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Zombies and I at Windycon Science Fiction Convention

Zombie Apocalypse at Windycon Science Fiction Convention
Zombie Apocalypse at Windycon Science Fiction Convention

I received my programming schedule for the Windycon Science Fiction Convention some days ago and it is worth noting that I am not on any panels that involve zombies. Frankly I try to keep my distance from zombies but they’ll be impossible to avoid the weekend of Nov 9-11 so I had better study up on how to best avoid their clutches.

My program schedule is as follows:

Title: Has Science Fiction Offered an Improved Political Model?
Time: Saturday, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Room: Lilac C
Description: Having just gone through an election cycle that lasted most of two years, have there been any political systems offered up by science fiction which offer an improvement on our current way of governance? Or are they all as flawed as what we have?
Panelists: J. Helfers, J. Plaxco, J. Liss, R. Martinek, M. Williamson (M)
Comment I look forward to arguing with Jeffrey (Liss). In fact we have a very long history of arguing. This will be fun.
Title: Living in the Post Scientific Era
Time: Saturday, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Room: Lilac D
Description: Polls show that increasing numbers of Americans are scientifically illiterate. What does this mean for the future? For science fiction?
Panelists: J. Helfers, P. Kaldon, J. Plaxco, D. Burkhard, K. Strait
Comment As science grows in complexity, I’m not surprised that the general public is increasingly scientifically illiterate. Given that science plays an increasingly important role in our daily lives, I’m concerned about the public’s ability to make smart policy decisions via our politicians (who aren’t much better informed). I’m very curious to discover how my co-panelists feel about this.
Title: The Open Source Playground
Time: Saturday, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Room: Lilac C
Description: When is Open Source Software better? When it is merely different? And what do I do with it?
Panelists: J. Plaxco, R. Martinek, E. Raymond (M)
Comment The presence of this panel in the programming line up came as something of a surprise to me. We probably won’t have too many zombies in the audience but considering the high correlation between geekiness and the attendees of a science fiction convention, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that this panel survived the survival of the fittest process.
Title: Gender Parity on Panels: DNA or Something Else?
Time: Sunday, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.
Room: Lilac C
Description: Gender parity, that is, having exactly the same number of males and females on each panel has become a hot topic lately. One panelist even suggested that he’d give up his place on a panel to any woman in the audience if the panel was "unbalanced." Is that all it takes to make "balanced" panels — the same number of XX- and XY-chromosomed individuals? What about sexual orientation representation? Minority representation? Political representation? Something we haven’t even thought of yet? Join our panelists for a spirited discussion on gender parity and what it does or does not accomplish.
Panelists: J. Plaxco, H. Montgomery, L. Zeldes, M. Mohanraj (M)
Comment Now this is one that leaves me licking my chops. For me, the principal question must be "is this person qualified to be on this panel?"

Surprisingly I am not on any space exploration or art panels this year – although there were very few options in those areas (I blame it on the zombies). When not sitting behind a table, I’m likely to be sitting in the audience for the following panels, scheduling permitting:

  • Ragz! Dress Like a Zombie – principally for inspiration for my art work.
  • Backbreaking Cover Art – the description of which "a critique of the poses used to sell us our escapism" is irresistible.
  • Subcutaneous Musculature – a great title for the topic of artistically correct anatomical representations of the human form.
  • Curiosity’s Journey: NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Rover – a presentation by my friend Bill Higgins whom I suspect is part Martian.
  • Dystopian fiction, Enough Already – simply because I’m a fan of dystopian visions and have been on similar panels in the past.

I am also planning on participating in the Windycon Art Show although I am not sure how many pieces I will bring – probably somewhere between 4 and 8.

If you’d like more information about Windycon, visit the Windycon Science Fiction Convention web site. And watch out for the zombies.

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