Boskone 41 Program Schedule

Note: This is a preliminary schedule. Times, participants and places are subject to change!


Friday 6:00pm Dalton: Serial illustration

Margaret Organ-Kean

Friday 6:00pm Exeter: How to Edit and Proof Your Own Writing

"Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." Oscar Wilde knew that editing begins at home. What problems should you look for? How do you even get yourself in the right frame of mind to look? Our panelists, who personally proffer perfect submissions every time, advise how to buff your manuscript till publishers can't resist the shine.

Judith Berman, Barbara Chepaitis, Terry A. McGarry

Friday 6:00pm Fairfax: Memorable Scenes

Some stories have scenes which are so right they just stick in your mind. (E.g., The paleontologist being handed a cooler containing a freshly frozen dinosaur head in Swanwick's Bones of the Earth, or Hari Seldon appearing in the Time Vault, "I am Hari Seldon.")

Solomon Davidoff (m), Leigh Grossman, Paul Levinson, Edmund R. Meskys

Friday 7:00pm Clarendon: Bloggers of the Fanosphere: the Best Weblogs by SF Fans and Pros

As you know, Bob, a Weblog is a personal diary/opinion journal/gossip grab bag/commonplace book you leave virtually open to be read by mumblety million passerby. How is an SF/F/H blog different from the more mundane kind, or from raseff or LiveJournal? Who's hot, who's not? What timely topics have lately engaged the Blogistani? Why is a blog fun to read? To write? And how do you tell your trackback from your permalink?

Mary Kay Kare, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Leslie J. Turek

Friday 7:00pm Dalton: Worldbuilding in Historical Fiction

James Cambias, Noreen Doyle, Michael F. Flynn

Friday 7:00pm Exeter: The Year in Biology and Medicine

Matthew Jarpe, Robert I. Katz, Amy Thomson

Friday 7:00pm Fairfax: Alexander and the Wizard: Mixing Fantasy and History

Historical fantasy is a popular subgenre of both fantasy and historical fiction. How does good historical fantasy strike a balance? Is it best to stick mostly to history, limiting the fantasy element? How much fantasy can you work in and in what way?

Esther Friesner, Melissa Scott, Delia Sherman

Friday 7:00pm Gardner: Beyond "It Rocks" or "It Sucks" — The Theory of Reviewing

Beyond "It Rocks" or "It Sucks" — the Theory of Reviewing Good reviewing has a basis; it's not just raves and retches. Should you judge the writer's intention or his invention? Review the work of a good friend or a sworn enemy? Be cruel to be kind? What lessons can we take from Blish or Knight, Miller or Budrys, Jonas or Dirda? How should a good reader read a good review?

Thomas A. Easton, David G. Hartwell, Peter J. Heck (m), Daniel Kimmel

Friday 7:00pm Kent: The Nearby Stars

Terry Kepner

Friday 8:00pm Hotel Bar: Literary Beer

David G. Hartwell, Karl Schroeder

Friday 8:00pm Clarendon: J.D. Robb Revisited

Deb Geisler, Priscilla Olson

Friday 8:00pm Conference: Reading

Rosemary Kirstein

Friday 8:00pm Dalton: Slideshow

Marianne Plumridge-Eggleton

Friday 8:00pm DragonsLair: Dragonslair by Don Sakers

Storytelling with Silly Mr. Don. Join Silly Mr. Don for fractured fables and twisted tales for children of all ages.

Don Sakers

Friday 8:00pm Exeter: Forgotten in the Film Room: Underrated SF Films

Some good films are lost in the shadows. Sometimes they are overshadowed because great films came out near them, such that they are overlooked. At other times, they are good films that are undervalued because they didn't quite live up to the hype and expectations around them. The panelists each pick a film or two in these categories, discuss why they are better than many people think, and why they may have been overlooked.

MaryAnn Johanson (m), Daniel Kimmel, Timothy E. Liebe, Steven Sawicki

Friday 8:00pm Fairfax: Hal Clement Memorial

We lost a friend this year. Here is a chance to talk about him.

Michael A. Burstein, Matthew Jarpe, Anthony R. Lewis

Friday 8:00pm Gardner: Storytelling for Adults

Barbara Chepaitis, Josepha Sherman

Friday 8:00pm Hampton: Pictionary

It's kind of like Charades played by mute mental patients. It's somewhat (but not very) similar to water polo with scratchpads. It's the parlor game Satan makes Picasso play in Hell with Claude Degler. It's the shoulder-shaking epicenter of some of this con's largest laughquakes. Here — wait — let us DRAW you a description of that last one —

Keith R. A. DeCandido, Craig Shaw Gardner, Laura Anne Gilman, Parris McBride

Friday 8:00pm Ind. W: Master and Commander: A Look at the Works of Patrick O'Brian

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series has been labeled by some reviewers as the best historical fiction ever. What are the similarities and differences between what O'Brian is doing and what other, seemingly similar, writers are doing?

Jim Mann, Patrick Nielsen Hayden (m), Delia Sherman, Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Friday 8:00pm Kent: The Gadget Panel

The gadgets of today are the miracles of yesterday. Join us to talk about the fantastic things you can buy right now or which are announced and coming shortly. Bring along samples if you can! (Be it noted that 'gadget' is not a dismissive term, but one of due reverence for the essential tools that we all need to live fulfilled lives.)

Edie Stern, Charles Stross

Friday 8:30pm Conference: Reading

Walter H. Hunt

Friday 9:00pm Hotel Bar: Literary Beer

Matthew Jarpe, Robert J. Sawyer

Friday 9:00pm Clarendon: Firefly: You Can't Take the Sky From Me

Ginjer Buchanan, Jim Mann, Priscilla Olson

Friday 9:00pm Dalton: Jane Jewell Slide Show

Jane Jewell

Friday 9:00pm Exeter: Richard Hescox Interview

The unique visual style of our Official Artist might be described as Maxfield Parrish Goes to Mars. He's produced vivid, imaginative artwork for interactive computer games, trading cards, movies, of course science fiction and fantasy book covers. But while grilling Richard about all this, we hope art/media critic Randy Dannenfelser also finds time to ask what it was like to design an entire museum exhibit dedicated to a light bulb.

