MarsCon programming is driven by our attendees. Please share in the fun by posting your ideas for programming here—talks you'd like to hear or give, presenters/performers you would recommend, subjects or activities of interest to you and other fans…
If you've submitted ideas in years past you already know the plan: read the ideas list… if you see a program event you want to help with drop us an email. If you have an idea for an event that isn't yet listed jump to the form and tell us about it.
Starting around January our programming staff starts getting in touch with those who have offered suggestions to see if they are still game for the event and to work out details. As always, MarsCon depends on our attendees for much of our programming.
The Manhwa / Manhua Explosion
Manga is so yesterday. All the cool kids are now reading manhwa and manhua, manga's Korean and Chinese cousins (respectively.) This panel will introduce people to some of the fun new titles out there and where to get them.
Suggested by Lyda Morehouse on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 13:26:03
Beginner's Guide to Prop Guns
Prop guns are cool, and for many costumes, and essential accessory. Learn how to build or acquire replica weapons for your costume and how to carry them safely during cons and other events.
Suggested by ERIK PAKIESER on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 09:27:49
Military Science Fiction in Film
Discussion about the depiction of the military in science fiction films. What do they get right, what do they get wrong, and what would we like to see?
Suggested by ERIK PAKIESER on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 09:27:16
Colonial Marine Costuming
"Aliens" super-fan Erik Pakieser shares his knowledge of acquiring building costumes and props from the "Aliens" film, comic and video game series.
Suggested by ERIK PAKIESER on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 09:26:41
SciFi Guns of Past, Present, and Future
Discussion about the evolution of personal weapons in science fiction - what's realistic, what's not, and what could be. Are the designs realistic? Why are certain weapons so popular?
Suggested by ERIK PAKIESER on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 09:25:56
From Terry Pratchett to Bright, a discussion about the depection and role of police in science fiction and fantasy
Suggested by Erik Pakieser on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 09:24:00
The search for stardust.
Hello, my name is Scott and I find meteorites, micrometeorites to be more precise. I would love to share the information I have learned and gathered by searching for these little guys on local MN rooftops. If youâ d like to read more about what I do there was a Daily Beast article written about me and a Star Tribune article that just came out, I hope you were able to get the paper edition but feel free to search the webs.
Suggested by Scott Peterson on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 11:02:23
How not to be a publishing horror story
When editors and agents get together, they sometimes share stories of the people who submitted stuff to them. Because they are in the story business, the tales are usually entertaining. Learn how to be entertaining only in a good way. Can we get some editors/agents on the panel to share their tips and anonymized stories?
Suggested by Tyler Tork on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 11:47:22
One-Hour Author Website
Writing track. Participants will see how to put together a full-featured website by themselves in an hour, with multiple pages, blog, search function, email list signup, book catalog, and a customized appearance, by snapping together free components others have written. Does not include writing the content of the pages. If people want to follow along in real time, they need to have chosen a domain name first (and if they like, registered it -- I recommend Google Domains). They will need a credit card to buy hosting service. A few "sandbox" domains will be available to play around in. Presenter: Tyler Tork.
Suggested by Tyler Tork on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 11:38:04
Peter the Great Stand-up Comedy
Performance Panel: Peter the Great is a stand up comedian and cosplayer who takes an innuendo-fueled and whimsically dark spin on geek fandoms and nerd culture at sci-fi, fantasy, comic, gaming, and anime conventions. He has recently performed at several other local conventions with good reviews and tailors his act toward the themes of that convention (more sci-fi jokes at sci-fi conventions). Social media: facebook.com/peterthegreatmn and Twitter/Instagram @peterthegreatmn
Suggested by Peter the Great on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 13:09:30
The Left Hand of Ursula K. LeGuin
Having a panel to talk about her life and work would seem to be a Must Do!
Suggested by Ruth Berman on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 11:22:19
Droid building 101
We discuss how we built our life size working R2-D2. We also include sections on how to go about building other droids. Also what to do with your droid when you are done.
Suggested by Jennifer on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 21:34:13
(suggestion for MarsCon 2019 removed here and added to the list for next year)
Discussion of the recent episodes of Steven Universe. What are your theories about events on Homeworld? What will this bring to Beach City?
