Being on panels at the Baltimore Book Festival was so fun that I started browsing around for other places that’d let me pontificate from behind a microphone. My fellow Baltimore-area SF writer Sarah Pinsker tipped me off to a lil convention called DarkoverCon that is taking place in Timonium, MD (a bit north of Baltimore) this weekend. Thus, this weekend will mark my first time panelling at a real SF convention. I’m not really sure how it’s going to go down. I’ve sometimes felt quite lonely at SF cons: sometimes it feels like everyone at a con already knows everyone else, and you’re just this stranger who’s wandering through its outskirts.
But I’m hoping that my relationship to the convention circuit will be similar to my relationship to the Stanford Daily. For years, in college, I was a peripheral part of the student newspaper. And the main benefit of this peripheral involvement was an invitation to the Daily’s annual banquet: an all you can eat, all you can drink extravaganza. I went to seven banquets in all, and I think that at least the first five were excruciating. I didn’t know anyone. Everyone else was exchanging injokes and I was just staring at my enchilada. I’d get too drunk and then slink away at 11 o’clock.
But my last two were amazing! I realized, “Holy shit, I know alllll these people. And they know me! And it’s wonderful to get this chance to hang out with them for a night.” Also, I won some awards (all our awards were joke awards, but at least they were real markers of esteem =) . I realized that putting in all those terrible banquets was just a necessary part of the process. Well, I’ve already had a few terrible, lonely conventions, but the last few have been significantly better, and I expect that someday I’ll hop over that threshold and start to really feel like one of the crowd.
I really have no idea what to expect from this one. I don’t know too many of the attendees (i.e. you should come!), but at least this time I’ll have the panels to add a little structure to my weekend. I’m attending on Saturday and Sunday and I’m on quite a few panels. My schedule is:
- NOON Getting Into The Zone. Ideas are usually plentiful – it is the sitting down and actually writing which is the hard part. Here are some of the techniques to get yourself to actually write. Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Margaret Carter, Rahul Kanakia, Tim Liebe, D. H. Aire, Mod.
- 3PM Non-medieval European fantasy. All fantasy doesn’t have to based on the European middle ages. Our authors talk about other sources, and other writers who have done so. Katherine Kurtz, Michelle D. Sonnier, Tamora Pierce, Sarah Pinsker, Diana Bastine, Mod.
- 7PM Alien Romance. What will happen to love and marriage, when there are intelligent non-humans around? Will politicians try to pass Defense of Human Marriage Laws? What form will romance take? Margaret Carter, Rahul Kanakia, Heather Rose Jones, Sarah Pinsker, Carl Cipra, Mod
- 10 AM – Reading Rahul Kanakia (this is going to be soooo sparsely attended….)
- 11AM Why a Non-Human? What are the advantages and problems of writing from the point of view of a non-human being – an alien, vampire, demon, werewolf, elf, God/Goddess, etc. Margaret L. Carter, C.S. Friedman, Rahul Kanakia, Scott MacMillan, Michelle D. Sonnier, Day Al-Mohamed, Mod.
- NOON LGBT: Have the Lines Blurred? Is it still a separate genre or has it become more mainstream? Are characters’ gender choices still important? Rahul Kanakia, Nalo Hopkinson, Sarah Pinsker, Warren Rochelle, Melissa Scott, Carl Cipra. Mod
- 2PM Questions and Answers – All authors. Come and ask questions of your favorite authors who are here this year. Jennifer Heise, Mod
(Yes, I am going to be on a panel with Tamora Pierce. That’s the kind of insane stuff that can happen in the SF world).