When: September 1-5, 2005 Where: Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center, Seattle, WA.

7:00 PM
Room: San Juan [CC]

Dragon Big, Knights Crunchy

Heroes and heroines in form-fitting chainmail doing battle against . . . that?
Who in their right mind charges a castle where the evil wizard’s fireballs take out fifty at a time?
How to make a believable fight against impossible odds and have the heroes survive to tell the tale.

Panelists: Julia Mandala, Brandon Sanderson, Eric James Stone
Moderator: Eldon Thompson

11:00 AM
Room: Chaps [R]

Bringing Order to Chaos

Yes, you need a fantastic world for your fantasy novel, but you also need a society where people
can relate to each other . . . and the reader! What kind of politics, religion, social order, job market do
you need? How much world building does the writer have to do? How much needs to be explained
to the reader? Come see how some professionals did it so you too can try your hand at it . . . at home!

Panelists: Louise Marley, Janna Silverstein, Fox Cutter
Moderator: Eldon Thompson

1:00 PM
Room: Mercer B [CC]

Exposition: One Lump or Two

“As you know, Jim…” How can a writer communicate the details of the setting (how magic works, the scientific breakthrough that bends time, etc)? How much detail needs to go into the first chapter? What makes the reader’s eyes glaze over? How does one avoid the common mistakes in writing exposition?

Panelists: James Van Pelt, Cynthia Ward, Eldon Thompson
Moderator: John G. Hemry

4:00 PM
Autograph Tables [CC]


John G. Hemry, Eldon Thompson

12:00 PM
Room: Orcas AB [CC]

What Aspiring Fantasy/SF Writers Need to Know

A panel discussion of authors on the ins and outs of fantasy/SF writing in the publishing market today.

Panelists: J. Steven York, Eldon Thompson, Rebecca Neason
Moderator: James Van Pelt

2:00 PM
Room: Chaps [R]

Query Letters, Demystified

This panel is for writers who need to know what makes a good query, and for those who THINK they know. There’s more to a query than just asking an agent for representation.

Panelists: James C. Glass, Steve Mancino, Melissa Lee Shaw
Moderator: Eldon Thompson

5:00 PM
Room: Orcas AB [CC]

Fantastic Women

Most medieval societies were deeply paternalistic, yet fantasy in quasi-medieval settings is popular with female readers. How can magic and other aspects of fantasy be applied to create believable, active female protagonists? What roles are uniquely available to women characters in a fantasy setting?

Panelists: Cynthia Ward, Kij Johnson, Eldon Thompson
Moderator: Cary A. Conder

11:00 AM
Room: Emerald D [CC]

All Hail the King! Absolute Monarchs in Fantasy

From Arthur to Aragorn, we revere the hero leading his nation to glory, ending with a triumphant ride
before an adoring populace. Yet for every Arthur there is a Mordred, for Aragorn an Ar-Pharazon.
Why do we admire stories about heroic monarchs, when we would not want to live in a real monarchy?

Panelists: Donna McMahon, Eldon Thompson
Moderator: Charlene Harmon

3:00 PM
Room: Emerald D [CC]

Hard Fantasy

Should a fantasy world’s magic system have definite rules spelling out what sorcerers can or can’t do,
or should the author just go with the gut? Does it go against the very essence of fantasy to systematize
the supernatural as if it were the periodic table?

Panelists: Larry Niven, Brandon Sanderson, Kij Johnson, Diana L. Paxson
Moderator: Eldon Thompson

5:00 PM
Room: Harbor [H]


Mike Shepherd Moscoe, Eldon Thompson

10:00 AM
Room: Mercer A [CC]

Read One Page

A quick and dirty method for readers to evaluate a book while still in the bookstore.

Panelists: Sheila Finch, Steve Mancino, Eric Penz
Moderator: Eldon Thompson

1:00 PM
Room: Elliott A [H]


Eldon had the following to say about the 2005 North American Science Fiction Convention:

"Talk about a three-ring circus! Of the conventions I’ve been to, this was by far the busiest in terms of the number of program events. No matter the hour, it seems there were no fewer than a dozen options for attendees in terms of panels, readings, kaffeeklatsches—you name it. Often, there seemed too much to choose from.

Not that I had many opportunities to do so myself. Being invited to participate in twelve events over four days’ time (and being called upon to moderate five of them), I found that the majority of my time was dedicated to those events to which I’d been assigned. I might have thought it to be a bit excessive, except that almost every panelist I bumped into shared a similar workload.

Aside from missing a fair number of panels I might have liked to witness, I must say that I enjoyed the convention immensely. As always, this is due primarily to folks encountered along the way. It never ceases to amaze me just how kind and knowledgeable the professionals who attend these things can be. A special thanks, of course, to my fellow panelists, who consistently made me look good as a moderator. In this case, there are too many to name, especially since all are listed on the schedule above. I would have to say that I particularly enjoyed meeting Brandon Sanderson (author of the fantasy hit Elantris), Eric James Stone, and a number of their close friends. And I felt that Jim Glass, Steve Mancino, and Melissa Shaw made for a particularly dynamic panel on the subject of writing query letters. Also, a great big thanks to Eric Penz, author of the forthcoming Cryptid, for making sure that I didn’t have to fly solo on my final panel.

Which brings me to the fans, many of whom are fellow professionals. Without them, these conferences would not exist. While these things are set up to showcase authors and to let them share insights with audience members, it often feels like it should be the other way around. For it’s the viewers that determine which events are successful, with their kind attention, clever questions, and interesting comments. And as audiences go, this convention was full of great ones.

In particular, I’d like to thank Joe Berlant, a convention veteran and book dealer extraordinaire, who despite a hectic schedule of his own, never hesitated to spend time chatting with a new author and offering advice. Not everyone is willing to offer such support to a newcomer to the field, and those who do are appreciated beyond measure.

It was a long and busy weekend—and which, for me, marks the end of a long and busy summer. As students everywhere prepare to head back to school, I’m at last hoping to settle down and get to work in earnest on the third and final installment of my debut trilogy. NASFiC was a wonderful way to wrap up the touring season, and lends me hope and excitement for the future."