gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I got home at midnight last night from the airport. I thoroughly enjoyed Readercon, though the air travel was more grueling than usual. (Virgin America has switched terminals at LAX, which led to gate-related delays in both directions, and when I went to get my bag last night, they had put the bags for five flights on one baggage carousel, creating a mob scene. Then the car I'd booked to take me home didn't show up for quite awhile.) At Readercon I dealt with the usual jetlag, plus some perimenopausal unpleasantness. Nevertheless, I had fun. It was great to see friends (and eat delicious Indian food with friends) and attend panels and readings. My panels ("Hidden Figures" and "Horror Fiction Is Where I Put My Fear (and Lust, and...)") went very well. During the latter panel, I loved hearing Teri Clarke, Darcie Little Badger, and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry talk about writing and reading horror. My reading was scheduled during the dinner hour and wasn't as well-attended as the previous year, but it was a lot of fun reading "Don't Look Back."

I only bought one book at the Dealers' Room: So You Want To Be a Robot by A. Merc Rustad, which I'd been looking forward to snagging, but as it does every year, Readercon greatly added to my to-read list. I attended the Shirley Jackson Awards (wearing my The Haunting of Hill House t-shirt) and cheered when The Starlit Wood won for best edited anthology. As always, there wasn't enough time to see everyone and attend everything I would've liked.

Now I am doing laundry and battling Jetlag Part 2. It is good to be home.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Here is my Readercon schedule. All my programming is on Friday, which means I will be jetlagged, but that's par for the course. Looking forward to seeing those of you who will there!

Friday July 14

11:00 AM
Recent Non-Fiction Book Club: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Teri Clarke, Gwynne Garfinkle, Victoria Janssen, Emily Wagner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the black women of Langley’s West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. Starting in World War II and moving through the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who participated in some of NASA's greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellect to change their own lives and their country's future. Join us to discuss this excellent book, the history it chronicles, and its implications for historical, present-day, and futuristic SF.

3:00 PM
Horror Fiction Is Where I Put My Fear (and Lust, and...).

Teri Clarke, Gwynne Garfinkle, J.D. Horn, Darcie Little Badger, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry.

When we peel back the monsters in horror, a wealth of social and psychological complexities lie beneath. Tananarive Due writes in her essay "The H Word: On Writing Horror," "Horror fiction is where I put my fear that harm will come to my son because his skin is brown. Horror fiction is where I put my fear of my own mortality." Kristi DeMeester, in "What Horror Taught Me About Being a Woman," discusses her delight in discovering forbidden, gory sex scenes in Anne Rice’s work. Our panelists will discuss how women, people of color, and others whose concerns get little mainstream airtime can use horror as a way to examine and explore cultural and personal anxieties and longings.

6:30 PM
Reading: Gwynne Garfinkle.

Gwynne Garfinkle.

Gwynne Garfinkle reads "Don't Look Back," a short story published in Not One of Us #57.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Readercon fast approaches! Here is my schedule.

Friday July 08

1:00 PM
Reading: Gwynne Garfinkle.

Gwynne Garfinkle reads poems inspired by classic horror films.

4:00 PM
Speculative Retellings. C.S.E. Cooney, Ben Francisco, Gwynne Garfinkle, Kathleen Howard, Catherynne M. Valente.

Speculative elements in fiction are not limited to robots and ghosts and dragons. For ages, the stories that get told have almost always been by told straight white able rich men, and there may be no way of separating those stories from the culture of writing today. In stories like Travels With the Snow Queen by Kelly Link, or Shift by Nalo Hopkinson, retelling old stories written by white men becomes an inherent challenge to those narratives, and that challenge itself becomes a speculative element. What other elements can we bring to these stories, and will we ever get to a point where challenging the status quo is not seen as speculative?

Saturday July 09

3:00 PM
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?
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I had a truly excellent Readercon, without doubt my favorite thus far, full of wonderful conversations, panels, readings, music, and more. (Also, there were cakes with the book covers of [personal profile] csecooney's and [profile] time_shark's new books!) Between jetlag and post-con exhaustion, I am too bleary to write about it at coherent length. But here are a few links.

Video of the first Joanna Russ panel I participated in (with David G. Hartwell and Barbara Krasnoff): The Works of Joanna Russ.

