Little Badger’s Readercon Schedule!

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.

BusinessCard

My debut comic is ALIIIIVE!

Hey, y’all! Do you wanna read a comic about two Lipan teens who save their home from a sinister southern belle? OF COURSE YOU DO! “Worst Bargain in Town,” my comic about love and hair, has been released in Moonshot Volume 2! If you’re interested in the comic’s inspiration and creation, I was recently interviewed for Sequential Tart.

Here’s a one-page preview (intriguing!!)

WorstBargain_Preview

Notes on “The Famine King”

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I have a new horror story in Mythic Delirium 3.3, “The Famine King.” You can read it online heeeere: Mythic Delirium 3.3, February Featured Story. It’s about wendigo movies, psychosis, hunger, and the cannibal world we live in. Although the story is among my most personal and complex, this blog post will not comment on its meaning(s) or try to direct reader interpretation. However, I’d like to discuss (briefly) the main character, Irene. During the story, she has a psychotic episode, and guess what! She’s not the bad guy! That’s no spoiler, by the way: it’s something that should go without saying. Unfortunately, the horror genre is not known for realistic or sympathetic portrayals of mental illness. Cough. It’s time for a change!

Final fun fact: alternate universe versions of Irene and Az (protagonists in “The Famine King”) appeared in the first story I sold, “To Sleep.” It’s a creepy flash about troubled dreams and small-town hatred. It’s inspired by the worst place I ever lived, a little town called Castleton, Vermont. Ask me about Castleton sometime. I dare you. The story is still in the Fiction 365 archives, but you can also read a copy on my blog: To Sleep

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The Famine King: art by Lee Wagner. For more of Lee’s work, visit Twitter (@archwags) or Instagram (archwags)

Little Badger Talks Pow Wows, Regalia, and Other Things That Aren’t Magic

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From left to right: my uncle, my mother, and a child version of me.

Do y’all remember when dictionary.com described a pow wow as “(among North American Indians) a ceremony, especially one accompanied by magic …”? If not, here’s an article from ICTMN that describes the incident: Dictionary.com: A Pow Wow Is An Event Where Indians Practice ‘Magic’

Look, I’ve danced at countless pow wows, been dancing since I could walk, and we aren’t doing magic. To me, they’re about family and good times. Similarly, the outfits we wear during pow wows aren’t costumes. They’re regalia.

Cloth, beads, buckskin: my mother makes all my regalia, an act of love and sacrifice. Mom has a genetic form of generalized dystonia; it sends painful spasms through her body. Her legs, her arms, her fingers. Thousands of beads on my crown, thousands of sacrifices she made for me. When I wear my regalia, I honor my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, all the women who fought, suffered, and triumphed so I could thrive.

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The glorious diatom crown! I wrote more about it here: A Mermaid’s Crown

Each time I had a growth spurt as a child, Mom made me a new jingle dress. First, I danced in blue, then turquoise, then blue, then pink, then iridescent rainbow (my personal favorite), then purple. Once I matured, Mom sewed my traditional camp dresses with ocean-themed patterns; she made me a fringed shawl lined by seashell ribbon. I wore my regalia – blue camp dress and beaded moccasins – when I graduated from Princeton. The vibrant blues hid under the black graduation robe. When the other students threw their caps into the air, I tore off my robe, as if shedding chains.

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Princeton graduation (2010). Can you find my *real* regalia? Look for blue and yellow fish. Don’t ask about the horror book. 😛 I got bored. Photo by Diana Chien, my graduation buddy!

Our regalia aren’t costumes. Our pow wows aren’t magic shows.

This December 1st, my short story, “Black, Their Regalia,” will appear in Fantasy Magazine’s POC Destroy Fantasy! In fact, it’s the cover story! Loooook! Destroy ahoy! “Black, Their Regalia” is about three Apache/Navajo metalheads who either save the world or die trying! As you’re reading (and you WILL read it, right? right?), keep in mind that the story *is* fantasy – The Plague Eater is my invention – but pow wows are *not* fantasy. I’M TALKING TO YOU, DICTIONARY.COM!!!!!

My Blue Sargasso

When my mind is unoccupied with science, it becomes troubled. O, how I yearn for the depth and quiet of the Sargasso Sea. There, I fell in love with the ocean. On a research vessel battered by the mid-Atlantic gyre, beneath constellations without names. Landbound, I’d never seen a sky from horizon to horizon. It’s a remarkable thing, this bubble around us, this little skin against oblivion.

What can I do when the oblivion finds a home within me? Dream of ginseng tea, saltines, and a blue that could swallow me if I let it.

Sargasso

View from the RV Atlantic Explorer