January 28th, 2010

Eye of the Dragon

FC 2010 Post-Mortem: The Dragon Panel

As I noted earlier, this was the first FC in six years that I didn’t present the (non-adult) Dragon Panel, and that I was seriously considering returning to those duties next year. That prompted some discussion in the comments about species panels in general, and what they covered. Evidently, both the Dragon and Avian panels were a bit on the aimless side this year.

Under my auspices, the Dragon Panel hewed pretty firmly to “Dragons In Mythology, Folklore, Heraldry, and maybe, just maybe, Modern Fantasy”. eclipsegryph runs the Gryphon panel in much the same way; Eclipse has done a LOT of research on kittybirds, going back to their earliest mentions in ancient Greek lore. He always seems to have something new to add, though, and I try to do the same in mine.

The other species panels I’ve attended (and co-presented) have centered around beasties that are, shall we say, less elusive than gryphons or dragons: reptiles/dinosaurs, avians, and bats. Those panels have presented more tangible data about the critters in question, as well as their traditional roles in folk culture. We talked about echolocation in the bat panel, for instance, but we also discussed how bats tended to be sinister in Western culture, but lucky in the East (rather like dragons, that. Hmmmm.).

I’m not sure if that’s true across all the panels, though. Maybe the more obscure and arcane critters attract those of a more academic/analytical/geeky bent. Does the Fox panel talk about Reynard and the Kitsune? Does it dive into how the vernacular term “foxes” covers a wide range of species across a wider range of clades that are only loosely related? Does the Canid panel discuss pack behavior and the ridiculous genetic diversity of genus Canis? Does it compare and contrast White Fang and The Big Bad, or the distinct pop-culture perceptions of Wolf and Coyote?

I simply don’t know.

And I’d like to.

I want to know both what the other species panels cover, and what the audience is interested in hearing.

*To be generous.