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LonCon3 Schedule

My LonCon3 schedule, let me show you it! It’s pretty packed. I’ll note up front that in addition to panels I have an autographing session and a Kaffeeklatsch, so those are places where I am guaranteed to be in a way that you can at least tokenly converse with me if all other plans fall through!

I’ll also be at Nine Worlds, but there are couple of things still being ironed out in that schedule, hopefully to be posted tomorrow.

Better Worldbuilding Through Poetry
Thursday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

When you ask someone to think of poetry in SF and fantasy novels, they are liable to think first of the epic or pseudo-epic verse of Tolkien and his inheritors — language used to elevate and mythologise the world and the events they create. But poetry can be put to many and varied uses within larger works, as evidenced by such recent books as Anne Carson’s “Red Doc>” (a verse novel), Sofia Samatar’s “A Stranger in Olondria” (which includes poetry as imagined literary history), or Kim Stanley Robinson’s “2312” (prose-poems evoking AI consciousness). How do these and other SF and fantasy works use poetry to help create moods, worlds, or characters? What forms and what kinds of language are most common, and why? And to what extent is poetry contextual — are there examples of writing that we accept as the next page of a novel, but would treat as a poem if published separately?

Catherynne M. Valente (M), Jenny Blackford, Amal El-Mohtar, Greer Gilman, Neil Williamson

Autographing 2 – Amal El-Mohtar
Friday 11:00 – 12:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

Content and Form: Writing SF/F in non-Western Modes
Friday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 8 (ExCeL)

Sofia Samatar recently suggested that SF genre writers and readers have “a tendency to focus on content rather than form”, even or especially when engaging with marginalised perspectives. Does our genre inevitably tend towards the form and structure of western, English-language stories, regardless of what cultural tradition(s) are reflected in the content? How can a non-western or non-Anglophone writer engage with science fiction and fantasy while also operating outside of the conventions of western-style storytelling? Is it possible for western writers to engage with non-western traditions in an authentic way and produce a story that a wider audience will recognize as science fiction or fantasy? What are some of the different forms offered by non-western cultures that need to be told?

Amal El-Mohtar (M), Aliette de Bodard, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, JY Yang, Nick Wood

Saturday Morning Cartoons: The Next Generation
Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)

Alongside the much-discussed golden age of animated cinema, we’re living in a golden age of animated TV. Shows such as Gravity Falls, Venture Brothers, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Adventure Time, and Avatar: The Last Airbender can be as clever, funny, politically challenging and emotionally sophisticated as any live-action show. This panel will discuss when and why the best of these shows work so well — as well as the constraints they still face, and whether some of them fall short of their ideals.

Amal El-Mohtar, Abigail Nussbaum (M), Abigail Sutherland, Andrew Ferguson

Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Kaffeeklatsches and Literary Beers are small group discussions with authors, artists, editors, and other interesting personalities. Kaffeeklatsches are located in the London Suite, and Literary Beers in the bar area of the Fan Village.

Sessions are limited to nine attendees, and advance signup is required. Overbooking is not allowed. Sign-up sheets will be available at the Information Desk the day before each session. Morning slots (those starting 10AM-1PM) will be available from 9:30AM on the morning before, and afternoon slots (from 2PM onwards) will be available at 2PM the afternoon before. Each person in line may sign up for only one kaffeeklatsch per session, and only one person per kaffeeklatsch (although you may sign up for someone other than yourself). You must provide the attendee’s badge name and number to sign up. Three reserve places will be available in case an attendee cancels a booking or does not show up.

Unfortunately we can provide drinks only for session hosts, so please feel free to bring your own drink with you.

Race and British SF
Saturday 13:30 – 15:00, Capital Suite 5 (ExCeL)

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?

Amal El-Mohtar (M), Tajinder Hayer, Stephanie Saulter, Russell Smith, Dev Agarwal

Full-Spectrum Fantasy
Saturday 18:00 – 19:00, Capital Suite 8+11 (ExCeL)

Fantasy stories often rely on Kings and Queens, a merchant or two, and occasionally a guttersnipe on his way to the top. What does a fantasy world look like when it’s shown from the point of view of people who aren’t usually the focus: people of colour, women, anyone who isn’t royalty (not even unwittingly)? Likewise, how often do we see engineers, union reps and factory workers in sf? Depicting multiple axes of human experience – a truly representative spectrum of gender, sexuality, race, class, and (dis)ability – honestly and with empathy can still be something of a radical progressive act in the world today. Which are the stories and series that attempt this, and how far do they succeed?

Mary Robinette Kowal (M), Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Jennifer Stevenson

Sindbad Sci-Fi presents The World at Worldcon: Arabic SF/F
Sunday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 8+11 (ExCeL)

Fantastical storytelling in Arabic doesn’t begin and end with The Thousand and One Nights; in fact, there is a long history of speculative fiction in Arabic, stretching all the way back to medieval intellectuals like al-Farabi and Ibn al-Nafis. This panel will explore the past, present and future of Arab and Arabic science fiction narratives, including authors writing in Arabic – such as Ahmed Khaled Towfik and Noura al-Noman – and the work of members of the Arab diaspora, such as Amal El-Mohtar and Saladin Ahmed.

Yasmin Khan (M), Ibrahim Abbas, Noura al-Noman, Yasser Bahjatt, Amal El-Mohtar