Randy M. Dannenfelser, Bob Eggleton, Richard M. Hescox

Friday 9:00pm Gardner: PoMo and You: What Does Post-Modernism Have to Do with SF?

The panelists will attempt to hold definitions down to the first half-hour. Then confess whether any of them have committed the practice in question. Then tell on any of their friends or colleagues whom they suspect of having done so. But look, if we don't pay attention to post-modernist approaches now, will we recognize our own field in a decade?

F. Brett Cox, Gregory Feeley, David G. Hartwell (m), James Patrick Kelly

Friday 9:00pm Hampton: Space — The Next Twenty Years: A Look at What's Coming in Our Manned and Unmanned Exploration

Some say Buzz Lightyear is a prophet: "To infinity — and beyond!" Some say looks like Mars may be on the menu again. Some say at best, big tin-plate whoop, some robots get to go. Some say not only will none of that happen, they're blinding Hubble early. Some say we may soon ban manned airplane flight for security/religious reasons ... What say you?

Michael F. Flynn, Jeff Hecht, Jordin T. Kare (m), Ian Randal Strock

Friday 9:00pm Kent: Raiders of the Lost Ship: Real Life Archeology

Hear about three months spent as a member of an archaeological team excavating an 18th century vessel buried along the banks of the Savannah River, where they were in constant peril from poisonous snakes, feral pigs and alligators.

Noreen Doyle

Friday 10:00pm Conference: The Filkado

Read through and practice, critique and improve!

Gary D. McGath

Friday 10:00pm Dalton: Tolkien Filk

Come join in with your favorite songs about Hobbits, Orcs, and Nazgul.

Friday 10:00pm Hampton: Trivia Contest

You answer the question, you get the chocolate. That's about it.

Mark L. Olson, Priscilla Olson

Friday 10:30pm Art Show: Art Show Reception

Where the con's cultural elite (you can come too) meet to mix art and alcohol appreciation.


Saturday 10:00am Clarendon: Playing with Fire: Satan Onscreen

Walter Huston, Tim Curry, Robert De Niro, Viggo Mortensen, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, and Elizabeth Hurley have all reveled in portraying the Prince of Darkness or reasonable facsimiles on film. How'd they each do? As in PARADISE LOST (the poem, we mean), does the Devil always get the best lines? What's the fundamental attraction here? Is it ever possible to overplay the role? Will simply attending this panel send you straight to Hell?

Bob Devney, Esther Friesner, Alex Irvine, MaryAnn Johanson

Saturday 10:00am Conference: Reading

Kelly Link

Saturday 10:00am Dalton: Noah Arkwright and the Bay Area SF Community of the 50s-70s

Who was Noah Arkwight? In the 50s through the 70s the Bay Area was a hot bed of fannish and professional SF. Hear about the people and events. (Noah Arkwright was a character dreamed up by Poul Anderson, Jack Vance and Frank Herbert when they built a houseboat together.)

Karen Anderson, Edmund R. Meskys, Joe Siclari (m)

Saturday 10:00am DragonsLair: Masks

"FANTASY MASKS" from a surprise material. Create your own version of Voldemort or any other fantasy creature.

Charlene Taylor D'Alessio

Saturday 10:00am Exeter: The X-Prizes

The X-Prizes are a series of large (up to $10,000,000) prizes for private accomplishments in space flight. What progress has been made towards winning one of them? What's going to happen soon? Is it possible that the greatest consequence of the dot com bubble will be in space travel?

Jordin T. Kare

Saturday 10:00am Gardner: Richard Hescox Slide Show

For this career retrospective, Boskone's Official Artist screens his brightest, most beautiful visions of landscapes and laboratories, damsels and dragons, mages and missile men, sailors and swordsmen, bards and barflies.

Richard M. Hescox

Saturday 10:00am Hampton: Not Just War Porn: The Best Military SF

Many people think of military SF as simply war porn — lots of guns and violence with little real examination of issues or plot beyond who destroys whom. They're wrong, and the panel cites examples as to why.

Walter H. Hunt, Shariann Lewitt, James D. Macdonald, Betsy Mitchell (m)

Saturday 10:00am Ind. W: The Place of Kings

It's trite to note that fantasy's fascination with royalty flies in the face of our experience that kings are obsolete and just romantic flapdoodle. But what is the place of kings in fantasy and SF? Does an aristocratic society serve a legitimate role in fiction, making possible stories which otherwise couldn't be told, or is it mere scenery? (Could LotR be told in a modern setting? Could it be as good?) If you conclude that kings do have a proper role, how well does modern SF & fantasy use kings, nobles, and aristocrats? Are they historically accurate? Is historical realism a legitimate goal of SF and fantasy?

Mary Kay Kare (m), George R. R. Martin, Tamora Pierce

Saturday 10:00am Kent: Forgotten Pleasures: Unfamous SF Magazine Writers of the 1960s

The panel looks at writers from Christopher Anvil, Rick Raphael, and Jack Wodhams to Avram Davidson, R. A. Lafferty, Keith Laumer, C. C. McApp, and Jack Vance. Some were brilliant, some were just fun reads, none are famous.

Gregory Feeley, Anthony R. Lewis, Timothy E. Liebe

Saturday 10:30am Conference: Reading

Sharon Lee, Steve Miller

Saturday 11:00am Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Bruce Coville, Jane Yolen

Saturday 11:00am Clarendon: The State of the Fantasy Art Market for Children

Ruth Sanderson

Saturday 11:00am Conference: Reading

Wen Spencer

Saturday 11:00am Dalton: Surgery in Space

Robert I. Katz

Saturday 11:00am Exeter: Music in Fiction

Music is an important part of many writers' and readers' lives, yet it's not nearly as integral to most fiction. There are exceptions, and the panel looks at these, and at why they are exceptions, exploring the how and why (and why not) of portraying music in fiction.

