Archive Site: MilPhil Programming Ideas

Last Update: 2/7/01

Most of these ideas came from our online idea request form. Some came from E-mail, and others came from glancing through various news groups. We also had brainstorming sessions at Chicon and Philcon (the regional). Many ideas can be found in the Philly Brain Trust E-mail list. This is just a record of ideas, not a promise that we will do any of these.



Idea: What Makes a Good Cult TV Show? (Submitted by Daniel M. Kimmel)
Suggested Participants: myself (natch), Michael Burstein, diverse group of people connected to Trek, B5, X Files, Xena, Buffy, Farscape, etc.
Additional Information: I was on a panel like this at ARISIA a few years ago and in nearly a decade of cons it was one of the most interesting discussions I'd participated in. With all the stuff that gets produced, how can fans tell the good stuff from the bad stuff early on in a show's run?
Idea: Camera Obscura: SF Films You Haven't Heard Of (Submitted by Daniel M. Kimmel)
Suggested Participants: myself, other film critics/buffs at con, and MARK LEEPER (!) who should moderate
Additional Information: Mark and I had a blast at Chicon (with two other panelists) going through the best of the '90s, and I was also on a panel on the best of the century. Since it's too early to pick the best of the 21st century, why not go for stuff that is forgotten or little seen by general fandom? It could even be done in categories (robots, rockets, body snatchers) with the panelists trying to top each other with the more obscure title. (I suspect Mark would win.)
Idea: Media Today (Submitted by Kimberly Ann Kindya)
Suggested Participants: Farscape: Kim Kindya (myself); Greg Cox, Keith DeCandido Buffy/Angel: Keith DeCandido, Laura Anne Gilman, Jo Sherman, myself Anime: Marina Frants, Russ Handelman, Jagi Lamplighter, myself (this is also a good place to invoke the "World" nature of the convention -- Japanese and European guests would go well here, as well -- Anime and manga have had a large head start in Europe.
Idea: When Politics and Prose Collide - How do we respond when an author's political views are diametrically opposed to our own? What happens when an author's work contains attitudes that are different than the ones they declare outside their work. Should works be considered through the veil of the author's personal politics? (Submitted by Rob Gates)
Suggested Participants: Orson Scott Card, someone literate on gay content in the genre, maybe someone known for misogynistic views, and someone knowledgable in the feminist content arena.
Additional Information: (This has come out of the continuing arguments in the gay scifi fandom arena about Orson Scott Card - whose public politics are somewhat homophobic, yet who has written works with positive gay characters. Many in the gay community refuse to read him due to his politics, others point to his positive works and recommend them.)
Idea: How movies and TV use the more sophisticated special effects now that cgi is available. What can we do now that we couldn't before? How does this improve the genre? (Submitted by Jill Eastlake)
Suggested Participants: JMS, reps from the winning Hugo Dramatic Presentation, any visiting cgi people
Additional Information: Even 30 years ago with Star Wars and Star Trek, most aliens were made with makeup and masks. Now we have troops and underwater and space-farers who couldn't possibly be in costumes...
Idea: convention web page design (Submitted by Sharon Sbarsky)
Suggested Participants: Sharon, Laurie, Eric Olson, Janice
Idea: A tech tour for children's programming. Bring kids through the main ballroom and demonstrate equipment. (Submitted by Marc Gordon)
Suggested Participants: Tech Crew

Idea: Online Publication (Submitted by Lou Anders)
Suggested Participants: I'd suggest a mix of online editor/publishers together with some prominent authors who have experienced online publishing. Editors: myself, Scott Pendegrast from Fictionwise, maybe someone from Alex Lit. Authors: Douglas Clegg, Graham Joyce, Robert Silverberg, J Michael Straczynski, Fiona Avery.. to name a few...
Idea: Panel on the Art of World Building (not an exercise in building a particular world) (Submitted by Tom Pyter)
Suggested Participants: William H (Bill) Keith Jr. Bill is not only an author of sf and military fiction but faculty at Seton Hill College, Greensburg, PA, in the M.A. program on Writing Popular Fiction. Bill is also too humble to put forward his name.
