My Philcon 2018 Schedule

I’m looking forward to the Philcon science fiction convention the weekend of November 10th. It’s Philadelphia’s oldest literary convention. It’s in New Jersey.  (Look, it was cheaper, okay?)philcon_logo

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. Guest of Honor this year is Steven Brust! (You can read my interview with him from a few years ago here). This year’s event will be on the weekend of November 16 – 18.


Here’s my schedule:

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT: 30TH ANNIVERSARY (Sat 12:00) [Panelists: Rebecca Robare (mod), Michael A. Ventrella, Daniel Kimmel, Ray Ridenour]  Join us as we remember the film that broke all the rules and set the benchmark for future movies. What made it so groundbreaking? Does it still hold up today?

RECIPES FOR CHARACTER CREATION (Sat 1:00) [Panelists: Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Steven Brust, Alan P. Smale, Philippa Ballantine, Michael A. Ventrella] How do you design characters that your audience will find not only three-dimensional, but memorable? What will adding a dash of this or that personality trait do to your audience’s opinion of them?

READING (Sat 5:00) [Panelists: Tom Purdom (mod), Michael A. Ventrella, Leigh Grossman] We’ll each be reading from our recent works.

AUTOGRAPHS (Sat 6:00) [Panelists: Leigh Grossman (mod), Michael A. Ventrella] … and then two of us will be signing anything you want signed.

SCIENCE FICTION AND THE MEN IN BLACK (Sun 10:00) [Panelists: Michael A. Ventrella (mod), Michael D’Ambrosio, Mark Singer, Martin Berman-Gorvine, Kevin Patterson] A discussion of conspiracy theories, secret societies, and themes of cover-ups / the creation of a false consciousness by shadowy organizations in science fiction. Should we be concerned about how paranoid society seems to be getting? Or is it all just a government ploy?…

SCIENCE FICTION AS SOCIAL EDUCATION (Sun 12:00) [Panelists: Rebecca Robare (mod), Dr. Valerie J. Mikles, Simone Zelitch, Phil Giunta, Michael A. Ventrella, Anastasia Klimchynskaya] How can science fiction help us become more socially aware? What allows science fiction to address social issues in unique ways not found in other forms of literature, and how can we meaningfully use it to better our society?

My 2015 Philcon Schedule

I’m looking forward to the Philcon science fiction convention the weekend of November 20th. It’s Philadelphia’s oldest literary convention. It’s in New Jersey.  (Look, it was cheaper, okay?)philcon_logo

The Guest of Honor is author Wen Spencer, and other guests include Danielle Ackley-McPhail,Keith R.A. DeCandidoGregory FrostGail Z. Martin, Jon McGoranMike McPhail, Bernie Mojzes, Christine NorrisPeter PrellwitzLawrence M. Schoen, Alex Shvartsman, Hildy SilvermanAlyce Wilson, and many more people that I have yet to interview on this blog!

You can see why I always enjoy Philcon — I get to see so many of my friends again.

I’m also looking forward to interviewing American Atheist President David Silverman concerning his new book.

Here’s where you can find me:

The Eye of Argon (Friday 11 pm): 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 Gail Martin, Peter Prellwitz, and Robert Zygala

The Dreaded Infodump (Saturday noon): SF requires special techniques of exposition. How do you get across backgrounds and ideas without boring your readers? With D.L. Carter, Vikki Ciaffone, Gregory Frost, Jon McGoran, and Jim Stratton

Writing Morally Ambiguous Characters (Saturday 1:00 pm): How do we make them sympathetic to the reader? Do they need to be sympathetic to engage your audience? How far can you push the limit before you create a psychopath? Or shouldn’t we create psychopaths?  With Ken Altabef, Siobhan Carroll, Russ Colchamiro, Bernie Mojzes, and Meredith Schwartz

Writing in Shared Universes (Saturday 4:00 pm): How do you handle building story arcs and developing characters when you’re not solely in charge of a world? What changes when you’re working with others at a professional level? With Keith R.A. DeCandido, Catt Kingsgrave, Dina Leacock, Mike McPhail, and T. Patrick Snyder

“Fighting God” Launch Party (Saturday 5:00 pm): The release party for American Atheist President David Silverman’s book “Fighting God”!  David will be interviewed by Michael A. Ventrella and will discuss the place of atheism in America. Are atheists at a war with religion? What can be done to protect the rights of those who do not believe? Come and join in the celebration of the new book. With David Silverman

Reconciling Faith and Fantasy Writing (Sunday 10:00 am): What difficulties do you encounter writing a world whose system of belief does not match your own? How do you avoid unintentionally investing your stories with a message you don’t mean to? Is it possible to fully enjoy works that contain elements your scripture deems as anathema?  With D.H. Aire, Phil Giunta, Gail Z. Martin, Christie Meierz, and Steve Wilson

The Uses of Time Travel (Sunday 1:00 pm): Why do you want to travel into the past or future? Knowledge? Loot? Talking yourself out of bad decisions? Setting up the best prank ever? If given the opportunity would you, or wouldn’t you? With John Ashmead, Michael L. Brachman, JJ Brannon, Lawrence Kramer, and Lawrence M. Schoen 

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