Barry Gold, Rosemary Kirstein, Parris McBride, Terry A. McGarry

Saturday 11:00am Fairfax: The Age of Fighting Sail Isn't Over: It's Moved to SF

Shiver me titanium timbers if this wet navy/space navy transposition hasn't been around since Doc Smith played ship's surgeon at its birth. Today this subgenre may be more popular than ever. Who are its leading practitioners? We may have several C. S. Foresters; have we got a Patrick O'Brian yet? So far NASA doesn't feel much like the Admiralty. Can this metaphor survive actual space travel?

Keith R. A. DeCandido, Melissa Scott, Shane Tourtellotte

Saturday 11:00am Gardner: SF in the Tabloids

Thomas A. Easton

Saturday 11:00am Hampton: The Editorial Eye: How the Views of Editors Shape Their Book Lines

Ginjer Buchanan (m), David G. Hartwell, Betsy Mitchell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Saturday 11:00am Ind. W: Human Destiny

Where are we going? What will we be like when we get there? Wells and Stapledon provided some early answers — what later speculations are equally interesting, if any? Electron plasma brains? Sentient Dyson spheres? Shall we come to a good end, a bad end, any end at all? Like a lungfish dreaming of becoming Neil Gaiman, our panel will attempt some really long-range thinking.

Stephen Baxter, Jeffrey A. Carver, Karl Schroeder

Saturday 11:00am Kent: Fiber Optics, the Boom and the Bust

The Story of Fiber Optics including an epilogue on the boom, the bubble, and the bust, for those of you wondering why you are unemployed

Jeff Hecht

Saturday 11:00am Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

Debra Doyle, James D. Macdonald, Amy Thomson

Saturday 11:30am Conference: Reading

Don Sakers

Saturday 11:30am Dalton: Catwhisker Collecting

Sharon Lee, Steve Miller

Saturday 11:30am Kent: Big Planet

A look at Jack Vance's 1952 planetary romance, recently reissued in Britain and possibly the granddaddy of Very Large Object science fiction such as Ringworld and Orbitsville and lots of stuff by Iain M. Banks.

Peter Weston

Saturday 12:00 n Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Walter H. Hunt

Saturday 12:00 n Clarendon: Opening the Iris: Stargate SG-1

Stargate was a mediocre movie that spawned a TV show that's much better than it's source, a show that's now run longer than any Star Trek series ever ran. What's the secret of its success?

MaryAnn Johanson, Ann Tonsor Zeddies

Saturday 12:00 n Conference: Reading

Debra Doyle

Saturday 12:00 n Dalton: Godzilla at Fifty

Learn more about Godzilla that you ever thought there was to know — while sharing the excitement of the big scaly guy with some of Godzilla's most ardent fans.....

Bob Eggleton, Daniel Kimmel, Jim Mann (m)

Saturday 12:00 n Exeter: Why Not the War of 1812? What Turning Points Are Alternate History Writers Missing?

The South wins at Gettysburg and thus wins the Civil War. Hitler overruns Britain, and Germany wins World War II. There are a lot of common turning points in alternate history. But there are also a lot of key moments in history that are overlooked. (As an example: on a dark night in the Mediterranean, Nelson's fleet — out looking for the French who they knew were abroad — passed within a couple of miles of Napoleon and his troop ships headed for Egypt. Had Nelson spotted Napoleon — then merely a rising military star — there would never have been an Emperor Napoleon. But nobody seems to have written an alternate history based on this.) The panel discusses some of the great turning points that haven't been explored.

Ellen Asher, James Cambias, Peter J. Heck, Shane Tourtellotte

Saturday 12:00 n Fairfax: Legends of the Computer Age

SF in the age of computers is as myth-ridden as any medieval romance. Discuss some of the tropes which everyone uses but no one understands and which may not be right at all. AI arising by accident? Direct mind-machine interfaces anytime soon? What else?

Daniel P. Dern, Timothy E. Liebe, Edie Stern, Charles Stross

Saturday 12:00 n Gardner: Del Rey Presentation

Stephen Baxter, Rosemary Kirstein, Colleen Lindsay, Betsy Mitchell

Saturday 12:00 n Hampton: Silverlock

In a curious coincidence, NESFA Press just published a deluxe 512-page edition (with extras!) of this 1949 classic by John Myers Myers (1906-1988). Is it true this literature-drunk satire/fantasy was adored by hard SF writers from Heinlein and Anderson to Niven and Pournelle? (And why?) Is it true its songs singlehandedly kept filking alive? (For ghod's sake why?) Is it true it makes allusions to every book ever written? (Like what?)

Karen Anderson, David G. Grubbs, Fred Lerner

Saturday 12:00 n Ind. W: The Year in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Ctein, Jeff Hecht, Mark L. Olson (m)

Saturday 12:00 n Kent: Sutton Concert

Bill Sutton, Brenda Sutton

Saturday 12:00 n Commonwealth: Long Live the Legion!

Yet another meeting of the diminishing (and why? we ask) group of fans dedicated to keeping the Legion of Super Heroes alive for another year....

Priscilla Olson, Don Sakers

Saturday 12:30pm Conference: Reading

Ellen Kushner

Saturday 1:00pm Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Stephen Baxter

Saturday 1:00pm Clarendon: The Public's Changing Vision of the Future

Jordin T. Kare, Steve Miller, Allen Steele, Ian Randal Strock

Saturday 1:00pm Conference: Reading

James Patrick Kelly

Saturday 1:00pm Dalton: Still Rivers Run Deep: The Fiction of Hal Clement

For decades, Hal Clement/Harry Stubbs was best-known for a novel issued in 1953. But Mission of Gravity was succeeded by at least 10 more — the last, Noise, published the month before his death last October. Each demonstrated his skill with the "science problem" story. Let's discuss what other qualities his work displays. How about rigor, vigor, humanity, optimism, and a touching faith that we know more science than is actually the case?

