Storming The Castle

Friday5:00 PMAllen Park Escapism, Coming Back, and Beyond Fans of SFF can get pretty prickly about their escapist pleasures. In the era of #metoo, #ownvoices and bot-fueled reactionary troll backlash, it's time to unpack that. What do we get by escaping the real world into fiction for a little while? How does it feel coming back? How else can fiction help us weather and overcome the hardships of the real world, and how can it hurt? Michael J. DeLuca (M), Eric Anderson, Sandee Rodriguez, Andrea Johnson, Jessi Cole Jackson
Friday6:00 PMAllen Park Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance have a lot in common: mythical creatures in modern settings, noir and crime fiction aesthetics, and, often, romantic plotlines. What distinguishes the two genres, and where to they overlap? How do they use their common elements to create different goals? Jennifer Blackstream (M), Andrew M. 'Fish' Popowich, Josef Matulich, Michael Cieslak, Delilah Dawson
Friday8:00 PMAllen Park Young Adult Authors in Conversation Our panel of authors of Young Adult fiction who write in different genres talk about their journey to publishing, their craft, and the future of YA. Jon Skovron (M), Cassandra Morgan, Stacey Filak, Merrie Haskell, Mark Oshiro
Saturday10:00 AMAllen Park Octopus and Ape We Want YOUR Opinion! Julie Lesnik, a ConFusion science track regular, is bringing her love of human evolution, bug eating, and all things biologically fascinating to YouTube in February 2019. Get a sneak peek at some of the content and provide feedback that will be used to make this channel great. Walk away with an Octopus and Ape badge ribbon and adorably awesome logo swag. Dr. Julie Lesnik (M)
Saturday11:00 AMAllen Park Out Beyond Pluto: New Horizons Visits the Kuiper Belt If all goes well, a few weeks before ConFusion, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft should have encountered the object known as 2014 MU69 or "Ultima Thule." Discuss the science of Kuiper Belt Objects and (we hope) the results of the flyby. Bill Higgins, Dr. Jennifer Piatek
Saturday12:00 PMAllen Park Feline Nutrition 101 Cats have been steadily growing in popularity for decades. Everyone from the likes of Hemingway to Freddie Mercury were all avid cat lovers. And as their popularity grows, so does our desire to learn how to care for our tiny tabby tigers. Join Cassandra Morgan, author and feline nutrition and behavior consultant as she walks you through her lecture on Feline Nutrition 101. Learn how to read a pet food label, what it means to be an Obligate Carnivore, settle the great Kibble vs Canned debate. It's going to be a purr-fectly meow-velous time! Cassandra Morgan (M)
Saturday1:00 PMAllen Park Mars in Fact and Fiction Mars looms large in science fiction, and in NASA's planetary exploration program. Listen to scientists and experts discuss the ways Mars has been explored in both scientific ways and by characters in science fiction. Bill Higgins, Martin L. Shoemaker, Dr. Jennifer Piatek
Saturday2:00 PMAllen Park Roleplaying 101 So you want to get into roleplaying games! Great! What does it take to get started, and do you want to contribute as a player or as a game master? How do you plan a basic session, what makes a good character, and what are the common pitfalls that face novice players and GMs? Nibedita Sen (M), Stephanie Lorée, Andrew M. 'Fish' Popowich, Brian Bay, Dan Wells
Saturday4:00 PMAllen Park Stargate SG-1 Retrospective It has been over 20 years since Stargate SG-1 showed up on our screens, and over 10 years since it left. Along the way, it spun off two other series, and a limited run prequel series last year. What made it great, and why did it resonate with so many people? What impact has it made on genre television and movies? Eric Anderson (M), Keith Hughes, Julayne Hughes, Julie Winningham
Saturday5:00 PMAllen Park Reboot Fever! The concept of a reboot is nothing particularly new, but the trend in them is not limited to the underperforming properties, like Fantastic Four, or the barely remembered, but beloved classics are getting the treatment as well. Is this a plague that must be eradicated, a harbinger of the death of culture, a necessary refreshing of shared myths, or something else entirely? What's being done well, and what less well? Stacey Filak, Seleste deLaney / Julie Particka, Marie S. Bilodeau
Saturday6:00 PMAllen Park Metafiction and S. Morgenstern Let's think about William Goldman's abridgment of S. Morgenstern's classic novel in the context of the film, Morgenstern's other surviving work, The Silent Gondoliers, and other classic metafictional/postmodern fantasy texts like Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn, Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, Pratchett's Discworld, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. How do these works compel our imaginations so effectively while also constantly undermining themselves with tongue firmly in cheek? Where did this kind of self-conscious mythmaking originate, and what's its modern legacy? How has fantasy changed because of it? Jackie Morgan (M), Sarah E. Gibbons, John Chu, K. Lynne O'Connor
Saturday7:00 PMAllen Park To the Pain: On Making Characters Struggle Sometimes you can't kill your protagonists outright ... but you can definitely put them through a lot. How do writers use different kinds of "pain" to craft better stories around their characters? At what point does a writer push their characters too much? And is it possible to create tension and conflict with minimal struggle? Tracy Townsend (M), Angus Watson, Brandon Crilly, Daan Wells
Saturday8:00 PMAllen Park Murder, Meanness, and Other Solutions from Deep in the Edit Mines: How to Help Fix Each Other's Work Without Taking Over. How can we best use creative teamwork in solo projects? When your writing friends are stuck, where's the line between helpful and pushy? Is murder really the answer to every problem--and is it sometimes helpful to have a friend come through the door of your manuscript with a gun in hand when you don't know what to do next?Marissa Lingen (M), Jennifer Mace, K.A. Doore
Saturday9:00 PMAllen Park Phineas & Ferb Singalong There's 104 days of summer vacation... and we're going to singalong with a whole ton of songs from Phineas & Ferb in just an hour (or so). 
Sunday11:00 AMAllen Park How Fears Shape Superstitions From black cats-as-familiars to the number 13 being bad, all modern beliefs are rooted in folklore and ancient traditions that have been affected by political and social mores. Panelists will share examples and then discuss whether or not these powerful beliefs are harmful or helpful. Steve Buchheit (M), Lucy A. Snyder, Sarah E. Gibbons, Nino Cipri, Monica Valentinelli
Sunday12:00 PMAllen Park Microeconomics in Fantasy Worlds In The Princess Bride, Vizzini reminds Fezzik he'd found him "Unemployed in Greenland,” but details like rent and employment frequently go untouched in Fantasy Worldbuilding. Whether a setting uses coins or barter, there is still a need for characters to put food on the table, and making a living is a prime source of stress and conflict. How have budget and cashflow been examined in fantasy settings before, and what do they allow us to explore in new works? Chris Bell (M), Dan Stout, Cassandra Morgan, Stacey Filak, K.A. Doore
Sunday1:00 PMAllen Park Evolution of Fandom The only thing that stays the same in fandom is that it continues to change! How has it changed for the better, and how do we think it will continue to change? Jackie Morgan (M), Brian Bay, Seleste deLaney / Julie Particka, Cat Rambo, Julie Winningham
Sunday2:00 PMAllen Park Kindness in Science Fiction and Fantasy How do we showcase characters' kindness in a world (or worlds) that can be cruel? Who does a good job of showing these interactions in their books (or other media!), and what makes their depictions feel real, nuanced, and effective? What about paradoxically kind books: stories focused on this type of interaction and also war, gore, and other serious interpersonal problems? How do they maintain both tone and values? What do we most need about stories of kindness right now, and how can they be dramatically effective? Kelli Fitzpatrick (M), Petra Kuppers, Jennie Ivins, Nibedita Sen