I've never been before, so I don't really know how this compares to previous years, but it does look as though the push to bring genre parity has really begun in earnest, with only, as far as I can see, two horror specific panels. I know they wanted to address the dominance of horror but I think this has gone too far.
FRIDAY 5th September3.00pm – Opening Ceremony
We introduce our team, our Master of Ceremonies and our Guests of Honour.
Graham Joyce, Kate Elliott, Toby Whithouse, Charlaine Harris, Larry Rostant
3.00pm – Doctor Who: Space Messiah
The Doctor of the twentieth century was a wandering outcast, an inconsequential outsider who only occasionally figured in the concerns of the ancient and powerful Time Lords. New Who, by contrast, looms vast over time and space, a universal saviour known and feared by every race. How has this change affected our perception of the hero?
Jonathan Oliver (m), Guy Adams, Mark Morris, Juliet E McKenna, Joanne Harris
4.00pm – My First Con
Part-panel, part-mingling. If you’re new to the convention scene, come and join us.
Tiffani Angus (m), Ewa Scibor-Rylska, Toby Vanables, Glen Mehn
4.00pm – Joanne Harris in Conversation
Alasdair Stuart interviews novelist Joanne Harris.
4.00pm – Rejectamentalist Manifesto
The gory details of building an anthology and why stuff gets rejected
Terry Grimwood (m), Jonathan Oliver, Adele Wearing, Ian Whates, Peter Coleborn
5.00pm – Pointless
Paul Cornell hosts this FantasyCon edition of the popular TV show.
5.00pm – Awards and their value
What are they good for? Which are the important ones? Who really benefits?
Glen Mehn (m), Stephen Theaker, Ramsey Campbell, Larry Rostant, Vincent Chong, Charlaine Harris
5.00pm – WORKSHOP: Writing for Comics
From idea to sale, what do you have to do? (limited to 20 attendees on sign-up sheet at Registration)
Selina Lock, Jay Eales
6.00pm – A Tribute to Joel Lane
The writer and FantasyCon stalwart Joel Lane died unexpectedly in 2013. Join some of his friends as they raise a glass and share some of their memories and some of his writing.
7.00pm – Larry Rostant in Conversation
Marc Gascoigne interviews our Artist Guest of Honour.
7.00pm – When Fiction Goes Digital
What happens in the age of the digital story? Does stories look the same? How does form intersect with function, beyond a trip to the e-reader?
Glen Mehn (m), Jenny Barber, Farah Mendlesohn, Marc Aplin, Laurel Sills, Del Lakin-Smith
7.00pm – Podcasting for beginners
What makes a really good podcast? Which are the ones you should be listening to? How can you make your own?
Peter Newman (m), Alasdair Stuart, Emma Newman, Stephen Aryan
7.30pm – Karaoke
Join Rebellion (Solaris and Abaddon) for an evening of… well, let’s just call it “music”.
7.30pm - Round-Robin Poetry
Join us for an evening of poetry, and feel free to bring your own! Allen Ashley hosts.
SATURDAY 6th10.00am – Does Anyone Get Out of Here Alive?
Can there be hope in Horror, or are unrelieved despair and gore the essence of the genre?
Guy Adams (m), Adam Neville, Tim Lebbon, Roz Kaveney, Sara Jayne Townsend, Charlaine Harris
10.00am – But Does It Make Sense?
Economics of fantasy systems. If Smaug holds all the gold and it gets liberated, what does that do to the economy?
Leila Abu el Hawa (m), Kari Sperring, Kate Elliott, Tom Pollock, Anne Lyle
10.00am – From Page to Screen
What’s different about books and film and how can you make your book/script/pitch saleable?
Tony Venables (m), Toby Whithouse, Joanne Harris, Ellen Gallagher, Maura McHugh, Sean Hogan
11.00am – Film show (until approx. 2.00pm)
Details to follow.
11.00am – The Pen vs the Sword
Writers who also happen to be swordfighters discuss the myths and realities of the sword in fiction – and demonstrate their skills with the blade!
