Ten things I learned at Readercon 22


While out walking yesterday, Barry Malzberg asked me, “So what did you learn this year?” Well, I couldn’t really answer him at the time, but having given it some thought, here are ten things I learned from Readercon 22:

  1. Being a panelist can be fun. This was my first time, but I really enjoyed being on the “We All Produce/We All Consume” panel with Gemma Files, K. A. Laity, Robert Killheffer, and Paul Di Filippo.
  2. Being a moderator can be stressful. It was also my first time moderating a panel. I muddled through the “Capturing the Hidden History of SF” panel, thanks to the help of my fellow panelists, but at this point, I think I prefer just being a panelist.
  3. Choose a good example of a panelist and try to learn from them. I found Paul Di Filippo to be an excellent panelist. He is intelligent, funny, well-prepared, engaging, always has something significant to say, and seems so natural at it. He is my model for a good panelist.
  4. The Scott Meredith Literary Agency Plot Skeleton. Barry Malzberg recited this plot skeleton from memory on the panel about the agency and it was remarkable, both hearing him recite it, and in what the skeleton embodies. If you don’t know what this is, or didn’t get a chance to see it, check out Scott Edelman’s video of the panel.
  5. The importance of appointing a literary executor. There were some horror stories on the panel discussing “Preserving Literary Legacies.” Many of these horror stories could have been avoided if a good literary executor had been appointed for the estate.
  6. I am sorely under-read. I like to think I am well-read within the science fiction genre, but I come to Readercon and find that nearly everyone is far more well-read than I am. I don’t know how they manage to keep up.
  7. My critical ability leaves something to be desired. The panel on Delany’s The Jewel-Hinged Jaw, which I have never read (see #6) was a revelation to me. I am reading the book now. I only hope that I am not too late.
  8. There is more to the hidden history of science fiction than I imagined. And there is probably a good deal of it that I probably don’t want to know about.
  9. There are still lots of people who care passionately about science fiction. And fortunately, many of them come to Readercon.
  10. Seeing friends is the best part. The panels are great–better than most conventions. Kirk Poland is hysterical. Meet the Pro(s)e is a blast. But getting to hand out with people who have become friends, well, for me, that’s the best part of Readercon.

I got back into the house at around 10pm last night. I put the Little Man to bed. He was out cold, and after 4 days of being away, I wanted to play with him, but I let him sleep. It was a good thing, too. I’d barely made it into bed when I suddenly limped bonelessly and was dead.

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