Potlatch 13 Programming

Potlatch encourages program participants to talk before the convention, so that when the time comes, the topic can be explored in some depth. This year, we'd like EVERYONE to participate in brainstorming and sharing ideas, for panels, roundtables, books to talk about, and more.

To that end, we've created a discussion list -- yes, it's on yahoogroups. To subscribe, please send a message to p13disc-subscribe@yahoogroups.com, and we'll get the ball rolling.

Thanks! You'll be glad you did. Hoping to hear from you...

Program Descriptions

Terrascaping Jane's Head

Friday, 8 pm. Some books cut deep crevasses and throw up new mountain ranges in the plains of your inner landscape. A single new idea, an affecting narrative, or a new way of organizing information you already have can refocus your vision and make it fresh and surprising, like the first time you put on glasses and see the leaves on the trees. What books revolutionized the way you think, feel, or view the world? Come with some favorites to share fiction or non-fiction, SF or not, -- and we'll compile a booklist that will rock the planet.

Life After the Singularity

Saturday, 10:30 am. What happens after catastrophic change? How are societies reformed by the Copernican revolutions? The invention of the printing press, high speed xerography, universal electrification, the Internet, and similar big ideas change our realities and our perceptions of them. How do people and societies and the fabric of life itself adjust to change so great it was literally unpredictable before it happened?

At The Precipice: Assembling Human Space

Saturday, 1 pm. John Brunner's close-knit town of Precipice is among the most appealing and livable visions of created community in science fiction. But the wherewithal to design human spaces, self- selected physical and virtual communities, is available now. Does it work? How does the reality of deliberated social space compare to SF's vision? Are we really headed for the franchise burbclaves of Snow Crash, and privatization of public space as in Virtual Light? What makes real community work, and what makes fictional community believable?

Waiting for the Electrician

Saturday, 2 pm. Eileen Gunn and John D. Berry play a riff on what's on their minds right now. It might be about the place of online magazines and "flash fiction" and good design in the future of reading. It might involve throwing ducks around. It's sure to be entertaining.

Shock Treatment

Saturday, 3:30 pm. Shockwave Rider, building on Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, envisions an America where the speed of technological and social change is so rapid that it has spawned a weird menagerie of artificial coping mechanisms and corresponding psychological dysfunctions in response. The loss of permanence and connection is papered over with dizzyingly ever faster changes in social scene, household décor, spouse, job, or part of the country as the population perpetually uproots itself. Meanwhile bizarre and humiliating reality television, and betting pools based on future prediction, provide extra distraction. This is the novel that first posited a computer virus (or worm) and was grandfather to cyberpunk and its uberhacker anti-heros, yet it still inspires a frisson of recognition today. While it isn't the business of SF to predict the future, here Brunner does so uncannily well. What is it about this book that has kept it fresh, over a quarter century later?

Deception Versus Transparency Smackdown

Saturday, 4:30 pm. Shockwave Rider can be read as a face-off between two incompatible theories of information management. Most of the novel explores a systematically deceptive regime. Then, at the climax, a computer network infection throws open the coffers of truth to anyone interested enough to look. Whether the truth precipitates revolution is left as an exercise to the reader. Contrast this to novels such as Vinge's Deepness in the Sky, where effective deception is necessary to both sides, and transparency is not an option. Or compare it to the conflicts between deception and transparency in national and global politics. SF fans may believe that transparency should, and would, win, but how realistic is that hope? Will the truth make us free?

SF Trivia Follies

Saturday evening. The exciting trivia game where everyone competes! Beware of low-flying chocolate. You mustn't miss this!

Dance Yer Sox Off

Returning Turbo-charged Party Animal DJ, Andy Hooper, spins the favorites as we bop 'til we drop. It doesn't get any more fong wa than this.

Experience Science Fiction, In Seattle and On Mars

Sunday, post banquet. Experience SF, the science fiction museum, opens in June of this year at Seattle Center. This multimedia presentation will provide a first glimpse at the Exploring Mars exhibit that premieres in June, author interviews about the project, and the latest updates on progress and plans for the museum.

-- Ulrika O'Brien

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