Michael A. Burstein, Jeffrey A. Carver, Daniel P. Dern, David G. Hartwell

Saturday 1:00pm DragonsLair: Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

Brainstorming a story idea from topic to story.

Walter H. Hunt

Saturday 1:00pm Exeter: Bob Eggleton Goes to Japan And Meets Godzilla

Bob Eggleton

Saturday 1:00pm Fairfax: Return of How to Lie With Statistics

If you have ever inadvertently misused statistics to deceive people, this is for you. Learn the many pitfalls of statistical usage, so that you will never do so inadvertently again.

Michael F. Flynn

Saturday 1:00pm Gardner: The World Next Door: Writing for the YA Market

Bruce Coville, Tamora Pierce, Josepha Sherman, Jane Yolen

Saturday 1:00pm Hampton: Media Tie-Ins for People Who Are Sure They'd Never Want to Read One of Those

Many readers are convinced that they'd never want to read a media tie-in, that they are all trivial. But writers such as John Ford, Terry Bisson, and Greg Bear have shown that this isn't always the case. What media tie-ins would you recommend to fans who don't usually read media tie-ins?

Ginjer Buchanan, Solomon Davidoff (m), Keith R. A. DeCandido, Craig Shaw Gardner

Saturday 1:00pm Ind. W: Popular Fiction and Literature

Does the science fiction/fantasy/horror field precisely mirror the mainstream's poles of accessibility and marketability? Do our authors have to sit down first and decide which way to go? Must a genre book be swill to sell? Are there genre books that everybody buys but nobody reads? Who are our analogs of Updike, Proulx, Clancy, Steele, Palahniuk, Lethem? (OK, that last one's a gimme.)

Greer Gilman, Alex Irvine, Craig Miller (m)

Saturday 1:00pm Kent: Performance Workshop

Talent isn't everything. The Suttons will work with participants to make the most of their abilities and help them relate to an audience.

Bill Sutton, Brenda Sutton

Saturday 1:00pm Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

George R. R. Martin, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Saturday 1:30pm Conference: Reading

Darrell Schweitzer

Saturday 2:00pm : Playground Games

Priscilla Olson

Saturday 2:00pm Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Debra Doyle, James D. Macdonald

Saturday 2:00pm Clarendon: Mars: 2004

Ctein, Jeff Hecht, Mark L. Olson

Saturday 2:00pm Conference: Reading

Robert J. Sawyer

Saturday 2:00pm Dalton: Filk Concert Sets: Lee & Barry Gold, Paul Estin & Friends, Joellyn Davidoff

Barry Gold, Lee Gold

Saturday 2:00pm Exeter: A Trip to Tomorrow

Richard M. Hescox

Saturday 2:00pm Fairfax: Changing Perceptions of Robert Heinlein

For so long the Dean of Science Fiction, is RAH now vanishing from the curriculum, as well as the shelves in Barnes & Borders? What's still relevant: his libertarianism? Militarism? Mathematicism? How about his feminism, anti- or proto-? Can today's gameboys and girls still identify with a spacesuit-tinkering Eagle Scout, or with that book where Gidget goes to Venus? Or perhaps you believe that damn good stories never go out of style ...

Charles N. Brown (m), Fred Lerner, Allen Steele, Edie Stern

Saturday 2:00pm Gardner: A Look at the Best Recent Fantasy

Amidst all the generic fantasy, there is some very good stuff indeed, including works by such writers as George R. R. Martin and Gene Wolfe.

Alex Irvine, Ellen Kushner, George R. R. Martin (m)

Saturday 2:00pm Hampton: Shadows Over Baker Street: SF&F Tie-ins to Mysteries

Laura Anne Gilman (m), Peter J. Heck, Paul Levinson, Wen Spencer

Saturday 2:00pm Ind. W: Near-Future Genetic Engineering of Humanity

We all know that genetic engineering will produce monsters and supermen in due course, but what can we do in the next five years? Talk about changing sex ratios and what else?

Thomas A. Easton, Matthew Jarpe, Robert I. Katz, Amy Thomson (m)

Saturday 2:00pm Kent: Birds and Non-Human Intelligences

Shariann Lewitt

Saturday 2:00pm Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

Bob Eggleton, Margaret Organ-Kean

Saturday 2:30pm Kent: Who Wrote Shakespeare?

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: LITERATURE'S GREATEST FRAUD? Belief that somebody other than a glover's son from Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the world's greatest plays has never been more widespread. Shakespeare doubters have received recent encouragement from Supreme Court Justices and The New York Times. Who are the rival candidates? What are their proponents' arguments? Is the case for "the Stratford man" open to genuine doubt? The latest developments in a strange and fascinating controversy.

Tom Veal

Saturday 3:00pm Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Sharon Lee, Terry A. McGarry, Steve Miller, Tamora Pierce

Saturday 3:00pm Hotel Bar: Literary Beer

Kelly Link, Jane Yolen

Saturday 3:00pm Clarendon: Glasgow and LA: Worldcons 2005 and 2006

If you think Boskone is wild, wait until you come to Glasgow '05 and see Greg Pickersgill, Christopher Priest, Robert Sheckley, Lars-Olov Strandberg, and Jane Yolen in a kilt. (Not the same kilt, ye daft bampot!) And if you think Boskone is all cool and Hollywood — OK, maybe you really are a bampot. Whatever. Any case, come to Los Angeles '06 and hang with Connie Willis, James Gurney, Howard DeVore, and Frankie Thomas. Thousands of pros and fans will flock to these two biggest gatherings of the SF fanworld upcoming after Boston. Find out all about them here today.

Vince Docherty, Christian McGuire

Saturday 3:00pm Conference: Reading

F. Brett Cox

Saturday 3:00pm Dalton: The Tipping Point and Other New Truths

Social scientists lately are coming up with many cool new observations about mass behavior. From six degrees of separation to the tipping point to the idea that the maximum effective size of any social unit is 150 people (i.e., everything takes a village), we'll discuss the invisible principles that guide us once we join the crowd. Note: maximum audience size for this event? Why 150, of course.

