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Readercon

Hello all after long absence.  I'm posting my Readercon schedule here for you all to keep in your wallets:

Thursday July 09
9:00 PM    ENL    How to Write for a Living When You Can't Live Off Your Fiction.. Leah Bobet, John Crowley, Michael Dirda, Barbara Krasnoff (leader).You've just been laid off from your staff job, you can't live on the royalties from your fiction writing, and your significant other has taken a cut in pay. How do you pay the rent? Well, you can find freelance work writing articles, white papers, reviews, blogs, and other non-SFnal stuff. Despite today's lean journalistic market, it's still possible to make a living writing, editing, and/or publishing. Let's talk about where and how you can sell yourself as a professional writer, whether blogging can be done for a living, and how else you can use your talent to keep the wolf from the door. Bring whatever ideas, sources, and contacts you have.
Friday July 10
6:00 PM    F    From the French Revolution to Future History: Science Fiction and Historical Thinking. Christopher Cevasco, Phenderson Clark, Jonathan Crowe, John Crowley, Victoria Janssen (leader). Arts journalist Jeet Heer wrote, "It's no accident H.G. Wells wrote both [The] Time Machine and The Outline of History (one of the most popular history books ever), [and] it's no accident that science fiction writers are also often historical novelists: Kim Stanley Robinson, Nicola Griffith, etc." For Heer, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and horror can all be grouped under the meta-genre of fantastika, and all emerged from the "epistemological rupture" of the French Revolution, which "forced us to think of history in new way, with new emphasis on ruptures and uncontrollable social forces." Is Heer right to see these commonalities? Is it useful to think of historical fiction in fantastika terms? And how do speculative genres borrow from historical ones?
Saturday July 11
2:00 PM    G    Imagining the Author. John Crowley, Natalie Luhrs, Kate Maruyama, Kathryn Morrow (leader), Diane Weinstein. Is it possible to read a piece of fiction without keeping in mind that the author has a gender, an age, a profession, an ethnic identification, a height, a weight, or a race? And if it is possible to truly do away with assumptions, without inserting one's own characteristics as a supposed neutral state, is it a good idea? How does assuming that the author is like or unlike the reader influence the reader's experience of a piece, or a critic's analysis of it? Is imagining the author a necessary starting point for any deep read or critique, or is this all ultimately a distraction from addressing the work itself?
3:00 PM    F    Shifting the Realism Conversation. Leah Bobet, Michael Cisco, John Crowley, John Langan, Yves Meynard. In a 2014 interview, James Patterson, not generally thought of as a fabulist, declared, "I don't do realism. Sometimes people will mention that something I've written doesn't seem realistic and I always picture them looking at a Chagall and thinking the same thing." Meanwhile, the SF/F world is engaged in ongoing discussions about the value and meaning of realism in epic fantasy, particularly the variety that uses claims of realism to justify portrayals of violence, bigotry, and misery in cod-medieval settings. What shifts in these discussions if we adopt Patterson's framing, setting modernism and abstraction in opposition to realism? What would abstract, modernist, Chagall-like epic fantasy look like? And would it work, or is some adherence to the real necessary in stories that explore the unreal?
8:30 PM               Reading. John Crowley reading from his now completed but unpublished novel KA: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr.

Pot-Kettle entanglement

Karl rove's American Crossroads super-PAC has taken on the job of diminishing Hillary CLinton in the public mind.  A quote from the NY Times about the Rove process:

"In recent weeks, Crossroads has begun carving a niche for itself in attacking Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumed Democratic front-runner. The group will use polling data and opposition research to paint her as “a typical politician who would say or do anything to get elected,” said Steven Law, president of Crossroads."
Slate magazine informs me (what you all knew) that Twin Peaks where the bikers shot one another up is a "breast-themed" restaurant. Worst breast-themed restaurant name since Hooters, which I have never been quite able to say aloud, much less visit. ANd here I thought the Waco one had something to do with David Lynch. But no -- just Grand Tetons.

I haven't got around to re-establishing my paid account after it was cancelled because of an out-of-date credit card I forgot to reset.  It has given me a moment to wonder if I want to.

my busy week

Somehow I managed to solve some repellent problems in Canada while thinking big thoughts at the UN.

http://www.canadiancattlemen.ca/2015/05/15/breeders-will-benefit-from-carcass-data/

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/science/2015/05/14/fighting-extreme-poverty-with-science/caFFpj90kZln3h8imQBoEP/story.html


"The work will also add to a raging discussion in the policy world about how to best reduce poverty. This type of discrete intervention can’t deter many of the major contributors to poverty, such as corruption or government instability, according to John Crowley, a chief within the social and human sciences sector at UNESCO."  [thanks to pgdf]

In the land of dreamy dreams

 Correspondents who remember or who paricipated in the brave though failed effort here to build a taxonomy of dreams -- back in 2009 -- may be interested to know that the effort forms a part of my new essay in Harper's magazine.  It was great fun setting it forth, tough of course it had to be fairlly restricted.  

http://harpers.org/archive/2015/05/an-artist-of-the-sleeping-world/

I'm sorry to say that Harper's has a pretty high paywall -- but of course there's always the library.

JC

Unicorns

How clever of me to know about unicorns in the newsroom altering the story process.  I think I learned it from John Clute or possibly Tom Disch.  It seems important to know this in my apparent job.

https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/how-unicorns-in-the-newsroom-change-the-storytelling-process/s2/a564795/

Return of the Grammar Whiz

American justice clear time


Rules as always:  add words at the beginnind and/or end to make a grammatical English sentence.  No adding punctuation to the phrase.  No meta-syntax using words as objects of discussion, e.g. "The phrase American justice clear time makes no sense"  or similar.

Dismaying, a little

I learn in the new New York Review of Books that Ezra Pound was influential in getting sections of Jouce's Ulysses published in the American literary journal the Little Review.  One of the pieces (for which the issue was suppressed) included one "proposed title" -- which I was amazed to see -- and research showed me was not far in the finished book, which i read with care long ago -- including this passage no doubt -- which i thereupon forgot that I had read, except i perhaps had NOT forgot:

EVERYMAN HIS OWN WIFE
            OR
    A HONEYMOON IN THE HAND
(A NATIONAL IMMORALITY IN THREE ORGASMS)
            BY
    BALLOCKY MULLIGAN

      It's even described as a sort of play, as was my own:


Ars Auto-Amatoria, or
Every Man his Own WIfe

A Very Heroic Epyllion, in Four Fits

...with a Dramatis personae which included "the brothers,Ballaock, a pair of hangers-on"  (see Daemonomania, pp.147-152 of the Bantam edition).  OBVIOUSLY readers have assumed I just lifted it.  And maybe I did.
I think the phrase "at long last" is strange -- strangely moving, odd in construction, impenetrable in meaning to a non-English speaker, beautiful on the mind's tongue so to speak.  I retain it as the title of a book I very likely won't write.  I looked on Amazon and it is the title of a small number of books -- a gay romance, a get-rich guide, etc., but no book I saw carried the touching affect of the words, or that the words could have in the right context.

A time to update

It seems to me that it's time (!) to update Ecclesiastes. "A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together"? "A time to embrace, a time to refrain from embracing"? Surely we can improve this list. "A time to tweet, a time to refrain from tweeting" would be one, but surely the list could be as long as the original and more, you know.