This past month has been a busy month with some great SF Conventions having come and gone, viz. Nine Worlds and the WorldCon in London, LonCon3. So, without further ado, a brief report back. I was called on at the last minute to join the African SF panel at Nine Worlds as a panelist Tade Thompson had been injured in a car accident en route (he is thankfully well now). It was an interesting panel discussion to be had, and I think we made a decent fist of it, although I named the elephant in the room at the start – i.e. all the panelists were white, with varying degrees of African ties. (My own is born, raised, worked and lived for the first 35 years of my life there – and it’s where I aim to end up.) We did come up with a list of recommended reading for African SF, which I will post in SF in SA (23), although I believe 9Worlds may also host this eventually.
Even before the SF Cons, there was the ‘Africa Writes‘ literary festival, which included a panel on ‘Imaging Future Africa’. I have put a link to the podcast here for what was an extremely interesting discussion, with panel participants Tade Thompson, Geoff Ryman and Ivor Hartmann, well marshalled by Chair Emma Dabiri http://www.mixcloud.com/royafrisoc/africa-writes-2014-imagining-future-africa-sci-fi-innovation-technology/
LonCon3 showcased an increasingly diverse and ‘relevant’ range of panels and activities, sometimes overwhelming in choice options. I moderated a panel on ‘Reading the Other‘ with vibrant panelists Tori Truslow, Wesley Chu, Ben Peek and Leslie Ann Moore. Two recommendations (apart from their own work) from the panel were: Ken Liu’s ‘The Grace of Kings‘ and Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s ‘Scale Bright‘.
I also participated in a panel excellently moderated by Amal El-Mohtar and summarised by Kate Nepveu – fantastic fellow panelists Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Aliette de Bodard and JY Yang kept the discussion flowing and interesting, investigating alternatives in form with non-Western modes of SF.
Finally, I have written about Disability and encouraging support of the ‘Accessing the Future’ anthology in (Not) SF in SA 22: ‘It’s All About Pianos’: Writing through Pain/Disability (Sep 2014).
Onwards and upwards!
Nick Wood (Sep/Oct 2014)