As noted earlier, I’ll be at Loncon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention being held in London in mid-August. I’ll be on a couple of panels, as per the following schedule. If you’re there, do come up and say hi!
When is a Fantasy not a Fantasy?
Thursday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)
Many of the more liminal fantasies play with the idea of psychosis as a blurring the boundaries of the world (Megan Lindholm’s Wizard of the Pigeons, Steve Cockayne’s The Good People, Jo Walton’s My Real Children); many ‘mainstream’ novels present worlds built of dream, the afterlife, or metaphor. What determines whether something is a fantasy or not: authorial intent, genre signals, reader perceptions? How far should we accept characters’ own sense of the world, and when can we judge them as unreliable witnesses?
Miriam Weinberg (M), Greer Gilman, Paul Kincaid, Graham Sleight, Jonathan Strahan, Catherynne M. Valente
The Evolution of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Friday 18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)
The SFE is 35 this year, and is now in its third edition. This panel will discuss how the SFE came about, and how it has changed with the times. What are the processes that go into creating an encyclopedia, and what are the pitfalls? How has the transition to an online format shaped the third edition? And in what ways does its increasing internationalisation reflect transformations in the field at large?
Rick Wilber (M), Jonathan Clements, John Clute, David Langford, Graham Sleight(, Neal Tringham
Sunday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
In a review of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, John Clute wrote, ‘It is not easy — it should not really be feasible — to write a tale set in twentieth century that is not a tale about the twentieth century.” A number of other recent books, including Peter Higgins’ Wolfhound Century, Christopher Priest’s The Adjacent, and Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century, are also ‘about’ historicising the near-past in this sense. How is the fantastic gaze operating on the twentieth century? Do we have enough distance to see it clearly yet?
Graham Sleight (M), John Clute, Peter Higgins, Elizabeth Hand, Christopher Priest
Looking Back On Anger: remembering 70s sf in the 21st century
Sunday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 4 (ExCeL)
Almost 30 years on from Jeanne Gomoll’s “Open Letter to Joanna Russ“, this panel will look at how the science fiction of the 70s is remembered today. Which works have stayed in the public eye, and which have faded away? Whose commentary still speaks to us, and what was the conversation like back then? What has proven to be problematic, and what remains unresolved?
Pat Murphy (M), Jeanne Gomoll, Lesley Hall, Christopher Priest, Graham Sleight
Regenerating the Closet
Monday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 4 (ExCeL)
In their classic incarnations, shows such as Star Trek and Doctor Who attracted substantial queer fanbases and uncountable fanworks that worked to queer the text — the latter discussed in one of this year’s Hugo nominees, Queers Dig Time Lords. Both franchises have been relaunched in the last decade. What do these new versions, products of a supposedly more tolerant time, tell us about changes (or lack of changes) in narrative and social expectations for queerness and queer characters?
Graham Sleight (M), Leo Adams, S. J. Groenewegen, Erin Horakova, Amal El-Mohtar