Dorian, Almost Human
Sci-fi is one of the few areas in which non-white characters can be main characters in a narrative not focused on slavery, the civil rights movement, tropes like Ethnic Menial Labour, Apron Matron, Mammy and Whoopi Epiphany Speech, or some other form of racist commentary. Exceptions include those films and TV shows with entirely non-white casts.
Continue reading Is sci-fi one of the few genres to accept non-white characters as heroes?
Panellists: Victor Fernando R. Ocampo (Phillipino living in Singapore), Yasser Bahjatt (Saudi Arabian), Irena Raseta (Croatian), Aishwarya Subramanian (Indian), Naomi Karmi (Israeli)
When aliens invade, why do they almost always hit New York? With a few partially-honourable exceptions, such as Pacific Rim and District 9, the American-led alliances of Independence Day and its ilk are still the norm for SF cinema’s supposedly global catastrophes. What is it like to watch these films outside the Anglophone world? Do attempts to move away from American exceptionalism feel real, or are they just window-dressing? And how do different countries deal with apocalypse in their own cinematic traditions?
Continue reading LonCon3 #22: Saving the World. All of it.
Panellists: Carrie Vaughn, Amy H. Sturgis, Martin Lewis, Thea James (The Book Smugglers), Erin M. Underwood
The YA publishing boom has been accompanied by a boom in film adaptations, but while some have seen commercial success others have stalled. What does it take to transition from book to film? Are there any special considerations when working with a young adult story? Modern YA is a genre with distinctive tropes — how are these being transferred to the screen? How is “classic” YA adapted in that context? Is this to the original story’s benefit or detriment? Which YA books have successfully made the transition–for good or ill? What stories would make great films, but haven’t yet been done?
Continue reading LonCon3 #20: YA on the Big Screen
Panellists: Foz Meadows, L.M. Myles, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Sarah Shemilt, Christi Scarborough
At the end of last year, to mark ten years since the broadcast of the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the BBC, Naomi Alderman made a special edition of the Radio 4 programme Front Row, featuring interviews with cast, creator, and critics. Among other things, she asked what the show’s legacy had been, and whether the right lessons — female characters written as well as men, given as much narrative importance as men, and surrounded by other women — had been learned. Following on from her discussion, our panel will ask: who are Buffy’s heirs? (And you can listen to the original programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03m7zmq)
Continue reading LonCon3 #18: The Daughters of Buffy
Panellists: Laurie Penny, Daryl Gregory, David Towsey, Claudia Kern, Deborah Christie
According to M John Harrison, “The zombie is the ultimate other in a neoliberal society … they will never embarrass you by revealing their humanity.” To what extent does this reading explain the popularity of zombie franchises? And what are we to make of works such as Warm Bodies, The Returned and In The Flesh, that start to rehumanise the zombie?
Continue reading LonCon3 #12: Sympathy for the Zombie
Panellists: Martin McGrath, Carrie Vaughn, Roz J. Kaveney (GR), Takayuki Tatsumi, Laurie Penny
One of the defining political issues of our time, societal inequality is showing up on-screen in films like In Time, Elysium and The Dark Knight Rises, and TV shows such as Continuum and Arrow. How successfully do these works engage with the issues they raise? Is the imagery they use at odds with the narratives they follow? And what would radical anti-inequality SF look like?
Why does SF hate poor people? It seems to echo the media’s hate for the poor.
Continue reading Loncon3 #8: Occupy SF – Inequality on Screen