Suggested by Kathryn Sullivan on Sunday, January 07, 2018 at 21:03:25
Basic Sewing Tips and Tricks
a panel for 'newbies', for sewing costumes. tips for choosing the right materials, handling fabrics (including stains and dyeing), pattern alterations, the right stitches and seam finishings, etc.
Suggested by The DreamStitcher on Friday, January 05, 2018 at 10:05:49
Indigenous futurism? SmudgePunk? FictioNDN? There's a rise in Sci Fi / Fantasy with a Native Gaze? How is this different? What concepts are explored? Is it really that different? An open panel discussion with your local NDN geeks.
Suggested by Jei Herald-Zamora on Thursday, January 04, 2018 at 10:57:35
Unsung Heroes of Lesser Known Shows
With such varied modern day distribution methods, it's not uncommon to find fellow fans who read books or watch shows you've never heard of or haven't had time, inclination, or the means to experience for yourself. This is your chance to introduce others to the series you love and the characters that kept you watching. Earth 2, anyone? Danziger or True? How about Vincent or Catherine from the more recently canceled Beauty and the Beast? Sierra from Dollhouse? The original Zev from Lexx? Dorian from Almost Human? Mitchell from Being Human (UK Version, of course)? Share, observe, pick up a few recommendations.
Suggested by Christine on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 19:47:29
Cosplay Show & Tell Hour
Participants have a chance to bring in their favorite costumes or pictures of their favorites to share with others and discuss costume-making techniques, materials, inspiration, getting into character, and personal stories around cosplay.
Suggested by Christine on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 19:28:07
My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: SF & Reality
Has the future arrived, and we just didn't notice? The airport walkways and shuttles are reminiscent of what we saw in the Jetsons, Logan's Run, and other earlier sci fi. Roombas are commonplace. Alexa, Echo, and Siri are on their way toward maybe a HAL or Dr. Theopolis. Not to mention the astounding pace science has taken toward solving medical problems. In vitro, clones, nanotechnology... It's astounding. You may not have a hovercraft of your own yet, but they are available now if you have the means. The "World of Tomorrow" is here and now. Let's discuss yesterday's expectations for it, as well as real life advancements and their cost or shortfalls.
Suggested by Christine on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 19:00:07
Star Trek & Streaming
Can't get past the new Klingons? Loving/hating the casting, the writing, the story, the effects? Let's talk about Discovery as well as the reboot movies. Compare and contrast with the rest of Star Trek and share your joys and sorrows.
Suggested by Christine on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 18:45:28
Everything Star Wars!
Star Wars has come at us in three waves now--early Star Wars, prequels, and now the new Disney-owned franchise--as well as a lovely mix of cartoons, specials, video games, and novels. Talk about what's cannon, what should be cannon, mistakes & triumphs throughout the decades. Feel free to bring toys and other visual aids to illustrate and share. In the end, the panelists and audience will rate the movies from best to worst.
Suggested by Christine on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 18:39:17
What You Want
A Panel that assimilates a "Living Survey". Also is a good place to distribute actual surveys for the Staff.
Suggested by Dave Duca on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 23:48:13
MarsCon has been around for 20 years now. Let's talk about our favorite guests, what went right, what went wrong, what we've learned over the years. For anyone new to MarsCon, veteran con-goers, or interested in starting your own convention, this panel is for you.
Suggested by Christine on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 09:02:30
It's About Time
Time loop and time paradox stories. We love them. We hate them. We can't live without them in SF. Is the future really doomed? Will we destroy ourselves if we travel back in time? Can we fix our mistakes through time travel, or is it a tempting trap? As featured in Continuum, Doctor Who, Groundhog Day, and, well, just about every where...and when.
Suggested by Ben on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 08:56:16
Star Wars: the Costumes
Simple, regal, understated, stately, elaborate, ugly, utilitarian... the looks in Star Wars are as wide ranging as the galaxy. Show, tell, complain, and rave.
