My Readercon Schedule

Next weekend is Readercon, for which I am incredibly excited. How could I not be? Check out the amazing panels I’m on!

Friday July 14

12:00 PM    6    Back from the Dead. Judith Berman, John Crowley, N.S. Dolkart, Nicholas Kaufmann, Sioban Krzywicki (leader). There are many characters in SF/F who die in what appears to be a permanent fashion, only to be brought back from death. Examples, left intentionally vague to avoid spoilers, appear in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Daniel José Older’s Bone Street Rumba books, and as far back as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. How do the characters interact with resurrection (their own or someone else’s) and in some cases even prepare for it? When do readers feel like this works and is believable and satisfying, and when does it feel like a cheap trick or a cop-out? What is it like to read these stories while grieving, or keenly aware of one’s own mortality?
7:00 PM    6    Race and Historical Accuracy in Cod-Medieval Fantasy Fiction. S.A. Chakraborty, Phenderson Clark, N.S. Dolkart, Tom Greene, Catherynne M. Valente. Too often, we’ve heard the excuse of “historical accuracy” used to explain the lack of PoC in historical fiction. Yet their presence is profoundly felt throughout European history, including in the medieval era so often used or modified as a fantasy setting: Arabic numbers have been used in Western societies for centuries, philosopher Ibn Rushd preserved and notated the works of Aristotle, the Silk Road brought traders and diplomats from all over Asia, and Moors in Spain were credited with promoting astronomy, medicine, and literacy. This panel will discuss how to populate cod-medieval fantasy novels with characters of color who have dimension, depth, and humanity, while avoiding stereotypes of swarthy villains and uncouth sidekicks.

Saturday July 15

2:00 PM    C    Lines of Consent in Fiction. Samuel R. Delany, N.S. Dolkart, Lila Garrott, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Josh Jasper. In science fiction and fantasy, consent is often handled in fuzzy, imprecise ways. Obvious scenarios of non-consent, such as the enslaved house elves in the Harry Potter books, are easily identified as problematic, but less is said about magical destiny that compels an ordinary person to become a hero; inherited magic, rank, or family feuds that empower or endanger a character without their consent; soul mates, who are forced to love and be attracted to each other; werewolves compelled to change shape under the full moon; and other strictures that are so common we’ve come to take them for granted. This panel will discuss work that either explicitly deals with consent or appears oblivious to its relevance, and will explore the writer’s responsibility when placing characters in a scenario (or plot) that hinges on questionable consent or non-consent. Content note: this panel may explicitly discuss violations of consent and their consequences. For the purposes of this panel, trigger warnings and content notes are assumed to be valuable tools that assist the reader.

Sunday July 16

12:30 PM    A    Reading: N.S. Dolkart. N.S. Dolkart. N.S. Dolkart will conduct an interactive Bad Prose reading of his dreadfully-written story, “The Maltese Pelican.”

Judaism and the Godserfs Series

I know I’ve disappeared recently into a black hole of endless work and other stressful things (house hunting, anyone?), but I absolutely have to tell you about these three posts of mine that have come out this month, all discussing aspects of my series’ relationship with Judaism.

The first is over at the Jewish Book Council, where I discuss three biblical passages that particularly influenced my writing. They’re really fascinating passages in their own right, and you should definitely check it out.

The second post at the JBC is even dearer to my heart, a response to a 2010 essay in which Michael Weingrad argued that Judaism was inherently better suited to science fiction than to fantasy. In this response I discuss the thing that I feel to be most Jewish about my series: the complete lack of dualism.

Lastly, I’ve got a lovely post in ReformJudaism.org about how I ended up writing such Jewish stuff anyhow, when I’d always resisted it in college. This one also reveals the idea at the core of Among the Fallenso only read it if you don’t mind some spoilers!

This is Not a Drill

Among the Fallen is out in stores right now! You can go buy it! I also have some great readings and talks lined up, so check out my events page if you’d like to hear me speak and get yourself a signed copy.

Another great piece of news I received recently is that I’ve been accepted as a panelist for Readercon this summer! I love Readercon, so this is really exciting for me. The discussions are always incredibly substantive, and the people are great. Plus Nnedi Okorafor is one of their guests of honor this year, which is so freaking cool. If you haven’t read anything of hers, you should really get on that.

Looking forward to April

I was halfway through writing a new blog post the other night when my wife said, “Hey, shouldn’t you be sending that to the publicist instead?”

Why, pray tell? Because we’re already at the cusp of publicity season for Among the Fallen, which comes out April 4th! So all my clever thoughts are getting run by the publicist first, so she can determine if I ought to post them myself or send them to other people as guest blog posts.

But fear not! I have other news for you. I’ve recently updated my News page to reflect all the various events I’ll be doing to celebrate the launch of my second published novel. Head over there and take a look!

Art & Theology at Fantasy Faction

Have you seen the beautiful cover of my second book, Among the Fallen? If you haven’t, head on over to Fantasy Faction and check it out! I can’t tell you how pleased I am with it – it’s everything I had hoped it would be. You have to see it.

I loved the cover so much, I spent some time this week perusing the artist’s portfolio at AndreasRocha.com, where I made another awesome discovery: Andreas has also done art for Magic cards! New side quest: collect all of the magic cards he’s done and use them in a deck (it should be easy – he’s mostly done lands).

But back to Among the Fallen (and back to Fantasy Faction) – FF has just put out a guest blog post I wrote about the theology of my series, so if you need a refresher (or just want to spend a little extra time in my world) you can check that out too!

***

Among the Fallen, book two of the Godserfs series, comes out April 4th. It is already available for pre-order at your favorite bookstore. If you would like to hear me speak – and buy a signed copy – check out my News page for upcoming public appearances.