At a convention that featured so many writers, and aspiring writers, panels that helped to illustrate the workings of a book were invaluable help to all interested, but also to those who really enjoyed the books in question. Jemisin’s talk about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms felt like a behind-the-scenes look at what I thought of as a very good book.
Additionally, it is good to keep in mind that not all technologies last, a couple examples being talking cars and vending machines, which were noted as being highly irritating, but somewhat futuristic. At the same time, things such as the eight track tape, laserdisc and high definition discs have also gone by the wayside because of consumer demand. The same can reasonably be expected of other technologies. They might be fairly good ideas, but that in and of itself might not be an indication of longevity.
…good magazines required good editorial oversight regarding its selection of stories and authors in order to bring about a certain level of quality for the magazine or anthology as a whole. This, rather than the specific format in which the stories are released, is the more important factor in gaining readers and retaining them.
One of her main assertions was that science fiction had become formulaic. Going back as far as the classics of the 1970s—with works by notable authors such as Arthur C. Clarke—she found that there was a predominantly American outlook on the world. This did not make sense simply because the world is far too diverse and different between cultures.
Genre, according to Michael Dirda, is really a creation of the marketplace, an artificial wall that helps publishers and marketers push towards dedicated audiences. This is a topic that I’ve covered a couple of times in my own writing, and the concept of a genre not an unfamiliar one – it is a term that is really tacked on afterwards, based on the story elements that are put together in the story.
…folklore, as a definition in a form of nostalgia, is a way of looking into the past to undocumented claims or stories—things people believed to be true as opposed to something that was empirical and well documented. Someone on the panel probably said it best when they said: “A folk song is something that nobody ever wrote.”
nuclear warfare was generally regarded as an event that was outside of the general population’s control, removed by several levels of authority, while the nature of global warming is something that is really the cumulative result of the general population. Where one is a wholly dramatic, singular (or limited) event with massive consequences at the onset, global warming is something that has arisen slowly, with little attention paid to it and with the general population not likely to take any major steps to change until there are catastrophic results.
A lifelong New England resident, I can attest that there is something that certainly adds to the feeling of horror and gothic wonder that seems to have been a major influence for some of the seminal works in the genre, and ever since taking a class offered by Brett Cox, I have felt very differently about my state of Vermont, with a sense of wonder for the mountains, small towns, rivers, and the weather here.