UPDATE 26 July: Paradox book launch has been added!
Thursday 14 August 10:00 – 11:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCel)
Does the Future Need to Be Plausible?
One of the most common complaints about Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is that the world she proposed was, at best, implausible. Collins is not alone is this. But to what extent do we need veracity from our imagined futures, and how much does the measure of ‘plausibility’ differ from reader to reader? Is a science fictional story diminished if it’s too divorced from the physical reality we live in? Is there a difference between a future we can see and a future we can only hypothesize in the abstract?
Howard Davidson (moderator), Janet C Johnston, Kin-Ming Looi, Ian McDonald, Stephanie Saulter
Friday 15 August 10:00 – 11:00, London Suite 5 (ExCel)
Kaffeeklatsch – Ken Macleod, Stephanie Saulter
Friday 15 August 16:30 – 17:30, Library, Fan Village (ExCel)
Paradox Book Launch
Friday 15 August 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCel)
SF: What It Is, What It Could Be
SF as a genre is both loaded and contested, bringing with it decades of controversies, assumptions, prejudices, and possibilities. What do the genre’s various practitioners and consumers think SF is? Are we speaking the same language, or talking past each other? How do perceptions of SF – in terms of who can write it, who can consume it, and what kinds of stories can find a market – create or reinforce realities? Is ‘core’ SF still about space exploration and colonisation, or is there room for other types of stories? If SF is ‘dying’, as we’re frequently told, what does that mean and in whose interests are the preparations for its funeral?
Tobias Buckell, Jeanne Gomoll, Ramez Naam, Alastair Reynolds, Stephanie Saulter (moderator)
Friday 15 August 22:00 – 22:30, Capital Suite 13 (ExCel)
Reading – Stephanie Saulter
Saturday 16 August 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 5 (ExCel)
Race and British SF
Four years ago, Tricia Sullivan threw a spotlight on the gender balance of SF authors published in the UK, leading to a continuing conversation that is – perhaps – finally having an effect. However, although other aspects of representation have been mentioned in the course of this conversation, they have rarely been the focus, and in particular it can be argued that UK fandom and publishing have not talked enough about race. To use the same barometer as Sullivan, only one writer of colour has ever won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and so far this century only three have been shortlisted. Yet the success of diversity-led events such as Nine Worlds suggests the audience is there. So what else should publishers and fannish institutions in the UK be doing to support writers of colour? Whose work should Loncon attendees rush to buy in the dealer’s room? And whose novels and stories are we eagerly anticipating?
Dev Agarwal, Amal El-Mohtar (moderator), Tajinder Hayer, Stephanie Saulter, Russell Smith
Saturday 16 August 16:30 – 18:00, Autographing Space (ExCel)
Autographing 1 – Stephanie Saulter
Sunday 17 August 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 10 (ExCel)
You Don’t Like Me When I’m Angry
Commenting on the portrayal of Magneto in X-Men: First Class, Abigail Nussbaum noted that there is an “increasing prevalence of vengeful victim characters, who are condemned not for the choices they make in pursuit of revenge, but simply for feeling anger … There is in stories like this a small-mindedness that prioritizes the almighty psychiatric holy grail of “healing” – letting go of one’s anger for the sake of inner peace – over justified, even necessary moral outrage.” Which other stories – on TV or in books, as well as in films – follow this template, and whose interests do they really serve? Where can we find screen depictions of the power of anger, and/or other models of anger?
Abigail Nussbaum’s full review can be found here (although the discussion is intended to range wider than this single film or franchise, and include stories from any media).
Nin Harris, Martin McGrath, Mary Anne Mohanraj (moderator), Tansy Rayner Roberts, Stephanie Saulter
Sunday 17 August 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCel)
SF/F Across Borders
Genre writers such as Vandana Singh, Geoff Ryman, Tricia Sullivan, and Zen Cho are already travellers to other worlds. Many authors write as resident outsiders, and want to write their new homes as well as their old. How does the experience of moving between countries affect the writing of fiction? How can or should writers respond to the varying power dynamics of race, language and culture involved in such migrations? And how should readers approach the stories that result?
Jesús Cañadas, Glenda Larke, Yen Ooi Ms, Stephanie Saulter (moderator), Suzanne van Rooyen
Monday 18 August 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 14 (ExCel)
Paradox Book Discussion
A discussion of the science and fiction elements in the stories in the Fermi Paradox anthology from the authors who wrote them.
Pat Cadigan, David L Clements, Paul Cornell, Adam Roberts, Stephanie Saulter, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ian Whates (moderator)
Many thanks to the organisers for such a brilliant itinerary! It goes without saying that I’m looking forward to all of my events. I can’t wait to see the full programme – it’s never too early to start despairing about one’s inability to be in two (or three, or four) places at the same time.