Arisia 2020 Schedules (and more!)

Happy New Year to all our readers! We hope that 2020 is a good year for all of you, and wish you every success.

Donald and Kristin are both doing panels and readings at Arisia, January 17-20. If you're attending, we'd love to connect with you--feel free to come and say hello! If you want to hear us talk about various topics, or read from our own fiction, here are our schedules (everything is at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, and all program items are scheduled for 75 minutes):

Donald's schedule

Friday, 10:00 PM, Marina 2: Earn Your Ending
(E. C. Ambrose, Donald S. Crankshaw, Keith Yatsuhashi, Alison Wilgus, Connie Wilkins)For the most part, endings are just as artificial as beginnings and yet every story needs a place where the conflict wraps up, and all (most of?) the ends are resolved. What tips, tricks and resources might help writers bring their creation to a satisfying conclusion? Panelists will discuss good and bad endings as examples but focus conversation on the how and why of endings, not the what.

Saturday, 10:00 pm, Marina 3: End of the Night (readings)
(Donald S. Crankshaw, Lee C. Hillman, Morgan Crooks)
End your evening with some great readings from Arisia authors.

Kristin's schedule

Friday, 5:30 pm, Faneuil: Where Shall I Begin?
(Gordon Linzner, James Hailer, A.L. Kaplan, Alex Feinman, Kristin Janz)
The easy answer to starting a story is beginning the moment the conflict is introduced, but how do you know when that is? Answering this question and whether or not to prologue, panelists will explore the unique challenge of starting a story in settings with thousands of different worlds, millennia of history, and dozens of characters.

Friday, 7:00 pm, Independence: Not With My Intellectual Property, You Don't
(James L. Cambias, B. Diane Martin, Mark Painter, Kristin Janz, Emperor Joey-1)
British author Francis Spufford has written an eighth Narnia novel, praised by all who have seen it, but C.S. Lewis’ estate refuses to discuss any extension of the series. The estate of John Bellairs contracted another writer to continue Bellairs’ fantasy series. How do we feel about the franchising, or the suppression, of commercial (not fanfic) extensions of successful fictional series after their authors’ demise? Shameless corporate greed, more fiction for us to love, or it depends?

Saturday, 10:00 am, Douglas: Economic Speculations
(Alexander Jablokov, Brent Weichsel, Cadwell Turnbull, Sara Codair, Kristin Janz)
How do writers depict worlds with progressive values and economics focused on social betterment, not simple profit? Panelists will explore alternate economic systems (gift-based economies, worker cooperatives, solidarity-based economies to name a few) and how to portray these alternate economies in ways that engage readers’ imaginations.

Saturday, 2:30 pm, Lewis: Whispers in the Dark (readings)
(Lore Graham, Gordon Linzner, Kristin Janz)
Come close and listen to authors read from works of horror and dark fantasy. (Apparently this is scheduled for the middle of Saturday afternoon to keep anyone from getting too scared.)

Saturday, 7:00 pm, Marina 4: Let's Go to the Mall: Stranger Things
(Kevin Eldridge, Bey Woodward, Richard Ralston, Kristin Janz, David Olsen)
The latest iteration of this neverending story saw Hawkins, Indiana's new Starcourt Mall under siege. Our teenaged heroes were beset on all sides by Russians, Mind Flayers, and the changing interpersonal dynamics between the kids themselves. The panel will discuss the latest season, chart the growth of the characters, and continue to pine for The Robin and Steve Show.

Saturday, 8:30 pm, Independence: Hope is Not a Business Plan
(Kristin Janz, Griffin Ess, LB Lee, A Szabla, Ian Randal Strock)
Recent years have seen many options for revenue streams for creative people, such as Patreon, GoFundMe, and Kickstarter. We'll look at the ways in which these models succeed and fail, and how they have and have not influenced the general public's perception of how creative product should be paid for and consumed. Do these options actually make it easier to make a living as a creative person?

Sunday, 5:30 pm, Independence: Don't Call My Book "Science Fiction"
(Athena Andreadis, PhD, Kevin Turausky, John G. McDaid, Mark Painter, Kristin Janz)
As SF and its themes become more and more mainstream, some “literary” authors are incorporating tropes like AI, alternate reality, futurism and dystopian fiction. Yet many are like Ian McEwan, who hotly denies that his new book Machines Like Me (AI, alt-universe) is in any way “science fiction.” Why is SF still denied the respectability it deserves after all these years? Why do some authors find its themes compelling as long as it’s called something else?

