Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Classic SFF, my Questions for RavenCon

So, this Sunday, I'm going to be moderating a panel on Classic SFF at Raven Con

The description?
What makes a classic? And what’s the lifespan of a classic? Nothing lasts forever… what can you think of that was long accepted as a classic but no one thinks of now?
This is simple enough.

The guests?

  • Dina Leacock
  • Declan Finn (M)
  • L. Jagi Lamplighter
  • Nathan Skreslet
  • John C. Wright

1) Introduce yourself in relation to your experience with Classic SFF.

2) One definition of a classic is a work that survives the generation it was published in, largely because there is a timeless element to it. Would you add any other attributes to the definition in regards to SFF?

3) What classics are there that you believe have been largely overlooked or forgotten, and why do you think they fell by the wayside?

4) Using our definition from before, do you see any modern works of SFF that are timeless enough to be classics in the future? Or are there some, like David Weber's Honor Harrington series, that have been around so long that they are already classics?

5) Have you found Classic SFF influencing how you write? And how?

6) Definitions of words change over time. So does cultural context. For example, Robert E Howard used words in his stories that were not racist at the time, but some may consider them as such now. Heck, we can't even screen Blazing Saddles without someone having a temper tantrum. In an era with at least three annotated versions of Sherlock Holmes, are there any classics of SFF that you can imagine being rereleased with footnotes and marginalia? Or does SFF establish enough of its own context within the world so that it defies a need for annotations?

7) We seem to live in an era where people seem to read classic SFF that they skim the book until they find something to be offended by, then get offended over it. What is your most problematic work of classic SFF that you enjoy the most? What classic do you enjoy the most that you think no one else would understand unless you sat them down and explained it to them?


Robert E. Howard, A. Merritt, Poul Anderson, Jack Wance, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Zelazny, Lovercraft, Leigh Brackett, Frederick Brown.

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