Video of the second Joanna panel I participated in (with Lila Garrott and David G. Hartwell): Joanna Russ: Critical Importance Then and Now.

(Happily there are tons of videos of this year's Readercon panels, because there were SO MANY I wanted to attend that I didn't.)

Here is Kate Nepveu's write-up of the panel A Visit from the Context Fairy (modded by Kate, with Kythryne Aisling, Stacey Friedberg, [personal profile] sovay, and me).

On a non-Readercon-related note, today is the US release date of The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, which includes my short story "In Lieu of a Thank You."
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a summer afternoon in Los Angeles. I'm not thrilled with the hot weather, but oh well.

Readercon is less than two weeks away, and here is my schedule!

Friday July 11

1:00 PM
The Works of Joanna Russ.
Gwynne Garfinkle, David G. Hartwell, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Scott Lynch.

Joanna Russ (1937–2011) was, arguably, the most influential writer of feminist science fiction the field has ever seen. In addition to her classic The Female Man (1975), her novels include Picnic on Paradise (1968), We Who are About to… (1977), and The Two Of Them (1978). Her short fiction is collected in The Adventures of Alyx (1976), The Zanzibar Cat (1983), (Extra)Ordinary People (1984), and The Hidden Side of the Moon (1987). She was also a distinguished critic of science fiction; her books include The Country You Have Never Seen: Essays and Reviews (2007). Of her works outside the SF field, she is perhaps best known for How to Suppress Women’s Writing (1983). Join us to discuss her works.

4:00 PM
Joanna Russ: Critical Importance Then and Now.
Gwynne Garfinkle, Lila Garrott (leader), David G. Hartwell, Barbara Krasnoff.

How has the importance of Joanna Russ's critical work changed over time, and in what ways? Younger writers and readers are still discovering How to Supress Women's Writing and finding that it resonates, but what of her other work? We'll discuss the writers she's influenced, the availability of her nonfiction, and the resonance of her work today.

7:00 PM Reading: Gwynne Garfinkle. Gwynne Garfinkle reads from an ongoing series of poems inspired by classic films, TV, and pop culture.

Sunday July 13

1:00 PM
A Visit from the Context Fairy.
Kythryne Aisling, Stacey Friedberg, Gwynne Garfinkle, Kate Nepveu, Sonya Taaffe.

In a blog post at Book View Café, Sherwood Smith writes about the opposite of visits from the "Suck Fairy": going back to a book you disliked and finding that the "Win Fairy" (to coin a term) improved it when you weren't looking. Are the Suck Fairy and the Win Fairy really two faces of a unified Context Fairy? If context is so crucial to loving or hating a work, how does acknowledging that affect the way a reader approaches reading, or a writer approaches writing? How does one's hope for or dread of the Context Fairy influence decisions to reread, rewrite, revise or otherwise revisit a written work?
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I have finished and sent off the revisions to Can't Find My Way Home (AKA the Jo book). This is the fourth draft. It's 360 pages, 101K words.


In other news, it is broiling in Los Angeles, which is normal (though annoying) for early September. Yesterday I finally watched Only Lovers Left Alive and absolutely loved it.

Here is the audio for the Life of Mary Shelley panel I participated in with Theodora Goss and James Morrow at Readercon.

Now I will eat arugula pizza and watch Planet of the Apes movies on TCM to celebrate novel draft completion.


Jul. 15th, 2014 09:00 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I had a beautiful Readercon (in spite of Ye Olde Chronic Pain making it a bit of a struggle at times). I thoroughly enjoyed the programming I was on (and was particularly pleased to be part of the Interfictions group reading), saw many terrific panels/readings/etc., and got to spend time (though not enough!) with old friends and new.

Now, predictably, I am too jetlagged to write a coherent con report, but it was a very good time.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I'll be heading for Readercon tomorrow morning. Bracing myself to get up at stupid o'clock for my flight. At least it's a direct flight! I look forward to the con and to seeing my friends there.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Wow, I'm posting two days in a row. It's Henna Day, on a mild summer LA afternoon. I've been reading Mary Shelley's The Last Man as preparation for a Readercon panel.

