Updated October 23, 2010Programming
Darrell Schweitzer is coordinating programming for 2010.
If you have any questions, please email Darrell at
→ View a PDF of the subject-to-change, preliminary schedule (updated Oct. 23; if the date on the file does not match, you may need to clear your browser's cache and reload the PDF)
Convention attendees who remain on Sunday afternoon/evening after formal programming has ended typically gather for a dead dog party that will last indefinitely Sunday evening.
World Fantasy Awards
The 2010 World Fantasy Awards will follow the banquet (see below) in the same room.
The Award Ceremony is open to all members and will begin at approximately 2:30 PM. (View the 2010 World Fantasy Awards ballot as a PDF).
Proposed Panel Topics for WFC 2010
- The Year's Best Summary 2010 with editors of Year's Best anthologies & someone from Locus.
- WFA Judges explain their choices and deliberations. (After the awards ceremony.)
- The Tension Between Art and Commerce. Very likely a 1000-page stream-of-consciousness novel in which nothing happens will not sell in the fantasy category, no matter how great it is as art. (Or would it?) Editors, Publishers, and Writers try to explain where the limits are and how to exceed them. NOTE: This must not turn into a What I Buy For My Company editorial panel, which We Don't Do. We would like some discussion of how unorthodox and seemingly "uncommercial" books DO get published by major houses, such as, for instance Greer Gilman's Moonwise from Roc and Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren from Bantam. We also note that sometimes a book as unorthodox as Dhalgren can prove to be very commercial indeed.
- The Fantasy of James Thurber
- The Legacy of Thorne Smith
- The Logic of Absurdity. Exploring the difference between a completely absurd fantasy and a satire which more or less describes the real world in a way absurdist fantasy doesn't. Is the difference merely the degree of distortion?
- Making Mythology Fresh and New and Maybe a Little Silly. Recent examples. A word from the perpetrators.
- It's Still Funny. Exploring some of the earliest examples of the humorous fantasy. Do we still get a laugh out of F. Anstey or John Kendrick Bangs? What holds up after a hundred years?
- Unknown Worlds. The lasting influence of this great pulp magazines.
- Humor and Horror: The Train-Wreck of Expectation. A great phrase we swiped from Gahan Wilson. What do the humor and horror have in common?
- The Lighter Side of Death. Death as a character in humorous fantasy.
- Tall Tales, Short-Shorts, and Shaggy Dog Stories. An open-mic event.
- The Continued Viability of Epic Fantasy. How has this evolved in the 50-plus years since Tolkien hit it big?
- PAPERBACK COVERS: The Swinging Pendulum Between Realism and Abstraction.
If the purpose of a cover painting is to sell a book, and this is doing by
making the book different from those around it, then any trend will
eventually fail when all the other books take on the same "new" look. This
has surely been going on since the beginnings of the modern paperback.
Neo-pulp covers in the late-'40s followed by the Richard Powers look in
the '50s, followed by alternating periods of abstract art, e.g. Leo &
Diane Dillon about 1970, followed by the Rowena/Hildebrandt look by the
mid'70s. We may be coming to another abstract period now. Is it inevitable
that another period of neo-neo-neo-Howard-Pyle will follow? What do
artists and art directors have to say about this?.
- Lost in Translation? Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" and other knee-slappers. Does humor translate?
- Why H.P. Lovecraft is Still Funny. There are a LOT of Lovecraft jokes. Is it something inherent in his material, or is the effectiveness of such parody actually a sign of sincere respect?
- Asian Horror from Lafcadio Hearn to Asamatsu Ken. How does this tradition differ from the West. (NOTE: This panel is going to require real expertise. It may not be possible to actually do it.)
- SUPERNATURAL HORROR IN THE MACHINE AGE. Does supernatural horror with its ghosts, graveyards, hints of ancient gods, etc. inevitably reference the
past? There are only so many haunted computer stories anyone can read or
write, but beyond that, what are the sources of supernatural horror that
we can draw on in the present? Or does the popularity of the Thomas Harris
sort of non-supernatural thriller suggest that the ghostly tale of darkness is losing its power in our time?
