I will be attending the World Fantasy Convention 2012 in Toronto, November 1-4. While I’m on programming, I was only given one panel and no readings. Oh well, more time to hang out with friends, or at the ChiZine Publications dealers room table, or take in other panels and readings! Still, I’m very pleased to be part of it. So here’s where you’ll find me on the official schedule:
Friday, November 2nd, 1:00 PM, Vaughn
GOTHIC FANTASY NOIR
In the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) Mike Ashley writes: “The cityscape has replaced the old castle, and Urban Fantasy is the new Gothic.” As counter-intuitive as that may read, it can be argued that this is true. And there’s a type of Urban Fantasy that could be termed Urban Fantasy Noir, with the popular “huntress” theme a variant of this: down these mean streets a woman must go, armed only with edged weapons and a wit as dry as the pavement is damp. Phillippa Marlowe, Boogen Hunter, still the knight errant. The panel will examine the evidence of a reversion, in Urban Fantasy, to older forms of literature, whether it be the despair of the Gothic or the bleakness of noir. And is the growth and popularity of Urban Fantasy — with its mean streets, grim reality, modern attitudes, and contemporary settings — a response to High Fantasy, with its emphasis on Arthurian-style legend and faux-Medieval settings? With more people living in, or on the fringes of, cities than ever before, what’s the attraction of going to a darkly fantastic world under their streets or above their rooftops, as opposed to a distant past or an unknown kingdom?
Elwyn Cotman (M), Dana Cameron, Gemma Files, Elizabeth Hand, Rhiannon Held, Nicholas Kaufmann.
Despite the tortured prose of the panel description and the questionable assertion about more people living in or around cities than ever before, I think this is going to be a very enjoyable and enlightening discussion — even if seeing Elizabeth Hand among the panelists already makes me feel out of my league! My forthcoming novel from St. Martin’s Press, Not Dead Yet, could very much be called an Urban Fantasy Noir, but it’s also very different from the “huntress” themes the panel description focuses on, so that should make for some interesting comparisons. If you’re attending the convention, why not swing by and watch me try to hold my own with other panelists whom I suspect know a lot more about this subject than I do?