Posts Tagged 'Anders Björkelid'

Kontrast – Swecon 2012

Uppsala, October 5 – 7, 2012

Swecon in Uppsala was a hotel convention and apart from the worldcon this year it was the first time I stayed at the hotel where the con took place. It was very convenient to be able to fetch and leave things in the room. The hotel, Gillet, was well suited for the convention, although one of the programme rooms was too long. This would not have been a problem if the con had been less of a success. Now it was one of the biggest sf cons in Sweden with about 450 participants.

Linnéa Anglemark selling antiquarian books

I spent a lot of time with the antiquarian sf books of SAAM, the fund in memory of the deceased fan Alvar Appeltofft. This included transportation to and from the hotel and selling books, which was a very nice experience. Many books I sold were books that I had read with pleasure, but I also sold one Gor book by John Norman. I have tried to read one of them but could not stand it. I managed to listen to some panels and talks, when other fans and gophers took over at the desk.

Anders Björkelid, Joe Abercrombie, Linnéa Anglemark, Anna Bark Persson

The first panel I listened to was Fantasy with a twist: new writing in old clothes. Linnéa Anglemark moderated the discussion with Anders Björkelid, Joe Abercrombie, and Anna Bark Persson. I noted down a few comments. It can be satisfying when clichés are turned around in unexpected ways. An example is the elves in Richard Morgan’s fantasy books which have AIs. However, some readers prefer ”feel-good” reading, while others want surprises. There are also readers who try to control the text, saying ” you don’t want to kill N.N.” Fantasy can be used effectively to discuss gender roles, by using other settings than ordinary life. Steven Brust was recommended as a good fantasy author (I have not read him).

Vesa Sisättö, Gavin Grant, Niels Dalgaard, Jerry Määttä, Lise Andreasen

In the panel Science fiction and the future the first question from the moderator Lise Andreasen was whether sf is dying. The panel consisting of Vesa Sisättö, Gavin Grant, Niels Dalgaard, and Jerry Määttä considered that there is more good, hard sf now than ever before. It has always been a minority taste. Examples are Kim Stanley Robinson and Bruce Sterling. In sf it is possible to step back and look at our society, which is hard to do in other kinds of literature. There are always new things to write about and mainstream writers should if anything have less to write about. A problem can be a tendency to write sf about sf – an ingroup kind of literature that might turn away new readers, but mainstream authors do the same. In sf conversation between authors is fairly common, but this can be awesome for the readers.

In Finland there is a tendency just now to write dystopian novels. Regarding post-singularity stories it was said that when you can do anything as an uploaded individual, nothing matters. A question from the audience about animal stories was answered that they have to be antropomorphic to become interesting. An example is Brin’s Uplift series. Interestingly, cat characters appear mainly in fantasy whereas dogs appear in sf stories.

Peter Watts, Kelly Link, Karin Tidbeck, Lise Andreasen, Marianna Leikomaa

The short story and the idea was the title of a panel with Peter Watts, Kelly Link, Karin Tidbeck, and Lise Andreasen, moderated by Marianna Leikomaa. The panel felt that short stories is the place to go to test ideas. Kelly Link does not write novels, and says that in short stories you rely on the reader to fill in. Peter Watts thinks that in a short story you start in the middle of the story. Endings should both be logical and surprising. Some examples given of authors who mainly wrote short stories were James Tiptree, Jr., Fredrik Brown, and Ray Bradbury. To expand a short story into a novel is fairly common in sf, and it can work. Karin Tidbeck tells that Amatka started as a dream, then was a poem and finally a novel.

The audience was asked if they wrote short stories, and about half raised their hands. This surprised me but was about the same as at Chicon 7.

