Yo, WorldCon, We’re Here!

WorldCon is here, y’all! And we have Robots for dayyyzzzz. Below you’ll find a list of authors who will be attending the convention and taking part in panels, signings, runnings(?) and various other fun and friendly things. As always, our lovely lot will be happy to chat to anyone who wishes to talk – some will even escort you places – so please do say hi if you see them! As well as these fine authors, Eric Scott Fischl (Dr Potter’s Medicine Show) and Patrick S Tomlinson (The Ark), Lauren C Teffeau (Implanted), Amber Royer (Free Chocolate), and TJ Berry (Space Unicorn Blues) will be around to join in all the fun. We hope you all have a lovely convention and remember, buy all the books!

The Author, Alex WellsAlex Acks (Wells) – Hunger Makes the Wolf

Sunday 12 noon 210F The School of FanFic Many professional writers get their start reading and writing fanfiction! Join authors as they discuss their history in fanfic, what lessons they learned from writing it, and how they carried those skills over into their own paid work.

Angry Robot author Joseph BrasseyJoseph Brassey – Skyfarer

Thursday 2 PM 210B Writing About Fighting Join four writers and a fighter for tips on how to put the punch in your fight scenes. From traditional martial arts to the combat styles of the future, a well-crafted fight reveals character, advances plot, and just plain entertains. We’ll talk about key elements to include, what to leave to the reader’s imagination, and how to make it convincing even if you’ve never hit a heavy bag or handled a weapon.

AR Author Amanda BridgemanAmanda Bridgeman – The Subjugate

Friday 11 AM 211C Successfully Negotiating Book Contracts A publisher’s interest and an author’s are not always in perfect alignment. Enter the contract. Each clause in the contract exists for a reason. Which ones protect an author’s interest and which ones benefit the publisher? How do you ask for changes? What are the rights an author should be prepared to give up and which ones should you fight tooth and nail for. Hear from agents and other industry experts on how to survive your book contract negotiation with your skin, and your rights, intact. Sunday 2 PM 201E The Paths to Publishing The publishing market continues to evolve with new technology, new business models, and an ever-changing ecosystem of publishers, booksellers, and distributors. Professional writers looking to profit from their work have more choices than ever. How do you choose between pursuing an indie career or a traditional one? What are the benefits to working with a larger publisher? What are the opportunities available if you do it all yourself? Panelists will discuss the paths to publishing success, how to decide between the options, and the factors that go into making the decision. (With Wesley Chu)

Angry Robot author Wesley ChuWesley Chu – The Tao Series

Friday 1 PM 210F Playing in Other Sandboxes: Media Tie-In Writing The media tie-in. Once, the dirty secret of the spec fic market — now the best way to get exposure for your name. Movies, TV, Video Games, RPGs and even other books. How does an author find the room to move in an often already crowded world? Dancing with license holders, tiptoeing around cannon, and waltzing with readers expectations; is it worth it? And why the sudden upsurge in tie-in short fiction? Saturday 2PM Autographing 5:30 PM 211A Reading Sunday 12 noon 211B Kaffeeklatsch 1 PM 210E The Lost Warriors In the last few years, representation of marginalized cultures in pop culture, comics and video games has been growing, but it is still not enough. We’ve seen medieval knights thousands of times, but what about the feathered warriors of Mexico or other cultures around the world? We need all kinds of warriors in our media, and to continue to fight for their space, we should look at what projects are presenting these new warriors. What are our favorite “examples”? How can we inspire others? Where are these new warriors and how can we make sure they sit at the table and stay. Sunday 2 PM 201E The Paths to Publishing The publishing market continues to evolve with new technology, new business models, and an ever-changing ecosystem of publishers, booksellers, and distributors. Professional writers looking to profit from their work have more choices than ever. How do you choose between pursuing an indie career or a traditional one? What are the benefits to working with a larger publisher? What are the opportunities available if you do it all yourself? Panelists will discuss the paths to publishing success, how to decide between the options, and the factors that go into making the decision. (With Amanda Bridgeman)

