strangedave (strangedave) wrote in swancon,

Swancon program items

Here is a draft list of Swancon items. The list is currently being refined, with items being added and substracted all the time - if you really like an item, and want it to be on the final program, please offer positive feedback, and/or volunteer (or suggest someone else). Items for which we have a full panel without the program team drafting people, are extremely likely to end up on the final program!

Name Description
The Politics of Fandom Someone in fandom must be making the decisions that determine why conventions are run the way they are, and other fannish projects. Who makes the decisions? Why isn't it you? Should it be? Why are things run the way they are? Want to achieve your SMOF merit badge? Are the institutions of fandom evolved to be the way they are due to accidents of history, or because they are built on experience? Experienced fannish politicians explain the mysterious workings of fandom, and how you can become involved and get the con run just the way you want.
Squee, Bunnies, Betas and Crack: The Online World of Fan Fiction Fanfic fandom is a distinct, vibrant, part of fandom. Fan fiction, and internet fandom is creating a fannish culture of its own, one that can mystify old school lit fans, with not just different enthusiasms but a different language. Is this new fannish culture an evolution of the old, or something new that is going in its own direction? But there is certainly one thing about its that is very different to the old stereotypes of fandom -- its full of women. Women that squee.
Fanboys and Otaku Anime fandom has leapt into holding bigger cons that Swancon in
recent years. How is anime fandom different? Are we all one big happy
family, or is there a real culture gap? What do anime fans find weird
about Swancon? What does Swancon find weird about anime fandom? Is
there a cultural divide that we need to bridge, and if there is, how
do we do it?
Fandom of the Living Dead Some shows, such as Blake's 7 or Due South or the Persuaders, have a fandom that carries on long after the show is dead, or sometimes even is largely created after the shows demise. What is it like being in a fandom where the source material has ceased, but the fandom continues?
Making stuff is cool again Hardware hackers and handicrafts are both on the rise, and magazines
like Make and Craft endless internet sites are generating enthusiasm for geeks making physical stuff with their hands.
Who is making what, how can you start making stuff, why is it
suddenly that the culture rewards craftiness?
Wuxia and the thousand year old fantasy epic There is a Chinese literary tradition of epic high fantasy, featuring
warriors and magicians battling demons and villains, that goes back more than a thousand years before Tolkien. How does it compare to other fantasy traditions, what are its core ideas, why is it that it has success
with Western audiences via movies and video games, but not really in
The Best there ever Wasn t Panels reminisces about games that never were, novels that were never written, films that were never made, etc. Come find about the great stories in the Final Dangerous Visions, the movie version of Stranger In A Strange Land, and the id software Mario game. May contain extravagant lies.
The movies of 2040 There is a common argument that science fiction films are largely
based on the ideas and concepts of science fiction novels and stories
30 years earlier. Is cinematic SF that far behind its literary
equivalents? If it is, what will the movies of 2040 be like?
The practicalities of space travel Space travel isn t just air travel but higher, and there will be all sorts of things that make it like nothing we have seen before. How do transfers work? Do the crew need to land planet side? Do you have cabin crew? Is it unionised? What OHS issues are there? What are the mental health issues?
Bad Advice to Fannish Newbies New to fandom and want to know how to behave, what to do, how to dress? Let our panel of fan veterans offer you extremely suspicious advice on stalking authors, wearing skimpy costumes to the awards night, how to avoid basic hygiene, and other ways to outrage fandom.
Things You Can't Read Everyone else likes it, you just can't bear to read it. Complain about stuff everyone likes but you, or penitently confess your inability to finish that book you know is good but you just can't bear. What is that novel that you know you should like, but that you just can t beat.
The Metagame game A game show about arguing about video games. Is Starcraft more cultural than Virtua Fighter? Is Guitar Hero more intellectual than Katamari Damacy? Is Civilization sexier than World of Warcraft?
The Dark future that never was Cyberpunk was a speculation about the future when it happened, but now its an ahistoric vision of the early 21st century as seen from the 1980s, and the fiction seems less about our actual future, and more about a certain aesthetic of human interaction with technology. Is all near future fiction doomed to the same fate? Is it inevitable that technological speculation becomes outdated by real developments, and is this failure of futurism what encourages aesthetic retro-technological movements such as steampunk in fiction?
What do we love about childrens SF A report on the results of the survey of children's SF, whjch yielded fascinating results, such as differences between male and female readers in what qualities they look for in science fiction, which authors and books most influence political and religious views, favourite authors of SF for kids, and more!