Niels Dalgaard

In Niels Dalgaard’s Guest of Honour Speech he talked about his 38 years in fandom, which started when he read Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles in Danish. This did something to him. He also entered a competition in an sf book with the first prize being a travel to the moon. When he went to cons he was impressed by the easy accessibility of sf authors, e g he talked with Arthur C. Clarke at the Brighton worldcon in 1969. He has had an academic career in sf, with a Ph D and teaching sf at the University of Copenhagen. Since its start he has been very active in SF Cirklen and been the editor of its fanzine Proxima and published many books. He told about a schism in Danish fandom during the last decade, mainly between those who like himself are purists and only are interested in hard, written sf and those who are also interested in fantasy, horror, films and tv series. He thinks that fandom as it was in the 60’s does not exist any more. I do not agree and remember that already in the 50’s and 60’s many fans were interested in films and fantasy – actually the Tolkien society in Sweden was founded by sf fans.

Nene Ormes gave an Introduction to Steampunk, and when I came into the room she was just showing a list of classic steampunk: Moorcock’s The Warlord of the Air, Sterling & Gibson’s The Difference Engine, and Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In the “new wave” she listed Gail Carriger’s Soulless, Miéville’s Perdido Street Station, and Gordon Dahlquist’s The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. She also mentioned comic books by Bryan Talbot, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and Grandville. Steampunk culture consists of clothes, DIY & modding, music, artists & makers, steam songs, and meetings (e g Burning Man). We were shown an mp3 player modded by Anna Davour. Clockwork insects are also popular. Steampunk in film and tv are e g The Prestige, Laputa, Warehouse 13, and Wild Wild West (from 1999).

Nene defines steampunk as aesthetics that mixes technofantasy, neovictorianism, and retrofuturism. It is as if sf had been written before the Victorian era and shows the future. She recommends tor.com where there is “the great steampunk timeline” and the site “the steampunk scholar”.

Jerry Määttä

Under the title Why do we like the end of the world? Jerry Määttä talked about catastrophes and showed some clips from films where a single human is surviving: I am legend, 28 days later. He thinks that these show what it is to be human. In Sweden this autumn there have been quite a few books about catastrophes, like Jesper Weithz’ Det som inte växer är döende (What is not growing is dying) and Mikael Niemi’s Fallvatten (Water from falls). He recommended an essay by Susan Sontag on the lure of apocalypses, The Imagination of Disaster. She considers it to be a substitute for religion.

The tulip bubble in the 17th century was similar to the IT bubble, and inspired painters to still lifes with craniums, “memento mori”.

The tv series Life after people was characterized as apocalypse pornography.

Johan Jönsson, Sara Stridh, Anna Davour, Peter Watts, Torill Kornfeldt

Science fiction and the scientist was a very rewarding panel where the panelists demonstrated their different opinions. Johan Jönsson moderated the Ph D student Sara Stridh who was studying kidney function, Anna Davour who has abandoned research in physics and works as science journalist at the radio, Torill Kornfeldt who also was a science journalist but a former biologist, and the author GoH Peter Watts who had also been a biologist.

Having been a scientist might influence the style, since science writing is devoid of style. It should be clear, but on the other hand it should also impress fellow scientists, so that when you do not understand you should suspect that the author is smarter than yourself. When writing sf you have to know enough of the subject so that it doesn’t show, otherwise you might think that you are imaginative when you suggest something that has been known for long. If you know your field you will also know the present questions. On the other hand too much knowledge might hamper your imagination, and scientists who write sf seldom succeed when they write about their specialist area, e g when Alastair Reynolds writes about neutron stars. A couple of cool ideas outside the author’s expert field that were mentioned were the visualisation of virtual reality as space in Gibson’s Neuromancer, the presence of different constants in different parts of the universe in Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, and Delany’s brain-computer interfaces in the 60’s.

In sf the universe follows laws, whereas fantasy has another attitude. Star Wars is fantasy. Sf is driven by curiosity whereas fantasy rests upon faith.

A good book about science and how it works is Bellwether by Connie Willis. I completely agree and I think that it is her most entertaining book.

