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My Worldcon schedule

My Worldcon is going to be dominated by being Loncon 3's Director of Promotions, and yet somehow my friends in the Programme Division have scheduled me on more items than any other member of the Committee. (Having said which, at least I am not Paul Cornell who admits to being on seven items, including the Thursday interview of George R.R. Martin and Connie Wilis.)

So moderate is my reputation that I am currently down as moderator for three panels and as sole presenter for another item. The full list isas follows.

Thursday 14 August, 16:30 - 18:00: Libertarianism's Conquest of the Future

Science fiction once took government for granted. Writers like Asimov and Clarke often assumed that advances in technology and knowledge would naturally spawn rational world governments. Speculative societies, like Star Trek's Federation, could be utopian or, like those of Huxley, Zamyatin, LeGuin, dystopian, but government was central. However, increasingly, authors like MacLeod, Doctorow and Vinge write governments out of our future. Why has so much SF lost faith in government? Has government failed, or has familiarity bred contempt? Do we value personal freedom, and resent government intrusion into our lives, more than our predecessors? Or do we undervalue the benefits of government, and take its safety net for granted?

Nicholas Whyte (Moderator), Brenda W Clough, Charles E. Gannon, John-Henri Holmberg, Farah Mendlesohn, Justin Landon

Sunday 17 August, 10:00 - 11:00: The Spies We (Still) Love

From James Bond, UNCLE, and the (British!) Avengers to SHIELD and Person of Interest, the world of spies and conspiracy has long been a fixture of Western SF on screen. Yet there has always been ambivalence about such agents' real-world counterparts, and these days most of us have reservations about the extent of US/UK surveilance and big data manipulation. Bearing in mind this context, how have espionage stories evolved over the last forty years? Which shows and films have endured? And which modern examples are most artistically or politically successful, and why?

Nicholas Whyte (Moderator), Elizabeth Bear, Colin Harvey, Gillian Redfearn, Stefanie Zurek

(NB that I've pulled out of a promising panel early on the Sunday evening, as I suspect I may need to be on hand for media wrangling of the Hugos.)

Monday 18 August 10:00 - 11:00: How to Decide - Voting Systems

Nicholas Whyte discusses voting systems, from the Hugos to the European Union.

(There will be little flags to wave, or at least that is my plan.)

Monday 18 August 15:00 - 16:30: The Ruling Party

Is there an Alternative? Increasingly it seems that, no matter which party is elected, they do the same things. Charlie Stross has suggested that no matter who is elected, the Ruling Party, an agglomeration of top level politicians across all parties, always has the controls. Is there any alternative to this? Is this a bad thing? And if it is, what can we do about it?

Nicholas Whyte (Moderator), Paul Graham Raven, Charles Stross, Nigel Heffernan, David Nickle

Monday 18 August 18:00 - 19:00: How do you divide a railroad

This panel looks at the issues that face new independent nations as they separate from a larger state--whether as colonised entities, federated or equal partners.

Phil Dyson (Moderator), Nicholas Whyte, Ivaylo Shmilev

(A decent preparation for my return to work...)



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 21st, 2014 08:33 pm (UTC)
I really fancy the two at 10am - chances of being up in time tho...!
Jun. 23rd, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
No women to talk about the Ruling Party? Though I'd say it defaults to male anyway.
Jun. 23rd, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
Good point. Can I invite you to be on that one?
Jun. 24th, 2014 08:20 am (UTC)
Ok, I wasn't expecting that!

I think I could do a good job of contributing, and I'd rather not see an all-male panel, especially on this topic. But I think Ruth Coleman (yes, she's coming to Loncon) would make a much better panelist - she's got rather more political experience in general and in particular of selections and elections. Ask her!

If she won't, I will, but she'd be better.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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