- Everybody Has Their Faults. Mine is Being Wicked. The comic side of villainy. (In case anybody doesn't know, the title is from THE 13 CLOCKS.)
- Sword & Sorcery. Clearly this "literary fossil," as Alexei Panshin once called it, is not yet extinct. But has it evolved? A discussion of the continuing appeal and the nature of the form.
- The Moral Distance Between the Author and the Work. What do we make of
good art by bad people, or at least people of whom we disapprove? Richard
Wagner was a particularly vile anti-Semite, but he still wrote "Kill Da Wabbit!" and
other great music. Should we listen? The official Nazi film industry made
one very good fantasy film (BARON MUNCHAUSEN, to which the Terry Gilliam
version owes a good deal). Should we watch this? What about an author who
is a convicted child molester? Should we read his novel? CAN we read it for itself? Is it possible to truly experience any form of art as a thing until itself, rather than the product of its creator?
- What We Swiped From Jorge Luis Borges. Writers 'fes up. Borges has been one of the truly profound influences on Anglophone fantastic fiction since he began to be translated widely in the early '60s. Writers discuss specific borrowings in their own work and what they did with them. What are the key Borges texts? Have any been over-used?
- Transforming Fantasy Fiction into a Screenplay How to turn a fantasy work into a movie with a discussion of examples done well and badly.
- Surrealists and Their Influence The movement started in the 1920s headed by Andre Breton. There was even a manifesto. The term has assumed a more general meaning since. An exploration of the original literature and its descendants.
- The Media Tie-In From the Publisher's Point of View. Of course it is about making money, but how is this sort of thing done right and what does it have to offer to readers who have not seen the show or film?
- The Explosion of the Funny Fantasy Series. The appeal and dynamics of the really long humorous fantasy series. From Piers Anthony to Terry Pratchett, there seem to be a lot of these. How do you keep it funny after 25 books?
- The Legacy of Robert Bloch.
- What is Left to the Imagination? Fantasy fiction as the art of leaving things out.
- The Influence of EC Comics (and Comics in general) on Fantasy Literature. A lot of baby boomers (not just Stephen King) grew up reading this stuff. How did this effect both their sensibilities and plotting skills?
- British Pulp. From Sexton Blake to the Not at Night Series. How was this different from American Pulp?
- THE AESTHETICS OF HORROR ART. How to make the sinister alluring without
making it merely repellent.
- Critical Theory and Its Discontents. What is theoretical criticism for? Is literature written to theory and is theory retrospective and descriptive only? which is cause and which is effect?
- Slaughtering The Evil Hordes. One of the more disturbing things about The Lord of the Rings
and other fantasies of that sort is that the bad guys are just bad, without the possibility of redemption. If we get beyond that, what do we use for the all encompassing menace?
- The Story Cycle Versus The Novel. A book of linked sequential stories is not the same as a novel even if it has a distinct beginning, middle and end. Think of Keith Roberts or the various episodic books of Zoran Zivkovic. Why does the writer choose this structure?
- Dream-Inspired Fantasy. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, much of Lovecraft's work and even The Twilight Series are said to be drawn directly from the author's dreams. Is this merely a transcription of the unconscious or can this be induced? Is there such a thing as dreaming on paper?
- Best Fantasies of All Time. Five panelists list 5 and explain why.
- The Humor and Tragedy of T.H. White's The Once and Future King. Surely no other fantasy work so effectively mixes such a wide range of emotions. Exploring how T.H. White achieves such a remarkable balance.
- Vampires Thick as Fleas. Has this trend crested? Has it become a ghetto unto itself or is it going to take over the field?
- What do we mean by urban fantasy anyway? Fantasies set in cities in the author's own day is hardly new. What is new and special about the sub-genre as it exists now?
- Fantasy Gun Control.
