Swancon XV Progress Report 3 – Pages 8-9 – Program Highlights

Transcribed by Elaine Walker. As best as I could I matched all text precisely.

Page running head reads: Just So You’ll Know Where Not to Be

Program Highlights

By Jeremy G Byrne

While this may be double-dipping for Program space, I felt it might help people’s forward planning (and possibly make up a few minds in favour of attending the Con) if I described some of the Panels and other programmed items in detail. Below are most of the less obvious items in the Program you’ll find overleaf. Certain third stream events are discussed elsewhere in PR3.

Panel:   Is SF Silly?
This should prove a controversial little spot. Presented by Robin Pen and John Richards, it promises to pull no punches in its attempt to get us all to look a bit more closely at what it is we spend our Australia Day Long Weekends doing. Bring your soapboxes.

Panel:   Reviewing SF in the Mass Media
Although two of them don’t know it yet, this panel will feature the guests of honour and Van Ikin, discussing the trials, tribulations and artistic frustrations of presenting discussion of SF&F for the great unwashed.

Panel:   Future Visions
From Fritz Lang to George Lucas, and from Olaf Stapeldon to William Gibson, our perception of the future cannot help but be based on the society of the present. A look back at a look ahead, this multimedia event (meaning: we’ll mention film as well as books) will examine the way we saw the future in the decades past.

Panel:   “It’ll All End in Tears”
Another big-name panel, this morbidly titled item will examine the proposition that the future will be a dark one. Economics, ecology, society and science will be examined and the ultimate fate of each and every one of us made clear.

Panel:   Brave New World and other Visionary Utopias
What’s this!? Brave New World a Utopian Vision? We must be completely FITH! If you’ve got any strongly held moral, ethical, religious or political beliefs, come and air them at this panel. We guarantee burst a few bubbles. Crowd control measures will be in place.

Event:   Gothik Dance
This year, the dance-after-the-masquerade has a name. In keeping with the overall theme of the convention, the dance will be very dark and as “future” as we can make it. In case you’re missing the reference, the Gothiks are William Gibson’s extrapolation of the Gothic subculture of the eighties (you know: “I wear black on the outside because Black is how I feel on the inside”, “Robert Smith for God”, “Bela Lugosi’s not dead, he’s in Africa under an assumed name” et cetera. Be prepared to be violently depressed. No Casuals admitted.

Panel:   Recovery Session
At nine o’clock on Sunday morning, after drinking until midnight and dancing until one, anyone attending this panel is required to sleep through it. There will be no panelists. Talk amongst yourselves.

Panel:   Heinlein: Where do we go from here?
For those of you who thought death would put an end to Robert H., think again. He promises to be just as prolific from beyond the veil of tears with a postumous collection of letters and the reissue of unedited novels. You are welcome to come along and make your opinion of Mr. Heinlein known while the learned panelists provide all the information you might every want to hear. If he’s important enough for Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, hadn’t you better be there?

Event:   Business Meeting
Traditionally attended by only the terminally fen, this year the business meeting will address an issue of significant general interest. The proposal to incorporate SwanCon will be examined closely and judged on its merits. If you’ve got an opinion, be there.

Panel:   Horror: What Frightens You?
All major branches of the Gallows Tree of Horror will be cut up, pulped and tossed as paper aeroplanes into the audience in danse macabre. Be prepared to cringe at the sight of yourself in the mirror after this one.

Event:   Play Reading
An original dramatic work by Stephen Dedman will be read by various local personalities. Certain to be entertaining in one way or another. Don’t worry if you find it not to your taste: it’s only half an hour long.

Event:   Fannish Impros
“Based on the popular Theatre Sports” (we have to put that bit in for legal reasons), this happening has, against all reason, proved popular at previous Cons. As an attendee, you have the choice of appearing before your peers in inconceivably embarrassing situations or spending two hours watching grown people singing impromptu opera or pretending to be someone else’s hands. Once you’ve seen it, however, you won’t look back.

Panel:   Why Fantasy Fails on Film
This is supposed to be an SF&F Con, but the fantasy community, while doubtless enormous, is somewhat intangible. This is a FANTASY PANEL. It will involve SERIOUS DISCUSSION. Just because we made it up doesn’t mean we intend to treat the subject lightly. We would prefer it if some of you out there would take it over from us, but if that doesn’t happen, we will treat it with all the seriousness it deserves.

Panel:   When Magic and Technology Meet
Oops. Another Fantasy Panel. Perhaps we’re not quite as biased as we thought. Once again, we’re looking for panelists here. Likely to involve discussion of Moorcock, Wolfe, Niven’s “When the Magic Goes Away”, Vance and much, much, more. Sure to be a hit. They one to be in. Hurry, hurry…

Panel:   Blake’s Seven as Dark Future
That’s right. A Blake’s Seven Panel which follows the theme of the Con. If you’d never realised Blake’s Seven contained the variety necessary to present a thematic panel, come along and be surprised. Or not, as the case may be.

Panel:   How to scare and RPGer
Once again, although this time it’s officially programmed, the Gaming Panel will occur in the hour before the closing ceremony. The Con this year contains a much stronger gaming stream than it has in the past, but this panel is likely to be just as popular as ever, so get in early and grab a seat. You won’t have to move until after the Closing Ceremony.

About australian sf-history

ASFDAP was set up in 2011 after the rediscovery by the wider SF community of an impressive hoard of Australian SF community related ephemera, fanzines and other materials in the Murdoch University basement.
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