Arisia is an annual science fiction and fantasy convention, held in Boston in the Westin Hotel drawing bit more than 4,000 fans each every year. This will be my seventh year at the convention and the fifth on panels. So, yeah, I really like the community that turns out for this thing and it's pretty much the high point of each winter.
I like how welcoming and supportive the community at Arisia is. No matter what your interest, there is a track where like-minded individuals can gather, discuss, and participate in that fandom. There are certainly larger conventions that offer that sort of "big tent" ethos, but few that have the cozier, more casual feel of Arisia.
So, anyway, if you are interested in hearing me talk about literature and media from the past year, I'm attending the following panels (Descriptions and panelists taken directly from the Arisia program schedule):
The Alien in the Alien Location: Burroughs
Fri (1/13) 7:00 PMLocation: Burroughs
- Description: Many recent sci-fi books have included very alien aliens: creatures whose bodies and thought processes differ dramatically from those of humans - for instance, the Trisolarans in Liu Cixin's *Three Body* trilogy and the Presger in Ann Leckie's *Imperial Radch* trilogy. How do authors convey this feeling of difference? What is gained and lost in the story by having aliens that are so far away from humanity? Panelists: Steve E Popkes (moderator), Dennis McCunney, Sonya Taaffe, Morgan Crooks, Corbin Covault
Sunday (1/15) 5:30 PM
- "Preacher" is a marvelously twisted TV show that's not only a hit, but which seems to be toeing the line between faithfulness to the source material and an awareness of the need to shift content when working in a different medium like TV. We'll talk about the wonderful (and thankfully slightly more diverse than in the comics) cast, the wicked sense of humor, our favorite scenes (the motel fight, anyone?), and where we hope the show goes (and doesn't go) in season 2. Panelists: Hildy Silverman (moderator), Antonia Pugliese, Dr. James Prego, Randee Dawn, Morgan Crooks
Monday (1/16) 10:00 AM
- The power of SFF to comfort is well explored. Let's take a look at the other side. SFF has an equal power to discomfit and bedevil readers. It can be what the story speculates, such as A. Igoni Barrett's Blackass, how it speculates, such as Mark Danielewski's work, or the characters and situations, such as Helen Oyoyemi or Yoko Ogawa's stories. What speculations keep you up at night? What might we gain from reading the uncomfortable genre? Panelists: Sarah Smith (moderator), Meredith Schwartz, Dennis McCunney, Morgan Crooks
Short Sharp ShocksLocation: Hale
Monday (1/16) 1:00 PM
- Simply put, you can do things in short fiction that you can't do anywhere else. Experiments that only hold up for a few thousand words, twists that would fall flat at greater length, intense playfulness with form and function, unrelenting emotional intensity, and more. Let's talk about the best short fiction of today and what makes it great. Panelists: Gillian Daniels (moderator), Keffy R.M. Kehril, Andrea Corbin, Morgan Crooks, MJ Cunniff
I'm very excited for these panels and in the days ahead intend to write down a few thoughts on Ancient Logic for each.