BayCon 2023: A Night at the Space Opera Is This Weekend!

The banner image for BayCon 2023: A Night at the Space Opera, a California Bay Area science fiction convention running from July 1st to the 4th. The link goes to the convention website.

BayCon 2023: A Night at the Space Opera begins this Saturday and runs until Tuesday evening (July 1st-4th). This is what I consider my “home” convention, despite having moved to Reno, Nevada, over ten years before. I no longer remember what was my first year at BayCon, but I’ve been going regularly since early 2000. I came first as a fan and a writer, then as a panelist, something equally exhilarating and terrifying. You know a panel went well if the discussion continues as we spill out the door on the way to whatever catches our attention next. I look forward to seeing the reactions to my panels this year, both in the questions and afterwards.

I want to call out the welcoming committee on Saturday afternoon. This one-hour time slot is the brainchild of Susie Rodriguez, Head of Programming, in response to the isolation many of us feel thanks to the pandemic. We’ll be there to chat with those who are new to the convention, or feeling a little lost or overwhelmed. The idea is to provide some familiar faces as you wander the convention this weekend, and we hope, to make everyone more comfortable.

It’s a new hotel, and whether or not you came last year, the pandemic has made everything different. But BayCon has many folks happy to help a person out. I’ve taken advantage of the supportive environment a time or two. If any of this sounds like you, please join us after the opening ceremonies. We’d love to have you..

My official schedule is as follows:

Ooh, What’s That?

12:00 PM, Saturday 1 Jul 2023 (1 hour), Sedona Room

Feeling friendly but don’t quite know how to reach out to friends old and new? Come join like minded individuals and break the ice. Bring your favorite conversation starter- a project, a game, a piece of art- anything you’d be happy to chat about, and have a seat at a table or, if you’re not sure what to bring, just bring yourself and the confidence that the folks in the room are looking forward to chatting. Know that you’re not a bother, you’re not a disruption, we’re all here together for a reason and we all want to connect or reconnect. Long time BayCon guests will also be on hand to chat with newcomers and those new to being guests. If you have questions, they have answers. **This event may start early, depending on the length of opening ceremonies. Please feel free to drop in whenever convenient, or better yet, join us for opening ceremonies!

Capitalism in Space: Do We Want to Do Space Colonialism?

1 Jul 2023, Saturday 13:00 (1:00pm) – 14:30, CA Ballroom 4 and 5 (Santa Clara Marriott)

Media cited: The Expanse, Elysium, Logic of Empire, Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate.

Panelists: Catherynne Valente, L.M. Kate, Peter N. Glaskowsky, Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M), Charon Dunn (CHARON DUNN)

Hopepunk: What Is It, and Why Should We Be Writing More of It?

1 Jul 2023, Saturday 16:00 (4:00pm) – 17:30, Santa Barbara (Santa Clara Marriott)

Panelists: Colin Fisk (M), J. Scott Coatsworth (Other Worlds Ink), Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing), John Blaker

AI Cover Art: A Violation or A Predictable Progression?

2 Jul 2023, Sunday 16:00 (4:00pm) – 17:30, CA Ballroom 8 (Santa Clara Marriott)

Cover art trends have been moving to more generic forms that primarily establish genre for a while…not that it wasn’t true in the earliest spec fic covers already. Hanging a cover art shingle requires at minimum the ability to blend stock photos and analyze cover art trends. AI art programs do exactly this. Is there a place for both cheap covers and those produced with a more creative eye? And if so, should algorithms be allowed?

 Panelists: Tehani Farr, H. Emiko Ogasawara, Christopher Ambler, Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M)

Recovering Creativity out of Pandemic Apathy

3 Jul 2023, Monday 10:00 (am) – 11:30, Santa Barbara (Santa Clara Marriott)

As the pandemic drags on, many creatives are struggling to hold on to the part of them that draws inspiration and motivates action. Panelists will talk about their struggles and some of the ways they have found to overcome the creative drain.

Panelists: Tehani Farr, Jeremy Erman, Laser Webber, Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M)

Explore the full schedule here:

That’s where I’ll be for sure during the weekend, as well as my stints at the Liminal Fiction table in the Dealers Room. I’m bringing copies of all my science fiction and steampunk novels. You can purchase them at the table, or bring ones you already own, and I’ll happily sign either for you.

I’m expecting a fun convention full of interesting discussions, performances, and hanging out with friends old and new. Hope to see you there.

My Appearances calendar, below, has when I will be in the Dealers Room along with listing all my panels, in case you want to catch me.

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