Suggested by Christine on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 08:49:35
Forgotten identity is the initial premise of Dark Matter. Memento, Total Recall and 50 First Dates go to the extreme with forgetfulness. But many genre series also experiment with memory loss and the consequences. Bring your favorite examples to share.
Suggested by Christine on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 08:41:53
My Favorite Werewolf
Lycanthropes through the decades, on film and in written works. Discuss.
Suggested by Christine on Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 08:34:53
Live recording of Adventures of Shieldmaidens Podcast
Adventures of Shieldmaidens is a podcast where the DMs are female, the players are female, and we do more then just hold the Shields. Come to the live recording of the actual play of a one shot game in DM Elspeth's world.
Suggested by Elspeth Lee on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 16:42:52
Polyamory: Perceptions and Realities
In society and in the media, a number of myths have revolved around polyamory. Though polyamory is becoming more generally accepted, the media shows it as a white phenomenon. Explore and discuss how the polyamorous experience is portrayed and how it differs from reality.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 18:03:32
Configurations, lexicons, myths, and resources. Polyamory means â many lovesâ - but there is not just one way to be poly. Come discuss polyamory, what it means, and ways to navigate more than one love.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 18:01:48
Disney's LGBTQ+ Problem
We'll cover the scope of queerness throughout Disney's cinematic history including coded characters, queer villains, and why Disney's purported "first openly gay cinematic character" in Beauty and the Beast is a poor effort at best; harmful at worst.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:57:50
Cleavage Optional: Gender, Cosplay, and Genderbending Cosplay
How is the cosplay experience different for women and men? Why is genderbent cosplay so popular? What fans aren't doing it and what characters aren't being genderbent? What does this mean for trans and non-binary characters and fans?
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:54:40
Androids, AI, And Gender Theory
Androids & AI in sci-fi disrupt the idea of a gender binary and play with gender fluidity in a way that implies gender is not essential or passive but a construct in which one must actively participate. How do these narratives translate to other contexts.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:52:46
The Prime Directive as Liberal Eurocentric Superiority
Starfleet's Prime Directive is evidence that Borg, Dominion, & Klingons are not the only ethnocentric civilizations in Star Trek. Let's talk about how and why deciding what's best for another culture is problematic regardless of intentions, even in space.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:50:19
Avoiding Cultural Appropriation in World Building
Whether designing a game or writing a story, it's important to avoid appropriating cultures and perpetuating stereotypes of real-world peoples. We will examine common pitfalls, and discuss how to create truly original and authentic fictional worlds.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:48:01
Race and Culture in the Honorverse
David Weber's Honor Harrington series presents a very diverse gambit of humans in a far future when race does not seem to matter as much as politics. Juxtaposed against our own realities, how does this fundamentally affect our perception of the Honorverse?
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:45:41
Avoiding the Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters
Creating actual diversity requires a great effort to avoid unintentionally tokenizing your characters. Tokenism, even when unintentional, is what leads to adding "diversity" for the sake of diversity. How do we engender true diversity in Sci Fi/Comics?
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:43:19
Raceface: Cosplay and Cultural Competency
The desire for realism is high in the cosplay community, but when does it go too far? Is it okay to change skin tone to emulate a character of a different race? Is it necessary? What is the difference between looking like another race and another species? This panel will get uncomfortable at times, and there will be a moratorium on talking about barely tangentially related subjects.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Sunday, December 03, 2017 at 17:39:02
Cooling the Planet
Panel Idea: Reducing carbon emissions is needed, but may take generations to cool the planet. With seas already rising, we may need something quicker. Our panel will review and discuss "albedo modification," cooling the planet by letting less sunlight in. Depending on how it is done, there may be collateral damage to be dealt with, but a 2-3 % reduction should work.
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 22:38:59
50 Years Since The Real Year of the Jackpot
Panel Topic: Heinlein didn't target 1968 exactly, and the Sun didn't go nova, but with a war gone wrong, cultural turmoil, assinations, but ending with a moon mission,1968 seemed to fill most of the requirements for this craziest of years. At least until now.
