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The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Stage informs readers on the latest in science fiction and fantasy genres, and what authors have to offer in those exciting genres.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Stage

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Stage: Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Cobblestone Drive



Friday, September 28




11AM

What's Your Writer Origin Story

Our panel of authors will tell you what led to their chosen career, and which books and stories inspired them along the way.

Panelists: Elektra Hammond, Kosoko Jackson, Kenneth Rogers Jr., Lawrence M. Schoen

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12PM

My Muse Is My Day Job

Plenty of authors keep part or full time day jobs, some famously. Find out how these writers' other careers inspire and influence their fiction.

Panelists: David Pedreira, Jonathan P. Brazee, Arkady Martine, Christopher Mark Rose, N.J. Schrock, K.M. Szpara

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12PM

Autographing: Lawrence M. Schoen

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1PM

Self-Pub, Traditional, and Hybrid, Oh My!

There are many roads to publication in this day and age. Find out which one is right for you, the positives and negatives of each, and the things our authors wish they had known.

Panelists: Jonathan P. Brazee, Vera Brook, Kenneth Rogers Jr., Lawrence M. Schoen, N.J. Schrock

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2PM

Research, or "How I Spent My Whole Day on Wikipedia"

Whether a writer is after something historical, scientific, cultural, or trivial, it's easy to fall down the rabbit holes of research. Let our authors tell you about the places they've gone for a single reference, as well as tips on how to do effective research.

Panelists: Sue Hollister Barr, Elektra Hammond, Kosoko Jackson, KJ Kabza, Marianne Kirby, Rosemary Claire Smith

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3PM

Beyond Borders, Beyond Maps: The Everything Else That Shapes A World

Worldbuilding is more than just inset maps. It's about economy, culture, politics, food, entertainment, modes of transit, class structures, gender roles. Panelists talk about creating worlds, and how much they know that doesn't ever make it to the page.

Panelists: Denise Clemons, Vera Brook, L. Penelope, Jon Skovron, Rosemary Claire Smith, Na'amen Gobert Tilahun

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3PM

Autographing: David Pedreira

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4PM

Hey, You: Why You Should Be Reading SF/F Even If You Never Have Before

Don't consider yourself a genre reader? Let our panel try to convince you why you should be reading SF/F, and some of their favorite entry points and gateway books.

Panelists: Karlo Yeager Rodriguez, Sue Hollister Barr, Vera Brook, Christopher Mark Rose, K.M. Szpara, Andrea Tang

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4PM

Autographing: L. Penelope and Na'amen Gobert Tilahun

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5PM

Heroes, Villains, and Everyone in Between

No matter how cool your setting, you want people to want to follow your characters, whether out of love or hate or fascination. Our panel talks about what makes a good hero (or antihero), why some villains are just delicious, and the joy of centering a story around an everyday person who falls into neither of those categories.

Panelists: Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Zoraida Córdova, Jeff Gunhus, Michael Moreci, Karen Osborne, Kenneth Rogers Jr.

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5PM

Autographing: Sue Hollister Barr and Vera Brook

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6PM

UNDead Genres: Marginalized Writers Reinvigorate Tired Tropes

There are some subgenres we think we've probably read enough of… until somebody comes along with a spin on that story that elevates it out of cliché and makes it new again.

Panelists: K.M. Szpara, Bill Campbell, Ruthanna Emrys, Nibedita Sen, Vivian Shaw, Na'amen Gobert Tilahun

Event Details

6PM

Autographing: Jeff Gunhus and Kenneth Rogers Jr.

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Saturday, September 29




11AM

"…In Space!"

Need we say more? The fictions and realities of space and getting there, from Hidden Figures to space opera, and why we love SF set in space.

Panelists: Gwendolyn Clare, Jack Clemons, Arkady Martine, Michael Moreci, Karen Osborne, David Pedreira

Event Details

12PM

Actual Science in Science Fiction

People usually equate science fiction with astronomy and physics. We do too, but also biology, chemistry, paleontology, and more. Our authors talk about how much science they include, the science behind the stories, and what it means to "get it right."

Panelists: N.J. Schrock, Gwendolyn Clare, Jack Clemons, Jeff Gunhus, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, David Pedreira

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12PM

Autographing: Michael Moreci

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1PM

Short Fiction: The Beating Heart of SF/F

Novels may get all the press, but some writers do their most interesting work at the shorter lengths, where they are free to be more experimental. Find out the great reasons to read short stories, novelettes, and novellas, which ones to read, and where to read them.

Panelists:
Sarah Pinsker, AT Greenblatt, KJ Kabza, Sam J. Miller, Irette Y. Patterson, Karlo Yeager Rodriguez

Event Details

1PM

Autographing: Jack Clemons

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2PM

YA For Today

Our panel of Young Adult novelists talk about what makes a good YA novel, and the ways they reward their readers, adult or teen. Discover your new favorite author and your new favorite book.

Panelists:
Kosoko Jackson, Vera Brook, Gwendolyn Clare, Zoraida Córdova, Justina Ireland, Andrea Tang

Event Details

2PM

Autographing: KJ Kabza and Sam J. Miller

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3PM

Afrofuturism: Black Panther, Janelle Monae, and the Spaces In Between

The Afrofuturism of Black Panther is the culmination of years of literary works by Black authors that imagined a future in which Blackness was valued and exalted. On this panel, authors will discuss how the impact of Black Panther and reimagining Blackness in literature can forge new grounds for the stories of the future.

