From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Con Report: OutlantaCon (Atlanta, GA) Sat AM (Eugie)

Why do conventions have early morning panels? And why do I always seem to end up on them? A great cosmic irony, particularly as my 10AM panel was on “Writing Humor.” Yeah.

Dredged through my mostly forgotten psychology curriculum for insights on humor as it pertains to writing and discussed the subject with my fellow panelists, Kayelle Allen and Keirnan Kelly. “Small” continues to be a salient feature of this con. Attendees at the early morning panel?I’m pretty sure they outnumbered us. I think.

Were we insightful and interesting or inadequate? Ask J.M. McDermott–who I’m certain is in league with the cosmos, as almost right off the bat, he presented we groggy and sleep-fogged panelists with the request: “I’d like to hear each panelist tell a joke.” Uh? Thanks, Joseph. I owe you one.

Next, I popped in to see the “Examining Horror and the Occult” panel next door, presented by writer Joseph Carriker, Jr., actress Tucky Williams, and writer/producer/director Joe Castro. Joseph Carriker, particularly, had much intelligent and perceptive commentary to offer on the subject of horror: fear should help tell the story; the essence of horror is in making people uncomfortable–in opposition to the goal of people and civilization in general, seeking to become more comfortable in our environments; and that the use of violence in storytelling can serve to increase our humanity (rather than degrade it) by defining and illustrating that which is decent and desirable and that which is not.

Still, switching mental gears between humor and horror early on a Saturday morning is not one of my knacks, and I kept having to suppress the urge to giggle at descriptions of gore and bloodshed. Inappropriate humor is me.

Must hunt down and slaughter a coffee beast now and bleed it of its caffeinated goodness. Although there was no official con suite or green room, the organizers very graciously providing guests with breakfast and coffee (the cosmos throws me a bone), and a little cordoned off area in registration had a supply of snacks and sodas on hand.

Eugie Foster calls home a mildly haunted, fey-infested house in metro Atlanta that she shares with her husband, Matthew, and her pet skunk, Hobkin. Her publication credits number over 100 and include stories in Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, Cricket, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Baen’s Universe, and anthologies Best New Fantasy (Prime Books), Heroes in Training (DAW Books), and Best New Romantic Fantasy 2 (Juno Books). Her short story collection, Returning My Sister’s Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, is now out from Norilana Books. Visit her online at EugieFoster.com.

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