ Farewell” to Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, panelists will talk about the ways in which magic-as- technology can be explored.
Saturday, July 12 1:00 PM Integrating Exposition. Jeanne Cavelos, Glenn Grant, Daryl Gregory, Mary Rickert, Sarah Smith (leader), Melanie Tem. In a 2013 interview with Paul Holdengräber at the NYPL, William Gibson noted that the description of cyberspace in Neuromancer came not from a character’s dialogue or a block of narrative text, but from a television show for children that Case and Molly encountered while channel-surfing. Gibson described this device as a way of both sneaking exposition into the text and selling it to the reader. As the announcer extols the wonders of cyberspace to the show’s viewers, the reader is encouraged to buy in just as those viewers would, with the credulity of a child. It also helps to set the scene; Gibson said he hears it in the tone of post-WWII PSAs about the wonders of atomic everything, a retrofuturistic touch that contrasts cleverly with Neuromancer’s gritty atmosphere. What are other ways of making exposition work for the narrative rather than interrupting it?
Saturday, July 12 2:30 PM Reading. Daryl Gregory reads an excerpt from a novella coming out from Tachyon in August, “We Are All Completely Fine.”