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Programming, speculative fiction, science, technology
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Mikal Trimm

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Beyond Slipstream: ArmadilloCon 2004 panel

Slipstream is literature that has fantastic elements that nevertheless can't be characterized as science fiction, fantasy or horror. It is the literature of the fantastic that's left after you remove the defining characteristics of those three genres. The negative space.

Synopsis from ArmadilloCon program book. A plethora of new markets for what we used to call slipstream has blossomed over the past two years, with all sorts of new monikers like "The New Fabulists," "Interstitial Arts," and "Ambient Fiction" -- Conjunctions 39, Sweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (with a new volume appearing in the fall), Polyphony, Album Zutique, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and so on. What distinguishes the work appearing in these journals from more conventional SF, fantasy, and mainstream fiction? Has slipstream finally arrived as a genre in its own right?

Panelists: Chris Nakashima-Brown (moderator), Lawrence Person, Mikal Trimm, Rick Klaw

Miscellaneous ArmadilloCon 2003 panels

Some memorable or amusing moments from panels where I didn't take enough notes to yield an article of its own:

Ideas Somebody Should Write a Book About

Looking for an idea? Watch our panelists brainstorm.

Frontiers in Weird Research

What's the latest strange discovery? Our panel talks about the most recent results and odd topics they've seen.

Inventing the Next Frontier

Looking for new ground in speculative fiction, art and science.

Using Myth and Storytelling: an ArmadilloCon 2004 panel

Synopsis, according to the ArmadilloCon program: Myths as springboard for worlds and plot ideas in fantasy and science fiction. Mythic elements in science fiction. The Hero's Journey reconsidered. This panel explores myth as inspiration and diagnostic.

My summary: How do the writers on the panel use myth in their own work? If a story is inspired by myth, is it necessarily predictable? Is that a bad thing, or is predictability exactly what SF readers want?... Do the limitations in our understanding of how the modern world works give rise to new myths? For example, does average person's erroneous understanding of how the Internet works morphs into a myth? Or does science leave no room for myth? What would it take for a myth to arise in our "rational" times?

Panelists: Kay Kenyon (moderator), Louise Marley, Neal Barrett Jr., Jayme Lynn Blaschke

There was one other panelist that wasn't listed in the program. I think it may have been Mikal Trimm.

Create a World: an ArmadilloCon 2007 panel

Panelists Alexis Glynn Latner*, Samantha Henderson, Rachel Caine, R. Cat Conrad, Deborah Chester, James Stoddard, Mikal Trimm

Every ArmadilloCon has a world-building panel, where the panelists and the audience "create" a science-fictional or fantasy world by collective brainstorming. Artist R. Cat Conrad often participates by drawing scenes from this world on a whiteboard.

For starters, the panelists and the audience decide by voting: are they building a science fiction or a fantasy world? The audience is almost equally split between the two, but, but science fiction prevails by a small margin.

To keep the scope of the task manageable, we'll focus on one city in this world we are building. The city is half-submerged in water. Or it may be fully submerged and exist under a dome of a force field. What kind of inhabitants will it have? What kind of conflicts will arise in this society? They may arise from the different species' fight for dominance, or natural cataclysms. What kind of religion will they have, and what part will it play in the conflict? What myths will this society tell itself? And finally, some silly touches.

More pictures from ArmadilloCon 2007 can be found in my photo gallery.

Building the Perfect Universe: an ArmadilloCon 2006 panel

CIMG3726 Julie Czerneda and 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.