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 22:35:05
Greggo's Game Shows
Since 1999, Greg Wicker ("Greggo") has been hosting panels in which con attendees can participate in parodies/recreations of classic game shows. Anime, manga and other Japanese pop culture have been the main subjects of these panels, but Greggo has hosted game shows based on video games, comic books, Doctor Who, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and other pop culture touchstones. Videos of his game shows can be viewed on YouTube and VidMe. For more info, visit www.greggosgameshows.com, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suggested by Mr. Arthur on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 21:50:43
Looking in the mirror for answers to the Fermi Question?
Panel Idea: Where are they? What do trends in our own recent history suggest about how a really advanced civilization might deal with interstellar distances. Aliens would not be humans, of course, but at a truly advanced level, would it matter?
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 21:01:54
All the Myriad Ways of Mining Asteroids
Panel idea: Will we drag asteroids to earth, mine them where they are, and where do we process the material and put the factories to make stuff from it? There are many possibilities and they aren't mutually exclusive.
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:59:25
O'Neill Space Habitats as a Real Estate Operation
Panel Idea: Given robots to mine the materials and do almost all the labor, how much would it really cost to build a hundred-thousand person habitat? Would it make sense to sell lots? How could people in a space colony earn a living to pay their mortgages?
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:55:32
Artificial People in Science Fiction
Panel Idea: This is about biological people, enhanced or otherwise, who are not conceived and gestated in the normal way. From "Frankenstein" through "Rossman's Universal Robots," "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and "Friday" this has been the topic of many classic, and not so classic, science fiction stories. Why are authors drawn to this idea? Is there any real word reason for artificial people?
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:53:03
Brave New Economic Worlds
Panel idea: Will self-replicating machines and space resources trash economics as we know it? In a few years we'll be needing a better approach than saying "they can't do it," because they probably can.
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:50:39
The Falcon Heavy Gets Ready
Panel Discussion What is a Falcon Heavy? How much can it lift? Will it make a difference in space access and exploration? Do we need a government SLS if we have a Falcon Heavy?
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:47:21
Proxima Centauri System Update
Panel idea: Proxima dust belts, and possibly another planet, have been imaged, yielding a better mass for Proxima b and an architecture similar to the solar system's at a smaller scale. The inferred asteroids and comets, if present, would help supply exploration operations.
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:37:08
Is Science Fiction Losing Readers, or Publishers?
Panel discussion idea: Are declining midlist book and magazine acquisitions the result of fewer readers, or more an artifact of evolved corporate hyper-competition?
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:34:40
Is Our Global Culture Losing Track of Reality?
Panel Idea Whether from belief in magic exploited by hucksters, false news exploited by politians, disinformation promulgated for profit, flat Earth and young Earth dogmas, entertainment fantasy taken too seriously, reality in history and science seem under attack. Is this actually getting worse? Could an inability to deal with the scientific issues of diseases, overpopulation, and climate change pose an existential threat to humanity? What as writers and readers should we do about it?
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:31:38
Next Century at Alpha Centauri
Panel Idea Robots, space resources, additive manufacturing and rethinking the problem are making interstellar travel look more and more feasible. We look at the concepts and nascent technologies that could underlie flights to the stars in the 2100s.
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:28:43
A Real ETO Flies By
Panel Idea We didn't make this up. A giant cigar-shaped Extra Terrestrial Object buzzed through the solar system last year on a hyperbolic orbit, gently tumbling, looking (to the extent we could see) very much what one might expect a big derelict spacecraft to look like. While natural explanations are preferred, it seemed eerily like something out of science fiction. Whatever its origin, it was one more piece of evidence that no planetary system is an island; whether dust, rocks, comets, rogue planets or alien visitors the exchange of stuff between stars may happens more often than some might think. Could that include life?
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 20:25:24
Relativity for Space Travelers
Where does the "Twin Paradox" come from? How does one "navigate" in space-time? Why can going faster than light take you back in time? The answers lie in something called the Lorentz Transformation. By the way, Einstein didn't discover it and it's not a "theory" in the popular sense of the word. Astronautical Engineer and Author, Gerald "G. David" Nordley will explain as much as can fit in an hour.
Suggested by Gerald David Nordley on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 19:49:36
The Movie Year in Review
A look back at the movies of last year. From LEGO to Logan, Samara to Smurfs, Boss Baby to Baby Driver, we'll discuss it all, including the big debate about Rotten Tomatoes.
