Not Quite Halfway!

As I write this from Berlin, I am almost halfway through my extended European convention and conference trip. WorldCon Dublin was a great time, with many interesting panels attended and wonderful new friends made. I am, however, rather exhausted!

At WorldCon, I had the pleasure of being on three panels and one morning walk session. One panel was on the academic track, where I presented part of my research into Ian McDonald’s Luna series; this paper is titled “Questioning Mononormativity: Love, Sex, and Relationships on McDonald’s Luna.” I anticipate having the video posted sometime in early October, once I am done with all my current travels and conferences. As always, I’ll host the video here from my YouTube channel, so keep an eye out for that announcement, if you’d like to see it or any of my upcoming academic paper presentations.

Speaking of Ian McDonald, I had met him before, at ICFA a few years ago, and it was nice to chat with him one-on-one, however briefly. He gifted me an Advanced Reader Copy of his upcoming novella set in the same future, The Menace from Farside, as it contains yet another look at non-traditional relationship structures found on his fictional Luna. The Menace from Farside comes out in November and I highly recommend it as a fun read, though one can always dig deeper into McDonald’s works to consider societal themes and various literary theories contextualized within.

My three other appearances at WorldCon Dublin included a “Strolling with the Stars” sessions, which was morning walk around the quay. I remain dubious that I am enough of a “star” to be included with the rest of the panel, but I guess winning an award from The Heinlein Society makes me a rising star of some variety. My other two panels on the general WorldCon Dublin track were “Gender and the Writer” and “Fairy Tunes and Ghostly Croons.” The former was a discussion focused on how people of non-binary and otherwise gender non-conforming identities are represented in SFF. The latter was a discussion on the intersection of Irish mythology and Irish folk music, with respect to how ghosts and other spirits appear within the lyrics of such songs. They were both rather fun discussions, though the “Gender” panel was a bit more serious in subject matter and I was somewhat distracted during the “Fairy Tunes” panel by the need to immediately make my way to the port for my ferry upon conclusion of the panel. Still, I would gladly do it all again!

Upcoming, I have the London Science Fiction Research Community’s Productive Futures conference, where I will present on how consensual non-monogamies seen in science fiction texts can subvert normalized modes of consumption as well as production. Following that, I have the 10th Annual Conference of Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung, the German Association for Research in the Fantastic, which this year is focused on the Romantic Fantastic and aims to look at how relevant fantastic utopias are in terms of “the dichotomy of critical realism and ahistorical escapism” prevalent in fantasy texts that utilize romantic literary tendencies. My paper for the GFF will be looking at unintended consequences of such fantasy texts, in how they can diversify representation in characters and authorship. Or, something like that. It’s hard to sum it up as neatly as most of my academic papers.

My blog posts here are likely to remain sporadic for the next month or so, partly due to lack of time and / or wifi connections, as well as being affected by fluctuating energy levels and available “spoons” left after all the physical demands of making my way around places that are not always the most accessible locales. But it’s been a great adventure so far, and I can only hope that the remaining adventures on this trip will contain fewer cancelled and delayed trains and other travel connections! Regardless, I’ll keep on keeping on and overcoming whatever obstacles pop up in my path. Thanks, as always, for reading and otherwise keeping up with what I’m doing! None of this would matter half as much to me if I was the only one who cared about it.

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