Idea: Legacy of Roger Zelazny (Submitted by Theodore Krulik)
Suggested Participants: David Hartwell, Ron Walotsky, John Douglas, Samuel Delany, Theodore Krulik, Gahan Wilson
Additional Information: Zelazny's influence on his contemporaries and the newer, younger writers of today; how he left his mark on science fiction and fantasy
Idea: Science Fiction Films: The Years Best and Worst Films for 2000-2001. (Submitted by Dr. John L. Flynn)
Suggested Participants: Dr. Bob Blackwood, Diane Blackwood, Randy Dannenfelser, Dr. John L. Flynn
Additional Information: Panel discussion about the year's best and worst films. For roughly eight years now, a core group of film critics and reviewers have been participating in this panel at each worldcon. The continuity factor is an important one because each panel member is known to the worldcon audience. We continue to discuss the ongoing themes in science fiction, as well as those newly emerging themes.
Idea: Teaching Science Fiction through Distance Learning/Online Courses. (Submitted by Dr. John L. Flynn)
Suggested Participants: Dr. Bob Blackwood and Dr. John L. Flynn
Additional Information: Science fiction literature and science fiction writing lends itself to the Internet and Online Courses. What are the various strategies behind teaching a distance learning course related to science fiction? What type of hardware and software is needed? Who is the intended audience? What is the future of distance learning--as we move into space, will we be taking teachers, or simply learning at a distance?
Idea: Artemis Project Presentation (Submitted by Henry Allen Smith)
Suggested Participants: Ian Randall Strock, and anyone else he might drag on to the panel.
Additional Information: I spoke with the other night, and I will probably be submitting more ideas with his name on it in the next few days. Also he requested an overhead projector and screen for the presentation.
Philadelphia Ghosts & Local Folklore (Submitted by Adrienne Foster)
Additional Information: There is a local tour company in Philadelphia you can contact. I don't have their contact info handy at this moment to pass on. M. Night Shamalyan, if available.
As a big fan of ghost folklore, I love hearing these stories and, judging by some of the response I've received from the reviews I've written for, there are a lot of other people out there like me. Please keep skeptics off this panel. Despite how strongly they might disbelieve, I don't want to hear arguments about whether it exists. Give the people who want to argue their own panel. Their numbers aren't as high as they think. Considering THE SIXTH SENSE was filmed in Philadelphia, it seems natural you exploit the subject. The History Channel also devoted an episode of their series, HAUNTED HISTORY, to Philadelphia. (If I recall correctly, you guys have the screaming woman. ...Freightening!)
Idea: Ghosts & International Folklore (Submitted by Adrienne Foster)
Suggested Participants: I can come up with a couple of names, but since I'm at work as I type this, I'll have to get back to you.
Additional Information: See my suggestion for Ghosts & Local Folklore, except give it an international emphasis. Since this is supposed to be an international convention, it's appropriate. This is just supposed to be an informal exchange of ghost stories without having to argue with skeptics over whether they exist.
Cartoon Shorts and Discussion (Submited by Thomas Safer)
I will be attending the convention and I would like to help out for programming by providing animated cartoon shows for anybody who would be interested in seeing them. I have a vast collection of cartoons from all of the major studios. My programs usually run between 90 minutes to 120 minutes and consist of 12-16 short cartoons based on a single theme (e.g. Cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny or Cartoons directed by Chuck Jones). I also have cartoons from Jay Ward productions like The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, Hoppity Hooper, George of the Jungle and friends, and Fractured Flickers. Please write back and let me know if you could use my services for creating a few programs. Equipment needed: Video Cassette Player + Moniter + Speakers or Video Cassette Player + Video Projector + Movie Screen + Speakers
Developing the Young Reader Ideas (Submitted by David-Glenn Anderson)
Pat York "Science Fiction for teachers and librarians in the Elementary School or Children's Library - Targeted for Saturday in a 2-hour block.
Mary Schroeder-Blumke "Science Fiction for teachers and librarians in the Secondary School or Young Adult Library" - Targeted for Saturday in a 2-hour block.
Lindalee Stuckey "Science Fiction in Higher Education" - Targeted for Saturday using a 2-hour block.
Julie E. Czerneda "Using SF to Develop Scientific Literacy in your Classroom" - Targeted for Sunday using a 2-hour block.
David DeGraff How to use SF novel to develop multidiscipline curriculum -- Take a single SF novel and build a curriculum around it.
Larry Lewis Anatomy of SF Creatures -- An artist demonstrates visualization cross-check for the writers and for the space biologist.