Jerry Määttä (far to the left due to a cold), John-Henri Holmberg, Niels Dalgaard,
Mats Linder

As I looked through the programme for Kontrast I had problems to understand what the panel The Contrarians would be about. Was it global warming contrarians? This was not the case, and the panel instead discussed authors and critics who had criticised the present view and execution of sf. Mats Linder led the panel discussion which at first only was between Niels Dalgaard and Jerry Määttä, since John-Henri Holmberg had been delayed. According to Jerry, being contrarian is quite mainstream in sf, and many sf writers have been contrarian at some point. Niels pointed to the new wave writers who were also political contrarians, being more left-wing. He considered Barry Malzberg to have behaved badly when he wrote rude things about other authors, and he mentioned Stanislaw Lem who was thrown out of SFWA after having said nasty things about all US authors except Philip K. Dick. In Thomas Disch’s The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of sf authors are criticised for not letting sf live up to its potential; he saw mental laziness in other authors.

Jerry pointed out that the canons are different inside and outside the sf community: Heinlein is a major author inside, while Delany, Dick and LeGuin are major authors outside. John-Henri added that Bradbury was appreciated outside the sf world when he under a short period did his good stuff. Jerry, who has studied Wyndham, thinks that he was contrarian in his time by e g trying to reach woman readers, but Ballard and Aldiss were at least initially critical. In Denmark Bradbury was a “gateway drug” for many fans and he was published in slick magazines.

According to John-Henri Kim Stanley Robinson writes traditional sf, and he thinks that today’s contrarians may be John Varley, Allan Steele, and Joe Haldeman. They try to recreate the feeling that they got when they were teenagers. Heinlein was a contrarian who reoriented sf, and even during his late period he was contrarian when writing about aging and sex.

John-Henri considered that cyberpunk also was a result of a wish to relive the teenage period. The manifesto written by Sterling is actually a parody. Niels considered it unwise to write manifestos on what other authors should write, as exemplified by the mundane manifesto by Geoff Ryman. He also criticised steampunk for being alternate history that is hardly contrarian and rather escape literature, although it sometimes is feminist. John-Henri does not see much interesting now. The 70’s were enormously dramatic, with female writers coming in and gender issues being discussed.

Karin Waller, Mats Strandberg, Sara Bergmark Elfgren, Nene Ormes, Ola Skogäng

Fantastic literature set in Sweden of today was discussed in a panel consisting of Karin Waller from the Science Fiction Book Shop in Malmö, the authors of the popular Cirkeln (The Circle) Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren, Nene Ormes who has just published the sequel to her Udda verklighet (Odd Reality), and the comic book author Ola Skogäng. The magic city Engelsfors in Cirkeln and its sequels is a mixture of the Swedish town Fagersta and the tv series Twin Peaks. It is a depressed small city. The Sweden in these books is “here and in a time just passed”. Popular music, facebook and technical gadgets are avoided since they can rapidly be outdated. The authors think that it is better to include older music and techniques.

Udda verklighet takes place in Malmö with only minor changes. There are a lot of alleys and gargoyles. In Ola Skogäng’s comic books the main character is a big bear, and the setting is a twisted Stockholm with mummies, werewolves and vampires. He lives in Enköping which is boring. The readers like that the stories take place in Stockholm, but the editor wanted the setting to be New York instead.

Naturally there were awards ceremonies, and the sound expert of many cons, Jonas Wissting, got the Alvar. There were also a release party for new books by Karin Tidbeck and the GoHs Joe Abercrombie and Kelly Link, and the hotel had an excellent bar providing beer. Since I was busy packing up the unsold books I missed the closing ceremony where the head of the Fantastika 2013 committee, Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf received the spirit of Swecon for release on October 18 in Sickla in the Stockholm area. However, after delivering the books I returned and had a good time in the dead-dog party at Pipes of Scotland.

