Friday

Big Panel Rm 106

Panel Room 101

Panel Room 102

Panel Room 109

Panel Room 110

Big Panel Rm 201

WS Room 204 (no projector)

Panel Room 206

CC 102 Game Room

CC 103/104 Game Room

CC 003 Lounge

Other Spaces--Seelye Lawn

Ainsworth Gymnasium

5:00-5:50p

How to Make a Magical Girl (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

Fandom and Criticism (Rebecca Schwartz, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Trisha Wooldridge, Suzanne Lahna)

S#!ts and Giggles: How to add Comedy to a Story (Annette Klause, Sharyn November)

Webcomics
(Mookie,
Kelly Turnbull)

6:00-6:50p

Gender and Sexuality in Sci-Fi/Fantasy
(Andrea Hairston, Cole Farrell, Suzanne Lahna)

Incorporating Created Languages as Fiction (David Peterson)

Hero, Protagonist (Trisha Wooldridge, Mookie, Inanna Arthen)

OPEN GAMING

7:00-7:50p

The Smithee Awards

Cosplay is for Everyone (Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, Steampunk Family)

Villain, Antagonist
(Tamora Pierce, Mookie, Kelly Turnbull)

GAME: Hearts of Riverdale (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

OPEN GAMING

8:00-8:50p

The Smithee Awards

I'm Someone Else Now: Narratives about Changes (Lauren Rizzo, Ollie Levy, Annette Klause, Suzanne Lahna)

Tarot and Writing
(Trisha Wooldridge)

GAME Continued

OPEN GAMING

9:00-9:50p

Demogorgona and Xenomorphs: The Horror that Inspired Stranger Things (Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe)

GAME Continued

OPEN GAMING

10:00-10:50p

GAME Continued

OPEN GAMING

11:00-11:50p

 

 

Saturday

Big Panel Rm 106

Panel Room 101

Panel Room 102

Panel Room 109

Panel Room 110

Big Panel Rm 201

WS Room 204

Panel Room 206

CC 102 Game Room

CC 103/104 Game Room

CC 003 Lounge

Seelye Lawn

Ainsworth Gymnasium

9:00-9:50a

Writing Believable Fight Scenes (Phoenix Swords, CHEMAS Group, Trisha Wooldridge)

Classic Sci-Fi (George Claxton, Inanna Arthen)

A Trip to Riverdale (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

10:00-10:50a

Suspension of Disbelief (Trisha Wooldridge, Sharyn November)

Race in Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Andrea Hairston, George Claxton)

Cosplay 101 (Steampunk Family)

Dragons are Awesome (Erin Peterson, Mookie, Rebecca Schwartz, Craig Davis)

11:00-11:50a

Q&A with Kelly Turnbull

Freelancing: More Ways to Make Money Writing (Trisha Wooldridge)

Bad Endings to Good Books (David Peterson, Jennifer Allis Provost, Smithee Awards)

Room Closed

Swordswomen Through the Ages
(CHEMAS Group)

When Dystopia Isn’t Fiction Anymore
(Kaye Bohémier
Annette Klause
Inanna Arthen
Andrea Hairston
George Claxton)

What Happens Next? Tabletop Roleplaying Game Mechanics (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

League of Critics (Remington Keyes, Aidan Keyes, Alexander King, Jesse Bassett, Colin Dean)

Phoenix Swords Historical Demonstration
(Phoenix Swords)

Historical Demonstration Rain Location

12:00-12:50p

Editing as a Writer (Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Andrea Hairston, Jennifer Allis Provost, Suzanne Lahna)

Inexpensive Costuming: A Quick and Dirty Guide to Looking Great on a Budget (Steampunk Family)

Room Closed

Swordswomen Through the Ages
Continued (Ends 12:30)

How to be an Evil Overlord (Amy Tayloe)

Zinegames (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

1:00-1:50p

Ageism in Fantasy (Tamora Pierce, Inanna Arthen, Andrea Hairston, Sharyn November)

Cartoons and Animation (Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, David Peterson, Kelly Turnbull)

