The British Fantasy Convention this year is in York 
(Friday 5th-Sunday 7th September), 
and I will be there — my first time at this particular convention.

I will be a panellist on two panels (see below)
and also giving a 20 minute reading from either
 The Lascar’s Dagger or The Dagger’s Path.

And I’d like some help here. 
If you have an opinion on these panel topics, 
email me, or comment here or on facebook or twitter… 

For example:
What fantasy/SF books have you read
(apart from The Isles of Glory!) 
where there was a platonic friendship between women
forming a central part of the book (or fantasy TV series/film)?

Why do you think (if indeed you do) that such platonic friendship 
between women in fantasy fiction is rarer than male ones?

Is it necessary to dispose of the parents of young protagonists? 
Can you think of successful examples where parents were a full participant of the young hero/heroine’s adventures?

Saturday 12.00 Noon  
Dead Parents, Burned Homesteads and Wicked Stepmothers
Is it essential to write out the parents before youthful characters can
head out on adventures? Are adult figures always unhelpful or malign?
Should writers search for ways to keep parents around — or do fantasies
of a world without parents fulfil a real need?

Marc Gascoigne (m), Edward Cox, Emma Newman, Sophia McDougall, Glenda Larke, Laura Lam

Saturday 3.00pm 
She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Sister
Kirk and Spock, Luke and Han, Frodo and Sam – epic friendships between
men are common in fantasy, but friendships between women, or platonic
relationships between men and women that stay that way – are much
thinner on the ground. The panellists discuss why it matters and examine
some of the rare exceptions.

Roz Kaveney (m), Mhairi Simpson, Glenda Larke, Charlaine Harris


FANTASYCON 2014: MY SCHEDULE — 10 Comments

  1. Hi Glenda

    Cool panel topics!

    Platonic friendships between women appear in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Creature Court trilogy and, for science fiction, “Pushing Ice” by Al Reynolds.

    They are very noticeable (and appreciated!) because of their rarity, and this is because women are for sweet sweet lurve, not being actual people, so once you have one woman character as a love interest for your protagonist, why would you need more? And if you have a woman AS your protagonist, you’re no doubt thrusting her into a cruel man’s world, and what better way to isolate and distress her than give her no female friends?

    As for parents being dead, I can think of series where the parents are alive but out of the way – in Lian Tanner’s Keepers trilogy, the parents are in jail, while in Cat Valente’s Fairyland books, the parents are stuck in the real world while September goes to fairyland, and in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, the parents are turned into pigs – but actually participate in the adventure?

    I can’t think of any, except for where the parent is involved in an evil antagonist (see Luke Skywalker), usually after an “orphan” discovers who they truly are.

    Actually, I’m straining my brain to try and remember if Pol from Melani Rawn’s dragon books ever fights side by side with his parents?? I think maybe he does?

    Someone else who has read them will have to let me know if I’m remembering properly.

    My favourite Disney movie is “The Princess and the Frog” because the mother is dead in every other Disney princess movie…and in this one, the still-alive and encouraging mother is Oprah. Oh yeah. Everyone should watch it even without the excuse of grandkids!

  2. I hadn't thought of the Wheel of Time series. In fact the main protagonist has his father fighting in the battles too. One female at least has parents alive and well another has a mother who is thought dead for a while but turns out to be alive and well. There are certainly a number of women who are very close friends in these books too.

  3. Jo: Good point! But…HMM…would we call that the main protagonist's foster-father? (if that matters?)

    Also the foster-father is CONVENIENTLY injured quite early on in order for the plot to leave him behind 😉

  4. I quite understand the get rid of parents thing (not necessarily by death), because it ups the stakes for the kid.

    As for the other topic, it made me SO annoyed that I wrote the Isles of Glory trilogy.

  5. There's a YA fantasy called The Edge of the Woods by Aussie Ceinwen Langley, which I found remarkable exactly because not only was the mother not dead, but the young protagonist had a great relationship with her and actually considered how her own actions in the story would affect her mother. Very unusual!

  6. So too late for the panel. I am having to think here, so obviously neither occurrences are overly prevalent. But in Dianna Wynne Jones' 'The power of one' nearly all the parents are present. Some helpful some not. The younger generation do end up sorting out some of the former's mistakes though. Anne McCaffrey's ‘Tower Series’ starts with orphan 'Rowan' but continues on as a family based collection. (that could be a thing) Hmmm agree with Thoraiya on her list of Platonic Friendships. There are some in Kate Forsyths 'Witches of Elianan' Isabeau and Lilanthe but not central. There are more female friendships perhaps in 'urban fantasy' like Charles de Lint's stories. Memory and Dream (Izzy and Kathy), Jack the Giant Killer (Jackie and Kate) Trader (Tanya & Zeffy). Love Flame and Blaze's friendship, The Glory Isles remains one of my all time favourites.

  7. The Rowan! I was trying to think of the name of that book!

    Me (to husband): There's a science fiction book, only not, because they're using psy powers to drive spaceships and I think we established that's fantasy, but ANYWAY the daughter gets her own spaceships to look after and meets an alien and falls in love with him, what's that book?

    Husband: *blank stare*

    Thanks Spikeabell 😀

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