Kontrast 2012 was an excellent con with a broad programme where a lot of fans seemed to have a very good time. The committee can really be proud!

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Imagicon 2 – a report

Imagicon 2 was the Swedish national con for 2009 (Swecon), and it took place 16-18 october. Since I was on the committee for the con I was not able to listen to as many panels as I could have wished. This is not a problem for me since I really enjoy also making a con, not just visiting. The venue was the same as for Stocon 08, i e ”Skarpnäck’s kulturhus”, which is well suited for a medium-sized con. However, this time the bar was managed professionally by Linda Ekenberger and her staff. They did an excellent job!

Anders Reuterswärd, Johan Anglemark, Patrik Centerwall, Gunnar Nilsson, Linnéa Anglemark

I listened to the panel From a Foreign Perspective consisting of Kristina Hård, who writes sf and is a computer scientist with a background in AI, and also teaches creative writing in Lund, the GoH Liz Williams, who also has a master in AI but went back into philosophy, and Lotta Olivecrona who is a radiologist who has written a series of three sf books. The panel was moderated by the British fan Chris Bell. Lotta Olivecrona thought she wrote sf but her characters have telepathy so it might rather be fantasy. Liz Williams commented that women are considered to write from experience, which makes their writing closer to fantasy than to sf. In the discussion it was concluded that names are important and may have to be changed when books are translated. At least Liz and Lotta writes to know the world, in a way like explorers. Thus it is more like being tourists than to be God, which is perhaps more a boy thing.

Present ideas and prejudices are projected onto the future or past, in historical novels. That the stories mirror the present society is easily seen when reading older books.

Ylva Spångberg intervjuar Jörgen Forsberg

De första minuterna när fanhedersgästen Jörgen Forsberg intervjuades av Ylva Spångberg missade jag, men förstod att Jules Verne-magasinet spelat en avgörande roll för hans kontakt med fandom. Liksom jag gick han på SFSFs möten i Observatoriekällaren. Han var på Sam J. Lundwalls kongress på Amaranten 1973, där Donald A. Wollheim var hedersgäst. Kongressen hotades att bli övertagen av Stockholms Tolkiensällskap som lagt beslag på programmet. Detta vaccinerade Jörgen effektivt mot Tolkienismen. SFSF hade planer på att erövra världen, ge ut böcker, sälja, och göra Forum till en stor kulturtidskrift. Lokalerna på Pontonjärgatan användes som bokhandel där Bo K. Eriksson stod och snart blev en inventarie. Det behövdes extra personal så Jörgen hoppade in någon halvdag här och där. Det kom ut ett antal böcker. Några fans kom att tillbringa mycket tid i källaren där, det var Ylva, Bellis, Ahrvid och Roger Sjölander. Om jag förstått rätt gjorde det att det var knepigt att bedriva bokhandeln, och verksamheten packades ner och flyttade till en källare på Tyskbagargatan (jag var själv med och körde en VW-pickup). Kaj Harju började sälja på postorder från källaren. Bokhandeln flyttade snart till Roslagsgatan där man fick dela lokal med Horst Schröder i ”Metropolis”. Det fungerade inte så bra och efter ett halvår, 1985, flyttade SF-delen till Atlasgatan. Där sålde fansen böcker mot att få för 25 kr böcker i timmen. Lokalen var delvis bokhandel och delvis möteslokal för SFSF, men en stor del fylldes efter en tid av en gigantisk tryckpress som aldrig kom i bruk. Bolaget SF-bokhandeln startades 1990, och flyttade 1991 till Gamla Stan.