Geeks in Love (Mookie, Steampunk Family)

Morality in Comics (Jennifer Allis Provost, George Claxton)

GAME Be the Change You Wish to Sea

OPEN GAMING

2:00-2:50p

Q&A with David Peterson

Urban Fantasy
(Rebecca Schwartz, George Claxton, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge)

Suffering Sapho: An Abridged History of Wonder Woman
(Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe)

Fantastical Social Justice (Tamora Pierce, Annette Klause, Inanna Arthen)

Early Costume Contest (For those who want to compete but won't be around for the dance later)

Everything but the Writing (Trisha Wooldridge)

GAME Ends at 3:00

OPEN GAMING

3:00-3:50p

Q&A with Tamora Pierce

Grounding Your Audience in a Sensory World (Rebecca Schwartz, Andrea Hairston)

Steampunk 101: The Intersection of Technology and Romance (Steampunk Family)

OPEN GAMING

Phoenix Swords Curved Blades Workshop
(Phoenix Swords)

Curved Blades Workshop Rain Location

4:00-4:50p

Room closed

The Publishing Industry
(Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Kelly Turnbull, Sharyn November)

Media Recommendation Funtimes!
(Cole Farrell)

Mutant Nipple-Eating Starfish (Smithee Awards)

Anthropology in Sci-Fi/Fantasy (George Claxton, Annette Klause, Erin Peterson, Andrea Hairston)

Marvel vs. DC (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

GAME Space: The Infinite EdgeMind’s Eye Society

OPEN GAMING

5:00-5:50p

ChibiCon: The Travelling Cosplay Show!- Gotham City Sirens (5:00-7:00)

Women in Sci-Fi/Fantasy
(Andrea Hairston,
Rebecca Schwartz)

Culture in the Round (Kaye Bohémier, George Claxton, Erin Peterson, Andrea Hairston)

Faeries (Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Trisha Wooldridge)

Live Reading: The Modern Masters (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

GAME Continued

OPEN GAMING

SSFFS Allumni Meetup

6:00-6:50p

Jedi Lightsaber Techniques Rain Location

SWAP MEET (Devin Fortin)

Character Building 101 (Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, George Claxton, Suzanne Lahna)

Cursed Children and Fantastic Beasts (Inanna Arthen)

My Favorite Tropes: They Have to Get Married (Erin Peterson)

GAME Ends at 6:50

OPEN GAMING

SSFFS Allumni Meetup

Jedi Lightsaber Techniques of the Sword Masters (CHEMAS Group)

7:00-7:50p

Room Closed

Swap Meet Continued

Children's Fairy Tales (Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, Trisha Wooldridge)

Voltron Pajama Party (Kade Germain)

OPEN GAMING

8:00-8:50p

Happy Hour Burlesque 18+ (8:30-10)

Swap Meet Continued

Consent is Sexy (Erin Peterson, Lauren Rizzo, Annette Klause, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge)

Pajama Party continued

GAME The Importance Of Being Convergent (Amy Tayloe Kate Zdepski)

OPEN GAMING

9:00-9:50p

Pajama Party continued

GAME Continued

OPEN GAMING

DANCE

10:00-10:50p

GAME Ends at 10:30

DANCE

11:00-11:50p

DANCE

12:00-12:50a

 

 

 

Sunday

Big Panel Rm 106

Panel Room 101

Panel Room 102

Panel Room 109

Panel Room 110

Big Panel Rm 201

WS Room 204

Panel Room 206

CC 103/104 Game Room

CC 003 Lounge

Other Spaces / Seelye Lawn

Ainsworth Gymnasium

9:00-9:50a

Female Protagonists, Female Villains (Tamora Pierce, Trisha Wooldridge, Andrea Hairston, Suzanne Lahna)

High Fantasy (Jennifer Allis Provost)

Second Floor Hallway - Coffee with the Steampunk Family (9:00-10:30)

10:00-10:50a


How Magic Works: Magic Systems in Fiction (Sharyn November, George Claxton)

Conlang Hour (David Peterson, Kaye Bohémier)

