This coming weekend I'll be at Philcon, the venerable Philadelphia science fiction convention. Like a lot of venerable Northeastern science fiction conventions, it's no longer held in the city where it began, but off in a suburb where the hotels are affordable. (The only exception to that rule I know of is Boskone, which is still right in the middle of Boston every winter)
If you're in the Philadelphia/southern New Jersey area, please stop by the Crowne Plaza hotel in Cherry Hill. Here's my schedule:
Friday, 8:00 p.m.: SOMEDAY THIS COMPUTER WILL FIT IN JUST ONE ROOM: PREDICTING TECHNOLOGY [Panelists: Orenthal Hawkins (moderator), James L. Cambias, Jon Kilgannon, Robert C Roman]
What common technologies now exist that SF somehow failed to anticipate? What predictions were made that failed to pan out (or that we still wish had become real)? What predictions might we make for not-yet-existent future technologies?
Friday, 9:00 p.m.: THE ANIKYTHERA MECHANISM [Panelists: John Ashmead (moderator), James L. Cambias, Paul Dellechiaie, William Hafford, John Monahan]
This complex device, discovered 100 years ago in an ancient Roman shipwreck, is often described as some kind of "computer." What could the purpose of this device be? How was it built?
Saturday, 1:00 p.m.: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME TRAVEL [Panelists: Rebecca Robare (moderator), John Ashmead, JJ Brannon, James L. Cambias, Savan Gupta]
This panel will explore the effects of time travel on the human psyche. We'll discuss types of time travel events such as repeating loops (Groundhog Day), one-way relativistic travel (Planet of the Apes), the grandfather paradox (Back to the Future), and other phenomena
Saturday, 3:00 p.m.: READING — JAMES CAMBIAS, DARRELL SCHWEITZER
I'll be reading from my forthcoming novel CORSAIR.
Saturday, 6:00 p.m.: AUTOGRAPHS — JAMES CAMBIAS, JACK MCDEVITT
Bring in anything and I'll sign it.
Sunday, 12:00 p.m.: CREATING BELIEVABLE ALIENS [Panelists: Steve Miller (moderator), Jack McDevitt, Tom Purdom, Lawrence M. Schoen, James L. Cambias]
How does a writer create convincing extraterrestrial characters who are not just humans with funny make-up, but are clearly the product of a different environment and evolutionary history? How do you show an alien that can think as well as a man, but differently?
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.: CONSPIRACIES AND SF [Panelists: James L. Cambias (moderator), Muriel Hykes, Ian Randal Strock, Alexis Gilliland]
Conspiracy theories are always a popular topic, from the JFK assassination to Shakespeare authorship to UFO coverups. How have such theories been incorporated into SF and fantasy fiction?
When I'm not at these events, I'll probably be attending other people's panels and readings, or possibly playing in some of the convention's game events. Come out and join the fun!