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Posts tagged ‘Cons’

PSA: Fourth Street Fantasy 2013

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for the past year. Why? Because this weekend is the annual Fourth Street Fantasy convention. I first went last year, and found it to be a weekend full of fascinating genre discussions, in-depth literary conversation, great music, and wonderful fun. I got to see old friends and make new ones, and it was also the first SF/F con at which I got to be on on some panels.

I had such a good time last year, how could I possibly stay away? Here are the details for this year’s 4th Street:

What: Fourth Street Fantasy
When: June 21 – 23, 2013
Where: Minneapolis, MN
(at the Spring Hill Suites Marriott, 5901 Wayzata Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN)
Program: (link)
Web Site:

This year’s 4th Street looks to be as awesome as last year’s (if not more so). This year’s program is full of thought-provoking topics ranging from fantasy of discovery, to syncretism, to the heroine’s journey, and more. You can check out the whole program here. This year, I’ll be on one panel and moderating another.

Here are the salient details from the official program line-up:

Saturday, 9:30am – 10:30am
Intertextuality and Originality
No book exists independent of the literary conversation, no matter how much its author may want it to. Elizabethan faeries are inevitably going to be compared to each other, just like dark lords, destined heroes, and vampire- werewolf-mortal love triangles will. Given that very little authors can do will seem novel to experienced readers, how should they approach topics that many readers have been conditioned to read in a certain light? How can works that aim to deconstruct clichés avoid being read as “just X from Y’s perspective”?

  • Lynne Thomas
  • Chris Gerwel
    (that’s me!)
  • Tappan King
  • Catherine Lundoff
  • Abra Staffin-Wiebe

Saturday, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Narrative Conventions
…and how their pressures shape narrative into certain forms. Are we narrowing the stories we can tell by leaning on familiar story forms and Aristotelian notions of rising action, drama, conflict, and the like? To what extent are western narrative conventions culturally specific, and how much of our media (and media- influenced fiction) is being made to fit time-blocks and act structures in ways that aren’t necessarily healthy to export into other forms?

  • Chris Gerwel
  • Alec Austin
  • Emma Bull
  • Kit Gordon

If you’ll be anywhere in the vicinity and if you’re looking for some excellent and thought-provoking discussions, I hope you’ll join us! And if you do come, I hope you’ll say hello!

PSA: Fourth Street Fantasy is Next Week!

So after the intensity of BEA last week, this week I’d just like to offer a brief PSA: next week is Fourth Street Fantasy, and this will be my first year there.

I first learned about Fourth Street Fantasy, Minneapolis’ premier fantasy conference, last year at Viable Paradise (BTW, if you haven’t applied to VP after reading about my experiences, you’ve got until Friday to do so!).

Here are the important details on Fourth Street Fantasy:

What: Fourth Street Fantasy
When: June 22nd – 24th, 2012
Where: Minneapolis, MN
(at the Spring Hill Suites Marriott, 5901 Wayzata Blvd, St. Louis Park, Minnesota)
Program: (link)
Web Site:

I’m very excited about going (with panels covering everything from POV, to politics in fantasy, or the use of teen labor in secondary worlds, it is shaping up to be a weekend of fascinating conversation.). This is also going to be the first con where I’m on a couple of panels. I’ve pasted their write-ups and times below, but suffice to say I’m both kid-in-a-candy-shop excited and noob-intimidated by the folks I’m going to be panelling with. I’ll try not to embarass myself too badly.

Here are the program write-ups for the two panels I’ll be on:

Saturday, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Accessibility, Genre, and Depth
Making fantasy accessible to new readers without making it seem simple or “dumbed down” to a more experienced audience can be challenging. What can we learn from the burgeoning YA genre? What are some techniques for ensuring new readers won’t feel like they’ve been thrown in the deep end, and to what extent can these techniques be reconciled with the intertextual complexity and deconstruction of genre tropes that experienced readers often desire?

  • Michael Merriam (moderating)
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Chris Modzelewski (that’s me!)
  • John Scalzi

Sunday, 9:30am – 10:30am
Science, Technology, and Fantasy
There is a tendency for fantasy to depict worlds mired in technological stasis, or to imagine magic and technology as polar opposites. Even when authors combine the two, as in more fantastic end of steampunk, they often choose to reproduce a subset of ideas from our world and prior art. What are some of the sources of this approach toward technology in fantasy? What sorts of narrative opportunities open up when you introduce disruptive technologies, magical or otherwise, into a fantasy story?

  • Ellen Klages (moderating)
  • Marissa Lingen
  • Chris Modzelewski (that’s me again!)
  • Sarah Monette
  • Catherine Schaffer

If you’re anywhere in the vicinity, or if you find yourself looking for some great discussions, please join us! If you can’t make it, don’t worry: I’ll be posting a detailed write-up of the event on Tuesday, June 26th. But for those of you who will already be attending Fourth Street Fantasy, I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

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