I am pleased to be on program again this year, participating in a variety of interesting discussions. If you're in the Boston area and have a love of speculative fiction, I highly recommend it.
Here are the panels/schedule items I'll be taking part in across the weekend:
Thursday July 079:00 PM
Futurism's Blind Spot. LJ Cohen, F. Brett Cox (leader), Robert Killheffer, J.M. Sidorova, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry.
SF likes to think of itself as a predictive literature, but it frequently fixates on technological change, fitting it into an existing or familiar social structure. SF tends to miss sociological change like more women in the workplace, queerness becoming public and accepted, or the increase in single parent families. In fact, hints in these directions are often considered dystopian. Why does SF focus on tech and superficial change more than deep sociological change? Is it harder to see how people and societies change than how gadgets do?
Friday July 081:00 PM
Why Women Become Protagonists . Gwenda Bond, LJ Cohen, Rosemary Kirstein, Hillary Monahan, Navah Wolfe.
In a 2015 essay about portrayals of female protagonists in crime fiction, Sara Paretsky writes, "Detectives like V.I. came to life in a time of bravado, when my peers and I... wrote out of a kind of cockiness: we're doing a job because we want it, we like the work, no one can stop us. Today, the female hero often has been brutally assaulted... or suffered some other form of serious trauma. It's as if the only acceptable reason for a woman to embrace the investigative life is to recover from damage, or get revenge for it—not because she takes pleasure in the work, and comes to it as a free spirit." Let's explore the reasons that female protagonists decide to protag, and discuss the many ways to motivate them other than assault and trauma.
Reading: Lisa Cohen. LJ Cohen. Lisa Cohen reads an excerpt from Dreadnought and Shuttle, Halcyone Space book 3.
Saturday July 0912:00 PM
Red Planet Rover, Red Planet Rover, Will Humans Come Over? LJ Cohen, Jeff Hecht, Jim Kelly, Sioban Krzywicki (leader), Ian Randal Strock.
With talk of private space flight and one-way trips to Mars, is any of it really likely? Is it achievable in the near future? Is there any real demand and is it possible to ensure it isn't only for the fantastically wealthy? What would it take to make Mars a round trip, even if it is a very, very long layover? We're discovering that the void of space is far more hostile to humans than we'd thought; can problems like radiation, weghtlessness, and boredom be solved for the near future?
Autographs. LJ Cohen, Matt Kressel.
Sunday July 1010:00 AM
Which Book Would You Save?. LJ Cohen, James Morrow, Kate Nepveu (leader), Tom Purdom, Eric Schaller.
In Ray Bradbury's introduction to the authorized adaptation graphic novel of Fahrenheit 451 he says, "Finally, may I suggest that anyone reading this introduction should take the time to name the one book that he or she would most want to memorize and protect from any censors or 'firemen.' And not only name the book, but give the reasons why they would wish to memorize it and why it would be a valuable asset to be recited and remembered in the future. I think this would make for a lively session when my readers meet and tell the books they named and memorized, and why." Our panelists will respond to this prompt and tell us what texts have been so influential/inspiring (inside and outside genre) that they would go to extensive lengths to subvert a world of censorship.
You can also often find me at the Broad Universe table in the dealer's room, where my novels will be for sale.