by Leigh Perry / Toni L.P. Kelner
Though all of the Femmes are known as mystery writers, several of us dabble in other genres, which means we might show up at conventions other that venerable mystery gatherings like Malice Domestic and Bouchercon. The weekend after next, Femmes Dana and I will both be attending Boskone, one of the longest running science fiction and fantasy conventions. Femme-in-law Stephen Kelner--meaning my husband Steve--will be there, too. And we're all going to be participating in panels, readings, discussions, interviews, kaffeeklatsches, and signings. And shenanigans.
There's still time to register if you're interested, and just to lure you in, here's what the three of us will be up to at the con. Boston in February--could you ask for better weather? I mean, we've only been snowed into the convention once that I know of. For an extra bonus, the Friday afternoon panels from 2 to 6 PM are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! That includes panels from all three of us, and my reading.
Speaking of my reading... For the first time ever, I'm going to be reading from the first part of the forthcoming Family Skeleton book, The Skeleton Paints a Picture.
So here's where and when we'll be all weekend! Except the shenanigans won't be scheduled. They tend to be spontaneous.
4 PM - FREE TO PUBLIC
Temperament and the Writer - Leigh
How can a writer cope with the ups and downs of the writing biz? We thought about using the following title and description, but not all writers are miserable depressives! [NOTE: Presented as a public service by Boskone. Listen to us, we beg you! Writing is long lonely hours of cruel labor and dismal self-doubt, plus humiliation (publishers) and indifference (the public). Our experts will share their most horrifying stories of the degradation and despair of every writer’s life. If you’re smart you won’t even show up. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.]
Panelists: Leigh Perry, Esther Friesner, Richard Shealy, Ian Randal Strock, Steve Davidson
4 PM - FREE TO PUBLIC
Panel: Using History in SF and Fantasy - Dana
From alternate history to vaguely familiar settings in a unique story world, history is a great resource for inspiration. What are some of the most creative uses of history in fiction? How much research is needed before writing and fleshing out the story? Panelists discuss examples of how history has enriched some of our favorite novels. But can sticking to history hobble your creative instincts? When should we deviate from historical truths and strike out into the creative unknown?
Panelists: Bradford Verter, Jo Walton, Mark L. Olson, Dana Cameron, Ada Palmer
5 PM - FREE TO PUBLIC
Panel: Star Trek: “The City on the Edge of Forever” - Steve
“The City on the Edge of Forever” is considered by many the best episode of the first Star Trek series. Does it deserve that reputation? Harlan Ellison’s original script was altered before production because the producers found it too expensive, too difficult to fit into their shooting schedule, and, though a “lovely story, ” just not a Star Trek tale. Its airing was followed by decades of public arguments between Ellison and showrunner Gene Roddenberry. Who was right?
Panelists: David G. Grubbs, Jeanne Beckwith, Alan F. Beck, Stephen P. Kelner Jr., Kenneth Schneyer
5 PM - FREE TO PUBLIC
Reading - Leigh
Leigh Perry reads from the forthcoming Family Skeleton mystery The Skeleton Paints a Picture.
Panel: How to Design a Game - Steve
Have you ever thought, “That would make a great game”? Our panel discusses what goes into making a game (video, mmorp, board, table, RPG, card … ) interesting, playable, fair, and fun. Possibly they’ll offer a lightning example of (the first steps in) game design.
Panelists: Carlos Hernandez, Stephen P. Kelner Jr., Brianna Spacekat Wu, Erin M. Hartshorn, James Moore
Special Guest Interview: Maryelizabeth Yturralde - Dana
Boskone’s Special Guest, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, joins us from a Mysterious Galaxy far, far away. From running a bookstore to helping to plan programming for Comic-Con International, M’e (as her friends call her) has been a part of the various forms of fandom for … well, let’s just say for a significant amount of time. Join author Dana Cameron and M’e for a lively discussion between old friends.
Panel: Bioethical Issues Raised by SF … and Real Life - Steve
Ongoing advances in biotechnology and biomedical research have delivered some important benefits, and promise more. But they’ve also brought ethical concerns, calls for moratoria, fresh regulation — and new moral dilemmas. There may or may not be something wrong with playing God: but are we playing blind? What might we unleash with stem cell research, modified viruses, bioengineered cures, self-replicating nanobots, cloning, and regrowth of organs or limbs?
Panelists: Stephen P. Kelner Jr., Priscilla Olson, Ken Altabef, Kristin Janz, JeffWarner
Panel: Remembering Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20 Years Later - Dana
“Becoming” Parts 1 and 2, “The Body,” “Once More With Feeling,” “Hush,” and “Graduation Day” are among the best-loved episodes of the series. Our panelists discuss the episodes they love the most, and why the show itself continues to be so memorable and rewatchable — 25 years after the movie, and 20 years after the TV show debuted.
