Yes, I was lurking around Edge-Lit 4 in Derby today. And it was in some senses eye-opening.
Naturally I could not attend all the events, but here are some pointers…
Thanks to Knightwatch, Terry Jackman was able to launch her book here in the UK. She read the second chapter, more because of the limited time she was allotted more than anything else. If you want to see the first few pages, look here. But this comes with a health warning… once you start reading it, you won;t want to put it down. The books that Knightwatch launched are more to do with horror than anything else, so not what you would call my cup of tea. Others are best left to judge those.
The workshop ran by Gav Thorpe on Pushing the Edges – How to be Inventive, proved useful and entertaining. So if he does another workshop on this theme and you are short of ideas, it would definitely be for you.
The other workshop I attended was on World Building, cultures and Societies. The workshop lead, Adrian Tchaikovsky, pointed out that a lot of fantasy is based on history e.g. Game of Thrones on the War of the Roses. But for those that want to avoid history, there is a lot of work required in world building. Boy, do I know what he means. See here – page 158 – for the start to my novel, A Void Dance. And this is only the tip of the iceberg… please excuse the puns in this instance, one was intended, the other not! What it does mean is that what I want to develop next in science fiction is going to be a nightmare of the darkest kind… I must be absolutely mad to even think of attempting it!
I did sit through the panel on Breaking Boundaries – Are Genre Fiction and Literary Fiction Closer Than Ever? Panel members tended to point towards a them and us culture existing between the two. What I found interesting was that other than associating certain parties with a vested interest in retaining the superiority of literary fiction over genre fiction, there was no definition of literary fiction. This led naturally onto the way women writers continue to be badly treated in science fiction. We had a couple of stories from panel members, which to put it bluntly, were horrifying and should not have happened.
I also sat half way through the panel on The Future is Now – Has Science Fiction Started to Become Reality? [Had to catch the train back.] The panel members indicated that various inventions had first been suggested in science fiction, but none of the worlds science fiction had come up with had actually come to pass or looked likely to come to pass. As an engineer, I was disappointed with the quality of some of the scientific discussions, to the extent that at one point I sucked my teeth. I know they are science fiction writers and a lot of what they said was right, but the basis of their knowledge fell short. If they had looked into the subjects further, they would have realised that they were getting the consequences of the way technology was developing wrong. So I found this panel particularly disappointing.
So basically 3 out of 4 good panels / workshops, which means it was a good convention worth going to.