1 - Who Killed Science Fiction?Late last year Spider Robinson posted a commentary on the internet concerning the declining printruns of his books and the general death of what is known in publishing as the *mid-list*. Is the genre being harmed, or even killed, by the apparent growing reliance by publishers on mega-sellers and media tie books? Or is this nothing new? Who's to blame: publishers? The public?
2 - Could Starship Troopers be published today? Would it have been nominated for a Hugo?Panelists & audience are requested to ignore the movie & deal with the question about the book.
3 - Dystopias and Holocausts.When it's time to warn the world, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the various media? Storytelling like "Maus," "Brasil," "The Wall," "1984 (book and movie)," "V for Vendetta," and "Animal Farm" have offered similar messages told in very different ways.
4 - From *Doc* Smith to Iain Banks & Stephen Baxter: Space Opera!It's not dead, Jim; just wearing a different set of clothes.
5 - So, ya wanna be a writer? The Business of Writing.Taxes. Rights. Double spacing your manuscripts.
6 - Bring Home The Bacon, Fry It Up In A Pan; or, Women in SF: How Much Progress?When girls/young women are looking for role-models, who's hot and who's not? Who's good and who's bad? Podkayne? Wonder Woman? B'Lanna? Xena? Ripley? Media accessibility is a big part of any role-model's ability to influence society.
7 - Xena: Archetypes and Templates.What makes this character and show so popular? How does it differ from other, far less successful fantasy series? How does this band of characters compare with Jason and the Argonauts? Jason of Star Command? Does society need a Xena?
8 - Why does fantasy appeal to us so much?Miles of shelves of the stuff; why?
9 - What SF books do you give to your child?
10 - Is Science and a Belief in God: Consistent or Inconsistent?Perhaps rather more relevant this weekends than most...
11 - 100 Years of Dracula.Last year marked the centennial of the publication of Dracula.
12 - The Horror, The Horror !!!!The discovery of sf by academics. The uses & abuses. Is it time to take back SF and put it back into the gutter?
13 - Slash Fiction.A serious look at this samizadt fiction
14 - George Orwell and Terry Gilliam.The future ain't what it was suppose to be.
15 - Was Sturgeon An Optimist?Is there 10% of sf worth reading?
16 - Star Trek & Other Media Novels.Over 250 Star Trek novels and countless other media tie books in 55 minutes!
17 - Babylon 5: The Best Science Fiction of 1930?It's great stuff, probably the best the television media has ever had, but how does it rank with contemporary written sf?
18 - The Secret Handgrip of Fandom, Lime Jell-O, and Who Sawed Courtney's Boat: Faanish History; Or, How You Too Can Talk Like An Old-timer.The folks who put on Balticon are part of a tradition that stretches back 60 years, find out the myths & legends of this culture. Bring a friend to practice the Secret Handgrip with (on?). (Praise Roscoe!)
19 - Death As A Career Move: Philip K Dick, Theodore Sturgeon, Avram Davidson, H Beam Piper.Virtually all of Philip K Dick is now in-print, an event that probably never happened during his lifetime. The Complete Short Fiction of Theodore Sturgeon is being reissued in a projected 10 volume set. Avram Davidson is virtually out-of-print. Only one book by H Beam Piper is in print. What happened?
20 - H P Lovecraft: Science Fiction Author.The Mythos stories are considered cornerstone horror stories, yet in reality they deal with alien beings from deep space. Is there a point where horror and SF collide and merge?
21 - Who's Wearing the Cowl?To what extent is Batman a reflection of his era? From the 1930's "man who punches everything" to the camp of the 50's, the superhero caricature of the 70's, Miller's Dark Knight and the subsequent movies that have now drifted away, this character has undergone myriad metamorphoses. Why?
22 - Presentations by Publishers On What's Coming, What's Hot
23 - Alt.History-Turtledove
24 - Ideas from the Baltimore Sun.Story ideas from today's newspaper...in which our lucky panalists create stories from today's paper.
25 - Sci Fi vs. SF: The Meaning of It All*For fans, outsiders are identifiable not so much by their failure to use certain terms as by their tendency to misuse others. The best example of this is perhaps sf, the usual contraction used by sf fans; journalists and other nonsympathetic outsiders can readily be identified by their use of the repugnant sci-fi .* Peter Roberts and John Clute in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction The evolution, growth, & ultimate destiny of the genre?
26 - Alternative lifestyles:Straight, monogamous couples.
27 - Astrology, Tarot, Creation Science: The Flight From Science & Reason. Popular subjects demolished before your very eyes.
28 - Are Trilogies Evil?There is nothing really new about on-going series, they go back to the very begininng of genre SF; yet there are those who say that most of the multi-volume works being produced today are for the most part junk.
29 - The Coming of the 1998 Worldcon - a presentation by the ConCom of Bucky
30 - The Golden Age of SF was 1968.Enough great novels were published 30 years ago to fill a decent decade: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Camp Concentration, Stand on Zanzibar, Nova, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Last Unicorn, Past Master, Rite of Passage, Pavanne, Picnic on Paradise, The Final Programme, Report on Probability A, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Synthajoy, The Last Starship From Earth, Black Easter, The Masks of Time, City of Illusions, The Goblin Reservation... what was going on? Our panel of experts talk about the sixties....
31 - The Rough Guide to Fantasy.Tolkien-like fantasy has gotten such a bad rap that it's worth reminding ourselves of the other side of Sturgeon's Law: ten percent of everything isn't crap. Our panel will separate the wheat from the chaff.
32 - Neglected Masters of SF
33 - Neglected Masters of Fantasy
34 - Are You A Bookaholic?Warning signs that you'll be killed by your book if there's an earthquake in your area...
35 - The New Grandmasters.Recently SFWA bestowed the honorific of Grandmaster upon A. E. Van Vogt and last year on Jack Vance. 30 years from, who of today's writers might be Grandmasters? Are there any?
36 - Read This!So many books, so little time. It's impossible (and probably dangerous to your health) to read everything published as SF, sci-fi, fantasy, and slipstream, so to help you, our experts will talk about the nuggets of gold they have discovered. Take notes.
37 - Where Are The Movies With Plot & Character?.Are all current genre movies nothing more than special-effects showcases? [Question the relationship between special-effects shops like ILM and the scripting of modern SF "event" movies.]
38 - Ghosts and Parasites.In the aftermath of the 1997 Disclave much discussion has been given over to the *ghosts & parasites* that showup at sf cons. If someone attends the con and don't purchase a membership how evil are they?
39 - Is This Your First Convention?This strange sub-culture you've just wandered into has a 60 plus history and traditions. Here's how to not embarras yourself. And how to survive late nights & early mornings at the con.
40 - Your First Computer and the Internet.You've just gotten wired and you've discovered a lot of stuff on the Internet. Our panel of byteheads will guide through the resources available on the net.