So it's Saturday already - where has the time gone! Right about now, you should be well and truly in 'con mode'. Real life is a distant memory and foraging for food within and around the convention centre has become refined to a high art. Except when it isn't. Also, natural light is starting to feel like a bit of a myth. Today's top tips include trying to get that elusive perfect balance of chatting and going to panels. Too much chatting and you'll miss your favourite authors talking about interesting things. Too much listening and you might reach information overload! And don't forget our top con tips here, harvested from experienced con-goers.
Also, the Masquerade! Today's where the cosplay really comes out to, um, play? You may well see more costumes than usual, especially as it heads towards evening where 'The Masquerade' is a catwalk competition showcasing the best costumes. They range from super-professional to novice and some have to be seen to be believed. On the right is an image taken from the official LonCon site of a Masquerate entry from 1987!
Other Saturday highlights include an 1980s night dance, so bring on those Thriller moves. But you could start the day at 9am with a zombie run... I can't say that would be my preferred wake-up call, but it could get those braaaains working again. Or you could actually build your own Light Saber at 10am. There's a Finding an Agent panel at 12pm, which is always popular so get there early to get a good seat!
For more info on what Team Tor and authors are up to, as well as those highlights mentioned, see below for *even more panels'. And the full Loncon 3 programme is here.
Take in some London air with Zombies, Run! Although it's a fitness app, Zombies, Run! lets you take the role of Runner Five, and move at your own pace through the game. (This runner used it to rehab a broken leg). Run, walk or amble as many times around the ExCEL centre as you want, whilst listening to the app, picking up vital supplies for your base and escaping the zombie hordes. You will need to have a copy of the Zombies, Run! App on your phone in order to take part.
Great authors who made their names writing adult fiction, tell us about their journey to the other side of the aisle. Are there any differences in writing for two different age groups, or is it partly a marketing gimmick? Did agents and publishers put up any resistance, or were they begging for a chance to thrill teenage readers?
Hume in his essay 'Of The Standard of Taste' asked why we are willing to suspend disbelief when authors make all sorts of wild claims but draw the line when the author makes moral claims contrary to our own. This might be less true today than it was in Hume's time but we have our own moral rubicons. From sexual taboos to the role of government, what are the sort of things that readers tend to reject regardless of how skillfully the author makes the case? In other words, what sort of stories provoke imaginative resistance? How can this feeling be used to deliberate effect, for example within the horror genre?
A great query letter is all you need! Write a great manuscript and the rest doesn't matter! Network at conventions and you're in good shape! These nuggets of advice and dozens like them float around the writersphere as gospel. How many of these have a ring of truth? What is the secret to finding an agent? And what does an agent do once you have one? Our agents will decrypt the process.
Much of what we see in the YA shelves is dour, grimy and deadly. Why is that? Where can we find the lighter side of young adult fiction? Which authors should we look to for a satisfying happy ending or a good belly laugh?
Age recommendations on books are meant to be a useful feature for readers. What are the risks and benefits associated with age classification, and is it a necessary evil or a marketing mistake? And what’s all this we hear about the emerging “New Adult” market? Will this have an effect on YA books? Moreover, how do the growing number of adult readers affect the YA market? Are we leaving actual young adult readers behind in favor of attracting adult buyers?
When was the last time a fantasy novel had a golem or a cockatrice? How long is it since someone fought a giant, flesh-eating beast instead of another dude with a sword? Where did all the monsters go? With quest plots out of fashion, deus ex machina ditched, treasure-hunting too economically simplistic, and stories more likely to lavish pages on their heroes' motivations for fighting than on blow-by-blow battles with deadly creatures, is the monster still relevant in today's fantasy?
The bloodiest, the filthiest, the esoteric-ist, the miserable-ist adult books, are transformed by the panel into something we would be happy to see in the hands of our most delicate and prudish child. Each panelist will suggest a few books that should never be allowed within seven leagues of anybody who can't vote. The rest of the panel will discuss what changes would be needed to make them suitable for a YA audience.
Reading and interpreting stories is an intensely subjective process, and what the reader experiences may not always be what the writer intended. This can cause problems, notably when reading across cultural boundaries: writers may structure their stories or use tropes in ways that readers are not used to, or even find 'wrong'. What tools and approaches to reading across boundaries are helpful? When is the onus on the writer to explain, and when is it on the reader to do more work?
In a world where life and death hang in the balance for every character no matter how despised or loved, it is the children who pay the heaviest price. Their parents' plots and intrigues sit squarely upon the shoulders of the Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen children, snatching their childhoods away and forcing them to wield their own power to survive the game of thrones. But have the adults underestimated their children's value as players? Who will survive? Who will gain power? Will they have a chance to be children again? And who will be the biggest surprise? At what point do these children, despite their tender ages, take on the mantles of their parents and become adults themselves? Panelists will examine issues surrounding childhood and coming of age during a time of conflict where familial normalcy is gone and the rules of their world are in the process of being rewritten. *Spoiler Alert: Discussion will include all previously published books within the series.*
Kids have to go to school, whether it's a modern day educational institution or the school of hard knocks in a futuristic dystopia. How is education treated in SF? What might a futuristic classroom look like? What are some great examples of how education and training have been used by other authors?
Why is fantasy so often about making the world better by getting the rightful king on the throne, rather than by doing away with monarchy entirely? Where are all the revolutions? Why don't wizards use magic to create indoor plumbing and better infrastructure?