My Arisia 2017 schedule

I was at the very first Arisia convention in Boston way back when it started in the 80s, and started being a guest in the 90s. I haven’t attended in a few years for various reasons (such as attending my wife’s Niche Award ceremonies for art, where she won!), and it will be nice to get back to Boston, where we lived for a dozen years or so and made many friends.

Unfortunately, Arisia only scheduled me for three panels, only one of which is about writing. The other two are about animated films, which apply to me from my days as founder and editor of Animato! magazine.  They refused to allow me to do my normal “Eye of Argon” panel because it may be seen as insulting to the dead guy who wrote it. Go figure.

The convention is from January 13 – 16th.


I’ll spend the convention more as a vacation, visiting friends and having a good time, instead of as a programming guest like I usually do (especially since it is a three day convention). I’d like to tell you who they are but the Arisia web page doesn’t list any of us, apparently. We must not be very important.

In any event, if you are going to be there, be sure to say hi! Here’s where you can be sure to find me:

Moana (Sunday 10 am): Disney’s Moana, their latest release, is a huge hit. We’ll discuss what we loved and didn’t love about The Rock’s first major role anchoring a Disney animated flick, as well as their handling of native Hawaiian mythology (and casting), and the use of music by Tony Winner Lin-Manual Miranda. With panelists Hanna Lee Rubin Abramowitz, Konner Jebb, Kate Nepveu, Barbara M Pugliese. I’m the moderator of this one.

Movie Year in Review (Sunday 2:30): Our annual look back at the year in SF, horror, and fantasy film. Our panel of experts will cover every theatrical release of 2015. Find out which ones are worth catching up with. Note: Time for audience participation is reserved for the end of our panel’s high speed review. With panelists Bob Chipman, Deirdre Crimmins, Garen Daly, and me, with moderator Daniel M Kimmel.

Writing a Worthy Adversary (Sunday 8:30): Nothing brings a story to life like a worthy antagonist, but how do you figure out the yang for your protagonist’s yin? What is your villain’s backstory? What are some of the ways they can twist, torment, and temper your main character? And how can a good antagonist act as your protagonist’s mirror? Boo! Hiss! Come learn how to write bad guys your audience will love to hate. With panelists Michael Bailey, D. L. Carter, Alexander Danner, and Leigh Perry. I am moderating this one as well.

My Arisia 2012 Schedule

One of my favorite conventions is Arisia in Boston, which this year will be on the weekend of January 13th. I’ve attended almost every one since the first (which was when I still lived in Boston back in the 80s). The Guest of Honor this year is Phil Foglio who does the Hugo-award winning comic Girl Genius. If you’re not reading this, you’re missing out on a great story with great art. Anyway, I met Phil at the first Arisia and bought one of his original works that still hangs on my wall today! I’m so glad he has been so successful.

Anyway, this year Arisia is keeping me busy as usual! Here’s my schedule.

The Eye of Argon (Friday midnight): The worst science fiction story ever written gets a reading by our brave panel as they compete to go the longest without tripping over a misspelled word or laughing uncontrollably. Audience members are also encouraged to take a chance. Can you keep a straight face, especially when the panel begins acting out the story? With Susan de Guardiola, Daniel Kimmel, and Hildy Silverman. (This is one of my favorite panels, ever since we started acting this out about a year ago. I’m in charge of this panel and I think I have assembled a great group for it. See pictures from previous ones on my Facebook page!)

Harry Potter in the Future (Saturday 10:00 AM): We experienced Harry Potter as a series of books where we eagerly anticipated the release of each one, and then saw them come to life in series of vivid movies. Will future fans encounter them the same way? How will seeing the movies first affect future fans when they encounter the books? Or will the movies come to replace the books as the “Harry Potter experience”? Did the eight films do the seven books justice? With James Hinsey, Cecilia Tan, Frances K. Selkirk, and Cynthia A Shettle-Meleedy.

Character Building (Saturday 11:30 AM): Making memorable characters that resonate with the reader and fit perfectly for the story is an art. How do you find the core of a character — their traits, habits, and attitudes–and show them effectively to your audience? Our panelists discuss various methods of getting to know your character in the course of your writing. With Toni L.P. Kelner, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Carolyn Van Eseltine, Resa Nelson. (I’m moderating this panel, so I’m already working on questions for the panel to discuss.)

Science in Politics (Saturday 2:30 PM): How are science and scientific advances used in the political arena? How do large-scale, long-term projects like the mission to the Moon get approved? Are technological achievements hampered by the political process? Do science and politics always have to be at odds with one another? With Stephen R Balzac, John Costello, A. Joseph Ross, and Ian Randal Strock.

Why You Should/Should Not Self-Publish (Sunday 11:30 AM): The good news is that anyone can self-publish. The bad news is, well, just that. There’s a lot of stigma associated with self-publishing, even more so than small-press publishing. Why? What can authors who wish to self-publish do to avoid this? When should you consider being your own publisher versus letting someone else publish your work? With Susan Soares, Gordon Linzner, Don Sakers, and Ian Randal Strock. (Another one that I am moderating!)

Point of View (Sunday 1:00 PM): The use of different points of view can reveal or obscure elements of your story from the audience. Do certain points of view only work with certain types of stories? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each form? With Elaine Isaak, Victoria Janssen, Joshua Palmatier and David Sklar.

Harry Potter: The Films (Sunday 4:00 PM): With the release of the final Deathly Hallows film last year, we seem to have reached the end of an era. Wipe your tears and swallow back your sobs, for now we discuss the transformation of the beloved books into the box office-dominating film series. Is this truly the end? With Melissa Gavazzi, James Hinsey, and Resa Nelson. (Hmm, I just noticed that I’m moderator for this group too, so maybe I should start preparing!)

Making Politics Work in Fiction (Sunday 7:00 PM): Real world political narratives are filled with cultural revolutions, passionate speeches about social change, war, and intricate, Machievellian plots. How can you portray them convincingly in your story? From noble houses in fantasy worlds to galaxy-spanning empires in SF, how do you make them believable and engaging without burying your reader in the intricacies of your setting’s political theory? With Leah Cypess, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Kenneth Schneyer, and Phoebe Wray.

If you’ll be at Arisia, be sure to say hi!

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