Yesterday I had some sad news: Brand Bookshop, one of my favorite bookstores, is closing. An old-school used bookstore located in downtown Glendale, it will be much missed. I've been going there for over twenty years and have spent many happy hours there. It's hard to imagine Los Angeles without it.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Here is my Readercon schedule. The program is chock-full of great stuff (much of it occurring simultaneously, alas!). I will be Mary Shelleying it up. I look forward to seeing those of you who will be attending!

Friday July 11

12:00 PM
The Life of Mary Shelley

Gwynne Garfinkle, Theodora Goss, Theodore Krulik (leader), James Morrow, Adrienne J. Odasso

A cartoon by Kate Beaton shows Mary Shelley mired in misery over her recent miscarriage and having to constantly fend off Lord Byron's advances. She cries "Oh God this is monstrous!" before running off, presumably to write Frankenstein. We'll take a slightly more nuanced look at the factors in Mary Shelley's life that place her in the right place at the right time to make her such an influential force in the speculative genre.

1:00 PM

Gwynne Garfinkle

Gwynne Garfinkle reads from an ongoing series of poems inspired by classic films, TV, and pop culture.

Saturday July 12

12:00 PM
Interfictions Group Reading

Gwynne Garfinkle, Theodora Goss, Anil Menon, Sofia Samatar (leader), Sonya Taaffe

Contributors to the Interfictions online magazine read from their work.

6:00 PM
The Works of Mary Shelley

F. Brett Cox (leader), Gwynne Garfinkle, Adrienne J. Odasso, Diane Weinstein

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) was the daughter of the philosopher and novelist William Godwin and the feminist and educationist Mary Wollstonecraft. She married the poet Percy Shelley in 1816, and together with him and the poet Lord Byron and the doctor John Polidori, spent much of the summer of 1816 at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva. At Byron's suggestion, one evening each of the group told ghost stories that they had written; by far the most famous of these is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus (1818). Frankenstein is often viewed as the first science fiction novel, turning the Gothic tradition into a form distinctively responsive to the modern age. It has inspired countless successors—as well, of course, as translations into other media. Mary Shelley wrote many other works, including the SF tale The Last Man (1826), several Gothic stories, biographies, and travel narratives. This panel will primarily focus on her speculative writing.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
Mythic Delirium 1.1 has gone out to subscribers, and it's a beautiful issue. It includes my poem "It's a Universal Picture," as well as work by [personal profile] sovay, [profile] sairaali, Jane Yolen, and others.

I've been reading/rereading a lot of Mary Shelley for Readercon and taking a last pass (I hope, I hope!) through the Jo book. Also watching various Hammer horror films, notably The Curse of the Werewolf and the (intentionally?) hilarious Shadow of the Cat. (Oh, and last week TCM showed a bunch of cool Hammer noir films.)
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I had a wonderful Readercon. Possibly my favorite Readercon yet, even though I had a pain flare-up towards the end. (And, of course, there was the Zimmerman verdict.)

Books I bought at Readercon (from the Small Beer table):

Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison
Errantry by Elizabeth Hand
The Black Fire Concerto by Mike Allen!
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I'm mostly packed for Readercon. My schedule is here. I have to get up before 4:30 a.m. in the morning...though that's actually luxuriously late compared to how early I had to get up to go to Madison.

Now I'm watching The Reckless Moment (1949, with James Mason and Joan Bennett) on TCM and attempting to assuage my usual pre-travel nerves.

Looking forward to seeing my friends who will be at Readercon!
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day on a broiling day in Los Angeles. Today's supposed to be the hottest day of the heat wave, and the cool henna on my head is a good way to beat the heat.

I've been rereading Tam Lin for Readercon, and last night, just as I was about to get to the part where they see a production of Hamlet, I discovered TCM was about to show the 1969 Tony Richardson film of it, which I'd never seen. It's an excellent, but rather odd, version, with Nicol Williamson as Hamlet, a too-young Anthony Hopkins as Claudius (Hopkins is a year younger than Williamson!), Gordon Jackson (Mr. Hudson from Upstairs Downstairs) as Horatio, and Marianne Faithfull (!) as Ophelia. It was fun to hear Faithfull beautifully singing Ophelia's songs. It was more than a little strange to see Ophelia making out with her brother Laertes.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I'm really looking forward to Readercon. (I'm also glad to have a light schedule--and to only have afternoon events scheduled!--what with the no-doubt Massive Jetlag.)