Young Adult Fiction
(Tamora Pierce, Annette Klause)

Massachusetts Bay Colony 1630 Pike Drill (Salem Trayned Band)

Massachusetts Bay Colony 1630 Pike Drill Rain Location

11:00-11:50a

Is it Really that Bad? (Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, David Peterson, Kelly Turnbull)

Drag and Cosplay (ChibiCon)

Healthcare in Space (Ashley Hatfield, Matthew Cortland)

Interstellar Governments (Mookie, George Claxton)

Political Resistance in Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Ashley Hatfield, Matthew Cortland)

GAME Strong Island (Ellie Hillis, Barak Blackburn)

12:00-12:50p

Civil War Bayonet Drill / Civil War Swords and Sabres (Salem Zouaves) Starts in 106 then moves outside

Soul-Sucking Snow Women (Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe)

FINAL FINAL NO THIS ONE SEND THIS (Kaye Bohémier, Suzanne Lahna)

Three Things from a Hat: Cooperative Storytelling
(Annette Klause, David Peterson)

GAME Continued

Civil War Bayonet Drill / Civil War Swords and Sabres (Salem Zouaves) Starts in 106 then moves outside

1:00-1:50p

Podcasts (Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe, Steampunk Family)

A Monster Manual Beyond Dragons (Trisha Wooldridge)

Getting into the Industry (Jennifer Allis Provost, Kelly Turnbull)

Button-Mashing Master Cuts: Swords in Video Games (CHEMAS Group)

OPEN GAMING

2:00-2:50p

Audio Books (Tamora Pierce, David Peterson)

Atlantis, Atlantica, and Deeper: Underwater World Building (Lauren Rizzo, Ollie Levy)

Philosophy in Fiction (Andrea Hairston, George Claxton)

Tolkien's Tengwar: The Basics of Quenya Elvish (Lilith Dyke Gragg)

OPEN GAMING

3:00-3:50p

MILK AND COOKIES

4:00-4:50p

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

Cleanup + Con Closing

 

+Ageism in Fantasy

Tamora Pierce

Inanna Arthen

Andrea Hairston

Sharyn November

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?

 

+Anthropology in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

George Claxton

Annette Klause

Erin Peterson

Andrea Hairston

Why do bug-eyed aliens act like humans? Why are werewolves 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.

 

+Atlantis, Atlantica, and Deeper: Underwater World Building

Lauren Rizzo

Ollie Levy

The world below the sea is mysterious and a source of much inspiration. In this panel, we take a look at our favorite books, movies, tv shows, and other media that takes place underwater. We will particularly focus on underwater evolution, adaptations, and geologic processes that can shape the way fictional worlds are built. With bonus #AnimalFacts! slide show to discuss adaptations from our favorite aquatic creatures.

 

+Audio Books

Tamora Pierce

David Peterson

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.

 

+Bad Endings to Good Books

David Peterson

Smithee Awards

Jennifer Allis Provost

“Well, that was anticlimactic!” Come and discuss when authors don’t know when to leave well enough alone.

 

+Be the Change You Wish to Sea (Game)

Anna Rose O’Shea

Sit down, you scattered sea-folk: listen as the Spirits sing of the world that was. Of green hills and sandy shores, now swallowed by the rolling waves; of the great cities of old, starting with the wondrous Atlantis, drowned long ago.

Nearly all of the land has sunk beneath the sea, and those who survive have been confined to ships, living as adventurous pirates; transformed into mermaids to remain among their sunken ruins; or are born new into an old world as easy-going selkies.

Fortunately, some have started to dream: in their dreams is a prophecy of a new world about to hatch from the Spirits of old. The chosen dreamers can change this new world – and it can change them. Pirates, mermaids, and selkies alike journey forth to the last remaining island in the world to gamble with the Sea Spirit for a chance at shaping the future itself.

“Be the Change You Wish to Sea” is a game of gambling and diplomacy. Bring your dice, bring your dreams, and try not to let the sea swallow you whole.

 

 

+Burlesque Show

Happy Hour Burlesque

Happy Hour Burlesque returns for their annual show at ConBust, bringing fun, geeky, and body-positive burlesque to Smith!