Michael F. Flynn, Daniel Hatch, Edie Stern, Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Saturday 3:00pm DragonsLair: Storytelling

Bruce Coville

Saturday 3:00pm Exeter: Collectible SF Art

Jerry Weist

Saturday 3:00pm Fairfax: Across the Galaxy: The Rebirth of Space Opera

Space opera has come a long way since the days of the galaxy-blasting adventures of E.E. Smith and John W. Campbell. Iain Banks, Alistair Reynolds, and others have helped revitalize the genre, moving it in new and different directions. The panel discusses the new space opera.

Kathryn Cramer (m), Walter H. Hunt, Karl Schroeder, Peter Weston

Saturday 3:00pm Hampton: "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" - Micro-Budget Film Hits the Big Time

Micro-budget Film Hits the Bigtime! Meet three of the creative talents from "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra," the new Sony Pictures SF comedy premiering this very weekend at the Kendall Square Theatre in Cambridge. See the trailer and take a peek behind the scenes. Ask questions of Bob Deveau (The Doomed Farmer), Susan McConnell (Lattis the alien), and Boskone regular Cortney Skinner (Mutant Designer). The movie is an affectionate, re-creation of those beloved low-budget SF movies, shot in glorious black-and-white, and scored entirely with ancient library music. As writer/director/star Larry Blamire wryly puts it, "It's not just a spoof of B-movies — it IS a B-movie."

Cortney Skinner

Saturday 3:00pm Ind. W: The Spirit If Not the Letter: Translating Books to Movies

Roger Zelazny had a healthy attitude about Hollywood's filming his stuff: "They didn't ruin my book. My book is right here." But would Philip K. Dick agree? — Isn't the spirit usually the first thing to go? Do actors often disappoint but settings usually improve onscreen? And inevitably, at least one Lord of the Rings question: Is it possible to be too faithful to a book?

Bob Devney, MaryAnn Johanson, Jim Mann (m), Craig Miller

Saturday 3:00pm Kent: Conrunner's Nightmares

Which is worse: the drunk guest of honor or the dead guest of honor? Fire or flood? Busted budget or bomb scare? Committee battles or burnout? Biowarfare attack or British-cuisine banquet? Panelists will share tales of catastrophes past and brood on dark imaginings of things yet to come.

Genny Dazzo, Parris McBride, Geri Sullivan, Bill Sutton

Saturday 3:00pm Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman

Saturday 3:30pm Conference: Reading

Daniel P. Dern

Saturday 4:00pm Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Esther Friesner, George R. R. Martin, Robert J. Sawyer

Saturday 4:00pm Clarendon: Fading or Holding Their Own: Comics Today

Comic sales today are much lower than they were 25 years ago. On the other hand, as the recent spate of successful superhero movies (and well done superhero animated series, such as Justice League) have shown, the superhero story is still alive. What's the current state of the comic world? What's worth reading? Can new readers come to comics easily, or is the entry bar too high?

Keith R. A. DeCandido, Daniel P. Dern, Alice N. S. Lewis, Don Sakers

Saturday 4:00pm Conference: Reading

Bruce Coville

Saturday 4:00pm Dalton: The One Ring: Tolkien Fandom Online and Off

Mary Kay Kare, Laurie Mann, Edmund R. Meskys

Saturday 4:00pm DragonsLair: A Brief Tour of the Universe

From Earth's closest neighbor to the edge of infinity. What is there to see and how are we going to get there?

Matthew Jarpe

Saturday 4:00pm Exeter: The Series: SF vs. Other Genres

Are SF series different from those in other genres such as mystery or historical fiction? Are series in those genres more identifiable by the character(s) around which they are focused (Holmes and Watson, Horatio Hornblower) while SF series or more often identified by the setting or plot? The panel compares SF series to series in other genres.

Barbara Chepaitis, Don D'Ammassa (m), Dara Joy, Sharon Lee

Saturday 4:00pm Fairfax: Beyond the Mythos: Influences of H. P. Lovecraft

The influence of Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos stories extends beyond the stories written by Derleth, Lumley, and others. Elements of the mythos — even when not named directly — are present not only in horror fiction but in popular culture, ranging from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the animated Justice League of America show (which features an "elder gods who used to control us but sank beneath the waves trying to break through into our dimension" story). The panel discusses Lovecraft's influence on horror and on our culture.

F. Brett Cox, Craig Shaw Gardner, Darrell Schweitzer, Charles Stross

Saturday 4:00pm Gardner: From Clement to Baxter: Hard SF

It share of the total SF audience may have declined a bit from the Campbellian Age, but this subgenre still draws devotion from writers, readers, and con attendees. Our titular titans aside, who are its best modern adherents, and why? Do astronomy and physics still rule this roost? How unfair is the stereotype of hard SF books as overoptimistic, undercharacterized, and more interested in metrics than metaphors?

John G. Cramer, Daniel Hatch, Shariann Lewitt

Saturday 4:00pm Hampton: Monster FX from Home Depot: Making a Cut-Rate SF Movie

Three of the cast & crew from "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" Bob Deveau (The Doomed Farmer), Susan McConnell (Lattis the alien), and Cortney Skinner (Mutant Designer), will present a overview of the low budget effects used in the movie. Both digital and mechanical effects were used to make a meteorite fall, a rocketship land, a skeleton walk, a mutant stalk, and a raygun create a lovely animal-woman....all in the style of a 1950's low budget movie....possibly undercutting even the budget of Ed Wood.

