Programming Update
By Beth Friedman & Teresa Nielsen Hayden

The "As Close to Final as We're Gonna Get Before the Con" Program Grid and Event Descriptions.

To quote Patrick Nielsen Hayden, we want better programming and less of it. We don't think it's a win if there are fifteen fascinating items going on at once; you're sure to miss fourteen of them, and since the best program items are the ones you keep talking about afterward, having your friends scattered amongst the audiences of fifteen items puts a real crimp in after-the-panel conversations. And if you're not talking about the program, you'll never meet that interesting person who'd otherwise have turned around and said "You too? I thought that was a really telling point--" and then you'd have been off and running on the subject for the next half-hour and wound up getting to know each other. Only now that'll never happen and your life will be blighted; so you can see this is a serious issue. We take it seriously. While we intend to have multiple tracks of programming, there'll be fewer of them. Keep those timelines tidy!

Besides, it's pretty darn rare to have fifteen fascinating program items running at once. We're tired of putting on program items that no one likes. Or even panels that everyone sort of likes, but that no one loves. It's demoralizing. If you're on a panel, we want you to know why you're on the panel. We want stuff that is intense and interesting and weird and we want you to help us.

Let us know what kind of intense and interesting and weird programs you want to see. Let us know what kind of intense and interesting and weird programs you want to be on. Tell us about the programming item that you always wanted to see at a convention but never thought you would, because you thought it wouldn't interest enough people, or because you couldn't think of enough people to make up a panel's worth. Don't assume nobody's interested. Tell us anyway.

In short, we want to hear your ideas. You can fill out this web form. We'll shortly be sending out programming letters to those who've expressed interest. If you want to express interest, our email address is

Costume Reception
By Beth Friedman

We're planning an afternoon costume reception. It won't be a masquerade, but it'll be a place for people in costumes to be seen, and for those who like seeing costumes to see lots of them. There'll be places for people in less mobile costumes to stand around and be admired, while more mobile types can meet and mingle.

There may be a cash bar, and there may be food--we're still working out the details. But we wanted to let those who do long-term planning not to put away the fabric and spangles--there'll be a place to show off the results at Minicon 34. (Those who love an excuse to dress up are also welcome to participate.)

There's a lot to be said for a few really hot panels held in a great big room with a large audience. People work harder when they've got a bigger audience. There's a sense of occasion. I've been to altogether too many multiple-thousand-person cons lately where most of the programming appeared to take place in closets, and to consist of panelists who outnumbered the audience.

Real convening happens when people have surprising conversations, discover interests they didn't know they had, find common ground with people they never understood before. We've gotten all too good at building conventions that allow everyone to tidily sort themselves out into razor-thin subgroups practically the moment they arrive at the hotel. It's boring. Boring boring boring boring boring. Can we do something else now, please?

--Patrick Nielsen Hayden

[Minn-StF] [Minicon] [Minicon 34]

Revised:   March 24, 1999
  by Laurel Krahn /