(5/30/01 10:08:50 am)
| Wiscon Report?|
I would love to hear about the conference once all of the attendees from our board are back!
Any new fodder for some interesting discussions?
(5/30/01 5:44:57 pm)
Wiscon was as always inspiring and full of great ideas. Terri and I shared a panel (oh that you had been there Greg!!!) with Heinz Fenkl, Nalo Hopkine and Mary Anne Mojhar on Orientalism and the Arabian Noghts. It was a pretty packed panel and mostly we talked about the concept of Orientalism, the history of the text, the famous forgeries, a quick explication of Aladdin as a text with an Imperialism agenda, the French translations appearing at the decline of French fenminist writing of the Conte de Fee (and in effect returning the fantastic literature to the world of men and Empire). Terri talked about the Burtons (Isabel as a member of the Sexual Purity Movement and the last word on her husbands papers--which she burned--and his manuscripts which she expunged.) We also opened it up to some interesting discussion about contemporary examples of orientalism in fantasytexts, from Rider Haggard's "She" and "King Solomon's Men", "MummyII" a new video game which featured black aliens in turbans, A.J. Byatt's elegant "Djinn and the nightengale's Eye" which is a self consciously Victorian contemporary take on the Arabian Nights...and finally, the new renditions by Arabic and otherwise "oriental writers" such as Nagib Mahfouz and Salman Rushdie. Whew...after that, we promised next year, after they had all read the Haddawy translation of the Mahdi edition of the text, we would finally talk about the fabulous stories!! So next year Greg come and and join us in discussing the tales. That is one of the nice things about Wiscon panels can grow and audiences actually come back, year after to year to continue the discussion!
There was a fascinating panel on Western women authors, including the very fabulous Molly Gloss, discussing her novel "Wild Life" which won an award. Karen Joy Fowler was there as was Carol Ermshwiller---great story tellers and writers all. There was also a great panel on Buffy, a handful of really interesting academic papers (mostly of a Feminist science fiction nature).
I know when Terri has a moment she will check in and give you her report...she did some interesting panels (one on Working class writers and how that experience carries into the writing of fantasy)
The only damper on the con this year I think was the untimely death in March of Jenna Felice, a truely wonderful young editor who's vision and energy were the hope among us all for a new direction in the genre. She was sorely missed and remembered often at the con.
(5/31/01 9:16:07 am)
| Re: Wiscon |
I wish I'd been there, too. It sounds sublime. I'm workshopping in August with Karen and Carol, Nalo (and Molly Gloss), so it would have been a good opportunity to hang with the Sycamore Hill trio. I'll blame Terri for my not being able to show up, but only in jest.
P.S. Just saw the "Return of the Mummy" film. Maybe we can concoct a panel along the lines of "When mummies go bad."
(5/31/01 12:36:42 pm)
| half asleep|
Good lord, I just reread my post and realized how many half asleep errors I typed into the text. Thank you all for not snickering at me in print!
Greg: Mummy II was just flabergasting to me in my recent thinking...I did love the technical spectacle that it presents (I am awed I'll admit it by the pyrotechnics of new film FXs) But on sober contemplation, even as a campy parody of its genre, it still had some disturbing trends: the savior of the Arab world is after all a white male Orientalist scholar (as if the ancients could have predicted such a messiah oh those centuries ago and nevermind then what *that* says about manifest destiny) and the depiction of the"bad native woman" was contrasted against the "good native woman" who is really the reincarnation of Nefertti (who always looked more white than Oriental) into an English white woman...oh boy. At the panel there was one guy who announced during the question period that he felt the "original mummy" by Boris Karloff was respectful and correctly done with an eye to Arab culture. I gulped not wanting to go there at all....which may have been cowardly of me. So your idea of a panel on "bad mummies" would be wonderful!! It would be interesting too to look at the female versions of such creatures...like Haggard's "She"...the demonizing of Oriental women in contemporary Oriental fantasy.
I enver you time with theTrio. Say hello from Terri and I. I will say that writer and comedian, Ellen Klages did an impression of Karen reading a hilarious piece (a persuasive speech written by an imagined member of a "mafia" game)...it was thrilling. Karen of course protested that it sounded nothing like her, but the stunned silence of the audience, listening with bated breath (even though we all wanted to scream with laughter) belied the truth.
