Skulk at @Dublin2019 WorldCon

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Floof Will Out

Dublin 2019 World Con will be full of floof! It even includes a performance by the Fox Spirit Skulk Players!

CON-EIRE

‘ConEIRE’  50 minutes FRIDAY 5:00 PM  –  5:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2A
Play

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:
THURSDAY
Ruins, curses, and family secrets: the Gothic  50 minutes 11:00 AM  –  11:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-3
Panel
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.
Creating podcasts: ideas, people, and themes  50 minutes THURSDAY 4:00 PM  –  4:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall-1
Panel
FRIDAY
Fleshy fears: horror and the body  50 minutes FRIDAY 11:00 AM  –  11:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2A
Panel
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?
Escape Artists podcast: live recording  50 minutes FRIDAY 1:00 PM  –  1:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2B
Podcast
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 PodPseudoPodPodCastle, and Cast of Wonders. There’ll be a Q&A session, swag giveaways, all the latest news, and live readings.
Why is it always raining in Gotham? Noir themes in SF  50 minutes FRIDAY 9:00 PM  –  9:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2B
Panel
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.
SATURDAY
Misconceptions in medieval history  50 minutes SATURDAY 10:00 AM  –  10:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-4
Panel
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!
Revolutions in an era of advanced technology  50 minutes SATURDAY 10:00 AM  –  10:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-3
Panel
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?
‘Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know’  SATURDAY 11:30 AM to 12:20 PM (50 minutes) Odeon 6 (Academic) Part of: Crusaders and Fairy Kings
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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.
Horror: where are we going?  50 minutes SATURDAY 5:00 PM  –  5:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-3
Panel
Whose book is it anyway?  50 minutes SATURDAY 5:30 PM  –  6:20 PM  |  Point Square , Alhambra
Panel
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?
SUNDAY
Portrayals of mental health in genre  SUNDAY 50 minutes 12:00 PM  –  12:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2A
Panel

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.

‘Ditch Diggers’ podcast: live recording  50 minutes SUNDAY 2:00 PM  –  2:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2B
Podcast
MONDAY
Irish horror and the supernatural  50 minutes 11:00 AM  –  11:50 AM  |  CCD , ECOCEM Room
Panel
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?
Kaffeeklatsch: Marguerite Kenner 50 minutes MONDAY 12:00 PM  –  12:50 PM  |  CCD , Level 3 Foyer
Kaffeeklatsch
Kaffeeklatsch: Alasdair Stuart  50 minutes MONDAY 1:00 PM  –  1:50 PM  |  CCD , Level 3 Foyer
Kaffeeklatsch
[If we missed something tweet Kate with the details]
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10 Ways to Wear it Like a Surrealist!

Red is dead, blue is through,
Green’s obscene, brown’s taboo.
And there is not the slightest excuse
for plum or puce — or chartreuse.

‘Think Pink’ from Funny Face (lyrics by Leonard Gershe)

