Dates: March 6-8, 2015
Location: Walnut Creek Marriott (same as FOGcon 2, 3, and 4)
Theme: The Traveler
“All great literature is one of two stories; someone goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”
From The Odyssey to Dr. Who, Margery Kempe to Alyx, the Traveler is an iconic figure. This trope evokes a whole class of stories in both SF and fantasy in a compact and emotionally suggestive form. The titles practically jump into mind: Stranger in a Strange Land; The Hobbit, or There and Back Again; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Picnic on Paradise, and so many more.
We will explore such topics as modes of travel, evolving attitudes toward the idea of an alien realm, the range of metaphors travel stands for, changing expectations about the experience of earthly or space travel, and how to be an extreme wilderness hiker – or an extreme hitchhiker. And lots more.
Honored Guests: Kim Stanley Robinson and Catherynne M. Valente
What Is FOGcon?
Friends of the Genre (FOGcon) is a literary-themed San Francisco Bay Area SF/F con in the tradition of Wiscon. Each year we focus on a new theme in speculative fiction and invite Honored Guests ranging from writers to scientists to artists. We build community, exchange ideas, and share our love for the literature of imagination.
FOGcon is a project done jointly by Friends of Genre and the Speculative Literature Foundation.
The definition is “genre” in fiction is as loose and baggy as the form of the novel. It can refer to setting (Western), intended audience (children’s or young adult fiction), subject (murder mystery), writing style (literary fiction), time period (historical fiction), or emotion evoked (horror, romance). Every genre has its own rules, traditions, ideas, and stock characters that the reader will expect to find. The reader enjoys the author’s skill in combining the familiar elements of the form with fresh ideas, unexpected twists, unusual insights, and evocative language.
All these and many more genres of modern prose fiction fall into two basic categories:
Realistic fiction, which places (usually) imaginary characters in recognizably true-to-life settings.
Speculative fiction, which places its characters in settings that are in some way counterfactual, and that difference from what we usually call “real life” is the driving engine of the plot. Perhaps all but one of a world’s unicorns have disappeared. Perhaps there’s a planet where human beings are almost all hermaphrodites. Perhaps the Roman empire is still going strong in the fifteenth century. What happens then?
Speculative fiction, what we are calling the Literature of the Imagination, answers that question, and in exploring small differences illuminates our common humanity.
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