Readercon 2016: The Rest of It . . .

A few more highlights! The longer I get away from writing about Readercon this year, the more it evanesces, which reminds me of my favorite line from Strange Days, when Angela Bassett (goddess) says to Ralph Fiennes (demigod), “Memories are meant to fade, Lenny. They’re designed that way for a reason.”

But still!

I began Saturday with a rehearsal up in our room, and then attended two gorgeous readings: Mikki Kendall and Ken Schneyer.

Mikki read her FIERCE AND TWISTED Snow White retelling, and also from a new urban fantasy, and in my opinion, she could have gone on reading and I would have been happy. Mikki may or may not have accused Julia SparkyMonster and I of pressuring her to WRITE MORE FICTION so she can READ IT TO US, but I dunno, does sitting in the front row and batting our eyelashes at the author and bouncing in our seats constitute PRESSURE?

Kenneth Schneyer gave us the first few sections of a novella called “Keepsakes”–which was utterly fascinating, and I wish it were finished and polished and PUBLISHED so I could READ THE WHOLE THING.

Later that afternoon, I went to Mike Allen’s reading (BEAUTIFUL SPIDERS! At least, I think they were spiders. SPIDER MATRIARCH QUEENS! From his short story collection Spider Tapestries). And to Delia Sherman’s reading!

Delia gave us the DELICIOUS beginning of THE EVIL WIZARD SMALLBONE, which I’ve read in several drafts and think is just SPLENDID GOOD FUN. With cats and dogs and were-things and wizards, oh my.

Then I did MY reading. And you know, I love to perform.

I’d vacillated between reading from Bone Swans (again) (because the title story will soon appear in Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas 2016!) (and also two stories are being reprinted in Lightspeed and Apex!) or from “The Two Paupers” (again) (since it’s coming out in Rich Horton’s Year’s Best) . . .


So instead, I read from my BRAND NEW SHORT STORY called “Lily-White and the Thief of Lesser Night.”

As people emptied out of Delia’s stuffed-full reading, I thought I’d have a scattered few friends at my reading. I figured 10 or 15 folks would be a TRIUMPH, but knew I’d be grateful for a handful.

BUT THEN PEOPLE KEPT COMING IN and I got VERY GIDDY! And there were MANY STRANGERS in the room. And I read to them, and they LAUGHED, and it was SO FUN!


I have since learned that “Lily-White and the Thief of Lesser Night” will in fact be published, but more on that later, when allowed.

I was so kerflummoxed by good-reading-adrenalin that I almost forgot to run off to my LADY BROMANCES panel! I’d been so looking forward to this. Check out the description:

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?

I’d read two books this year that impressed me with the core knot of female friends at their center: Nnedi Okorafor‘s Who Fears Death and Sharon Shinn‘s Jeweled Fire. I even wrote about them on Black Gate! I also got to talk about L. M. Montgomery a great deal, which made me happy.

Also, I want to read everything ever suggested by the panel and the audience but stupidly did not write anything down. Or did I? Now I can’t remember if I had a notebook that day.

Really interesting point brought up by audience participant about the presence (or lack) of queer friendships in books. I think there is going to be a WHOLE OTHER panel on the subject COMING SOON! At least, so furthering conversations on Twitter and email seemed to indicate.

Now, as I’m scanning the program grid, I CANNOT BELIEVE I forgot to talk about Guest of Honor Catherynne Valente’s GORGEOUS reading on Friday evening. She read from her upcoming novella “The Refrigerator Monologues,” which are seven “fridged” women from a Marvel/DC proxy comic book world, speaking their stories from the underworld. Oh, it was marvelous wounding. OUT WITH SIMON AND SCHUSTER NEXT YEAR!

We had an AMAZING THAI FOOD PICNIC in Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman’s room that night! It was yummy. And full of BEAUTIFUL AND CLEVER AUSTRALIANS!

And then we had to dash out for a soundcheck.

Now for the Miscellany.

A Most Readerconish Miscellany: Join us for an evening of song, games, laughter, and mystique as we celebrate the varied talents of Readercon guests. This year, come ready to suggest outlandish possibilities which our Guests of Honor will try to turn into a plausible story world! We will also be playing a science fictional version of the popular British game show “Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.” The evening will be emcee’d by Heath Miller, voice actor extraordinaire. We will be raising money for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, so consider bringing money if you’d like to help, but no donation is necessary to enjoy the fantastic show!

I got to sing at this–four new Brimstone Rhine songs, from the forthcoming patron’s album Corbeau Blanc, Corbeau Noir.

I chose the songs particularly because the Miscellany is a fundraiser for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and I wanted the songs to be about strong women (“Apex Predator”), women who rescue women (“Lady Knight / Pale Lady”), how we perceive women from received myth and language and how we can make conscious decisions to resist that and/or change the narrative “Fox Girl Song Cycle 1“), and women friendships (“Maggot.”)

It was my deep soul-pleasure to sing songs I wrote specifically for dear friends/patrons who backed my first album, and for a cause “dedicated for healing, advocating for change.” It’s the best reason to sing. I would sing for healing and change, for surviving and thriving ANY TIME.

Also, I loved performing with Carlos Hernandez and Faye Ringel. They were and are a FRIGGIN DELIGHT to work with.

And ALSO? I laughed my butt off. The British game show and Guest of Honor improv that began and ended the night–I mean, I couldn’t breathe. My face hurt. It was wonderful. WONDERFUL! (And again most wonderful wonderful.)

I think Mike Allen wanted me to come to his party afterward, but I was COOKED. I was in bed by 10. That’s just how I roll these days.

On Sunday I saw two more readings, Gillian Daniels and Elaine Isaak. Gillian read a story of many Deaths (it may have been this one? Death Defying Stunts (Not One of Us, April 2014), and Elaine from one of her E. C. Ambrose Dark Apostle novels. 

Some Readercons, I almost want to skip all the panels and just attend readings ALL DAY. In fact, one could do that, if one wanted. Not that panels aren’t great fodder for discussion, for fomenting future panels, for agitating deeper, more interesting, more diverse stories. Panels are totally necessary. But the readings! The readings. I love to watch a writer at work.

That’s that! When I came home on Sunday night, I found out Bone Swans was nominated for the World Fantasy Award, and I think I just laughed for about five minutes.

Then I ate some ice cream.

And that, as they say, was that.




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