Carole Nelson Douglas and Glen Cook at the "It's Not A Cliché... Yet" panel.
What it was supposed to be about, according to the program book: Pirates and Arthur are fantasy clichés, as are dragons. What about Nazis, dinosaurs, ninjas, and talking gorillas? Do elements of such ideas exclude them from frequent use in fantasy, preserving them from becoming clichés? Or is it only a matter of time?
What it was really about:
The plight of famous authors, such as Shakespeare and J. R. R. Tolkien: creating imagery so powerful that it captures public imagination for centuries, inspiring thousands of imitators, has an ironic consequence. What fantasy cliche annoys writers and editors the most?
Is it always necessary to try to avoid cliches? Can they be used deliberately? When is cliche not a cliche, but a useful shorthand? As much as cliches are ridiculed, don't readers -- and by extension, editors -- secretly want them?
Eric Flint (left), L.E. Modesitt Jr. at the "It's Not A Cliché... Yet" panel.
More pictures from World Fantasy Convention 2006 can be found in my photo gallery.