Looking for that quel-que chose for your summer or fall clothes? Have you not seen the headlines, darling?! The world is falling into chaos. Fascists have taken over — and not just on the runway. The only way to fight back?
Dress like a surrealist!
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Look at Leonora! White leggings in the autumn? Rules are not made for her! She breaks them all. Hair wild, hyena by her side — everyone will be wanting one after Milan this year! The soft brown silk of her top sets off the verdant cropped jacket perfectly (and yes, it has pockets naturalmente!). Shoes by Fini.
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And speaking of Fini, Leonor has more in store with the ne plus ultra of the season: masks! Feeling tired, uninspired or totally wired, no one need know if you wear your mask. Animals are all the rage — and why not? They are enraged as we destroy their environment, relegating them to slow death. And once they have expired, they make terrific masks with only a few laborious steps. Repurpose those passed on! Hide your brutal humanity behind their faces and amaze all your friends — or shock your enemies! What does it matter at the slow dance before oblivion?
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Dorothea Tanning says, ‘Go bold!’ Will they notice your pert breasts before or after the adorable beast at your feet? What about the seaweed? You can refresh it daily for that ‘just rose from the sea and don’t know how the fish can survive in all that plastic’ feeling. The lace cuffs and gold ribbon give a luxurious feel as we prepare to step through the door into the new Roaring Twenties. Barefoot may be comfortable but revel in the rich layers of voluminous Midnight linen in her skirt. Cool enough for summer but it won’t look out of place in Paris this fall!
Colquhoun, Ithell, 1906-1988; Gouffres amers
Ithell Colquhoun is going for the stripped down look. Looks like slimming is the only thing on the summer resort menu, ladies!
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Accessories, cries Remedios Varo. Layers, layer, layers, yes! But accessories are a must. As you velocipede through London this year, don’t neglect to make the most of your accoutrements. Books, flowers, portraits of your lovers can all be buttoned into the ample space of her latest creation. The wheels are charming and so functional — and don’t forget your cat!
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We’ll give the last word to Fini, because you know she will take it. And that word is SCORPION! Darling, you cannot do without one. Keep a spare in your glove for that next important meeting and you will leave an indelible impression.

‘Keep your eye on your inner world and keep away from ads, idiots and movie stars.’
Dorothea Tanning

Out Now: Respectable Horror

Respectable Horror front cover

Respectable Horror front cover

Get your hands on this beauty! Respectable Horror is out in the wilds and ready to be lured to your home. Miss Poppy (our cover model designed by S. L. Johnson) will lead the way to a spectral crew of authors who are just dying to give you spine-tingling chills. This new collection offers names both familiar and new, writers who believe that it’s possible to terrify without more than a few drops of blood. The wind in the trees, the creak in the floor board, an innocent knock on the door: they’ll all take on a more sinister cast as you turn the pages of this book.

Introduction by K. A. Laity
The Estate of Edward Moorehouse by Ian Burdon
The Feet on the Roof by Anjana Basu
Spooky Girl by Maura McHugh
Recovery by H. V. Chao
The Holy Hour by C. A. Yates
Malefactor by Alan C. Moore
A Splash of Crimson by Catherine Lundoff
In These Rooms by Jonathan Oliver
A Framework by Richard Farren Barber
Running a Few Errands by Su Haddrell
Miss Metcalfe by Ivan Kershner
The Little Beast by Octavia Cade
The Well Wisher by Matthew Pegg
Where Daemons Don’t Tread by Suzanne J. Willis
Full Tote Gods by D. C. White
Those Who Can’t by Rosalind Mosis
The Astartic Arcanum by Carol Borden

Description:

Do serial killers, glistening viscera, oceans of gore and sadistic twists make you yawn behind a polite hand? Are you looking for something a little more interesting than a body count? These are tales that astonish and horrify, bring shivers and leave you breathless. You may be too terrified to find out what happens next – but you won’t be able to resist turning the page. We’ll make you keep the lights on. For a very long time.

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Respectable Horror: C. A. Yates

Respectable Horror front cover

Respectable Horror front cover
The author of ‘The Holy Hour’ may perhaps be better known for tales of another type:

With regard to my story ‘The Holy Hour’ soon to be presented to you under the auspices of Respectable Horror:

Respectable, you say? Well now, it’s a good job you came to me, my dears, for it is well known about these parts that I am the very embodiment of the well-turned heel of etiquette, the nine-time retriever of Lady Windermere’s Fanny, the epitome of Respectability. Its goddamned quintessence, I say. Yes, indeed, I am all about the corsetry and manners, my sweetest hearts, the decadently clad dandy wilt throw no shade on me. My writings, for the most part, are not that of some rabidly cussing blood-crazed termagant, it’s not all effing and bloody jeffing, with dismembered limbs akimbo and boiling pans of severed heads on the stove – I mean, I once wrote a story about a Sub-Aquatic Opera Company, for goodness’ sake. That’s a positively cultural orgasm of respectability right there, a full on lah-di-dah rigour of protocol and decorum.

