Catastrophe and Salvage Saturday 14:30 – 15:30, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate) In a recent essay for Salvage, Nicholas Beuret and Gareth Brown drew a distinction between between disaster or apocalypse, which are terrible things that may happen (or in some stories, have happened), and catastrophe, which is “a constant presence, shaping how the act of survival takes place.” Which real SF deals with catastrophes in this sense? How do such stories reflect our daily experience of life in a world of austerity, ecological disaster and war? And how do we, as readers and as writers, balance the need to escape and to inspire, and the need to confront and acknowledge?
Andrew M Butler (M), Matthew De Abaitua, Graham Sleight, Tricia Sullivan, Jo Zebedee
The Stars Are Your Canvas Saturday 16:00 – 17:00, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate) Space opera is arguably the most unconstrained of SF subgenres, encompassing everything from the realism of McAuley’s Quiet War to the exuberance of Leckie’s Ancillary trilogy. How do writers find their own personal sweet spot between spectacle and science, and develop their own language for describing the biggest storytelling canvas of all?
Michael Cobley (M), Ian Sales, Alison Sinclair, Gavin Smith, Tom Toner, Jo Zebedee
The Fuzzy Set of Horror Saturday 19:00 – 20:00, Room 7 (Hilton Deansgate) Ghost stories, supernatural, suspense, gore, shock horror: all of these used to be more or less recognisable and identifed as distinct genres. Today, they are increasingly classified as just horror. What effect does this have on the writing, publishing, advertising and sales of the separate genres and what are we missing – or gaining – by merging the genres into a collective whole?
Kirsti van Wessel, Clifford Beal , Susan Boulton , Marion Pitma , Heather Turnbull
Sumptuously Gothic Sunday 19:00 – 20:00, Room 6 (Hilton Deansgate) From Penny Dreadful to Crimson Peak, the gothic is as popular as ever. This panel of artists, fans and authors discuss the aesthetics of the gothic. What does its distinctive look and feel add to a story? How does it work differently on page and on screen? And how does the gothic influence or manifest in the panelists’ own work?
Alison Scott , Fangorn, Susan Boulton, Priya Sharma , Anne Sudworth