Åsa Schwarz, Gunilla Olivecrona, Liz Williams, Graham Joyce, Stefan Högberg

Using a well-known setting for your fantasy was discussed in the panel Goblins in the backyard, led by Stefan Högberg. Liz Williams was happy to have a receptive readership which wants to believe and wants to be in a “vampire universe”. She lives in Glastonbury which is a center for New Age activities. Graham Joyce told us that there have always been goblins in his family. He has been sceptical towards them but has also spent half his life accepting them. His grandmother plays a major role in the book The Facts of Life. Thus the episode where a soldier who was fighting in WWII in the African desert but suddenly knocks on the door, is based on a legend in the family. Åsa Schwarz tells us that her parents are a physicist and a mathematician. She studies the area, the backyard, and its history before using it in a book. She likes horror stories, which scare more if they take place in your backyard. Lotta Olivecrona tells about her two sides, the book writer contrasting with the objective radiologist. For her the middle of Sweden is magical since that is where she grew up.

 For Graham Joyce psychology is not only science, but also lots of intuition, and he does not believe in a rational basis for emotional life. Ghosts may be generated by human beings. Liz Williams agreed; spirits may be created by many believing in them. Joyce used Jerusalem for a ghost story and found the city so full of references. He is an atheist, and considers the resurrection of Jesus to be a major ghost story. He criticizes most fantasy stories, except Tolkien’s, for describing hermetic universes which do not intrude on your own reality. The intrusion of supernatural elements usually increases in his own stories.

 I panelen Kräver fantasy ett eget språkbruk? satt Anders Björkelid som skrivit Ondvinter som ska följas av ytterligare tre delar. Han kallade sig amatörtyckare, medan Nicklas Andersson definierade sig som språkvetare. Stefan Ekman angav sig som proffstyckare som forskar på fantasy. Han försöker livnära sig på fantasy och önskar förlänga tonåren utöver alla gränser. Moderatorn Linnéa Anglemark berättade att hon som språkvetare tänker på språket när hon läser.

Diskussionen inleddes med att Stefan Ekman hänvisade till Encyclopedia of Fantasy för att definiera episk fantasy. I denna räddas något på ett storslaget plan. Begreppet har också diskuterats av C S Lewis i ett Preface to Paradise Lost. I t ex Beowulf räddar en stark hjälte ett land från ett hot, och i Odyséen är det en grupp som genom sina handlingar påverkar hela världen. Panelen ansåg knappast att språket är speciellt i episk fantasy, däremot kan berättartekniken vara viktig. Anders Björkelid ansåg att språket varken ska vara arkaiserande eller modernt, utan så neutralt som möjligt. Kulturella referenser som hänvisar till vår tid måste tas bort. Stefan Ekman gav några exempel på hur enstaka ord kan påverka intrycket: I amerikanske filmer säger tyskar ja och nein, i Harry Potter finns skotska ord instoppade, och Tolkien slänger in enstaka alviska ord för att få hela texten att kännas främmande. Vapen som inte finns hos oss kan få föregivet främmande namn. Han berömmer Christina Brönnestam för att ha hittat ett bra fantasyspråk.

Historiska romaner har alltid en känd verklighet att grunda sig på. Skriver man London skapar läsaren själv en bild, medan i ren fantasy måste författaren skapa allt. Begrepp kan läcka in från annan fantasy, som t ex alver.

Svenskt modernt fantasyspråk kommer till stor del från översättningar, t ex det blommiga språket i Ohlmarks Tolkienöversättning. Plockas engelska ord direkt blir klangen mer exotisk än ursprunget. Fantasysvenskan har blivit engelskklingande. Ett närmast komiskt exempel är ”odöd”, vilket i Norrland betyder ”livfull”. Ett bättre ord är ”vandöd”, och felet kommer sannolikt från översatta äventyrsspel.

Johan Anglemark interviewed Liz Williams, who was born in Gloucester where she now lives. It is an uninteresting, rural place. Her father was a hobby stage magician and her mother a gothic novelist. She still writes although she is in her 80s, and she likes Liz’ books. She got Liz when she was 37, and was glad to get married, not resentful as many today. Liz herself started reading early and wrote fanfiction. She was a lonely, constrained child. Later she studied AI and philosophy of science. She tells that she has not a standard conformist religion, rather a pagan with supernatural beliefs. She taught English after her degree and went to Kazakhstan, and in 1996 she also visited Kurdistan and Uzbekistan for an ongoing education program. Her experiences went into Nine Layers of Sky.

