I’ll be taking part in several panels at the World SF Convention in London in August (Loncon 3), and my schedule is below.
- Not with a Bang, but with a Metaphor: Panel, Thursday (14th August) 12:00 – 13:30 Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)
Blurb: From Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to McCarthy’s ‘The Road’, apocalyptic and dystopian futures are a perennial favourite with writers who might be labelled ‘mainstream’ or ‘literary’. Why do such scenarios have an appeal that goes beyond a genre readership? What does a non-genre apocalypse have to offer that a science fictional one might not, and vice versa? Do we all share broadly similar nightmares, regardless of what ratio of science to sensibility we prefer?
Other panellists: Jacob Weisman, David Hebblethwaite, Paul Weimer, Noa Menhaim.
(A few thoughts about apocalyptic stories and their appeal here.)
- Through a Hollywood Adaptation, Darkly: Panel, Thursday (14th August) 18:00 – 19:00. Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)
Blurb: Thanks largely to the ever-increasing number of film adaptations of his work, Philip K Dick is one of the small number of genre authors whose names have been commodotised: “Dickian” is now a shorthand for paranoia, shifting realities and unstable identities, or even for the condition of twenty-first century life in general. But to what extent is this cliché precis an accurate reflection of the breadth of Dick’s work? What other themes and preoccupations can we see in his novels and stories? How far does his influence on modern SF really extend — and what rewards does his work offer to new readers today?
Other panellists: Christi Scarborough, Grania Davis, Malcolm Edwards.
(Some thoughts of mine on this topic here.)
- Autographing 3 – Chris Beckett. Friday 12:00 – 13:30, Autographing Space (ExCeL)
- Kaffeeklatsch. Friday 14:00 – 15:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL). With Kim Stanley Robinson.
- Launch of Marcher. Friday 16.30-17.30, Library (Fan Village). Launch of the new and revised edition of my 2nd novel Marcher, from Newcon Press, along with Nina Allan’s new novel The Race, Adam Robert’s collection of sssays and criticism, Sibilant Fricative, a new edition of Kim Lakin-Smith’s Cyber Circus, and the new Newcon anthology, Paradox.
- The Canon is Dead. What Now? Panel, Saturday (August 16th) 19:00 – 20:00. Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
Blurb: On the one hand, initiatives like the SF Gateway are helping to ensure the SF backlist remains accessible to today’s readers, and an increasing number of “classic” SF writers are receiving the establishment seal of approval in series like the Library of America (Philip K. Dick) and the Everyman Library (Isaac Asimov). On the other hand, the SF readership is increasingly diverse, with fewer readers who have come to the field via those “classics”, and many who find little of value in them in any case. In other words the traditional SF canon is no longer tenable — but the history is still out there. So what alternative models and narratives should we be using to understand the field’s past? Should we be working to expand the canon, or to describe multiple overlapping histories — or something else?
Other panellists: Kate Nepveu, Connie Willis, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Joe Monti
(Some thoughts on this topic here.)
- Interzone and Beyond: British SF magazines of the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s: Panel, Sunday (August 17th) 15:00 – 16:30. Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)
Blurb: Interzone has been a stalwart of the British genre scene since it first launched in 1982, publishing early stories by Charlie Stross and Stephen Baxter, as well as authors from outside Britain like Aliette de Bodard and Eugie Foster. But the past thirty years have seen a number of genre magazines launched in the UK, including Postscripts, Black Static, Infinity Plus, and The Third Alternative. How have they influenced the British genre scene? How did they find their own niches in the UK SF market, and which careers have been launched in their pages? And what is the importance of British SF magazines in an increasingly global and online market?
Other panellists: Wendy Bradley, Malcolm Edwards, David Pringle, Gareth L. Powell.