My Philcon 2017 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.

I’ve got a nice schedule and it seems that they have me moderating each of the panels except one. Here’s my schedule:

MEET THE PROS (Friday 9 pm): An informal gathering where guests can meet all the panelists, writers and artists.

EYE OF ARGON INTERACTIVE: CHAPTER FIVE (Friday 11 pm):  Since everyone is usually laughing too hard to get through reading what has been dubbed the worst piece of published SF of all time, we thought we’d start where we left off last year. We’ve got a roster of pros to get it started, but after that, audience participation is expected. With David M. Axler, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Ef Deal, Peter Prellwitz, and Hildy Silverman

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PROS (Saturday 10:00 am): More and more, social media has become valuable — even necessary — as a means of making oneself known to potential readers (and publishers), promoting your work, and engaging with fellow professionals. Which platforms work best for each of these aspects? What are some things you should be aware of before engaging with your fans in such a direct and potentially interminable way. With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Eric Avedissian, Russ Colchamiro, and Keith R.A. DeCandido

HARRY POTTER, TWENTY YEARS LATER (Saturday noon): How have the Potter books and movies held up over time? What are some of the plot problems we’ve seen since then? And what will the future hold? With Hakira D’Almah, Anna Kashina, and Christine Norris

HOW TO PLOT A STORY (Saturday 1:00 pm): You have a genre-busting world, a villain to make your skin crawl, and a sympathetic main character whose life you’re about to make very, very difficult.  But how?  When should the major conflict happen, and what happens on the way there?  Every story is different, but satisfying ones tend to follow some time-honored structures that can help you shape your story long before you draft your prose. With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Roberta Rogow, David Walton, and Steve Wilson

AUTOGRAPHS (Saturday 5:00 pm): In which I will be sitting with my books for anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to speak with me at other times.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 7 (Saturday 11:00 p.m.): So, what did you think of [redacted]? Or when [redacted] ran into [redacted] again? How about the deaths of [redacted] and [redacted]?! (Warning: panel will contain actual spoilers.) With Diane Kovalcin, Rock Robertson, and Jay Wile

 

 

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My 2016 Philcon Schedule

I’m looking forward to the Philcon science fiction convention the weekend of November 18th. 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. The Guest of Honor is C.J. Cherryh! Other guests include Philippa Ballentine, Keith DeCandido, Gregory Frost, Barry Longyear,  Lawrence Schoen, Tee Morris, and many more famous award-winning authors you’ve probably heard of (I didn’t want to list them all and take up the whole blog post).

Here’s my schedule:

Friday 11:00 PM: EYE OF ARGON INTERACTIVE: CHAPTER THREE [Panelists: Michael A. Ventrella (mod), Peter Prellwitz, Ian Randal Strock, Hildy Silverman, Bethlynne Prellwitz]: Since everyone is usually laughing too hard to get through reading what has been dubbed the worst piece of published SF of all time, we thought we’d start where we left off last year. We’ve got a roster of pros to get it going, but after that, audience participation is
expected.

Sat 5:00 PM: CAN INTERPLANETARY GOVERNMENTS ACTUALLY WORK? [Panelists: Michael A. Ventrella (moderator), Neil Clarke, James Beall, Ariel Cinii, Tom Purdom, John Skylar]: Empires, Federations, Alliances… there are many examples of various types of interplanetary, or interstellar, governments found in science fiction. But would any form of government actually work if it were extended between worlds, star systems, or even galaxies? We will examine how governing bodies might work over such long distances… or even if they can.

Sat 11:00 PM: WHOSE LINE IS IT, ANYWAY? [Panelists: Peter Prellwitz (mod), Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Tee Morris, Michael A. Ventrella]: Come watch and wince as our hammy authors attempt to act out terrible improvisational skits based on audience suggestions and a devious MC.

Sun 1:00 PM: IMAGINING AN ATHEIST REALITY [Panelists: John Grant (mod), Kathleen Bragg, Lawrence Kramer, David Silverman, Gordon Linzner, Michael A. Ventrella]: Is atheism just another belief system like any other religion, or do atheism and secular humanism stand in the unique position of being unbiased government and social worldviews, able to make decisions free from religious bias? And if the latter is the case, what other biases and difficulties might be experienced by a culture that doesn’t recognize the existence of anything that can’t be counted and codified?

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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