Here’s my schedule:
Friday, July 12
1–2pm, Salon 3: The Real Middle Ages, Part 1: Europe (Moderating)
Medieval Europe was a hotbed of interaction among people of different cultures and ethnicities, so there’s no reason for fantasy novels with medieval-like settings to be blandly homogeneous. Panelists will discuss how popular narratives of medieval Europe misrepresent known history, how these narratives serve white supremacist movements, and how writers can do better by readers by basing their worldbuilding on Europe as it really was.
4–5pm, Salon B: A Post-Police World (Panelist)
Policing, as it has developed and is currently implemented, is a sometimes violent system for maintaining order and perpetuating the power status quo. Better systems and better ways are possible. This panel will explore the real and ostensible goals of policing and look for ethical ways to achieve them, in our future or on created worlds.
Saturday, July 13
11am–12pm, Salon 4: The Real Middle Ages, Part 2: Everywhere Else (Panelist)
Writers looking for alternatives to cod-medieval European settings don’t need to look far. The years 500 to 1500 C.E. were times of tremendous cultural and technological change around the world. Novelties of that period included Islam, paper money, and fast-ripening rice; the Incan Empire, Great Zimbabwe, and the Tang Dynasty flourished. Which non-European settings of the 6th to 16th centuries have been successfully used as the basis for fantasy lands, and which might writers find particularly inspiring?
Sunday, July 14
10–11am, Salon 3: Marginalized People Destroy History (Moderating)
In P. Djèlí Clark’s The Black God’s Drums, African gods wreak havoc on airships during the Civil War. In Nisi Shawl’s Everfair, the Congolese beat back the Belgians with steam power and ancient magic. Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth adds hippos and gender flexibility to 19th-century America. These stories and others reimagine history through the eyes of the oppressed and flip the script. Panelists will identify other moments in history in need of the same treatment, and discuss what that might look like.