The 62nd World Science Fiction Convention

  • Sept. 2-6, 2004
  • Boston, MA

Program Brainstorming Introduction

  • This weblog is a place where you can give us your suggestions for Noreascon 4 programming. What great new ideas do you have and what things have you seen at other conventions that you'd like us to "steal"? (Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.) To make a suggestion, please add a comment under the appropriate heading. Feel free to write a short description of the topic and even suggest appropriate program participants for it. If there's a lot of interest in a particular topic, we'll add a new heading for it.

    Please note: This is not the place to volunteer to be on Program. If you are interested in being on the Program, please see our Program Participant Selection FAQ.

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September 24, 2003


This is where you can give us suggestions for program ideas relating to science fiction fandom.


"Are You Boringly Typical? Learn how to be Weird and Wonderful" Taking the thing that the world characterizes you by: fat, obsessive, quirky, hairy, whatever, and turning it into your personal style.

Growing up Fannish: Young adults who have grown up in fandom share their experiences. If you can get someone who has gone on to have a fannish career of their own (Corwin Brust?), that would be a plus.

I have recently found out that a New England fan, Morgan Pierceheart, is serving over in Iraq. As I was typing out an email to him, it occurred to me, how many Fen from the UK, USA, Spain, Japan, etc., etc. are serving in the armed forces right now in Iraq and Afghanistan? Perhaps there could be some sort of penpal, no, FENPAL(!) matchup panel or even better, a table, at Worldcon.

>>Actually, sounds pretty scary to me......
Posted by: priscilla | April 2, 2004 10:58 AM

Not as scary as what you'll find in the online dating and matchmaking services! There's got to be a better way!

Speed dating? It never occurred to me.

Actually, sounds pretty scary to me......

Oh! Fannish speed-dating! Sounds amusing...

I think this is the right section for this, since I see Nico's suggestion about a panel on "mixed marriages". I know lots of folks who have very happy mixed marriages, but I also know, as an SF/F professional, that wouldn't work for me. My best friends are all fen of one sort or another; why would I want my partner to be anything less? (and could he live with me if he wasn't a fan himself?)

Your average mundane internet matchmaking/dating service does NOT provide matching based on interests, no matter what they advertise to the contrary (trust me on this, I know!) Would there be any interest in having a panel or a meeting to explore the possibilities of starting some kind of fannish singles network or web site?

"Great Fannish Feuds"!

Tall Tales of WorldCons Past sounds like the subject line of my NaNoWriMo year before last, where I exaggerated all the small events I'd encountered at Cons in the past 35 years, and tied it up with an alien who wanted to be a SF writer and a purple hairy frog who could leap dimensions. I think people would like to share their "interesting" con experiences - and even exaggerate them, not just previous guests, but fans, too.

Reinventing the Fancyclopedia. If GoH Jack Speer hadn't invented it way back when, what would a Fancyclopedia be like today? If invented now, would it be a print document, a weblog, a wiki, a CD-ROM, or even a DVD compendium? And what would the contents be like?

The Myriad Types of Fanac. There's fanpubbing, book collecting, blogging, convention running, club fanac, watchng Buffy, and even discussing Just Reading the Stuff. How doew a fan decide who much time to spend doing what (and how does one get and hold down paying jobs to support all these habits!)

"How I G/o/t S/t/u/c/k Wound Up Chairing a Worldcon."

Worldcon Party Planner's Guide. What's involved in planning, running, cleaning up after, and surviving running a party at a Worldcon (or other convention). First you start with a room... the joys and rewards of party hosting, the secrets of closing down before you collapse, and why you should you throw a party, if you've never thought about doing so.

Tall Tales of Worldcons Past [This would be something of a Liars' Panel, telling tall tales of Worldcons past, exaggerating things that happened, and making up stories].

Expand "Somebody Else's Microwave" into an entire "Somebody Else's ..." mini-track. The idea came from Erik V. Olson's after-the-fact programming suggestion -- "Somebody Else's House" -- for SMOFcon. Ummm...ask me and I'll try to find the LiveJournal entry explaining it.

Anyway, some of the "Somebody Else's" items could be hands-on demos, like the Somebody Else's Microwave. Others could be brainstorming sessions about just what you could do with Somebody Else's House, Job, Hobby, Fan Group, Convention, Country, Planet, Solar System, etc....

oooh - I love that. Fun, fun, FUN!

