Philcon 2009
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 2009 was held in the Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill (NJ).


Want Some SF? Get Out of the SF Section!
Friday, 5:00 PM
Patricia M. Cryan (mod), David M. Axler, Stuart Jaffe

Description: "Science fiction, fantasy, and horror have moved out of the SF section of the bookstore. "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" are in the young adult sections. "World War Z" and "Soon I Will Be Invincible" are housed with mainstream fiction. And the romance section of your bookstore is FULL of tales of other worlds, other times, and monsters. What are some of the great things out there that aren't being marketed as SF?"

Estimated attendance: 25 people


Science Fiction Curriculum For New Comers
Friday, 7:00 PM
Michael J. Walsh (mod), Walter Hunt, Ted Rickles, Gail Z. Martin, Michael Swanwick

Description: "Science Fiction authors list the core books and concepts for an understanding of the Science Fiction genre."

Estimated attendance: 20 people


The Poe Legacy in Short Fiction
Friday, 8:00 PM
Richard Stout (mod), Darrell Schweitzer, Gregory Frost, Evelyn Leeper,

Description: "Poe was a master of the short form. How has his work influenced later writers?"

Estimated attendance: 4 people


The Future of Money
Friday, 9:00 PM
Ray Ridenour (mod), Tony DiGerolamo

Description: "How has personal finances been portrayed in the past in Science Fiction and how will it be portrayed in the future? Will there be such a thing as money in the future?"

Estimated attendance: 12 people


Law and The Future: Getting it Right
Saturday, 10:00 AM
Nick Wolven (mod), James Daniel Ross, ? Strathairn, Jim Stratton

Description: "What are the most common mistakes made by authors when they write a court scene in Science Fiction?"

Estimated attendance: 20 people

  • This panel started early, an even worse sin that starting late.
  • Strathairn: Dead Souls author
  • W: Too much superfluous stuff, but what about actual errors?
  • Wolven: My Cousin Vinny does it well
  • Strathairn: "Perry Mason" was not even close
  • Strathairn: The modern American judicial system is not the only one [so future/science fictional systems do not have to follow it exactly]
  • Wolven: Created LRPG "The Alliance"
  • Wolven: Medieval setting has no fingerprints or DNA evidence
  • Strathairn: The American system was a reaction to the British system; reaction to the Star Chamber and ecclesiastical courts
  • Ross: "Justice by fiat" is probably more realistic
  • Wolven: "Alvin Maker" series has a different attitude toward Abraham Lincoln
  • Wolven: No legalities, just tell both sides
  • Strathairn: Starting from scratch better than starting with American system
  • Strathairn: Kurt Vonnegut's Piano Player had a lie detector, but for effect, not for realism
  • Wolven: Reality is not like television
  • Ross: No one in fantasy ever runs up against a stupid law
  • Wolven: Need some reason in fiction for discrimination, etc.
  • Audience: Idea of "the reasonable man" test
  • Strathairn: Jury of peers created here
  • Me: Not in Magna Carta?
  • Strathairn: Magna Carta was just for nobles
  • Wolven: Peers used to mean people who knew you, now means people who don't
  • Wolven: On social changes
  • Ross: Claimed cloning outlawed
  • ?: Not outlawed, just not funded
  • Wolven: Intellectual property laws are lagging behind progress
  • Wolven: Claimed Constitution specified the length of time for copyrights and patents
  • [Me: It doesn't]
  • Ross: Keeping blood to create a cure
  • Strathairn: Were paying him
  • Wolven: Gattaca
  • [Me: Frameshift]
  • Audience: "Pets as property only" is changing (animal rights)
  • Wolven: Difference between animals to eat versus others
  • Wolven: "A good lawyer will argue the slippery slope if that's all he has."
  • Strathairn: "Larry the Lobster" on "Saturday Night Live"
  • Strathairn: Norse law speaker
  • Strathairn: Law by decree (daimyo in Japan)


    Was Philip K. Dick right?
    Saturday, 11:00 AM
    Diane Weinstein (mod), Mark Wolverton, David Louis Edelman, Bernie Mojzes, James Chambers

    Description: "Are we now living in Philip K. Dick's future dystopia?"

    Estimated attendance: 15 people


    Science Fiction for the Post Human Future
    Saturday, 12:00 N
    Tom Purdom (mod), Cory Doctorow, Bud Sparhawk, David Louis Edelman, Jon Kilgannon

    Description: "If the singularity actually happens and the future becomes incomprehensible, what will Science Fiction writers write about?"

    Estimated attendance: 30 people


    Philip K. Dick As Classic Literature
    Saturday, 1:00 PM
    John Moore (mod), Bernie Mojzes, Andrew C. Murphy

    Description: "He's in Library of America these days. Irony of irony, his science fiction has achieved mainstream acceptance, even though his mainstream fiction never did. What has caused this academic/critical awakening?"

    Estimated attendance: 12 people


    Why Aren't We Writing About the Future Anymore?
    Saturday, 3:00 PM
    David Louis Edelman (mod), Cory Doctorow, Tom Purdom, Gregory Frost, Lawrence M. Schoen

    Description: "Past science fiction used to take place predominantly in the future. Why do there seem to be more and more novels set in the past? Is this a temporary phase or a fundamental shift in the field?"

    Estimated attendance: 50 people


    Who Is Your Favorite Forgotten Author?
    Saturday, 7:00 PM
    Desirina Boskovich (mod), Chris Logan Edwards, Jonathan Maberry

    Description: "Who is your favorite writer among those whose work is not readily available? Why should we still be reading him or her?"

    Estimated attendance: 20 people


    The Influence of 1950s and 1960s B Movies on Literature
    Saturday, 8:00 PM
    Richard Stout, Jon Kilgannon, Mary Spila, Diane Weinstein

    Description: [no description given]

    Estimated attendance: 10 people


    SF and Fantasy you may not" [sic]
    Sunday, 10:00 AM
    Mary Spila (mod), Byron Connell, Walter Hunt, Gail Z. Martin

    Description: [no description given]

    Estimated attendance: 4 people


    Is The Short Story On Its Way Out?
    Sunday, 11:00 AM
    Neil Clarke, Larry Hodges, Lawrence M. Schoen, Dina Leacock

    Description: "There have been dramatic declines in magazine subscriptions in recent years. Is the short story medium on its way out or is it an essential part of the genre? Or is it all going digital?"

    Estimated attendance: 10 people


    Book Discussion Ideas
    Sunday, 3:00 PM
    Oz Fontecchio (mod), Scheherazade Jackson, Lawrence Johnson, Evelyn Leeper, Mary Spila

    Description: "Readers tell us their notions of what would make for a good book discussion."

    Estimated attendance: 3 people



    As usual, the publications arrived late, and there was no program grid. There was also not enough space for all the freebies people brought. And for some reason, there were no name tents!

    The Art Show was small and quirky, with little traditional science fiction art. There was also a table of "stuff" which all had a $1 minimum bid.