Thursday, March 24, 2016


The theme for this year's International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts was "Wonder Tales," with particular focus on fairy tales. Since I'm a big fan of retold fairy tales, I was excited about this theme. Sadly, the Guest of Honor, Terri Windling, couldn't attend because of health problems. Ellen Kushner read her luncheon speech, a moving discussion of the value of wonder. It drew on Windling's personal experience of longing to step through a doorway into a different world, which resonated deeply with me. On Thursday evening, special author guest Holly Black read from a work in progress called THE CRUEL PRINCE, which I definitely want to read when it's published. The guest scholar was Cristina Bacchilega, a specialist in fairy tales and folklore.

The Lord Ruthven Assembly, our vampire, revenant, and Gothic division, recognized the following works with awards: Fiction, JACOB, by David Gerrold; nonfiction, a bibliography, THE VAMPIRE IN FOLKLORE, HISTORY, LITERATURE, FILM AND TELEVISION, by J. Gordon Melton and Alysa Hornick; other media, the movie WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS. In one of the author reading sections, I read a story from SWORD AND SORCERESS XXII, "Vanishing Village," which was very kindly received. I attended several stimulating panels. The session on "Remix Culture" had a lively discussion on where to draw the lines with regard to fanfic and other adaptations and reuses of existing works. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Read Them," set up as an informal round-table conversation, covered a wide range of topics related to animals in fantasy. The panel on the "Brave New World" of publishing offered much valuable information and advice for new as well as veteran authors. In the final time slot of Saturday afternoon, a panel on the latest STAR WARS film packed the room, with strong opinions expressed on such topics as gender and race issues and the commercial policies of the Disney empire.

David Hartwell, Tor Books editor, the author of the pioneering SF study AGES OF WONDER, and prolific, highly influential anthologist, died earlier this year. He was a faithful attendee at ICFA, running the book sale room for many years, so the conference featured several tributes to him. Also, each membership packet included a book of reminiscences compiled in his honor.

As usual, I came home with a bunch of free books. The weather in Orlando remained beautiful for most of the con. Thunderstorms were predicted for the weekend, but they didn't materialize, only a few showers. I enjoyed smooth airport experiences and flights in both directions. In fact, I would have declared it a perfect week except that, for the first time ever, my suitcase didn't get aboard the homeward plane with me. What a horrible, sinking sensation to stare, empty-handed, at a vacant luggage carousel when all the other passengers had gone! Fortunately, I must say the airline dealt with the problem efficiently and delivered my wandering bag to our house Monday night.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

1 comment:

  1. I forgot to mention that David Hartwell was also editor of the NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION. The commemorative book we received at the con, compiled by the NYRSF, contained a lot of information about Hartwell's career that was new to me. For instance, I didn't know he had a PhD in Medieval Studies.

    As one of the tribute essays mentions, most members of the reading public have little awareness of editors. Writers, however, know how important they are.

    BTW, speaking of Holly Black, I've just started reading her novel THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST. Wow!