Think Galacticon 2007 Schedule

Think GalactiCon 2007 was held July 13-15, 2007 at Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago, Illinois. For information on the current convention, please see the main Convention page.
FINAL Schedule

THURSDAY, July 12:

7:30pm: ThinkGalactic July book discussion

We’re discussing two short stories:
“Coming of Age in Karhide” by Ursula K. LeGuin and “The Dead” by Michael Swanwick

Anyone local or in town early is welcome to join us for our monthly discussion at Myopic Books (1564 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago, near the Damen stop on the Blue Line).

FRIDAY, July 13:

7:00pm- Opening Ceremonies and Party
During the party, for those who want to get to talking about SF already and/or prefer a quieter activity, we’ll have space set up and some suggested themes to explore for book discussions, as well as space for spontaneous/guerilla programming. Games will also be available! Hooray!

SATURDAY, July 14:

9:00-10:15am 2 panels
10:30-11:45am 2 panels
12 noon-1:15pm lunch break
1:30-2:45pm 3 panels
3:00-4:15pm 3 panels
4:30-5:45pm 3 panels
5:45-7:15pm dinner break
7:30-8:30pm Nalo Hopkinson reading, with discussion
8:30-10:30pm Screening of Jim Munroe’s movie Infest Wisely

SUNDAY, July 15:

10:30-11:45am 2 panels
12 noon-1:15pm lunch break
1:30-2:45pm 2 panels
3:00-4:00pm feedback session, wrap up and goodbyes!
Current Panels

1. (de)Constructing Class– Class in SF part 1

Social class is a complex topic to tackle—this panel is designed to facilitate more in-depth discussions of class in SF by first giving participants a common framework for that discussion—we’ll discuss terminology and definitions, as well as other issues that affect peoples’ conceptions of class, such as race. Issues of class within fandom may also be discussed.

2. Class & Superheroism

This panel is partly intended compliment “(de)Constructing Class” by applying what was discussed there to a specific topic. Let’s think about class and heroes! What percent of superheroes are wealthy? Most, if not all. The modern equivalent of the knight errant is, in comics, the playground of a leasure class who can afford the temporal and physical logistics– not to mention the moral absolutism of vigilantism. There are strikingly few working- or even middle-class superheroes.

3. Cultural Appropriation

We’ve gotten a lot of interest (in fact, it seems that this will likely be our Controversy Du Jour from Wiscon panel) in a panel on Cultural Appropriation that “isn’t CA 101, Race 101, or How to Assuage White Guilt for Writers?” Discussion on what constitutes a good Cultural Appropriation panel is ongoing here.

4. If You Want it Done Right, DIY!

The mainstream film industry [aka Hollywood] has a history and current practice of dissing of people of color, women, and others in film and TV. All too often their approach to important social issues is cavalier and their adaptations of speculative fiction are more concerned with titillation then thoughtfulness. Happily, the march of technology more and more brings the tools of filmmaking into everyone’s hands and the Internet makes audiences just a click away. How can this convergence inspire a new generation of filmmakers to work outside of the established system and finally, possibly, “get it right”?

5.Let’s Put the “Revel” in Revolution: a Geek Activist Workshop

It’s often the case that activism can be hard, hard work. Working for change in our current climate can be exhausting, frustrating, and all-too demoralizing. Think Galactic (and this con) is founded on the notion of using popular literature (SF/F/Horror) to raise people’s political consciousnesses. How might SF be used in activism? How can we approach activism and political engagement in ways that energize people, involve them, and engage their sense of play? Let’s also discuss how geeks (of assorted persuasions and professions) can bring their skills to activist endeavours.

6. Decloaking the Invisible Spaceship of Privilege: Being a Good Ally

This panel aims to address the issue of conduct and etiquette when venturing into minority spaces (straight folks moving into queer space, white people being involved in POC [people of color] space, etc.). How to be respectful but also become comfortable enough to be engaged. This would also be a great panel to talk about the issue of classic [White? Straight? Check all that apply] Liberal Guilt.

7. Future (in)Justices

Lots of SF has imagined future prison and punishment systems. There are quite a few “prison planet” stories (Midnight Robber, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, etc.), stories where people are forcibly physically or mentally altered (like the stories in the con chapbook), and so forth. Are there stories imagining a more just justice system, perhaps along the lines of current restorative justice initiatives? How do these stories relect or fail to reflect the realities and issues surrounding criminal justice (e.g. who is affected and how, whether they actually work)? Also, do the stories provide any models/inspriation for resistance, or illuminate in any way resistance that is going on now?

