9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Politics, Complexity, and Fantasy. Marissa Lingen (Moderating), Marie Brennan, Doug Hulick, Sarah Monette, Susan Palwick. Fantasy sometimes seems to have a love/hate relationship with politics: It often wants to deal with grand political issues (revolutions, alliances, continent-spanning conflicts) without addressing the complexities of governance. What challenges do authors face when trying to depict political scenarios? Are there modes of governance or types of conflict that are particularly challenging to work into fiction? Do long-running series, like C.J. Cherryh's Atevi books, allow for more robust depictions of politics and diplomacy?
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Science, Technology, and Fantasy. Ellen Klages (Moderating), Marissa Lingen, Chris Modzelewski, Sarah Monette, Catherine Schaffer. There is a tendency for fantasy to depict worlds mired in technological stasis, or to imagine magic and technology as polar opposites. Even when authors combine the two, as in more fantastic end of steampunk, they often choose to reproduce a subset of ideas from our world and prior art. What are some of the sources of this approach toward technology in fantasy? What sorts of narrative opportunities open up when you introduce disruptive technologies, magical or otherwise, into a fantasy story?
Notice a common trend there? That's right, I am 4th St.'s Officially Designated Dreaded Morning Person. Who can we stick on the first panel of the day? Unlucky people...and Mris! (truepenny, I think, is in the former category. Bring her croissants and sympathy. Unless she doesn't like croissants, or unless she is another Designated Dreaded Morning Person.)
Honestly, my worry is not making it to morning panels. My worry is making it through everything else. There's nothing I want to skip at 4th St....and I don't have enough energy right now to make it through normal days without not-entirely-voluntary naps, and I'm terrible at naps. So we'll see how that goes. I will do the best I can. I will attempt not to use up critical Mris reserves. And we will all be good to each other as best we can, and we will have a 4th St.