My “Annotated” BayCon 2018 Panel Schedule

BayCon season is upon us and my panel assignments look like they’ll be fascinating discussions. I am the moderator for most them, so I plan to do my best to make that happen. Good questions from the attending members are always welcome. If you are considering joining us, be aware that the hotel block closes on May 1st and ticket prices rise as of May 1st as well. It’s time to get off the fence.

My Panels

When you’re done reading, I’d love to know which one sounds like it would be your favorite? Drop a note or question in the comments, and I might incorporate your thoughts into my moderator duties. Heck, if it’s intriguing enough, I’m as likely to bring the idea up when I’m not the moderator. This is why I bring notes.

Note: This is from the proposed schedule as the final has not been posted, so may be subject to changes.

Title: How do you define a hero?
Time and place: 25 May 2018, Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Synergy 4 (San Mateo Marriott)
Description: For example, superheroes have gone from early crime fighters who were the conscience of the Earth to the Dark Knight variant, to…?
Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M), Tyler Hayes, Amanda Coronado, Tamora Pierce

My first panel can go in many directions, but is one of several created with the convention theme in mind. It’ll be interesting to see what drives the various definitions of a hero.

Title: How do you define a good book?
Time and place: 26 May 2018, Saturday 17:30 – 19:00, Connect 3 (San Mateo Marriott)
Description: What do you expect from the story? What are your favorite reads and why (less specific titles, than types)?
Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M), Linden Tarr (PhotoBOMBinc), Cayden Coronado, Jennifer McGaffey, Dr. Jim Doty

This panel focuses on readers, but should be valuable for the writers in the crowd, who are always seeking their perfect reader. I’m expecting a lively discussion exploring differences in reading styles across generations and personal inclinations.

Title: The Direction of Modern Science Fiction
Time and place: 27 May 2018, Sunday 11:30 – 13:00, Connect 1 (San Mateo Marriott)
Description: Science fiction started out as an age of wonder with everything shiny and perfect, all our troubles solved through science and looking outward. Then cyberpunk, dystopias, and the “survival of the wealthiest” themes dominated, looking inward. Should books reflect the mood of today or offer hope for a better future?
Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M), Linden Tarr (PhotoBOMBinc), Amanda Coronado, Peter Beagle

There is an underlying philosophy (or maybe psychology) that drives the different waves of thought seen in the genre. Like everything, there are extremes from the mundane SF movement to reclassifying anything without sex and violence as young adult, but even toward the middle, expectations push the genre in one direction or another. On a side note, the analysis of genre changes in the post “traditional publishing only” world should be interesting. Readers have much more influence than ever before with self-publications rising or falling on the enthusiasm of their fans rather than a gatekeeper’s opinion.

Title: Happy Ever After?
Time and place: 27 May 2018, Sunday 13:00 – 14:30, Synergy 1 (San Mateo Marriott)
Description: What do you think of when you describe a happy ending? Is hope the same across generations, or have expectations changed?
Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M), Linden Tarr (PhotoBOMBinc), Sandra Saidak, JS Devivre (Academy of Omniosophical Arts & Sciences)

In romance, the definitions of “happy ever after” and “happy for now” are fixed and a major part of the genre definition. That is far from true in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Despite the term coming from fairy tales, the meaning for these genres is much broader. It spans relationships, friendships, nations, and entire world, with many more possibilities in between. This makes the concept a wonderful one to mine for discussion along with the definition of a satisfying ending.

Title: Female Heroes/ Female Villains
Time and place: 27 May 2018, Sunday 16:00 – 17:30, Synergy 4 (San Mateo Marriott)
Panelists: Tamora Pierce (M), Sheryl Hayes, Peter Beagle, Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing)

Here is the panel where I’m not responsible for keeping the conversation moving. It’s an interesting concept, and one I don’t think I’ve consciously explored. I recently saw an article about the lack of female villains, but that hasn’t been my experience. It’s more that most female villains seem to have sprung from the head of Freud, or more accurately, from the original fairy tales (amazing how my roots are showing). Evil step-mothers, the power behind the crown, poison, etc. abound, more often with a female face. I look forward to seeing what others bring to the table. That’s not even touching on my frustrations with the generally accepted image of a female hero…one I’m happy to see changing, especially in urban fantasy.

Title: Community versus individualism.
Time and place: 28 May 2018, Monday 13:00 – 14:30, Connect 4 (San Mateo Marriott)
Description: Which is more valuable as a story element? Which draws you the most, and why?
Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk (TTO Publishing) (M), Colin Fisk, Jacob Fisk (WSU CVM Animal Resource Unit), Prof. David McGaffey (St. Mary’s College of California), Jennifer McGaffey

I consider this final panel an act of cruelty *wink* by Programming seeing as I’m responsible for moderating my highly opinionated family. The panel itself could go a wide variety of ways depending on how each panelist interprets the two elements. I can almost guarantee the sources for their opinions will be varied.

So, are you in?

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