This weekend’s Wexworlds Sci Fi and Fantasy Festival has a jam packed line up of events in store for fans heading to the Wexford event. Organisers promise a full programme dedicated to sci-fi, fantasty, film and computer technology with talks, interactive exhibits, shows and screenings. Those looking to get their Cosplay on could even take home a prize or two during the ceremony for best costume.
As part of the events, there will be a very necessary panel on diversity and representation in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. This comes at a great time as there has been a lot of discussion recently on how such fantastical and forward thinking genres seem to be quite exclusionary of queer stories.
Guest speakers include David Turpin, queer musician and writer of the Irish gothic horror The Lodgers, Janet O’Sullivan – human rights activist, sci-fi convention organiser and feminist, named as one of the BBC’s ‘100 Women of 2016’ and bi-visibility activist, and Dr Conor Buggy, UCD lecturer and member of the National LGBT Federation.
While one would believe forward thinking and diversity would go hand in hand, the hijacking of the formerly prestigious Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy writing by a right wing group suggested a worrying worldwide trend. The Oscars of the genre novel world were basically destroyed when a group called the Sad Puppies began to protest at what it called a lefty-liberal bias in selected works. They began to campaign for more conservative, traditional novels.
Following from them came the Rabid Puppies, led by Theodore Beale (who doesn’t believe marital rape exists and questions the long term effects of women’s suffrage) who deliberately swamped the ballot system with votes for right-wing novels in a move to take over the awards.
With continuing questions on the lack of representation in Marvel superhero movies and basically any big studio fantasy or science-fi movie, here’s hoping the Wexworlds panel discussion might help launch more necessary conversations.
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