WorldCon 2016: Class and equality in fantasy and science fiction

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.

classandequality

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!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 1-7, 2015

How gardening, and specifically the microbes in soil, can make you happy. Gardening Know-How.

How healthy gut flora (bacteria) can also have an antidepressant effect. Scientific American.

Empathy might lead to social anxiety. Spirit Science and Metaphysics.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) affect your health. Includes an informative self-test. NPR.

More about your ACE score and a resilience quiz (as a bonus). ACES too high news.

And a supporting article from IFLS: childhood trauma affects the brain.

Surrender doesn’t mean defeat. OM Times shares the seven habits of surrendered people. It’s related to resilience.

How physicians and psychiatrists are medicating women rather than treating the underlying issues. Some of us don’t need prescriptions. Or we don’t need the prescriptions they think we do . . . The New York Times.

For the other side of the story, Emily Landau states that she has been helped immeasurably by prescription medications and that she doesn’t believe they’ve affected her adversely. CBC.

Eleven things introverts want you to know. Elephant Journal.

Last week, I shared the Desiderata text. For those of you who were curious, here’s the version set to music by Les Crane:

 

Stop procrastination by asking one question and considering the answer for three minutes. Inc.

Most consistently successful creative people say ‘NO.’ Business Insider.

The strange world of felt presences links Shackleton, sleep paralysis, and hearing voices. The Guardian.

Did the human alliance with dogs drive the Neanderthals to extinction? National Geographic.

New human fossil offers more detail for our family tree. National Geographic.

Here’s what scientists think methane-based life might look like (if they find it on Titan). From Quarks to Quasars.

Ancient Mars may have had an ocean. The New York Times.

Scientists have discovered another earth-like planet. Higher Perspective.

More on what’s coming up for Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Wall Street Journal.

Cats see things that are invisible to humans. Higher Perspective.

I’ve shared posts or videos about the rabbit island and the fox village in the past, now The Atlantic features some great pictures from a Japanese cat island.

I love crows and ravens and so this story about crows gifting the girl who’s fed them since she was four made me #furiouslyhappy.

This video shares an important message about equality and diversity.

 

It was a thoughty week!

Hope you find something to exercise your grey matter.

Until Saturday, be resilient 😉

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 22-28, 2015

Sadness of the week: Leonard Nimoy’s death. The New York Times.

What Mr. Nimoy taught Tobias Buckell.

Getting grief right. The New York Times.

A friend posted a lovely little bit from Desiderata. I wanted to share the whole piece with you, so here it is:

Desiderata

The pink kitchen that got lost in time. Little things.

19 creepily gorgeous abandoned places in Canada. Buzzfeed.

Would any of these designs be feasible? Cool? Yes. Gizmodo.

Do we really want to know if we’re alone in the universe? The Washington Post.

Bill C-51 is Canada’s anti-terrorist legislation. This piece on CBC’s The Current is an interesting listen. Critics sound out, including professor of literature, Allan Weiss, who discusses the dystopian implications.

What the Oscars can teach us about the craft of being good. Fusion.

 

Empowering women means empowering humanity. The UN Women channel on YouTube.

 

This was my Friday: I can’t adult today. PandaWhale.

Looking forward to the weekend already!

See you on Saturday for the Next Chapter.

Thoughty Thursday