Friday July 12, 5:00 PM, RI
Readercon Classic Fiction Book Club: Tam Lin. Gwynne Garfinkle, Lila Garrott (leader), Caitlyn Paxson, Sonya Taaffe. Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, which reimagines the Scottish ballad as an account of young, bright Janet Carter's tumultuous time at college in the 1970s, was lauded upon its publication in 1991 and has endured as a classic since. We'll explore its resonance and relevance to present-day readers and writers in the context of real-world events that recall Janet's experiences--lengthy wars, challenges to reproductive rights, and activism and tensions on college campuses--as well as the increasing popularity of folk tale retellings.

Saturday July 13, 3:00 PM, NH
Mythic Poetry Group Reading. Mike Allen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files, Gwynne Garfinkle, Andrea Hairston, Samantha Henderson, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Rose Lemberg, Shira Lipkin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Dominik Parisien, Caitlyn Paxson, Julia Rios, Romie Stott, Sonya Taaffe, JoSelle Vanderhooft. Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, Cabinet des Fées, Jabberwocky, and the now-defunct Journal of the Mythic Arts showcasing a new generation of poets who’ve redefined what this type of writing can do. This reading will feature new and classic works from speculative poetry’s trend-setters.
gwynnega: (Barry Ryan)
Due to a health problem that cropped up a few weeks ago, I will not be attending Readercon this year. (The doctors assure me the problem isn't anything serious--which is a good thing, but cold comfort at this point.) Words cannot express how annoyed I am.

I do hope all of you attending Readercon have a great time!
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
At Readercon [ profile] skogkatt interviewed me and [ profile] csecooney (and [ profile] csecooney as Mary Robinette Kowal!), and the link to the podcast is here. I haven't listened to it yet, but it should be pretty hilarious.

Also, here is Claire Cooney's blog about that day at Readercon!
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
At Readercon [personal profile] skogkatt interviewed me and [personal profile] csecooney (and [personal profile] csecooney as Mary Robinette Kowal!), and the link to the podcast is here. I haven't listened to it yet, but it should be pretty hilarious.

Also, here is Claire Cooney's blog about that day at Readercon!
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Sure enough, I am less jetlagged today, and so, here are a few Readercon highlights (with some links):

I attended the discussion of The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, featuring Chip Delany himself commenting on the book from the audience. But damn, that meant I missed the "Rudyard Kipling, Fantasist and Modernist" panel. Again and again I wished I had a clone or two of myself so I could get to everything I wanted to attend.

I had a marvelous time participating in the panel about Jo Walton's novel Among Others with Suzy Charnas, Greer Gilman, Madeleine Robins, and Gary K. Wolfe. Never in my wildest dreams as a twenty-something reader of Motherlines and The Vampire Tapestry did I ever think I'd wind up sitting next to Suzy McKee Charnas on a panel!

I also participated in the fanfic vs. original fiction panel.

Ellen Klages read from a not-yet-published short story about a little girl's obsession with a Disney witch. I can't wait to read the whole thing.

Andrea Hairston knocked my socks off with her performance/reading from her novel Redwood and Wildfire, with musical accompaniment (and songs based on the book) by Pam Morigan.

Lila Garrott did a marvelous and very funny reading from the one-book-a-day-for-a-year blogging project which I've been enjoying so much on LJ.

Julia Rios interviewed me and Claire Cooney (and Claire Cooney-as-Mary Robinette Kowal--which will make more sense when Julia posts the podcast), and it was a lot of uproarious fun. Later that day Claire performed The Sea King's Second Bride at the Rhysling Award Poetry Slan, and then she promptly and deservedly won the long-form Rhysling Award for said poem. It was great to get to read at the Poetry Slan along with Claire, Sonya Taaffe, Theodora Goss, Shira Lipkin, and many others.

Also there was Julia Rios's brilliant Interstitial Arts Party, and the surreality of seeing Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer walking down the hall at the hotel, and discussing my dad's filmic oeuvre with Camille Alexa at Mike Allen's party, and hanging out with Victoria Janssen in the bar and the lobby, and eating at the Korean bbq place, and buying the gorgeous Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller, volume 1 at the Readercon Bookshop...I could go on, but suffice it to say, it was a very good time.

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