I’ll be at Readercon 28 this year! In addition to a live reading of my wendigo-themed story, The Famine King, I’ll discuss horror, #ownvoices, terrific myths, and the politics of villains. Interested? Of course! You’ve never heard a Ph.D.-possessing badger talk about these matters before! Here’s my schedule:
THURSDAY, July 12th
8:00 PM, 6, Footsteps in the Dark: The Sensory Range of Horror.
F. Brett Cox (leader), John Langan, Darcie Little Badger, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Paul Tremblay.
Horror is frequently thought of as a visual medium, and is often adapted for film and television. However, other senses are vitally important to the development of horror stories, and the experience of fear for the reader. Consider Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, which erased sight for the main characters, or the pounding in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Consider also the recent uptick in films with disabled characters, such as the Deaf writer in Hush and the blind antagonist in Don’t Breathe. This panel will explore these and other works of multisensory horror, and address how writers can create vivid horror experiences for readers.
9:30 PM, A, The Famine King
Darcie Little Badger reads “The Famine King.” Published by Mythic Delirium (spring 2017), this short story is a piece of weird spec fiction with a Native, mentally ill protagonist. It was recently highlighted in the Outer Dark podcast and A.C. Wise’s “Women to Read” blog series.
FRIDAY, July 14th
11:00 AM, 5, The Politics of Villains
Maria Dahvana Headley (leader), Darcie Little Badger, Naomi Novik, Cameron Roberson, Terence Taylor, Gregory Wilson
The villains of speculative fiction (and fiction in general) often reflect the biases of their times. Race, sexuality, disability, and gender have all been and continue to be used as shorthand for evil; some supposedly villainous physical traits, such as hooked noses on witches, have been around for so long that many modern authors don’t even realize they’re rooted in bigoted stereotypes. In response, some authors have deliberately created villains who stand in for oppressive power structures. This panel will dig into the concept of a villain, a person who embodies evil or wrongness, and discuss whether it can ever really be separated from the writer’s culture-influenced understanding of which categories of people are most likely to be villainous.
3:00 PM, 6, Horror Fiction Is Where I Put My Fear (and Lust, and…)
Teri Clarke, Gwynne Garfinkle, J.D. Horn, Darcie Little Badger, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
When we peel back the monsters in horror, a wealth of social and psychological complexities lie beneath. Tananarive Due writes in her essay “The H Word: On Writing Horror,” “Horror fiction is where I put my fear that harm will come to my son because his skin is brown. Horror fiction is where I put my fear of my own mortality.” Kristi DeMeester, in “What Horror Taught Me About Being a Woman,” discusses her delight in discovering forbidden, gory sex scenes in Anne Rice’s work. Our panelists will discuss how women, people of color, and others whose concerns get little mainstream airtime can use horror as a way to examine and explore cultural and personal anxieties and longings.
5:00 PM, 6, The Global Roots of Speculative Literature
S.A. Chakraborty, Haris Durrani, Robert Killheffer, Darcie Little Badger, Susan Matthews (leader)
Discussions of “genre classics” tend to focus mainly on modern Western works. This panel will discuss proto-genre narratives from antiquity and the pre-modern and early modern era in the world beyond Western Europe, including not only myths and legends but early authored works such as the Hamzanama (The Adventures of Amir Hamza), the Baital Pachisi (Vikram and the Vampire), and Fengshen Yanyi (The Creation of the Gods).
SUNDAY, July 16th
10:00 AM, 5, #Ownvoices Without Limiting Diverse Creators
Steve Berman, Tom Greene, Darcie Little Badger, Hillary Monahan, Mark Oshiro (leader), Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
Corinne Duyvis created the #ownvoices hashtag to celebrate stories of marginalization told by those with direct personal experience of it. But well-meaning editors and agents focusing on acquiring #ownvoices work, at a time when marginalized authors are still dramatically underrepresented on the shelves, have left some writers wondering whether their only path to publication is writing #ownvoices stories. How can those with power in the industry support marginalized creators in telling stories of all kinds, in ways that increase their options rather than setting up new hurdles and limitations, and dismantle the system that forces marginalized writers to compete with one another for a few spots on a publisher’s list while those with the most privilege still get most of the contracts, funds, and promotion?
I made some sweet business cards for the event. Hope they arrive in time. Ooooh shiny.