Programming Schedule

(Programming grid for quick reference)

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011 2:00PM

Post Apocalyptic Fever (Coronado)

Why are we so obsessed with post-apocalyptic settings? Why the emphasis on catastrophic endings? Is this just the “disaster movie” trend of the 1970’s ramped up to the ultimate?
Robert Mitchell Evans, Jean Graham, Lynn Maudlin, John W. Oliver, J.M. Perkins, Ann Wilkes

Heavy Industry in Space (Laguna)

Sooner or later, we’re going to need to do some heavy fabrication in orbit. We can’t keep launching everything from the earth’s surface. What would it take to start forging steel I-Beams or winding armatures for large electric motors…in space?
Cris A. Fitch, Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin, Allen Steele, Vernor Vinge

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011 3:00PM

Organic vs. Outlining (Coronado)

Some authors write an outline, describing the exact path their characters and plots will follow. Others start writing and let their stories flow from their fingertips. What are the pros and cons of each style, and how do you determine which one is right for you?
Lise Breakey, Robert Mitchell Evans, Walt Fisher, Jean Graham, Sharon Mock, Greg van Eekhout

BOF: Star Trek (La Jolla)

Birds of a Feather (BOFs) are open, unsupervised (be nice!) meetups for fans who share an interest.

Artificial Cunning: Will AI Save or Destroy Its Makers? (Laguna)

Some people assume that any high-functioning, free-willed AI would try to destroy humanity, its ‘inferiors’, as a matter of course. Others assume that such AIs would have compassion for their parent race and be nice to us. Do we have any control over how our AI children think of their parent race? Would they simply not give a damn about those squishy, slow-thinking meatsacks?
Cris A. Fitch, Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin, J.M. Perkins

Reading: Vernor Vinge (Salono)

Vernor Vinge

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011 4:00PM

Opening Ceremonies (Laguna)

Join Guest of Honor Allen Steele and Chair Ron Oakes as they officially open the convention.
Ron Oakes, Allen Steele

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011 5:00PM

Care and Feeding of Writers’ Groups (Coronado)

When you can’t find the right writers’ group for you, you may have to start one. How do you find and screen members, schedule meetings, get copies of the stories to everybody, and organize the critiquing? There are lots of tools available online to help you.
Lise Breakey, John W. Oliver, J.M. Perkins, Janet Tait, Greg van Eekhout, Ann Wilkes

BOF: Harry Potter (La Jolla)

Birds of a Feather (BOFs) are open, unsupervised (be nice!) meetups for fans who share an interest.

Interworld Communication: So We Don’t Actually Have a Universal Translator (Laguna)

How do we establish a common conceptual base to communicate with another species? Sure, we have numbers (probably) and the hydrogen atom in common, but how far would that get us with a world of amorphous, group-mind, or pelagic beings who share none of our sensory apparatus?
Robert Mitchell Evans, Cris A. Fitch, Jefferson P. Swycaffer, Vernor Vinge

Reading: Dani and Eytan Kollin (Salono)

Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011 6:00PM

Anime Conji Presents: Anime for Hard SF Fans Who Don’t Watch Anime ()

If all you know about anime is that it involves giant robots and annoyingly cute teenagers, come take another look — there’s a lot of science fiction anime that’s well-written, beautifully directed, and even tries to get the science right.

Gaslight Gathering Presents: Steam in Space! (Coronado)

A discussion of methods of space travel and planetary exploration in Victorian & Edwardian literature and in steampunk. The space exploration stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells! The luminiferous aether!
Ailene Bonner, John Hart, James H. Hay, Eytan Kollin, Jefferson P. Swycaffer

Are There Any New Stories? (La Jolla)

It’s been said that there’s a limited number of stories – the number varies
with who’s saying it – but each generation of writers seems to come up with
a few truly new ones. How can you break out of the classic story forms and
do something really new, while still being understandable to readers? Is it
even worthwhile to try?

Walt Fisher, Kevin Gerard, Sterling R Macer, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, Ann Wilkes

Concert Setup (Laguna)

Please stay out of the room while our team sets up the sound equipment.

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011 7:00PM

Reading: Ann Wilkes (Salono)

Ann Wilkes

Friday, Sept 9th, 2011 7:30PM

Concerts (Laguna)

7:30 – 8:00 Karen Rodgers
A singer-songwriter-guitarist from the band Windbourne, Karen has been active for years in the San Diego filk community.

