Thursday, March 29, 2012

ICFA 2012

Last week I attended the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando. As usual, I spent time with Jacqueline's co-author Jean Lorrah, who is one of the founding members. She has never missed even one year since the beginning of the con!

Author guests of honor were China Mieville and Kelly Link. At one of the luncheons Mieville gave a speech focused on the "uncanny," proposing a new category of horror, the "abcanny." He then, with illustrative slides, riffed on other potential categories, getting ever wilder with the surcanny, subcanny, supercanny, and almost any prefix you could think of. The guest scholar, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, spoke at the other luncheon on "The Undead," with many zombie-related slides.

The theme of the conference was "The Monstrous Fantastic." Distinctions were made between "monsters" and people or entities that perform monstrous actions. Panel discussions often developed the concept of the monster as a reflection of us -- the familiar "when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back" idea.

Our vampire-and-revenant division, the Lord Ruthven Assembly, presented its fiction award to THE LAST WEREWOLF, by Glen Duncan (which does include vampires as prominent secondary characters), and its nonfiction award to THE VAMPIRE DEFANGED, by Susannah Clements.

To give you another glimpse of what this conference is like, one poetry reading session had the theme of Monstrous Pets and was titled, "It Might Kill You, But It's So Cute."

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

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