Marc Aplin (m), Fran Terminiello, Juliet E McKenna, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Clifford Beale
11.00am – The Reign of the Geek
With Game of Thrones, Marvel’s franchise and Doctor Who all mainstream staples, the fantastic is no longer the reserve of the lone outsider. Geeks won the culture war – but what do we do now?
Max Edwards (m), Joanne Harris, Alasdair Stuart,
11.00am – It’s the End of the World as we Know It – And I Feel Unsurprised
Does the popularity of dystopia in YA reflect a generation’s expectation of living in a nightmarish future?
Guy Adams (m), Janet Edwards, Leila Abu el Hawa, Jonathan Oliver, Laura Lam
12.00 Noon – Charlaine Harris in Conversation
Adele Wearing interviews one of our literary Guests of Honour
12.00 Noon – Dead Parents, Burned Homesteads and Wicked Stepmothers
Is it essential to write out the parents before youthful characters can head out on adventures? Are adult figures always unhelpful or malign? Should writers search for ways to keep parents around — or do fantasies of a world without parents fulfil a real need?
Marc Gascoigne (m), Edward Cox, Emma Newman, Glenda Larke, Laura Lam
12.00 Noon – Gentleman Thieves, Loveable Pirates and Sex Tricksters
Gentlemen Thieves, Loveable Pirates and Sexy Tricksters. Why are untrustworthy characters and criminals among SFF’s most beloved characters? Does sympathy for the underdog shade into idealising predators?
James Barclay (m), Joanne Harris, Kim Lakin-Smith, Frances Hardinge, Libby McGuigan
1.00pm – Break for Lunch
2.00pm – Surprise!
What happens when the reader feels the rug has been pulled out from under them? Why do some shock twists leave an audience in awe and others make them feel cheated? What does it mean for an author to play fair by their reader?
Karen Miller (m), Roz Kaveney, Charlaine Harris, Toby Whithouse, Simon Spanton, Sarah Lotz
2.00pm – Beyond Grimdark
Is the trend for mud, misery and moral bankruptcy on the wane in SFF, and if so, what’s next? What do reader and writer get out of bleak, nihilistic worlds? With many works heavily featuring violence against women, is the genre inherently reactionary?
David Moore (m), Martin Taylor, Jen Williams, James Oswald, Adrian Tchaikovsky
2.00pm – How to Get Noticed
Booksellers, librarians, fans, marketing. What’s the magic in getting people to discover new books?
Allen Ashley (m), Nazia Khatun, Larry Rostant, Sophie Calder, Ruth Tross, Graeme Reynolds
3.00pm – She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Sister
Kirk and Spock, Luke and Han, Frodo and Sam – epic friendships between men are common in fantasy, but friendships between women, or platonic relationships
between men and women that stay that way – are much thinner on the ground. The panellists discuss why it matters and examine some of the rare exceptions.
Roz Kaveney (m), Mhairi Simpson, Glenda Larke, Charlaine Harris, Den Patrick
3.00pm – The Chosen One
From Neo to Barack Obama. Many works of SFF place the fate of the world on the shoulders of a single, pre-ordained hero, who often possesses some magical trait. The panellists discuss ideas and subversions of the One in SFF and beyond. Are there echoes in real world politics? Is the concept stale and regressive, or can it be redeemed by a more diverse range of Chosen Ones in pop culture?
Gillian Redfearn (m), Tom Pollock, James Oswald, Joanne Hall, Frances Hardinge, Helen Marshall
3.00pm – Icky Romance
Love and sex are powerful motivators and sources of dramatic conflict. However when combined with the conventions of SFF, there’s a lot of potential for cliché, from damsels in distress to dangerous supernatural boyfriends. But how often do complaints about the place of romance in SFF come down to a fear of girl cooties?