8:05 – 9:10 Allison Lonsdale and Eben Brooks
Known for their monthly “Geeky Music for Geeky People” show at Lestat’s Coffeehouse (third Saturdays at 6:00), they are famous on YouTube for parodies such as “Hey There Cthulhu” and “LOL Together”. They also perform original songs full of references to SF, comics, gaming, folklore, math, and the sciences.

9:15 – 9:45 Gregory Gross
Greg Gross entertains with filk music of both social significance and humorous insignificance. He is a frequent performer at Southern California SF/F conventions and San Diego Folk Heritage events.

9:50 – 10:20 Tim Griffin
Tim Griffin has been writing and performing for 20 years. He began writing songs for his students to go with the science topics he was teaching. Much of his inspiration came from the filk community, particularly Dr. James Robinson and Leslie Fish. His website provides a kid friendly science/history/filk music site that features free and cheap downloads with all proceeds benefitting public schools in La Canada, California.

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 11:00AM

Autographing: Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

RPGs for Art’s Sake (Coronado)

The art of game design; the elegance of a results table; the challenge of simulation and emulation; and the trade-off between realism and impressionism. What makes a game an “Artistic Triumph” as opposed to just another doggone game?
Laura Luchau, William H. Stoddard, Jefferson P. Swycaffer

Budget Costuming Resources (La Jolla)

Our panelists will discuss how to put together killer costumes for much less than you’d expect by using resources such as thrift shops and what’s available in your closet.
BetNoir, John Hart, Nancy Hay, Donna Keeley

Fan Fiction, Intellectual Property, and the Apocalypse (Laguna)

Authors’ responses to fan fiction range from the encouraging to the litigious. The Maker movement says “if you can’t open it, you don’t own it”. Is a resistance to fan fiction — the sincerest form of flattery and the domain of the most passionate consumers — an attempt on some level to rent out a story but deny the buyers the ownership their emotional investment calls for? What balance can a creator strike to maintain hold of their property without alienating their most rabid followers?
Amy Berner, Jean Graham, Matt Kirk, J.M. Perkins, Robert Pritchard, Chris A. Weber

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 12:00PM

Autographing: Kevin Gerard (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Kevin Gerard

Academic Study of Popular Culture (Coronado)

Why wait for 100 years after creators die to study their creations? (Dickens wrote serial pulps and was paid by the word.) More and more scholars, and fans with a scholarly bent, are considering modern popular media worthy of study. Check out Whoosh, the journal of the International Association of Xena Studies. Or Slayage, the Online International Journal of Buffy Studies. Smart Pop Press has been publishing anthologies of essays on everything from Stargate to Star Wars, but they’re not alone. Robert Chaires and Bradley Chilton, authors of Star Trek: Visions of Law and Justice from Texas A&M University Press, have declared “To say that Star Trek was just a television show is akin to saying Shakespeare just wrote plays.” Also the Popular Culture Association studies the rhetoric of pop culture.
Jeff Berkwits, Amy Berner, Ailene Bonner, Patrick Harris, Walter Meyer

How to Edit Yourself (La Jolla)

You don’t always have access to a critique group, a beta reader, or an editor. How can you polish your own manuscript without that kind of help? What tools will let you look with fresh eyes at text that you already know by heart, so you can find the flaws?
Jean Graham, Lisanne Norman, John W. Oliver, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, Greg van Eekhout

Final Frontiers: The American Mythos of Outer Space Colonization (Laguna)

The American way of thought was formed by its frontiers; people could, in the extreme, usually find some sort of liberty by pulling up stakes and heading west. But there is no more west. Will space colonies revive the dream of liberty? Or will it turn into a “Judge Roy Bean” and “Billy the Kid” nightmare?
Dr. James M. Busby, Matt Kirk, Lynn Maudlin, Chris Radcliff, Dave Rankin, Allen Steele

Script Review by Timescape Entertainment (Pacific)

The Timescape team reviews scripts and short stories submitted to them before Conjecture.

