Think Galacticon 2009 Schedule

Please see below for event descriptions.

FRIDAY Evening
7:00-7:30 Opening Ceremonies – Congress Lounge

7:30-8:00 Eleanor Arnason Reading – Congress Lounge
8:00-11:30 LACK – Rm. 232
8:00-11:30 Salon – Congress Lounge
8-9 Author Readings – Rm. 244

9-11:30 Open mic – Congress Lounge

9:00-10:15 Recognizing Privilege in Theism and Atheism – Rm 326

10:30-11:45 Cultural Appropriation – Rm 320
10:30-11:45 Species Defined Gender Roles – Rm 326
10:30-12:30 Block Printing / Book Workshop – Rm 232

12:00-1:15 LUNCH

1:30-2:45 Infinite Diversity… (Star Trek) – Rm 320
1:30-2:45 Future of Food – Rm 326
1:30-2:45 DIY – Rm 330

3:00-4:15 Fighting for Recognition – Rm 320
3:00-4:15 Politics & SF Movement – Rm 326
3:00-4:15 Gender & Sexuality in Fan Fiction – Rm 330

4:30-5:45 Abuse & Exploitation of Children in SF/F – Rm 320
4:30-5:45 Science & Technology for Liberation – Rm 326
4:30-5:45 Climate Change – Rm 330

6:00-7:30 DINNER

7:30-8:45 Why Are These Brown People Harshing My Squee? – Rm 320
7:30-11:30 Boogie and Boggle – Congress Lounge and Rm. 232

9:00 Dessert Break! – Congress Lounge

10:30-11:45 Racefail ‘09 – Rm 320
10:30-11:45 Class, The Economy, & You – Rm 326
10:30-11:45 Anarchism & The Superhero – Rm 330

12:00-1:15 LUNCH

1:30-2:45 Race & Ethnicity in YA – Rm 320
1:30-2:45 Continuing Appeal of the Apocalypse – Rm 326

3:00-3:30 Closing Ceremonies – Congress Lounge
3:30-4:30 Think Galacticon 09 Evaluation & Discussion – Congress Lounge

Events and Services

Room 244
Saturday, 9:00-12:00, 1:00-6:00
Sunday, 10:00-12:00, 1:00-4:00
Your membership includes childcare. This space is run by a staff
person and at least one volunteer at all times. Check-in at registration about the hours you plan to use the childcare, and please remember to confirm with the staff person when you plan to pick up your child.


Congress Lounge
Saturday, 8:30-6:30
Sunday, 10:00-4:30
Your membership includes food and snacks so you don’t have to leave and miss any of the fun! Breakfast, lunch, a continuous stream of coffee, and other things to eat and drink will be available.

Congress Lounge
Saturday, 10:00-6:00
Sunday, 10:00-3:00
The Think Galacticon Bazaar is a space where members can promote their ideas and creations directly to you! Come and engage with and support your fellow attendees. In addition, leave or take items from the free table, buy some delicious vegan treats to support Think Galacticon (and your belly), and make something at our craft table!

Guerilla Programming
Room 236
Want to create your own own the spot discussion? Did a panel just not have enough time to talk about everything? Room 236 is available via the sign up sheet posted outside the door.

Special Events Descriptions

  • Opening Ceremonies
    Come meet our Notable Guests, concom members, and other convention members, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres from The Balanced Kitchen Green Event Catering.
  • Author Readings (Friday Night)- featuring Larissa Niec and Moondancer Drake
  • Boogie and Boggle! (Saturday Night) Dance party and board games– something fun for all!
  • Dessert Break- Come join us for a dessert break with nummy cupcakes from Delicious Cafe and tasty vegan ice cream from Chicago Soydairy.
  • Pride events! Think Galacticon weekend is also Chicago Pride weekend! Geeky Pride activities are being planned.
  • Block Printing workshop (details tba)
  • LARP (Friday Night): LACK A one-shot LARP, perfect for beginners. You’ve just woken, naked, inside some sort of nutrient gel tank. Around you, many others are also emerging. You appear to be in some sort of underground bunker. You remember nothing except a vague sense of alarm and disaster. How did you get here? Who are you? What happened? And what is that moving through the vents? Join us for a 3-4 hour one shot live action roleplaying (LARP) experience. This scenario is specifically designed for people new to LARPing (which is a bit like tabletop roleplaying games mixed with improv acting — you are your character). The rules are simple and characters are provided. You and the other characters will be exploring your environment, establishing a way to make decisions and work together, and uncovering a series of interlocking mysteries. Numerous thought-provoking challenges will be placed before you that should raise as many questions as they answer.
  • Looking for something to do before or after the convention? The exhibit curator, a friend of Think Galacticon, invites you to see The Artist’s Telescope: Science Fiction and Illustration at the Charles Deering Library at Northwestern University. Illustrators featured include Richard Powers, Kelly Freas, and Ed Emshwiller. Exhibit preview. Directions to Northwestern’s Evanston campus from Chicago via public transit.

