DetCon1 — Four Days of SFF in Downtown Detroit

I am very excited to be participating in DetCon1 in a few weeks. For those who are unfamiliar1 with what DetCon1, it is the name of the 2014 North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC). Worldcon — the World Science Fiction Convention — is “an international gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans an professionals.” Every other year, the convention is held in North America. On years where the convention is elsewhere, NASFiC is held on this continent. This year Worldcon will be in London and those of us who can’t make it will be attending DetCon1 in Detroit.

The convention will be at the
Renaissance Center 17 - 20 July. I will be appearing on a number panels as well as hanging around the convention all weekend long. My schedule is below:

Is There Still Life in the Undead?
Thu 4:00:00 PM Mackinac West

Werewolves, vampires, ghosts and zombies have been a mainstay in
popular culture for years. Is their popularity waning or is there still life left
among the undead? Our panelists discuss the cyclical nature of undead &
supernatural fictions, and how modern content creators have changed the
traditional notions of these characters to keep interest alive.
Michael Cieslak (Moderator), Bernadette Bosky, Laura Bickle, Sean

Zombie Culture
Fri 12:00:00 PM Nicolet A

Our panel discusses the current popularity of zombies, and the many
varieties now in vogue. Are there any others that the media hasn't explored?
Why have zombies caught the mainstream now? And why go on a Zombie
Leane Verhulst, Lucy A. Snyder, Philippe McNally, Bernadette Bosky,
Michael Cieslak

Anti-Science Sentiment in the US
Fri 6:00:00 PM Mackinac West

Anti-Science sentiment seems to be on the rise in the USA. Why? What is
going on, and what can we do to reverse this unsettling situation?
Rachael Acks, Mel. White, Michael Cieslak, Ken Bertin, G. M. Ross

Why Aren't There More Vampyre Astronauts?
Sat 10:00:00 PM Nicolet B

A lighthearted open discussion of genre fiction blends that we don't often see. Which ones have worked and why? Which ones might never see the light of day?
Michael Cieslak (moderator), Jen Haeger, Christian Klaver

Reading: Cieslak/Davis
Sun 10:00:00 AM Joliet A
Authors Michael Cieslak and Sean Davis read from their work.
Michael Cieslak, Sean Davis

I readily admit that I may be out of my depth a little bit. Rather than worrying about this, I am trying to focus on the upcoming convention as an opportunity to step up my game
2. As for the panels, I’m pretty stoked. I’ll be moderating the Is There Still Life in the Undead? and Why Aren’t There More Vampyre Astronauts? panels. These are both similar to panels which I have been on and even moderated at Penguicon and other conventions. They are always fun topics and each year there is more material to present.3

The zombie culture panel should also be pretty fun. I can drone on about shambling animated corpses for hours. Also, I’ve spent my fair share of time zombified — at costume parties, on zombie walks, and even on zombie runs. I am looking forward to hearing other people’s opinions about the current popularity of the zombie.

I am more than a little intimidated by the Anti-Science panel. There have already been some e-mails going back and forth between the panelists. It would appear that I am the sole individual without a job relating to science, teaching, or both. I guess that means that I will be bringing a unique opinion to the table, right?

should be more nervous about the reading, especially when you consider I haven’t given more than a passing thought to what I will actually read. I do have a few standbys that seem to be crowd pleasers. I also have some things I have written a little more recently which I might want to try. I will look these all over, try them out as spoken word material, and see how long the run in terms of time and whether or not there are some passages that are difficult to read easily.

I spent some time last night looking over the whole schedule. There are a lot of interesting panels to look forward to. The full schedule can be found here.

I will also be spending some time volunteering at the Penguicon Room Party
4, helping to spread the word about my home Con.5

Afterword: While I was looking up the link for the schedule, I glanced through the items DetCon1 listed as “program highlights.” The Life After the Undead and Zombie Culture panels are both listed.

OK, maybe I am a little bit more nervous about those now.

1 You must be avoiding my
Facebook feed too.

2 As well as do some serious networking.

3 Which may answer the question as to whether or not there is still life in the undead.

4 I will post the details after they are finalized.

5 Read this post.