Timescape Entertainment is a production company that was created in September 2009. Its mission is to produce vibrant independent films using local and independent resources and people to create exciting and dramatic low budget films. Timescape’s first short film, The Machine, won an award of merit in the May 2011 film festival.
Jason Lethert, Michael C. Poole, Phil Roberts

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 1:00PM

Non-Ordinary Reality: Las Vegas, Mardi Gras, and Con (Coronado)

Conventions are a time and space outside of our everyday reality — like Carnival, Mardi Gras, or a trip to Vegas, they are a context where ordinary rules don’t seem to apply. This is both wonderful and awful; people cut loose from repression and constraint are also cut loose from judgment and manners. How can we mediate this effect to enjoy the freewheeling creativity without encouraging savagery? Consider the Back Up Project (
BetNoir, James Stanley Daugherty, Patrick Harris, Nancy Hay, Allison Lonsdale

Special Presentation: Early Science Fiction Television (La Jolla)

Jeff Berkwits does a presentation on early SF TV, particularly “Tales of Tomorrow,” the first adult-oriented science-fiction series on television (1951-1953).

Jeff Berkwits

Guest of Honor Interview: Allen Steele (Laguna)

Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin, Allen Steele

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 2:00PM

Autographing: Robert Pielke (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Robert G Pielke

A People’s Republic of Narnia? Political Systems and Genre (Coronado)

Much fantasy is unabashedly pro-feudal and pro-aristocracy, even though we have examples of class warfare in our world’s Middle Ages (such as Wat Tyler’s peasant revolution). In Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, the evil bloodsucking aristocrat is defeated by a shareholder’s corporation. Science Fiction tends to avoid aristocracies, showing future cultures that range from democracy to socialism. Is there an inherent political flavor to each genre that makes it hard to write against type? Is the Marxist-style class struggle in China Mieville’s fantasy novels a truly new direction in fantasy – or does it make the books technically something other than fantasy?
Patrick Harris, Dani Kollin, Sharon Mock, Robert Pritchard, William H. Stoddard, Janet Tait

BOF: Steampunk (La Jolla)

Birds of a Feather (BOFs) are open, unsupervised (be nice!) meetups for fans who share an interest.

Ebert Was Wrong: Video Games Can Be Art (Laguna)

Fans of BioShock love the Art Deco setting as much as the suspense and action. Shadow of the Colossus and Children of Eden are often played based on how visually stunning they are. Video games are now being taken seriously as an art form — The Art of Video Games exhibit opens at the Smithsonian in 2012. How will it affect the culture of high art as this popular medium encroaches on that territory?
Eben Brooks, Zak Jarvis, Andy Lowe, Walter Meyer

Reading: Greg van Eekhout (Salono)

Greg van Eekhout

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 3:00PM

Autographing: Allen Steele (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Allen Steele

Alien Libraries (Coronado)

What would a library be like for a species that communicated information be stored as the species passed through different technological eras? Aliens who communicate with smells might begin with cords or rods painted with scented compounds along their length, and eventually end up at direct sequential stimulation of the olfactory nerves, virtual-reality style. Where are the interesting alien libraries in SF literature and media?
Marc Biagi, Cris A. Fitch, Rev. Dr. Tiffany Diane Moon, Val Ontell, Ann Wilkes

Period Pieces: Film in Retro Styles (La Jolla)

Is this a nostalgic indulgence, or a serious creative challenge? 2005’s “Good Night and Good Luck” was one of the best black-and-white movies ever made. Do we cheer or do we jeer?
Jeff Berkwits, BetNoir, John Hart, Nolly Mullican

Barlowe’s Guide to San Diego Fandom (Laguna)

Representatives from various San Diego fannish groups and events give you an introduction to what’s available locally: conventions, books, media, gaming, anime, and more.
James H. Hay, Donna Keeley, Allison Lonsdale, Andy Lowe, Walter Meyer, J’nae Rae Spano

Reading: Kevin Gerard (Salono)

Kevin Gerard

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 4:00PM

Autographing: Greg van Eekhout (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Greg van Eekhout

GoogleWiki High (Coronado)

Education is being transformed by the Internet, where you can look up any facts. But the “facts” available are not all accurate, and students’ access is filtered. How do we teach students to think, and who controls those thoughts? How do we prepare them to critically judge information rather than believing anything they read on the Internet?
Kevin Gerard, Patrick Harris, Laura Luchau, Val Ontell, Chris Radcliff, Adina Sobo

BOF: Makers (La Jolla)

Birds of a Feather (BOFs) are open, unsupervised (be nice!) meetups for fans who share an interest.