Want to volunteer to help with any of these activities? Please e-mail us at programming [at] thinkgalactic [dot] org


Panel Descriptions

These days, many people seem to be making art, clothing, and technology by modifying found objects/recycling things. Many also repurpose older technology others have thrown out (e.g. turning old computers into a community center lab). Let’s talk about what we’re making and doing and how it relates to activism (recycling? making activist artwork?) and/or sf (characters making do with found objects).

When an author chooses to have biologically-defined gender roles (e.g., with werewolves, alien races, witches/warlocks with different abilities based on sex) for sentient species, what impact does that have?

Let’s talk about superheroes. From Alan Moore’s Watchmen and V for Vendetta to Warren Ellis’s The Authority to DC’s Superman to Marvel’s Captain America there are a variety of perspectives on the superhero and politics.

Let’s talk about the history of women, GLBT people, and people of color to be recognized as SF writers and fans in the US and other countries. The intention of this panel is to provide useful perspective for current struggles.

How do young people decide how to identify? What stories deal with choosing how to identify? How does one’s identity change over time? How does one identify as one race/ethnicity when coming from a different/mixed family? (A work in progress: please let us know what youÂ’d like to see here!)

A critical discussion of post-apocalypse stories. While many fans are interested in these stories because they explore the rebuilding of a better society, there is recurring theme where most of the world’s population needs to die in order to start building new social systems. Why do these interest us and why is this problematic?

Particularly in light of the “reboot” of the Star Trek universe, let’s take some time to talk about what the series has done with issues of race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, and so forth. And let’s talk about what we’d like to see next!

RaceFail ’09 is a blogosphere discussion about race and racism in science fiction books and fandom. Well-known white authors and some of their fans spoke out and responded to criticisms in racist and problematic ways creating a discussion that sprawled over dozens of blogs. If you fail publicly, how do you show yourself again in public? What resources should you consult to educate yourself before going out in public again? How do you avoid failing yet again by avoiding owning up to your fail? What positive things can come out of fail? What have we learned from RaceFail and what else should we do as writers, fans, and people? Let’s create some tools for the community.

The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change begs the world to eat less meat. While veganism and locavore movements are spreading, the production of genetically modified foods is also growing. Corporations like Monsanto are continuing to dictate what gets on to our plates and the U.S. government is continuing to do nothing about this. How does SF/F look at food and the ethical/environmental implications of how we produce it? What does writing about food issues look like? How can SF/F imagine what the future of food looks like?

Let’s look at all types of fan fiction. In what ways do some fan authors subvert conventional notions of gender and sexuality? Conversely, in what ways are stereotypes reinforced? A number of tropes explicitly play with gender roles and expectations (e.g. “genderswap/genderfuck” stories, or the dreaded “mpreg”)– are these tropes subversive? If not, are there any individual stories that are subversive?

with notable guest Josh MacPhee.
Learn the basics of stenciling using recycled materials and how to carve soft media such as erasers for simple block prints. Also learn variations of the pamphlet stitch, an easy binding great for zines, chapbooks, and journals. No experience necessary, and materials will be provided (though anyone who can bring an x-acto knife, scissors, and/or cutting mat should do so). If you already know how to do this stuff, drop by to help teach others. Josh will also show samples of his stencil work at the workshop. Saturday,
10:30am-12:30pm, Room 232

And here’s some more information:

Stencils & stamps are a convenient way to produce multiple versions of the same image. Use them for illustrations, standalone artwork, messages, patches, stickers, and whatever else you can think of. The pamphlet stitch is a quick and easy binding that’s great for zines, chapbooks, and journals. In only takes minutes to learn the basic stitch, but we’ll also show you variations to dress it up or make it stronger.

