Saturday, August 5, 2017

Cora goes to WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, Finland

Next week, Cora is off to Finland for WorldCon 75 in Helsinki.

Meanwhile, Jessica is holding the fort and there will be new posts here at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, including a (somewhat truncated) link round-up.

But should you find yourself in Helsinki for WorldCon 75, say hello to Cora. You can also find her on the following panels:

Alien Language in Science Fiction

As easy as a Babel Fish is, usually alien languages are handled differently in science fiction. The panelists discuss various alien languages and how they are understood. 
The Hugo categories are based on paper publishing. With more and more writing and art ending up on the internet, in shapes not constrained by publishing houses, shipping, printing and paper, the categories are getting less and less relevant in the light of what is created and what people actually read.

Do the Hugo categories need to change? Do the categories reflect what you read and watch? How do we create a set of categories that get enough nominations and votes, but still mesh with the historical traditions?

Do we need to rethink the traditional fiction formats based on length? How about Best Related Work, which used to be called Best Non-Fiction Book, but now is used to nominate among other things internet platforms, larps, pods, scientific papers and internet essays - do we need to split it into (at least) two? The recent influx of non-fictional future speculations in blogs, articles, TED talks and lectures: are they relevant and pervasive enough that a future category should be discussed? Why do the zines categories assume periodicals with issues? Where is art published - does it need to appear in print?

Unless we think about change now, the future could take us by surprise. 
What is the current state of machine translation? The rough-n-ready web page translation provided by Google, the apps you speak into, film dubbing/sub-titling, and translating SF books themselves all present unique technical challenges. If machine translation is commonplace, will fewer people learn English (or Chinese) as a lingua franca, and will the American cultural steam-roller's effects be reduced? We’ll also look at the risks and benefits of translation making foreign countries less foreign to visitors.
Blogging/vlogging about books has caused some recent controversy. Some authors have claimed bad reviews in book blogs have resulted in poor sales. Book bloggers and authors discuss the importance and power of book bloggers/vloggers.