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Posting this quickly in the service of sleep before my first panel (of eight!).


Saturday 1/19 10AM - Embracing the Alien: Writing Believable ETs

Although a classic element of SF stories, many speculative works contain depictions of non-human intelligences. What registers to the human mind as "alien" without trailing into incomprehensibility? What are some common pitfalls and crutches that writers should avoid in creating an alien species? Sifting through the vast body of work on famous aliens, panelists will offer suggestions for creating truly alien perspectives in fiction without resorting to tired tropes and cliches.


Saturday 1/19 7PM - Dungeons, Dragons, and Writers

Using the most recent edition of Dungeons & Dragons, a select group of writers will delve into a classic dungeon for the audience's delight and amusement. Panelists/Role-players will draw from a variety of backgrounds, genres, and familiarity with role-playing games. Come for the monster-slaying, stay for the table banter between writers who also game.

(This is going to be either terrible or awesome--I'm extremely nervous and can't wait. James Cambias is GMing.)


Sunday 1/20 2:30PM - Jewish SFF

It can be hard to find Jewish stories that don't focus on the Holocaust. Luckily, there are many works relating to Judaism in science fiction and fantasy. Naomi Novik and NS Dolkart are two Jewish authors who include Jewish characters and themes in their works. Marie Brennan based the world religion of her Natural History of Dragons series on Judaism. Let's celebrate Jewish authors, worlds, and characters!


Sunday 1/20 4PM - All Words Are Made Up

From Klingon, High Valerian, and Elvish to the lexicons of your next favorite fantasy series, panelists will discuss the art and craft of Conlanging: constructing fictional languages for use in fiction and real life. Is the time-consuming process of creating the words, grammar, and written language for a fictional culture worth it? Panelists will discuss their experiences crafting made-up languages, their successes and failures.






Sunday 1/20 8:30PM - Our Political Landscape, But Make It Futuristic

Futuristic literature has always asked the question, "What happens next?" Is it, in essence, a thought experiment that can serve as warning? Recent works, such as Malka Older's Centenal Cycle and Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota series, have reimagined our political system in the near and far future. The panelists discuss works that talk allegorically about present events and the difficulties of projecting the future.


Monday 1/21 10AM - Fantasy Reading

With Donald Crankshaw and Sarah Smith


Monday 1/21 1PM - Intentional Communities: Found Family

Family often means more than what we are born into. For those of us who live in ways outside of the “norm,” creating our own systems of support is key to our survival. How do we find family when the traditional notion of “family” has let us down? Why may it be important to build a chosen family, even when our families of origin continue to love and support us? Our panelists will explore ways to build intentional and found families.


Monday 1/21 2:30PM - Effective Advocacy For Geeks

Many of us care passionately about social and political causes, but don't know how to act on our passions. Some of us have little money, constrained time, or physical limitations. How can we act effectively on causes we care about? What are good organizations that we should look into for donating our time and money? How do we know what kind of commitment will be required for social or political action (e.g., a march or protest) and whether that fits within our limitations?
ashnistrike: (Default)
I'll be at Chessiecon in Timonium MD this weekend. Here's my schedule--which includes a couple of non-standard panel topics which I should probably, um, think about while wrestling the turkey:

 Friday 
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Unforgivable Villains with Understandable Motives
People are complex. The most interesting characters sometimes do terrible things. How do you write a sympathetic character who is an understandable human despite horrific acts? How do readers respond to characters they can't put in the "good guy" or "bad guy" box or to those who belong firmly in both? How does this translate to how people respond to imperfect people in the real world?
Ruthanna Emrys,  Heather Rose Jones,  Karen Osborne,  Don Sakers (M),  Martin Wilsey
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      The Effect of Catastrophic Events on Literature
There are many examples of stories influenced by (or existing because of) real world events, from a catastrophic flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh, to Japan's post-World War II imagery in animation, to rock musicals about the AIDS epidemic. How do major events shape the stories we tell for years to come?
Linda Adams,  Ruthanna Emrys,  Sarah Pinsker,  Don Sakers (M),  Jo Walton

Saturday
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Rules of Writing, and When to Break Them
Show, don't tell. Active rather than passive. Use energetic verbs instead of adverbs. These, among many others, are rules of writing that get beaten into us from day one. But are they immutable? Are they being used as intended or have they been misunderstood? When should we resist the temptation to bend the rules, and when should we modify them or even toss them out the window?
Harrison Demchick,  Ruthanna Emrys,  Steve Kozeniewski (M),  Sarah Pinsker,  Jo Walton
Sunday
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM      Reading: Ruthanna Emrys
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I'll be at Balticon over Memorial Day Weekend. Here's my schedule:

Contemporary Near-Future SF That's Not Dystopian - Saturday 10AM
     Ray Ridenor (moderator), Sarah Pinsker, Ruthanna Emrys

Current trends in speculative fiction show a preponderance of dystopian futures. Let’s look at the stories that don't fall into that mold.


Readings - Saturday 9PM
     Michael M. Jones, Ruthanna Emrys, Jean Marie Ward


How to Use Speculative Fiction to Change the World - Monday 10AM
     D.H. Aire (moderator), Ruthanna Emrys, Ted Weber, Ada Palmer

With the unique ability to image the world as it isn't (but could be), it's no surprise that science fiction and fantasy works have long been associated with movements for change. But how do we go from idea to action? And how can portrayal of a future to avoid be just as rousing as one we'd like to build?


