ArmadilloCon traditionally has a panel "What You Should Have Read This Year". The panelists are usually people who are closely familiar with science fiction, fantasy, or horror genres: most of them are book sellers (like Willie) or editors (like Diana Gill). In this panel they talk about new noteworthy books that they recommend to everybody who likes these genres. This year the panelists were Bill Crider, Willie Siros, Diana Gill, and Zane Melder.
The official summary "Our panelists pull out all their knowledge and create a world before your very eyes, with assistance from R. Cat Conrad on the white board." as it turned out, misrepresented the format of the panel.
Mark Finn. I thought we were going to have to build a world.
A panelist. No, no, make them work!
So it was the audience that built the fantasy world, not the panelists. The latter provided feedback in a form of wisecracks (Mark Finn), by coaxing the audience to think through the issues involved in building a fantasy world (Gloria Oliver) and seek out plot devices that would turn the raw fantasy product into an actual story material (Caroline Spector).
One thing the audience didn't need was to be prodded into activity. The topic was selected cleverly or fortuitously enough to send the audience's imagination into overdrive.
If you want to know what story ideas and themes the audience came up with without reading their entire thought process, click here for the summary.
Pictures from Armadillocon 2004 are available in my photo gallery.
Summary: The panelists are supposed to make up a science-fictional or a fantasy use for a random object. The objects are chosen by the audience. Some of them are a bit mysterious: their everyday function is not apparent.
Panelists: Bradley Denton, Scott Bobo (moderator), Jessica Reisman, Kurt Baty, James P. Hogan
Every ArmadilloCon has a world-building panel. It's one of those panels that can be done a million times and still remain fresh. With different panelists it can be very different each time. This time the panelists were James P. Hogan, Elizabeth Moon, Julie Czerneda, Paul Benjamin, and Mikal Trimm.
The world creation process was anything but logical. It was based on loose associations and wordplay. It was 10 pm, and anything more rigorous may not have been fun.