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I had a fantastic time at ReaderCon this weekend! I've known about it since my days of writing for Rose Fox at Publishers Weekly, as Rose has long been one of the convention organizers, but I had never been before. So when the Ragnarok Team was asked if we'd be sending an editor to the convention, my hand went up. It was a really excellent time, and I was impressed with the attention to details as small as the production quality of my name badge. Check out my photos on Facebook (as I'm still figuring out how to convince DreamWidth to embed them in my post).

I attended two panels. "It's Complicated: Improving Intersectionality and Representation in Speculative Fiction," featured David Bowles, Phenderson Clark, Hilary Monahan, Catt Kingsgrave, Miriam Newman, and Teri Clarke. It was tremendous fun—despite the seriousness of the subject matter, the panelists knew how to have a good time with engaging the audience while still getting their points across. I hadn't been very aware of the term intersectionality. Phenderson Clark described it as having "all these identities wrapped up in one person," which I think is a really wonderful concept that ought to appear in all characters—David Bowles pointed out "The term intersectionality had to be invented... to actually reflect the real world." Teri Clarke really stole the show, and Miriam Newman, an editor, touched on some topics that are professionally important to me.

The second panel "Sidereal Symphonies: Writing Extraterrestrial Art and Performance" was as much fun as you'd imagine, but got surprisingly (or, perhaps not) mythological at times. The panel included John Clute, Catherynne M. Valente, Caroline M. Yoachim, Henry Wessells, and friend-of-the-blog Max Gladstone. Catherynne Valente had the subject very fresh in her imagination and had most of the best quotes of the panel ("These aliens come and blow shit up. Well, what did they sing about that?" And then, "I refuse to believe that any interstellar culture is incapable of producing a pop song.") I loved Caroline M. Yoachim's overall belief that aliens just aren't weird enough, and I delighted in John Clute referencing Mircea Eliade, whose The Sacred and the Profane was required reading for the mythology tours I TAed.

But probably the most fun I had was just chatting with industry people: I met up with editor Becky Slitt from Choice of Games and we talked about what I'd be writing next. And I had a delightful chat with literary agent Alex Adsett, who represent Alan Baxter, who we publish at Ragnarok. My day ended with a great time chatting with Becky, Max, and Max's wife Stephanie in the restaurant discussing the necessity of chocolate, which is a great way to end any day.

All in all, it was really fantastic, and I hope that we at Ragnarok can have a bigger presence there next year!
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Alana Joli Abbott

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