Minicon 36 Program

There's also a rough program grid online.


Gordy's Proposition

Friday 3:30 PM Salon C

At Minicon 35, Gordon R. Dickson observed (or proposed, or hypothesized) that SF will be a different place when the last person dies who remembers what it was like to live in a world in which there was no science fiction. Does he have a point? How is Our Beloved Genre changed by no longer being an arcane and frequently solitary passion?

Scott Imes (M), Denny Lien, Fred Levy Haskell, Jim Young

Reading: Laurel Winter

Friday 5:00 PM Board Room 2

Laurel Winter

Mistakes I Made When I Was a Neo

Friday 5:00 PM Salon B

Panelists swap stories about their more interesting mistakes when they first came into fandom. The question is, if you had it all to do over again, would you do something different? Or would you make all the same mistakes, only sooner and more frequently.

Karen Cooper, Laurel Krahn (M), Jim Young

Fantasy: The Long and Short of it

Friday 5:00 PM Salon A

Is there some reason fantasy novels -- especially series novels -- keep getting larger? Is there some logic to their progression from bullet-stoppers and bugcrushers to cinderblocks and household appliances? What are the benefits and the drawbacks of writing at such length?

Jim Frenkel, Lois McMaster Bujold (M), Tom Whitmore

Reading: Jane Yolen

Friday 6:30 PM Board Room 2

Jane Yolen

Slugger's Cocktail Party

Friday 6:30 PM in the Consuite

With bartender Jack Targonski, blogmaster Peter Hentges, and a special appearance by the Minicon Grenadine.

Opening Ceremonies

Friday 8:00 PM Salon C

It's an opening ceremony. We all know what happens. You see the guests of honor, the chair makes a speech, yadda yadda. You're all just waiting for Ask Dr. Mike anyway. Enjoy.

David Dyer-Bennet (M), Leslie Fish, Ken MacLeod, Jo Walton


Ask Dr. Mike

Friday 9:00 PM Salon C

Once again, Dr. Mike answers your question on how the Universe works.

John M. Ford

Six Degrees of Fandom Handshaking Party

Friday 10:00 PM in the Consuite

You've hugged your fellow fen. You've shared elevators and even hotel rooms with them. But have you shaken their hands? Come to this party and formalize your links to the rest of fandom and to the rest of the world.


Friday 10:30 PM Salon E

My Crackpot Theory

Friday 10:30 PM Salon B

Fans want to understand how the world works, and they tend to draw their own conclusions. Come and hear about theories that sounded good at the time. Bring some of your own to share. True believers attend at their own risk.

Karen Cooper (M), Dean Gahlon, Sharon Kahn, Jon Singer

Round Robin Poetry Reading

Saturday 9:30 AM Board Room 2

Breaking Out of the Pack: When Just Being Published Isn't Enough Any More

Saturday 9:30 AM Salon B

Making the jump from low-paying, low-circulation publications to venues with bigger audiences and deeper pockets can be as hard as getting published in the first place. "Writing better" is always the answer; but our panelists will discuss techniques for playing to your strengths, and differentiating your work from the default-level "passable and publishable, but so what" submissions.

Eleanor Arnason (M), Moshe Feder, Jim Frenkel, Katya Reimann

Convention Fears and Fantasies: The Rich Inner Life of Fandom

Saturday 11:00 AM Board Room 3

Do you have recurrent dreams in which you're attending a convention? If so, what happens in them? Have you ever seen a concom member develop strange stress-related delusions? Was that concom member you? And where do you imagine your friends are, and what do you imagine they're doing, during those disheartening stretches when you've trudged all over the convention but can't find anyone you know?

Corwin Brust, Catharine Doyle (M), Suford Lewis, Julia Lee, Heather Anne Nicoll


The Year In Science, Part I (Physics and Astronomy)

Saturday 11:00 AM Salon A

Keeping the science in science fiction -- in this case, Physics and Astronomy. Come hear a mix of professionals and laypersons tell what's new.

John Houghton, Jordin Kare, Anthony Lewis, Mark L. Olson (M), Jon Singer, Bob Webber

TAM LIN, by "William Shakespeare," as considered canonical on Barrayar: A play by Jo Walton,

with specific reference to the works of Pamela Dean and Lois McMaster Bujold (who

cooperated) and William Shakespeare (who didn't).

Saturday 11:00 AM Salon C

A group reading.

Pamela Dean, John M. Ford, Terry Garey, Peg Kerr, Elise Matthesen, Graydon Saunders, Jon Singer, Jo Walton, Laurel Winter

Fannish Ethics: Who Sets the Standards of Our Community?

Saturday 12:30 PM Board Room 2

Are manners more important than rules? Who oppresses whom in fandom? And other interesting questions.