 

+Button-Mashing Master Cuts: Swords in Video Games

CHEMAS Group

Is a fatality combo like a murder strike?  Do you need the Master Sword to do a master cut?  Do steppe horsemen really ride in circles during combat?  Do swordfighting scholars really cry if you make them watch a fight scene with 8-foot-long swords and backspins? Come find out what we love, what we can't stand, and maybe even how we feel about your favorites.  The details of what we do and don't like may surprise you!  Caution: May ruin your ability to take fantasy swordfights seriously.

 

+Cartoons and Animation

Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe

David Peterson

Kelly Turnbull

Animation has been getting a lot of attention recently what 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. For extra fun, there will be additional conversation regarding cartoons: Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, Over the Garden Wall, etc. have all taken the world by storm. Come and talk about why they work, how they work, and why shows theoretically advertised to children captivate so many adults!

 

+Character Building 101

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

George Claxton

Suzanne Lahna

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.

 

+ChibiCon: The Traveling Cosplay Show - Gotham City Sirens

ChibiCon

“ChibiCon: The Traveling Cosplay Show" is composed of a 5 drag queen group under the direction of Tito Midnight. ChibiCon mixes the elements of cosplay and drag to create an entertaining and one of a kind experience. ChibiCon travels to different venues and perform their shows for folks, not just in the Western Massachusetts area, but all over New England and New York. Although ChibiCon is mostly a drag show, they perform for both LGBTQ+ and non LGBTQ+ venues and events. They will be performing a shorter version of their "Gotham City Sirens" cycle bringing to life some of the most known and fierce villains. Cast: Tito Midnight, Serenity Lockhart, Tytannia Lockhart, Erynn Rocabich, Veronica Bow and Ruby Monroe.

www.chibiconshow.com

 

 

+Children’s Fairy Tales

Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe

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...

 

+Civil War Bayonet Drill / Civil War Swords and Sabres

Salem Zouaves

In the mid-nineteenth 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, Massachusetts, 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 demonstrate saber drills and fencing styles practiced during the Civil War era.

 

+Classic Sci-Fi

Inanna Arthen

George Claxton

What we know as science fiction has been part of the world's literature for more than a century. In that time stories and ideas have been presented that have had major effects on both our lives and what we read and see on the screen. From Jules Verne's vision of submarines and airships to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (and the monster), join us as we discuss the best tales of the past and what effect they have on the genre's present and future.

 

+Conlang Hour

Kaye Bohémier

David Peterson

This is an informal discussion for attendee conlangers to geek out about linguistics and the imagination together. We'll discuss our projects, any problems we're having, and spend some time working on our grammars and lexicons.

 

+Consent is Sexy: The changing landscape of romance novels from 1970-Today

Erin Peterson

Lauren Rizzo

Annette Klause

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Romance is a genre that is wide-ranging and constantly changing but has long been a repository for a number of romantic tropes. How we view the most common romantic tropes of various historical periods has changed dramatically in recent years. Here we explore what scenes and situations are considered sexy or threatening. Is being kidnapped by a pirate as thrilling today as it was in 1983? Is it sexier for your werewolf boyfriend to ask you before biting? Does our current understanding of consensual relationships change how we view romantic stories?

 

+Cosplay is for Everyone

Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe

Steampunk Family

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.

 

+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.

 

+Inexpensive Costuming: A Quick and Dirty Guide to Looking Great on a Budget

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?

 

+Culture in the Round: Building Workable Worlds, Civilizations, and Cultures.

Kaye Bohémier

George Claxton

Erin Peterson

Andrea Hairston

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?

 

+Cursed Children and Fantastic Beasts

Inanna Arthen

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.

 

+ Demogorgona and Xenomorphs: the Horror that Inspired Stranger Things

Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe

Netflix’s hit horror/fantasy series owes a lot to the creators that came before it. From 80’s horror films, to classic horror fiction, this presentation examines what inspired the chills in “Stranger Things.”

