Readercon 33 Schedule

Reading time: about 3 min.
sff  conventions 

I’m heading out to Boston tomorrow for Readercon. I’m really excited and, well. I probably–definitely–was overenthusiastic in signing up because I now find myself on seven programming items. Luckily for me, they’re spread out across the weekend.

Romanticizing Death and Dying
Salon B Thursday, July 11, 2024, 8:00 PM EDT
Barbara Krasnoff (m), Amanda Downum, Emma J. Gibbon, Gillian Daniels, Natalie Luhrs

When somebody is dying or dies in fictional media, it is often romantic, or exciting, or noble, or beautiful and tragic. The reality that many of us face—pain, fear, loss of self, the gradual breakdown of the body due to age or disease—is a lot less pleasant to experience and witness. Why do we romanticize death in fiction? Is it a necessary defense against the reality of our own mortality, or just a part of making fictional worlds more entertaining, the way perfect sex is?

Due to high levels of interest, this panel is being run on both Thursday and Saturday, with different participants at each session.

Hugo Award Exclusions
Salon A Thursday, July 11, 2024, 9:00 PM EDT
Mark Painter, Natalie Luhrs

Another year, another Hugo Award controversy. Let’s discuss the mystifying numbers and unexplained nominee disqualifications at the 2023 Hugo Awards hosted by Worldcon in Chengdu.

The Joys of the Truly Long Novel
Salon 4 Friday, July 12, 2024, 11:00 AM EDT
Kate Nepveu (m), Gwynne Garfinkle, Natalie Luhrs, Rich Horton, Storm Humbert

SFF loves its giant series, of course, but what about the very long solo novel? How do the pleasures and pitfalls of such novels vary from other lengths and plotting structures? How does serialization affect the length of a story people are willing to follow?

I Don’t Know Why I’m on This Panel!
Salon 3 Friday, July 12, 2024, 4:00 PM EDT
Katherine Crighton (m), Natalie Luhrs, Scott Edelman, William Alexander, Zin E. Rocklyn

In this new take on those dreaded words, all the panelists on this panel have been selected for reasons unknown to them. Will they discover what they have in common? Will they take turns ranting about subjects the others have never even considered? Will they have taken what little advance notice they received to prepare a group song-and-dance number? There’s only one way to find out!

Meet the Pros(e)
Salon 3 Friday, July 12, 2024, 10:15 PM EDT

At the Friday night Meet the Pros(e) party, program participants are assigned to tables with a roughly equal number of conferencegoers and other participants, and then table placements are scrambled at regular intervals so that everyone gets to meet a new set of people in a small-group setting. Think of it as a low-key sort of speed dating where you need never be the sole focus of anyone’s attention, and the goal is just to get to know some cool Readerconnish people.

Please note that this event will include a bar and is mask-optional, unlike most other programming.

Paranormal Romance, Romantasy, or “Just” Fantasy?
Salon B Saturday, July 13, 2024, 1:00 PM EDT
Victoria Janssen (m), C.S.E. Cooney, Cecilia Tan, Mark Painter, Natalie Luhrs

Significant amounts of romance in a fantasy novel can lead to its being designated as part of a romance-focused subgenre, such as paranormal romance or romantasy—which can be a restrictive pigeon-hole or a way of reaching new audiences. Panelists will discuss the reader expectations that come along with these designations and how authors can attempt to write within a particular subgenre, to deliberately subvert reader expectations, or to resist such categorization altogether.

Defining and Appreciating Cozy SFF
Salon 4 Sunday, July 14, 2024, 11:00 AM EDT
Victoria Janssen (m), Caitlin Rozakis, John Wiswell, Natalie Luhrs, Steven Popkes

At the blog Lady Business, forestofglory argues that cozy SFF “generally has small stakes,” “focuses on community-building,” and “honors the importance of domestic labor and other undervalued jobs.” She also argues that its main failure mode is “insularity”: failing to ground a story by situating it within a larger context, or failing to recognize the implications of its background worldbuilding. Panelists will explore how this framework illuminates cozy SFF’s appeal, scope, and relationships to other subgenres.