I spent the weekend (with hubby) up in Leicester for Alt.Fiction. Whats strange about Leicester is that it’s only about an hour from St Pancras, and yes you have to get to St Pancras but it means it takes almost the same amount of time to get to Leicester as it does to say cross London (either North-South or East-West) how crazy is that?
On to Alt.Fiction a weekend filled with talks on writing, fiction and meeting lovely people.
The two best talks I went to were ‘Not another F**king elf’ and ‘Diversity in Fantasy’.
The first turned into a rather informal chat (I don’t know if the lack of a moderator was an oversight or not?) about the trope of elves, discussing how they’re portrayed in fiction/computer games how they sort of represent our spiritual selves. Also talked about the zombie horde and how they have become (like Orcs were) the faceless horde that can be killed without consequence. (Although I wanted to mention but didn’t get a chance to that Zombies are more an environmental thing traditionally the story is about how its the humans who screw each other open and fuck up their chance to survive.) I also wanted to mention but it kind of got mentioned elsewhere that the archetype of elves (arrogant, long lived, old ‘dying’ race) is not just limited to fantasy but its also in SF. (Vulcans, Asari, Minbari – interesting none in Starwars but then most of the races are pretty much human just with slight physical differences.) It was also pointed out that while elves can vary quite a bit between different worlds, dwarves (IF they are included) are often portrayed in exactly the same way across worlds. This was all a very interesting discussion and allowed me to geek out a bit when people start mentioning words like ‘Roleplaying’, ‘Skyrim’, ‘Bioware’ etc.
My one complaint about this talk (hmm maybe 2) was a) I could have happily sat there and listened/tried to discuss this a bit longer and b) the room was so small that people had to be turned away, hubby missed this one and he was quite disappointed about it.
The second did exactly what it said on the tin, discussed gender, race and sexual preferences. These are all quite hot topics at the moment and I found this was a very good discussion. One of the panel members is one of the few female writers for the Black Library and it was pointed out by Adrian Tchaikovsky that Warhammer is one of the few things where nothing is a faceless horde. Everything has to be playable and so there has to be something that people can relate to even if they are playing the evil sides like Chaos. (This got me into a discussion with hubby on the train home that I think I’ll do in another post. ) I kind of wish that at the end I had asked/commented on the whole issue of people being surprised by the race of one of the characters in The Hunger Games. (People basically being stupid, not reading properly and being racist.)
I went to a few other talks but none really matched the energy of these ones and I got a little annoyed at some of the talks, mostly at some things which just didn’t make sense.
I also met quite a few of the Apocalypse Girls which was great 😀 got to sit down with some of them and a few others and just chat about all manor of things, from Anime to ethnicity on forms. ‘Twas all good. 🙂