Here are my Readercon whereabouts from July 11-14.

Reading on Thurs. You should come to that – I’m not sure I’m reading all of the mummy story (it’s eight thousand words long, so if I’m reading it, at most I can read about 5k in 20 min) but it’s the one I spent a lot of time tweeting about a couple months back: mummies, gender, sex, candy, 1920’s. It’s coming out in Jurassic London’s The Book of the Dead in October, but you can get a preview here. I kind of love this one. 

Panels on Friday, Sat, and Sunday, two of which I’m leading. We’ll be talking about gender and agency (good timing for that one, given the fact that IT’S ALL I’M THINKING ABOUT LATELY), grandmothers or the Crone Role, and why it’s important/slash prevalent in lit (oh, look! another panel that’s all about my recent interests! Actually, I’ve always been intrigued by this topic, the shuffling of gender roles throughout a person’s life. So we’re going to talk about that a bit, and about how wisdom shows up for fictional women at the end of life rather than in the middle, as it often does for male characters…) And then the last one, the urban unknown, which I’m not leading, but which will no doubt be a lively discussion.

Otherwise, you’ll find me perched at this years non-pub bar, muttering and whirring. Lots of people I love at Readercon. Come talk to me if you’re there. I’m very recognizable. Big Horus tattoo on my right shoulder. I know my recent blog posts have been fire and brimstone. I also like to talk about ancient mummification rituals, vegetable lambs, and monsters. Actually, I like to talk about all kinds of things. Come see me if you don’t know me already. 

Thursday July 11

8:00 PM    VT    Reading: Maria Dahvana Headley. Maria Dahvana Headley. Maria Dahvana Headley reads the mummy-confectionary-cannibalism story “Bit-U-Men.”

Friday July 12

5:00 PM    F    Agency and Gender. Eileen Gunn, Maria Dahvana Headley (leader), Rose Lemberg, Maureen F. McHugh, Paul Park. When we talk about women’s agency in literature we’re often talking about violence: fighting off a would-be rapist or choosing to risk her life in battle, for instance. Men’s agency is frequently demonstrated in a wider variety of ways. The notion of agency itself varies from one culture to another. How do cultural perspectives on gender and cultural concepts of agency inform characters’ choices and the results of those choices? How are decisions related to cultural assumptions of gender (whom to sleep with, what to wear) portrayed differently from decisions unrelated to cultural gender?

Saturday July 13

9:00 PM    ME    To Grandmother’s House We Go (but She’s Not There). Paul Di Filippo, Ron Drummond, Paula Guran, Maria Dahvana Headley (leader), Samantha Henderson. In two recent novels, Alastair Reynolds’s Blue Remembered Earth and Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, the protagonists are propelled by the death of a grandmother to explore and expand on her schemes and secrets. In folklore and fairytale traditions grandmothers often take similar roles as instigators of quests and providers of information, but usually they do it while alive. What is it about the grandmother role that makes grandmothers so central and important to these novels despite not being physically present in them?

Sunday July 14

2:00 PM    F    Stranger Danger: Secrets and Discoveries in Urban Settings. Amanda Downum, Lila Garrott (leader), Maria Dahvana Headley, Stacy Hill, Patricia A. McKillip, JoSelle Vanderhooft. In folk stories the forest is full of dangerous secrets and the village is usually safe as houses. When the village becomes unsafe, it’s because the forest has violated the sanctity of civilization, as when the wolf takes the place of Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. However, a slew of recent books find their dangerous secrets within the confines of cities: the many neighborhoods in Kathleen Tierney’s Blood Oranges, the occupied city in N.K. Jemisin’s The Shadowed Sun, the monster-populated New York in Seanan McGuire’s Discount Armageddon, the gas-filled walled Seattle of Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series. What is it about modern life that leads writers and readers to look for discovery and the unknown in cities? How do we cross the border from safety to danger when it’s not marked by anything so concrete as the edge of the forest?

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