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...)