This weekend, I’ll be at Philcon November 18-20, 2016, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. You can find me on the following panels.

Sat 11:00 AM, Plaza II
“Slooow Books”
Victoria Janssen [moderator], L.E. Modesitt Jr., Ty Drago, Tom Purdom
What makes a book slow?  Is it as much reader expectation as anything else?  Can a slow book be a rewarding read?  And is the an emphasis on fast-paced action in storytelling a result of how quickly things seem to move in the real world these days…or a contributing factor?

Sat 1:00 PM, Plaza V
“It’s Time To Let Mary Sue Off The Hook”
Diane Kovalcin [moderator], Debby Lieven, Victoria Janssen, Philippa Ballantine, Phil Kahn
Initially denoting a story-centric original character designed to be the writer’s stand-in within a work of fanfiction, the term is now used derogatorily to describe ANY female character in literature or media who has the presumption to take on roles, characteristics, or accomplishments that have traditionally gone to men. But really, what’s so bad about girls imagining themselves as the hero of a story in the first place?

Sat 3:00 PM in Plaza III
“Stepping Over The Bechdel Test”
Barbara A. Barnett [moderator], Victoria Janssen, L. Hunter Cassells, Anthony Dobranski, Sally Wiener Grotta
“Two women who talk to each other about something besides a man” was intended to be literally the lowest bar you could set for decent female representation in a story, and yet many authors seem to have taken this metric as the sole requirement for being considered feminist. Let’s talk about the myriad of ways we can do a better job of writing female individuals and female groups.

Sun 11:00 AM in Plaza V
“The Black Panther”
Rock Robertson [moderator], Savan Gupta, Orenthal Hawkins,Victoria Janssen
A closer look at Marvel’s African Sci-Fi Super Hero. Recently introduced to the cinematic version of the Marvel universe, T’Challa is not just a  “caped crusader”, but King of the nation of Wakanda and a scientist. Politics, inventions using vibranium, mysticism, and studious training in martial arts all shape his skill set. What is he capable of? Who is the man behind *this* mask?

Sun 12:00 PM in Plaza V
“Where Is Fanfiction Going That Mainstream Media Still Fears To Tread?”
Diane Kovalcin [moderator], Aaron Feldman, Meredith Schwartz, Zoe Gray, Victoria Janssen
What common themes in fanfiction rarely appear in published works, and why? Is it a matter of publishers and producers only willing to put out stories based on formulas they know will sell, or is it the pros who are choosing to stick to more limited spheres?  Fic archives are full of stories exploring sexuality, gender, unusual romances, and those used as a means to see the racial, religious, and abled diversity that published works aren’t providing. There’s clearly a huge desire for these kinds of stories, so why do we rarely see them in bookstores or on TV?