Panelists: Christopher Golden, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Dana Cameron, Erin Underwood, Deirdre Crimmins
Panel: Skullduggery and Dastardly Deeds in Pulp Fiction - Leigh
Let’s talk about the unsavory side of fiction, and how writers deal with characters and conflicts that focus on underhand, unscrupulous, or dishonest behavior or activities — while 1) making the story feel realistic, 2) keeping the characters likable (when desired), and 3) walking the lines between genres without leaving a chosen genre behind. Why write the rogue?
Panelists: Brendan DuBois, Leigh Perry, Scott Lynch, Hillary Monahan, Melinda Snodgrass
Panel: Arrival and the Morality of Time - Steve
Arriving in late 2016, Arrival was instantly acclaimed as that rare Hollywood phenomenon, a thinking fan’s movie. Let’s discuss the issues that it presents — concerning language, determinism, and the moral dimension of the fourth dimension of time — as well as their (deeper?) treatment in the film’s source, Ted Chiang’s prizewinning 1998 novella “Story of Your Life.”
Panelists: Kenneth Schneyer, Daniel M. Kimmel, Stephen P. Kelner Jr., Rob Greene, Jeffrey A. Carver
Panel: Worldbuilding in Urban Fantasy - Leigh
An inconsistent or poorly described worldscape can furnish a confusing story, or challenge a reader’s ability to suspend disbelief, even when you’re dealing with a world that is “just like ours.” Is creating an urban fantasy world as simple as adding magic to a place like Chicago or New York City? Or is there more to it? Hear from writers who have created fully realized urban fantasy worlds that their readers can almost see, touch, and smell.
Panelists: Juliana Spink Mills, Leigh Perry, Margaret Ronald, Adam Stemple, Robert B. Finegold M.D.
Noir (Not) at the Bar Special Boskone Edition - Dana
Noir at the Bar comes to Boskone for a special afternoon of reading and fun with our noir, crime, mystery, and horror writers.
Participants: Chris Irvin, Errick Nunnally, Dana Cameron, Vincent O’Neil, James Moore, Melinda Snodgrass, Jack M. Haringa
Event: Flash Fiction Slam - Leigh & Dana
Boskone’s Flash Fiction Slam returns! Be one of 11 writers to compete for the title of The Flash, reading your own original fiction — which must tell a complete tale within a 3-minute period. Our expert panel of judges will score your work, and you automatically lose 10 percent for going over your 3-minute time. You may only read your own work. The reader with the top score wins! Sign up before the con for one of 8 reading slots on a first-come, first-served basis by signing up online before the convention. Or sign up onsite at Program Ops in the Galleria for one of 3 at-con openings. A waiting list will also be available.
Panel Judges: Rob Greene, James Patrick Kelly, Bruce Coville, Leigh Perry, Dana Cameron
Autographing - Leigh & Dana
Panel: Faith in Space - Steve
Humanity used to look to the skies and see God (or the gods, depending). Now, we look to the skies and see the future. As we find more Earth-like planets in habitable zones and space travel becomes not only possible but probable, what role will religion play? How might our Earth-based religions change as we launch ourselves into the heavens? What might it mean to colonize other planets? Can SF literature point us toward what the future might hold for spirituality and faith?
Panelists: Janice Gelb, Vikki Ciaffone, Stephen P. Kelner Jr., JeffWarner
Kaffeeklatsch - Leigh
This is an informal discussion, but if nobody shows, I'm going to Steve's presentation, described below. In fact, I think we should all go to Steve's presentation.
Solo Talk: Internal Character Conflict: Motives Versus Values - Steve
Well-written characters often struggle with internal conflicts that can drive the story as much as — or more than — external ones. Motivational psychologist, researcher, and writer Dr. Steve Kelner will lay out the different levels and types of motivation identified by research, provide examples from fiction and real life of how they can collide, and show how to use them to create powerful conflicts within a character.
As I said, there's still time to register. And if our wonderful panels aren't enough to convince you, I should mention the fabulous Boskone Honorees!
Guest of Honor: Brandon Sanderson
Official Artist: Dave Seeley
Special Guest: Maryelizabeth Yturralde
Featured Filkers: The Fabulous Lorraine & Lojo Russo
Hal Clement Science Speaker: Milton Davis
NESFA Press Guest: Ken MacLeod
If you're in the Boston area--or close enough to get here--how can you possibly pass this up?