WWWednesday: July 17, 2019

I declare it Kat Hooper Day.

I officially declare today Kat Hooper Day.

Awards:

The Shirley Jackson Awards were announced at ReaderCon, July 14. (Terry was in the audience for this!) Little Eve, by Catriona Ward, won for Best Horror Novel.


Disclaimer:

This will be another column that will not have a lot of links, because I am going to report out on ReaderCon30, held in Quincy, Massachusetts from July 11 through July 14, 2019.

Giveaway:

One commenter chosen at random will get a hardback copy of Richard Kadrey’s newest book, The Grand Dark.

Max Gladsotne reads from “This is How You Lose the Time War.”

ReaderCon30:

ReaderCon is a speculative fiction convention that focuses on the word, written or spoken, more than the image. There is no costume contest, just lots of fascinating panels and lots of great writers. This year’s guests of honor were Tananarive Due and Stephen Graham Jones. Also present, Austin Grossman, John Crowley, Elizabeth Hand, Max Gladstone, Amal Al-Mohtar and Catherynne Valente among many others. Terry Weyna and I attended.

The personal high point of the convention for me was a brief conversation with my idol John Crowley, which took place in the hotel lobby. It was a little bit about writing, largely about Old Navy shirts and woodpeckers, filled with wit and a few puns.

John Crowley, preparing to read.

As far as the panels went, they were an embarrassment of riches. The most surprising thing I learned was about the Green Wall Initiative, an African reforestation project that spans several countries and included governments, neighborhoods and NGOs all working together. Rob Cameron, a panelist on the Solarpunk and Afrofuturism panel, told us about this. His context was asking each panelist, Michael J. DeLuca (Editor of Reckoning) Tananarive Due and Cadwall Turnbull to give examples of solarpunk responses to various initiatives, or alternatively, disasters. Turnbull talked about individual island communities hardening their structures and systems against increasingly fierce storm, by giving buildings rounded roofs and creating modular solar panel grids that can be taken down and put back up, and connected to other grids, for power. For the example of relocating a major urban area (for example, needing to move New York City inland to, say, Kansas) because of rising oceans, assuming political will, what would those issues be? The panelists pointed out that unless generations-old problems and inequities were addressed, a migrated city would bring all its problems with it. I think it was Due who wondered aloud what Kansas might think of this plan.

Malka Older

I heard Malka Older read from her short story collection And Other Disasters. She read a sad, haunting story called “The Divided.” Max Gladstone read from the collaborative novella with Amal Al-Mohtar, “This is How You Lose the Time War,” Austin Grossman read from a work in progress called Fight Me, and John Crowley from a work in progress whose title he did not divulge to us, but it’s about an Irish king during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

“We ran out of the west, so we had to go to the stars to continue the adventure, but now we think that the adventure isn’t what we thought it was.” Carolyn Ives Gilman, SFF writer and historian whose area is the American West, along with Alex Jablokov and Don D’Ammassa, discussed the mythologizing of the American West. Gilman said that the genesis of the “western” novel, the stories with a strong individualistic hero, started with James Fennimore Cooper, continued through the westerns’ “golden age,” straight to Star Trek. The myth of the westward expansion was consciously mythologized by Wild West shows, dime novels and Teddy Roosevelt. This panel was two panelists short, but moderator Jablokov turned that into a positive, giving Gilman more time. It was a fascinating view of how our history is manufactured.

 

Don D’Ammassa, Crolyn Ives Gilman, Alex Jablokov, The Dark Space in the Mountains.

Tananarive Due spoke about “cultural hauntings,” how “black history is black horror,” on a panel that was also about horror written by Black writers. Due is not only a professor and an established horror writer, she is a civil rights activist and the daughter of one. She worked with her mother on a civil rights memoir before her mother’s death. Members of this panel said, that they were drawn to horror in part because they recognized in the “monster” the outsider or other, and identified with that. “I wanted the monster to win,” said Teri Zin.

A suggestion if you attend ReaderCon in upcoming years; either put a flat rate postage box in your luggage or plan to print out a Fed Ex label at the hotel’s business center and ship to yourself, because you are probably going to buy a lot of books. The traditional “dealers room” is called the ReaderCon bookstore and it only had books. Oh, wait, Crossed Genres publishing had their logo T-shirts, but no jewelry or pewter tankards, no ceramic dragons, no clothing, just books.

Other highlights:  Elizabeth Hand’s forthcoming book Curious Toys is about Outsider artist Henry Darger. If you ever have the chance to hear John Langan read, take it. And while I didn’t attend, apparently “It Was a Dark and Stormy Mic,” a regular feature, had panelists singing the lyrics of one song to the tune of another, like the Brady Bunch theme to Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand.

Shameless Self Promotion:

I have a cover reveal today for my Falstaff Books novella “Aluminum Leaves.” It will be available at Amazon, Falstaff and independent bookstore on August 1, 2019.

Earth:

Maryland’s strange wooden ghost fleet is now an official marine sanctuary. When I found this article, I thought that first image looked like a dragon underwater.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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24 comments

  1. Happy birthday, Kat!

  2. Noneofyourbusiness /

    Is John Crowley any relation to Aleister Crowley?

    • Not to my knowledge, although probably if you went back far enough, all the Crowleys are connected in some way.

      • John Monahan /

        But are they related to the demon Crowley?

        • I’m biased, but I suspect the demon Crowley would enjoy John Crowley’s work very much, and not be as happy with Aleister’s.

          • Noneofyourbusiness /

            But which demon Crowley, the one from Good Omens or the one from Supernatural?

        • I was waiting for a SUPERNATURAL reference.

          SUPERNATUAL Crowley probably knew Aleister.

  3. Shawn Mansouri /

    Happy birthday!!!!

  4. The Distinguished Professor /

    Happy Birthday, Kat!

  5. Thanks everyone!! :)
    My students brought me a balloon and sang to me today. :)

    Tonight I’m going out for Dim Sum, which I’ve never done before. I’ve been craving it ever since I read “Dim Sun” by Maria Dahvana Headley in this book: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/women-destroy-science-fiction/

  6. Lady Morar /

    Gefeliciteerd! My own birthday is coming up this month, and my husband and son plan to take me out to the Bonefish Grill.

  7. Sandy Ferber /

    I’m celebrating Kat Hooper Day by going home and reading more of the book that I hope to be reviewing here on FanLit very soon. Hope you’re having the wonderful birthday that you deserve, Kat!

  8. Marion, I’m fascinated by the prospect of reading a book about Henry Darger! Not enough people are aware of him, and he was such an endlessly intriguing person.

    • I think it’s in exactly the right hands — oh, oops! Excuse the pun. She has an affinity for, and a flair for, the weird. His story is strange and poignant and because she is fictionalizing it, she’ll be able to delve deeply into her sense of his mind. And those drawings of the princesses are strangely haunting.

  9. Von Berry /

    Have an awesome birthday, Kat. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. Happy belated birthday!

  11. John Smith /

    I suspect Darger suffered from significant mental retardation, or near enough, but I’m sure Hand’s book is interesting!

    Kadrey’s book sounds like a winner–and it’s great that it’s a stand-alone! Those bike messengers with their wild, glamorous lives and sexy girlfriends!

    • John, I think developmental delay is a possibility in Darger’s case but I don’t really know enough. I’ve only seen one documentary on him on PBS.I can’t wait to read the book and see where she takes it.

  12. John Smith, if you live in the USA, you win a copy of THE GRAND DARK!
    Please contact me (Marion) with your US address and I’ll have the book sent right away. Happy reading!

    • John Smith /

      I have emailed the sonic.net address with address information. This is wonderful! Thank you!

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