The Superhero-Industrial Complex
Thursday 18:00 - 19:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)
The creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the most exciting pop culture developments of the last decade -- and contradicts the decades-long strategy, followed primarily by DC, of keeping superheroes in their own worlds for their screen incarnations. Now DC have plans to follow Marvel's lead (and Sony are developing an entire Spider-verse), but will the "Marvel megafranchise model" work for others? Does an interconnected universe imply certain kinds of stories and not others? What are the advantages of solo films? And how are different studios using other media -- in particular, TV -- to further develop their properties?
Kate Nepveu (M), Jenni Hill, Glyn Morgan, CE Murphy, Gavia Baker Whitelaw
(I proposed this! Eee! I have been accumulating an alarming number of articles about this topic, it's a good thing I'll be getting it out of the way early.)
Fallen London - Recreating London in Games
Friday 10:00 - 11:00, London Suite 3 (ExCeL)
This panel celebrates some of the ways that London has been represented in games; including LARP, tabletop, point-and-click and videogames. We also explore some of the darker aspects of seeing London with a player's eye.
Frances Hardinge (M), David Cheval, Kate Nepveu, Jonathan Green
(This I am basically on to burble about Fallen London, the specific game.)
Welcome to Night Vale
Friday 18:00 - 19:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)
The podcast Welcome to Night Vale exploded in popularity in mid-2013. It's a pastiche of community radio set in the US Southwest, in a small town where all the conspiracy theories are true, the dog park is forbidden to both dogs and humans, and no-one bats an eye at Cecil, the radio host, rhapsodizing over Carlos, a new scientist in town. This panel will discuss the nature of reality in Night Vale; how the show's long-term plotting is working out; the good and less-good ways the show treats characters from underrepresented groups; the traditions it works with, and its counterparts in other media; and the panel's favourite moments, characters and quotes.
Douglas Spencer (M), Jesi Pershing, Ciaran Roberts, Kate Nepveu, Tanya Brown
(Must . . . finish . . . writeups . . . )
Feminism and Sexism in Fandom
Saturday 15:00 - 16:30, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)
Fandom has a rich heritage of exploring gender roles, sexism, misogyny and patriarchy. In current fandoms there are repeated discussions of the problems associated with fandoms including Doctor Who, Supernatural, Harry Potter, X-Men and Game of Thrones. Fans write detailed meta incorporating popular terms such as fridging and the Bechdel test as well as more complex cultural theory. Yet, at the same time, there is a common trait in fandom, especially media fandom, where sexually active female characters are slut-shamed, women who are perceived to interfere with the popular relationships on a show (whether canonical or not) are vilified, and fan works recreate heterosexism. Sometimes actresses playing characters receive online hatred and bullying while fans who criticise the sexism of an object of affection are rejected by fellow fans. In this session we explore some ways in which (largely) female fans engage with feminism and misogyny within their own circles.
Megan Waples (M), Katherine Jay, Kristina Knaving, Kate Keen, Kate Nepveu
(Two Kates on the panel! May have to do the preschool thing of Kate K. and Kate N., just to keep people from having to get their mouths around "Nepveu." And huh, this is 90 minutes, unlike the rest of the panels so far.)
I Before They, Except After You
Saturday 18:00 - 19:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)
Who is the narrator? Where and when is the story being told? These are just a few questions a reader may ask at the start of a new story. For many years, third-person has been genre's preferred narrative form, but lately it seems first-person narratives are having a resurgence. How do writers choose their viewpoint, and how does it affect the sorts of stories they can tell? Why is YA so often told in first-person, and epic fantasy generally (but not always!) third? To add another layer of complexity, the present tense also seems to be increasing in popularity -- Lauren Beukes' Zoo City and Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus are just two notable examples. How does the use of present tense change a reader's experience?
Maureen Kincaid Speller (M), Edward Cox, Robin Hobb, Kate Nepveu, Patrick Rothfuss
( . . . as I redact email addresses, I just registered the names on this panel. WHOA.)
The Canon is Dead. What Now?
Saturday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)
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?
Kate Nepveu (M), Chris Beckett, Connie Willis, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Joe Monti
(Very chewy, and a good moderating challenge.)
Queer Desires in Fandom
Sunday 16:30 - 18:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)
Reading into texts for instances of gender and sexual non-conformity, whether in the stories of Jesus and his beloved disciple, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood and his Merry Men or Sherlock Holmes, has been a long-held practice. Doing so has, for many, provided a rare outlet for accessing the possibility of anything other than heterosexism. Today, fandoms where the primary fan practices involve creating transformative works including reading and writing fanfiction, meta, making and watching vids, and fan art are often considered outlets and safer spaces for explorations of queer desires. These desires include all of those under the queer umbrella, whether relating to genderqueer, queer sexualities, alternative relationship structures, or kinks. In this session we explore the extent to which this is the case or whether it applies to some fandoms and fan cultures more than others.
Dr. Dominick D'Aunno (M), Kate Keen, Kate Nepveu, Tim Susman, Bethan Jones
(The version of this at Arisia was awesome, I'm hoping for similar (yet new and different!) awesomeness.)
Thoughts on any of these topics are always welcomed.