Minicon 57 Programming

Programming at Minicon is a joint endeavor between the Programming team and everyone who comes to Minicon.

First, we open our inbox to your ideas. What do you want to see at Minicon? Are you passionate about a topic and would like to converse with several really cool people about it in front of a live audience?

Panelists needed for these ideas

If you would like to sit on one of these panels, e-mail

Is the manga better than the anime?: There have been a fair amount of discussions of whether a book or a movie is the "best" or most enjoyable form of a story. Let's talk about the anime adaptations of manga like Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, BLEACH, Frieren, Rise of the Shield Hero, and many others. Which version did you like best, and why? Are there any stories that you think would work better in one form than the other? Which current manga need to be animated?

The Next Generation: Fans of various ages discuss their experiences with popular media through the "ages." What was it like encountering Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, etc for the first time? What do those shows mean to you? Is there a generation gap in media?

Baking in F/SF: Does this really need a description?

Libraries and Bookstores and Magic, Oh, My! : There are tons of books featuring magical bookstores and libraries. Where are these magical places? What are they like? Why do we find these places so fascinating?

What to watch next: Our panel of experts recommends new TV series and movies to watch.

Collection Bias: The archivist or librarian is called upon to select the material for their collections. Obviously any bias, including unconscious bias, on the part of the curator will be reflected in the collection. How does this effect the offerings available? How does this effect the kinds of things being archived? Has this prevented important works or ideas from being seen? How can we make sure that we are presented with new works, new ideas and new viewpoints?

Preserving Popular Culture: Some libraries are now accumulating and archiving things like pulp magazines, convention program books, and fanzines. What do they do with them? How does the archive influence the current topics of research (and the results)? If it's not in an archive, does it exist? What things are being overlooked and lost right now?

"Comfort Books" There are an increasing number of SF/F books that spend more time on the character's lives than on the character's adventures. TJ Klune, Becky Chambers, T Kingfisher, and Travis Baldree are good examples. What makes a book a comfort (or cosy) book? What is the attraction of these books? Has a quiet morning at home with loved ones become a fantasy?

Neurodiversity in F/SF: Neurodiverse characters are showing up in both YA and adult F/SF. Where are they? Are they getting it right? Which books/shows are the best? And, maybe, assuming that such representation is merely a good start, what is the next step?

Transitioning Depicted in SF/F: We think of science fiction as being on the cutting edge of both science and sociologic advances. How has SF/F portrayed characters who are non-binary or able to swap genders at will? Has the image changed over the years? How can it be helpful or hurtful to a person who is transitioning?

Your personal collection: People who have private collections of books, zines, or manuscripts talk about what makes them excited about collecting. What do you collect? How do you find it? How do you curate a personal library? Do you keep everything you read or read everything you keep? And what do you intend to happen to it in the future?

The Joys of Book Clubs: Reading begins as a solitary activity, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Many people also want to share their excitement, or whatever, about what they are reading. Do you want to talk about a book? What can book clubs do? How are they organized? Are there any that you might want to join . . .?

What other kind of topics do we cover at Minicon?

Take a look at last year's program book for a sample! (The full programming schedule, with panel descriptions, starts on page 12.) And here are some program items that we plan to run at Minicon 57:

Gaming stories: Gamers talk about legendary in-game adventures—epic wipes, brilliant strategies, silly but effective RPG characters or Magic decks, unexpected successes and particularly strange game scenarios. What games give the players the most choices? Which games encourage such inventiveness? What games do you want to see tried?

Fan Fiction Bridging the Generations: Since much of fan fiction is posted anonymously, we can only guess who our favorite writers might be. Younger and older readers and writers of fan fiction discuss their experiences. When did you start reading/writing? What are your favorite fandoms? Who do you think writes the fan fiction that you like?

‘Shipping’ Light and Darkness: A good deal of fan fiction forms relationships between a character who is ‘good’ and one who is ‘evil.’ Some are canon (Aziraphale and Crowley, Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian); many are not (Harry and Draco). Why are we drawn to the merging of light and dark? Does it fill a psychological need in the readers or writers? Is there a common thread that either light or darkness is seeking in these relationships? Can love (or good sex) actually lead to understanding or forgiveness?

Want to Run a Convention?: Conventions don’t just appear overnight. This is a discussion of the mechanics of starting or maintaining a fan-run convention, by people who have done it, for people who might be interested in starting their own convention or helping out with another. Topics that might come up include: finances, finding members, inviting guests, hotels, themes, activities, policies, etc.

Is the manga better than the anime?: There have been a fair amount of discussions of whether a book or a movie is the “best” or most enjoyable form of a story. Let’s talk about the anime adaptations of manga like Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, BLEACH, Freiren, Rise of the Shield Hero, and many others. Which version did you like best, and why? Are there any stories that you think would work better in one form than the other? Which current manga need to be animated?

Meet up for fans of Chinese Dramas: Are you in love with live action or animated series from China? Are you interested in trying some but not sure where to start? Come meet other fans to swap recommendations, find out about newer dramas, and geek out about your own favorites.

Writing for adults: Usually we assume that writers know all about writing for adults and have to twist themselves somehow to write properly for children. Our panel of children’s and YA authors discuss the intricacies of writing for adults. Do you need to have a grown-up protagonist? Must there be deep philosophy or a minimum of pages? Is sex required at any point? Is it that much more difficult?

Researching Popular Culture: Some libraries are now accumulating and archiving things like pulp magazines, convention program books, and fanzines. What do they do with them? How does the archive influence the current topics of research (and the results)? If it’s not in an archive, does it exist? What things are being overlooked and lost right now?

Non-human Protagonists as Identity Exploration: There are lots of stories featuring non-human characters; Sentient bread. Wombat engineers. Warrior cats. Talking Rabbits. These are all effective ways of exploring humanity and differences like GLBTQ, disability.

Accidental Romance: It is often, but not always, obvious from the first introduction that two characters are going to fall in love. How do you tell which characters in a book are going to end up together? Is it always planned by the author? Is it different if those characters are GLBTQ+? Do the characters ever surprise the author or the reader

Marginalized Identities: Beyond Coding: There is a long history of using aspects of disability, race, culture, and queerness in characterization. This can be positive, or negative. What is coding of characters? How can the reader/writer recognize it? How has it been done badly? How can it be used for good?

How to Handle Small Press Publishing as a Business: The nuts and bolts of selecting editors and cover artists, choosing a publishing platform, and marketing your writing

The Future of Books and Bookstores: Some of us love the feeling of a solid (good) book in our hands. But there are now plenty of other ways to consume words, and plenty of places to get them besides bookstores. Will Amazon eventually fulfill its desire to become the only source of reading material? Are books themselves going out of style

Libraries and Bookstores and Magic, Oh, My! There are tons of books featuring magical bookstores and libraries. Where are these magical places? What are they like? Why do we find these places so fascinating

Parents in Young Adult Literature: Parents of child protagonists are often dead, missing, or exceedingly incompetent, supposedly because, in order for a young character to have adventures, their parents must be out of the way. Several new YA fantasy adventures are questioning this notion. What books have parents as encouraging or helpful? Can a young protagonist have enough agency to become a story, if their parents are involved?

Book discussion of Nettle and Bone: David Lenander and the Rivendell Mythopoeic Society.

A panel at a previous Minicon