Yesterday, I attended the panel “From the Horse’s Mouth: What Teens are Reading” and I was on the “Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books” and “YA on the Big Screen” panels.
My absolute favorite panel of the convention has been the “What Teens are Reading” panel that featured teen and middle grade readers. The panel was moderated by YA author Laure Eve and included Leo Adams, Sophie Strahan, Princess Scientist, and Iris Wilde. It was amazing to see kids who are so passionate about books…. PAPER books! This group of panelists did a fabulous job representing YA and MG readers and really drove home the point that what they want is smart, interesting, diverse, and original fiction. I think more conventions should include young adult panelists who enjoy talking about what they are reading since they are truly the experts on the subject.
“YA on the Big Screen” was a really fun panel that could have gone on a lot longer. It was moderated by Carrie Vaughn and the panelists included Thea James, Martin Lewis, Amy Sturgis, and me. There was general agreement between the panelists and the audience that dystopian films are really starting to look the same, and that is heightened by the fact that we’re seeing many of the same supporting actors and actresses in multiple films, which tend to give the impression that you really could take characters from one film set and drop them into one of the other film sets and you would have the same movie. A little more visual variety would help a lot. Another theme that came up multiple times was that while action films are great, we would love to see a few more thoughtful and introspective films that really take the time needed to develop the story, the characters, and the worlds within the books. We’re all holding our breath to see what The Giver will deliver as a film. That said, the recent YA film boom has been great and being able to experience our favorite stories in a variety of media is a wonderful thing.
The “Cover Art for Young Adult and Middle Grade Books” panel was great. It was moderated by Ann VanderMeer and the panelists included Christopher Gibbs, Klaus Mogensen, and me. Ann brought in a powerpoint presentation, which featured a bunch of interesting book covers, including some done by Christopher and the covers for Futuredaze and Futuredaze 2: Reprise. I have to say that it was pretty cool to see my own covers up on the big screen. The discussion went really well and covered everything from creating art to marketing, to what type of direction publishers provide and more. It was also really interesting to see the how trends in style and color changed over time. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this panel, but was really pleased by it, especially since the audience was so participative. It felt like everyone was engaged in the discussion, which was great.
So far, Loncon 3 has been terrific. This has been my first Worldcon and will definitely not be my last. In fact, it’s making me even more excited about BOSKONE (Boston’s SF/F convention) in February 2015!