So, we just got back from Readercon in Burlington, Massachusetts – and what a convention! If you’re a New England-area sci-fi/fantasy fan – heck, if you’re a sci-fi/fantasy fan ANYWHERE – this is a can’t-miss con. It’s a professional convention, so the panel list is full of things like “Post-Colonial Independence and the Fantastic,” “Writing for Electronic Devices,” and “Theological Debate in Fantasy and SF.” Plus, there were panels on the dystopia trend, how to avoid hearing too much about what an author intended, and tons of readings. Truth be told, I was depressed at being stuck in the dealer room instead of attending all the readings and panels! Maybe next year…
Although being in the dealer room wasn’t exactly being stranded on a desert island. We were right next to the fine folks of Lethe Press, who provided entertainment (and booth-watching for needed bathroom breaks) throughout the weekend, and we were surrounded by BOOKS. SO MANY BOOKS. How can that possibly be bad?
We met a ton of really interesting folks over the course of the weekend, and had a great time chatting with everyone who stopped by. And, of course, pitching our books to anyone who veered our way, drawn in by an ample supply of free gum and candy. Always bait the table, kids. MUAHAHAHA.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Readercon. We sold books (thereby adding to some people’s heavy loads of volumes to schlep home), we chatted people up (Lego Dr Who earrings are amazing conversation-starters), we had a great time…and we also were part of the formal announcement of a forthcoming woman-centric science fiction anthology, edited by Athena Andreadis and Kay Holt. The Other Half of the Sky is going to be a powerhouse anthology, addressing the curious and strange lack of strong female characters leading original science fiction, and Candlemark & Gleam is ecstatic to be bringing the project to you in print.
Women may hold up more than half the sky on earth, but it has been different in heaven: science fiction still is very much a preserve of male protagonists, mostly performing by-the-numbers quests. In The Other Half of the Sky, editor Athena Andreadis offers readers heroes who happen to be women, doing whatever they would do in universes where they’re fully human: starship captains, planet rulers, explorers, scientists, artists, engineers, craftspeople, pirates, rogues… As one of the women in Tiptree’s “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” says: “We sing a lot. Adventure songs, work songs, mothering songs, mood songs, trouble songs, joke songs, love songs – everything.” Everything.
The list of invited writers is jaw-dropping: Aliette de Bodard, Terry Boren, Kate Elliott, Alexander Jablokov, Kelly Jennings, Calvin Johnson, Sue Lange, Ken Liu, Christine Lucas, Alexandra MacFarlane, Jack McDevitt, Laura Mixon, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Cat Rambo, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Melissa Scott, Nisi Shawl, Vandana Singh, Joan Slonczewski, Martha Wells.
You know you want to read this one! We’ll have more information for you in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned!