Allo, Guvna!

SFX British Invasion

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching British TV and films, it’s that they have a fantastic sense of humor, mostly directed at themselves. That was definitely the case at the SDCC panel Thursday afternoon, where some of the best science fiction writers from across the pond discussed not only their material but also the increasing number of projects being translated for American audiences.

On hand for the panel were Dan Abnett (Ultramarines), China Miéville (Perdido Street Station), Paul Cornell (Doctor Who), Kieron Gillen (Thor), Pat Mills (2000 AD), and Toby Whithouse (BBC’s Being Human creator). Each delivered their answers and reflections in a deprecating and fun manner. There wasn’t too much new information to be gleaned from their talk. Mostly, it was just a good time to listen to their perspective on British sci-fi and how the budgetary factors in UK television often force creative choices Americans find inventive (i.e., a monster is only heard behind the door because showing it would require too much money).

An interesting sidebar on the lack of women and minorities in the science fiction field came about after a question from the audience. China Miéville brought up the point that it’s up to them as “white males” to be open to good new science fiction and allow it to be heard, but that it’s not their responsibility to make it happen. And just as the significance and relevance of female/minority roles have increased in the last few decades, it is only a matter of time before the playing field begins to truly level out.

Though if you’re simply reading this to get the scoop on anything, “Dr. Who” fans will probably be happy to hear that Toby Whithouse was “contractually obliged” not to say he was writing any upcoming episodes of the sci-fi legend … As Miéville pointed out, you can read between those lines.