ConGregate 5

Panel Topics

Some of the panel topics we plan to explore are:

Genre Blending: Scifi, Fantasy and More

Mixing science fiction and fantasy with other genres like mystery and westerns can give you a genre cocktail that is great...or very, very bad. Some authors have been hugely successful, while others have crashed and burned. Our experts tell you how to get it just right.

Writing Believable Military Science Fiction (or “How to Not Suck at Mil Scifi”)

Ever picked up a military scifi book and lost your suspension of disbelief within a page or two because it was so very, very wrong? Want to learn how to get it right? Come talk with the experts on how they nail their military scifi and write books that readers can't put down.

Heroes, Anti-Heroes, Villains

What really makes them different, and does it matter? How are they similar? Would you tell a story from the Villain's POV (e.g. Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Demolished Man)?

Cover Art

Cover Art can make or break your book. From how it looks online to what part of the story it captures, join our guests as they talk about the nature of cover art.

Costuming: Form, Function, and Fantasy

Costume designers discuss the merits of costuming in different applications from comics, to movies, to video games and cosplay. What design choices are rooted in functionality and what just looks cool.

Fanzines – Why They Are Important

The panelists will discuss the history of fanzines and why they are still relevant today.

Mixing Historical Research with Genre Fiction

Given that historical fiction itself is a demanding genre requiring a lot of effort if one wants to do it right, our panelists discuss the challenges they've faced and choices they've made in blending historical work with the fantasy and mystery genres.

Supernatural - Tethering to the Real World

Our panelists discuss how the music, historical facts and real places combine with the fantasy elements to make the show Supernatural much more real.

Landing Your Creative Career

How do you open the door that leads to a professional creative career? What about changing careers when you've already climbed the corporate ladder? And for students, how do you know where to focus your study? From world builder to professional author, gamer to game developer, audiophile to pro composer, and storyteller to screenwriter-all have common threads that weave a career path. Our guests divulge their secret tips and tricks for creative entrepreneurs and share how they became successful, professional creators!

The Science in SF

Lightsabers, Phasers, faster than light much real science is in our science fiction?

Star Wars: 40 years

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of George Lucas's Star Wars in 1977. The film developed an indelible franchise that over the years has come to encompass not just films but television series, comics, collectibles, games, toys, and books that expanded Lucas's initial vision into a sci-fi wonder. Our Panelists discuss all aspects of Star Wars past and present and speculate on what's ahead..