Magi Shepley Different students; different styles -- Student labels can get in the way of education. Practitioners share things that work for them using SF.
James Van Pelt So many contests; so little time -- Students are bombarded with writing/art contests.
Developing new space vehicles
The DC-1 SSTO vehicle, manufactured by McDonnell-Douglas, was dropped because it lost out in a competition with the Lockheed proposal, now called X-33. X-33 is an extremely sophisticated and difficult project, whereas DC-1 was direct and elegant (though on one major test flight of the prototype, it crashed and did itself severe damage). Both have their merits, but we are now committed as a country to building a replacement for the shuttle, and that is likely to be the X-33.
Some less than visionary types are about to saddle Al Gore with responsibility for building the X-33, which is behind schedule. Oddly, one of these is Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, an odd duck who has nevertheless always been a strong supporter of aerospace. The Republicans as a whole used to be big supporters of aerospace; now, in their continuing confusion, they are grasping at straws in a frantic bid to avoid losing big in the next election. There may no longer be a reliable group of representatives supporting space in Congress.
Sixth Sense, UNBREAKABLE, FALLEN, 12 Monkeys
SF films shot/set in Philly
Fannish Accents, Speaking Style and Vocabulary
Many of you will remember Elise Matthesen's sister Karyn Ashburn's panel at Minicon last year on the Fannish Dialect, or at least the thread on the panel report. I mentioned it at the bottom of a message to Jo, but I'll say it again here in case you didn't read down that far: I have Karyn's phone number, and am authorized to give it out (only) to bona fide convention representitives who are interested in having her talk at their convention. She does not have email. She was out of the country last weekend during Minicon, and I have no idea what her schedule is like; she may be back already. Or not.
Morris Berman's new book The Twilight of American Culture.
I read a review of this in the *Chicago Tribune* that intrigued me. But I haven't read it yet. I'll append URLs for other reviews. You might want to look at a Reuters interview with Berman.
Briefly, Berman enumerates the reasons that American culture is just about to fall like the Roman Empire and bring a miserable new Dark Age; he admits that he can't think of any way to prevent this; and he spends a good part of his book on a peculiar, but rather interesting, response to the situation.
I'll quote Merle Rubin's review in the Christian Science Monitor:
"Berman finds the current blend of reckless capitalism and wrecked standards so lethal that he does not think it can be stopped. But what we can do, he suggests, is exercise what he calls the "monastic" option. Like the patient monks of the Dark Ages who faithfully copied and guarded the classical manuscripts, those who still value the intellectual and spiritual treasures of our cultural heritage can keep the flame alive for a new dawn.
"Berman goes on to describe some of the interesting and impressive individuals who have been doing just that: a man who decided to teach the classics to the poor and the homeless; a retired violinist in Brooklyn who turned an old barge into a floating concert hall; a filmmaker who made a movie about the fate of autoworkers left jobless by a plant closing; a physician who transformed a nursing home into a vibrant and flourishing setting for gardens, pets, and visiting children."
Okay. This book is about the future, and about how people can prepare to meet it. Panel fodder, for sure. (I wonder if Berman's read A Canticle for Leibowitz?)
Do you think that the subculture we call Fandom should be counted among the NMIs ("New Monastic Individuals")? Berman probably wouldn't, but it's worth an argument.
The first chapter of The Twilight of American Culture is online.
This is Your Life [[]]
We did one other novel thing, that worked well, but may not be repeatable. You need the right kind of guest (and it was also a lot of work). We did "This is Your Life [[]]" with participation, either written or taped or in person from a dozen people. Multimedia too.
Fantiques Roadshow.
We had an artist (Ron Walotsky), a couple of book dealers, a chatchka (sp?) expert, and a fanzine expert (Joe Siclari) evaluate items for their history and their monetary value. It went over beautifully. Since I wasn't sure anyone would actually bring items, we had the experts bring a few of their own unusual pieces - books, art, models, comics, fanzines, and unusual collectibles. It went over VERY well, and we've had requests from both audience and panel to do it again. [[This was done with mixed success at Boskone '00. However, it has potential, particularly at a Worldcon, so we should discuss it.]]
The Best Decade -- What Was the Best Decade for SF?
Comments: We need to find 4 or 5 people, each of whom can represent a different decade. One way to do this is to between now and then ask a few people what they think the best decade was and note who picks which.
