May 25-28, 2018: Wiscon, Madison, WI
“Female Friendships In Our Stories”: Women are often portrayed as competitive and territorial in media. In science fiction, this can be even stronger as the Smurfette principle often rules, and many of the women characters fill the “not like other girls” trope. It’s rare to see genuine female friendships flourish in our stories. For many of us, the “mean girl” trope does not reflect the reality that we live in, and we’re hungry for better depictions of our lived experiences. More stories are digging deeper into what female friendships can and do look like, however. Shows like Big Little Lies, Grace and Frankie, and Insecure; as well as female-led movies such as the new Ghostbusters and the Pitch Perfect series are some examples. Few of these are SFF-related though – we need more!
Moderator: Naomi Kritzer. Panelists: Karin Gastreich, Crystal Huff, Lauren Jankowski, KJ, Clarissa C. S. Ryan
March 10-12, 2017: FOGcon, Walnut Creek, CA.
“Writer as Resistor”: How can writers defend rights and freedoms? How can the lens of speculative fiction illuminate political conflicts? What constitutes political writing? What constitutes protest? Whether it’s writing overtly political fiction or writing “escapist” fiction that affirms marginalized identities, whether it’s mentorship or active protest, this panel will examine how writers can resist fascism with both words and actions.
Moderator: Dominica Phetteplace. Panelists: Daniel Marcus, Marie Metivier-DeMasters, Pat Murphy, Clarissa C. S. Ryan
“Pitches, Presentations and Proposals: Making Your Point without Resorting to Kidnapping Your Boss”: Having to get a complicated point across in a brief “elevator pitch” — or even in an actual presentation — can be very intimidating, whether you have five minutes or fifty. The legal system and basic moral sense mean you can’t really kidnap your audience for appropriate brainwashing: let’s talk about tips for pitches, presentations and proposals that won’t end in your humiliating arrest — and that might get other people excited about your idea. Whether for work or passion, being effective often depends on communicating your idea compellingly. Learn the common — and a few uncommon! — mistakes, and how to avoid them.
Karen Brenchley, Marie Metivier-DeMasters, Alfred Nash, Loren Rhoads (this panel experienced last-minute participant changes and I joined as a pinch-hitter)
February 17, 2017: Gallifrey One, Los Angeles, CA
“You Just Got Holtzmanned!”: From rebooting classics with female leads, like Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck or Ghostbusters’s all-woman crew, or transitioning a character like the Master or the Doctor from a male actor to a female actor, genderswapping in sci-fi has generated praise and controversy. This panel will examine examples of genderswapping, why they inspire such outrage, where they succeed and where legitimate criticisms can be made.
Moderator: Deborah Stanish. Panelists: Alyssa Franke, Clarissa C. S. Ryan, Rye Silverman, Lindsey Share, Cindy Kalionzes