Archive: 8Pi-Con SUNDAY Panel and Event Descriptions

10:00 a.m.

Mythbusting for WritersAgawam

Vikki Ciaffone (M), Lisa Evans, Jennifer Allis Provost, Trisha J. Wooldridge

Exploding car crashes and busting out of buried caskets; horror movie effects and terrible police procedural sequences. Technobabble and comic book physics. Many writers try to write scenes from their favorite visual media, but readers have a different level of suspended belief than a movie-goer or someone watching television. A panel of editors share their favorite, or most common, “myths” they’ve busted for writers in hopes that future writers will not make the same mistakes in their manuscripts.

That Good Old-Fashioned Nuclear ApocalypseSuffield

Eric, Terry Franklin (M), Catt Kingsgrave, Kristi Petersen Schoonover

Back before zombie apocalypses were the latest end-of-the-world fashion, there was a time when the US and the USSR were on the verge of nuking each other into oblivion. This was reflected in Cold War movies like The Day After, Testament, and Threads that dealt with the direct horrors of nuclear war, as well as films in the Mad Max vein that dealt with post-nuclear wastelands. We’ll discuss classic nuclear holocaust movies, how they’ve held up, and what they say about their times.

Intro to SilkscreeningSpringfield

Sarah Morrison

Ever wanted to make your own t-shirts? Come learn the basics of silkscreening! This is partially a presentation (due to the lengthy dry-time involved in preparing a screen) with some hands-on parts (use some pre-prepared screens to print on provided paper, or bring your own t-shirt). Silkscreening is something you can learn to do at home without a fancy setup.

Falling Behind the J-CurveSomers

Ari Alpert, Grant Carrington, Justine Graykin (M), David Larochelle

Given the exponential acceleration of technological advances, it becomes more and more difficult for those of us who are older and have less brain plasticity to keep up. Often it becomes a choice of which innovation to invest the effort of learning. What’s a geezer to do?


11:00 a.m.

Building Better GodsAgawam

Vikki Ciaffone, George W. Claxton (M), Justine Graykin

Religion is an important part of life on Earth, why would it be any less so on a fantasy world, or some far distant planet? Explore with us how to build the best belief system for the culture you are creating and discuss what happens when you live in a world where the Gods actually show up. In general, the Gods aren’t your friends, you are their playthings.

Science Theme Filk CircleEllington

Dave Weingart

Bellydancing for NerdsMain Tent

Jennifer Pelland

Come learn some basic bellydance moves from a white and nerdy fangirl. All you need are comfortable clothes and a willingness to move. Everyone in the room will be expected to dance—no spectators allowed! Don’t worry about your creaky knees or bum hip. So long as you have one or two working body parts, you can be taught how to move them.

So You Want to Write a SeriesSomers

M. L. Brennan, Susan Hanniford Crowley, Allen Steele, Morven Westfield (M)

For writers who have written series of two or more books. How do you decide your plot and character arcs for each book? For the whole series? Trilogy or longer? How do you keep track of details? How do you bring new readers up-to-date, or do you put the onus on them to read the earlier books? Are series still being done the same way, or are there new trends in writing and publishing series?

Editor Pitch SessionsSuffield

Kate Kaynak/Spencer Hill Press

ADVANCE SIGNUP REQUIRED. Editors from Spencer Hill Press will meet with writers who want to polish their “pitch” and get some tips on how to present themselves professionally and sell their work. Because of space limitations, you must sign up at the One Desk (no extra charge!) before the session.


12:00 p.m.

Research is Your FriendAgawam

M. L. Brennan, Grant Carrington, George W. Claxton (M), Eric, Jennifer Allis Provost

OK, librarians can be hot, but that’s not the only reason we love them. If you are going to write about a particular historical period, you need to know something about it. If you are going to set your characters in the Yoruba Empire, or a Jewish enclave in Poland, you need to know about those places and their cultures. Do your research.

CONCERT: TWO FIFTHSMain Tent

Fiction has no Place in Our CurriculumSomers

Justine Graykin, Ken Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Kristi Petersen Schoonover (M)

The new educational Common Core standards marginalize fiction in favor of non-fiction. What effect is that going to have on the imagination and inspiration of students? Hasn’t SF been traditionally marginalized? Now all of fiction is getting pushed aside.

Telling Science from Nons(ci)enseSuffield

Ari Alpert, Carl Fink, Terry Franklin (M)

You hear on the interwebs that a new vaccine can prevent cancer. You also hear that vaccines cause cancer. If you aren’t an expert in medicine, how can you tell which one is the real science?


1:00 p.m.

Blue Collar SFAgawam

Grant Carrington, Vikki Ciaffone, Catt Kingsgrave (M), Allen Steele

At one time science fiction was comfortable with blue-collar heroes. Now everyone’s got a doctorate and a title of nobility to boot. What happened? Is the real world to blame—real astronauts are amazingly credentialed—or is it the increasingly educated and wealthy SF readership?

The Last Two Years in SF/Fantasy MoviesSomers

Lisa Evans, Misty Pendragon (M), Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert

Since 7Pi-Con in 2012, we’ve had Gravity, The Hobbit (parts 1 and 2), Ender’s Game, Her, I, Frankenstein, Vampire Academy, Byzantium, RoboCop, Winter’s Tale, Divergent, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor:The Dark World, Transcendence, Amazing Spider Man (1 and 2), Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow, and Oz The Great and Powerful—just for a representative sampling. What do these films say about our current tastes in SF/F, and where are we going from here?

Kickstarter and Other Microfunding ProgramsSuffield

David Larochelle, Jennifer Allis Provost, Morven Westfield (M)

Writers, artists, and musicians are using crowdfunding for their projects. People with experience with this booming trend this tell us how it’s done, what does and doesn’t work, and what they’d do differently.


2:00 p.m.

Uncle Abdul’s Planet EmporiumSomers

M. L. Brennan (M), Vikki Ciaffone, Roberta Rogow

How to create rational, believable worlds and cultures (and why entire planets are not likely to have the same culture). How to make sensible geography. How to make unusual planets work.

Super Physics: Supersymmetry and MoreSuffield

Ed Bishop

Everyday physics is at the scale of our senses, but with modern scientific instruments we can look much farther, and what has been found is very different from familiar experience. Join Physicist Ed Bishop in examining the extreme theoretical world of “Super Physics,” where quantum mechanics and general relativity meet and theories like Supersymmetry, Supergravity and Superstrings are explained and examined, including discussion of ongoing experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, as well as space-based and underground particle physics observatories and what they might find.


3:00 p.m.

Feedback SessionMain Tent

8Pi-Con Staff

Come and tell us what worked, what didn’t, and what you’d love to see at 9Pi-Con next year.