Megan E O’Keefe – Steal the Sky

Thursday 4 PM 211C How Gaming is Important to Fandom Despite being an intersection of innovative storytelling formats, fantastic visual artistry, audio dramas, and community interaction, gaming’s place in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror is often overlooked. How do card, board, video, and other games continue to influence the way genre stories are told? And now with the advent of podcasting, how has fandom responded to the distributed performance of these games? Friday 11 AM Autographing

Angry Robot author Sean GrigsbySean Grigsby – Daughters of Forgotten Light

Thursday 2 PM 210C From Dystopia to Utopia and Back Again Does a period’s historical trends influence the dystopic or utopic themes of writers, and the desires of readers? And why have dystopias seemed more popular generally? A look at both the history of SF/F dystopias and utopias, and the future of new works influenced by our present shifts in history. Friday 1 PM 211C Un-pulping the Pulp Heroes Doc Savage. The Shadow. G8. Tarzan. The hero pulps are full of characters immersed in fast-paced action, but they sometimes come across as problematic or naive to modern readers. It can be uncomfortable to recognize the sexism or racism of their day. And yet, there are still things that we love about pulps. How have pulp heroes influenced contemporary SF writers (in surprising and strange ways)? How are writers currently reinventing and subverting pulps?

Angry Robot author Alyc HelmsAlyc Helms – The Dragons of Heaven

Sunday 4 PM 210DH The Future of Urban Fantasy Urban Fantasy has already changed the landscape of speculative fiction, and continues to rapidly evolve in the worlds of both traditional and independent publishing. In this panel, experts on Urban Fantasy explore the current state of the genre, as well as Urban Fantasy’s potential to shape the industry in the future.

Foz Meadows – An Accident of Stars

(Nominated for a Hugo for Best Fan Writer and as part of Best Semi-Pro Zine)
Friday 10 AM 210C Original Characters: Putting the ‘Fan’ in Fantasy They say sharing is caring – and it’s no accident that many of the most successful story-worlds are those big enough for fans to make their own Jedi, benders, wizards, and ponies. What makes a universe ‘fan-friendly’, and what can and can’t you do with original characters? 1 PM 212D Beyond Nuclear: Queer Families in SFF Building a family is a lot like building a story — and in queer writing communities, we do a lot of both. Join our panelists for a discussion of the intersections of family, storytelling, and queer identity. 6 PM 211D Breaking Out of the Margins How do we get past the pernicious assumption that privileged creators can tread where they please, but marginalized creators need to stay in their lane? On this panel, marginalized creators discuss how identity informs creative output, even in stories that aren’t focused on identity issues. 7 PM 211A Reading: Hugo Finalist Booksmugglers BookSmugglers is one of the finalists for the Hugo for semi-prozine. Come hear some of the voices of BookSmugglers read. Saturday 5 PM 210DH Author vs Fan Ownership How much do readers “own” the books they read? Writing is a private art intended for public display. Once the story is out of the writer’s hands, it can take on a life of its own–inspiring fandoms, fantheories, and fan interpretations that can vary widely from the author’s. How much do the fans own the work? Can you (and should you) divorce the writer from their fiction? What is the writer’s role in participating via social media in debunking or encouraging fan theories? Can the author be “wrong” about their own work? Our panel of authors and expert fans discuss the various and increasingly complex interactions between work, author, and reader. Sunday 2 PM 211C What Does a Nontoxic Masculinity Look Like? “Toxic masculinity” is one phrase for cultural norms of masculine identity and behavior that may be harmful to people of all genders and to the larger fabric of society. But if “precarious masculinity” has been the norm, what are the alternatives? Panelist discuss non-toxic, stable, positive masculinity and offer suggestions about how it manifests and who is modeling it. 4 PM 210F Recommended Reading in Webcomics Webcomics are arguably a different sequential art form, with different ways of reading, and different topics and themes. And they’re really popular. The panel recommends some of their favorite webcomics, as well as watering holes, so to speak, where you can browse through webcomics on your own while you’re on your morning commute. Check it out!