Don’t listen to today’s rabble, my loves! Theirs is the voice of indignity and ignorance.

Free yourself from the restraints of the heathenism of modern hedonism and run with me into an old-fashioned gothic phantasmagoria that will chill your spine and … well, actually, I feel quite foolish now, because there aren’t any creaking old houses, or sinister mazes, or spinster phantoms plaguing ruthless rakes in the night. No tastefully bosom-heaving heroines or gargantuous-foreheaded uncles with their eye on their innocent ward’s prize, no creatures that will cause the blood to run slow in your veins, and there are most certainly no books that will twist you into folly itself. There’s a wife; she’s alone and she’s sad. She might be me one day. I hope not, but I fear it.

Wait! There’s a church, they are très respectable, aren’t they? Well, it might be a church, or it might not now I come to think about it, I’m not a believer myself, at least I don’t think I am… there’s definitely a dog. Everyone likes dogs, all respectable households have one.

And no one – I repeat NO ONE – gets eaten.

Respectable? Fucking A.

Oh.

C.A. Yates.

P.S. Blame The Cure. I do.

Not the Fox News: The First State of the Union

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future recently. It’s sort of my job, but it’s also something that we can’t avoid at this time of year. 2013 is calling time and putting the chairs on the tables whilst 2014 is trying not to look too nervous as it takes its tracksuit off and warms up. This is a time of year where reflection isn’t just expected it’s almost compulsory.

That leads to some really kick ass writing by the way. Paul Cornell’s 12 Blogs of Christmas are always really good value but this year he’s been on exceptional form. 2013 has been what my amazing girlfriend would call ‘burly’, an intense, bruiser of a year that’s worked hard for all 365 days and is only reluctantly showing signs of slowing down. There have been times, and anyone who was reading my blog in the top six months of the year would know exactly what times they were, when it’s been deeply, profoundly unpleasant.

Thanks for having my back this year, Phil.

That lack of pleasant hasn’t just stemmed from the profound professional frustration I’ve felt for a good chunk of this year. A lot of it has stemmed from the realization that a lot of the time, geek culture enables and encourages misery. The whole concept of geek/nerd/counter culture is so wrapped up in being the underdog that even when we aren’t, we’re conditioned to act like we are.

It’s not just that there’s always something wrong with a movie or a book or a comic or someone’s blog post either, although God knows that sort of stuff has been endemic this year. When we’re not complaining that something’s been done wrong, we’re complaining it’s been done at all and we absolutely will not stop until the same nine people agree with us, argue with us or passive aggressively block us on Twitter.

Again.

I’ve seen things, to misquote Roy Batty, that would make you go ‘…Wait, you’re supposed to be a grown up? You’re the industry leaders whose standards we all have to aspire to? SERIOUSLY?’

I’ve seen authors ignore some of the first people to beta read their first book as they pass in convention hallways. I’ve seen authors pick fights they had no business being anywhere near or comport themselves on Twitter in a manner that suggests their ASSHAT UNION membership card has arrived and they’re just so pleased they can’t wait to show it to everyone.

It’s not just authors either. Bloggers who’ve picked fights for no reason other than they can, journalists who’ve started fights they can’t finish then played the victim card and run. I’ve seen celebrity authors pampered and sucked up to by the same editors who let out streams of invective as high pitched as they were ineffectual at people who they thought beneath them. I’ve seen ‘fans’ race to pour scorn on anyone who dared to like something they didn’t, or sneak pictures of an old, tired, ill man because it might be the last time they were in the same room as him and God forbid they should treat him like a human.

I have so much more. I have an amount you wouldn’t believe of stories of people being dicks. Objectification by both genders, high school cliquery, bullying, the sort of cult of personality bullshit that makes you want to not just leave these people’s company but shower and not stop until you feel clean again.   Fandom, and I actually cringed writing that word, has shown the world it’s ass over and over in 2013.

It’s been pretty depressing at times. You may be able to tell.

