Eastercon 2016 Recommended Reading

We just got back from Eastercon in Manchester (Mancunicon), and it was awesome. It felt like there was more diverse and interesting (to me) programming than last year, and I took part in my first panels, which was balling.

A huge thanks to the committee and the panellists and audiences for fascinating, respectful and educational discussions. I feel at least 18% smarter now than before I went.

There was so much great fiction recommended it was hard to keep up. Here’s a round up from the panels I was on.mancunicon sketch002

Image: My favourite sketch I did at Mancunicon. ‘Man Fascinated by Panel’ :)

Supporting the Short Stuff
Val Nolan, Ruth EJ Booth, Matthew Hughes, Juliet Kemp

We didn’t solve the challenges in the market, but we did talk about using new media (Youtube, Snapchat) to engage new readers, as well as the fact that magazines are a precipitous business no matter what their subject matter.

Discussion ranged over the health of the short fiction landscape, Kickstarter fatigue, and whether short stories were fine art (therefore expected to support themselves through fundraising and philanthropy) or entertainment (therefore a small business).

My recommendations for some smaller short fiction magazines to read were:

Lontar, Journal of South East Asian Speculative Fiction
Interfictions – A Journal of Interstitial Arts
OmenanaSpeculative fiction writing from across Africa and the African Diaspora
Delinquent’s SpiceBringing together lesser known folk and fairy-tale types
Fireside Fiction – A magazine covering many genres, just great stories.

Lastly, a huge thank you to the person to came up to me later in the con and said how much they’d enjoyed this panel, were going to check out the podcast, and felt like the recommendations had given them a way into short fiction. You made my day :)

Radicalism in World building
I was totally schooled in radical thinking, fiction and academic critique by my wonderful co-panellists Kate Wood, Graham Sleight and Jude Roberts. My contribution was mainly to ask them what the words they were saying meant. I learned a new one, heterotopia.

In no particular order, the fiction we talked about:

  • Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks
  • When it Changed, by Joanna Russ
  • Houston Houston do you Read Me? by James Tiptree Jr.
  • Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
  • Infotopia, by Cass Sunstein
  • Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K Le Guin
  • Lagoon, by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Written Body, by Jeanette Winston
  • Greg Egan’s short fiction
  • Omnisexual, by Geoff Ryman
  • Frederic Jameson (literary critic)
  • Pomona, a play by Alistair McDowall

The Year ahead And The Year Just gone in Science Fiction
with Johan Anglemark (mod), Martin Wisse, Niall Harrison, Nina Allen

All around, we were excited by a lot of fiction in 2015 & 16. Here’s a quick run down. It’s enough to keep me going til 2017 I think.

My recommendations:
2015

2016

Nina’s recommendations:
2015

  • If Then – Matthew de Abaitua
  • Find Me – Laura Van Den Berg
  • The Shore – Sara Taylor
  • Rawblood – catriona Ward
  • Sorcerer of the Wildeeps – Kai Ashante Wilson

2016

  • Hystopia, by David Means
  • When the Floods Came, by Claire Morrall
  • Graft, by Matt Hill
  • The Sunlight Pilgrims, by Jenni Fagan
  • Gold Fame Citrus, by Claire Vaye Watkins

Niall’s recommendations:
2015:

  • The Devourers, by Indra Das
  • Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera
  • The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu
  • The Glorious Angels, by Justina Robson
  • The Swan Book, by Alexis Wright

2016:

  • Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee
  • What is Yours is not Yours, by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Version Control, by Dexter Palmer
  • The Winged Histories, by Sofia Samatar
  • The Core of the Sun, by Johanna Sinisalo

I didn’t catch all of Martin’s recommendations, but here’s the ones I did:

  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
  • Otherbound & On the Edge of Gone, by Corinne Duyvis

There were so many panels I wanted to see, but couldn’t. It was always tough to decide what to go to. I’m especially interested if anyone has a round up from the Spanish or African SFF panels, I’d love to see them.

UPDATES:
Check out these other great round ups from Val Nolan, and Adrian Long (Adrian’s includes the Spanish SFF panel)

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