Boskone Schedule

by wjw on February 9, 2014

I’ll be in Boston for Boskone this coming weekend, and if you’re in the area you should definitely stop by and say hello.

Here’s my schedule, to make it all the easier to find me.

The New SF/F Thriller

Friday 20:00 – 20:50

Here’s one subgenre that’s really taken hold these days. Examples: Neal Stephenson’s _Reamde_, Max Barry’s _Lexicon_, Wesley Chu’s _The Lives of Tao_, Walter Jon Williams’ _This Is Not A Game_, Charles Stross’ “Laundry” series, and more. Why now? Do these appeal more to mainstream or to fannish audiences? What can an SF or fantasy thriller do that a vanilla thrilla can’t? Who’s doing it best?

First Contact

Friday 21:00 – 21:50

Stories of a first contact with alien creatures capture our imagination like nothing else. Will the aliens be kind benefactors? Will they enslave the human race? Or will they just wipe us out and take over the planet? What works have most effectively portrayed the ideas, fears, and hopes that might arise when an alien race comes calling?

Alternate Voices

Saturday 13:00 – 13:50

Stories told through documents, letters, reports, or other nontraditional voices provide opportunities for narrative dissonance because of what is not (and cannot be) said. Panelists discuss the possibilities of these varied voices.

Reading by Walter Jon Williams

Saturday 17:00 – 17:25


Flash Fiction Slam

Sunday 09:30 – 10:50

Join Boskone’s first Flash Fiction Slam. Eleven (11) writers compete for the title of The Flash, reading their own original fiction — which must tell a complete tale within a 3-minute period. Our expert panel of judges will score your work on a scale of 1 to 10, and you automatically lose 1 point for going over your 3-minute time. You may only read your own work. The reader with the top score wins! Sign up before the con for one of eight (8) advance reading slots on a first-come, first-served basis by e-mailing (Please put “Flash Fiction Slam” in your e-mail’s subject line.) Or sign up onsite at Program Ops in the Galleria for one of three (3) at-con openings. A waiting list will also be available.

Kaffeeklatsche with Walter Jon Williams

Sunday 11:00 – 11:50


Economics In Science Fiction and Fantasy

Sunday 13:00 – 13:50

“Economist” may have become an insult since the (widely unforeseen) crash of 2008, but doesn’t any SF or fantasy world require some kind of an economy? Can the “dismal science” make a fun story? Could fusion power ever be free? What are the economic implications of robots and zombies, or dark lords, evil empires, and vampires?

TRX February 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Neal Stephenson’s “Reamde” was basically about the economics of running MMPRGs.

Charles Stross’ “Halting State” danced around economics, MMRPGs, and money laundering. I’m reading “Neptune’s Children” now, which has long expostulations of money and investment in a slower-than-light interstellar civilization.

David Brin’s “Kiln People” didn’t quite get into the economics of how its economy worked, but the underlying premise is worth thinking about. When doppelgangers can be made for pocket change, both physical and intellectual labor become essentially free. You could make a legion of ‘gangers with shovels for cheaper than you could rent a backhoe… or throw ten thousand Hawkings at a problem.

Labor in wossname’s “Aristoi” wasn’t quite free… but nanotech made “stuff” cheap. And the underpinnings of that economy would have been bogglingly complex, since it would have to span multiple virtual and real worlds…

Then, of course, you have the Star Trek canon, where the Federation is a post-money culture, only using “money” to trade with other civilizations. I never came across any explanation of how that was supposed to work.

Erin Underwood March 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Hi Walter,

It was great seeing you in Boston. I hope we see you again soon…but maybe without all of the snow. 😉


wjw March 4, 2014 at 5:41 am

I could definitely live without the snow. But it was grand seeing you, snow or otherwise.

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