July 7th, 2009

talks to wolves

"The sky is not blue and the field's not green."

Raining here in Providence. I think we might have had three consecutive days without rain. But this is a steady, gentle sort of rain, and I don't much mind. It would hardly matter if I did, of course.

The anthology's editors loved "The Sea Troll's Daughter," which was a huge relief. I'll give the book's title and release date as soon as I can. One of them emailed to say, "I felt I'd read 'Beowulf: The Truth Behind the Myth,'" which was sort of the cherry on top of the sale. So, yes, two long weeks after I began writing the story, I can say that went well.

I have my final schedule for ReaderCon 20. Here it is (with panel descriptions):

Friday 4:00 PM, VT: Group Reading

Lovecraft Unbound Group Reading (60 min.) Ellen Datlow (host) with
Laird Barron, Michael Cisco, Caitlín R. Kiernan

Readings from the anthology of Lovecraft-related or inspired fiction
edited by Datlow and forthcoming in October from Dark Horse.

Friday 5:00 PM, RI: Talk (30 min.)

How I Wrote A is for Alien. Caitlín R. Kiernan

Breaking with Readercon tradition, Kiernan talks about writing the stories
that make up her first sf collection.

Friday 6:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Reality and Dream in Fiction. Jedediah Berry, Michael Cisco (L), Caitlin
R. Kiernan, Yves Meynard, Patrick O'Leary, Gene Wolfe

[Greatest Hit from Readercon 9.] "It seems almost like a dream that has
slowly faded." "Not to me," said Frodo. "To me it seems more like
falling asleep again." Some books create a world so engaging and
convincing it seems more real than reality. Others (e.g., Gene Wolfe's
There are Doors) seem like dreams from which we awaken. What elements in
fiction create these disparate effects? Are they mutually exclusive?

Friday 7:00 PM, RI: Talk / Discussion (60 min.)

You Never Can Tell What Goes on Down Below: Reading Dr. Seuss as Weird
Fiction. Caitlín R. Kiernan

Few would consider Dr. Seuss a master of weird fiction, but most of us
knew about the strange denizens of McElligot's Pool long before we were
introduced to those of Innsmouth. We met the Lorax before Great Cthulhu,
and shuddered at the Joggoons long before we ever met up with our first
shoggoth. Join us for a review of the strange worlds of Seuss (and other
"children's authors") and a discussion of how the surprisingly
sophisticated oddities we meet as kids shape us as aficionados of fantasy
and science fiction.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, Salon F: Autographing

Saturday 2:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Is Fiction Inherently Evil (and If So, What's My Job)? Michael Bishop,
Caitlín R. Kiernan, James Morrow (L), Peter Straub, Gene Wolfe

[Greatest Hit from Readercon 8.] Simone Weil (in "Morality and
Literature") argued that fiction is inherently immoral because it reverses
the truth about good and evil: in reality, good is "beautiful and
wonderful" and evil is "dreary, monotonous," but in fiction, it is evil
that is "varied and intriguing, attractive, profound ..." while good is
"boring and flat." Certainly we can all think of counter-examples (To
Kill a Mockingbird
gets it right), but this is a problem as old as Milton.
Does a writer have an obligation to try to make goodness interesting, and
to show the banality of evil? How does doing so affect the fiction?

Saturday 3:00 PM, Salon E: Panel

Is Darwinism Too Good For SF? Jeff Hecht (L), Caitlin R. Kiernan, Anil
Menon, James Morrow, Steven Popkes, Robert J. Sawyer

This year marks the sesquicentennial of the publication of The Origin of
Species and the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth. Considering the
importance of the scientific idea, there has been surprisingly little
great sf inspired by it. We wonder whether, in fact, if the theory has
been too good, too unassailable and too full of explanatory power, to
leave the wiggle room where speculative minds can play in. After all,
physics not only has FTL and time travel, but mechanisms like wormholes
that might conceivably make them possible. What are their equivalents in
evolutionary theory, if any?

Sunday 2:00 PM, NH / MA: Reading (60 min.)

Reading from The Red Tree.

Also, note that I was originally scheduled to be a participant in the "How Acting Techniques Can Enhance your Writing" workshop, Friday at 1 p.m., but I asked to be dropped from it, as I'm not feeling physically up to anything that asks you to wear "comfortable clothing." Also, I won't be arriving at the con until Day 2, Friday, contra my original plans.


Yesterday evening, we had to drive down to Saunderstown, because Spooky's mum and dad are in Montana, and we're looking after the farm in their absence. It was, as usual, nice to get out of the city. Spooky collected eggs from the hen house. I tested to electric fence that keeps the deer at bay, to be sure it hadn't shorted out or anything. We fed the koi. We let Spider Cat out for a while and played with him. The blueberries aren't quite ripe yet, but soon will be, which means we'll be picking them before her parents get back. On the way back to the car, we spotted a Fowler's Toad (Bufo woodhousii fowleri). There are photos behind the cut:

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