I’ll be at Readercon July 13-16, 2017, in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Thursday July 13, 2017, 8:00 PM, Room 5
“How to Moderate a Panel”

Alex Jablokow, Victoria Janssen (leader), Kathleen Jennings, Tom Purdom, Kenneth Schneyer.
The moderator plays a crucial role in making panels run smoothly and enjoyably for participants and attendees. This panel will cover how to get questions rather than comments from audience members, how to deal with a panelist who goes off the rails, and how to make sure everyone gets equal time, among many other topics.

Friday July 14, 2017, 11:00 AM, BH
“Recent Non-Fiction Book Club: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly”

Teri Clarke, Gwynne Garfinkle, Victoria Janssen, Emily Wagner.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the black women of Langley’s West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. Starting in World War II and moving through the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellect to change their own lives and their country’s future. Join us to discuss this excellent book, the history it chronicles, and its implications for historical, present-day, and futuristic SF.

Friday July 14, 2017, 3:00 PM, BH
“Classic YA Book Club: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper”

Victoria Janssen (leader), Sandra Kasturi, Miriam Newman, Sonya Taaffe, Tamara Vardomskaya.
Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is no mere boy. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble the land. His task is monumental: he must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light, which, when joined, will create a force strong enough to match and perhaps overcome that of the Dark. Embarking on this endeavor is dangerous as well as deeply rewarding, Will must work within a continuum of time and space much broader than he ever imagined. Susan Cooper creates a world where the conflict between good and evil reaches epic proportions. She ranks with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien in her ability to deliver a moral vision in the context of breathtaking adventure. We are especially interested in discussing this book in conjunction with the recent YA book club selection, The Raven Boys.

Friday July 14, 2017, 8:00 PM, 6
“What Fiction Gets Wrong About Archeology and How to Dig Up the Truth”

Judith Berman, Tom Greene, Jeff Hecht, Victoria Janssen (leader), Robert Killheffer.
We’ve all read fiction by authors who seem to have gotten their understanding of archeology from an episode of Ancient Aliens, so how can we do better? We’ll discuss current best practices in archeology and art history, resources for curious authors, and, if there’s time, what exactly is wrong with ancient astronaut theory. (So, so wrong.)

Saturday July 15, 2017, 10:00 AM, BH
“We Have Always Lived with the Magic.”

Phenderson Clark, Greer Gilman, Victoria Janssen (leader), Kate Nepveu, Naomi Novik.
Guest of Honor Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books take a slow and clever approach to a common issue with alt-historical fantasy: if magic has always existed, why have historical events gone essentially the same way that they did in our magicless world? Her focus on the familiar territory of Western Europe during the Napoleonic Wars gradually broadens to include other regions that look very different. This panel will examine this and other techniques for integrating magic into history, including using the appearance or reappearance of magic as a timeline divergence point, limiting magic or paranormal entities to a particular region of the world, portraying paranormal communities or magic-users as hidden and secretive, and entirely reinventing history from the Neanderthals on up.