Dalek: Live Audio Commentary with Rob Shearman It captivated fans worldwide, relaunched Doctor Who's most terrifying
foe for a new century, and was nominated for a 2006 Hugo Award.
Interviewed by Ian Mond, Rob Shearman discusses his acclaimed Doctor
Who episode "Dalek" live on stage. You may have heard them on DVD, but
you haven't experienced an audio commentary until you've heard it
Virtual Gold, Real Farmers, and True Crime Online game economies are growing larger and more complex, and worth more, and beginning to relate to the real world in strange ways. Find out about why Chinese Warcraft gold farmers are making our economy seem like a fantasy world, why Eve Online has a professional economist, and about Second Life virtual real estate speculation, about online gaming related gang fights, and why a stolen World of Warcraft account is worth more than a stolen credit card.
The Homework panel The committee from the next Swancon, and other upcoming cons, set homework for the next con books to read, films to see, masquerade theme for costume planning, planned activities, etc.
Rites: Births, deaths and marriages - alien style What would alien social customs look like? Would they have rites to acknowledge birth, death, and marriage as we do, or would the very concepts be alien to them? What rites are truly universal, and which just peculiar to human biology or particular cultures? How do you apply alien rituals and cultures believably into science fiction and fantasy?
Alien banquet Alien food is prepared and consumed.
Is Democracy Inevitable? Is the seeming slow convergence of history towards social democracy inevitable, or an illusion of history? Are some political systems really more advanced, or is there association with more technologically advanced societies coincidental? Is there a reason why we won t have the feudal galactic empires of so much space opera?
How Far is Too Far: Sheri S. Tepper and Eco-Evangalism Sheri S. Tepper is a writer with an obsession with ecology and ecosystems, or so her writing would have us believe. She often presents us with dire predictions as to what the future might look like if we don't change the destructive nature of our interactions with nature, and possibly if we don't change some of the aspects that people might consider to be fundamentally human. Discussion will focus on environment and ecosystems, and their presentation with Tepper's works, as well as in other genre fiction.
Theatre Sports Competitive improvisational theatre
Semiotics and social signals of costumes Do ears indicate friendliness? Are tails a clear warning sign? What does lycra say about you? What does a uniform for a fictional army say?
The young within The way we relate to people, socially, sexually, and so on, is very much based on age. As aging changes due to medical and educational change, how will the way we treat people change?
Survival in changing times I'm not a housewife, I'm just in training for the apocalypse. Self-sufficiency and a return of domestic skills as a survival strategy for climage change, social collapse.
The different faces of Charles Stross A general introduction to his work. Charles Stross is known as a leading post-cyberpunk and exponent of singularity fiction, but who also writes far future social commentary, space opera, fantasy and Lovecraft/espionage cross-over with a side order of bureaucratic satire. Learn more about this varied and complex author.
Sing along to cartoon themes Just as you think, and just as silly as it sounds.
Cyberfashion It may have come from fiction, but cyberpunk fashion is real enough. Learn who wears it, where they get it, and what inspires it.
Story-building workshop How is a story constructed? Where do the ideas come from, what is the structure of a story? Come and see a story take form in front of your eyes, as writers guide us through the process.
Con Survival Kit Workshop for a Swancon survival kit
Science Fiction and Soap Opera The soap opera is one of the most popular - and most regularly
misunderstood - forms of television drama, and with one or two
exceptions (Jupiter Moon, Passions, Chances) has never embraced
speculative fiction as the basis for its stories. Is a science fiction
soap opera possible? What would be the challenges? The benefits?
The New Space Opera Once Space Opera was denigrated, but now its become one of the most popular, original, thriving and dynamic of genres. Why is it so successful now, what is new about it, where is going and where did it come from?
Staying Ahead Of The Curve Are we reaching a point where science is accelerating faster than we
can speculate about it? How much does redundant science invalidate a
science fiction story, novel or film? Can becoming scientifically
redundant actually help a text? Does fiction actually improve when it becomes a document of the time it was written rather than a real prediction of the future as cyberpunk is now associated with the 80s, and nuclear influenced disaster fiction with the 1950s and 1960s?
Harry Potter: The Final Analysis The seventh and final book has been published, and the back cover
closed on one of the biggest fiction phenomenons of all time. So what,
in the final analysis, does Harry Potter represent? A look at its
effect and influence on children's fiction, fantasy fiction, Internet
fandom and the book publishing industry.