Cortney Skinner

Saturday 4:00pm Ind. W: Knocking Down the Beanstalk: Macroengineering in the Post 9/11 World

This is not about politics, but about engineering! Did the destruction of the World Trade Center demonstrate a fatal flaw in all macroengineering projects? Given that any really big project will be an obvious target, and given that the destruction of a really big project will necessarily be an exceptional disaster, does macroengineering have a future? Consider the collapse of a beanstalk (as in Green Mars). Consider the dangers of having atomic-powered spaceships in everyday use (not just the dangers of teenagers flying around with nuclear reactors in their space-going jalopies, but the destructive possibilities of a 10,000 ton spacecraft hitting the atmosphere at 100 or 1000 kps as in Garrett & Silverberg's "Sound Decision"). Is there any room for optimism? Are technical fixes possible?

Stephen Baxter, Thomas A. Easton, James D. Macdonald (m), Allen Steele

Saturday 4:00pm Kent: Egan vs. Lewis

Some writings of Australian hard SF wunderkind Greg Egan, such as the story "Oracle" and the novel Schild's Ladder, appear to be direct replies to (and criticisms of) some religious ideas set forth by classic British fantasy author C. S. Lewis. What are the terms of debate? Who wins? Are they even talking the same language? Is Egan saying anything more today that Arthur C. Clarke did fifty years ago in his debates with Lewis? And just what is it about Lewis that inspires such passion (both intellectual and emotional) in his detractors.

Mark L. Olson, Tom Veal

Saturday 4:00pm Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

Solomon Davidoff, Laura Anne Gilman

Saturday 4:00pm Commonwealth: Knit-In Meeting

Knitters of the world, unite! (You have nothing to lose but your needles?) Come and share your plans and patterns, successes and failures. Enjoy a relaxing yarn-filled craft time in the comfort of the ConSuite.

Saturday 4:30pm Conference: Reading

Jane Yolen

Saturday 5:00pm Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Lisa A. Barnett, Melissa Scott, Wen Spencer

Saturday 5:00pm Hotel Bar: Literary Beer

Keith R. A. DeCandido, Esther Friesner

Saturday 5:00pm Clarendon: Into the New Century: the Best Short Fiction of the New Decade

If nobody has much time to read, why haven't shorter stories been the most popular forms in SF for these first few years of the Oh-Ohs? Some would argue they're not the best sellers, just the best written. Are we seeing the stirrings of a renaissance here? If so, why? What are the cool new themes and memes? What's the really good stuff, and where can we find it?

Judith Berman, James Cambias, James Patrick Kelly

Saturday 5:00pm Conference: Reading

Karl Schroeder

Saturday 5:00pm Dalton: The Hounds of the Internet: Things Sherlockian

Karen Anderson, Joe Siclari

Saturday 5:00pm Exeter: The Grand Tour of the SF Solar System: the Solar System as It Was

Michael F. Flynn, Steve Miller, Robert J. Sawyer, Allen Steele (m)

Saturday 5:00pm Gardner: Tall Dark and Handsomoid: the Rise of Romance SF

From Sharon Lee and Steve Miller to Catherine Asaro to Lois McMaster Bujold, established SF authors are definitely crossing over that sweet savage line. Will Mike Resnick's next anthology be Alternate Bodices? — We've got serious questions also. Do fanboys read romances too? Are they likely to prove more successful than the ever-struggling SF/mystery subgenre? When will we see that first great interspecies couple? Do Kirk/Spock count?

Ginjer Buchanan (m), Laura Anne Gilman, Dara Joy, Timothy E. Liebe

Saturday 5:00pm Hampton: Victorian Fantasy Art

Richard M. Hescox

Saturday 5:00pm Ind. W: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century?

Never mind that several British polls place Mr. T atop his century, a 1999 poll named LOTR the book of the millennium. Why? What has it got in its pocketses? Did Tolkien accomplish something quite new, or very old? Sum up the spirit of his age, or resist it? Did he have it easier because he caught so many readers so young? Can his rep last another 100 years? (And what does the literary establishment's reaction to this tell us?)

Debra Doyle, Gregory Feeley, Paul Levinson, Ann Tonsor Zeddies

Saturday 5:00pm Kent: Introduction to the Interstitial Arts Movement

Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman

Saturday 5:30pm Conference: Reading

Michael A. Burstein, Matthew Jarpe

Saturday 5:30pm Kent: Fonts, Layout & Design

Do you love good graphic design, lovely fonts and great layout? Join two graphics artists to talk about their craft.

Alice N. S. Lewis, Geri Sullivan

Saturday 7:00pm DragonsLair: Storyboarding a Fairy Tale

Ruth Sanderson

Saturday 8:00pm Ind. W: Guest of Honor Interview

Editor David G. Hartwell tries to shatter Stephen Baxter's shell of shaggy wild- man loudmouthed excess, exposing the quiet skiffy scribe within. Topics may include what it's like to work with Sir Arthur C. Clarke, whether NASA has turned into a Dickensian if not Kafkaesque bureaucracy, how many people so far have had sex in space, and why King Arthur shows up naked with a punk haircut in Baxter's new novel Coalescent.

Stephen Baxter, David G. Hartwell

Saturday 8:45pm Ind. W: Boskone & NESFA Awards

Presentations to our honored guests — and announcement of the winners of the NESFA Short Story Contest, the Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist, and the ever-popular ("Put it where the sun doesn't shine") Skylark Award!

Gay Ellen Dennett

Saturday 9:00pm Exeter: What Fresh Horror

The great horror scare may be over. Apparently it's not going to surpass SF or fantasy as a popular publishing genre anytime soon. But the panel considers whether talents such as Graham Joyce, Poppy Z. Brite, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Chico Kidd may help breathe new life into horrible old bottles.

F. Brett Cox, Kathryn Cramer (m), Don D'Ammassa, Steven Sawicki, Darrell Schweitzer

Saturday 9:00pm Hampton: 1953: The Year in Review (Getting Ready for the Retro Hugos)

The Retro Hugos are awards for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The twist: they're bestowed for a year in which a Worldcon was held but no Hugo awards were given. So since there were no Hugos or equivalent awards in 1954, this summer here in Boston, our own Noreascon Four will hand out Retro Hugos for works first published or released in 1953. Got all that? Good. Now let's talk about which works are worthy.

