I'm well behind on posting my thoughts from the 21st edition of Readercon, mostly because I've been spending the last week trying to get caught up after being away from home for over a month (visiting in-laws in Seattle for three weeks, then immediately up to Boston for Readercon. Side note: I have no idea how E-mails mount up as quickly as they do, especially when I'm trying to deal with them BEFORE I get home. I still had 700 E-mails to file, and a couple to respond to, when I got back to my computer. Maybe it's time to look into an auto-responder...) At this point there are 6,345 reports on the convention out there (well, approximately), so here are just a couple of brief comments:
1. This year seemed to be much less frenetically planned than usual--I got my schedule considerably earlier than previous years, and actually had a chance to make time arrangements as a result. I'd guess this is because Eric Van is no longer exclusively responsible for putting everything together (that's not that much of an exaggeration), but whatever the reason, it's a welcome development. In fact the convention felt a bit less rushed than usual...though it's entirely possible it just felt that way because I was tired, about which more later.
2. Both reading and panel went well, despite the less than optimal times (Friday morning and Friday night dinner time respectively)...but I have to admit I find the time management at Readercon to be a bit fuzzy. If something is supposed to run from 11:30 to 12, that doesn't mean 11:35 to 11:55, with someone starting to pace impatiently outside the room at 11:50. And as usual, putting five to six people on a panel isn't going to help matters. That said, most of the panels were pared back a bit (in terms of the panelists), which eased the time crunch...and as usual, the audiences were great, asking some really interesting and thought-provoking questions. And Brett Cox and I got to fight the good fight for the humanities and higher education in general, so that was cool. ;)
3. I feel a bit out of sync with a lot of the other commenters who have been raving about it, but for whatever reason--and probably with a big assist from being jet-lagged and generally running low on gas the whole weekend--I never really felt into RC this year. It's always felt somewhat cliquey to me, and this year was no exception (despite getting the chance to catch up a bit with folks like Jim Freund and Patrick O'Leary and say hello to others, like David Anthony Durham and N.K. Jemisin). I kind of get the sense that it really takes off after a few years of attending, though, and again: great audiences are worth a whole lot. But compared to some other conventions out there, like Ad Astra or Gen Con, I think Readercon could do more to engage everyone right from the beginning.
Still, it was fun as always, and I'm looking forward to next year. But next year, I'm going to have a few days to readjust first. Pacific Time is fine, but not when you're three thousand miles away from it!
P.S. I've posted my panel, "MD PhD SFWA," in the Media section of my site...some interesting (and a few just plain weird :) ) things came up during the discussion, so it's worth your while to check out if you have a bit of time.
Causes Gregory Wilson Supports
National Resource Defense Council
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Breast Cancer Research