Wheel lock pistols have been around since the early 16th Century. Hand
cannons have been around since about 1400. Why are firearms so often
absent from quasi- medieval fantasies?
- The Fairy Tale as a Specific Form- How does it differ from the
usual run of fantasy? What are its parameters?
- Fantasy and Puppetry-Puppetry is a form of storytelling that lends
itself to the fantastic. A discussion of puppetry itself and the how
the image of the puppet is used in literature.
- Fantasy as a Rejection of the Present. William Morris and others created the idyllic rural medieval fantasy scenario in response to the industrial revolution. What kinds of contemporary fantasy likewise turn away from the present and create something new out of the past? Have we just described Steampunk?
- Why is There No Religion in Middle Earth? Lin Carter used to argue about this. Why are there no priests and temples in Tolkien's world? Is it because Tolkien was squeamish about paganism (made up gods) or is there a more profound explanation?
- Authors and Ideas. How does an author's personal beliefs affect his fiction? The Lord of Rings is infused subtly with Tolkien's Catholicism. C.S. Lewis is more overt. Edgar Rice Burroughs stumps for eugenics and the innate superiority of the natural man. This is of course inevitable but how much should
the author rein in this tendency and how much is it his job to say what he means? Can a book be a great work of art and philosophical rubbish at the same time? (Think of the breathtakingly beautiful Worm Ouroboros by that noted warmonger E.R. Eddison.)
- The West Doesn't Exist. For all the world is round and most educated people in antiquity knew this Why is it that in so many fantasies, there are places on the map that you just can not go?
- The Art of the Mash Up. Threat, blasphemy, really dumb or just damn funny? Seriously - or otherwise - does anyone care to defend such guilty pleasures?
- What New Things Could be Done With Old Mythologies?
- The Thematic Evolution of Horror. What scares us now as opposed to what scared people in Ann Radcliffe's day?
- The Evolving Image of the Dragon in Art and Literature
- Beyond Modern Horror. If "Modern Horror" existed in that period from the
popularity of THE EXORCIST and ROSEMARY'S BABY to the collapse of the
commercial genre in the mid-'90s, has anything clearly definable happened
since? Is there such a thing as "Post-Modern Horror"? It is obvious that
we have moved well beyond everybody's instant Stephen King knockoff, but
can we genuinely say that the changing zeitgeist has produced a new form
of horror literature?
World Fantasy Awards Banquet Information
The banquet will begin at 1:00pm Sunday, October 31st. The cost is $55.00 per person and includes all applicable taxes, gratuities, and service charges. Please use our registration form to buy your ticket(s). Publishers and others who desire to purchase an entire table (8 settings) should contact us directly at WFChotel@contextsf.org.
The menu choices are:
- Orchard salad with roasted apples, cranberries, walnuts, blue cheese;
rosemary roast chicken, gnocchi with tomatoes and spinach, squash
puree; espresso panna cotta
- Regency salad of greens, pepper, sundried
tomato, artichokes and parmesan tulle;
poached lemon pepper salmon with leeks,
spinach, tomato, wild rice almondine;
individual flourless chocolate cake
- Mediterranean salad; eggplant/portobello
lasagna, tomato sauce, asparagus,
roasted garlic crostini; amaretto biscotti torte
- Cucumber wrapped greens with vegetable confetti; marinated top
sirloin with mashed potatoes and port reduction, fresh vegetable
selection; dessert bar trio.
Meals include coffee, tea and soda; wines will be available for purchase by
the bottle, and there will be a cash bar adjacent to the banquet. If you have
food allergies or other dietary restrictions, you need to tell us by October 21st, 2010
by emailing WFChotel@contextsf.org
For More Information
Write us at:
3824 Patricia Dr.
Upper Arlington, OH 43220
Guests of Honor
$165 (After Aug. 31st and at the door)
$35 (publications and voting rights only)
→ Register online
All payments must be made in US currency, and cheques must be drawn from a US bank.