Showing posts from April, 2017

Fantastika (and After)

Having returned home from this year's Fantastika conference, organised by my (now former) PhD student Chuckie Palmer-Patel, I feel tired but invigorated by the papers and talks I heard, and also much heartened by the supportiveness and engagement in evidence among those new to the conference and those who (like me) returned for its fourth year. That's been the mode of the Fantastika conference from its inception some four years ago, and the community that Chuckie has helped build up at Lancaster and elsewhere, where scholars of science fiction, fantasy, Gothic and the Weird can come together and talk across and between different modes in a fruitful conversation.

This year's conference, for me, has also been coloured by a kind of wistfulness as Chuckie is leaving the UK and returning to Canada, to Edmonton in Alberta. Chuckie's always been a source of great energy and purpose since she arrived at Lancaster. Chuckie's vim and vigour meant I always had a lot to read,…

Post(card)s to Morecambe

A few years ago now, I attended an event in and about Morecambe, and later wrote a blog post about it. Next week I'll be going again for a related gathering of colleagues called Sandscapes, and in thinking about it I looked through past work to see how often I'd looked at the sea, seaside or the beach in my own work. It appeared more often than I thought.

I grew up by the sea, if one calls Estuary Essex the seaside: Leigh-on-Sea, Westcliff-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea certainly think they do. The water is certainly briny, the expanse of water broad, the air full of the tang of salt. True, you can see the North Kent coast, or the Isle of Sheppey, on a good clear day. It's not the wide Atlantic, nor yet the cold North Sea where my forebears fished for oysters, up the Essex coast at Tollesbury; but I do feel like I have salt water in my veins, and though I now live in the Welsh hills and mountains, the sea always calls me away from the uplands.

Here, then, a four postcards whic…