Day

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Tags

Location

Virtual Access

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

5:30 pm EST

Science Fiction for Museum Futures

Diplomat Ballroom, 5:30 pm EST *

Description: Museums aren’t just historical repositories. They play an essential role in shaping how we see the future. To celebrate the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary, Arizona State University led an effort to imagine possible futures for the national museums and the communities they serve. Join artist Brian Miller, Elizabeth Merritt of the Center for the Future of Museums, and Ruth Wylie of the Center for Science and the Imagination to discuss the project and explore how museums can ignite civic imagination.

Type: Panel

Undead Shows: TV and Movies That Won’t Die

Kress (Virtual), 5:30 pm EST View Replay

Some movie franchises and TV series were great when they started but lost their way long before their final installments. What are or were some of the worst examples of this phenomenon, and what caused these once-great properties to go off the rails?

Type: Panel

7:00 pm EST

Viewing Disabilities Through a Historical Lens

Congressional On-Site Viewing (Virtual), 7:00 pm EST View Replay

Crude conceptions of disabled people abound in shallowly-written historical fantasy and popular imagination, but how was disability actually treated in historical cultures around the world? Our panel of archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and other experts sheds a modern, well-researched light on this oft-stereotyped area.

Type: Panel

Thursday, December 16, 2021

4:00 pm EST

The Role of New Technology in Preserving History

Diplomat Ballroom, 4:00 pm EST View Replay

Understanding and preserving the past can be a challenge. How have new technologies, including developments in remote sensing and physical preservation, allowed us to study the past in a less destructive manner? Where do digital archives fit in? What about preserving digital media as artifacts?

Type: Panel

5:30 pm EST

Talking About the Big Heart Award

Blue Room, 5:30 pm EST View Replay

Worldcon awards the David A. Kyle Big Heart Award each year to a member of the science fiction community for their good work and great spirit. This panel features past winners of the Big Heart Award who will talk about its influence on fandom.

Type: Panel

Ye Olde Costumes

Cabinet Room, 5:30 pm EST *

What did it look like when our ancestors created and wore costumes? The panelist will discuss knowledge derived from theater, historical art, costume parties, tableau, pageants, and early photography.

Type: Panel

7:00 pm EST

Archaeological Fact in Historical Fiction

Calvert Room, 7:00 pm EST *

What was the Ishango bone for? What games did the Romans play with d20s? We may never know, but archaeologists spend a lot of time working it out. For the rest of us, it can be hard to tell the difference between a fact, a likely fact, and a mere educated guess. Learn how to tell the difference to make your historical fiction and fantasy better.

Type: Panel

Friday, December 17, 2021

10:00 am EST

History of the Fabric Arts

Cabinet Room, 10:00 am EST *

From horse-drawn felts to drop spindles, bone needles to stone loom weights, our experts consider how historical fabric art processes developed across various regions and what impact fabric technology had in the lives and products of historical peoples. Join art historians and fabric arts specialists as they talk about their favorite historical examples and coolest research discoveries.

Type: Panel

The Future of Work (Post Pandemic Edition)

Diplomat Ballroom, 10:00 am EST View Replay

Just when it looked as if labor was losing any levarage, and wages, working conditions and permanent work seemed on a downward spiral, the world is experiencing  post-pandemic labor shortages across sectors, and changes in worker expectations for compensation, safety, and work environment. What near-term labor market changes can we expect to be lasting? What can we learn from past plagues? What are the implications for extrapolating farther-flung future societies?

Type: Panel
Tags: History

11:30 am EST

Creating New Mythology from Hidden History

Blue Room, 11:30 am EST View Replay

One of the astounding things about the internet has been the way historians—both amateur and professional—have used it to research, write, and make available histories that have not been accessible before. Histories of the marginalized, oppressed, sidelined, and disappeared are now available as the stuff of story. This panel will discuss the pleasures, possibilities, and pitfalls of the new true stories writers are discovering and using.

Type: Panel

1:00 pm EST

Science Talk 3: Galileo and the Science Deniers

Harris (Virtual), 1:00 pm EST *

Mario Livio

A fresh biography of Galileo Galilei which puts his scientific discoveries in context. Disturbed by rampant science denial in America that has only intensified in recent years, I researched the life, ideas, and actions of this brilliant man who encountered similar challenges centuries ago. The result is a fascinating biography filled with lessons relevant for today—whether with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change. I will discuss a few of these topics in this talk. My book GALILEO and the Science Deniers was selected by The Washington Post as one of the best books of 2020.

The Public Domain We Don’t Have

Palladian Ballroom, 1:00 pm EST *

Entertainment industry lobbyists keep pushing copyright life further and further into the future. If copyright in the U.S. hadn’t been extended in 1976 and again in 1998, many more works would now be in the public domain. Join us to discuss the fun mashups we might have had if copyright extension hadn’t passed. Bring your own soapbox.

