I’m going to be up, out, and on a train at a deeply uncivilised hour tomorrow morning, but it’ll be worth it because Bristolcon! Last year it was only my second con ever; I listened to great readings and discussions, met lovely people, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This year I volunteered to do ‘stuff’ – and the stuff I got is great:
Programme Room 1 – 10am
Creating A Culture – Building A Working Fantasy / SF Society
Worldbuilding: you want to change some of the rules to make things interesting, but you still want people to buy into the world you’ve created. Rocks, trees and dragons may give you a setting, but unless your protagonist is alone on an uninhabited planet, people (human or otherwise) will have to be organised somehow. How do you set about designing an original and yet believable society? What are the most ingenious societies we’ve seen in SF&F – and what might they tell us about ourselves?
Panel discussion with Dev Agarwal (moderator), Mary Robinette Kowal, Robert Harkess, Stephanie Saulter, Peter Sutton
Programme Room 2 – 6pm
We see a lot of creatures in SF and fantasy that are just horses or dogs in cheap disguises. Conversely, we see interesting alien life forms that are hopelessly implausible. When sticking wings on a rabbit and calling it a snoogle just won’t do, how can you create weird, wonderful and convincing critters? What are some examples of the best and worst critters in fiction?
Panel discussion with Max Edwards (moderator), Snorri Kristjansson, Stephanie Saulter, Jaine Fenn, Gareth L. Powell
Both panels are variations on a theme: the construction of a storyworld that makes a kind of intuitive sense to the reader, that is coherent and immersive enough to allow for the suspension of disbelief so crucial to any kind of fantastic fiction. So – come hear how we think it should be done and who we think does it well (or not). And in between there’s loads more to see and hear; I’ve got my eye on the Re-Telling Fairy Tales panel, as well as Comics – Art And Literature With Speech Bubbles. And of course Forbidden Planet will be there, plus the organisers have arranged a sale table for authors they may not carry. So, you know. Buy books.