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A queer re-imagining of science fiction and fantasy

Friday 5 November 2021

08:30 pm - 09:30 pm


Queer coding stems from the Hays Code developed in the 1930s, a standard that prohibited the portrayal of “perverse” subjects, including homosexuality. Characters were developed who had the hallmarks of a queer person but were not ever overtly referred to in that way. This was particularly prominent in science fiction and fantasy, where queer people were portrayed as villians and monsters. This panel seeks to explore science fiction, fantasy and horror through the lens of the 21st century - where there are queer characters all around us. Does queer coding still exist? Where does this leave queer subtext? And how can queer characters be given authentic representation and still be more than simply the queer character?


Moderator - Adrik Kemp is an accomplished author, lyricist and screenwriter. His pronouns are he/him and he identifies as gay but doesn’t mind being called queer, and happily lives in Sydney with his husband. Adrik’s short stories have been published all over the world, in places such as Aurealis Magazine, OUTStanding & Transmundane Press. He also has two vampire romance novellas through Pride Publishing, but don’t hold that against him. His screenplays have been shortlisted for Project Greenlight Australia and pitched to markets in Australia and the United States (with Apocryphal Pictures). Adrik is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community with a vested interest in his community culture. He also works as a copywriter and editor with Sydney’s Queer Screen.

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J-L Heylen, purveyor of fine Steampunk, Sci-Fi, Les-Fic, and Speculative Fiction offerings for the discerning reader of quality and superior mental faculties. Monsters, machines, subversions, and humans of queer persuasion meet in J-L’s books, showing worlds where gender and sexuality do not define what characters are capable of, but might just be their superpower. J-L Heylen is the author of the Wisdom Series, a trilogy of lesbian science fiction; and The Deception Engine, a gender-bending steampunk trilogy; as well as a number of short stories and articles. They started publishing at the age of 45, because they never got to see themselves reflected in books or media, and because talking about that wasn’t helping. They identify as trans/ non-binary, and live in the Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia with their wife, two very ridiculous dogs, and too many bow ties.

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Rem Wigmore (they/them) is a speculative fiction writer based in Aotearoa. Their solarpunk novel Foxhunt was published by Queen of Swords Press in 2021 and their other works include Riverwitch and The Wind City, both shortlisted for Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Rem’s short fiction appears in several places including Capricious Magazine, the second Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy anthology, and Victoria University Press’s Middle Distance anthology. Rem’s probably a changeling, but you’re stuck with them now. The coffee here is just too good. 

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Andi C. Buchanan (they/them) lives and writes just outside Wellington, New Zealand. Winner of Sir Julius Vogel Awards for From a Shadow Grave (Paper Road Press, 2019) and their short story "Girls Who Do Not Drown" (Apex, 2018), their fiction is also published in Fireside, Mermaids Monthly, Cossmass Infinity, and more. Most recently they've been writing witchy stories, starting with the novella Succulents and Spells. 

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Flick Martin is a recovering academic and a writer of horror and queer fiction. They live with a charismatic fat cat and many dying plants, subsisting wholly on a diet of tea and chocolate biscuits. When they’re not writing, they can be found playing video games or watching documentaries about the ocean.

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