Out now, Journey Planet 24: In Memory of Richard III. Yes, the car park monarch rides again in the pages of JP. James and Christopher have lured a bunch of folks together to muse on the king more legend than fact, forever (mis)shaped by the Bard’s juicy account. And you can read it all for free by clicking here!
In some cases, very soon! This Saturday I’ll be at Leicester Comic Con on Saturday with the lovely Adele, supporting the Fox Spirit Books skulk and signing books and what not. Drop by and say hello. I will be the one stroking the lovely covers of my books. A weekend of fun, running down to London and plotting world domination will ensue. You can’t say we didn’t warn you.
In July I’ll be at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. A lovely spa town — P. G. Wodehouse stayed there, writing quietly, so I will try to follow in his footsteps between attending panels at the fest. Looking forward to seeing folks there.
A big thing: In August I’ll be at World Con in London AKA LonCon3 with my dear pal Debit Chowdhuri — and a whole bunch of folks and I’ll be very busy as well. Here’s my panel schedule so you’ll know where to catch up with me:
Tove Jansson’s Moomins: Their Legacy and Influence
Thursday 12:00 – 13:30
It’s 100 years since the birth of Finnish author/artist Tove Jansson, the award-winning creator of the beloved Moomins. Moomins appeared in novels, illustrated books, comic book strips and today are celebrated with their own theme park called Muumimaailma (Moomin World). Why did Jansson’s Moomins capture the attention and affection of the panelists, and how do Moomins continue to fire the imagination of new generations despite being nearly seventy years old? What is the legacy of the Moomins, and how do they continue to influence European comic books today?
K. A. Laity (M), Lynda Rucker, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson, Mary Talbot, Karrie Fransman
Medieval Influences and Representation in SF/F
Thursday 15:00 – 16:30
Three academics each give a 15 minute presentation. These are followed by a 30 minute discussion jointly held with the audience.
Constance Wagner, “FRODO AND FARAMIR: Mirrors of Chivalry”
K. A. Laity, “The ‘Old Weird’: Recognising the Medieval Roots of the ‘New Weird’”
Julie Hoffman, “The Year of the Fruit Bat, the Middle Ages, and the Long 19th Century”
Shyamalika Heffernan (M)
Fantasy and Medievalism
Friday 11:00 – 12:00
High fantasy is almost invariably set in invented worlds inspired by medieval Europe. Can we put this down to the legacy of Tolkien and to genre works being in close conversation with each other? Or is there something about the place that medieval Europe occupies in our imagination that makes it a perfect companion for tales of epic striving and larger-than-life Good versus Evil? Either way, does this help or hinder the genre?
K. A. Laity (M), Suanna Davis, Robin Hobb, Marieke Nijkamp, Lynda Rucker
The Weird on Screen
Friday 16:30 – 18:00
In their introduction to their anthology “The Weird”, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer describe the form as “unapologetically transgressive, imaginative, and strange.” Where can we find the weird on screen? What differences are there between the written weird and the weird on screen?
K. A. Laity (M), Nina Allan, K. J. (Kirsten) Bishop, Richard Calder, Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson
Vox Populi: the new voice of comic book criticism?
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00
Anyone with a blog or social media presence can send their opinion directly to comic book creators. How is this affecting comic book criticism? Is this the death of the old stuffy regime of taste-makers, or the rise of a new type of creative pressure? How is the closer connection between creator and audience affecting the work? And what happens when the collective force of a fanbase focuses upon ‘punishing’ critical voices?
K. A. Laity (M), Karen Davies, Marcus Gipps, Emmeline Pui Ling Dobson
After that, I’ll be at Shamrokon, but more of that anon.