Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.
Panellists: Jennie Goloboy, Jennie J.R. Johansson (moderator), Eleanor Arnason, William Hayashi
Note: Terra LeMay was scheduled to participate in this panel, but could not make it. Agent Jennie Goloboy graciously agreed to participate.
Joined in progress.
EA: Barbara Jenson said that economy and society cannot be separated.
WH: It’s useful to use familiar tropes to reach your readers, but be wary of stereotypes.
JG: The cultural pressure to categorize people opposes the personal feeling that it’s wrong.
JRJ: You have to question it, though. It’s a useful tension to explore.
WH: Look at how other authors have addressed the issue. Young adult novels turned movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Frank Herbert’s Dune. Asimov’s Foundation.
EA: Melissa Scott writes about marginalized characters. Science fiction under-represents the working and middle classes.
JRJ: Marie Lu’s The Young Elites explores issues of class.
JG: What do class and equality look like in the future? If we extrapolate from current trends, there will be more automation, shorter attention spans, but more independence.
WH: Robert Heinlein pitted the working class against the upper class. It’s a common trope, but it’s realistic. The 1% versus everyone else. Where does hope come from? In Snowpiercer, society at its worst is contained in a train. They’re the last survivors. It’s a microcosm.
JG: Young adult science fiction has focused on the dystopia. What about utopias? Utopias contain the seeds of dystopia and vice versa. But it’s not so simple.
WH: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is hopeful.
JG: There are the working, middle, and upper classes. Are there any others to explore?
WH: Why not transcend class? It’s a spectrum.
JRJ: It’s easier to look at issues in another society, a fictional society, rather than to look at our own.
JG: A reader might say, “I identify with Katniss, so I must be a good person.”
WH: Why do we focus so much on dytopias?
And that was time.
Next week: It will be my December next chapter update and my 2016 year in review post.
Happy New Year (calendrically speaking), everyone!
3 thoughts on “WorldCon 2016: Class and equality in fantasy and science fiction”
Terra LeMay here. I think you may have confused me for someone else. I was originally scheduled to be on that panel but I had a conflict and programming removed me the day before it. Also, the moderator’s name was Jennie Goloboy. Left to right in your photo: Jennie Goloboy, J.R. Johansson, Eleanor Arnason, William Hayashi. I hope that helps.
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Oh my goodness, Terra! So sorry. I’ll get it fixed.
Thank you for the head’s up. I’ve made the corrections.
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