Readercon 18 (In Process)
Review by Ernest Lilley
Readercon ISBN/ITEM#: 0707RC18
Date: 24 April 2007
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Readercon is always interesting, that is if you're in to reading science fiction and fantasy. It's most likely misnamed though, as you'll find as many authors there as readers and I know a number of folks who would rather miss a Worldcon than a Readercon. Still, with Worldcon only a month or two away, and being held on the other side of the world in Japan, there did seem to be some drop off in attendance, if not in actual numbers, in regulars, though this didn't dim the spirits of congoers.
The hotel was the same as it has been for some time, the Burlington Marriott, which is set in a leafy atmosphere northwest of Boston, and quite nice. The restaurant was under renovations, but the hotel set up brunch in a large room next to the bar and it worked out quite well. Though you'd probably want to drive to them, there were a number of restaurants close enough to take up the load.
I had the fun of bringing Jonathon McClure, my 13 year old nephew, who is currently in the throes of non-stop SF and Fantasy consumption with me, and he had a good time meeting authors of books he'd just read. Since I knew he'd be meeting Daniel Dern, who is both my friend and occasional correspondent for SFRevu, I gave him a copy of the ARC for a lighthearted dragon tale he'll be shopping around soon and he read it non-stop on the trip from DC to Boston with generally favorable reviews. Unsurprisingly, Jonathon's one wish was that there were more young readers for him to talk to, but everybody says that.
The panels were thoughtful as usual, and I got to do two, both of which managed to stir things up a bit, as is my wont. The first, "Reviewing in the Blogosphere" set folks teeth on edge when I said that SFRevu only does positive reviews, which is only somewhat true, and was more a talking point than an edict, and I won't even tell you what hornet's nest I stirred up as moderator in "Sense of Wonder, or Sense of Cool?" but the panelists kept telling me that folks were still talking about it the next day. Actually, I've got it on my audio recorder and may make a column out of it soon, because it was an interesting panel.
As always, the most fun was meeting up with friends, including Bob Devney (The Devniad) whom I'd missed at recent cons, and Rogan Marshall, SFRevu's main film reviewer...whom I'd never actually met in person. It was great to catch up with Bob, and Rogan turns out to be as affable, intelligent, and enthusiastic in person as he is in his reviews. Though he's been off for a few months, we're looking forward to more movie commentary from him in the next month or so.
Gayle's View of Readercon:
I also escaped from the table to attend some panels, kaffeeklatsches, and readings. First I managed to attend a kaffeeklatsche with Holly Black and Laura Anne Gilman. Unfortunately, coffee wasn't served at the kaffeeklatsche so some of us had to hustle to get caffeine to jump start the brain. The discussion was far ranging and included topics such as: the identifiable year of a book as opposed to the year in which the story is placed, the geography of fantasy, faerie and would you really want to go there.
Other panels I managed to sit in were: The Retold Fairy or Folk Tale; Rebel, Rebel: Ex-Rocker Writers; Awe, Horror!; Why the Small Press Matters; Young (and Very Young) Adult F&SF and lots more…
One of the highlights for me was to attend a reading by Karen Joy Fowler from her upcoming book. I've read Fowler's books and short stories before and I've always enjoyed them but somehow between times -- I forget just how good they are. Hearing her read her own work give them work a rhythm and pacing that continues to resonate when I read the same material on my own. So, now I have to pull her stuff out of my To Be Read piles and move them closer to the top of the heap.
Since Readercon is focused on writing and the written word, there's plenty to enjoy and to ponder over until the next Readercon. The attendance, as a smaller convention, is fairly top heavy with professionals and those who enjoy reading or have started to write their own stories and are looking for insight into the processes. There's several weekends worth of material crammed into one weekend in July -- but I always come away bursting with ideas and inspiration.