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?