Here’s my schedule for Arisia, January 13-16, 2012 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.
Schools for Magicians
Fri 5:30 PM (Douglas) – Cecilia Tan (mod), Charlene Brusso, Victoria Janssen, Bob Kuhn, Kenneth Schneyer
A Hogwarts degree isn’t the only path from mundanity to magehood. Let’s consider how writers have portrayed schools, including Roke, Unseen University, Brakebills, and more. Why a school setting? Is it due to the innate familiarity for both reader and writer? Having a built-in rationale for info-dumps? How do these fantastical academies compare to SF’s schools for space cadets. As we look outside of Harry Potter, we’ll examine the continue fascination with such sorcerous scholastic settings.
Fri 10:00 PM (Quincy)
Authors Suzanne Palmer, Sarah Smith, and Kenneth Schneyer will read selections from their works.
Can You Like Literary SF Without Being a Snob?
Sat 10:00 AM (Douglas) — Kenneth Schneyer (mod), Grant Carrington, John Bowker, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Andrea Hairston.
From George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, through Thomas Pynchon and Margaret Atwood, to China Mieville, Gary Shteyngart, and Michael Chabon, authors of “serious” or “literary” fiction have used fantastic elements to tell their stories. Is it possible to like their writing, and the more popular forms of science fiction such as Dr. Who novelizations or superhero comics? How do we understand a genre like science fiction which combines both kinds of works?
Use Your Words: Dialogoue, Prose, and Tone
Sun 2:30 PM (Lewis) – Joy Marchand (mod), Debra Doyle, Resa Nelson, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Kenneth Schneyer
It’s been said that the purpose of dialogue is to move the plot forward. How do you do that effectively? How does choice of prose change the reader’s take on the setting and the story? If you have a specific tone in mind–light and humorous or dark and full of angst–how can that be conveyed effectively through your dialogue and prose? Our panelists discuss the methods and mechanics for constructing effective dialogue and prose to help set the tone of your story.
“But that’s not science fiction, is it?”
Sun 5:30 (Griffin) PM
Jeff Hecht (mod), James L. Cambias, Myke Cole, Kenneth Schneyer
Yesterday’s science fiction becomes today’s science fact (except for flying cars, of course). But with the pace of innovation accelerating, it’s possible for plots to be passe by the time they make it through the publication pipeline. What are some examples where even the newest sci-fi reads like a period piece? What are sci-fi authors to do?
Making Politics Work in Fiction
Sun 7:00 PM (Griffin) – Kenneth Schneyer (mod), Phoebe Wray, Michael A. Ventrella, Leah Cypess, Kimberley Long-Ewing
Real world political narratives are filled with cultural revolutions, passionate speeches about social change, war, and intricate, Machievellian plots. How can you portray them convincingly in your story? From noble houses in fantasy worlds to galaxy-spanning empires in SF, how do you make them believable and engaging without burying your reader in the intricacies of your setting’s political theory?