I attended Readercon for the first time this year and had a blast. There were many good talks, great speakers, and I picked up a lot of good books. The convention was well organized, and I was amazed and humbled by the breadth of topics covered.
My Top 4 Talks
Egalitarian Character Drama – Julia Rios led a lively and eye-opening discussion on the many ways in which you can traumatize your characters and dial up the drama without resorting to physical or sexual abuse. The panel discussed current trends in science fiction and fantasy, things to avoid, and new ideas. It painfully reminded me of some rookie errors I’ve made and gave me direction for future works.
Economic Systems Past, Present, and Future – Romie Stott laid out a succinct view of feudal economics (for fantasy settings), explained how money turns useless in world threatening and post-apocalyptic stories, and what enables a smuggler (hint: it’s taxes, not an embargo).
Writing Others 1: Theory – This panel discussed the challenges and mistakes often made when writing about characters outside the author’s own demographic (ethnic or otherwise). I have to be honest, this panel put some fear into me. I’ll need to research more so that I can portray certain characters realistically (instead of writing possibly insulting caricatures).
Making Readercon Safer – After an unfortunate event at last year’s convention, the staff worked even harder this year to look at what makes a convention not safe, but safer. This panel explained many of the things they’ve done and will continue doing to improve inclusion. The main point they made was that all people are welcome, but specific behaviors are not. Read their Code of Conduct for more information.
Books I plan to read as a result of this conference:
Mindscape by Andrea Hairston
Oracle Gretel by Julia Rios (I snagged her last copy!)
Salsa Nocturna by Daniel José Older
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Other Half of the Sky – various authors
Victory and Deceit by James Dunnigan and Albert A. Nofi
Yes, I definitely plan to attend next year. Great event!