Suggested by Mark McPherson on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 01:13:11
Robotic Future and the History of Mankind
Since the earliest of times, the planet has obsessed itself with the machinations of mechanical musings in the modern age. From Da Vinci to Westinghouse and well beyond "Atlas" of Boston Dynamics. The Panel will discuss the purpose and uses of robotic in the future as seen from approaches from the past ( Von Neumann ) What robotic devices do we need for to be Space Faring? Can robots of our design, aid us in Off World Adventure?
Suggested by Dave Duca on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 09:29:58
Red Dragon Mars Direct Sample Return
A discussion of the possible ways our "current technology" can perform a "Proof of Principle" to a fully automated Design about an actual Sample-Return, un-manned mission to and from the Planet mars. This puts-to-the-table, how "do able" the hardware can be coordinated of safely landing a small vessel to the surface, gather samples, re-fuel itself, for a launch, returning samples back to Earth Orbit for a rendezvous intercept and retrieval from an ISS deployment.
Suggested by Dave Duca on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 23:31:45
Robot Poetry Rumble
For the 40th anniversary of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, members of the SFPA share classic and new poems of robots from around the world and the galaxy!
Suggested by Bryan Thao Worra on Sunday, October 01, 2017 at 22:55:53
How to Fail Gracefully
The panel from CVG 2017 is back! Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. Maybe you've worded something poorly or were misinformed on a topic. Maybe you just didn't think a decision through and something went the wrong way. It happens. But how we react in these situations is what matters most.
Suggested by Justin Grays on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 14:45:09
30 in 60: The Best New Books in Scifi/Fantasy/Horror
Come hear librarians and bibliophiles tell you all the latest and greatest new releases in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. 30 recs in 60 minutes is sure to make your tbr pile grow!
Suggested by Ariel Kirst on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 19:22:58
A talk about the last 52 years of Star Trek, 6 Shows, and the 13 movies. Yes there will be spoilers for Star Trek Discovery
Suggested by Tony on Monday, July 03, 2017 at 01:18:45
Come talk about 21 years of Harry Potter as we reflect back on all 15 books, and 9 films, we will talk about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter parks, The Studio Tour, Pottermore, and Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them, We look to the future books, films, and the fandom here then and now.
Suggested by Tony on Monday, July 03, 2017 at 01:16:29
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Catch up on all of Marvel films and TV shows.
Suggested by Tony on Monday, July 03, 2017 at 01:15:17
The Book Doctor is IN
[writers' track] A professional copyeditor offers tips for cleaning up your manuscript. Includes tricks for avoiding common grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors and some sexy hacks/shortcuts in Microsoft Word.
Suggested by Kim Husband on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 22:15:01
The Book Doctor is IN
A professional copyeditor offers tips for cleaning up your manuscript. Includes tips & tricks for avoiding common grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors.
Suggested by Kim Husband on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 22:13:22
Sword and Fan
Twin Cities T'ai Chi Ch'uan Studio presents intro to T'ai Chi weapons: sword (lightweight wooden practice swords; no metal, no sharps) and fan. Brief intro and demonstration followed by teaching techniques and open practice/playtime.
Suggested by Kim Husband on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 22:12:20
Meditation and Breath/Energy Work
Twin Cities T'ai Chi Ch'uan Studio presents Healing Tao qigong. Explanation of meditation/qigong followed by guided practice. No experience or special equipment necessary.
Suggested by Kim Husband on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 22:09:57
T'ai Chi: Low-Impact Movement for Health
Twin Cities T'ai Chi Ch'uan Studio presents background of T'ai Chi, discusses benefits, teaches some movements. It's an easy, friendly way to incorporate movement to your lifestyle. No experience or equipment necessary.
Suggested by Kim Husband on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 22:03:27
Please offer your program idea.
If nobody suggests it, it won't happen. Thanks for your suggestions.
March 2-4, 2018
Hilton Minneapolis/St Paul Airport/Mall of America
3800 American Blvd. E.
Bloomington, MN 55425
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