 

+ Drag and Cosplay

ChibiCon

The cast of "ChibiCon: The Traveling Cosplay Show" is excited to meet with and host this panel to go over any and all of their drag and cosplay experiences. They will also talk about their experiences in clubs, conventions and colleges/universities. Learn more about the cast and ask them any questions related to drag, cosplay, makeup, costuming, etc. Cast: Tito Midnight, Serenity Lockhart, Tytannia Lockhart, Erynn Rocabich, Veronica Bow and Ruby Monroe. www.chibiconshow.com

 

+Dragons are Awesome

Erin Peterson

Mookie

Rebecca Schwartz

Craig Davis

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.

 

+Editing as a Writer

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Andrea Hairston

Jennifer Allis Provost

Suzanne Lahna

Wondering what goes into making a rough draft a published book? Attend this panel to find out!

 

+Everything but the Writing

Trisha Wooldridge

So you want to write as a career? What is the best way for you to publish? What’s your business plan? How will you market yourself? This workshop will help you put together a business plan if you really want to quit that day job.

 

+Faeries

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Trisha Wooldridge

From Elves to the Sidhe to the Wee Free Men, fantasy is rife with various descriptions of the Fair Folk.

 

+Fandom and Criticism

Rebecca Schwartz

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Trisha Wooldridge

Suzanne Lahna

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?

 

+Fantastical Social Justice

Tamora Pierce

Annette Klause

Inanna Arthen

Hermione’s Society for the Promotion of Elvish is probably the catchiest, but dealing 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 in the spirit you intend it? Come talk about how fantasy can reimagine social issues in effective, and less than effective ways.

 

+Female Protagonists, Female Villains

Tamora Pierce

Trisha Wooldridge

Andrea Hairston

Suzanne Lahna

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!

 

+FINAL FINAL NO THIS ONE SEND THIS

Kaye Bohémier

Suzanne Lahna

Are you a creative person? Are you building an entire science fiction universe using the awesome things you've learned at Conbust every year? Do you have reams of invented languages, folders of images, and agglomerations of audio files? Have you ever had trouble finding these documents again? Organizing files and keeping them up-to-date can be hard, but it doesn't need to be overwhelming! This will be a (short, humorous) presentation on file management best practices, followed by an open discussion.

 

+Freelancing: More Ways to Make Money Writing

Trisha Wooldridge

Fiction has a pretty poor Return on Investment if you’re looking to make money writing. What else can you do to make money while still indulging in your love of wordsmithing? Find out about other writing jobs and some of the basics about becoming a freelancer.

 

+Geeks in Love

Mookie

Steampunk Family

Love is complicated, especially in spandex. Come for a discussion of dating and relationships in the fandom world.

 

+Gender and Sexuality in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Andrea Hairston

Cole Farrell

Suzanne Lahna

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”).

 

+Getting into the Industry

Jennifer Allis Provost

Kelly Turnbull

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 nerd’s workplace.

 

+Grounding Your Audience in a Sensory World

Rebecca Schwartz

Andrea Hairston

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.

 

+Hearts of Riverdale

Ellie Hillis

Barak Blackburn

Something strange is happening in Riverdale. Inspired by both the comics and the TV show, play in this Monsterhearts hack set in an alternate Archie Comics Universe. Not for children: Mature themes and content.

 

+Healthcare in Space

Ashley Hatfield

Matthew Cortland

From bacta tanks to VISORs, how well do our favorite stories examine bodies and caring for them? Let's talk about how sci-fi handles disfigurement, disability, and disease.

 

+Hero, Protagonist

Trisha Wooldridge

Mookie

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?

 

+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.

 

+How Magic Works: Magic Systems in Fiction

George Claxton

Sharyn November

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?

 

+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.

 

+How To Make a Magical Girl

Ellie Hillis

What makes a magical girl? Aside from bravery, joy, and sparkles, there’s something else, too! Come explore what makes magical girls, common tropes that are explored in the genre, and how to create your own team of pretty soldiers.

