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.
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.
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.
Topic, according to the convention program: A major challenge to science fiction writers is creating believable aliens. Our panelists will give insight into their own creative processes in tackling this task.
Where do they start building an alien society? (Do they answer questionaires about alien societies? :-) What do SF writers fail to consider when they are creating alien societies? What are the ways writers can communicate their alien cultures to their readers, without doing an info dump?
Pictures from ArmadilloCon 2003 can be found in my photo gallery.