Sitting in the audience at a regional convention last month reminded me that I'd love it if we (fandom) could come up with a fun, skills-building program item on how to be a better audience participant. How to ask questions clearly and quickly. What makes for a *good* question, one that contributes to the discussion? Recognizing when the panel has moved on beyond the point you so eagerly want to make. Remembering that you're a member of the audience, not another one of the panelists. And so on.

Maybe an audience-specific version of The Worst Program Item Ever? That could be highly entertaining, though I also think a "presentation skills for audience members" session that included a "bad questions to good questions" exercise could be both good and useful.

The 2007 WorldCon vote will be between Japan and Columbus, OH. Perhaps ask some of the Nippon in 2007 delgates if they think it's a doable thing. As an afterthought, I realized that North American fans are hunky dory with the idea of Australian fandom or British fandom, but seem to be rather xenophobic with the rest of the world. Or is this just my misconception? That might make a good panel idea as well.

That's a fascinating idea - I don't know if it's ever been done, or who should do it. Anyone have any thoughts?

Has a panel ever been done on "Creating a Fan Fund" or "Alternate (Universe) Fan Funds" ? I've contemplated a TPFF (Trans-Pacific Fan Fund) between North America and Pacific Rim countries such as Japan, Taiwan, or Indonesia; as well as a LAFF (Latin America Fan Fund) between North America and Central/South America. Hopefully, the publication of COSMOS LATINOS and the English translation of KALPA IMPERIAL will generate increased interest in fiction from that part of the world.

How about a panel on college cons/fandom? I know that the state has at least four college cons (Vericon, ConBust, OurCon and ConDuct), plus the now-defuct FiveCon. I ran ConBust last year, and know that there are plenty of challenges unique to this group, from how to warn Public Safty about people with swords to interfacing with other school groups.

Regional Conventions [series of items, addressing conventions on regional basis -- Northeast, Southeast, midsouth, Midwest, southwest, northwest, California -- or perhaps regional fandom in the different regions and the conventions as part of regional fandom?]

Boston Area Conventions. Noreascon 4 is Worldcon, there's a worldcon in Boston about once a decade. In between, though, there are annual Boskones, Arisias, Readercons, Vericons, and other sf-oriented convocations. Come hear about what these conventions have to offer.

Noreascons Past and Present. Noreascon I was in 1971, Noreascon 2 in 1980, Noreascon 3 in 1989, and Noreascon is today in 2004. How have Worldcons changed and evolved, what's different, and what's the same, from Noreascons past to Noreascon present?

I like the suggestion of the GAFIA panel - it's exactly the position I'm in (this will be my first con for 10 years), and I think it has the potential to reveal real depths about who fans are and how they view themselves.

"Fannish Etiquette" What -do- you say to someone dressed up like Freddy, how do you/should you (yes, usually) introduce yourself to someone whose work you admire but never met, what are too many books to ask someone to authograph, what embarrassing questions should you not ask, and how to stay out of flamewars.

How is the role of zines in fandom, and the zines themselves, changing in the Internet age?

Behind the Desk at the Convention: What's involved and goes on behind the scenes at the convention? There are SIX HUNDRED unpaid volunteers working on this, not including program participants? What's involved in setting up an art show, scheduling six hundred people on 600 program items, and the cat herding called running a convention?

How about programming on international fandom? Perhaps some sort of presentations from some of the clubs that have travelled en masse to Boston.

A discussion panel between people who have GAFIA-ted but decided to return to fandom. What were their reasons to leave and especially why did they return.

Here's three:

Mixed Marriages – One’s a fan, one isn’t. How do couples handle the demands of fandom when one of the pair isn’t really interested? Panel members have received permission from their spouses to be at this World Con.

After the Worldcon, what? – You’ve just attended your first convention. Now where do you go? A guide to regional conventions – how to find them, how to tell them apart, and how to get more out of them. (Maybe get conchairs for future regional cons: Arisia, Boskone, Lunacon, Albacon, etc.)

Jews and Fandom – Which is harder: explaining to fellow fans why you wrap a leather strap around your arm in shul but don’t wear Goth at a con, or explaining to your family why you’ll be observing Havdalah with a pro, a Klingon, and people going to a masquerade? Is there a link between being Jewish and being a fan, or is that just a bubbehmeiseh?