Cool people go to sci-fi/fantasy conventions.
You knew that, right? Because you’re cool? Like, none of this is news to you, right? Cool. Because this post is where you find out
Norwescon is, as the con will tell you, the Pacific Northwest’s premier science fiction and fantasy convention. I’ve been fortunate to be a participant for the last several Norwescons, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it is reliably one of the high points of my year. Covid lockdowns hit last year when it was too close for Norwescon to pivot to an online format, but Norwescon 2021 is all set to go online–meaning you can attend without even having to travel!
Ok, I miss the travel, too. And the parties. And the bar, because conventions are basically the only time I hang out in a bar. But the online formats have some real conveniences and I’m really looking forward to this year!
Want to attend? You DO, because you’re cool, right? Click the Norwescon link, grab a membership in that link at the top, and get set up with Airmeet (the page will explain) to be ready to go!
And if you’re attending, you totally want to be at some of MY panels, right? I KNEW YOU WERE COOL.
This list may be a touch tentative as a couple things get edited, but it should be generally solid. Turns out my schedule this year is PACKED, which is freakin’ AWESOME:
Gaming and Consent
4:00pm – 5:00pm @ Mt. Baker
Sar Surmick (M), Jason Brick, Elliott Kay, Glenn Dallas, Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Roleplaying, whether tabletop or LARP, involves people, and people have boundaries. This panel will explore various ways to establish communication and clear consent in order to avoid hurting people. Panelists will examine common mechanics such as “lines” (content a game will not include) and “veils” (retaining certain themes or content, but avoiding active role-play/descriptions). The panel will also discuss other mechanics for specific situations and how and when to use them.
Writing Great Military Science Fiction
10:00am – 11:00am @ Evergreen
Russell Ervin (M), Jonathan Brazee, Elliott Kay, Jennifer Brozek
Great science fiction is about human struggle. Great military science fiction is about human struggle within a military context. We’ll briefly look at arch-typical science fiction settings and military scenarios. Most of our time will be spent addressing how to embed adventure, wonder, and excitement into your stories. Which authors got it right, which authors came up short, and why? Bring your thoughts and examples for a wide-ranging discussion of what makes great military science fiction great.
Marvel Movies or DC TV Shows
3:00pm – 4:00pm @ Evergreen
Scott James Magner (M), Steven S. Long, Elliott Kay
With the popularity of movie and TV adaptations of some of our favorite comic books in the last decade, what were some of the best adaptations? What were some of the worst? What do you hope gets adapted in the future?
The Fantasy Resistance
6:00pm – 7:00pm @ Maxis
Kate Ristau (M), Jaym Gates, Elliott Kay, Benjamin Gorman, Sang Kromah
Many authors have their protagonists front and center taking out corrupt regimes, ending crime syndicates, and fighting for the survival of their people. Let’s talk about using fantasy as a lens to understand our own politics, and how audiences perceive allegorical struggles against authoritarianism.
Tips for Writing Engaging Space Battles
12:00pm – 1:00pm @ Olympic
Russell Ervin (M), Elliott Kay, Arthur Bozlee, Scott James Magner, Jonathan Brazee
Space battles follow the basic rules of storytelling, but it’s easy to fill the pages with ships firing ineffectually at each other. Getting the science correct is key, but bombarding your reader with technical details is far from engaging. Military SF writers share their tips for creating space battles that keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Alternative Relationships in Media
4:00pm – 5:00pm @ Maxis
Stella Harris (M), Jacqueline Carey, Elliott Kay, Sar Surmick
With shows like She’s Gotta Have It and books like Kushiel’s Dart and The Siren, those of us embracing non-traditional relationships and lifestyles are feeling a greater level of representation. But is it enough?
The Elements of Slash
8:00pm – 9:00pm @ Mt. Baker
Berlynn Wohl (M), keerawa, Elliott Kay, DameRuth
Writing adult material is a skill, much the same as writing any other genre, and adult-oriented slash fanfiction is no exception. This panel examines what makes slash good—and fun!—for writers and readers. Ages 18+.
10:00am – 11:00am @ Olympic
Dale Ivan Smith (M), Scott James Magner, Claire Eddy, Elliott Kay
It’s been called a roots movement for the Star Wars franchise, and part of that is because The Mandalorian is as much a love song to Flash Gordon as Star Wars: A New Hope was (but also Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns and the John Wick movies, too). What did we think about the first two seasons? Is Mando a classic Star Wars hero? And what’s next for Boba Fett?
Writing the Now into Our Fiction
11:00am – 12:00pm @ Maxis
K.G. Anderson (M), Jasmine Silvera, Adrienne Dellwo, Elliott Kay
Escapist fiction is how many of us connect and interact with society’s morals and shortcomings. What responsibility do writers have when presenting a message, and how do editors help a story get it across without making every story an allegory?
Everyone Loves a Pirate
2:00pm – 3:00pm @ Mt. Baker
Ann Shilling (M), Dr. Susan Langley, Elliott Kay
Who were these intrepid sailors of yore? Where did they come from and how did this industry develop? What about the female pirates and why aren’t they often portrayed in stories? Panelists will inquire into these questions and challenge some of the myths surrounding the romanticism of pirates.