Fan Ownership Why do fans sometimes feel they own a show or series, and feel they have rights that the author should respect? Is it just a sense of entitlement, or do fans sometimes have a point? Do fans sometimes bring more insight than the authors?
What happens when fans are given real control over something, and then what happens when its taken away, as has happened with Doctor Who?
Fan Demographics: Who Are We? To what extent is fandom a primarily white, middle class, activity?
Is this where fandoms tendency to talk about the future while obsessing about the past, resistance to change, general trend to "corrall the wagons" and resist newcomers, comes from? Do we use fan jargon to keep the mainstream at bay - and what happens when science
fiction goes mainstream?
Post-Cyberpunk A lot of science fiction we read now is post-cyberpunk , and its a very important part of modern SF. Only, no one can agree on what that actually means -- come, watch the panellists violently disagree.
The Futures So Bright Sometimes, science fiction sneaks up on us unaware, and is reality before we know it. Hear about the technologies on the horizon that could be reality by next Swancon.
Gotham Central Imagine being an ordinary cop in a
world of superheroes and villains.

Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker's award
winning take on the DC Comics universe
will surprise and confront you.
Out of the Unknown Produced by the BBC from 1965 to 1971
Out of the Unknown was the premier
British science fiction/ fantasy anthology
series. A brief history of the series will be given
and clips from the surviving episodes will be shown.
Flash Fiction When does it work? Why does it so often fail? Why is it so popular? Why do people have such strong feelings about it? Should it have its own awards? Is it a dumping ground for ideas that fail to develop? Or is it simply the perfect form of fiction for an era of multi-tasking and shot attention spans?
Fandom cultural exchange The differences between UK, USA and Australian fandom from the perspectives of natives and visitors. What do fans do differently in other places? What things are the same everywhere? Are fans elsewhere just like us?
Pimp your fandom Why should people love and obsess over that obscure corner of the fannish world that YOU love and obsess over? Be prepared to stand up and share the love.
SF Reading list What has come out lately that you really should read.
Geek Craft show and tell A show and tell for craft and hardware projects
Laughter Yoga Laughing can make you happy. Come and laugh with us.
What you should have been watching - 1988 A discussion of what the upcoming movies to be excited about were 20 years ago. What was big? What was hyped? What were the sleeper films, not promoted at the time but remembered now?
Online SF There are webcomics, ebooks, webzines, and online story repositories full of SF and fantasy. A treasure trove of online SF for your reading pleasure is there, if you only knew were to find. Let our guides show you where.
Not if you were the last short story on earth A few brave souls signed up to read every single SF/F short story published in 2007. Hear some of these veterans report on the state of the field, and see their battle scars. And find out what made the effort worthwhile.
Fantasy race as a metaphor for race Fantasy races have been used as a metaphor for ordinary human race relations many times, from Angel to Harry Potter and Babylon V. Does it work? When does it fail?
Fandom as our perfect society: the dream and the reality Fandom has an image of itself as a geek social utopia, but it has more than enough unpleasant social realities of its own. Is fandom crippled by the Geek Social Fallacies? Is it really as tolerant as it likes to think? Can we make it better?
To Boldly Go: The Future Of Star Trek This Christmas, Paramount Pictures release their 11th Star Trek motion
picture, relaunching the adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy with
all-new actors. Is there still a place in SF film and television for
Star Trek? Is a complete relaunch the best idea? An examination of the
potential future of America's most famous science fiction franchise,
and its potential place in the future of the genre.
Science Fiction And The Future Of American Television In the past decade, American television drama has become more
creatively and commercially successful than ever. Television shows
with unprecedented levels of quality in script, direction, acting and
production have raised the bar higher than ever before. But among
shows like Deadwood, Rome, Six Feet Under, 24, Damages, The Shield and The West Wing, what place is there for science fiction? An examination
of the realities of television broadcasting, the difficulties in
launching new science fiction TV drama - and the possibilities and
niches in which to do so.
Alternative Alternative Historiea A world where the Nazis won World War II? It's been done. What are the
possible historical changes that haven't yet been explored in science
fiction? What historical events, with the requisite changes, make for
the best alternative histories?
How To Make A Science Fiction Film Films like Pi, Cube and Primer have proved that you don't need a big
budget to make a science fiction film - in fact, you may not need a
budget at all! A look at the world of low and no-budget science
fiction film: what works, what doesn't, and the resources available in
Western Australia to help you make your SF opus.