8. Lovecraft and Asia, Lovecraft and People of Color

H.P. Lovecraft has had an international influence even as many of his views were… controversial, to say the least. How do Asian, Asian-American and other writers and audiences respond to his work, and how might the new work that’s emerging within a Lovecraftian vein shape future dialogues on this writer? Given Lovecraft’s views on race and other topics, how can we approach his work and his influence, accepting the inspiration of his imagination while also being aware and critical of his problematic opinions? And, in general, how do we approach authors or works that present the reader with this type of quandary?

9. BDSM and consent: The Radical Politics of Kinky Sex

Whether or not you find spanking to be titillating, the philosophy of BDSM is well worth considering for its political ramifications. We’d like to have a panel that explores what it means to be safe, sane, and consensual as a society at large. BDSM insists on acknowledging the relationship between power and consent. There are very few spaces that allow for direct discussion of what consent really means and what it has to do with power; how ironic that we can talk about these issues so easily in the context of “taboo” sex!

10. Publishing and Hierarchy

Published authors have higher status than unpublished; there are rankings within published authors as well, which are based on: sales figures; advances and publicity budgets; frequency of publication; visibility, size, and prestige of the publisher; print or online publication format; etc. SF is notable among genres for the way it blurs boundaries between readers and writers, but these rankings still exist and make themselves felt. How can we work against these hierarchical tendencies? What might be beneficial about a more participatory culture? Self-publishing, small presses, collaborative efforts, cooperative business models, circulating editorships, and other possible tactics will be discussed.

11. Queerness in genre television

It’s here, it’s queer… sort of. From Babylon 5 to Buffy to Doctor Who, a variety of genre shows have included queer characters at some point in their series. What did they get right? What could have been better? And what would we like to see on shows that haven’t gone there yet?

12. Brave New Categories

Many classic SF futures depict societies in which race is no longer an issue: either all non-whites have inexplicably disappeared, or we’ve bred our way into homogeneity. But humans love to categorize our experience, and we’ll probably continue to do so–it just makes thinking a whole lot easier. Let’s imagine and cite from examples futures in which for one reason or another race persists as a category. AND, let’s also imagine and cite from examples futures in which new categories complement, trump, or replace race.

13. Transhumanism
This discussion will start as a presentation about the accelerating pace of technological change and how these changes will be disruptive to society. It will cover advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, cognitive science, and computer science, and how these will recursively interact and potentially lead us towards a technological “singularity.” Specific topics will include genetic engineering, longevity, communication networks, open source initiatives, nanofabrication, and the militarization of space. These technologies and inevitable changes pose many risks both to our personal freedoms and to humanity and the Earth as a whole but they might also provide activists with the tools and opportunities to undertake drastic social change in our lifetimes. After the presentation, we are interested in having a discussion on how pro-tech activists can best position ourselves to take advantage of these technologies/changes and use them to our advantage to establish a free, transhuman, post-scarcity society.

14. We Could be Heroes

There are a lot of sf/f stories with a central “destined for greatness” character (whether its a biological destiny, eg the inheritor of a ruling position or some spritual type destiny you are nonetheless born into eg Neo or Frodo). Let’s talk about stories that subvert the idea of a special person and that “destiny” determines whether you get to change the world.

15. When Fans Get Creative

Let’s talk about things fans create (fan fiction, fan art, vids, etc.) in terms of their role in fan community, and the interaction between fans, creators, and corporations. How are these interactions changing? Are there creators moving away from a stance of strictly “I am the creator, you are the consumer”? Where is it all going? Where do we want it to go? Some specific examples/points of discussion: The Browncoats’ marketing efforts for Serenity, attempts at for-profit fan fiction archives (i.e. FanLib), fan film creations such as Star Wars fan films or the various Star Trek fan series in production, corporate sponsored/sanctioned vid contests (e.g. SciFi’s Battlestar Galactica one), different authors’ stances on interacting with fans and fan creations (e.g. some writers communicate with fans regularly, some link to fan creations on their websites, others prefer that fans not create anything based on their works at all…) etc.

Descriptions for items number 16 and 17 are still going through final revisions. The general topics are:

16. A discussion of gender and sexuality in terms of binaries, dichotomies, dialectics, and continuums, and how SF can give us some perspectives for thinking outside the binary.

17. A look at what people have done and are doing right with race in SF, from the foundations built by early writers to the innovations of today’s writers.

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