A First Look at my Immortal Confusion 2013 Schedule

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This month I’m going to Detroit, MI, for Immortal Confusion. It’s my first time at this con, and it sounds like it’s going to be a blast. Here’s what they have me scheduled for:

Saturday, January 19th:
10:00 a.m. – The End
What makes a satisfying conclusion? Do we wrap up all loose ends, or leave some plot threads deliciously unexplored in the hopes of returning to them in future volumes? Does the desire for sequels sometimes rob us of a more permanent and concrete end to a story? This panel explores how hard it is to finally lean back and write “the end.”

3:00 p.m. – Make Me Immortal
Why make a character immortal? Is this shorthand for power? Temptation? How does the addition of an unending life span change a character’s perspective – or that character’s function in a story? Can the addition of immortality rob a story of its immediacy and consequence, and how can that be avoided?

4:00 p.m. – Reading
I’ve been assigned this session along with Peter Orullian. Perhaps we’ll take turns reading. Perhaps we’ll each read the other’s work. Perhaps we will strip down to our unmentionables and wrassle (not to be confused with “wrestle”) to see who gets to use the entire time period for his reading.

5:00 PM – Mass Autograph Session
You bring the books, we’ll bring the pens, and then we rush at one another from opposite sides of the room and collide in a frenzy of signings! Or… maybe they’ll give the authors tables to sit at. Yeah, that could work too.

7:00 p.m. – Please Do The Research
Fantasy and Science Fiction both seem very easy to fake. After all, anything is possible, right. When spaceships warp across the galaxy at physics-defying speeds, or wizards transform glib warriors into puggles with the wave of a wand, little things like food, word origins, or animal husbandry can seem a little nit-picky. However, readers may not have transmogrified a foe into a dog, but a lot of people have ridden a horse. Taking the time to learn all there is to know about the realities of fantasy or science fiction often strengthens a story. It will also help avoid common problems that our panelists will discuss, with helpful examples.

8:00 p.m. – Pop Culture In SF/F
Fantasy has its urchins, sci-fi the dilettantes…but what about everyone else? When crafting a world either fantastic or futuristic, what do we imagine that the common folk would do for fun? What news or events would they discuss? Would they know what village produced the most heroes, or debate the thrust/weight ratio of government warships? Would there be a general popular culture in an imagined past? Could we avoid one in an imagined future? Does the addition of these elements do more than aid verisimilitude?

Sunday, January 20th:
4:00 p.m. – Fandom vs. Social Media
Geek culture has become somewhat ubiquitous these days, and with its ascendancy, some of our pastimes and obsessions have really gone mainstream. With that comes criticism – some valid, some less – and with critique an almost inevitable fandom backlash. Is it good that some of our favorite things have become too big to easily evaluate in a critical way? Does the legitimacy gained by the popularity of a Game of Thrones come at the price of being able to point out some of its flaws, and is this a worthwhile trade when considering the vitality of the genre?

At this point, I don’t know who my co-panelists are, but there are so many amazing authors coming to this convention that the possibilities are staggering. Oh yeah, I’m going to have a good time.

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