Friday, October 28, 2011

World Fantasy Con and the Class panel

World Fantasy is being a lot of fun—seeing many old friends we haven't seen in much too long.

I maybe should've stayed off the Class panel. Six people is too many for a subject that hasn't been explored much in this community, so this ended up feeling like an intro panel to me, not Class 101, but Intro to Class 101. Then again, that's undoubtedly necessary, and we had a large audience, so I hope we laid a good groundwork for future discussions, even if all we did was to do it so wrong that others want to correct us.

Everyone contributed well, and no one seemed defensive, so that was pure win. I was glad to have everyone up there, but I was especially happy that Kari Sperring was there; she brought an informed British perspective that was especially helpful, for me, at least.

Things I wish I'd mentioned:

1. Martin Luther King's quote about talking about poverty rather than race because there are twice as many poor whites as poor blacks (which is still true today).

2. The L-curve of US income.

Things I wish we'd gotten to:

1. Fiction! It was all intro material and author backgrounds. Or it seemed that way to me. I wanted to get into what we take for granted and what we could use more skillfully.

2. Fear of the working class in our genre. That's obvious with Morlocks. Is it implied with Frankenstein's monster? How often are rednecks used as "the other"?

3. Who are the working class heroes? Is Sam Gamgee a class traitor? If Conan's a prole and Elric's a king, where do Fafhrd and the Mouser fit?

4. Contemporary fantasy is a rejection of the imaginary setting of pseudo-medieval fantasy, but is it also a rejection of rigid class systems?

Well. Back to the convention now.