The extreme measures we take to remove responsible adults in order to empower children in stories – whether it’s J.K. Rowling starting poor Harry off an orphan, or C.S. Lewis exiling an entire family to the country, or Suzanne Collins forcing Katniss Everdeen to become the adult in her mother’s own house… Panelists will discuss the importance, or lack thereof, of parents in YA stories.
Panellists: Simon Bradshaw (intellectual property lawyer), Richard Ashcroft (bioethics professor), Jody Lynn Nye, Simon Ings (New Scientist), Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf (patent expert), Joan Paterson (doctor – genetics specialist)
Who owns medical implants – the patient, the health service, the company that made them? Should the patient have access to details of the hardware and software? If an artificial organ is keeping you alive, does the company get to turn it off if you don’t keep paying the ever rising bills? What happens when companies close? When you move from mechanical implants to genetic treatment, who owns the DNA inserted into your cells? Will you become a product wholly owned by Big Pharma?
Some female warriors represent the norm in their fantasy or science fictional societies and are expected to train and fight alongside their men. Others are “exceptions”, who need to battle the prejudice of their colleagues just as much as their enemies. Panelists will discuss female fighters of every kind, taking examples both from real life and fiction. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the characters under discussion? How has representation of female warriors changed over time? How does the author’s treatment of these characters vary by genre if at all?