greg's blog

Post-ReaderCon: Highlights/Lowlights/etc.

This, from Shira Lipkin (@shadesong) via Twitter (July 11, 2014):

Greg Bechtel: “I could read the carjacking, the blow job, or-”

And this, from John Clute, in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (full entry here):

“. . . The title of this collection nicely expresses an essential component in the tales: a transgressively Equipoisal approach to the fractal convolutions of twenty-first century Fantastika. Hard SF tropes are shot through with Magic; reality is seen as a matter of Perception . . .”

So I’ve fallen behind (again) on the blog posts. No surprise there. And while ReaderCon may be slowly turning into a (positive) haze of memory, I still wanted to mention a few memorable moments, both from the con itself and the time since.

ReaderCon Highlights
  • See that tweet above? That was (I’m pretty sure) from during the Midnight Speakeasy reading. And it has become, perhaps, my iconic memory of the con. A full room of people at a midnight, off-program guerrilla reading, chanting. What’s not to love? And though I hadn’t planned on it, yes, I read the blow job scene.
  • Also, my co-readers at the Midnight Speakeasy (Brooke Bolander, Ruby Katigbak, Valya Lupescu, Sam J. Miller, Stephen Segal, Brian Staveley, Shveta Thakrar) were absolutely amazing. Some seriously great stuff. As expected.
  • Watching Sam J. Miller win the Shirley Jackson Award for his Short Story, “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides.” Then reading it (here) and discovering just how very well deserved that was.
  • More amazing conversations, panels, and readings than I can easily recall. I could list names upon names upon names, but suffice it to say it was great to see—and in many cases meet—everyone. A mere listing of names couldn’t do it justice.
ReaderCon Lowlights
  • Only one: All of the conversations I missed, people I would have loved to catch up with but didn’t get a chance to in the everyone-moving-all-the-time whirlwind of the con.
Post-ReaderCon Highlights
  • Three days after returning, receiving an email from John Clute asking for basic bio information for a “cursory” entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
  • The very next day, discovering the SFE entry was already up, and that it actually provided the most concisely insightful summary of Boundary Problems that I’ve seen thus far. And being a bit of a scholarly fanboy of (for?) John Clute’s critical work—this being why I gave him a copy of the book at the con in the first place (not really expecting him to read it)—that totally made my day…
Post-ReaderCon Lowlights
  • …which is good, because about twenty minutes later I went outside to find someone had stolen my bike seat. Karmic balance? Perhaps. But still. No fun.
And the Ongoing Challenge

For most of this summer—between bouts of touring and travel—I’ve been trying to get myself back into revising this novel I’ve set aside for the last year. And something about ReaderCon, or being back afterwards, or… something seems to have broken that stasis.

It probably didn’t hurt that I had several conversations with other writers at the con—writers whose work I enjoy and respect—who have also had to revise their novels and novel-openings several times before getting it right. (Thanks to Max Gladstone and Sofia Samatar in particular for that. Turns out, Max has even written a guest blog-post on the topic here.)

And sure, the novel still needs lots of work. But it’s progressing once more. Finally. And all is well with the world. For now. Let the mattress-wrestling continue.*


* Nalo Hopkinson once said, “Writing a novel feels like wrestling a mattress.
(Others may have said this as well, but I’m pretty sure that’s where I first heard the analogy.)