Trailer Park A look at the upcoming genre films for 2008: the films we're looking
forward to, and the ones we're fearing. Predictions will be made.
Theatrical trailers will be shown.
2007: The Films In Review 2007 was a great year for quality film, and we look back at the science fiction, fantasy and horror films to hit the big screen over the past 12 months. What were the successes? The disappointments? What were the hits, the flops and the unexpected surprises?
The Future Of Star Wars More than 30 years later, and even without any upcoming movies, there is plenty of life in the Star Wars universe yet. There are upcoming cartoons, games, books, a live-action TV show, and more.
Crisis On Infinite Publishers! In the world of American comic books the "big two" - Marvel and DC -
are undergoing something of a creative crisis. Fans are responding to
current storylines more and more negatively, and it's beginning to
look as if neither publisher can put a foot right. What has led to the
current situation in the American superhero comic industry? What's
currently working, what isn't, and why? What is the potential future
for the genre? A critical appraisal of two fictional universes in
Writing For Television: A Guide For New Writers Getting into some real nitty-gritty stuff about plotting TV
scripts, writing series bibles, the reality of what you should and
shouldn't bother writing in Australia, and so on.
A Case of Consciousness The idea that human consciousness is just software for a powerful computer, and so can be copied, freely duplicated, moved around, and edited, as such, is well established in modern SF, and used by authors from Frederick Pohl to Charles Stross. But is it likely to happen, or are the practical and philosophical issues raised more serious than some might think? How would you feel about dying so a copy of you might live? Would the process really capture you, or just a superficial version of you?
The Anxious Penguin Hour Join Steph and Matt for 5 whole minutes of laughs, spills, thrills,
interrogation and entertainment, and if that doesn't work, a quiz show of
some sort. Almost entirely cat-free. Really. Promise. An S&M BGs Production,with special guests John Parker, Gina Goddard and Dr Sophie Ambrose.
Swancon QI The return of the totally unofficial rip off of the BBC quiz show.
The Spike Versus The Precipice: Can Our Evolving Technical Mastery Actually Save Us From Itself? As the dream of truly transforming human culture and environment through what is referred to as the Spike, or the Singularity, twinkles on the horizon, at the same time we face approaching crises in climate change and pollution, mass extinctions, overpopulation and other disasters that seem to be spiking in their own way. What are the relationships between the two trends, is the very existence of the positive dependent on the negative, in the perhaps delicate balance between the two, which way will the future fall?
Molecular Gastronomy hour When weird science meets haute cuisine, you get the trend that s been attracting huge attention in the ranks of the worlds most influential restaurants. The end result often comes across as very science fictional. Come see explanations of food science and live demonstrations.
Harper Collins Launch A book launch for books by Sean Williams and Karen Miller
Swancon 2009 launch Discover what next year s con committee have in store for us!
Convention Running: Are We Doing It Wrong? Other SF conventions and expo style events are attracting larger numbers. Supanova will soon be offering its own, very successful and different, style of event to Perth. Swancon is failing to grow its numbers. Fandom overall is graying, and fracturing. Big areas of fandom don t see Swancon as the event for them. Is the way we run conventions becoming inappropriate for fandom? Are we doing some things wrong, could we change without losing what makes Swancon the event we like?
The evolution of Magic: The Gathering The evolving and current play formats for the first of the great fantasy collectible card games.
CSI: Literature Jasper Ffordes popular books features JurisFiction, who police crimes committed by the characters inside the world of literature. What literary crimes should we crack down on? What are the crime threats to the world of literature? What sort of character behaviour, dubious plotting, or abuse of literature should face legal sanction?
A Very Final Fantasy: The Future Of Japanese Rpgs Once the core of the Japanese videogaming scene, the role-playing game
(RPG) now seems outdated and irrelevant. While genre leader Final
Fantasy goes from strength to strength, other titles seem few and far
between - and those that do see release face underwhelming sales and
customer response.

Is it all over for the Japanese RPG? What trends in gaming are drawing
players away, and is there anything that can be learned from those
trend to re-invigorate this once-massively popular genre?
A Point Of Difference: Standing Out In Fantasy Fiction With bookstore shelves now overflowing with thick, popular fantasy
novels, and with new titles arriving every month, how difficult is it
to make an impact in the genre? Looking at matters of content,
mythology, style and form, a panel of fantasy fiction professionals
explain what it is that they do to stand out from the crowd and get
The Three Hour Comic From concept to comic, produce a short comic entirely within our convention workshop.