PS: I'd argue for the 1950s, though I could also make a case for the 1960s or 1990s. James Nicoll just started a thread on this on rec.arts.sf.written. He picked the 1970s.
The Art/Science of Storytelling.
Suggested Participants: Josepha Sherman, Sandy Pomerantz, to start off with, possibly more names to follow, Owl Goingback
Comments: cover of magazine for an organization I belong to, The National Science Teachers Association
Suggested Participants: H. PAUL SCHUCH
Blake 7
B7 has been shown in numerous countries around the world, including Bulgaria, so it has obviously been a popular dystopia. Joe Strasczynski acknowledges a large creative debt to Blake's 7 for Babylon 5 and Crusade. B7 seems to have influenced Farscape's evil Peacekeepers, and can be discussed in parallel to Andromeda's collapsing federation. And, of course, B7 is often referred to as "the anti-Star Trek." My friend Kim Kindya (who works in Star Trek) is willing to team up with me, if the panel topic includes Star Trek. I am hoping that American sf won't dominate the schedule.
Otherwise, I would enjoy participating in panels on eroticism and/or anthropological and archaeological topics in sf and fantasy.
Panel title- Mobile Infantry Suit Mark I
Detail -U.S. Army Land Warrior Program bringing Robert Hielien's concept of Mobile Infantry, Situational Awareness and Communications, to today's rangers.
Land warrior is leading edge technology, not bleeding edge but leading edge. Most advanced military usage of wearable computers. Version 0.6 contained Military GPS, Thermal Weapon sight, Day Light Vision Sight, Weapon and body mouse controls, Dead-reckoning module, Wireless LAN, Voice over IP, Digital Still frame images, Digital maps, Windows 2000, windows CE and Digital compass.
Version 1.0 will add Multi Function Laser, Mesh Radio, Encryption and Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display technology.
Contractor team was young Silicon Valley companies using as much Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) as possible.
LW 0.6 was produced in a highly compressed schedule. The contracts were only finalized in Early March 2000, we designed hardware and software, produced hardware and software, tested systems, delivered systems and trained a platoon of the 82nd Airborne all by September 7th 2000. This platoon was a huge success at Joint Task Force War Fighting Experiment (JTF AWE). JTF AWE held September 2000 at Fort Polk, is a huge army laser tag game to demonstrate possible new war fighting technologies.
Presenter Charles Cady - Contractor team's QA and Tests Lead for the Army Land Warrior 0.6 and 1.0 programs.
I will bring at least one full Land Warrior (version 0.6) suit [wearable computer, Helmet mounted display and sensors, and the weapon non-firing system].
With a lot of luck I may be able to bring the version that the Army rejected as unworkable in 1997. This failed system was produced by a traditional defense contractor who spent nearly 200 Million dollars and three years and was not able to deliver a useful fightable system.
First Annual Worldcon Bulwer-Litton contest with presentations, judging and "appropriate" awards
Suggested Participants: classes: established pros, new writers (first publication less than 2 years old) semi-pros (zines, etc.), fans, juveniles
Comments: obvious categories: "hard" s/f, fantasy, space opera, etc. offerings could even be "published" internally via the internet room
Suggested Participants
Here's my list in no particular order:
Gary K. Wolfe
Donald Maas
Jeffrey G. Liss
Kent Brewster
M. Christine Valada
Pat Sayre McCoy
Charlie E. Petit
Frank Frazetta
Boris Vallejo
Jim Steranko
Frank White [In 1989, Think About Space: Where Have We Been and Where are We Going? with Asimov]
Stephen Pinker [How the Mind Works], prof of psychology and director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT
James Alan Gardner
Marcel Gagne
Isaac Szpindel
Edward Willett
Tanya Huff
Stephanie Bedwell-Grime
Alain Bergeron
Dave Clement
Cary Conder
Marcel Gagne
James Gardner
Glenn Grant
Hugh Gregory
David Hayman
Judith Hayman
Jan Jensen
Derwin Mak
Jean-Pierre Normand
Lloyd Penney
Yvonne Penney
Howard Scrimgeour
Isaac Szpindel
Jean-Louis Trudel
Elisabeth Vonarburg
Jacqu Ward
Peggy Warner
Edward Willett
Hal Haag
Paul O'Neil
Robert Osband
Darlene Marshall
Ceclia Dart
Paul Russo