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February 17-19, 2023 — Westin Boston Seaport District
February 3, 2014

Why I Love Boskone 51– Ten of My Must See Panels for this Convention

I have been attending Boskone since 2003. Back then I was a shellshocked fan, walking around the hotel trying to figure out how to attend all of the panels and events that I wanted to attend despite the fact that I wanted to attend–EVERYTHING! Eleven years later, the only thing that has changed is that I’m no longer a shellshocked fan, but a volunteer who is helping to put together a convention that I love.

Still, I am trying to figure out how to attend every panel and event that I want to attend, despite the fact that I want to attend–EVERYTHING. In order to figure out how to plan my own con schedule, I put together a list of some of my favorite panels for this year’s Boskone. You can find the full list of panels for Boskone 51 here. Take a look and let me know in the notes below what you’re looking forward to attending this year!

I am thrilled at the prospect of a SF thriller panel, and the combination of participants for this panel is to die for! I’m already on the edge of my seat for this one.

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The New SF/F Thriller, Fri 20:00 – Fri 20:50, Harbor III
Here’s one subgenre that’s really taken hold these days. Examples: Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, Max Barry’s Lexicon, Wesley Chu’s The Lives of Tao, Walter Jon Williams’ This Is Not A Game, Charles Stross’ “Laundry” series, and more. Why now? Do these appeal more to mainstream or to fannish audiences? What can an SF or fantasy thriller do that a vanilla thrilla can’t? Who’s doing it best?

  • James Patrick Kelly (M)
  • Scott Lynch
  • Vincent O’Neil
  • Charles Stross
  • Walter Jon Williams

What could be better for a True Blood or Sookie Stackouse fan than a panel that features Charlaine Harris, her agent (Joshua Bilmes), and her editor (Boskone’s Special Guest Ginjer Buchanan) as they share their own stories about this hit series? Is it time for Boskone yet?

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True Blood Distilled, Sat 12:00 – Sat 12:50, Harbor II
With the end of the Sookie Stackhouse books and the coming finale of the True Blood TV series, Boskone is honored to present this unique opportunity to hear about the Sookie experience from the perspectives of its writer, editor, and agent.

  • Joshua Bilmes
  • Ginjer Buchanan
  • Charlaine Harris

I love the idea of this next panel, which features several of Boskone’s artists who will discuss the relationship between stories and their landscapes. 

Cinematic Landscapes, Sat 14:00 – Sat 14:50, Carlton

How do art and cinema interact? What would Lord of the Rings have been without its artistic landscapes? Would the film 28 Days Later have been so unsettling without its cinematic beauty? The panelists will discuss how art and landscapes interact to help convey the story of the film as well as to build tension, increase emotion, and leave a lasting image of the place in the minds of viewers.

  • Gillian Daniels (M)
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Greg Manchess
  • Frank Wu

The contrasting ideas associated with superheroes, villains and disabilities fascinates me. This is such rich territory for a literary discussion!

Capes, Canes, and Superhero Comics, Sat 15:00 – Sat 15:50, Burroughs

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How we treat our superheroes and villains provides a unique view of our own culture’s beliefs and values regarding ability and disability. Panelists explore the complementary and conflicting nature of superpowers and disabilities. What do the cane bearers and cape wearers from comics reveal about ourselves, our health concerns, and our treatment of those with permanent disabilities and chronic conditions?

  • Dana Cameron
  • Carrie Cuinn
  • Daniel P. Dern (M)
  • Christopher Golden
  • Brianna Spacekat Wu

Listen up! If you love listening to podcasts, this is the panel for you. I definitely need some new fiction to listen to as I drive into work.

Great Podcasts and Where to Find Them, Sat 15:00 – Sat 15:50, Lewis

Podcasting is hotter than ever. It still includes short audio fiction — but now also recorded radio dramas, interviews, essays, and other commentary. With so many choices, where do you find the good stuff? Panelists discuss some of their favorite podcasts, sites, and stories.

  • Scott H. Andrews (M)
  • Kate Baker
  • Neil Clarke
  • Mur Lafferty
  • Julia Rios

How could a panel about fantastic New England literature be anything but fantastic? Count me in! 

Fantastic New England Literature, Sat 20:00 – Sat 20:50, Lewis

Genre literature based in New England is known for having a touch of the macabre, not to mention a Victorian edge laced with Gothic designs — and a dab of horror to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Panelists discuss how New England as a setting inspires and affects the fiction they write.

  • Dana Cameron
  • Theodora Goss
  • James Patrick Kelly
  • Leigh Perry
  • Faye Ringel (M)

Any panel that finds a way to bring together Dark Energy and the Force is on my must list, especially when you’re talking about panelists like Elizabeth Bear, Brother Guy Consolmagno, Bill Higgins, and Mark Olson!

The Dark Universe, Sun 11:00 – Sun 11:50, Burroughs

What are dark matter and dark energy? What is this dark universe that coexists alongside the cosmos we can see and feel? How apropos is George Lucas’ description of The Force? (Obi-Wan Kenobi speaks of “[A]n energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”) Is there something in this idea that might reveal mysteries that keep eluding us — and do we really want to find out?

  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Guy Consolmagno
  • Bill Higgins
  • Mark L. Olson (M)

As one of Alice’s longtime fans, the idea of a panel featuring this literary wonder girl has me reaching for Lewis Carroll’s  classic novel–a novel that will have me believing as many as six impossible things by breakfast.

A Literary Wonderland, Sun 11:00 – Sun 11:50, Harbor I

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With approximately 25 film adaptations and countless derivative works seen since its 1865 publication, the influence of Alice in Wonderland upon literature, especially fantasy and young adult literature, cannot be understated. What makes this work so special? Why do new generations of readers keep coming back to it? Panelists discuss the curious characters and their curiouser stories that make Wonderland so special, as well as other works it has inspired.

  • Sarah Beth Durst
  • Craig Shaw Gardner
  • Theodora Goss (M)
  • Seanan McGuire
  • Jane Yolen

While Boskone has always featured programming for teens, this year the number of young adult authors, publishers, and editors plus the variety of panels is truly exciting.

Future Fantasy and the Teen Protagonist, Sun 12:00 – Sun 12:50, Harbor III

Edgar Rice Burroughs once used the phrase “future fantasy.” Could this term find fresh usefulness today, for instance to describe developments in young adult (YA) literature, where we see a growing mix of fantastic elements? What works might qualify as future fantasy? Could blending the scientific with the fantastic lead to further innovations in fiction — or in science itself?

  • Anna Davis
  • Stacey Friedberg
  • Nancy Holder
  • Erin Underwood (M)

Finally, no Boston area SF/F/H convention is complete without a panel on “wicked good” villains . . .

Wicked Good Villains!, Sun 13:00 – Sun 13:50, Harbor III

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A look at the awesome antagonists who make their stories come alive. What makes a good bad guy or girl? From Maleficent to Sauron, magic-wielding villains have been a staple of the fantasy tradition. But what makes them tick? Why do we find them so compelling? And when do they cross over the wicked good line to join the best villains in fantasy literature?

  • Myke Cole
  • Daniel P. Dern (M)
  • Scott Lynch
  • Darlene Marshall


This year, Boskone takes place from February 14-16, 2014.  If you haven’t purchased your membership yet, you still have time. Here’s the info from the website: