Big Panel Room 106 Big Panel Room 201 Panel Room 202 WS Room 204 Panels Room 206 Q&A/Readings Room 211 Gaming Room 304 Gaming Room 310 WS Room 312 (Weaponry) Seelye Lawn Other Spaces
6:00-6:50p Fandom and Criticism Character Building 101 Project Super Runway Cycle 2   Children's Fairy Tales            
7:00-7:50p The Smithee Awards Villain, Antagonist                  
8:00-8:50p Ageism in Fantasy Queer Anime and Manga   How Magic Works Morality in Comics Dance 'Til Dawn (game)        
9:00-9:50p Inexpensive Cosplay Webcomics Elvish 101: Quenya Culture in the Round          
10:00-10:50p Animation Bad Endings to Good Books   Geeks in Love          
Big Panel Room 106 Big Panel Room 201 Panel Room 202 WS Room 204 Panels Room 206 Q&A/Readings Room 211 Gaming Room 304 Gaming Room 310 WS Room 312 (Weaponry) Seelye Lawn Other Spaces
9:00-9:50a     Interstellar Governments   Books by Not-Men            
10:00-10:50a Never Tell Me the Odds: Probability in Gaming Systems Young Adult Fiction (10:00-11:30am) Comics are for Kids... and Everyone Else! Poetry Comics Workshop Three Things from a Hat Life in Space          
11:00-11:50a   Back to Riverdale A Day in the Life of a Freelance Translator David Peterson Q&A     Salem Zouaves:
Civil War Bayonet Drill (11:00-11:30am)
Civil War Swords and Sabers (11:30-12:00pm)
12:00-12:50p     Intro to SolarPunk                
1:00-1:50p Dragons are Awesome The Publishing Industry Cosplay 101 Everything but the Writing Time Lord Biology 101 Sherry Thomas Q&A Hearts of Riverdale (game) Doors: The Opening (game) Longsword (German and Italian) Workshop    
2:00-2:50p Kid's Costume Contest How to be an Evil Overlord Urban Fantasy   Hero, Protagonist     Massachussets Bay Colony 1630 Pike Drill  
3:00-3:50p When Dystopia isn't Fiction Anymore   Suspension of Disbelief   Tabletop Renaissance        
4:00-4:50p Writing Believable Fight Scenes Editing as a Writer Writing Believable Science   Podcasts Mookie Q&A   Weapons Demonstration 1400-1700  
5:00-5:50p Grounding Your Audience in a Sensory World Women in the Industry Ask Me About My Feminist Comics Agenda Writing and Tarot Workshop Cosplay is for Everyone Bruce Coville Q&A          
6:00-6:50p Cursed Children and Fantastic Beasts Xenobiology Religion in Sci-Fi & Fantasy   Lost in Translation Women in Conlanging   Accord: The Combined (18+ game) Jedi Lightsaber Techniques of the Sword Masters (6:00-6:30pm)    
7:00-7:50p     Adult Swim: The Early Years              
8:00-8:50p     Broad Universe Presents: Five Minute Critiques   Video Games as Literature The Electric Myth: The Evolution of Creepypasta        
9:00-9:50p Happy Hour Burlesque (18+)   Erotic Fiction (18+)   Tavern Side Chats         One Dance to Rule Them All (in the Campus Center)
Big Panel Room 106 Big Panel Room 201 Panel Room 202 WS Room 204 Panels Room 206 Q&A/Readings Room 211 Gaming Room 304 Gaming Room 310 WS Room 312 (Weaponry) Seelye Lawn Other Spaces
9:00-9:50a Self-Publishing 101: Become an Authorprenaur   High Fantasy   Anthropology in Sci-Fi & Fantasy           Coffee with the Steampunk Family (9:00-10:30am in the Seelye 3rd Floor Hallway)
10:00-10:50a Race in Sci-Fi & Fantasy Warning: Librarians   Writers Anonymous Becoming a Manga Translator Game Design as Problem Solving        
11:00-11:50a Gender and Sexuality in Sci-Fi & Fantasy Getting into the Industry Steampunk 101   Villainous Villains and Heroic Heroes in RPGs Noah Beit-Aharon Q&A     Swords in Video Games    
12:00-12:50p     The Lesbians Don't Die! Queer Fiction that isn't Tragic     Fantastical Social Justice          
1:00-1:50p Women in Comics   Female Protagonist, Female Villain Videogame Poetry Audiobooks       Swordswomen Through the Age    
2:00-2:50p         S#!ts and Giggles: How to Add Comedy to a Story          
3:00-3:50p Milk & Cookies/Closing Ceremonies                    

Panel Descriptions


The Smithee Awards

The Smithee Awards are back again for their 26th consecutive year of entertaining B-Movie enthusiasts. Do you like Stupid Looking Monsters? How about cheesy special effects? We have you covered! Come watch the movie clips we’ve been culling for you all year long and grab a chance to vote for your favorite sketchy science or Worst Acting clip. Please be advised that the rating of this event increases as the night proceeds. Friday from 7pm - midnight in Room 106

Happy Hour Burlesque [18+]

Founded in 2009, Happy Hour Burlesque is a sideshow cabaret, a motley collection of freaks and geeks. They are returning for their annual show at ConBust, bringing fun, geeky, and body-positive burlesque to Smith. Saturday at 9pm in Room 106

One Dance to Rule Them All

One dance to find them, one dance to bring them all and with the music bind them, in the Carroll Room where the glow sticks lie. You must show your conbadge or buy a separate ticket for entry to the dance. The Dance will be held at the Campus Center this year--meet on the first floor of Seelye Hall and a staff member will lead you to the CC! Saturday 9pm - midnight

Costume Contest

Enter our Costume Contest at One Dance to Rule Them All! Prizes include a $20 Herrell’s gift card and two Pathfinder extension books.Saturday 11pm

Milk & Cookies

Join us at 3:00 on Sunday in Room 106 for our traditional closing ceremony, where we will eat cookies, drink milk, and receive feedback on ConBust 2017. Tell us what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what you would like to see next year! Your feedback will guarantee that Conbust will get better every year!

Friday Panels

Fandom and Criticism. Kori Handwerker and Chrissy Williams. As fans, how does our fandom affect our ability to judge and reason about our favorite (and least favorite) series? Can we—and should we—think critically about all of the media we consume? 6-6:50pm, Room 106
Character Building 101. George Claxton, Kelly Turnbull, Sherry Thomas, Noah Beit-Aharon. The nice thing about fiction is that you can fill the world with fascinating people you’d like to meet. Learn to round out your characters, from Our Hero(ine) to Bar Patron #3 to the talking alligator in the swamp. 6-6:50pm, Room 201
Project Super Runway Cycle 2. Barak Blackburn and Ellie Hillis. In the summer of 2016, we gathered some of the greatest superhero costume designers and crowned Cliff Chiang the winner for the first cycle of Project Super Runway, and in this second cycle, we again need your help! The audience will vote on the contestants as they go through multiple rounds of design challenges in this panel, and artists will be sent home. Who has what it takes to make it work? 6-6:50pm, Room 202
Children’s Fairy Tales. Annette Curtis Klause, Bruce Coville, Trisha Wooldridge. “Once upon a time...” there was a panel involving brave orphans, lost princesses, evil witches, and a fuzzy talking animal. The story continues... 6-6:50pm, Room 206
Villain, Antagonist. Jennifer Allis Provost and Mookie. Are they in it for the money? The glory? The misguided hope for a better world? Or do they just like to see people suffer? What makes a good villain? Er, “bad” villain? What is it that makes a good antagonist in our stories? 7-7:50pm, Room 206
Ageism in Fantasy. Amy Tayloe, Noah Beit-Aharon, Annette Curtis Klause. From J.K. Rowling to George R.R. Martin, fantasy authors seem a little too fond of killing off wise (and unwise) elders to make room for the young protagonists. Why does the “old guard” always have to die for the young heroes to get their day in the sun, and why do the heroes have to be young anyway? 8-8:50pm, Room 201
How Magic Works: Magic Systems in Fiction. Jennifer Allis Provost, Sherry Thomas, Trisha Wooldridge. Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science, but how often can you sacrifice dramatics for believability? Is there a happy medium between medieval magic and modern skepticism? 8-8:50pm, Room 206
Morality in Comics. George Claxton. If Daredevil and Nightcrawler are Catholic, how can they justify beating people up? And what about Batman’s “no guns, no killing” rule? What’s up with the Avengers committing genocide on an alien race? In this panel, we look at how comicbook superheroes transition from idealistic images to grim and gritty graphics, as well as the unwritten (and often broken) rules of being a superhero. 8-8:50pm, Room 211
Inexpensive Cosplay. Steampunk Family. That gorgeous gown in the latest fantasy movie. The captain’s uniform on the cover of our favorite space epic. The Victorian elegance of the perfect steampunk adventures, the undead cowboy’s duster and hat, the inhuman beauty of an anime heroine.... there’s nothing more frustrating than dreaming of a million dollar costume on a student budget. Fabric, clothing, accessories, and makeup aren’t cheap. What’s an aspiring customer to do? 9-9:50pm, Room 201
Webcomics. Blue Delliquanti, Kelly Turnbull, Kori Handwerker, Mookie We’re famous on the Internet! Come learn about webcomics, produc- tion, and popularity from some of the pros. 9-9:50pm, Room 202
Culture in the Round: Building Workable Worlds, Civilizations, and Cultures. Trisha Wooldridge, George Claxton, Noah Beit-Aharon. For many readers, the people and cultures make up the most important parts of a sci-fi or fantasy novel. But world building is a formidable task. How do you create reality? 9-9:50pm, Room 206
Animation. Kelly Turnbull. Animation has been getting a lot of attention recently with the popularity of Moana, Zootopia, and Kubo and the Two Strings. From stop motion to cgi animation, animating technologies have changed a lot. Come talk about animated media and how to make it. 10-10:50pm, Room 201
Bad Endings to Good Books. Sharyn November and David Peterson. “Well, that was anticlimactic!” Come and discuss when authors don’t know when to leave well enough alone. 10-10:50pm, Room 202
Geeks in Love. Steampunk Family. Love is complicated, especially in spandex. Come for a discussion of dating and relationships in the fandom world. 10-10:50pm, Room 206

Saturday Panels

Interstellar Governments. Mookie. Politics...IN SPACE! Well, there’s more to it than that. Come and discuss the differences in other-world diplomacy. 9-9:50am, Room 202
Books by Not-Men. Celena Farrell. Ever had the experience of reading a book recommendation list and going “...well, that was fewer men than I expected” when only two-thirds were men? This panel is aimed at avoiding that exact experience! The panel will begin with a short list of book recommendations from non-male authors, and then open up to the audience for other recommendations about non-male authors who aren’t as well-known as you wish they were. 9-9:50am, Room 206
Never Tell Me the Odds: Probability in Gaming Systems. Amy Tayloe. It’s Saturday night, you’ve got your pizza and ‘Dew, and your pile of dice is ready to be rolled. But how likely is your character to succeed? What is an average roll, and does it match with average stats? How do different games deal with probability, and how does that change the feel and play of the game? Listen to various tabletop gaming systems be described and compared, and come with your own questions! 10-10:50am, Room 106
Young Adult Fiction. Bruce Coville, Sharyn November, Sherry Thomas. While Young Adult fiction often gets a bad rap, many of us feel that science fiction and fantasy written for children and teens is some of the best of the genre. Come discuss your favorites! 10-11:30am, Room 201
Comics are for Kids!... And Everyone Else! Blue Delliquanti, Mookie, Ellie Hillis. Comics are for kids, right? Or are they just for adults, be- cause, have you read Watchmen? The thing is, comics are for everyone! Come to this panel to talk about the best and brightest comics of today, which just happen to be kid-friendly, all-ages titles. 10-10:50am, Room 202
Three Things From a Hat. Annette Curtis Klause and David Peterson. Pull three ideas from the Hat of Wonderment and create a story from them. Think it’s easy? Think again! 10-10:50am, Room 206
Life in Space. Rebecca Schwartz. With space-ships, space-stations, terraforming, and countless other options -- scientific and not -- for how humans can survive space-travel, how do we live in space? How does fiction match up to real life, and does that matter? 10-10:50am, Room 211
Back to Riverdale. Barak Blackburn and Ellie Hillis. Are you longing for comics that are about more than just punching? If you want to get invested in comics that are telling compelling stories with well-known accessible characters, you need to see what is happening with Archie Comics. Seriously. Current Archie offerings maintain the distinct charm of their well-known characters, while bringing them into the 21st century, pushing the boundaries of “teen” comics, and even exploring the horror genre. In many ways, Archie is publishing some of the most exciting stories in comics today. And, there is a TV show. 11-11:50am, Room 202
A Day in the Life of a Freelance Translator. Katherine Schilling, Christine Dashiell. Hear from two sisters who work with manga on a daily basis: how they keep on the latest linguistic and cultural developments and trends; what it means to work with editors in both the USA and Japan; and how to balance being an ardent fan and a reliable freelancer. 11-11:50am, Room 206
Q&A/Reading with David Peterson. 11-11:50am, Room 211
Intro to SolarPunk. Faith Gregory. Come explore one of speculative fiction’s newest sub-genres and learn about its relationship with fiction, non-fiction and activism. We will be discussing the genre’s origin, sources of publication, and its triumphs and problems as a writing community. Will solar- punk be a viable and long lasting source of activism influenced literary productivity, or a buzzword fueled flash in the pan? Can a genre be both an activist movement and a literary movement? 12-12:50pm, Room 202
Dragons Are Awesome. Chrissy Williams, Mookie, Rebecca Schwartz. Is more description really needed? Come open a can of wyrms and discuss the actual dichotomies of draconic distinctions. Covers all sorts of dragons from Smaug to Tiamat to Puff. 1-1:50pm, Room 106
The Publishing Industry. Bruce Coville, Faith Gregory, David Peterson, Kelly Turnbull, Sharyn November. Don’t be intimidated by the scary editors in suits! Act like the hero you wrote about and come to this panel to learn the tricks of making a living with storytelling. 1-1:50pm, Room 201
Cosplay 101. Steampunk Family. While it may seem intimidating at times, the world of cosplay can be easily navigated when armed with a little knowledge. Whether you’re an old hat to the cosplay scene or bright as a new button, discover some new tips and tricks for bringing your fandom to life. 1-1:50pm, Room 202
Time Lord Biology 101. Dr. Who Club of Western Mass. Guest lecturers from the Unified Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) Science Division will teach you the main differences between human and Gallifreyan anatomy; regeneration, reproduction, physiology, and DNA. We’ll also discuss the distinction between Time Lord and Gallifreyan. 1-1:50pm, Room 206
Q&A/Reading with Sherry Thomas. 1-1:50pm, Room 211
Kid’s Costume Contest. ConBust is proud to provide an additional costume contest for our younger con-goers and people unable to attend the dance who still want to show off their awesome cosplays! Ages 13 and under may enter, but exceptions can be made for older contestants who are not able to attend the later costume contest. 2-2:50pm, Room 206
How to be an Evil Overlord. Amy Tayloe. Good evening, denizens and malcontents of all stripes. There’s a lovely world, just outside, and you, naturally, need to rule it. This panel will focus on the what, the where, the how, and most importantly, the horrible things you’ll get to do. The instructor is merciless and cruel, but then, don’t you want to learn from the best? All manner of bribes accepted. 2-2:50pm, Room 201
Urban Fantasy. George Claxton, Jennifer Allis Provost, Rebecca Schwartz. Pixies frolicking on a mossy knoll, vampires swooping through ancient castles, and elves serene in a sylvan wood... No wonder they’re cranky when they find themselves navigating subway maps and breathing smog. Magic continues to flourish in metropolitan settings, perhaps, but it twists, darkens, and changes in oh-so-unique ways that both captivate and horrify. 2-2:50pm, Room 202
Hero, Protagonist. Mookie, Noah Beit-Aharon. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, from the plucky-and-honorable-but-not-so-bright kid with a magic sword, to the short angry redhead with everything to prove, to the brooding former villain one step away from darkness. What makes them believable, and what gets us to care about their struggles? 2-2:50pm, Room 206
When Dystopia isn’t Fiction Anymore. Annette Curtis Klause, Sherry Thomas, George Claxton. How do we in the fantasy and science fiction community stand up to bigotry and threats to human rights when a government tries to normalize the values of the alt-right? What particular skills and methods do we have in fandom to counteract the forces of darkness? Any? Do we employ the same tactics as the general population? What are they? Or do we have subtle weapons of our own? 3-3:50pm, Room 106
Suspension of Disbelief. David Peterson, Kelly Turnbull, Trisha Wooldridge. You’ll believe he’s an ungodly superhero but you won’t believe that he showers with his katana? How much is too much? 3-3:50pm, Room 202
Tabletop Renaissance. Steampunk Family, Amy Tayloe. We are experiencing a game revival. Tabletop players have never had so many choices or resources. This round table discussion will cover styles, sources, and recommendations. Competitive, cooperative, deck-builders, tile placing, resource games, luck vs strategy, what’s your favorite? 3-3:50pm, Room 206
Writing Believable Fight Scenes. Sherry Thomas, Salem Trayned Band. On a dusky field, two warriors stood ready...but where to go from there? Learn the ins and outs (and hacks and slashes) of swordplay, jousting, and good old-fashioned fistfights. 4-4:50pm, Room 106
Editing as a Writer. Bruce Coville, Chrissy Williams, Faith Gregory, Noah Beit-Aharon, Annette Curtis Klause. Wondering what goes into making a rough draft a published book? Attend this panel to find out! 4-4:50pm, Room 201
Writing Believable Science. Rebecca Schwartz, David Peterson, Jennifer Allis Provost. Have you ever read/seen something where the technobabble got in the way of enjoying and understanding the plot? If so come hear about how to do it effectively and how not to make knowledgeable science readers cringe! 4-4:50pm, Room 202
Podcasts. Steampunk Family, Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe. One of the gifts the internet has brought us is the revival of audio drama and non-fiction podcasts. Our panel will discuss our favorites and yours. Let’s explore this remarkable new world of diverse thought and story. 4-4:50pm, Room 206
Q&A/Reading with Mookie. 4-4:50pm, Room 211
Grounding Your Audience in a Sensory World. Anna Erishkigal, Annette Curtis Klause. The five senses are appallingly underrepresented in modern fiction. Without sensory information, it’s difficult to grab your audience and drag them into your protagonist’s body. How do you portray senses other than sight? Can you use it to portray emotion? Where can you scrounge up alternatives for the words see, hear, feel, taste and smell, or ‘sixth sense’ (psychic intuition)? Come learn how to describe your world in all of its glorious, sensory detail. 5-5:50pm, Room 106
Women in the Industry. Sharyn November, Kelly Turnbull, Jennifer Allis Provost. Writers, editors, publicists, and many, many more. Come discuss the unique experience women face as professional science fiction and fantasy creators. 5-5:50pm, Room 201
Ask Me About My Feminist Comics Agenda. Ellie Hillis, Blue Delliquanti. Janelle Asselin, Tess Fowler, Chelsea Cain, Kelly Sue Deconnick...all these women, and so many others, deal with harassment, sexualization, and death threats every day, just because they like, and create, comics. But they won’t stop creating, and they’ve also all agreed that it’s our time to fight back. This is our feminist (comics) agenda. 5-5:50pm, Room 202
Cosplay is for Everyone. Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, Amy Tayloe. The Cosplay is for Everyone movement is a coming together of cosplayers who have decided to fight back against the myth that only perfect physical representations and recreations of characters are welcome in the cosplay world. In this panel, we look at cosplayers of all physical descriptions, talk about found piece cosplay, and other beginner cosplays methods. We also talk about how to look for welcoming communities of help in learning types of cosplay crafting, and how as cosplayers we can make the hobby more inclusive. 5-5:50pm, Room 206
Q&A/Reading with Bruce Coville. 5-5:50pm, Room 211
Cursed Children and Fantastic Beasts. Chrissy Williams. How do we feel about new additions to long-established beloved worlds? What happens when those additions have limited access (ie as a play in a single country)? Come and share your feelings as we compare and contrast the latest JK Rowling creations: The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. 6-6:50pm, Room 106
Xenobiology. Rebecca Schwartz. My alien is better than yours! It’s blue! But does that matter? Can you have a planet of shapeshifting goo? What makes sense for alien biology and how would it work? Is it reasonable? Find out why life on other planets evolved so differently, and yet shares so much with Earth. 6-6:50pm, Room 201
Lost in Translation. Katherine Schilling and Christine Dashiell. From high school romances to action-filled space adventures, manga is still a lens into the Japanese culture that’s very much alive today. Hear from two working contributors in the manga field how the localization process of manga walks the fine line of preserving and adapting these cultural elements for the enjoyment of English-speaking readers abroad. 6-6:50pm, Room 206
Women in Conlanging. David Peterson. The most famous language creators throughout history have been men, but some of the most influential were not. In this presentation, David Peterson will profile some of the greatest women in conlanging over the past 900 years. 6-6:50pm, Room 211
Religion in Sci-Fi & Fantasy. George Claxton, Noah Beit-Aharon. What god(s) do aliens worship? Do fairies have their own pantheon? When are religions left out, and when are they too ridiculous to stand? Join us for a talk on when and why to include the Powers That Be in literature. 6-6:50pm, Room 202
Adult Swim: The Early Years. Ellie Hillis, Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe. Adult Swim has carried some of the most influential programming in fandom, varying from Robot Chicken to late night anime blocks. You might find it surprising that if not for things like Hanna Hanna-Barbera and Loony Toons, the off shoot of cartoon network might not have survived. In this panel, we look at the early days of adult swim and how these early animation studios helped create an adult cartoon block. 7-7:50pm, Room 202
Broad Universe Presents: Five Minute Critiques. Anna Erishkigal, Trisha Wooldridge, and Innana Arthen. Does something not ring true about your work-in-progress, but whenever you solicit feedback, you get something vague or the dreaded ‘that’s nice?’ Have you attempted to use a critique group, but the focus was on ‘criticism’ instead of ‘how to make this better?’ Bring your manuscript to our volunteer authors for a quick analysis and get feedback on how to improve your writing. Samples are limited to 5 pages or 1000 words. Young writers are encouraged to bring their fanfiction or original writing. 8-8:50pm, Room 202
Video Games as Literature. David Peterson. The video game has yet to receive the sustained critical discourse that previous media forms (novels, films, comic books, etc.) have benefitted from. Why is this? Is this statement even true? Come share your thoughts! 8-8:50pm, Room 206
The Electric Myth: The Evolution of Creepypasta. Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe. Slenderman. The Rake. The Seedeater. Ted the Caver. The internet has become the new forum for our fear. In this panel we’ll look at some of the more famous creepypastas, the psychology behind why they scare us and look at the more popular forms of their stories on the web. 8-8:50pm, Room 211
Erotic Fiction [18+]. Blue Delliquanti, Kori Handwerker, Sherry Thomas. Romance comics and novels have been designated low art for ages, and outright pornography scorned and rejected by waves of feminism. Who are the women making pornographic and erotic work now, and why? How is the need for embracing sexuality balanced with responsible creation in a sexist and objectifying media landscape? 9-9:50pm, Room 202
Tavern Side Chats. Chrissy Williams, Laura Willard. Remember that one time where the druid transformed while falling and attacked the dragon as a flying bear of doom? No? Come hear about that and other gaming stories at our tavern chat, or share some of your own! 9-11:50pm, Room 206

Sunday Panels

Self-Publishing 101: Become an Authorprenaur. Anna Erishkigal. Who needs gatekeepers when you can market your stories directly to your readers? Come learn what it will take to transform that manuscript into a marketable product. Learn what resources are out there, scams to avoid, and what to expect. Come over to the Dark Side of indie publishing. We have candy... 9-9:50am, Room 106
High Fantasy. Jennifer Allis Provost. Has high fantasy jumped the shark, or is it still going strong? We vote the latter. Enjoy the talk of kings and queens, dragons and knights, epic quests, swordfights, true love, and miracles. 9-9:50am, Room 202
Anthropology in Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Bruce Coville, George Claxton, Blue Delliquanti. Why do bug-eyed aliens act like humans? Why are were- wolves sexist? And where is the planet of the hats, anyway? To build a believable world, you must also have believable cultures to live in that world. A look at anthropology will help you create societies that live and breathe and fit the world that they live in. Join us for talks about the ‘universal’ nature of humanity, or rather, not. 9-9:50am, Room 206
Race in Sci-Fi & Fantasy. George Claxton. This panel will involve examining portrayals of people of color in Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels and the underlying assumptions that accompany those portrayals. For example, in a genre of fiction often used to explore alternate histories, why is North America always successfully colonized by Europeans? Questions like this and close examinations of other characterizations will be presented by the panelists and then discussed with attendees. 10-10:50am, Room 106
Warning: Librarians. Annette Curtis Klause, Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, Kate Zdepski, Kaye Bohémier, Stephanie Friedman. Join a panel of librarians for a whirlwind tour of the fantastical libraries in fiction as well as the fabulous libraries in reality. 10-10:50am, Room 201
Becoming A Manga Translator. Katherine Schilling, Christine Dashiell. Learn how you can turn your hobby into a livelihood, especially if you are into Japanese language. A manga translator of 10+ years will share her journey of becoming a manga translator as well as share some anecdotes in the adventure of translation.” 10-10:50am, Room 206
Game Design as Problem Solving. Barak Blackburn. RPGs have systems, but do these systems do what we as players and gamemasters want them to do? How can we ensure that we are playing the right game? An open- discussion and presentation examining all the nuts and bolts of game mechanics, and how one game designer embraces any opportunity to look at game mechanics as an exercise in problem solving. 10-10:50am, Room 211
Gender and Sexuality in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Rebecca Schwartz, Blue Delliquanti, Kori Handwerker. Sci-Fi and Fantasy, along with most of media, has serious problems with representation of non-straight orientations and non-cis genders. Come join us for a discussion of the representation we like, the representation we don’t like, and what more representation we would like to see (beyond simply “more”). 11-11:50am, Room 106
Steampunk 101. Steampunk Family, Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe. For all its appeal, steampunk can be a very hard genre to define. In this panel, we discuss the various ways steampunk is identified, look at how it developed as a genre, and see how it is influencing everything from literature to fashion. This includes a reading list of both speculative and steampunk fiction for folks just starting to get interested in steampunk. 11-11:50am, Room 202
Villainous Villains and Heroic Heroes in RPGs. Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn. Roleplaying games are about roleplaying, but they are also about empowerment. Does your system of choice support Lex Luthor being an adversary for Superman? Does it support memorable heroic quotes, followed by awesome action? Come to this panel for a discussion on how to make sure you’re playing the right game, and how to best optimize your heroes and villains, in terms of game system. 11-11:50am, Room 206
Getting into the Industry. Chrissy Williams, Kelly Turnbull, Sharyn November. While the stereotypical nerd is a skinny white boy, women are also an integral part of the professional world of nerdery. This panel discusses some helpful ways to avoid misogyny in the workplace. 11-11:50am, Room 201
Q&A/Reading with Noah Beit-Aharon. 11-11:50am, Room 211
The Lesbians Don’t Die! Queer Fiction that isn’t Tragic. Amy Tayloe, Kate Zdepski. Queer visibility has improved vastly over the years, but we’re tired of reading stories revolving around death, tragedy, and the difficulty of us existing. Come join us for our top pics of genre media that involve queer folks, without the shock-value deaths. 12-12:50pm, Room 202
Fantastical Social Justice. Sharyn November, Annette Curtis Klause. Hermione’s Society for the Promotion of Elvish is probably the catchiest, but deal- ing with social issues in fiction can sometimes be hard to treat with delicacy. How do you make sure the social uprising of the gnomes or the gender revolution among the dwarves comes across how you intend it? Come talk about how fantasy can reimagine social issues in effective, and less than effective ways. 12-12:50pm, Room 211
Women in Comics. Barak Blackburn, Ellie Hillis, Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, Kori Handwerker. It’s 2017, but women in comics are still struggling. From the cancellation of titles like the all-female A-Force, to the continuing negative portrayal of women in the DC New 52 Universe, why can’t women seem to catch a break? But there are rays of hope, like the Jessica Jones TV series, which has been renewed for a second season. Join us as we talk about the changes female characters and creators have face in the past year in superhero comics, film, and television. 1-1:50pm, Room 106
Female Protagonists, Female Villains. Rebecca Schwartz, Noah Beit-Aharon, Sherry Thomas, Jennifer Allis Provost. Why aren’t there more of them, and why are the ones we have all alike? Do women always have to be sexy -- or sexual interests? Can they be sexy and still be characters? How many fail the Bechdel test? Is making a “female version” of a character beneficial or harmful? Come for the discussion, stay for the ranting! 1-1:50pm, Room 202
Audiobooks. Bruce Coville. What’s better than a story read aloud? A story read aloud in your car! Learn about what it takes to get a book on tape, where the industry’s at, and how authors feel about this new-old field. 1-1:50pm, Room 206
S#!ts and Giggles: How to Add Comedy to a Story. Anna Erishkigal. Storytellers can learn much from professional comedians and comedy writers. What are the comedic archetypes? How can you use irony, shock, hyperbole and wordplay to add levity to a scene? What subjects are so taboo not even comedy writers dare touch them? Our experts will discuss how to use comedy to torment, impede, and misdirect your characters with a comedy of errors. Oh ... and maybe make you pee your pants? 2-2:50pm, Room 206


Dance 'Til Dawn. Barak Blackburn. With an actual soundtrack, experience this storytelling game, where the music drives the narration, serving as randomizer and narrative tool. Inspired by Twin Peaks, the films of Tarantino, Ferris Bueller, and Run, Lola, Run. When the music sets the tone, we don’t know where the story will go, but we know that it will end. Friday 8-11pm, Room 304, 3-6 players
Hearts of Riverdale. Barak Blackburn. Explore the PG-13+ world of Riverdale in this amusing MonsterHearts hack. Play as the iconic characters who will no doubt get into all sorts of trouble. This is not a game for children, there may very well be themes of violence and sexuality. Saturday 1-5pm, Room 304, 3-6 players
Doors: The Opening. Kaye Bohémier. Doors is a 5-person one-shot set in the Chronicles of Darkness God-Machine system. Doors have stopped working! You play a miscellany of demon-blooded trying to figure out why. Chronicles of Darkness, formerly New World of Darkness 2nd Edition, is a d10-based storytelling world filled with vampires, machine angels, werewolves, immortals, changelings, and other beings that go bump in the night. Saturday 1-5pm, Room 310, 5 players
Accord: The Combined [18+]. Mind’s Eye Society. The Truth. It’s unspeakable. It’s horrifying. It’s waiting just outside our reality, poised to devour all that we know...and The Accord is here to stop it. Believers must either fight or fall, and so warring supernaturals must put aside their differences, for now, and work together to preserve reality. Last year the Avatar of Truth dropped a massive obelisk on the city of Springfield and tore away the masquerade hiding supernaturals from the world. Now players must con- tend against spawning abominations from the Truth and rising xenophobia from terrified mundanes. The Accord is a custom World of Darkness setting. Saturday 6-10pm, Room 310, 2-16 players


