Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Horror Panels at Loscon 40

I'll appear on five panels at Loscon 40, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the Thanksgiving Day weekend, in Los Angeles, CA.

Although Loscon is a mostly science fiction/ fantasy convention, they've been expanding their horror events over the years. Four of my five panels are horror-oriented. They are:

* Humanizing Our Monsters

Vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, serial killers. All have starred as sexy and dangerous, but ultimately misunderstood heroes and protagonists, of their own stories. What is it that drives us to give humanity to the manifestations of our darkest fears? Panelists: Jenna Pitman (m), Barbara Hambly, Julie Sczesny, E.E. King, Thomas M. Sipos. Friday, 8 - 9 p.m. Scottsdale Room.

I've much to say on this subject. In my book, Horror Film Aesthetics, I discuss the four appeals of horror. The fourth one I call "Sympathy for the Other" -- when "monsters" are viewed sympathetically (e.g., Dark Shadows vampire Barnabas Collins).

* Science vs the Supernatural

Ghosts or radiation? Mad science or necromancy? Medical malfunctions or immortal monsters? Does science or magic make for a better back drop to illustrate what scares us most? Is it all circumstantial? Panelists: Jenna Pitman (m), Julie Sczesny, Thomas M. Sipos, E.E. King. Friday, 9 - 10 p.m. Scottsdale Room. 

Yes, in Horror Film Aesthetics I break down horror's basic threats into three categories: the supernatural, horror/sci-fi, and the human (e.g., psychos). And I explain how horror overlaps with other genres, such as science fiction proper.

* Horror Literature vs Horror Cinema

Short horror works equally as well as a story or film. But horror novels and feature length are different monsters all together. What makes the novel different than a movie? Is one more frightening than the other? What do each of them get right? What do they get wrong? Panelists: Jenna Pitman (m), Thomas M. Sipos, Donald F. Glut, Tom Khamis. Saturday, 8 - 9 p.m. Atlanta Room.

In Horror Film Aesthetics I also explain why horror works better on film than on text, whereas the reverse is true of science fiction.

* And the Award Goes to...

All horror fans know that the genre has lost respect in recent years. Once our movies and novels were good enough to be considered classics but now they've been reduced to jokes. When was the last time our genre was been acknowledged by mainstream judges? How can the genre return to its glory days? Is it possible? Jenna Pitman (m), Julie Sczesny, Thomas M. Sipos, Tom Khamis. Saturday, 9 - 10 p.m. Atlanta Room.

I disagree that horror has lost respect in recent years, which I explain in my other book, Horror Film Festivals and Awards. You can also read about that topic in the book's forward, which is reprinted for free on my website.

* Future of Investigative Journalism

The newspapers have been the only institution in society to commit to in-depth investigative journalism, which is sometimes antagonistic to both governmental and corporate power. Now that the print market is imperiled, can bloggers and web-only publications fulfill their role? Richard Foss (m) Thomas M. Sipos, Mike Glyer, Dennis Mallonee. Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Marquis 2 Room.

I say much about investigative journalism -- what it is, who's doing it today, its current state of heath -- in my novel, Hollywood Witches.

All in all, I've much to say about all the above topics. Drop in to Loscon if you happen to be in the Los Angeles area over the Thanksgiving Day weekend.