We’ll demonstrate and provide written instructions. You’ll bind the instructions into a simple book with plenty of blank pages for workshop participants to fill with each others’ stamps and stencils.

If you know how to do any or all of this, come by to help others learn. You’re welcome to bring some of your own work for show and tell.

What to bring:
Ideas, sketches, and photocopies of images to make into stamps and stencils. Bring 3 to 5 copies of the same image if you want to learn how to make a multi-color stencil. We’ll supply everything else, though it would help out if you can bring a cutting mat or scissors to share (we’ll give them back, of course). Also, if you have the previous day’s newspaper hanging around, bring it so we can use it to help keep mess to a minimum.

Children 12 & under should be accompanied by an adult, especially since we’ll be using extremely sharp cutting tools.

You don’t have to pre-register for the workshop, but if you plan to come, please leave a comment. I’m trying to get an idea of how much to bring. Tools will be limited, but all that means is that we’ll have to share 🙂 Questions? Leave a comment to this post or email chr0me_kitten [at]

Josh MacPhee is the author of Stencil Pirates: A Global Study of the Street Stencil. You can see some of Josh’s work at

For more details and some examples, please see this post on the Think Galactic Livejournal.

Instead of writing about futures with a lot less racism, and less cultural divisions amongst people, how do you write stories that include specific currently existing cultures? How do you educate yourself about other cultures and races without offending the people you want to learn about? People of color are not here to teach you anything, nor are they exotic beings for you to stare at. What resources are available?

Paul Kincaid has an article in Argentus 2008 (Hard Right) linking the implicit worldviews in the rhetorical outlook of hard science fiction and political conservatism. Do certain movements or subgenres in SF tend to get associated with certain political viewpoints? Are there works that break the mold or subvert expectations?

Every con needs to talk about climate change. It’s big. It’s scary. It’s here. What are the socio-political ramifications of climate change? In Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler looks at society at the beginning of environmental collapse while Kim Stanley Robinson has recently been exploring what scientific minds would do in the near future to stave off environmental catastrophe. Who else is imagining this future and what else can we do?

Child abuse is frequently used as a plot element or character motivation in SF/F literature; however, the occurrence and effects of maltreatment are commonly portrayed in a simplistic, inaccurate way. For example, people who suffer child abuse are depicted as either forever scarred or untouched by their experiences. Perpetrators of abuse are depicted as monsters, characters we can distance from ourselves by seeing them as inhuman. Not only does this simplistic treatment of child abuse lead to the creation of two-dimensional characters and tedious plot, it can impact how readers understand and react to the social issue. Let’s explore the ways in which oppression, abuse, and resilience impact society and the individual. We’ll discuss accurate information about child maltreatment, give examples from current SF/F of problematic and useful depictions of maltreatment, and open a discussion about how SF/F literature may influence current social attitudes toward children.

Explosive discussions frequently occur when atheists and theists try to talk about religion, non-belief, and our society. One of the main causes of this is because there are complicated privilege issues that make people in both groups defensive. Besides just looking at our own history, let us look at representations in sf/f of religion as both a liberating force and an oppressive one. What stories have an explicitly atheist-leaning world for better or worse? How can leftist atheists and believers come together and fight the religious right?

How did class divisions contribute to our current economic collapse? How do we see art and activism in relation to different class positions? How does our art and activism change with OR in relation to our job status and the economy? How do these things change when combining your class with other underrepresented groups you belong to? Are the narratives we have in stories perpetuating the problems in our society and can we write and think our way out of them?

Why is racial representation important in genre fiction? What are the politics of being a Fan of Color? Just what is the cost of participating in fandom if you are a racial minority?

Counter to dystopian futures and the portrayal of technology as a tool of oppression, many writers illustrate how technology can also be implemented for liberatory uses and to instigate radical social change. (A few examples include sousveillance, boundary-collapsing communications, and post-scarcity via nanofabrication, among others.) What can we learn from these explorations and how can we apply them to develop a real-world anarchist/egalitarian/technoprogressive/left approach to science and technology?