Panelists: Justina Ireland, Bill Campbell, Kosoko Jackson, Irette Y. Patterson, L. Penelope

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3PM

Autographing: Zoraida Córdova

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4PM

I've Seen Your Face Before

From John Kessel's Pride & Prometheus to Victor LaValle's "The Ballad of Black Tom" to Maria Dahvana Headley's The Mere Wife to our panelists' own work, authors discuss how it can be a fascinating and rewarding experiment to ask new questions of others' characters, and to take a page from their stylebooks. What does it take to put a new spin on a character readers recognize?

Panelists: Scott Edelman, Ruthanna Emrys, Theodora Goss, Nibedita Sen, Vivian Shaw, Jon Skovron

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4PM

Autographing: Lara Elena Donnelly and Justina Ireland

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5PM

LGBTQIASFF

LGBTQIA voices are everywhere in modern SF/F, re-examining the genres and giving them new life. Our panel discusses the state of queer SF/F, where it's going, where we want it to go, and who and what you should be reading.

Panelists: Marianne Kirby, Kosoko Jackson, KJ Kabza, Sam J. Miller, Nibedita Sen, K.M. Szpara

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5PM

Autographing: Theodora Goss and Sherri Cook Woosley

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6PM

The Speculative Table: Beyond Stew and MREs

Every character needs to eat, but food is more than just sustenance. It interacts with culture, identity, class, gender, and power. How does SFF deal with those intersections? Which books acknowledge the effort (or future ease?) of putting food on the table? Whose menus are represented, and why?

Panelists: Denise Clemons, Lara Elena Donnelly, Scott Edelman, Marianne Kirby, Karlo Yeager Rodriguez, Nibedita Sen

Event Details



Sunday, September 30




11AM

Hopeful Fiction

We hear a lot about dystopic fiction, so this panel will look at the other side of that coin. Authors discuss the difference between utopic and hopeful fiction, if they like the term "hopepunk," the works that do this well, and above all, why we need hope.

Panelists: Bill Campbell, Ruthanna Emrys, Jo Miles, Day al-Mohamed

Event Details

12PM

Dangerous Voices Variety Hour Presents

The Dangerous Voices Variety Hour takes its cues from NPR's quiz show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," and Orson Welles' original "War of the Worlds" broadcast. During this hour, two authors will read, answer irreverent interview questions, and compete to win free books for the audience members. Hosted by Sarah Pinsker and K.M. Szpara. Guests: Charlie Jane Anders and Theodora Goss

Event Details

12PM

Autographing: N.J. Schrock

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1PM

The Future of Cities, the Fantasy of Cities

What does it mean to be a city-dweller in 2018, or 2118, or 1918, our world or another? When people discuss a city's character, what are they referring to? Is it possible for that word to capture all the different communities that form the whole? What do we imagine for future cities? Which books and stories capture the idea of city well?

Panelists: Arkady Martine, Lara Elena Donnelly, Sam J. Miller, Malka Older, Na'amen Gobert Tilahun, Sherri Cook Woosley

Event Details

2PM

Fantastic Places & Where to Find Them: Wakanda, Westeros, and Beyond

In all genres, locations can often be so vividly imagined they become characters in themselves. Our authors talk about their favorite hidden, lost, invented, reinvented spaces, and whether or not anyone would want to live there.

Panelists: L. Penelope, Lara Elena Donnelly, A.T. Greenblatt, Ilana C. Myer, Vivian Shaw, Jon Skovron

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2PM

Autographing: Charlie Jane Anders and Sarah Pinsker

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3PM

Politics, Resistance, and Speculative Fiction

From its early years to Star Wars to the Hunger Games and beyond, genre fiction has always asked the question "what would you do?" Science fiction and fantasy authors talk about the fiction that inspires their activism and the activism that inspires their fiction.

Panelists: Marianne Kirby, Bill Campbell, Ruthanna Emrys, Jo Miles, Sam J. Miller, Day al-Mohamed, Malka Older

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3PM

Autographing: Vivian Shaw

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4PM

From Harry Potter to the Broken Earth Trilogy: Magic Systems That Will Put You Under Their Spell

Forget fake Latin! Fantasy authors talk about the magic systems they've created and the ones they wish they had. Learn about geological magic, musical magic, and other inventive conjurings.

Panelists: Na'amen Gobert Tilahun, Zoraida Córdova, Ilana C. Myer, Jon Skovron, Sherri Cook Woosley

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4PM

Autographing: Andy Duncan and Malka Older

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5PM

What I Talk About When I Talk About Literary SFF

Colson Whitehead, Kelly Link, Karen Joy Fowler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Carmen Maria Machado, and George Saunders are just a few of the authors who transcend boundaries, mixing literary and genre elements. Our panel will talk about works that straddle genres and what "lit" means in this context.

Panelists: KJ Kabza, Charlie Jane Anders, Andy Duncan, Sarah Pinsker, Shawn Proctor, N.J. Schrock

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5PM

Autographing: Jonathan P. Brazee and Ilana C. Myer

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6PM

HELP! I loved ____! What should I read?

Ever reach the end of a great book (or movie or TV show) and find yourself at a loss for how to follow it? Our panelists are at your service to suggest the book you'll love next based on your taste.

Panelists: Andy Duncan, Jonathan P. Brazee, Scott Edelman, Marianne Kirby, Day al-Mohamed

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