(6/1/01 7:25:00 am)
I'll have a Wiscon report in the "Letter from the Editor" part of the next edition of the Endicott web site, which will go on-line this weekend. Mind you, my own report is rather brief, and I lean heavily on quotes from Midori to round it out. This isn't from lack of interest in Wiscon -- which was great, as always -- but from lack of *time*. I leave for England in 8 days, and have a house to pack and a book to finish before I go. Gulp. I'm checking in on the board and reading posts every morning, but I won't have much time to post myself over the next week or two -- my apologies.
I'd like to do some arm-twisting here and encourage the community of folks on this board to meet up at Wiscon next year. Heidi, if you think you could make it, Midori and I could make arrangements with the program organizers to have a "Sur La Lune Fairy Tales" panel discussion -- perhaps with you as moderator? Midori and I have been kicking around the idea of focusing such a discussion on "transgression" in fairy tales.
For information on Wiscon, their web site is: www.sf3.org/wiscon.
It's an odd combination of science fiction convention and academic
conference -- but because of the latter, and it's emphasis on feminism
and gender issues in speculative fiction, the "weird people
in costume" quotient is pretty low and the number of intelligent,
creative women (and feminist-oriented men) is high. For you budding
writers out there, there is a writing workshop attached to the convention,
taught by people like Midori and Heinz Insu Fenkl. For artists,
there is an art show -- which is, alas,
overly full of art of the chicks-in-chainmail variety, so I'm very eager for folks who do art of a fairy tale nature to join me in offering an alternative.
Greg, I'm green with envy. Spending time with Karen Fowler, Nalo, and Molly Gloss sounds like my idea of heaven. I adore Molly's book so very much that I found myself too shy to talk to her at Wiscon (idiot!), and merely babbled something about liking her book and running away again. It's just such a *perfect* book, ye gads. I'm not often intimidated by writers, after 20 years in this field, and she's certainly an approachable, gracious woman. But I felt like a tongue-tied 15 year old nonetheless...
(6/2/01 9:45:26 pm)
| Re: Wiscon Report?|
Okay, I'm afraid that I have to play devil's advocate here on the part of "The Mummy". (sorry, Midori.) These films are a wonderful re-discovery of the pulp genre, in the tradition of Burroughs or Rohmer. Yes, I realize that, as a whole, these stories are incredibly culturally insensitive and play on stereotypes, but, gosh darn it, they're fun and campy and exciting all at the same time! Why, I would even go so far as to say that the pulp genre is one of the great American literary inventions.
Further, it is important to realize that those people who cannot grasp the concept that the characters in these stories are stereotypes, and that stereotypes differ from real people and life as it actually is, are individuals on whom such concepts would be lost anyway, even if explained very slowly, using small words and numerous slides.
The point is, I feel these films should just be enjoyed for the sake of themselves and with an appreciation for the genre.
(6/2/01 10:41:06 pm)
| Re: Wiscon Report?|
I would love to come to Wiscon. I was debating it off and on for several months until April when all of the job stuff was proving to me that it wouldn't be possible this year. Last summer I was preparing for a last minute move across the country. Next year I hope to be facing neither issue.
A panel would be great and a conference would be fun, too, since I haven't been to any in over a year now. Just think of how much more we will learn in the next year to contribute to the sessions. I would be happy to see what I can contribute or bask in everyone else's knowledge. I am not afraid of the spotlight, but I don't lust after it either.
I am just happy to hear everyone had fun.
P.S. Pulp fiction is fun, Marlowe. I have a soft place in my heart for it, too. My biggest regret is how many people watch these movies and believe them to be mythologically and even historically accurate. Yes, it is their fault and their ignorance, but so many people are overly literal. They believe that whatever is put on screen is accurate despite their public educations to the contrary. I am thrilled when students are inspired by these movies to learn more and then research. They usually learn how to separate the fiction from the facts. Too bad they are so few in number.
For this reason, "A Knight's Tale" is a relief because it moves so far away from accuracy that no one believes it is trying to be accurate. Yes, Geoffrey Chaucer was a real man, but how many of the viewers even get the reference? A friend claimed that she and her husband guffawed when Chaucer was introduced but no one else in the theatre even seemed to understand the joke. Certainly "We Will Rock You" was not passed around by the bards of old and I doubt anyone thinks it was.