The Salem Zouaves: Civil War Bayonet Drill. Salem Trayned Band. In the mid-19th century, a military fashion craze swept Europe and the United States. Known as Zouaves, they were originally French-Algerian light infantry famous for their colorful Turkish uniforms, athletic precision drill, and ferocity with cold steel in battle. The Salem Light Infantry, an elite militia company from Salem, MA, went Zouave in April 1861. This presentation will feature a video demonstration in uniform of the bayonet-fencing drill practiced by the Salem Zouaves, followed by the Zouaves demonstrating the drill live using brooms—an actual period practice. The Zouaves will then teach the audience bayonet techniques using mock wooden muskets. Saturday 11-11:30am, Room 312
The Salem Zouaves: Civil War Swords & Sabers. Salem Trayned Band. This demonstration will feature saber drills and fencing styles practiced during the Civil War era. Saturday 11:30am-12pm, Room 312
Longsword Workshop [16+ or accompanied by an adult]. Phoenix Swords. Phoenix members will demonstrate two or more sequences from German and Italian masters. These will be taught to participants with hands-on use. Will require some close body contact in order to teach stances and holding swords correctly. Please alert us to any issues prior to participation. Using a mix of wooden, aluminum and steel practice swords. Saturday 1-1:50 pm, Room 312
Massachusetts Bay Colony 1630 Pike Drill. Salem Trayned Band.When the first English colonists came to America, they expected to have to fight. Muskets and pikes dominated the battlefields of Europe, and would soon decide Britain’s fate in the English Civil Wars. See the Salem Trayned Band, a re-enactment unit portraying the militia of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in its earliest years, demonstrate how the colonists brought this military technology—including sixteen-foot pikes—to the New World. Then try pike drill for yourself, with ten-foot-long pike simulators. Saturday 2-2:30 pm, Seelye Lawn
Weapons Through the Ages. Phoenix Swords. Examples of weapon use from historical manuals dating from the 1400s though the 1700s. Includes;rapier,longsword, falchion and more. Questions and handling of items at end of demonstration. For those interested, there will be a training workshop as well. Saturday 4-4:50pm, Seelye Lawn
Lightsaber Combat of the Sword Masters. Salem Trayned Band. Many of the lightsaber techniques we see in the Star Wars movies are based on Japanese katana and European longsword traditions. Watch as we present a lightsaber demonstration based on historically accurate European swordplay techniques used in the Renaissance. May the Force be with you! Saturday 6-6:30 pm, Room 312
Button-Mashing Master Cuts: Swords in Video Games. CHEMAS. We will discuss video games featuring sword fighting that doesn’t drive us completely crazy. We will touch on several recent and forthcoming titles and series, such as Mount and Blade, Witcher, For Honor, and Assassin’s Creed, analyzing elements of each for historical accuracy or believable combat. We will also discuss the impact of accurate fighting mechanics on game play and design, why a foundation in real history makes for great fantasy world-building and storytelling, and whether video-game sword-fight tactics could work in the real world. We will have a “petting zoo” during the Q&A period where audience members may carefully handle reproductions of historical swords like the ones that inspired the games we discuss. Sunday 11-11:50am, Room 312
Swordswomen Through The Ages. Salem Trayned Band. The sword was the weapon par excellence for hundreds of years, and the symbol of nobility and might. And throughout history, women became experts in its use. In this demonstration, we’ll dis- cuss famous fighting women from European history. For each woman, we’ll demonstrate an authentic swordplay style, taken from a surviving text, that she might have used, ranging from the subtle- ties of the medieval longsword to the simplicity of the Napoleonic saber. Sunday 1:30-3pm, Room 312


Elvish 101: Quenya. Sammy Brownlow. Come learn the basics of Quenya, one of Tolkien’s most complete Elvish languages. We’ll start with a brief introduction to the language’s writing system, and then you’ll get to try writing in Elvish yourself! The main focus of the panel will be on the script of the language with a brief section on grammar. Friday 9-9:50pm, Room 204
Poetry Comics. Chrissy Williams. A practical workshop that will introduce you to the idea poetry comics, and show you what can happen when you slam the two artforms together. You’ll also be cutting and pasting your own poetry comics into being - no drawing or writing ability required (materials can be provided) - the only requirement is curiosity. Saturday 10am-12pm, Room 204
Everything but the Writing. Trisha Wooldridge. We stress and struggle over the muse and our beautiful word choice, but the career of “author” goes far beyond the final manuscript and book. Authors need to find the right publishing path for them, they need to run their own business (and file taxes for it!), and they need to market and promote themselves. This workshop will go over the important business decisions authors have to make if they want to make writing their career and the resources they can find to help them make the best decisions. Saturday 1-1:50pm, Room 204
Writing and Tarot Workshop. Trisha Wooldridge. How can you tap into the Tarot to unlock a story scene, inspire you, or get past a stuck point? How can you use writing to read your own Tarot? This class will give specific tools through a hands-on session with the cards. Bring paper and pen, and leave with the beginnings of story in your hands! Saturday 5-5:50pm, Room 204
Writers Anonymous. Miriam Roberts. “Hi, I’m Miriam, and I’m having this problem . . .” Come chat with other writerly types, complain about your current problems, and discuss strategies for avoiding various writing challenges. You will be expected to participate. Sunday 10-10:50am, Room 204
Videogame Poetry. Chrissy Williams. Come along to hear a reading of poems inspired by videogames, share your own if you’d like and have a discussion about poetry in the context of videogames. Sunday 1-1:50pm, Room 204