John Dowell's picture

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You are invited to submit your presentation regarding humor AND/OR horror/sf/fantasy to the Midwest Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association annual meetings being held in Indianapolis, IN, at the Hyatt Regency, from Thursday through Sunday, October 4-7, 2018

As we’re meeting in Indianapolis, it would be GREAT to see some presentations on Kurt Vonnegut and other notable Hoosiers! But remember nothing good is off-limits. As far as I’m concerned, “going too far” in these genre may actually just be considered a good starting point, and I am particularly interested in works which blend the single moment of humor-horror in a smart/fresh way; I call it sLaughter (pronounced SLOFF-ter), and —for better or worse—we’re living in a gilded age for this stuff, and it’s coming at us faster than the speed of stink. Not just sLaughter stuff, but all kinds of good humor and horror and sf and fantasy and TEOTWAWKI stuff! 

To say nothing of how we consume these media: some of the best comedy shows from concerts to sitcoms are currently streaming; Blade Runner 2049, Black Panther, and The Shape of Water have recently rewritten rules for big-budget sf/fantasy films; mumblegore indies such as Cheap Thrills, You’re Next, and V/H/S are darlings of horror film fandom—to say nothing of the online-only shows, such as on CryptTV. (Plus, I mean, is Charlie Brooker a pissed-off English reincarnation of Rod Serling/Patricia Highsmith/Richard Matheson/Paddy Chayefsky orwhat?) And that’s to say nothing of what’s happening in print—just noodle that over for a second! Broadly consider for a moment the amazing shifts in depictions of serial killers since the fin de millennium.... 

Lucy A. Snyder, Joe Hill, Christopher Moore, tons of others: contemporary horror/sf/fantasy is overflowing with fresh faces with fresh—or refreshed—ideas. (BTW, could someone explain how TF Bird Box even got sold as a Netflix screenplay without issuing the audience blindfolds?) Happily, we did not ignore the passing of Octavia Butler, do we dare pass over Ursula K. Le Guin? Speaking of dead sf heroes, is there anything with Philip K Dick’s name attached they won’t stick a dollar sign on? 

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