 

+I'm Someone Else Now: Narratives about Changes in Physical Identity, Changes, Transformation, and Transition

Lauren Rizzo

Ollie Levy

Annette Klause

Suzanne Lahna

From Jekyll and Hyde to Gregor Samsa to Akira, werewolves and other transformation stories, we look at the narrative about transformation and how past focus has largely been on the demonization or loss of "humanity" we saw in historical fiction. As trans issues become more frequently discussed in society, will we see a change in the representation of trans bodies? Will stories that explore transformation provide a more diverse range of views and outcomes? What does the future hold for transformative bodies?

 

+Incorporating Created Languages as Fiction

David Peterson

So you've created a fantasy world. Does everyone speak English there? Ought they? If not, how much material needs to be in your book to convey to the reader that other languages are spoken there? In this presentation, David Peterson (creator of the languages from HBO's Game of Thrones, the CW's The 100, and others) will detail strategies and best practices for incorporating created languages into fiction.

 

+Interstellar Governments

Mookie

George Claxton

Politics...IN SPACE! Well, there’s more to it than that. Come and discuss the differences in other-world diplomacy.

 

+Is it Really That Bad?

Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe

David Peterson

Kelly Turnbull

Not sure the difference between a bad movie and a movie so bad it’s comedic? Come discuss and share your own favorite bad movies and find for yourself what’s a matter of taste and what’s truly problematic.

 

+Jedi Lightsaber Techniques of the Sword Masters

CHEMAS Group

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 Middle Ages and Renaissance. May the Force be with you!

 

+League of Critics Panel

Remington Keyes

Aidan Keyes

Paul Keyes

Some of the top voices in the Online Nerd World discuss and speculate on the current and future trends in Comic Book Movies and the online Nerd community. We would be answering Questions from attendees. Panelists include Aidan Keyes from The Reviewing Kingdom, and Remington Keyes from The Nerd Talk Podcast.

 

+Live Reading: The Modern Masters

Ellie Hillis

Barak Blackburn

Where once audiences gathered to watch Shakespeare, today, interpretations of the Bard are still being produced. But, what of today’s writers, how might their art change through interpretation? Join us, and perhaps even participate, as we put on a live reading of that modern masterpiece, Seinfeld.

 

+Marvel vs. DC

Ellie Hillis

Barak Blackburn

Bendis bolts Marvel for the Distinguished Competition, Justice League lambasted, Wonder Woman praised. TV shows, comics, movies, everyone has opinions about which are better; bring your own opinions, and prepare to defend your arguments, or have your opinion expanded in this debate/ discussion.

 

+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.

 

+Media Recommendation Funtimes!

Cole Farrell

Is there a story you love and keep telling people to read? A hidden gem of a book that you're always amazed nobody has heard of? A TV show that you wish were better-known? Bring all your unappreciated (but beloved!) media recommendations here to share!

 

+A Monster Manual Beyond Dragons

Trisha Wooldridge

While dragons are, indeed, awesome, what about unicorns? Phoenixes? Manticores? Dire wolves? Porgs? Within novels, movies, and of course gaming, there are many other fantastic beasts. What do we love about them? What do writers need to know – and fans want to know – about the “care and feeding” of these creatures?

 

+Morality in Comics

Jennifer Allis Provost

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.

 

+Mutant Nipple Eating Starfish

Smithee Awards

What's the worst movie you've seen? What the worst movie you've enjoyed? Come talk bad movies and why we love them with the Smithees!

 

+My Favorite Tropes: They Have to get Married

Erin Peterson

First comes love, then comes marriage - except when it doesn’t. Whether it’s for the green card, political alliance, familial pressure, or some other reason, sometimes characters who aren’t in love, and may not even like each other, just have to get married. What makes this trope so much fun? Why do we love watching an “in-name-only” marriage turn into something more? Come discuss some of your favorite examples!

 

+Philosophy in Fiction

Andrea Hairston

George Claxton

“Fear is the mind-killer”, “Do or do not, there is no try”, and countless other deeply philosophical phrases come from fiction. Come to discuss the philosophies of fictional settings, and how their philosophies were influenced by pre-existing beliefs, and how they continue to influence our lives now.

