I will be at the 4th Street Fantasy Convention from Jun 22-24, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Register here.
Casey Blair and I will be hosting a Root Beer Tasting Event. Location and time TBA.
Sunday 11:30 AM: Grim Times, Bright Tidings
John Chu, Alex Haist (M), Jennifer Mace, Reuben Poling, Paul Weimer
Fantasy in the last decade has seen the rise of a distinct thread of bloody, gritty, goth-rococo work that has been called (originally jokingly) “grimdark.” The wheel always turns, and now a distinct exploration of the aesthetic antithesis of grimdark has emerged, under equally semi-serious rubrics like “hopepunk.” What does it mean to deliberately write and seek hope in a work of fiction? Fantasy has always been known as a powerful vehicle for escapism, but let’s dig deeper into the value of this mode of fiction; how and why do we engage with injustice optimistically, and model ways of transcending awfulness? How do we maintain sufficient attention to detail and realism to claim that we’re plausibly confronting reality rather than eliding it, and how do we do that without swooping all the way back to grimdark in the end? Is it even possible, and should it be desirable, to balance escapism and social awareness?