Floating in a Tin Can: Psychology in Space (Laguna)

What special psychological problems occur in space exploration among a group confined to a small space and facing hostile conditions? What new problems might longer flights and colonization involve? We’ve already learned some things from research installations in Antarctica and the Arctic, where people have to deal with similar conditions during polar night. What new tools will we need to develop?
Marc Biagi, Dr. James M. Busby, Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin, Allen Steele

Reading: Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (Salono)

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 5:00PM

Autographing: Dani and Eytan Kollin (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin

A Feudal Future: SF as Fairy Tale (Coronado)

Why is royalty such a persistent and popular element in SF? From Arrakis to Naboo, Manticore to Barrayar, political structures are more Dark Ages than Space Age. Is this because science fiction is our culture’s fairy tales, or is there some other reason?
James Floyd, Sterling R Macer, Sharon Mock, Jefferson P. Swycaffer, Ellen Dawn Benefield Vandover, Ann Wilkes

Age and Gender and Game Preference (La Jolla)

Are there “Gen X” and “Gen Z” games, or is a good game universally attractive? Do men and women like different kinds of games? Is our diversity obligate, or preferential?
Eben Brooks, Laura Luchau, Janet Tait, Chris A. Weber

Multi-Species Civilizations (Laguna)

We have enough trouble being civilized, and we’re all the same species with the same basic needs. How might a multi-species civilization work?
Lynn Maudlin, Rev. Dr. Tiffany Diane Moon, Lisanne Norman, J.M. Perkins, William H. Stoddard

Reading: Robert Pielke (Salono)

Robert G Pielke

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 6:00PM

Anime Conji Presents: Transhuman Themes in Anime ()

Cyborgs, genetic engineering, and posthuman intelligences: anime that explores the limitations of humanity, how to overcome them, and what it means to be human at that point.

Character Development Strategies (Coronado)

Tips and techniques on expanding characters and their development. How to make individual characters memorable. How to keep distinctive and idiosyncratic characters from wrecking the plot or alienating other characters….or other players.
Marc Biagi, Eben Brooks, Robert G Pielke, Janet Tait, Ellen Dawn Benefield Vandover

The Museum of the Future (La Jolla)

What the heck is gonna happen to all this stuff we’ve got laying around? What’s worth saving for posterity, and what’s just ready for the trash barrel?
James Stanley Daugherty, James Floyd, John Hart, Donna Keeley, J.M. Perkins, Adina Sobo

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 7:00PM

Can RPGs Teach You to Write? (Coronado)

You learn about character development, dialogue, and narrative structure. If you’re really into it, you do background research and tactical analysis. Can playing RPGs help you develop as a writer? Books such as Steven Brust’s Dragaera novels, the shared-universe Wild Cards books, and others began as role-playing campaigns.
Eben Brooks, Matt Kirk, Sterling R Macer, John W. Oliver, Janet Tait

How Will We Feel When We’re No Longer Made of Meat? (Laguna)

Various forms of transhumanist SF have explored the conversion of human minds to sentient software. Science tells us that much of our experience is glandular: without various hormones surging around in our meat bodies, we’d be rather different creatures. Once uploaded, will we miss our hormones enough to develop software replacements?
Zak Jarvis, Dani Kollin, Chris Radcliff, Ann Wilkes, Jim Young

Saturday, Sept 10th, 2011 8:00PM

Open Filking (Coronado)

Bring your voice, your (acoustic) instrument, and your songbook.

