Philcon 2008
A convention report by Evelyn C. Leeper
Copyright 2014 by Evelyn C. Leeper
[I have gotten several years behind in my Philcon reports and rather than give up altogether, I have decided to transcribe my notes without turning them into real sentences, paragraphs, etc. Maybe someday I will flesh them out, but I would not bet on it. At any rate, this report got done in only a few hours. And as they say, "The perfect is the enemy of the good."]

Table of Contents:

Philcon 2008 was held in the Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill (NJ). One problem was that it was very cold and windy, and convention registration was opposite the door to the parking lot. There was no floor plan in the Pocket Program, and no room numbers were given except on the Program Grid. (For that matter, the map and restaurant guide did not arrive until Saturday morning.)


Science Fiction From the Mainstream
Friday, 7:00 PM
Stuart Jaffe

Description: "Science Fiction by non-science fiction writers. How does it compare to genre fiction?"

Estimated attendance: 12 people


Continuing the Lovecraft Tradition
Friday, 8:00 PM
Nathan Lilly (mod), Tim Powers, John Ashmead, Steve Vertlieb, C. j. Henderson

Description: "We know we will never get enough of Cthulhu and company, so how can writers continue to expand upon Lovecraft's themes?"

Estimated attendance: 10 people


Are Alternate Histories Really Science Fiction?
Saturday, 10:00 AM
Stephen C. Fisher (mod), jan howard finder, Michael F. Flynn, Evelyn Leeper

Description: "If the only difference between the setting of the story and our present day is a change in history with no fantastic element, is that Science Fiction?"

Estimated attendance: 40 people


Lovecraft and the Rejection of the Supernatural
Saturday, 12:00 N
Darrell Schweitzer (mod), Tim Powers, Roman Ranieri, James L. Cambias

Description: "Lovecraft did not believe in ghosts, the after life or any aspect of the Judeo-Christian mythos. Nevertheless, he produced some of the greatest supernatural fiction of all time. How did he accomplish this?"

Estimated attendance: 25 people


The Secret History as a Genre
Saturday, 2:00 PM
Tim Powers, F. Paul Wilson, Andrew Breslin, James L. Cambias

Description: "It is not an alternate history, it is what "really happened' in the history that we know. Tim Powers is the best known practicioner. Who are the others?"

Estimated attendance: 60 people


Not the American Century
Saturday, 4:00 PM
Andrew Wheeler (mod), Andre Lieven, James Daniel Ross, Michael Swanwick, Catherine Asaro

Description: "It seems increasingly likely that the 21st Century may not be dominated by the United States. Has there been much Science Fiction about this?"

Estimated attendance: 15 people


Beyond Philip Pullman- Is Atheism the Last Taboo?
Saturday, 8:00 PM
Richelle Mead, Michael D. Pederson, Mary Robinette Kowal

Description: "Is it still difficult to market an explicitly atheist book in fantasy, particularly to children?"

Estimated attendance: 15 people


The Original Story Does Not Resemble the Movie Very Much
Saturday, 9:00 PM
Richard Stout (mod)

Description: "Of course a short story can only be a launch platform for a full length movie. How much does the story have to be changed to be made into a successful film?"

Estimated attendance: ? people


Alternate Genomes
Sunday, 11:00 AM
John Ashmead (mod), James L. Cambias, Jay Wile

Description: "Who says you have to make do with only twenty amino acids? What alternate routes could evolution have taken? With DNA or some equivalent thereof? Without DNA?"

Estimated attendance: 15 people


Science Fiction, Religion and Reason
Sunday, 12:00 N
Richard Stout (mod), Mitchell Gordon, Tim Powers, Jay Wile, Ef Deal

Description: "Perhaps it is no coincidence that many of the major religious characters in classic science fiction are Jesuits. Perhaps there is something inherently Science- Fictional about an engineering approach to theology. Is there an inherent contradiction here or a possibility of reconciliation?"

Estimated attendance: 30 people


Recommended Readings for Book Discussion Groups
Sunday, 2:00 PM
Oz Fontecchio (mod), Scheherazade Jackson, Andrew C. Ely

Description: "[none given]"

Estimated attendance: 6 people



There were lots of free books--all brought by other members--and reduced prices in the Dealers Room.

Why has there never been a panel about Bollywood horror films (or fantasy or science fiction)? Philcon 2008