My Philcon 2021 schedule


I’m ready to once again step out to a convention, but it’s because they’re requiring everyone to be vaccinated and wear a mask. It’s Philcon, Philadelphia’s oldest literary convention. It’s in New Jersey.  (Look, it was cheaper, okay?)

I’ve been a guest at Philcon for years, and it’s always great to go back there and see so many of my friends. This year’s event will be on the weekend of November 19-21. Pictures from previous Philcons are below!

Here’s my schedule:

Perils and Pitfalls of Near-Future Scenarios (Friday 6pm): The problem with writing near-future science fiction in our fast-moving time is that often the present overtakes the predictions. What are some cautionary tales, and how do authors deal with this sword of Damocles?  If the storytelling is good enough, will the present catching up to the imagined future matter to readers? With Ian Randal Strock, Jennifer Povey, Margaret Riley, and Joan Wendland

What’s So Funny? (Friday 7 pm): Many authors, including John Scalzi, T. Kingfisher and Rudy Rucker, have written humorous SF. Can a story combine humor and serious speculation? What are the pitfalls? With Randee Dawn, Dina Leacock, Chuck Rothman, and Hildy Silverman

Reading: Michael A. Ventrella (Saturday 12:30 pm): I’ll be reading from one of my books, with the attendees choosing which one

A Beginner’s Guide to Time Travel Paradoxes (Saturday 2 pm): You know not to remove a major historical figure, hand Thomas Edison a cell phone, or kill your grandfather. But is it even possible to travel into the past without changing anything?  So you go back to Chicago in 1920, and eat a hamburger in a diner. But, unbeknownst to you, that hamburger was destined to sit for six hours, spoil, and sicken someone else, who misses an important appointment, and… there goes the timestream. Would nature have a way of correcting this? With John Ashmead, Russell J. Handelman, and George W. Young

Reimagining Babylon 5 (Saturday 4 pm): Babylon 5’s creator J. Michael Straczynski has confirmed that he is writing the pilot for a reboot and will be the showrunner if it is given the green light.  Will his involvement be enough for fans to embrace the new show?  Which storylines from the original could use more time to be fully realized, and which should be allowed a graceful retirement?  Should the reboot be called Babylon 6, or Babylon 5.1? With Matt Black, Lawrence Kramer, Andre Lieven, and Jennifer Povey

From Gaming Into Fiction (Saturday 5 pm): Many current writers grew up playing role-playing games online and in person. Some writers are moving into fiction after writing for interactive games, and others are going back and forth. How are these two approaches influencing each other? How can an author successfully transform their work to succeed in another format? With Eric Avedissian, Stephanie Burke, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and Victoria Rogers

Masquerade  (Saturday 8 pm): The annual cosplay competition! I’ll be hosting the event, so I’m bringing my top hat.

Signing: Michael A. Ventrella (Sunday 11 am): Just in case you didn’t get a chance to see me at the convention otherwise, I’ll be at a table in the main hall where you can bug me.

Post-Colonial Steampunk (Sunday 1 pm): Steampunk’s original DNA is rife with Victorian Imperialism, but some authors are creating steampunk worlds that hint at decolonized alternate-history timelines, including  P. Djèlí Clark’s Master of Djinn, set in a technologically advanced and magically infiltrated Cairo; Nisi Shawl’s Everfair, where a multicultural group in Congo fights for freedom with steampunk innovations; and Maurice Broaddus’s Buffalo Soldier, set in Jamaica and a post-US America.  What other possibilities are available? With Stephanie Burke and Fran Wilde

And now… pictures from previous Philcons! (Click on a picture to enlarge)

One Response

  1. Hi Michael! I’ll be at Philcon this year, and I’ll hope to say hello. And while I don’t know either you or Heidi, I hope you’ll extend my best wishes to her for better health.


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