Decolonizing Secondary World Fantasy

Secondary world fantasy gives opportunities to shape narrative and setting in forward-looking ways, yet so often writers look backwards and lean on facile historical analogues. How do you free your worldbuilding from, or use it to oppose, colonialist narratives when our own history is so inextricably linked with colonialist expansion?

Short Fiction, Expanded

Sometimes an excellent short story or novella demands to be fleshed out and republished as a novel. How can you do this successfully, and what are some of the pitfalls to avoid? When is the expansion an enhancement, and when is it just a marketing necessity?

The Culture of the Unconquered

Black Panther, in comics and film, provides a view of an African country that has never been conquered or colonized. This panel will discuss what it means for a civilization to develop entirely on its own without the interference of “white gaze.” What other authors have imagined the culture of the unconquered?

Gender and African SF

Some African countries have a reputation for homophobia and entrenched gender roles. Yet among younger African writers, feminism and concern for LGBTQI+ rights are almost signature issues, marking a clear generational divide. Panelists will discuss the history, the present, and expectations for the future.

Decentering the U.S. in SFF Publishing

There are thriving speculative fiction publishers, magazines, writers and communities in many places outside the U.S. How do these communities position themselves relative to other SFF markets and readers? How successful are they?

Story Structures Besides the Hero’s Journey

Tell me if you’ve heard this one: a young, inexperienced character goes on a journey, gets tested, overcomes a great challenge, and returns home triumphant. Yeah, yeah—been there, done that! Let’s explore story structures that aren’t the standard three-act hero’s journey.

Writing Short Fiction

Most writing classes and how-to books focus on writing novels, but short fiction (from flash fiction to vignettes to short stories) requires its own set of skills. Panelists discuss techniques for developing ideas—worldbuilding, plot, characterization—within the parameters of short fiction.

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