World Fantasy Convention 2007
by Joe Berlant (Chair)
Review by Gayle Surrette
Date: November 1 – 4, 2007
Links: Official Site / Gayle's WFC Blog Reports / Show Official Info /
Otherwise, overall, we had a great time. I've written up my experiences in detail on my blog. There were many exceptional panel topics and often there were two or three at one time period that I wanted to see.
Ernest Lilley wrote up the panel on Monsters from the Lizard Brain. Panelists: Sarah Beth Durst, Tim Powers(m), Elizabeth Bunce, Margo Lanagan. Mark Ferrari.
Tim says there's something in the lizard part of our brain that recognizes the validity of some things that may not make rational sense. "Pick that flower and a princess in another land dies. Sure. We get that. But why, Tim asks. Maybe they're like the silhouettes of hawks that make chickens who have never seen a hawk go nuts. Elizabeth challenges the notion of universal archetypes, pointing out that our fantasy tradition...to which Sarah said that she had no trouble reading the Narnia chronicles, even though she hadn't been familiar with the myths it represented as a child. Somehow that misses the whole Christ allegory, but well. Nick points out that some things are so common, like the old terrible woman, which he's pretty sure every culture has.
Tim was intrigued that some archetypes don't follow what might be an expected archetype, citing a favorite of his, the fisher king. Nick suggested that the lizard brain didn't have a fisher king model in it. Elizabeth got entranced by the thought of chicken archetypes, and how it matched into her study of animal behavioral anthropology.
Sarah brought up an interesting bit about how archetypes get transformed into a stereotype..or cliché.
Interesting questions. Can there be new archetypes? Elizabeth leapt to the answer that in the Tim Powers lizard brain school, no...but in the Margo Lanagan school, the brain wants to find patterns, so yes, though I really think they're talking about the same thing. I pointed out that a lot of media works hard to break archetype in plot, but Nick (and then Sarah) pointed out that the sudden twist away from the expected was the hallmark of the Loki/Coyote archetype.
Nick, "in the end, a milestone is still a milestone, whether you are walking towards it or away from (or orthogonally) it."
Next year, World Fantasy will be held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada from October 30-November 2, 2008.