 

+Phoenix Swords Historical Demonstration

Phoenix Swords

Phoenix Swords will demonstrate a collection of weapons styles from historical manuals ranging from 1320-1600s. Weapons included range from daggers to pollarms, with some unexpected choices! This is an all-ages event.

http://phoenixswords.com/sword.html

 

+Phoenix Swords Curved Blades Workshop

Phoenix Swords

Participants will be introduced to the dussack (wooden curved practice weapon) and the Falchion (single-edged sword, curved, with the edge on its convex side)  Everyone will learn at least one set of "plays" from the historical manuals.

16+ are welcome to join. Younger ages will be permitted  on a case by case basis with adult supervision.

Class will involve some personal contact. Our instructors will do our best to work with any physical limitations.

 

+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

 

+Political Resistance in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Ashley Hatfield

Matthew Cortland

A discussion of resistance in genre- both the feel-good and the not. What can we learn, and how can we draw strength?

 

+Q&A with David Peterson

David Peterson

 

 

+Q&A with Kelly Turnbull

Kelly Turnbull

 

 

+Q&A with Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce

 

 

+Race in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Andrea Hairston

George Claxton

Race in Sci-fi and Fantasy 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.

 

+Religion in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

George Claxton

Tamora Pierce

Annette Klause

Inanna Arthen

Kaye Bohémier

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.

 

+Romance, Eroticism, and the Demon Lover

Annette Klause

Jennifer Allis Provost

The demon lover is a popular fantasy trope, from succubi to “dealing” with the devil to the modern vampire. Come discuss the appeal. 18+ panel.

 

+S#!ts and Giggles: How to add Comedy to a Story

Annette Klause

Sharyn November

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?

 

+Soul Sucking Snow Women

Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe

Japan has a long tradition of monsters, demons, and ghosts in their folklore. Anime has dipped into these stories and given them a unique spin.. We’ll be sharing some of the weirdest and spookiest of the supernatural tradition, and see how anime is adapting them for a worldwide audience.

 

+Space: The Infinite Edge (Game)

Mind’s Eye Society

Following the Third Great War, the Earth entered a near Apocalyptic state. Humanity looked to the stars for expansion and to ensure the continuance of the species. An expeditionary fleet was formed from the survivors to travel to the stars to find a new home for mankind…

 

+Steampunk 101: The Intersection of Technology and Romance

Steampunk Family

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.

 

+Strong Island

Ellie Hillis

Barak Blackburn

Gangs battle in urban landscapes, in the alleys, on the dance floors, and racing through the city streets. Strong Island empowers characters who put everything on the line, characters for whom the gang is all that they have. Are you willing to step up and throw dice, or are you gonna back down?

Perfect for: The Warriors, The Fast and Furious franchise, and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Don’t just roll dice at your gaming table, throw dice!

 

+Suffering Sapho: An Abridged History of Wonder Woman

Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe

She’s one of the most recognized characters in the history of American comics, but many fans don't realize her wonderful and rich history.  Together, we'll explore the long and complicated journey of the amazon princess.

 

+Suspension of Disbelief

Trisha Wooldridge

Sharyn November

You’ll believe he’s an ungodly superhero but you won’t believe that he showers with his katana? How much is too much?

 

+Swap Meet

Devin Fortin

Got DVDs you don't watch anymore, manga you no longer read, or 3 of the same blind box figures? Bring them to the swap meet and trade with other collectors!

 

+Swordswomen Through the Ages

CHEMAS Group

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 discuss 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 subtleties of the medieval longsword to the simplicity of the Napoleonic saber.

 

+Tarot and Writing

Trisha Wooldridge

Learn about the Tarot and how it can help you with life and writing. Bring pens, papers, an open mind, and lots of questions.

 

+Tolkien’s Tengwar: The Basics of Quenya Elvish

Lilith Dyke Gragg

Aiya! Come learn the basics of Tolkien's most complete language, Quenya (High Elvish)! This workshop will focus on reading and writing the Tengwar (alphabet), but will also include a short introduction to Quenya grammar and syntax.

