Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Guest Post by Erica L. Satifka: Beyond the Symptoms

Erica is a writer whose short fiction I've admired for a while now, and I'm excited to share my blog today as she prepares to launch her debut novel. Characters navigating their mental health always catches my interest, but rarely does it let them save the local economy from interdimensional horrors. Over to Erica!

Emmeline Kalberg, the protagonist of my debut novel Stay Crazy, has paranoid schizophrenia. But she's so much more than that. While Stay Crazy is speculative fiction, it takes place in the present-day real world, and Em not only has to deal with the monsters in the store and in her mind, but also the stigma that comes with her very misunderstood condition.

That’s something I wanted to confront even in my title: the term "crazy" used in this context is not derogatory. My protagonist – like me! – comes from a working-class background, raised in a family that isn't exactly literate when it comes to mental health issues. "Crazy" is the word that other people would use to describe her, but it's also something Em herself is reclaiming.

Too often, folks with psychotic disorders don't get to be the heroes of their own stories. Nearly always, they're given the role of madman or mystic, and I'm not sure which is worse.

Okay, that's not true: the trope of the axe-wielding maniac is definitely worse.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

John's Worldcon Schedule

I'll be in Missouri next week for the annual Worldcon! It's my first year as a panelist, and I was invited to so many things I had to turn a couple down. The staff has been very welcoming so far and I look forward to meeting everyone.

As always, if you feel like saying hi, please do! It should be a busy week, but I'm always happy to meet new folks.

Anime Stories to Watch in the Dark

Thursday 22:00 - 23:00, 2504B (Kansas City Convention Center)
When one hears "anime", horror may not be the first thing to come to mind. This panel might change that. Don't be scared, and join us as we explore horror in anime.
John Wiswell, Lyda Morehouse

It's Not Torture If It's The Good Guys

Friday 10:00 - 11:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Zootopia at first glance appear to have little in common but both use the premise "I won't kill you, but my friend will." Just a few scenes apart in season 2 of Daredevil the lead is shown torturing someone "heroically" followed by a mob boss torturing someone "evilly." In this session we discuss the hows and whys this dichotomy can have developed and whether it is time to start challenging the notion of good torture on screen.
Scott Lynch (M), Seth Dickinson, John Wiswell, Kij Johnson, Marc Zicree

Flash Fiction: Short, But Not Easy

Saturday 10:00 - 11:00, 3501D (Kansas City Convention Center)
Many people think that Flash Fiction must be easy to write since the stories are so short.  It takes real skill to be able to tell a compelling story in only a few hundred words. Our panel will discuss some of the key skills needed, and the best places to get your flash fiction noticed.
John Wiswell, Anna Yeatts, Caroline M. Yoachim (M), Betsy Dornbusch, Chris Phillips, David VonAllmen

The Horror Melting Pot

Saturday 16:00 - 17:00, 2503B (Kansas City Convention Center)
Ghost stories, supernatural, suspense, gore, shock horror - all of these used to be more or less recognizable and identifed as distinct genres. Today they are increasingly clumped together as just horror. What effect does this have on horror as a genre?
Alasdair Stuart (M), John Wiswell, David Boop, Steve Rasnic Tem
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