Potlatch 22: February 1-3, 2013


The convention program is mostly being organized by Foolscap, but will include a "Potlatch track" organized by the Potlatch committee. All members of either convention will have full access to all program items.

The Programming Questionnaire is now available. To respond, please copy and paste the text into an email to programming@potlatch-sf.org by Saturday, January 19th.

The hours of the Potlatch program track will be as follows (subject to change):

  • Friday:
    • 9:00am - 4:00pm: Writer's Workshop (must sign up in advance)
    • 4:00-6:00pm: Programming in 1-hour slots
    • (6:00-8:00pm: Dinner break)
    • 8:00-9:00pm: Icebreaker
  • Saturday:
    • 10:00am-12:00pm: Open Space programming
    • (12:00-1:30pm: Lunch break)
    • 1:30-4:30pm: Programming in 1-hour slots
    • 4:30-6:00pm: Clarion West Benefit Auction
    • (6:00-8:00pm: Dinner break)
    • 8:00-10:00pm: Programming in 1.5-hour slots
  • Sunday:
    • 10:00am-12:00pm: Open Space programming
    • (12:30-2:00pm: Bite of Foolscap brunch)
    • 2:00-3:00pm: Programming
    • (3:00-6:00pm: Foolscap program, no Potlatch programming)
    • (6:00-8:00pm: Dinner break)
    • 8:00-??pm: Dead Dog party

Open Space Programming

One of the new things for Potlatch this year will be Open Space programming in the mornings on Saturday and Sunday, conducted by Foolscap's facilitators Tom Whitmore and Karen Anderson. It's very much in the Potlatch spirit of egalitarian DIY Make Our Own Fun programming, and we hope you'll leap right in and participate.

Here's a description from Tom Whitmore:

Open Space programming lets us talk about what's fresh and interesting to the people who have gathered for Foolscap and Potlatch, rather than having all the program ideas come from a small group of organizers. We know you have great ideas, and we're looking forward to adding them to our program. Here's how it works:

  • We provide wall space and paper.
  • Convention members have about half-an-hour to put on paper ideas for various conversations, exercises, games, presentations and other interactive experiences that you'd love to facilitate for a group of other members.
  • We tape the idea papers to the board.
  • Everyone gets four stickers to use to vote for Open Space events they'd like to see in the program slots. You can vote for something as many times as you have stickers, or vote for all different items.
  • Ideas with the most stickers (votes) get scheduled. We negotiate among the folks presenting as to just when items will happen, trying to avoid the unavoidable conflicts.
  • Participants then make the items happen.

This technique has been used at many conferences over the years, and we're excited to bring it to our convention. It was a great success at Foolscap 14. And remember the two primary rules of Open Space: Whoever is here is the right group of people. Whatever we're talking about is the right subject.

Clarion West Alumni Readings

These readings are one of many bridges between Foolscap and Potlatch, in that they are included in the Potlatch track, while also being part of the Foolscap's "STRUTS" (Strut Your Stuff) event.

Although STRUTS will offer open time-slots for anyone to reserve at the start of the convention, the Clarion West Alumni Readings have been scheduled in advance.

Here is the star-studded cast of writers who have signed up to read for you this year:

Friday, February 1:
4:00-4:25pm: Vonda McIntyre
5:00-5:25pm: Mark Ferrari
9:00-9:25pm: Shannon Page

Saturday, February 2:
3:00-3:25pm: David Levine
4:00-4:25pm: Suzy Charnas
5:00-5:25pm: Vicki Saunders

Sunday, February 3:
2:00-2:25pm: Cat Rambo
3:00-3:25pm: Eileen Gunn

And Now, The Actual Program

Here's the schedule for the Potlatch programming track. See the Foolscap webpage for the rest of the program.

Friday - 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
How To Find (or Make) a Critique Group that Works - Moderator: Gerald D. Nordley
One of the best tools at a writer's disposal is a good critique group. Getting the reaction of one's peers to one's work is an invaluable way to improve your writing. But not all critique groups are equal. Our panelists will relate their experiences and give their advice on finding (or making) a great critique group.

Friday - 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
The Space Opera Boom - Moderator: Nick Fraser
There has been a recent resurgence of Space Opera stories. What makes a story "Space Opera"? How do the recent spate of Space Opera novels differ from their older cousins? Who is writing them and who is reading them? (And what is it with the whole Scottish, Socialist, Space Opera thing anyway?)

Friday - 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Books That Shaped Us - Leader: Jane Hawkins
Come and share the books that helped make you the person you are. Find out who else loves those same books, even if they got something different from them than you did. Discover new books you need to read.

Saturday - 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
Magic, Alternative Science, or Just Nuts - Moderator: Debbie Notkin
What makes fictional magic magical, why do readers believe that it is true within the story? What defines magic, and how is it different from an alternate science? How can you tell that your protagonist isn't lying, mistaken, or just plain crazy? If wishes can affect the real world, is that magic? If it has hard, repeatable rules, is that science, even if the rules don't match ours? How do we spot an unreliable or fanciful narrator, and is their "magic" as appealing even if it isn't "real"?

Saturday - 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Let's Blow Up the Base - Moderator: Tod McCoy
Many SF shows feature a home base, starship, or ranch that is the characters' home and safe place, which then gets destroyed at some point during, or before, the narrative. We'll discuss examples, how it's been done well or badly, and what effect it has on the story going forward. Meanwhile, in written fiction, the device is less common -- or is it? What stories get under way because home is no longer available? Is the Book of Honor an example of a story that is started by the destruction of home?

Saturday - 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Exploring Among Others - Moderator: Karen Anderson
Our panelists explore the themes, discuss the style, overview the imagery, and analyze the structure of Among Others. They will also talk about the impact the book had on them, and whether Mor's experiences of discovering other sf readers and fandom reflects their own. Along the way they will ask (and hopefully answer) the most important question:did this book deserve to be an award winner and Potlatch Book of Honor?

Saturday - 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
Benefit Auction for Clarion West Scholarship Fund - Lead Auctioneer: Tom Whitmore

Saturday - 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The Albacon Club: a play based on characters created by Jo Walton - Writer and director: Andy Hooper
Jo Walton's Among Others leaves Morwenna Philips-Markova on the cusp of a truly life-changing experience: Her first Science Fiction Convention! This Reader's Play will extend Mori's famous diary for a few critical weeks in the far off year of 1980. Heroes and Villains abound: Thatcher! Vogons! Dave Langford! Stephen R. Donaldson! It's history -- now with added magic.

Saturday - 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Poetry at the Clarion West Café - MC: Eileen Gunn
Cats and kitties, brothers and sisters, fans and fen. Imagine a dimly lit Greenwich Village cafe: tiny tables, a hip crowd, a laid-back bongo player who looks like Maynard G. Krebs. A chalk-board hangs on the bare-brick wall. "Tonight only: Neile Graham, Nisi Shawl, JT Stewart." MC Eileen Gunn presides. Can you dig it?

Sunday - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Potlatch: Withered or Whence? - Moderator: Tom Whitmore
We've been keeping Potlatch alive for a couple of years past what some people felt was its natural expiration date. Is there still a place for Potlatch in the fannish calendar? Is Potlatch an important and useful Karass? Who will carry it into the future if the answer to those questions is "yes"?