The 26th annual Readercon begins Thursday, July 9th, and I am honored and pleased to be a participant in the program. Readercon is a gathering of readers and writers of fantastic fiction who come together to celebrate the written word. The relatively small size of the con means you can meet your favorite writers easily and find kindred literary spirits. This year I will be giving a talk and sitting on a panel to discuss a transformative work of fiction. My schedule is:
Friday July 10
12 PM ENL The Contours and Limits of Reading Protocols: John Stevens. In discussions of reading fantastic literature, some observers use the idea of “reading protocols” to describe the particular way that readers engage and process fictional texts. Prominent critics of fantastika (most often SF) such as Samuel R. Delany, James Gunn, and Jo Walton characterize how the literature is read as the embrace of a discernible schema that permits the reader to properly understand fantastic texts. But the idea of a protocol can be a limiting optic for examining how fantastic literature is read. This talk will summarize the prominent uses of reading protocols in fantastic literary criticism; analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the idea; examine how the idea constrains our understanding of the act of reading; and discuss why we need to think beyond this conception to better comprehend how we engage fantastic texts.
4:00 PM G Dhalgren at 40: Jim Freund, Max Gladstone, Elizabeth Hand (leader), Shira Lipkin, John Stevens. Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren was first published in 1975. It is now widely considered a classic, yet there is also the perception that it is a “difficult” book. How much has it influenced other authors and works? Does its dream-city serve as a predecessor for more recent fantastical places such as Ambergris or New Crobuzon? How have its experiments with the form of the narrative inspired more recent works? And how might a reader approach it for the first time from the vantage point of 2015?
For more information on the program go here.
I’m happy to talk about Readercon and my schedule; hit me up on Twitter at @eruditeogre, or leave a comment below!