Karen Anderson, Daniel Kimmel, Mark L. Olson, Joe Siclari

Saturday 10:00pm Dalton: NESFA Hymnal Singalong

Lois H. Mangan

Saturday 10:00pm Hampton: 2003: The Year in Review (Getting Ready for the Hugos)

Wow — does your vote ever count! What's hot and what's not, among all the books, stories, movies, and art our genres produced in 2003? Take in the pitch, pitch your own favorites, and catch some others. You're about to make some really good writers, artists, and fans ecstatic!

Claire Anderson, Don D'Ammassa, Bob Devney, Jim Mann

Saturday 10:00pm Ind. W: Hal Clement Charity Auction to Benefit Joslin Diabetes Center

An auction to benefit Hal Clement's charity, the Joslin Diabetes Center.


Sunday 10:00am Ind. Foyer: Autographing

David G. Hartwell

Sunday 10:00am Clarendon: Those Terrible Middle Ages!

When did the Church teach that women did not have souls? Were serfs no better than slaves? Was art a lost art? Was scientific investigation suppressed? Were people chained by superstition? Come hear what Theodoric of Fribourg said about rainbows or Jean Buridan about objects at rest. Learn what the Neudorfen and Flemish rights have to do with the Wild West. Why do we still pay heriot? And what do Licet juris and the Summa Theologica have to say about civil rights? What did Blanche of Castile tell Louis of France when he wanted to go on Crusade? How did what went down at Garde-Frainet affect the modern Middle East? Learn how to mind your manors and serf the net — and why we say the Middle Ages and not the Middle Age.

Michael F. Flynn

Sunday 10:00am Dalton: How Do You Become a Pro and Not Lose Your Fannishness?

Ginjer Buchanan, Jane Jewell, George R. R. Martin, Priscilla Olson (m), Charles Stross

Sunday 10:00am DragonsLair: Storytelling or Reading

Jane Yolen

Sunday 10:00am Exeter: How Extended Edition DVDs Are Changing the Nature of Movies

MaryAnn Johanson, Jim Mann, Laurie Mann, Steven Sawicki

Sunday 10:00am Fairfax: How to Get Your Manuscript Noticed by an Editor

Leigh Grossman, Terry Kepner, Betsy Mitchell, Wen Spencer

Sunday 10:00am Gardner: Ill Winds: The Plagues to Come

Is SARS a taste of our future? Will Ebola establish itself in Massachusetts? Will the combination of biotechnology, terrorists, and rapid movement of people usher in a new Dark Age of plagues? Or will our expertise in medicine, public health, and rational drug design mean that plagues get one chance to kill before they are thwarted? We'll consider plagues both natural and man-made.

Genny Dazzo, Robert I. Katz, Robert J. Sawyer, Ann Tonsor Zeddies

Sunday 10:00am Hampton: The Best Books of 2003

Charles N. Brown

Sunday 10:00am Kent: Alien Environments on Earth

Any Thomson has visited environments as alien as you can find on this planet: the Sechelles, the Antarctic, Zanzibar, the Galapagos, the Falklands, and the Aleutians. She'll tell us all about them.

Amy Thomson

Sunday 10:00am Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

Michael A. Burstein, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller

Sunday 10:30am Conference: Reading

Allen Steele

Sunday 10:30am Kent: Reading with Your Eyes Closed: A Look at Audiobooks

Why do we ignore audiobooks? Is it just that they're such a small part of the market, or because they're not different in any interesting way from printed books? Does a well-read audiobook add anything to the story that a reader won't get? What is the role of abridgement? (Is it an abomination?)

Bruce Coville

Sunday 11:00am :

Daniel P. Dern

Sunday 11:00am Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Keith R. A. DeCandido, Peter J. Heck, Darrell Schweitzer, Amy Thomson

Sunday 11:00am Clarendon: Are Spaceships passe?

Is space travel no longer important in society's imagination? Has children's literature abandoned space for dragons?

Michael A. Burstein, Jordin T. Kare, Ian Randal Strock

Sunday 11:00am Conference: Reading

Steven Sawicki

Sunday 11:00am Dalton: The SFBC at Fifty

The Science Fiction Book Club has been directly marketing inexpensive hardcover editions of current and classic SF and fantasy to an eager (and grateful) audience for half a century. What were the most notable releases? Which ones got away? How do collectors feel about club editions? What are the club's prospect in the T-Rex-eat-puppy world of modern publishing?

Ellen Asher, Fred Lerner

Sunday 11:00am DragonsLair: Kid Filk: Mary Ellen Todd-Cocrane & Rachel Silverman

Gary D. McGath

Sunday 11:00am Exeter: The Literary Tradition: How SF Fits (and Doesn't Fit) with American Literature

What's our genre's relation to the other books on the American shelf? Well, would you call the Riverworld series a response to Huckleberry Finn, exactly? How helpful is the academy in this, given a history of sneers relieved by a few cases of sneaky fondness? Beyond whether Gene Wolfe should get the Pulitzer (or the Nobel), where do we stand? South of the Southern Renaissance? Just north of nurses' stories?

F. Brett Cox (m), Gregory Feeley, Jane Jewell

Sunday 11:00am Fairfax: Historical Myths at the Root of SF & F

Science fiction and fantasy are embedded in our historical past, and frequently use historical settings and events (how many times has the Roman Empire fallen in SF?) But not all of the seams being mined are historical, and many are based more on historical legends and popular cultural stories than on what really happened. For example, consider the misunderstood scientist-inventor; the Inquisition (& the Gallileo myth); etc. To what extent do SF & Fantasy really base their worlds on the real one?

Lisa A. Barnett, Solomon Davidoff, Esther Friesner, Ellen Kushner, Peter Weston

Sunday 11:00am Gardner: Viable Paradise: the Workshop

James Patrick Kelly, James D. Macdonald

Sunday 11:00am Hampton: Choosing What to Paint

Bob Eggleton, Richard M. Hescox, Margaret Organ-Kean

Sunday 11:00am Ind. W: Hominids

Stephen Baxter, Judith Berman, Robert J. Sawyer

Sunday 11:00am Kent: What's the reason for the Green Room?