Kent Bloom, Beth Friedman, Elspeth Kovar, Eileen Lufkin (M), Scott Raun

The Works of Ken MacLeod

Saturday 12:30 PM Salon B

A discussion of the works of Ken MacLeod

Steven Brust, David Dyer-Bennet, Michael Levy, Patrick Nielsen Hayden (M), Jo Walton

Good Story, Bad Ending

Saturday 12:30 PM Board Room 3

There's no story so good that you can't wreck it by sticking on the wrong ending -- bringing in a deus ex machina, telling too much or too little, tieing up plot threads that don't match, tacking on an unrelated moral, or revealing that it's all been a dream. Panelists rant about their least favorite botches, and tell us what should have happened.

Lisa Eisenberg, Leslie Fish, Denny Lien (M), Christopher Li, Jim Mann

Junkbox Wars

Saturday 2:00 PM Salon E

It's Junkyard Wars (or Scrapheap Challenge) writ small! Teams will compete to build an assigned device in 90 minutes, using only the materials they can find in our junk heap. When their time is up, they'll compete to see whose machine rules. Emcee and Junkmaster: Jordin Kare. (Note: Come a bit early if you can.)

Jordin Kare


The Celtic Fringe, Now and Tomorrow: Everything You Know Is Wrong

Saturday 2:00 PM Salon C

Scotland, Ireland, Wales: the so-called "Celtic Fringe" is the setting, or the basis, for endless imaginative tales. But they're also real places in the modern world, far more interesting the the products of twee fantasizing, and they'll be real places in the world of centuries hence. What problems are they actually facing, where are they actually going, what genuine skiffy speculations do their situations inspire?

Ken MacLeod, Emmet Obrien, Jo Walton (M), Jane Yolen

Reading: Pamela Dean

Saturday 2:00 PM Board Room 2

Pamela Dean

Fraud on the Internet

Saturday 2:00 PM Salon B

MAKE MONEY FAST!!! Tales of scam literary agents in league with fake publishers, Nigerian "Spanish Prisoner" swindles, fabulous dotcom startups, pieces of the True Cross for sale on eBay, and a host of other opportunities too good to be true. Has the Internet ushered in a new golden age of confidence games, or is it merely the old brazen age in a new gilt coating?

Alice Bentley, Doug Faunt, Phil Kaveny, John Ladwig (M), Melanie Orphen

Rocky Mountain Horrible Picture Show

Saturday 2:00 PM Salon A

A compelling narrative of invasion, betrayal, conflict, and more invasion. The Truth that "They" don't want you to know. I'd tell you more, but "They" are everywhere. Taken from the discarded slides of the National Forest Service.

Kip Williams

Roundtable: SF and Henry James.

Saturday 2:00 PM Director's Room 1

Phil Kaveny

How e-text Won't Change Publishing --

Saturday 3:30 PM Board Room 3

-- Though it will have some interesting effects. But don't be disappointed; you've probably missed noticing the previous two or three revolutions in publishing. Come and hear about those too.

Dean Gahlon, Patrick Nielsen Hayden (M), Jane Yolen

The Year In Science, Part II (Biosciences)

Saturday 3:30 PM Salon A

Still Keeping the science in science fiction -- in this case, the glamorous, fast-moving and often controversial field of Biology. Come and hear all the hot new science and the equally hot ethics questions that are under debate.

Priscillia Olson (M), Jon Singer, Susan Smith


Reading: Ken MacLeod

Saturday 3:30 PM Salon C

Ken MacLeod

Reading: Katya Reimann

Saturday 3:30 PM Board Room 2

Katya Reimann

Roundtable: Moderating Program Items

Saturday 3:30 PM Director's Room 1

Tom Whitmore

The Civil War: Is It Over Yet?

Saturday 3:30 PM Salon B

It can't be over; it's still a hot topic. Panelists discuss the real underlying issues of the war -- the ones which were settled, and the ones which remain.

Steven Brust (M), Peg Kerr, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Erik V. Olson, Kathy Routliffe

"History is the Trade Secret of Science Fiction" --Ken MacLeod

Saturday 5:00 PM Board Room 3

From Doc Smith's sentimental Romanitas and Asimov's Spenglerian Foundation series to the current cutting edge of the field, SF writers have plundered history to build their futures. Is it possible that history is the actual subject matter of the genre, and its "Science Fiction" orientation was a function of events and developments taking place at the time SF was broken out as a commercial category? And what theories and assumptions about causality, human nature, and other issues have the field's writers picked up along with their history?

Peg Kerr, Ken MacLeod (M), Lois McMaster Bujold, Steven H Silver

Reading: Jo Walton

Saturday 5:00 PM Salon C

Jo Walton

Remembering Gordon R. Dickson 1923-2001

Saturday 5:00 PM Salon A

Writer, fan, performer, friend of Minicon, and a legend of the field. Come and help us remember him

John M. Ford, Peter Hentges, Joel Rosenberg, David Wixon (M)


What the Heck Is the Matter with the Comics Industry?

Saturday 5:00 PM Salon B

People haven't stopped wanting to read, write, draw, ink, letter, color, distribute, sell, or collect comics. So why is the comics industry in such terrible shape?