Who else is going to be there?



ashnistrike: (Default)
I've added a panel! Stories of Displacement, Saturday morning at 11:30, moderated by [personal profile] sovay.

SFF of Resistance - Friday 8:30PM - Gillian Daniels, T.X. Watson, Ruthanna Emrys, Meredith Schwartz, Eric in the Elevator

In a time of rising authoritarianism around the world, many of us turn to stories as an escape from the grim parade of daily news. But there is more than escape in SFF, there are strategies, inspiration, and hope for a better, freer future. In this panel we will look at the stories that prepare us to face power, and show us the ways we might proceed. 

Stories of Displacement
- Saturday 11:30 AM - Sonya Taaffe, Kevin Turausky, Ruthanna Emrys, Alex Shvartzman, Steve Popkes

Our genre regularly examines war, famine, natural disaster, and other life shattering events that displace people from their homes. Too often, the stories skip over the lives of these people as they transition from their old lives into uncertainty. In this panel, we'll explore the stories that center on displaced people, examine how SFF portrays them, and discuss what stories can still do to illustrate the realities that displaced people in our own world face.




Fantasy That Speculates - Saturday 5:30PM - James Hailer, Victoria Sandbrook, Ruthanna Emrys, V.E. Schwab, Debra Doyle

Fantasy lands such as Westeros or Stillness, with their dramatic variations in climate or seismic activity, provide a fertile ground for speculation within the story. The Stillness plans ahead and takes these factors into account; Westeros does not. Why? This panel will discuss speculation in fantasy, which stories are more speculative, and how fantasy can extrapolate from its premise.


Down With Grimdark, Up With... - Sunday 2:30PM - Sarah Weintraub, T.X. Watson, Ruthanna Emrys, Alexander Rowland, Terri Ash

Grimdark stories, ones that focus on darkness and angst, have been prevalent throughout SFF recently. However, many people are pushing for change, with suggestions such as Solarpunk, Genderpunk, and Hopepunk, ones that focus on a bright future. Solarpunk is focused on green energy and sustainability, whereas Hopepunk is about people choosing love over hate, and fighting for that possible bright future. Will these new genres will gain a foothold? What other "punks" do you see emerging in SFF?


SFF, Homage, and Transformation - Sunday 4PM - Ken Shneyer, Ruthanna Emrys, V.E. Schwab, Greer Gilman, Will "SciFantasy" Frank

A vast majority of literature has homages to previous works - familiar tropes and nods to existing tales. Some stories, however, seem to be nothing other than things you’ve seen before. Our panelists will discuss the art of homage and transformation, and the ways in which the familiar can be remade into the startling.


Reading: Social Themes in SF&F
 - Monday 1PM - Ruthanna Emrys, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Leo d'Entremont

Authors will be reading their own original works which science fiction and fantasy which tackle contemporary social themes. 
ashnistrike: (Default)
I'll be at Arisia, in Boston on Martin Luther King Day weekend!

SFF of Resistance - Friday 8:30PM - Gillian Daniels, T.X. Watson, Ruthanna Emrys, Meredith Schwartz, Eric in the Elevator

In a time of rising authoritarianism around the world, many of us turn to stories as an escape from the grim parade of daily news. But there is more than escape in SFF, there are strategies, inspiration, and hope for a better, freer future. In this panel we will look at the stories that prepare us to face power, and show us the ways we might proceed. 


Fantasy That Speculates - Saturday 5:30PM - James Hailer, Victoria Sandbrook, Ruthanna Emrys, V.E. Schwab, Debra Doyle

Fantasy lands such as Westeros or Stillness, with their dramatic variations in climate or seismic activity, provide a fertile ground for speculation within the story. The Stillness plans ahead and takes these factors into account; Westeros does not. Why? This panel will discuss speculation in fantasy, which stories are more speculative, and how fantasy can extrapolate from its premise.


Down With Grimdark, Up With... - Sunday 2:30PM - Sarah Weintraub, T.X. Watson, Ruthanna Emrys, Alexander Rowland, Terri Ash

Grimdark stories, ones that focus on darkness and angst, have been prevalent throughout SFF recently. However, many people are pushing for change, with suggestions such as Solarpunk, Genderpunk, and Hopepunk, ones that focus on a bright future. Solarpunk is focused on green energy and sustainability, whereas Hopepunk is about people choosing love over hate, and fighting for that possible bright future. Will these new genres will gain a foothold? What other "punks" do you see emerging in SFF?


SFF, Homage, and Transformation - Sunday 4PM - Ken Shneyer, Ruthanna Emrys, V.E. Schwab, Greer Gilman, Will "SciFantasy" Frank

A vast majority of literature has homages to previous works - familiar tropes and nods to existing tales. Some stories, however, seem to be nothing other than things you’ve seen before. Our panelists will discuss the art of homage and transformation, and the ways in which the familiar can be remade into the startling.


Reading: Social Themes in SF&F
- Monday 1PM - Ruthanna Emrys, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Leo d'Entremont

Authors will be reading their own original works which science fiction and fantasy which tackle contemporary social themes.

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