August 2-5, 2024
Fantasies of the Middle Lands
August 2-5, 2024
August 2-5, 2024
Theme: Fantasies of the Middle Lands
In keeping with the location in the middle of the continental U.S., Mythcon 53’s theme builds on the idea of “middle-ness” in various ways.
Possible subjects for papers and discussions would include:
- - Middle-earth, Midgard, etc
- - the English midlands, beloved by Tolkien
- - Middle America: the heartland, folklore, tall tales, “Prairie Home Companion,” Field of Dreams
- - Middle America in horror: Stranger Things, what’s buried in the cornfield
- - Middle America in fantasy: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Sharing Knife series, Orson Scott Card’s Alvin Maker series, Stranger Things
- - liminal spaces as settings for fantasy (train stations, Purgatory, Wood Between the Worlds)
- - intertextuality — crossing genres, multiple media
- - even conceptual middles, like middle thirds of trilogies
Call for Papers -- watch this space!
Guests of Honor
Eleanor Arnason - Author Guest of HonorEleanor Arnason is the award-winning author of dozens of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, including stories about a mythic “Big Mama,” and Icelandic troll stories collected in Hidden Folk. She is also a poet, and co-edited the collection Time Gum and Other Poems from the Minicon Poetry Readings.
Eleanor's novel A Woman of the Iron People not only won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 1992, but was the recipient of the first-ever James Tiptree Jr. Award. Her stories have been nominated for Hugo and Nebula awards. Eleanor’s earliest stories appeared in the 1970s, and her first novel, The Sword Smith, drew upon her reading of Icelandic myth as well as other mythic traditions. A Woman of the Iron People and Ring of Swords, probably her most critically acclaimed and discussed works, along with the shorter pieces collected in Hwarhath Stories, bring an ironic and humorous focus to much more traditionally novelistic narrative.
Over the past fifty years Eleanor has participated in the local Mythopoeic Society Discussion Group, “Rivendell,” continuing those Inklings traditions of talk about ideas and stories, and interactions with other readers. Her incisive and insightful observations on writers’ panels at conventions are always memorable. Eleanor was identified as part of the second wave of Feminist SF in early anthologies and critical articles, such as in Pamela Sargent’s New Women of Wonder. We are pleased to celebrate a lifetime of stories and thoughtful conversations, and exemplifying so much important to all of us as readers.
Brian Attebery - Scholar Guest of HonorBrian Attebery is a three-time winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies. Recently retired from Idaho State University, he is a former editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.
Thirty-five years ago, Brian was a guest at Mythcon 19, where he shared the role of Guest of Honor with Ursula K. Le Guin, and we recognized his literary history The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature from Irving to Le Guin. Conversations with Le Guin and Eleanor Arnason at that conference contributed to his later work with Le Guin on the Norton Book of Science Fiction, and later projects up through today’s editions of Le Guin’s works from the Library of America. Meanwhile, he adjusted his focus on literary history to theory in Strategies of Fantasy, certainly one of the most cited authorities in today’s continuing critical discussions, and continued that inquiry in Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth, and just last year, in Fantasy: How It Works, often approaching his topics from several different perspectives and ideas, juggling concept and metaphor to achieve a visionary understanding. Along the way, besides editing anthologies and the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, speaking at conferences and teaching at Idaho State, he also wrote about Eleanor Arnason’s work in his fine study, Decoding Gender in Science Fiction.
At Mythcon 53 we hope to celebrate a lifetime of achievement and hear more of his insights. As Ursula Le Guin put it, “Brian Attebery is the most readable, the most knowledgeable, and the least quarrelsome of critics.”
LocationThe Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, have long had an active community of science fiction fans, including the Rivendell discussion group of the Mythopoeic Society. Twin Cities fandom has supplied the SF/F field with many professional writers, from Poul Anderson and Gordon R. “Gordy” Dickson, to Steven Brust and Naomi Kritzer. The Cities themselves have been the setting for novels such as Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, Naomi Kritzer’s Chaos on Catnet, and Eleanor Arnason’s Daughter of the Bear King.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul area also hosts several annual SF/F conventions, from the small Diversicon to the long-running traditional Minicon, to the huge Convergence. Minnesotans know how to put on conventions and have fun!
Hotel / Conference VenueWe are currently negotiating with our most likely choice for hotel/conference location. Watch this space for a final decision.
Online Registration will be available soon.
Prices will be announced when details have been finalized. Also, we are working on offering a Virtual Option for remote attendance.
For more informationIf you have questions or ideas, or would like to volunteer for the committee, please email chair @ mythcon.org and/or co-chair @ mythcon.org.
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