Thursday, July 7
8 p.m. Bees!
Erik Amundsen, Max Gladstone, Natalie Luhrs, Julia Rios (moderator), T.X. Watson.
From the serious scientific question of colony collapse disorder, through the also-serious metaphoric House of Evil Bees of Captain Awkward, to Chuck Wendig's ridiculous #facebees, bees seem to proliferate among the interests of our genre community. Why? Are we in it for the honey or the sting, or is it the combination that attracts us?
Friday, July 8
3 p.m. Fantastical Dystopia
Victoria Janssen, Ada Palmer, Andrea Phillips, Sabrina Vourvoulias, T.X. Watson.
Dystopia is popular in YA fiction for a variety of reasons, but why do authors frequently base their future dystopian society on some flimsy ideas, rather than using history to draw parallels between past atrocities and current human rights violations? Is it easier to work from one extreme idea, such as "love is now considered a disease" rather than looking at the complexities of, for example, the corruption of the U.S.S.R or the imperialism of the US? If science fiction uses the future to look at the present, is it more or less effective when using real examples from the past to look at our present through a lens of the future?
8 p.m. The Horror Novels of Terry Pratchett
Don D'Ammassa, Jim Freund (leader), Lila Garrott, Chris Gerwel, T.X. Watson.
Laughter is surprisingly proximate to terror. Lurking beneath the humor of Discworld is some extremely effective horror, including the consumerist nightmares of Reaper Man, the eldritch creepiness in Moving Pictures, and the unnerving elves in Lords and Ladies. Whistling is always better when you're walking past a graveyard—isn't it?
Saturday, July 9
Sunday, July 10
2 p.m. SFFF: Science Fiction and Fantasy Fashion
Lila Garrott, Liz Gorinsky (leader), Kathleen Jennings, Julia Starkey, T.X. Watson.
Let's talk about future fashion. According to Carrie Fisher in her memoir Wishful Drinking, George Lucas told her that there were no bras in space, so she wasn't allowed to wear a bra in the first Star Wars movie. He explained to her in 2012 that in space, skin expands, but a bra doesn't, so a person would be strangled by their bra. Setting aside all of the other questions this raises, what scientific and future technological oddities could end up affecting the way we dress? Many designers and writers over the years have tackled this question with clothing to protect from increased UV rays and Star Trek uniforms that include personal climate control. Do we think that future clothing will be purely functional jumpsuits, or will new technologies provide new sartorial delights and abominations? Do our aliens dress like humans or eschew clothing entirely? In fantasy, does historical accuracy matter, and does boob armor really ruin a story?