Haddayr Copley-Woods (haddayr) wrote,
Haddayr Copley-Woods

Fantasy Matters Conference

My friend Lindsay was one of the organizers of the University of Minnesota's conference entitled "Fantasy Matters." It was about how Fantasy literature is marginalized and should in fact be part of the cannon, much of it. Wench dresses were frowned upon.

I got a posse of kids together to read; I sent the invite out to everyone I could think of and then wound up having them ALL accept, so there were ten of us.

To my immense surprise, the audience remained utterly transfixed for the whole reading. We ran the gamut from fairly traditional high fantasy to . . . well, Alan DeNiro. The audience seemed to enjoy us all, and it was wonderful to al get together. Several of us went out for beer and African food afterwards and it was wonderful.

The next morning, the keynote address was from Jack Zipes, author of Don't Bet on the Prince among seven zillion other books, and a goddamned motherfucking genius. He said things I've heard before: Fantasy at its best is not corporate fantasy, tamed and palatable and enforcing the status quo, but transformative and illuminating. But the way he said it. The way he said it.

What I loved most about his talk, actually, was his seamless connection of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, comics, and just plain imaginative and transformative fiction into one group. Genres are for marketing, he said. For corporate co-option of the fantastic into something that will not challenge, will not frighten, will not stir up. Fantasy is, in nearly every other European language, the identical word as imagination. He spoke of books, movies, comic books, and children's picture books with the same interest, fire, and respect. It was glorious.

When he was done presenting his paper, I wanted to leap to my feet and cheer. However, we were in these weird law school seats which pin you underneath the desk, and even I feel stupid jumping around screeching while everyone else is politely applauding, so instead I ran up to him afterwards and talked his ear off.

Dora Goss came ("Oh, good!" said every local genre writer I know when I told them. "Dora makes us look smart!"). She stayed in my home and delighted in my family and pets, and we had a few nice chats. I never get to talk with her as much as I'd like, but at least we got a few. MAN I adore her.

What I enjoyed the most, I think, was getting together with speculative writers for not just one but TWO nights in a row for dinner. I LOVE MY PEEPS. Seriously. If you don’t live in Minneapolis? ENVY ME.

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