Thursday, March 27, 2014

International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts

I spent last Wednesday afternoon through Saturday night at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando. Even though I had to change planes both ways, I was lucky enough to have all the flights proceed on schedule. The weather stayed sunny and warm throughout the con, a delightful change from home (where it snowed again Tuesday—less than a week before the first of April!). The Lord Ruthven Assembly, our vampire-revenant-Gothic-paranormal romance division, presented its annual awards for vampire-related books to NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (fiction) and FANGED FAN FICTION: VARIATIONS ON TWILIGHT, TRUE BLOOD AND THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (nonfiction) by Maria Lindgren Leavenworth and Malin Isaksson. I highly recommend both of these. The novel by Joe Hill (one of Stephen King’s sons) features a child-snatching energy vampire with a sentient car. FANGED FAN FICTION displays a respectful attitude toward fandom, with voluminous, varied reading and research.

I appeared on a panel titled “The Relative Merits of Exsanguination and Dismemberment in the 21st Century,” on the theme of vampires versus zombies. We mainly discussed why zombies have replaced vampires as the dominant popular culture monster (if they have—books and movies seem to differ in this regard). We also considered exactly how to define a zombie and how much a revenant can advance toward consciousness and free will before it no longer fits into the category “zombie.” If vampires still remain recognizable as vampires despite all the transformations they’ve undergone since emerging from their folklore roots, can’t zombies do the same? Some of my other favorite sessions were a panel on Disney as global corporate empire and one on “hybrid publishing,” presented by Ellen Datlow and other distinguished editors.

As usual, I came home with a book-stuffed suitcase and a list of reading suggestions.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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