Priscilla Olson

Sunday 11:00am Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

Rosemary Kirstein, Ann Tonsor Zeddies

Sunday 11:30am Conference: Reading

Michael F. Flynn

Sunday 11:30am Kent: Airships and Balloons

James Cambias

Sunday 12:00 n Ind. Foyer: Autographing

James Patrick Kelly, Ellen Kushner, Paul Levinson, Delia Sherman, Shane Tourtellotte

Sunday 12:00 n Clarendon: The Story on Storage

From terabyte hard drives to memory sticks, we're remembering more and more on less and less. What are the latest trends in information storage, and what's coming up soon? Are we about to enter a Storage Revolution, or are we in one already? How would cheap tiny megastorage change our lives? Any 5 year, 10 year, 25 year forecasts? And in the longer term, are we condemning future generations to complex, frustrating infostorage archaeology?

Edie Stern

Sunday 12:00 n Conference: Reading

George R. R. Martin

Sunday 12:00 n Dalton: Stuff You've Probably Missed

Classics that even a well-read fan may not have read. (By "classic" we mean good stuff, not obsolescent oldies.)

Ellen Asher, Kathryn Cramer, Daniel Hatch

Sunday 12:00 n DragonsLair: Magic

Daniel P. Dern

Sunday 12:00 n Exeter: The Heirs of Robert E. Howard: Sword and Sorcery Today

Judith Berman, Esther Friesner, Fred Lerner (m), Darrell Schweitzer

Sunday 12:00 n Fairfax: Girl Power: the Emergence of Strong Female Characters in YA Fantasy

Let's talk about the relatively new and really welcome development of Young Adult Fantasy characters that kick ass, take names, and wear scrunchies. Yeah! You go, girls.

Barbara Chepaitis (m), Bruce Coville, Debra Doyle, Tamora Pierce, Jane Yolen

Sunday 12:00 n Gardner: MacDonald's Knights Templar

James D. Macdonald

Sunday 12:00 n Hampton: The Blind Men and the Quantum

John G. Cramer

Sunday 12:00 n Ind. W: As Night Falls: SF Visions of the Far Future

H.G. Wells, at the end of "The Time Machine," gave us a brief vision of the very far future. Stapledon, Clarke, Cordwainer Smith, and others have followed in his tracks, offering us provocative visions of the far future. The panel looks at this subgenre — its history, its present, and its techniques.

Jeffrey A. Carver, Rosemary Kirstein, Robert J. Sawyer, Karl Schroeder (m)

Sunday 12:00 n Kent: Noreascon 4 Program Brainstorming

How about All Terry Pratchett All the Time? Or a "There Can Be Only One" Singularity Panel? Hugo Baked Beans Banquet? Combo Filksing/Lime Jello Gargle? "The Blacking of Fandom" Hair Dye Demo? Gaiman/Hartwell Fashion Strutdown? George R. R. Martin Kill-A-Character Contest? Bring all these and more of your best ideas for this summer's Worldcon, right here in Boston!

Priscilla Olson

Sunday 12:00 n Commonwealth: Kaffeklatsch

Terry A. McGarry, Wen Spencer

Sunday 1:00pm Ind. Foyer: Autographing

Jeffrey A. Carver, Michael F. Flynn, Karl Schroeder, Allen Steele

Sunday 1:00pm Clarendon: Shoot the Pros

Michael Benveniste

Sunday 1:00pm Conference: Reading

Tamora Pierce

Sunday 1:00pm Dalton: Art Show Auction

Sunday 1:00pm DragonsLair: Ilustration Workshop

Work with an artist to develop characters and create illustrations using a workbook layout of The Three Bears.

Margaret Organ-Kean

Sunday 1:00pm Gardner: The Dreaded Mary Sue

Could it be the most useful literary concept of our Me Millennium? We'll discuss myriad examples, from fanfic, flicks, and major SF works that should be ashamed of themselves. You see, in the classic Mary Sue story, a character happens to be amazingly like the author, except said MS is incredibly more attractive, accomplished, and most of all accepted nay beloved than anybody outside of a blatant wish fulfillment fant— oh.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Sunday 1:00pm Hampton: Writing Your SECOND Novel

Many writing panels discuss writing your first novel and getting it published. In some ways, the second book can be harder. It certainly has challenges of its own. The panel looks at writing and publishing that all-important second book.

Laura Anne Gilman (m), Sharon Lee, Shariann Lewitt, Amy Thomson

Sunday 1:00pm Ind. W: The Fermi Paradox

Stephen Baxter, John G. Cramer, Mark L. Olson

Sunday 1:00pm Kent: Your Boston Worldcon

Ve vant your ideasss.....

Deb Geisler

Sunday 2:00pm Dalton: Theme Concert: Wings

Gary D. McGath

Sunday 2:00pm Exeter: The Other Side of Kid Lit: YA Short Fiction

Debra Doyle, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Jane Yolen

Sunday 2:00pm Fairfax: Tea with Tammy

A chance for fans between 11 and 18 to meet with a much-admired author. (Please sign up at Information ahead of time!) For heroines and heroes who just love to have fun with lethal weapons!

Tamora Pierce

Sunday 2:00pm Gardner: Twenty Panels in an Hour

Using patented ThoughtSquasher compression technology, the seasoned "Sunday Funny Sunday" crew whips through 20 complete panel topics (not including this one) in 50 minutes or less, just because they can. Warning: do not apply directly to brain.

Michael A. Burstein, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Bob Devney (m), Leigh Grossman

Sunday 2:00pm Ind. W: Regency Dance

Suford Lewis

Sunday 3:00pm Board: MASSFILC meeting

Gary D. McGath

Sunday 3:00pm Conference: Arisia Corporate Meeting

Sunday 3:00pm Exeter: Gripe Session

Deb Geisler (m), Rick Katze, Priscilla Olson