The Complexities of War

Fantasy and science fiction seem to have a love affair with battles where two armies charge headlong at each other across vast plains or the immense vacuum of space for no good reason, and there is a notable absence of blood, bowels, and trauma. What are the best examples of realistic warfare? What methods can… Continue reading The Complexities of War

The Creepypasta Panel

Creepypasta: the internet evolution of the urban legend. It has risen from nothing to become a mature horror genre over the last decade. What is it, why does it work, and how will it evolve into the future?

Washington, DC, in Speculative Fiction

Washington, DC, is a popular and compelling setting for mysteries and political thrillers, but what about speculative fiction? How is DC and its culture represented in science fiction and fantasy? How can you avoid reducing this complex city to a caricature? Which writers get it right, and how badly do some get it wrong?

Why Won’t You Stay Dead?!

Characters have come back from the dead so often in superhero comics that it’s become a running joke, sometimes cheapening the impact of the death in the story. Creators have come up with a wide variety of tricks to resurrect or otherwise return “dead” characters to life. Is it just lazy storytelling, editorial decisions driven… Continue reading Why Won’t You Stay Dead?!

Speculative Poetry Readings (Virtual)

This is a chance to hear a range of talented and award-winning speculative fiction poets perform and discuss their work. Includes readings by: Mary Soon Lee (2167); Cassandra Rose Clarke (7675); Akua Lezli Hope (7286); F. Brett Cox (7717)

Writing Believable Children

How old is too old for baby talk? Is it normal for seven-year-olds to talk about death? Can we just write children as small adults? Panelists walks us through how to write more realistic children for any audience (not just YA).

In Praise of Randomness

Random elements are a design tool used in many video game plots and progressions, whether it be procedurally generated enemies or quests, or large-scale reordering of the game logic. There are similar, but different, dynamics in tabletop role-playing games’ use of dice and random generation tables. Why does randomness in game progression work? What are… Continue reading In Praise of Randomness

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