Liz enjoys writing, and she does it mainly in her magic shop. The sense of place and character are important, and literature that preaches irritates her. She has contracts for a series of books, and she tells that the Chen books are most natural to her. The Poison Master is a gothic caballistic romance. She is especially satisfied with Nine Layers of Sky whereas the Inspector Chen books sell best. She markets her books mainly herself. She reads for example Bradley, LeGuin and Vance. She thinks that Mary Gentle’s Rats and Gargoyles started the New Weird, but the guys get all the credit.

Mats Linder, Bellis, John-Henri Holmberg

John-Henri Holmberg, Ylva Spångberg, Roger Sjölander

Med Mats Linder som moderator samtalade Bellis, John-Henri Holmberg, Roger Sjölander och Ylva Spångberg om Nova Science Fiction, en slags fortsättning på den panel som behandlade magasinet på Kontext 2008. Ylva översatte både i den första och den nuvarande inkarnationen, och hamnade i i redaktionen i den nya. För Bellis var jobbet på Nova hans första fasta, och i den nya inkarnationen ingår han dessutom i redaktionen. Han uppskattade den tidigare redaktionslokalen som var idealisk för efterfester. John-Henri berättar att han ger ut Nova så länge han har tid. På 80-talet var utgivningen hyfsat OK, mest p g a att den kunde säljas i kiosker. Då, med distribution via Sesam, gick det att bestämma hur många försäljningsställen som skulle ha Nova, och med Nova på ett av fyra ställen kunde 8000 ex levereras varav 4000 såldes. Presam kräver att minst 20000 ex levereras, vilket ger en alldeles för stor förlust i osålda ex. Nu säljs Nova på 13 ställen, Presstoppbutiker och SF-bokhandelns butiker. Dessutom prenumererar ett 25-tal bibliotek.

Mats står för recensionsavdelningen, och har glidit in på översättandet. Han undrar varför det går så dåligt, och John-Henri svarar att sf inte finns i Sverige längre. Förlagens intresse har flyttats till fantasy, och speciellt till vampyrer.

Samtalet gled över på de böcker som också gavs ut av förlaget Laissez Faire Produktion AB. Bellis berättade hur han ändrade namn på en person i Gallaghers glaciär, och Ylva om hur sättarna la till en karaktär i hennes översättning av Nortons Pestskeppet, en slutna rummet-berättelse i rymden. Paret Kuttner-Moores Mutant var för lång för bookomaticmaskinen, så den förminskades intill oläslighet, medan motsvarande problem med Dénis Lindbohms Domedagens skymning löstes av Roger som tog bort elva sidor i följd. För att effektivisera inköptes en fotosättmaskin för 320.000, men att ge ut mer gick inte eftersom det inte fanns köpare. Tyvärr köptes den strax innan datasättningen kom något år senare.

Johan Anglemark interviewed Graham Joyce. For Liz her mother was a model, but for Graham it was his father, the coal miner. The idea of being a writer was utterly remote. Words of more than two syllables gave rise to suspicions of homosexuality. Graham was expected to go down in the mine like his two brothers. However, he managed to wriggle through the net. Alan Garner, who he calls a sort of J K Rowling type, turned him on, and the seed was introduced. Alan Garner started with conventional fantasy and turned into writing very complicated fantasy stories, and he finally had a nervous breakdown.

