Friday 2:00 PM, Salon F: Panel
Triumphing Over Competence. Matthew Cheney, Carl Frederick, Adam Golaski (L), Theodora Goss, Claude Lalumiere, Cecilia Tan
Jeff VanderMeer created an online ruckus with the assertion that today's short fiction market has been overwhelmed by "the triumph of competence." We can think of nothing less useful than a debate between those who agree with VanderMeer and others who feel we are in a Golden Age of short fiction, since the presence of both camps argues convincingly that any response to today's short fiction market is subjective. Instead, let's ask: what practical things can we do to make things better, regardless of how good we think they are now? What can we do to promulgate the writing of more (or "even more") great stories? And what can we do to help readers find stories they'll love, especially if they've been burnt out by over-exposure to the merely good?
Saturday 10:00 AM, Salon G: Panel
The Career of James Patrick Kelly. Matthew Cheney, F. Brett Cox (L), Matthew Jarpe, Michaela Roessner, Sarah Smith
The program guide is now online as a PDF, and it's full of interesting stuff. Two films are worth noting: the Thursday night (10pm) showing of The Polymath, or The Life & Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman and this item Friday night:
9:00 ME Tom Disch’s “Winter Journey.” (40 min.) Almost exactly a year after the death of his longtime partner Charles Naylor in September 2004, Tom Disch began writing a sequence of poems, which he shared on his blog. Eventually there were 31 of them. He titled the sequence “Winter Journey” after Schubert’s lieder cycle “Winterreise” (a work Naylor loved). Elizabeth Hand calls the sequence “an extraordinary efflorescence of grief ... tragic, bitter, bleakly funny, romantic, heart-rending—and also accessible. I can imagine, by some divine fluke, the book becoming a surprise, posthumous bestseller—an irony Disch would have appreciated.” When the sequence was completed, Disch contacted friend and filmmaker Eric Solstein, and asked if a reading of the work might be videotaped to serve as a suicide note. At its conclusion, he said, he would kill himself, the attendant publicity hopefully contributing to the success of the recording. A deal was struck between Tom and Eric—the taping would proceed if the suicide were postponed for some indefinite period of time. This will be the first public showing of “Winter Journey.” The poems are to be published later this year, by Payseur and Schmidt, with a DVD of the reading included.(Disch's suicide on July 4 has been on my mind ever since I learned about it. The best obituaries I've read so far are by John Clute and Liz Hand.)