I will be a presenter/panelist at the 2017 Worldcon science fiction convention which runs from August 9 to August 13, 2017. Following are the panels I will be on:
Thursday, August 10, 2017
13:00 – 14:00, Room 206 (Messukeskus)
Independent and Dependent Publishing
Panelists: Andrew Hindle (M), Tom D Wright, Irene Vartanoff, Raita Jauhiainen, J.S. Meresmaa
Description: A lot of authors are turning to independent and print on demand publishing these days as traditional publishing houses grow more and more out of touch and driven by the bottom line. The vast variation in independent publications allows for some gems that would never otherwise see the light of day, and can inspire many people to sit down and write that book that’s been bouncing around in their heads. It also allows some people to sit down and write those five thousand half-page poop-jokes in rhyming haiku format that have been bouncing around in their heads.
Hey. Some people juggle geese.
Friday, August 11, 2017
12:00 – 13:00, Pasila library (Messukeskus)
Are Utopias Worse than Dystopias?
Panelists: Klaus Æ. Mogensen (M), Tom D Wright, Stephanie Saulter, Jani Saxell, Maria Candia
Description: Utopias are supposed to be good futures, and dystopias bad futures. Yet utopias are by definition ‘best’, hence preclude the possibility of change and evolution. Also, any utopia described has no place for dissidents: they only work if everybody toes the line.
Utopias tend to be reflections of the time they were formulated in, and what might be seen as a happy society in one age might be seen as terrible places in a later age (just look at More’s “Utopia”). If a utopia can’t be changed, it will eventually turn into a dystopia. Dystopias, at least, include the possibility of rebellion and the hope for change.
On the other hand, Utopian thinking as a phenomenon and mindset is notably a great advantage for human society. Take the contemporary standard of equality we are enjoying; for introducing that we have Utopcally thinking people and groups to thank for, (fighting slavery, feminists, etc.) Even if not a single consummated utopian theory has been proven to be completely workable in praxis (from the ones that have gotten the chance to be tried), Utopian literature and art remains a efficient laboratory for trying out and comparing different social theories, and questions on what humanity is. Science fiction that plays ontologically with WHAT-IFs and is a natural habitat of Utopia as an art-form.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
11:00 – 12:00, Room 204 (Messukeskus)
Beyond the Dystopia
Panelists: Juliet Kemp (M), Tom D Wright, Vincent Docherty, Taiyo Fujii, Tiina Raevaara
Description: A lot of current SFF covers dystopias or other grimdark settings. High body counts and general misery. What is out there that is a bit more uplifting, and are there advantages in these dark-feeling times to reading books that leave us feeling that the future (or other worlds) might be positive?
Sunday, August 13, 2017
14:00 – 15:00, Room 215 (Messukeskus)
Panelists: Tom D Wright (M)
Description: LitRPG is an emerging sub-genre of SF&F which is based on an immersive experience in online MMORPG games, a well-known example of which is READY PLAYER ONE. Where did it come from, what makes it LitRPG and how do you level up in this genre? Log in and find out.