Here’s the thing. I have an outsider complex the size of a small moon at the best of times and there’ve been months this year that I’ve felt like a man without a country. Times where I’ve looked around at the conversation and the people leading it and frankly wondered if it wasn’t too late to learn enough about football and soap operas that I could fit effortlessly back into the general population, sort of like Bruce Campbell at the end of Darkman.

I didn’t for three reasons. Firstly because simply making that comparison tells me this is where I should be, secondly because Bruce Campbell already had that exit sewn up and thirdly because when it comes down to it, I’ve seen what comes next. And it’s BRILLIANT.

Seriously, the dusty cults of personality, the grudges held for years, the ludditery and celebration of the past at the endless, endless expense of the present and the future? It’s being replaced, person by person, con by con. What’s replacing it, Commander Bowman?

See, Dave knows.

But surely publishing is dying? I pretend to hear you cry. Publishing isn’t dying. Or rather it is in the same way that comics publishing was dying a decade ago when I ran a comic store. Numbers are down, prices are up, electronic retail is squeezing it dry and the sky is falling.

But the sky is always falling.

Comics endure. Books endure. We endure and survive and, ultimately, evolve. Look at the indie press scene in this country and don’t use small press as a term, please. It belittles the hard work of everyone involved in companies like Anachron, Jurassic and Fox Spirit. These are groups of people whose invention is matched only by their lunacy at working so hard for so little financial gain. Colin Barnes, Jared Shurin and Anne C. Perry, Aunty Fox, all the others have stepped up and MADE something whilst everyone else has been busy doomsaying and remembering how drunk they got at We Like A-Line Flares and The Bay City Fucking Rollerscon back in 197aeons ago.

Authors, editors and agents are the same. Lou Morgan, Andrew Reid, Joan De La Haye, Jennifer Williams, Liz De Jager, Alec McQuay, Dan Sawyer, Vincent Holland Keen, Adam Christopher, Colin Barnes again, Steven Saus, Scott Roche, Jared Shurin and Anne C. Perry again, Tim Maughan, Kate Laity, Mhairi Simpson, David Barnett, Nayad Monroe, Sarah Hans, Mur Lafferty, Lee Harris, Amanda Rutter, Den Patrick, Will Hill, Kim Curran, Guy Adams, Tom PollockDjibril al-Ayad, Matt Wallace, Jacqueline Koyanagi, Juliet Mushens and all the others have built their careers from the ground up. Brick by brick by author by book these people have hand sold, promoted, represented appeared on podcasts, written blogs, submitted work, read slush and slowly and surely they’ve made ground. Slowly and surely they’ve changed the game. Slowly and surely they’ve won .

You know the coolest thing about that list? I added to it twice and I know it’s not complete, even now. These people, and the legions I missed, are building the future with a combination of grim determination and total empathy. The con organizers are the same, and anyone who thinks different hasn’t looked at Nine Worlds, the plans LonCon 3 have or what Lee Harris and Sophia McDougall are building at FantasyCon ’14.

It won’t be overnight, because it never is, but the change that’s coming isn’t just one of talent, it’s one of atmosphere. At every level of every element of genre fiction publishing, the culture is changing from one of tradition and exclusion to one of individuality and inclusion. Yes the support structures are smaller, yes the work is harder to do but the rewards are all the sweeter if you can do it. Like the man says, it’s a good life if you don’t weaken and everyone I mention here can attest to that. These people love what they do so much they teach other people to love it too. No whining, no backbiting, no psychological games. Just the agent, the editor, the publisher, the writer, the reader and the text and, yes, they’re all walking into a bar.

This is a wonderful time to be anywhere near fiction. The step change that’s coming will echo up and down for decades to come and it’ll be so much more positive and interesting than so much of what we’ve had to put up with in recent years.

What do you think, Josh?

Good boy.

What’s next? That’s easy. It’s the future. And this time everyone’s invited.

Happy New Year

 

Jacqueline Koyanagi