David Moore (m), Joanne Harris, Edward Cox, Karen Miller, Tom Harper, James Oswald
4.00pm – Kate Elliott in Conversation
4.00pm – SFF and Politics
There is nothing more glorious than to defeat your enemy by transparent democratic process, and hear the lamentation of the other sides’ whips. Can SFF make political process dramatic and heroic, or will it always come down scheming viziers and noble warriors?
Lizzie Barrett (m), Jaine Fenn, Fox Meadows, Catherine Mann, Scott Andrews
4.00pm – FanFiction
The Fan, the Pro and the Publishing Industry Writers on both sides of the fan/pro divide and writers who straddle it discuss fanfiction. After the success of E.L James, should publishers be searching for more hit writers on AO3 and Fanfic.net? What keeps talented writers away from traditional publishing?
James Barclay (m), A J Dalton, Gillian Polack, Charlaine Harris, Helen Kenwright
5.00pm – Who’s Missing?
A discussion about some authors you should be reading, but probably aren’t.
Glen Mehn (m), Ramsey Campbell, Kate Elliott, Tom Pollock, Gillian Redfearn, Marc Gascoigne.
5.00pm – Horror on the Small Screen
TV is getting darker, and with the recent success of American Horror Story, Black Mirror and Being Human, are we entering a new golden age of terrifying TV?
Maura McHugh (m), Stephen Volk, Toby Whithouse, Paul Kane
6.00pm - We’ve Got It Covered
What are the elements of great cover design? From artwork and design, through to cover copy and author blurbs.
Larry Rostant, Jim Pitts, Marc Gascoigne, Helen Marshall, Adele Wearing (m)
6.30pm – Mass Signing
Your favourite authors are here, ready to sign your books!
7.00pm – Tea and Jeopardy with Toby Whithouse
Join the Hugo-shortlisted podcast team of Emma Newman and her butler Latimer, as they grill Guest of Honour, Toby Whithouse. Warning: Contains mild peril!
Emma Newman, Peter Newman, Toby Whithouse
7.00pm – Comics on the Small Screen
Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, the Flash, Daredevil, Peggy Carter – is TV the new cinema for superior superhero drama?
Maura McHugh (m), Selina Lock, Guy Adams, Mike Chinn, Lee Harris
8.00pm – Just a Minute
Our resident quizmaster, Paul Cornell, hosts this classic panel gameshow.
8.30 – The FantasyCon Disco, sponsored by Gollancz. Dedicated to Hajnalka Bata
Strut your funky stuff, oh no. (We’re probably serious about the “oh no”.)
9.00pm – Super Relaxed Fantasy Club
SUNDAY 7th10.00am – Toby Whithouse in Conversation
Our Media Guest of Honour is interviewed by Ellen Gallagher
10.00am – A Working Class Hero is Something to Read?
Fantasy often focuses on characters at the extreme ends of society, but is frequently written by middle-class authors who bring middle class assumptions to their princes and peasants. The panellists discuss class in SFF.
Gillian Redfearn (m), Joan De La Haye, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Sarah Lotz, Den Patrick, Charlaine Harris
10.00am – WORKSHOP: Worldbuiding
Kate Griffin, Tom Pollock
11.00am – Editing Dreams and Editor Nightmares
Editors are people, and get to see *everything* – how to work with them and make their lives easier, which will make your life easier.
Simon Spanton (m), Nicola Budd, Abigail Nathan, Gillian Redfearn, David Moore
11.00am – Building the Same Old World
Only SFF gives us the opportunity to imagine an entirely new world, but how often do we actually do that? Do any writers manage to leave preconceptions about the way the world works behind – and should they? The panellists discuss the opportunities, pitfalls and politics of worldbuilding.
Camille Lofters (m), Tiffani Angus, Foz Meadows, Kate Elliott, Peter Higgins
11.00am – British Fantasy Society AGM
Open to current members of the British Fantasy Society. Discuss the last year, and plans for the next.
1.00pm – The Annual British Fantasy Awards Banquet
There may be some places left – check with the redcloaks at Registration
2.30pm (Approximately) – The British Fantasy Awards
Join host Paul Cornell as we celebrate the best works of 2013.