Graham Joyce comes from Keresley in the Midlands, close to Coventry, which had been the target of the first terror bombing during world war two. It had been rebuilt when he grew up, but it was ugly since it had to be rebuilt rapidly. This is described in Facts of Life. He went to college, wrote a dissertation on Thomas Pynchon for his MA, and has been working as a teacher and for youth clubs. He has felt it to be presumptuous and arrogant to even breathe that you are an author until you have published something. In order to start writing he quit his job and went to Greece with his girlfriend who also quit her job and in two weeks they were married. They went to Lesbos, the island of wild orgiastic women drunk on alcoholic beverages. He wrote lots, and went on to Crete. From there he also sold his first book in 1992.

There is always something that is supernatural in Joyce’s books. He uses the tension between credulity and doubt, and the shuttle between the two positions. Also in his YA fiction there are supernatural elements, and a strong streak of morality. Finally, he mentions that he works on graphic computer games trying to improve the narratives.

Brita Planck, Graham Joyce, Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo, Vesa Sisättö, Mats Linder

In the panel The Noble Art of Critique, with Mats Linder as moderator, Graham Joyce pointed out the difference between critique and review: A review is slightly more accessible or palatable, it comments on the value of a new book or film, and should have less than 900 words. It tells the reader if the book is worth the time and money. A critique, written by a critic, should be about 3000-5000 words, and its job is to find something worth examination. More room is used on antecedent books and background, and it puts the work in a context. Vesa Sisättö writes reviews of YA books for newspapers, and they want descriptions of the story and only few words on if the book is good or bad. Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo finds reviews helpful since you cannot read everything, and Brita Planck agrees that the judgment of the reviewer is important. She wants more critique, and Graham comments that there is not enough criticism in our genre, more analysis is needed. Critique is something you read after reading a book, whereas reviews are read before. As a writer he has no use for reviews whereas critique, even when short, can help him. His work is often reviewed by mainstream reviewers, who according to Johanna, often don’t know about the genre. It is also often reviewed by fossilized sf reviewers, so “we” are also guilty.

Vesa finds it amusing to write reviews of very bad books, and Graham comments that you feel frustration and rage when you read a bad book, and a negative review is your only way to hit back at the publishing department. There is (or was; I cannot find it) a “crap writers dot com” site where the self promotion of authors is attacked, and it is vicious and funny according to Graham. However, he thinks it is best to ignore bad books. He also doesn’t like grading systems as e g stars, and thinks that the reviewer should give the information.

Regarding fans as critics, Johanna loves them, especially when the name of the translator is mentioned. Graham admits that fans have been tremendously important for his career. There is an ongoing conversation in the community, over many years. Brita recommends the site “Vetsaga” that has good essays on sf and fantasy, and Graham mentions John Clute, Paul Kincaid and Farah Mendlesohn as important critics in the field.

Graham Joyce, Hans Persson, Liz Williams, Marianna Leikomaa

The panel The author and her obligations was intended to deal with blogs, and thus the moderator Marianna Leikomaa started by asking what the panelists blog. Liz Williams blogs about her dog. She is fairly selective about what she puts on her blog, and she enjoys the interaction. Graham Joyce also has a blog, but does not write every day. He sometimes comments on the government, and he uses a different voice from that in his stories. The Brits consider it un-British to write about ones writing; the British way is to be self-deprecating. Hans Persson has a review site and has written about the process of writing a book. He has more interaction via Facebook than at work.

What obligations does an author feel? Graham wants to give entertainment and a good narrative. It should celebrate or give rise to thoughts about this life. He feels no obligation to write the same book as before. His books change, and he does not do series. The books are on the edge of genre.

Liz feels an obligation to be professional to the publisher. She also thinks she has an obligation to readers to finish a series, with a rational conclusion. She gets enraged by publishers who stop series, they also have obligations. Graham might write sequels to his YA books, but he has “other fish to fry”. Liz thinks it is unhealthy to be so interested in characters in books that you demand sequels, and she thinks that readers have an obligation not be complete assholes – buy the book if you like it. Graham wants the readers to accept that authors change with time.


Stockholm 15-17 juni

Västerås 17-18 november

10-11 februari