Is dystopia a model for living or a warning to prevent? Could certain narratives, (such as the zombie apocalypse/every man for himself scenario) be dangerous to societal thinking? How can science fiction and speculative narratives promote community mindedness in an uncertain future? Is it the responsibility of the author to create stories with all these ideas in mind?
To debate these questions, we’re gathering science fiction and speculative fiction authors who’ve written utopian and dystopian stories. BookSwell Read & Relate vidchat salon host Cody Sisco will welcome guest host Kate Maruyama along with guest authors Cecil Castellucci, Matthew Kressel, PJ Manney, Nisi Shawl, and Sherri L. Smith.
About BookSwell’s Read & Relate vidchat salon
To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.
We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.
The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.
Cecil Castellucci is the award winning and New York Times Bestselling author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Shade, The Changing Girl, Boy Proof, Soupy Leaves Home, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star, The Female Furies and Odd Duck. In 2015 she co-authored Star Wars Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. She is currently writing Batgirl for DC Comics and The Little Mermaid for Dark Horse Comics. Her two newest graphic novels are Girl on Film (Boom!) and The Plain Janes (Little Brown). Her short stories and short comics have been published in Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Womanthology, Star Trek: Waypoint, Vertigo SFX: Slam! and many other anthologies. In a former life, she was known as Cecil Seaskull in the ‘90s indie band Nerdy Girl. She has written two opera librettos Les Aventures de Madame Merveille (World Premiere in 2010) and Hockey Noir: The Opera (World Premiere 2018). She is the former Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus, a two-time MacDowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles.
Matthew Kressel is a writer & software developer. He is a three time Nebula Award Finalist and a Eugie Award Finalist. His short fiction can be found in Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Analog, io9, Nightmare, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition, and The Best Science Fiction of the Year – Volume 3, as well as many other magazines and anthologies. As a coder, he created the Moksha submissions system, in use by many of the largest SF publishers today. He is the co-host of Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in New York with Ellen Datlow. Find him online at @mattkressel or at www.matthewkressel.net.
PJ Manney is the author of the P.K. Dick Award-nominated (R)EVOLUTION, book 1 in a series with (ID)ENTITY, and the upcoming trilogy’s end (CON)SCIENCE, as well as non-fiction about technology, future humans, and empathy-building through storytelling. She was a former Chairperson of Humanity+, teleplay writer (Hercules–The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, numerous TV pilot scripts) and film executive.
Kate Maruyama‘s first novel was Harrowgate (47North, 2013). Her short works have appeared in Arcadia Magazine, Controlled Burn, and Stoneboat; on Salon, Duende, Entropy, and in an upcoming Asimov’s among other journals; as well as in numerous anthologies, including Winter Horror Days (Omnium Gatherum Media, 2015) and Halloween Carnival 3 (Hydra, 2017). Maruyama edited Nicole Sconiers’s speculative short fiction collection, Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage (Spring Lane Publishing, 2011), has been a jury chair for the Bram Stoker Awards, and is a two time juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. She teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles in the MFA and BA programs among other places. She writes, teaches, cooks, and eats in Los Angeles, where she lives with her family.
Nisi Shawl is an African American writer, editor, teacher, and journalist best known for their science fiction and fantasy dealing with gender, race, and colonialism, including the Nebula finalist novel Everfair. Their most recent publication is the collection Talk Like a Man, part of PM Press’s Outspoken Author series. They live in Seattle, where they’re working dilegently on their next novel, Kinning, a sequel to Everfair.
Sherri L. Smith is the author of seven award-winning young adult novels, including the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist, Flygirl, and the cli-fi speculative novel, Orleans. Her books appear on multiple state lists and have been named Amelia Bloomer and American Library Association Best Books for Young People selections. She teaches in the MFA Writing program at Goddard College in Vermont. Her newest novel is The Blossom and the Firefly. Learn more at www.sherrilsmith.com
About Cody Sisco
Cody Sisco is an author, publisher, and literary community organizer.
As an author, Cody’s speculative fiction straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. His Resonant Earth Series includes two novels thus far, Broken Mirror and Tortured Echoes, and a short story prequel, Believe and Live. Altered Bodies, the third volume in the series, is due out in early 2020.
In 2017 Cody co-founded Made in L.A., an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His imprint, Resonant Earth Publishing, markets and promotes the Made in L.A. annual fiction anthology.
Cody is a Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop 2017 Fellow and a co-organizer of the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. His startup, BookSwell, makes the LA literary landscape easier to navigate, introduces readers to new writing, and interweaves digital and real-life literary experiences.
BookSwell is a literary events and media production company dedicated to connecting readers and writers.
We help make the book scene easier to navigate, introduce readers to new writing, and interweave digital and real-life literary experiences.
Our passion is elevating underrepresented voices in publishing, including writers of color and LGBTQ, female/nonbinary, and indie writers.