Peter Hentges, Sharon Kahn, Greg Ketter (M), Kathy Routliffe

Ten Things Computers Shouldn't Be Used For

Saturday 5:00 PM Board Room 2

To a man with a hammer, all problems look like nails. Our favorite new tool of choice is the computer, and we're using it for everything. While computers are frequently nifty to have around, there are times when they're not the answer. While it's true that we can print today's weather forecast onto our toast, that doesn't means we should do it. Our panelists discuss the serious and silly applications of computer technology, in theory and in practice.

Seth Breidbart, Mark L. Olson (M), Mike Pins, Sharon Sbarsky

Reading: Steven Brust

Saturday 8:00 PM Board Room 3

Steven Brust

Trivia Bowl

Saturday 8:00 PM Salon C

It's fun, it's fast, it's ballistic. To enter, just walk in the door. Our panel of master trivialists asks the questions; the first person to call out the correct answer gets a piece of chocolate thrown at them.

When it's all over, the one with largest uneaten stack of chocolate wins.

Priscillia Olson, Mark L. Olson

Intimate with 433 Eros: First Contact with an Asteroid

Saturday 8:00 PM Salon A

The first spacecraft ever to orbit an asteroid, NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous/Shoemaker spacecraft ended its mission on a spectacular note by touching down on Eros. After a year in orbit gathering data, its "landing" provided additional extreme close-up picture and on-the-spot measurements of soil composition.

Jordin Kare

When Weirds Collide

Saturday 8:00 PM Consuite

Mardi Gras meets the Minnesota State Fair at Minicon. Pickle hats, masks-on-a-stick, butter sculpting, beads, floats that float, sparkly pig ears, DavE Romm's zydeco kazoo band, numbered ducks, and a Richard Tatge lightshow. Dean Gahlon will mix drinks you'll wish you'd never heard of but may enjoy anyway. Peeps-on-a-stick and perhaps even Peeps jousting (in Somebody Else's Microwave, of course). Prize ribbons for weird-colliding costumes, winning horticulture, crafts, and fine art exhibits, and for other participatory events.


Concert: Leslie Fish

Saturday 9:00 PM Salon E

Leslie Fish

Bedtime Stories, with Milk and Cookies.

Saturday 9:00 PM Board Room 2

Jane Yolen. Milk. Cookies. Stories. Need we say more?

Jane Yolen

The Return Of Kids, Don't Try This At Home

Saturday 10:00 PM Salon C

Even more tales of tennis-ball cannons, balloon-powered chaise lounges, magnesium bonfires, and other experiments that'll never make it into the respectable textbooks. This year's panel of expert reprobates take "do as I say, not as I do" to explosive new heights, discussing high-yield science projects which you can build at home with just a few simple ingredients, but which you probably shouldn't try at all.

Mike Pins (M), Jon Singer

More Filking

Saturday 10:30 PM Salon E

War Stories: Conrunner Tales

Sunday 11:00 AM Salon A

Just in case you thought running conventions was dull. Hear tales of the ones that got away, the ones you wish would go away, the bizarre circumstances and improbable saves. Learn the true inner meaning of "SMOF"

Janice Bogstad, Leslie Fish, Anthony Lewis, Steven H Silver, Tom Whitmore (M)

Interview: Leslie Fish

Sunday 11:00 AM Salon C

Lisa Eisenberg, Leslie Fish

British SF and Fantasy You Haven't Read (and Should)

Sunday 11:00 AM Salon B

Once stigmatized as a gentle eddy of pastoral dystopias and "bracing gloom," British SF is now the white-hot center of the field. Neotraditionalist and edgy all at once, writers ranging from Stephen Baxter and Ken MacLeod to Alastair Reynolds and China Mieville are writing powerful, clangorous, challenging SF of scope and rigor, works that are suddenly at the top of many American readers' lists. Why is this? And what should you be reading, new guys and otherwise?

Denny Lien, Ken MacLeod, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Jo Walton, Tom Whitmore (M)


Lady Poetesses From Hell

Sunday 11:00 AM Board Room 2

Once more, the Lady Poetesses From Hell don their best hats, buff up their best manners, and read their exceedingly unladylike poems.

Terry Garey, Elise Matthesen, Laurel Winter, Jane Yolen

Interview: Ken MacLeod

Sunday 12:30 PM Salon C

Ken MacLeod, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Reading: John M. Ford

Sunday 12:30 PM Board Room 2

John M. Ford

What Should I Read Next?

Sunday 12:30 PM Salon B

Our very expert panelists help you find the good stuff.

Eric Heideman, Scott Imes (M), Mary Kay Kare, Russel Letson, Michael Levy

Interview: Jo Walton

Sunday 2:00 PM Salon C

Graydon Saunders, Jo Walton

Minicon 37 Kickoff Meeting

Sunday 2:00 PM Salon A

We're looking forward. Meet the chair of Minicon 37, and find out his plans for the next Minicon.

Erik Baker, Corwin Brust

Closing Ceremonies

Sunday 3:30 PM Salon C

The traditional way to end the convention. See the president get executed. Hear dramatic speeches. Smell the ideas burning for Minicon 37. Say goodbye, and we'll see you next year.

David Dyer-Bennet (M), Leslie Fish, Ken MacLeod, Jo Walton