Monday, 10:00 am, Bulfinch: Writers Assemble! Writing With a Group
(Gordon Linzner, Timothy Goyette, Cadwell Turnbull, E. J. Barnes, Kristin Janz)
Whether it's joining a local writing group, attending a workshop or spending a month in a retreat, writers often gather together for support, feedback, and practice. What are some compelling reasons to join a writing group and what should writers know before they join? Panelists will share what's worked for them, and how to get the most out of a workshop or retreat.

Monday, 1:00 pm, Douglas: Organizing a Successful Geek Group
(Kristin Janz, Ellie Younger, Tori Queeno, Melissa Honig, Mark "Justin" Waks)
Looking for other fans of Doctor Who? Want a critique group for your SFF writing? Are there books you simply HAVE to discuss with others? Sometimes, if those groups don't exist in your area, the only thing to do is start one yourself. This panel will feature panelists experienced in starting, building, and maintaining social groups, discussing the successes and failures they've encountered over the years.

The full schedule for Arisia hasn't been posted yet, but in previous years there's often been a Sunday morning Christian worship service at the we-hesitate-to-say-ungodly hour of 8:30 am (and sometimes one on Saturday as well, also at 8:30 am). So, if you're attending Arisia, and this is something you'd be interested in, keep an eye out for it. We don't have any involvement in organizing it, so we have no idea whether or not it will be on the schedule this year. Kristin went last year. (Donald did not go; there's a reason we attend the 4:00 pm service at our own church.) It used the Episcopalian liturgy for Morning Prayer, and was open to anyone who wished to participate, whether or not they identified as Christian.

Of course, like every science fiction convention, Arisia is about so much more than attending panels and readings. There's gaming, an art show, a dealers' room full of books and merchandise and handcrafts, costuming (Arisia is famous for its masquerade: "a costume showcase and display of creativity by your fellow convention members"), movies, dances, singing, room parties each night... Be sure to follow the convention rule of thumb for good health and hygiene: every 24 hours, you should have at least 1 shower, 2 meals, and 5 hours of sleep (6 hours for those of us in the 40+ crowd).

Other 2020 Conventions

We also plan to be at Boskone in February, though it doesn't look as if either of us will be on programming this year. And we're signed up to attend the World Fantasy Convention in October/November, in Salt Lake City.

Open to Submissions

If it's January, Mysterion must be open to submissions! Send us your Christian-themed fantasy, science fiction, or horror stories (up to 9000 words). More information about what we're looking for and how to submit it can be found on our Submission Guidelines page, and even more information is available here.

Like many publications, we receive far more fantasy than science fiction, and would love to see more stories that speculate about what Christian faith and practice might look like in a distant and technologically advanced future. Our favorite stories tend to be those that offer a unique insight into some aspect of the Christian experience, and are recognizable to devout Christians as authentic portrayals of us and the people we worship with each week (whether written by active Christians, ex-Christians, or just someone who's done their research really well; and whether or not we entirely like what the story says about us).

We're less interested in stories about characters proving things to each other (usually some variant of either "Christianity is true" or "Christianity is false"), stories that consist of two people in a room talking to each other, or retold Bible stories. However, we're mentioning this mostly for the benefit of authors who are still trying to decide what to write, either for this submission window or our next one (in July). If you've already written your story, and aren't entirely sure it's what we're looking for, please do feel free to send it in. Don't self-reject! 

January/February Publication Schedule

We've finalized our publication schedule for January and February! Here's what you can expect to see in the months ahead:

January 13th--"A Moose for Jesus" by Patricia S. Bowne
January 27th--"In the Fields of Sin, Down Among the Dead" by Brian Winfrey
February 24th--"His Ministers a Flame of Fire" by T.B. Jeremiah

Check out our Patreon page to find out how you can get early access to all these stories, plus monthly polls, special Patron-only behind-the-scenes posts about our publishing adventures, and monthly live chats on our Discord server with Mysterion editors and authors!

Support Mysterion on Patreon!