Today is Day 3 of the Baltimore Book Festival, so I’ve been attending panels and meeting authors and been generally quite busy. After this weekend, things finally slow down for me. We went straight from 9 weeks of Maryland Renaissance Festival to our Halloween party to the Baltimore Book Festival, so I’m about ready for a month of sleep. Too bad we’re running right into the holidays!
I also recently learned about Sirens, a conference held in Denver concentrating on women in fantasy and science fiction, and WOW THAT IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. A good friend of mine attended this year (I think it was her second year? I’m not positive.) and I REALLY want to go next year, but it’s in Denver. So airfare. (And just flying in general. I hate flying.) And the admission cost is kinda steep, too. But 3/4 of the guests of honor next year are authors I love, and I’ve already read a good chunk of both their 2020 reading challenge and their 2020 suggested reading and it’s just – AAAAH THAT’S MY JAM. I just don’t know if I can make it happen.
But back to the Book Festival! My weekend was absolutely made within the first hour I was there on Friday, when I got to meet K.M. Szpara and get an ARC of his debut novel that’s coming out in March, Docile. I’ve been super excited about this book, and the ARC made this weekend a win no matter what else happened. He was an absolute DELIGHT to talk to, too.
I attended five panels on Friday – Virtual and Augmented Reality, World Building (in the context of Romance novels), A Love For All Hearts (Diversity in Romance), Magic Systems in SFF, and Genre-Bending. I think my favorite was Virtual and Augmented Reality; one of the panelists was Elsa Sjunesson-Henry, a deaf-blind woman who made the point that she lives in Augmented Reality because of her adaptive devices. (This point was revisited on Saturday, but I’ll get to that!) Elsa is one of my new favorite people – I’ve read one of her short stories, just bought the two issues of Uncanny Magazine that she edited (again, more on that later) and followed her on Twitter. She’s one of several authors I have total squishes on after the first two days of the Festival! I just want to pick their brains and read everything they’ve written.
Saturday began with a panel on Books That Renew My Love of Reading, which I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to attend. My TBR does NOT need more titles, but it sure has more now! After that was the panel that was the absolute highlight of the day, Disability in Sci-fi and Fantasy. This panel had a FANTASTIC cast, which included the aforementioned Else Sjunesson-Henry, as well as Victoria Lee, the author of The Fever King (which I finished on Thursday night, I’ll be working on a review this week – short answer, it’s EXCELLENT!). Sunny Moraine, Day Al-Mohamed, and A.T. Greenblatt rounded out the panel. These authors were absolute FIRE. The topics ranged from invisible disabilities to what actually COUNTS as a disability (have you changed your life to accommodate something? That’s a disability) to how far representation in SFF has come and how far it has to go. They discussed Cure Narratives, magic hand-waving, and the lack of disabled people in post-apocalyptic narratives. This panel was absolutely the best one I’ve seen in the first two days. If you’ve read many of my Sunday posts, you probably know by now that I have a couple of autoimmune diseases and my husband is autistic, so this panel hit pretty close to home for us.
Saturday we also attended panels on Beyond the Monarchy (which, unfortunately, was all about monarchy, which I thought was odd, I thought it was going to be about other power structures!), Romantic Suspense, and Dark Fantasy and Horror.
I finally picked up the first of Ruthanna Emrys’ books, Winter Tide, which is Cthulhu-esque fantasy, and Bob Angell’s queer science-fiction romance novel, Best Game Ever. (Which isn’t on Goodreads? ACK!) The bottom three books in the cover photo were giveaways.
Today is another full day of panels, with the Blogger panel at the romance stage, and then everything else over at the SFF stage – Comics & Graphic Novels for Adults, YA and MG SFF, Dystopias, News Media in SFF, and Building Queerer Worlds in SFF. I am very excited about that last one, the list of panelists is FANTASTIC. (Also, I looked up the one unfamiliar name on that panel, Alison Wilgus, and realized we talked to them at some length today with no idea who they were, which I find hilarious. They were pretty cool, and I have now followed them on Twitter! I have followed SO MANY new people on Twitter this weekend!)
Last but DEFINITELY not least, I finally got to meet Lisa from Way Too Fantasy in person – we’ve been friends on Twitter since last Book Festival, so it was really neat to meet her for real! We chatted between panels, and I’m hoping to see her again today.
BOOK FESTIVAL. I’M GOING TO BE SO TIRED TOMORROW BUT BOOOOOOK FESTIVAL!