Alt Fiction last weekend — and 2 cons on the trot is a bit wearing on body and soul, especially when I managed to clock a 20 hour day on the Saturday. The early start was the fault of the remarkable time it takes to get from Leeds to Leicester — longer than it does to hit London somehow. The late finish was entirely and unashamedly my fault.
Did a couple of decent panels — the first was "not another f*cking elf" where the four of us had no moderator whatsoever, and ran everything quite satisfactorily as a socialist commune. This explored a lot of good ground on fantasy tropes, and especially the different way that elves and other races are used — we got onto orcs, too. I contended that there was little ground between Tolkien's "orcs" and the lower class "oiks" but Paul Cornell stuck up for Professor T on that one. There was also a suggestion that orcs have now migrated to the noble savage archetype and everyone wants to show how lovely and misunderstood they are, which does seem to be a think with orcs.
Sunday's panel was diversity in fantasy — we managed to cover gender, sexuality and race under the able helming of Mark Charan Newton. As someone pointed out after, we didn't look at disability, which was true and a shame. Still, much was said, and the general conclusion is that the genre is at least having a go at broadening its demographic — both in terms of characters, authors and hopefully readership.
Also got to see some other fun stuff — nice SF panel — "is SF dead", which as was pointed out contrasted nicely with last year's "has SF taken over the world". Next year: "SF has risen from the grave."
On the subject of SF, I would like to think that I have in some small way diversified myself into that sister-genre by getting a (very) short story accepted for the Nature magazine Futures section — this prints brief stories dealing with a speculative treatment of real science, and I'm very chuffed to have something accepted (hint — it wasn't the first time I tried it). No idea what issue it'll be in, but the story is called "21st Century Girl" and more details as and when. I've submitted a few other stories to various anthologies that have been on the hunt, and so crossed fingers for some more shorts news in upcoming months.
Last up: I have now registered formally as an author on Goodreads. This appears to have a kind of forum-like thing in its Q&A sessions, and so I will probably set something like that up. For now I'm busy giving good ratings to all my books. Yes, even that one.