On Saturday Miss 12 and I head off to Europe, leaving Marianne and Miss 14 to manage the home front. This is a huge trip. We’re heading to Normandy to celebrate Ellen Klages’s birthday, before spending a few days in Paris and then London for WorldCon and tourism. It should be amazing. It feels like we’ve been talking about it for years. While I’ve been terrible at this, we’re going to try to record some of the details of the trip here. There will be planes, food, sights, food, shows, food, convention, food, and so on. It should be cool.
In just over a week Miss 12 and I will be headed to Europe for shennanigans. There’ll be time in Normandy to celebrate the birthday of the fabulous Ellen Klages, with a side trip to Mont Saint-Michel, Paris, with patisseries and museums(!), and London (with Loncon3!). I don’t know if I ever actually thought we’d get to this point. Bags are being prepped, bookings are being finalised. We’re almost on the road (or in the air). Our sincerest thanks to those left behind, Marianne and Miss 14. We owe you one!
The road to Loncon is ahead, but things are coming together. Below is my tentative schedule for the convention. There may be changes, and some other panelists may change, but this should be pretty close to the real thing. Please come along. Coode St 200!!!
When is a Fantasy not a Fantasy?
Thursday 13:30 – 15:00
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? Paul Kincaid , Greer Gilman , Graham Sleight, Jonathan Strahan, E. Lily Yu
A Reader’s Life During Peak Short Fiction
Friday 12:00 – 13:30
There are now more speculative short stories published than any one person can hope to read — or even find. So how do fans of the short-form navigate this landscape? With so much ground to cover, how does an individual reader find stories they like — are we more author-driven in our reading habits? Conversely, how and why do particular stories “break out” and become more widely known? To what extent is the greater volume of material enabling — and recognising — a greater diversity of authors and topics? And what is the place of short fiction in today’s field — testing ground for ideas, the heart of the discussion, or something else? Jetse de Vries (M), Abigail Nussbaum, Jonathan Strahan , Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Elizabeth Bear
Big Anthologies: Bookends or Benchmarks?
Friday 16:30 – 18:00
There’s a genre tradition of doorstop-sized anthologies that attempt to synopsise a period or style: Ascent of Wonder, The Weird, Twenty-First Century Science Fiction, and others. What makes these anthologies successful, or not? Does ‘success’ mean summarising a past conversation, or influencing the conversation that’s still going on? Or are they always and inevitably doomed enterprises? Is it possible to TOC an age, or a genre? Or are these sorts of anthologies in fact arguments, rather than snapshots? Jo Walton (M), Martin Lewis, Jonathan Strahan, Jeff VanderMeer
Coode Street 200
Saturday 15:00 – 16:30
Coming to you live, from the temporarily relocated Coode Street Motel 6, it’s Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe on the 200th episode of the Hugo-nominated Coode Street podcaaaaaaaaaaaaaast! Expect the usual discussion and digression about science fiction and fantasy, with contributions from special guests Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Silverberg and Jo Walton. Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Silverberg, Jonathan Strahan, Gary Wolfe, Jo Walton
Hugo Awards, 20:00 Sunday
Some things are a long time coming. For close to two years I have been talking to my daughter about taking a trip to London, a two or three week long dad and daughter bonding experience before the heavy-lifting years of high school start.
Originally we planned to go to Brighton together for World Fantasy, but it didn’t quite work out. There was a school camp to attend, and it looked easier to try for Loncon 3, the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention. When a friend’s birthday in Normandy offered the chance to pass through Paris and spend some time in the French countryside too we settled on a plan fairly quickly.
Well, when I say quickly, we took another year nearly planning things and talking about it and not saving, and possibly might not have gone at all except that we had to: this chance might not coming again. And so, last Friday dates were settled, overall plans confirmed, and plane tickets were purchased. We’re going! Paris, Normandy and London here we come!
There’s a lot more planning to do, but come August we’re on a plane and it should be fun!