The Big Stage: Space Opera and setting A characteristic of the Space Opera genre is its love of settings on a huge scale, from the planetary to the intergalactic. How do you choose a setting, how does a sense of time and space change the nature of the story? What about the truly innovative settings, from ringworlds up to far more esoteric settings?
Auction The traditional auction. Pick up a bargain or grab that obscure fannish special item. Sell your old stuff, and help raise money for fannish causes like the fan funds.
Doctor Who and the Big Finish Big Finish are a notable producer of Doctor Who audio plays and other media. What is like working with them? How have things changed with the new series? How does fandom feel about their take on Doctor Who? What about their work based on other cult SF properties?
Painting the Future Green Concerns about energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and sustainability are changing the direction of technological development. When we think about the aesthetics of future technology, how will the green trend affect SF and our visions of the future?
Live Action Quidditch All the action and adventure of the Wizarding Worlds greatest sport!
Come prepared to participate in an physical sporting event.
A Rather Polite Apocalypse: British Representations of the End of the World British fiction, and particularly film and TV, have often represented the end of the world, and often in an understated British fashion. The cozy catastrophe genre and its offshoots.
Armageddon as Allegory: SF Responses to the Trauma of History Cloverfield is about the fall of the World Trade Centre, the Forever War is about Vietnam, Godzilla is about atomic testing. Responding to historical disaster and loss in a fictional form is a rich source of powerful SF work. Why do we respond is such a metaphorical fashion, does this create more powerful fiction, are their inherent dangers of trivialising in responding to the world in such a way?
Transformative Work The Organisation for Transformative Work is a new organisation dedicated to defending the value and legal validity of fan works and fan culture. Hear about its founding, its mission, its organisation, and its many projects and campaigns on behalf of fan culture, and learn just what is a transformative work.
Can We Keep Up? Real world technological advancement rolls along so steadily that some technology leaps from fiction to reality with surprising speed, and some ideas leap from concept to reality without touching fiction in between. Is traditional Hard SF becoming overwhelmed by the pace of technological change?
From an Idea to a Publishable Book: Avoiding Beginner's Mistakes A workshop for prospective authors, discussing all the things happen in between that creative urge and holding a book in your hand, including the ones that no one might have told you about before.
Fan fund travellers tales Fan fund delegates past and current recount their adventures, muse on the role of fan funds, and attempt to interest the audience in free or subsidised holidays. GUFF, NAFF, DUFF and FFANZ delegates speak about what happens when you win a fan fund race, and what happens after.
3 Hour Comic Come with an idea for a comic, and produce something within 3 hours.
Ticonderoga Launch Ticonderoga Press launches a new Sean Williams collection.
Marketing 10101 Professional marketer and editor of the independent publishing
house Ticonderoga Publications, Russell B. Farr, presents the basics
of marketing and promotion for individuals and small groups. The
difference between professional and amateur doesn't have to be large.

Girl Meets Boy: Romance In Fantasy Why do readers still crave romance of fantasy? What lifts a love story above the trite, mushy and predictable?
Critiquing: how much feedback is too much? Writers groups (face to face and online), manuscript assessment services, mentoring will they help you write better? Or will they hurt your confidence, or waste your time?
Introduction to Satellite Remote Sensing Science fiction abounds with images of planets from space, however it is only in the last few years that media such as Battlestar Galactica and feature films have gotten planetary observation right as the technology of earth and planetary observation improves. Where do these satellite images come from and how did they actually work? Why are the remote satellite images of earth and the solar system our eyes into other worlds including our own? This presentation is an introduction to the science behind satellite remote sensing, with real-life examples from archeology to mars and the NASA photograph archive that allowed the artistic jump from Blake-7's colour filters to realistic-looking imaginary planets.
Magical Hat of Mystery 2: The Time Wasters Caffeine, exhaustion, stand- up comedy and a magical hat. Last year, two men decided to pull audience suggestions out of a hat and improvise some random ranting. This year, they'll do it again, but joined by the mighty power and scrumptious beard of Mr Danny Oz.

Come on down, pop a topic in the hat and watch as three men use all their energy to produce well... something. It'll be like a Dr Who episode, but nobody's a doctor, or a time lord, or Billie Piper. God, I love her.

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