 

 

+The Importance of Being Convergent

Amy Tayloe

Kate Zdepski

Tetrana is a small but ancient and prosperous kingdom. Its most distinctive feature is its strong caste system, which divides every individual into a rigid caste based on affinity to one of the four elements: Air, Fire, Water, or Earth. Each caste has rigidly defined roles and a strict place in the social hierarchy.

 

Most unusually, however, every 100 years a mystical Convergence of the four elements reshapes the structure of Tetranan society, allowing the caste hierarchy to be realigned! This is obviously a most important event, and you are privileged to represent one of the four castes at the Convergence, with the power to determine if a Realignment will occur. You do this, of course, by using your elemental gems to summon your spirit butterfly. Because everything about Tetrana makes perfect sense.

 

Of course, it'd be highly improper for anyone to pretend to be a member of a caste they are not, and especially so at such an important event that will decide the future of the country for the next century. So you have every assurance that everyone is exactly who they appear to be.

 

"The Importance of Being Convergent" is a short game of politics, secret identities, and romance, but primarily ridiculousness. It won 2nd place in the Iron GM contest at Intercon N. It is optimized more for roleplaying, humor, and dramatic scenes than for cutthroat competition, and has few mechanics.

 

+The Publishing Industry

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

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.

 

+Three Things from a Hat: Cooperative Storytelling

Annette Klause

David Peterson

Pull three ideas from the Hat of Wonderment and create a story from them. Think it’s easy? Think again!

 

+A Trip To Riverdale

Ellie Hillis

Barak Blackburn

Archie Comics brought Riverdale to TV screens last year, and Season 2 has made it even more bingeworthy, but Archie is still publishing comics as well. In this panel we will look at the beloved characters, the recent and current offerings, in print and on screen. This IS your parent’s Archie, but maybe your parents are cooler than you thought.

 

+Urban Fantasy

Rebecca Schwartz

George Claxton

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

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.

 

+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!

 

+Villain, Antagonist

Tamora Pierce

Mookie

Kelly Turnbull

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?

 

+Voltron Pajama Party

Kade Germain

Welcome to a Voltron themed pajama party where we play games such as  hangman, tic tac toe, (pg) truth or dare and much more!

 

+What Happens Next? Tabletop Roleplaying Game Mechanics

Ellie Hillis

Barak Blackburn

Dice bring uncertainty to the gaming table, right? Are you letting your dice shine, or holding them back? Don’t make your dice angry. Do your combats end up a 3 hour slog? Does your GM ask for Diplomacy checks when you want to roleplay?

 

+Webcomics

Mookie

Kelly Turnbull

We’re famous on the Internet! Come learn about webcomics, production, and popularity from some of the pros.

 

+When Dystopia Isn’t Fiction Anymore

Kaye Bohémier

Annette Klause

Inanna Arthen

Andrea Hairston

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?

 

+Women in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Andrea Hairston

Rebecca Schwartz

Sick of the airheads in chainmail bikinis? Come to this panel to discuss the way women are portrayed in science fiction and fantasy. (Both as clichés and the way you wish they were written.)

 

+Women in the Industry

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Andrea Hairston

Jennifer Allis Provost

Suzanne Lahna

Writers, editors, publicists, and many, many more. Come discuss the unique experience women and non-gender conforming individuals face as professional science fiction and fantasy creators.

 

+Writing Believable Fight Scenes

Phoenix Swords

CHEMAS Group

Trisha Wooldridge

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.

 

+Young Adult Fiction

Tamora Pierce

Annette Klause

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!

 

+Zinegames

Ellie Hillis

Barak Blackburn

The paradigm for tabletop roleplaying games used to be three hardcover books, in 6 point font, with multiple supplements. Now, games are often just one book. Zinegames take this one step beyond, and present tightly crafted games, with unified mechanics and compelling, often urgent settings. Designed to be read and played in a short time, but not at all lacking for long-term play possibilities. Zinegames, designed for people who love to play games, but don’t have time to read multiple tomes.