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Hot Topics at World Fantasy

A great weekend just past at World Fantasy Convention in San Jose. I highly recommend World Fantasy for those of you working on speculative fiction, even SF. The panels are consistently so interesting, layered, deep . . . and fun. Top notch presenters.

I loved the panel on “Why Steampunk Now?” with Ann VanderMeer, Liz Gorinsky, Michael Swanwick, Nisi Shawl and others. More on this later.

Other favs: A very brainy analysis of whether readers prefer originality or the tried and true. “Invention vs. Tradition.” Delia Sherman, John Kessel, Richard Lupoff, Beth Meacham, Daniel Waters. I casually wondered what the average IQ on that panel was. Controversy? Oh yeah. Bottom line: It’s the story!

Also excellent: “Urban Fantasy as Alternate History.” L.E. Modesitt, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Paul Park, Michael Swanwick, Bill Willingham. “Coarse Dialogue and Graceful Description–the Balancing Act,” With Deanna Hoak, Jim Frenkel, Guy Gavriel Kay, Ellen Kushner and Patricia McKillip. “The Role of Religion in Contemporary Fantasy.” Randy Smith, Zoran Zivkovic, Robert Silverberg, Julie Andrijeski.

Overheard in bar and hallway conversation: The potential impact of the Apple Tablet (will it finally provide a business model for ebooks that doesn’t exploit the author?) The changing face of publishing (*&*&^%$$^^.) The state of the industry and publishing layoffs and reduced lists (still going on; non-US publishers buying a bit more than US or UK) Also: Improvements needed for authors’ royalties on ebooks. The fun trends in remixing and mash-ups of the tropes of literature. (The subgenres are out the door; it’s a freewheeling world.)

More later . . .


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