A love letter to the people who do the thankless work behind the scenes at SFF cons everywhere!
It’s three days before the start of ConEIRE, the best Irish-themed science fiction and fantasy con in the tri-state area, when a phone call sets the entire Convention Committee into panic mode. Is Big Name Writer going to pull out at the last minute? What does Very Famous Artist have to do with that decision? And what do the fairies have to say about all this? Follow the hilarious mishaps as the committee members work desperately to salvage months of planning and hard work, all of which are about to be undone by a well-known prima donna.
But there are skulk members appearing throughout the con:
Where does the Gothic fit into the overall horror tradition? What elements of the Gothic remain so compelling today, and why? Panellists discuss the genre from its roots to Southern Gothic and other modern interpretations.
From body horror to body snatchers to possession and beyond, how has horror explored, exploited, and pushed the limits of bodily integrity? What is the subtext of different approaches to body horror, and what practitioners are exploring these assaults on the flesh in the most interesting ways?
Come and learn more about free weekly podcast fiction! Join the Escape Artists for an audio fiction show presented by all four EA podcasts: Escape Pod, PseudoPod, PodCastle, and Cast of Wonders. There’ll be a Q&A session, swag giveaways, all the latest news, and live readings.
Noir tropes are hugely popular in science fictional settings, such as China Miéville’s The City and the City, or William Gibson’s Neuromancer. In what ways are noir tropes adapted or subverted within the genre? Is there a difference in the ways SF books, comics, and movies use elements of noir? The panel will discuss the uses of noir across SF genres and formats.
The medieval period is a rich source of inspiration for writers of speculative fiction, but medieval life has been so romanticised in popular culture that it has become hard to separate the chaff of fiction from the wheat of historical fact. Our panel of medievalists will saddle up their warhorses and ride to rescue the damsel of medieval history!
How do revolutions (e.g. overthrowing government) occur in an era of advanced technologies? Are orderly regime changes jeopardised with growing asymmetries in weaponry, surveillance, and political power? Are current political processes up to the challenge?
Susanna Clarke’s sprawling novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell takes in the whole of the 19th century attempt to restore magic to respectability in England. Repeatedly the readers are warned that fairy magic is ‘not respectable’ – most often by Gilbert Norrell, who hides his shame at stooping to its employment on at least one occasion. Why is fairy magic not ‘respectable’? I will argue that it is because it is mostly Celtic, rather than the more dour, respectable, and rather puritanical English magic that Norrell seeks to revive and rule over. In contrast, John Uskglass was trained in fairy magic and his troop, the Raven King’s army, is specifically identified as the Daoine Sidhe. In pursuing the Raven King’s example, Jonathan Strange remains open to this Celtic influence and soon surpasses his teacher in skill and daring, but both Englishmen are unprepared for the full fury of the fairy fight.
Who decides which YA books get bought? Publishers? Editors? Booksellers? Parents? Or maybe even YA readers? Join us for a thoughtful discussion on marketing and publishing in YA as we look at how YA novels get chosen. Moreover, what are publishers and readers looking for in a book?
Content warning: may include discussions of suicide and self-harm, mental illness and ableism, eating disorders.
Mental health used well can drive a story, create believable motives for characters and even greater awareness amongst the audience. However, these issues are not always treated sensitively or realistically. This panel will explore examples of mental health issues in genre fiction and consider their implications and accuracy.
Critic Peter Tremayne observed that: ‘Practically every Irish writer has … explored the genre for the supernatural part of Irish culture.’ Ireland has always held its own in fantastical literature, from Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker to Dorothy Macardle and Elizabeth Bowen. But is there a discernible tradition threaded through their fictions? And what, if anything, makes their writing Irish?
We are delighted to bring you only our second volume of poetry, Multiverse by Jan Siegel and guests.
Pat Cadigan, Helen Lederer, Clare Potts and Julian Bell all feature in this delightful collection that tours literature and SFF with original poems and a few homages.
Jan was on First Dates celebrity in October which is well worth a watch, but we at Fox Spirit are first and foremost fans of her writing. You can find Jan in our own Mouse and Minotaur and of course she is the author of the Devil’s Apprentice and Prospero’s Children among other titles. It is a real pleasure to be publishing her poetry collection.
The cover illustration is by John Howe while the design and layout are by Vincent Holland-Keen.
You can read Upon a Dark and Stormy Night in it’s entirety here, but for now I leave you with the opening lines to The Barman
‘Once upon a midnight dreary – when I fancied a daiquiri
After some launch far from cheery in a neighbourhood bookstore,
To the Groucho then I staggered with a visage pale and haggard
And I thrust aside each laggard
Lagging round the open door,
’Twas a fool and not a blackguard came between me and the door,
Halloween is nearly upon us! The pumpkins are carved, the cobwebs draped and the ghosts are dusting off their best hauntings. It is the perfect time to launch a spooky novella for a little Halloween fun.
Welcome to Greystones. Do you believe in ghosts? You will.
Haunted manor house Greystones Hall is filled to the brim with ghosts. It’s also falling to bits, and artist owner Emily doesn’t have the money to refurbish the place. When the makers of hit tv show ‘Got Ghosts?’ offer to pay for a weekend’s filming there she jumps at the chance, even though she and her ghostly grandfather Gramps have reservations.
The reservations seem to be misplaced when the film crew swing into action, and producer Carl turns out to be dark, handsome and very available. But Emily soon starts to have doubts about the methods they use, which Carl won’t discuss. Then the show’s resident medium Stella stirs up a new and malevolent spirit, revealing a dark secret at the heart of the house that has been hidden for centuries. And when Emily’s own safety is threatened, together with that of her ghosts and her beloved Gramps, will it be Carl who comes to the rescue, or someone much more unexpected?
Oh, another bloody slasher. Oh, more extreme horror. Oh, it must be Tuesday. BORED!
Whilst sipping a martini clarity arrives: one hungers for a change of pace, dash it all:
So we would like tales of civilised, gentle(wo)manly horror, cold, calculating and bloodless; spinechillers rather than slashers, enervating instead of eviscerating. Though a wee bit of the red stuff will not make us blanch, focus more on unshakeable dread. Make us afraid to investigate that noise downstairs. Cause us to shudder when we glimpse something move out of the corner of our eyes. Think Ann Radcliffe and the Gothics, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, M.R. James and even those modern folks like Shirley Jackson and Fritz Leiber.
It’s all about the style. Mashups are the Fox Spirit specialty, so mix and match to your little heart’s content (Lovecraftian Wodehouse has been done). Just be sure to keep the theme uppermost.
Humorous attempts at horror are acceptable, but be warned that your editor’s sense of humour like her taste in martinis is most peculiar and exacting. You would be strongly advised to inform yourself of her tastes.
THE PARTICULARS for Respectable Horror
Follow our house style and submit via Word document attachment to katelaity at gmail dot com by December 31st, 2015. Selection of stories will happen in the spring; the publication itself will appear later in 2016. You will be expected to join in the publicity efforts as much as you are capable (social media mostly).
Word count: ~4-8K
Payment: £10 upon publication + digital and print copy of the volume
What ho! Ask any questions you have in advance of the closing date.