I intend to go to the Sirens Conference again this fall, where Nalo Hopkinson, Malinda Lo, and folklorist Kate Bernheimer will be Guests of Honor. I wasn’t sure I’d be back for a third year . . . but then a) they moved the location to far-south Washington (just outside of Portland, OR), which is a lot more accessible to me, and b) they made the theme “retellings.” And, um. I sort of have a thing for that.
Planning for the program has already begun, and starlady38 is looking into doing a panel on fanfiction. Like her, I hope to see the programming be about more than just the obvious folkloric angle, so here’s my own proposal: I’d like to talk about historical fiction.
The starting point would probably be books that interact directly with real historical events, like Kara Dalkey’s Genpei. From there, you can expand to things like Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, which doesn’t follow the actual trajectory of the Napoleonic Wars, but is still recognizably a retelling of that large-scale event. I’m particularly interested in the question of how the writer relates to historical people as characters, and what obligations, if any, she has regarding their representation.
So, three questions for the audience:
1) Do you think you’ll be coming to Sirens?
2) If so, would you want to be on this panel?
3) Whether you are or not, what kinds of things would you want to see the panel discuss?