Type: Panel

2:30 pm EST

Textiles and Politics

Cabinet Room, 2:30 pm EST *

From the royal purples of the Mediterranean to sumptuary laws, what people wore (or were allowed to wear) was a political statement. Join historians in a discussion of the politics of clothing. Let’s talk about textiles, clothing styles, adornments, and politics.

Type: Panel

7:00 pm EST

Artificial Intelligence and Gender

Congressional On-Site Viewing (Virtual), 7:00 pm EST View Replay

Why do writers bother assigning gender to AIs? Would an AI accept the gender we assign it, and would it bother performing gender the way we often see in fiction? Do we ever see AIs performing masculinity in the same way we seem them performing femininity? Panelists will discuss how various writers have explored the genders of AIs over the years.

Type: Panel

Global Feminist Science Fiction

Kress (Virtual), 7:00 pm EST View Replay

Feminism doesn’t stand still. Nor is there only one feminism. Since the 1970s, science fiction and fantasy have been the genres par excellence to work out new ideas and explore what feminism can be and do. Our panelists discuss how feminism has grown and developed alongside the publishing world of science fiction and fantasy, how each has changed, and how they have changed each other.

Type: Panel

Saturday, December 18, 2021

11:30 am EST

The Tiffany Problem in Historical Fantasy

Harris (Virtual), 11:30 am EST View Replay

The name Tiffany sounds modern, but is actually old. Sometimes historical accuracy can look like an anachronism to modern readers. How should writers address this? When should you change things to seem more plausible, and when should you stand your ground?

Type: Panel

1:00 pm EST

Unsolved Historical Mysteries

Kress (Virtual), 1:00 pm EST View Replay

Where is Punt? Where is Cleopatra buried? Who was Jack the Ripper? What happened to the Minoans? If you had access to time travel, which burning questions and unsolved mysteries from history would you want to solve?

Type: Panel
Tags: History

2:30 pm EST

Pre/Post Iron Curtain Fiction in Eastern Europe

Calvert Room, 2:30 pm EST *

The fall of the Eastern bloc and Soviet-dominated governments signaled a massive change in the cultural, legal, and economic status of many former Soviet-satellite nations. Now with 30 years of perspective since the fall, how did this affect the themes, topics, and formats of genre fiction, in those nations, on the page and screen?

Type: Panel

4:00 pm EST

Changing the Future of the Future

Congressional On-Site Viewing (Virtual), 4:00 pm EST View Replay

Two academic talks:

Laura Osur: Alt-Histories Against Technological Determinism.

For All Mankind (Apple TV+, 2019-) and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series (2018, 2020) present alternative histories of the space race. Read in conversation with each other and as part of a global debate around ethical technology and the commercialization of space, these two properties argue against the theory of technological determinism and for a more active, nuanced, and gendered discussion of the history and future of technological development.

Jenna N. Hanchey: Africanfuturism as Developmental Rebellion.

I examine how Africanfuturism pushes back against Western visions of development through what Nyerere calls developmental rebellion. Examining the work of Nnedi Okorafor, Tade Thompson, Wanuri Kahiu, Suyi Davis Okungbowa, & Tendai Huchu, I trace four ways that Africanfuturism decolonizes development. Africanfuturism: (1) releases radical desire; (2) recreates ecological contexts; (3) uses alien technology in decolonial ways; and (4) limns alternative possibilities for life itself.

5:30 pm EST

The Complexities of War

Blue Room, 5:30 pm EST View Replay

Fantasy and science fiction seem to have a love affair with battles where two armies charge headlong at each other across vast plains or the immense vacuum of space for no good reason, and there is a notable absence of blood, bowels, and trauma. What are the best examples of realistic warfare? What methods can writers use to make battle sequences both interesting and reasonably true to life? How do we convey the complexities of war?

Type: Panel

Washington, DC, in Speculative Fiction

Cabinet Room, 5:30 pm EST *

Washington, DC, is a popular and compelling setting for mysteries and political thrillers, but what about speculative fiction? How is DC and its culture represented in science fiction and fantasy? How can you avoid reducing this complex city to a caricature? Which writers get it right, and how badly do some get it wrong?

Type: Panel

Sunday, December 19, 2021

10:00 am EST

The Phylogenetic Tree of Space Opera

Blue Room, 10:00 am EST View Replay

Cowboy Bebop and Dune are back on screens but it’s not 1965, 1984, or 1998. Is it that everything old is new again, or is space opera just a genre that keeps on giving? If E.E. “Doc” Smith’s The Skylark of Space is the root of the tree and Asimov’s Foundation series is the trunk, where do the branches lead us?

Type: Panel
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