A Write-Up in Record Time: #Boskone 52

The anger of the Norse Frost Giants that turned Boskone into “Snokone” conspired to make me arrive late and leave early.  On the other hand, thanks to programming (who did an AWESOME job!), I did more in the short time I was there than at past cons.

Since my time was short and sweet, so shall my write-up be.  Here are the panels I was on or attended, and what I took away.

OFF THE AIR: I was off the air for this one, much to my regret. Heard it went well, though.  Curse you, Boston traffic!

FATHER, YOU MADE ME: Archetypal/non-archetypal parent-child dynamics. Fathers creating/spawning children from nothing (rather than a mother), eating them or risk being eaten. Mothers who are either evil queens and rivals, or absent. There are created fathers in the Hero’s Journey, where are the replacement mothers? In fact, why have a story structure where a parent abdicates and is replaced?  Market concerns?  And where did the Female Hero’s Journey go, anyway?  Parenting “then” is different from parenting “now”… isn’t it? What can speculative fiction do that literary fiction can’t vis-a-vis depictions of parenting relationships. A good amount, it turns out.  Also, first time I’ve ever moderated a panel but it felt like cheating to have an all-star crew; it practically moderated itself.

READING: Yes, my first official con-sanctioned reading.  Two short pieces and an excerpt and people showed up!

FINDING DIVERSE FICTION: Google is your friend.  But thank small-press/independent publishers going against Publishers’ (capital P) professional knowledge (i.e. self fulfilling prophesies) on “what sells “.  How do you get Pulitzer Prize-winning literary authors of color and well-known genre authors of color for your anthology created with an eye toward increasing diversity?  Apparently, just ask.  Writers, keep writing.  Readers, keep reading AND financially backing AND BUYING!

WHAT’S HOT IN COMICS?:  No, it’s not zombie comics anymore because some don’t feel the need to keep up with THE WALKING DEAD on TV and comics, or just said, Fuck it.  It’s a mix: Brian K. Vaughn’s SAGA, G. Willow Wilson’s CAPTAIN MARVEL, Matt Kindt’s MIND MGMT and others.  TV/movies (especially from Disney/Marvel) being the introduction of the casual fan to comics.  The smart things Disney/Marvel do vs. WB/DC.  [Not discussed, but popped into my head just now: TV/movies generating for comics what they know in pro wrestling as the “smart mark”?]

NON-WESTERN FOLKLORE: This was the only panel outside of my own that I got to attend: Fairy tales vs. folklore vs. fables. The hacking of folklore; reverse-engineering written lore (back) to oral traditions.  “Authenticity of”, “Ownership of” — both colonized concepts?  How great was the Great Wall before Westerners called it great?  Transformation.  Unequal power differentials vis-à-vis appropriation, IP, copyright issues (i.e. what can be copyrightable? Says who?).  Would’ve sucked for Ovid creating THE METAMORPHOSES.  [Possession really is 9/10ths of the law.]  Modern tabloids as repositories for modern folklore [i.e. a lore of the people, rather than folklore curators]?

THE JODOROWSKY EFFECT: Much like Jodorowsky’s attempt at making DUNE, a great panel that could’ve been, that couldn’t happen because of external realities.

My #Boskone Schedule

Yes, I’ll be at Boskone this weekend, weather permitting.  And not just barconning it, either.  I have actual panels AND a reading!!

Off the Air
Friday, February 13, 7:00 pm, Marina 2

Why does good television fail? Panelists talk about SF/F/H TV shows that died too soon, including Firefly, Alphas, The Tomorrow People, Millennium, Jericho, Almost Human, and more. Were they as good as we think? What are we missing?

Stephen P. Kelner (M), D. Lynn Smith, me, Ken Altabef, Susan Jane Bigelow

Father, You Made Me
Friday, February 13, 8:00 pm, Harbor III

From Dr. Frankenstein and his monster to Darth Vader and his son, speculative fiction uses fantastical ways to explore the special relationship between fathers and sons. What about the relationships between mothers and daughters? Panelists explore notable parental relationships within fiction and how those relationships shape characters and the choices they make.

Me (moderating–can you believe it?), ML Brennan, Theodora Goss, Max Gladstone, Alexander Jablokov

Friday, February 13, 9:00 pm, Independence
(My first official con-sanctioned, non-guerrilla reading!)

Finding Diverse Fiction
Saturday, February 14, 12:00 pm, Marina 2

There is a clear desire for increased diversity within SF/F fiction and fandom. There are also a lot of emerging writers who are bringing diversity to the genre, but many of them are still flying below the publicity radar. Authors and publishers come together to share their “must read” lists and tips on where to find some of the new up-and-coming authors.

Charles Stross (M), Susan Jane Bigelow, Bill Campbell, me, Lauren Roy

What’s Hot in Comics?
Saturday, February 14, 1:00 pm, Marina 2

Now that the zombie craze has peaked, and every major comics publisher has delved into horror-related titles, how has this impacted the mainstream’s monthly superhero titles? Does rampant fan interest in The Walking Dead eclipse the latest issue of Superman, Batman, X-Men, or Avengers? We’ll take a look at current comics trends, to see what types of comic books are winning the battle for readers.

Brenda Noiseux (M), Craig Shaw Gardner, Christopher Golden, me, Thomas Sweterlitsch

The Jodorowsky Effect
Saturday, February 14, 10:00 pm, Burroughs

Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean filmmaker, author, and surrealist, influenced some of the greatest cult SF/F works of the last 60 years. He directed the first midnight cult film (El Topo), his comic series The Incal inspired The Fifth Element, and he spearheaded a failed effort to film Dune — “the greatest SF movie never made.” Jodorowsky’s production art for Dune inspired Star Wars, Alien, Heavy Metal, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and others. His other work is also critically acclaimed and hugely influential. Panelists discuss Jodorowsky’s legacy, his “Psychomagical Realism, ” and his influence on contemporary work.

Paul Di Filippo (M), Carrie Cuinn, Daniel M. Kimmel, me, Steven Sawicki


Come find me and say, Hey!