Iron Hack (Laguna)

Welcome to Fiction Stadium, where writers from various speculative genres compete with improvised storytelling to see who will be the ultimate Iron Hack. Forced to use secret ingredients contributed by the audience, contestants try to trip each other up with cliffhangers and complications.
Zak Jarvis, Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin, Allison Lonsdale, Robert Pritchard, Allen Steele

Sunday, Sept 11th, 2011

Sunday, Sept 11th, 2011 11:00AM

Autographing: Vernor Vinge (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Vernor Vinge

The Seminal Films Of Science Fiction (Coronado)

The history of SF film is filled with key movies that influenced filmmakers for years to come. Destination Moon started George Pal on the path of SF film making and kicked off the explosion of films in the 1950s. 2001 helped foster a need for realism that was overturned by Star Wars in 1977. What are the other key seminal films of SF and what impact did that have on the genre?
Jeff Berkwits, Nancy Hay, Dave Rankin, Janet Tait, Jim Young

Lesser-Known Mediums (La Jolla)

When we think of SF and fantasy, we usually think of books, movies, TV. Some of us think of art and music, especially if we’ve been in fandom for a while. But what about SF poetry? Plays? In what other mediums have you encountered SF?
Marc Biagi, Andy Lowe, Rev. Dr. Tiffany Diane Moon, J’nae Rae Spano

Comedy in SF&F (Laguna)

SF or Fantasy comedies are rare beasties — there are probably fewer comedies produced than any other subgenre of SF/Fantasy. Notable exceptions include Discworld, Bored of the Rings, Keith Laumer’s Retief novels, Diana Wynne Jones’ Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and films like GalaxyQuest. Why? What works, what doesn’t?
Ailene Bonner, Lise Breakey, Walter Meyer, Ellen Dawn Benefield Vandover, Ann Wilkes

Sunday, Sept 11th, 2011 12:00PM

Autographing: Allen Steele (Autographing in the Dealers’ Room)

Allen Steele

Tale-Telling with Dice: Telling Better Stories in Tabletop RPGs (Coronado)

A discussion of game-mastering techniques with a focus on story development.
Ailene Bonner, Lise Breakey, Eben Brooks, Matt Kirk, Janet Tait

Medeival Weapons Demo (Laguna)

Eytan Kollin shows how medieval weapons and armor actually worked — helpful information for fantasy writers.
Eytan Kollin

Sunday, Sept 11th, 2011 1:00PM

Reality Plus: Beyond the Virtual (Coronado)

Augmented reality can be more than a toy or a marketing tool. In what directions will this technology lead us? While it’s making us better at navigation, architecture, surgery, search and rescue, and mechanical repairs, how will it be changing our culture and our understanding of the world around us?
Marc Biagi, Cris A. Fitch, Zak Jarvis, Vernor Vinge

BOF: Costuming (La Jolla)

Birds of a Feather (BOFs) are open, unsupervised (be nice!) meetups for fans who share an interest.

Designing People for Space (Laguna)

Forget about altering the environment to suit the inhabitants: let’s alter the inhabitants! Feet-hands with gripping toes; immunity to vertigo; blood chemistry to restore calcium to bones; re-wire the “falling” reflex. What would an ideal human-derived spacer look like?
Dr. James M. Busby, Robert Mitchell Evans, Sharon Mock, Allen Steele, Jim Young

Sunday, Sept 11th, 2011 2:00PM

It’s Not Natural to be Rational (Coronado)

Our brains are full of glitchy software — logical fallacies, vulnerability to invasive memes (cults, economic bubbles), failures to accurately weigh risks and rewards. It takes effort to overcome these bugs, but it can be done. Learn about how your brain tries to fool you, and how to be, if not right, then less wrong. (
Eben Brooks, Patrick Harris, Zak Jarvis, Robert Pritchard, Adina Sobo, Jefferson P. Swycaffer

BOF: Christians (La Jolla)

Birds of a Feather (BOFs) are open, unsupervised (be nice!) meetups for fans who share an interest.

Invasive Species and Interstellar Travel (Laguna)

Take a species out of its environment, remove its predators, parasites, and competitors, and its population may explode, with disasterous results for its new environment. How might this occur in space? Will an introduced species find its new environment too hostile, or will it go “Andromeda Strain?” What would explorers af actually inhabited worlds need to do to avoid destroying an entire world?
Robert Mitchell Evans, Cris A. Fitch, James H. Hay, Sharon Mock, J.M. Perkins

Sunday, Sept 11th, 2011 3:00PM

Closing Ceremonies and Talkback (Laguna)

Join Chair Ron Oakes, Guest of Honor Allen Steele, and Conjecture 2012 Chair Sandra Faulkner and other members of Conjecture’s Staff as we close the convention and get your comments – both good and bad – about how the convention went and what you’d like to see us do better next year.
Sandra Faulkner, Ron Oakes, Allen Steele