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Duckon Science Fiction Convention Programming

Duckon science fiction convention
Duckon Science Fiction Convention

The Duckon Science Fiction Convention is this weekend at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling IL. I’ll be participating in some rather varied programming. In fact it looks like I’ll be kept fairly busy. Most demanding will be the three solo presentations I’ll be giving.

The first of my talks will be The NewSpace Frontier – a presentation surveying the newly energized field of commercial space, or private space if you like. It is worth pointing out that this is a pro-Space presentation and not a pro-NASA presentation. What is good for NASA has frequently been bad for space development. This will be my fourth time giving this presentation since first developing it in March.

My second talk will be in the form of a tutorial for artists and photographers. Building An Online Presence provides a broad overview of a variety of challenges that face the artist or photographer who is attempting to use the Internet in order to market their art and themselves. Note that I will next be giving this talk at Musecon in August and then again in September for the Barrington Cultural Arts Center in Barrington IL.

My third talk is about myself. In The Agony & Ecstasy Of Being A Digital Artist I talk about what it’s like being a digital artist trying to make a go of it with a medium that has received a fair amount of resistance from the traditional art world. I will cover some of the unique problems that digital artists encounter both with hardware and software issues. I also talk about some of the benefits of working digitally.

In addition to my talks, I’ll be participating in a mix of panels. In the field of art, I’ll be a panelist for Artwork for Book Covers moderated by Brian Pinkerton with co-panelists Kathryn Sullivan and Steven Silver. The panel description says:

Yours versus the publishers? Does an appealing cover really sell a novel? Are readers easily allured to the handsome man, barely dressed woman or intriguing alien on your cover despite the content? Who gets the final say with the artwork, and why?

I will say that I don’t have a balanced view of these issues as all the book and magazine commissions I have done have been for non-fiction publications. Being commissioned to create an accurate representation of the Milky Way galaxy, for example, is not at all similar to being commissioned to create a strapping he-man with a voluptuous female at his side.

And for something completely different, I’ll be moderating the Alternate Energy panel and will be responsible for keeping Bill Thomasson, Doug Drummond, and Rich Lukes in line – if that is possible. The description for this panel reads:

We’ve all heard of the push to set up more wind farms for harnessing energy. However, is it worth the cost to develop it? How much time do we really have left from fossil fuel reserves?

My energy background is having previously done presentations on forms of non-terrestrial energy generation including space solar power, lunar solar power, and using lunar He3 as a fuel source for fusion reactors.

The third and final panel I’m on is The Influx of Alternate Futures moderated by long-time friend and antagonist Jeffrey Liss. Jeffrey and I are joined by Deirdre Murphy, Rebecca Frencl and Clifford Royal Johns. Our panel description reads:

With the popularity of the Hunger Games, why are dystopian futures in literature and movies so common? Does the appeal of this subject relate to the mood of today’s generation? As the American and global economies improve, will we see more hopeful endings to these futuristic stories?

I certainly hope that Hunger Games does not come up during our discussions as I have not read the books or seen the movie. I do hope that we spend time discussing the impact of government regulatory, fiscal and monetary policies on a society’s economy and how such policies can lead to a dystopian outcome. Hopefully that doesn’t sound too nerdy but after all – this is a science fiction convention.

There you have it – my Duckon weekend lineup. One thing: even though I should, I won’t be exhibiting in the art show this year. However, on Monday I will be setting up an exhibit of my art at the Greater Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau in Schaumburg IL.

I’ll close this with a curious quote from science fiction author Bruce Sterling: Designers talk and think a lot like science fiction writers do, except in a much less melodramatic and histrionic way. Now I wonder if he was talking about himself?

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2 Responses to “Duckon Science Fiction Convention Programming”

  1. I am a science fiction writer and would like to participate in the Duckon Science Fiction convention.

  2. Jim Plaxco says:

    Hi, Unfortunately I’m unable to attend Duckon this year. For particpating you should contact the Duckon programming staff using the contact form on the Duckon web site (duckon.org)