Jeannette Ng – Under the Pendulum Sun

(Nominated for the John W Campbell Award)
Thursday 3 PM 211C Unearthing Hidden Analog Indie Games There’s a whole world out there of independent analog games, including tabletop RPGs, larps, and board and card games, that is largely invisible to mainstream gamers. Some qualities that are common in these games–such as a focus on storytelling over mechanics, tight-knit creative communities, and inventive production modalities–have allowed for the creation of radically inclusive game experiences, including inspiring LGBT+ designers to create tremendously exciting art that is relevant to their own and other queer lives. Join this panel of queer game designers and players as they discuss some of their favorite queer analog games and how you can play them at home. Friday 1 PM 210C New Ancestral Myths Writers, artists, and editors present and discuss recent works which combine characters from ancient myths with modern themes, situations and aesthetic trends in order to create stories about today’s concerns with mythical resonance. What do they actually say about ourselves in the current moment? Saturday 3 PM 211A Reading: The Campbell Finalists Listen to some of this year’s Campbell finalists as they share their work. 5 PM 210A Fantasy Aliens We often think of aliens as science fictional beings–extraterrestrials–but there is also a rich tradition of crossover between fantasy and science fiction. Lovecraft gave us alien-like monsters in his fantasy stories, while Anne McCaffrey gave us fantastical dragons in her science fiction. As our stories and storytelling methods evolve, how is the crossover potential of science fiction and fantasy evolving with it? Our panelists will explore the many ways aliens can be fantastical and fantasy can feel alien in books, games, and beyond. Sunday 11 AM 210F We Dressed Those Girls: Subverting Tropes or Reinforcing the Status Quo When Zack “let’s subvert the trope of Hollywood objectifying women by objectifying women” Snyder directed the film Sucker Punch, he explained why the film focused on scantily clad young women imprisoned in a brothel from which they occasionally escape with monster weaponry to kill people and explode things. “I didn’t dress those girls in the costume. The audience dressed those girls,” he opined. “They start out as cliches of feminine sexuality as made physical by what culture creates.”In this panel we ask: Who is responsible for what culture creates? How difficult is it to actually subvert tropes, and how often do attempts to subvert tropes turn into reinforcements of the status quo? When as creators and audience are we sabotaged by our unexamined pre-sets, and how do we dig out from under them? Finally, under what circumstances can a narrative choice that may seem trivial or status quo become the biggest trope subverter of all? 12 noon 212D Historical Costuming What makes a costume historically accurate, and how important is it to get every detail right? What are the best resources for learning about fashion through the centuries? Panelists discuss what draws them to this genre of costuming, and their favorite resources for costumers.

Carrie Patel – The Recoletta Series

Friday 3 PM Autographs Sunday 11 AM 210A Small Stories for Big Audiences: Subplots in Contemporary Gaming What are your favorite side-quests and subplots in video games? How do they add to, comment on, and contrast with the metaplot of a game? How do game writers design and implement these small stories in “big” games? Join a panel of professional game developers to discuss the building blocks of epic narratives. 3 PM 210C Surviving the Review: A Guide Your work is out there, and here come the reviews! What should writers know about reviews and how to handle them? Does the high of validation or the anxiety of public criticism ever go away? Let’s hear from a range of perspectives on how to deal with these feels.

Adam Rakunas – Windswept

– Adam will be around on Friday in a pink shirt, to befriend and escort anyone who would like some company past protesters. More info here. Friday 8 AM Lower Level Plaza Wrun with Writers Strolling with the Stars is a Worldcon tradition. But what about those of us who want something a little faster? A little sweatier? A little runnier? Join authors Mur Lafferty and Adam Rakunas as they lead you on a 2-3 mile no-drop run/walk/skip/wheel around Downtown San Jose. Everyone is welcome, no one gets left behind, and all participants will get an exclusive ribbon and bragging rights. Sunday 3:30 PM 211A Reading NB: All times correct at time of publishing. Please check your Grenadine program guide for up-to-date info! The conference code is WC76.

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