Tag Archives: panels

The Con Panel: Its Uses and Limitations

A few weeks ago I attended Darkover Grand Council Meeting, a Science Fiction/Fantasy convention held in the Baltimore area. This was the con’s 35th year and it offered a bountiful variety of activities, from music to crafts to meditation sessions to a regency ball. Of course, the convention also had several tracks of programming that included many panel discussions on topics ranging from “Placing Your Story in the Here and Now” to “What Comes After Zombies.”  I spent most of the weekend attending panels, and I was struck by how different they were from the panels at what I consider to be my home convention, Readercon. This led me to spend some of my time thinking about the nature and utility of convention panels for fantastic literature.  As I listened, took notes, and let my mind drift amongst the ideas, good and bad, that the panels produced, I wondered what use the con panel has in our hyper-connected age, what a panel can offer an audience and what makes them fall short sometimes.

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