Philcon 2013
A convention report by Evelyn C. Leeper
Copyright 2017 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.]

Table of Contents:

This is a brief report on Philcon 2013, held November 8-10, 2015, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.


Art Collection in the Digital Age
Friday, 6:00 PM
Luke Stelmaszek (mod)

Description: "Whither the future of art collection in the absence of an 'original' and the possibility of unlimited identical printouts."

Estimated attendance: 8

[There was supposed to be a second panelist.]


Dystopia in Young Adult Fiction [Family Friendly]
Friday, 7:00 PM
Rebecca Robare (mod), Gil Cnaan, E.C. Myers, Christine Norris, Aurora Celeste

Description: "Dystopias have long been a part of science fiction, dating back to Huxley, Orwell, and other classic authors. In the 1980s, Young Adult authors like H.M. Hoover and William Sleator explored dystopic futures. Today, with the recent explosion of Young Adult science fiction and fantasy, dystopia is all over, from Scott Westerfields 'Uglies' to Suzanne Collins's 'Hunger Games.' This panel will explore the use and meaning of dystopia and its special role in Young Adult fiction."

Estimated attendance: 10


Good Science Fiction Spoiled by Bad Science
Friday, 8:00 PM
John Monahan (mod), Gina Martinelli, Carl Fink, Inge Heyer, JJ Brannon

Description: "The plot, the writing, the characters were great. The story was gripping, pages were turning, but then a massive scientific mistake thuds down into your suspension of disbelief. How big an error can be overlooked? What's a deal-breaker? What are some examples?"

Estimated attendance: 20


Science Fiction Novels Which Have Had Major Social Impact
Saturday, 11:00 AM
Tom Doyle (mod), Andrew Breslin, Mary Spila, Samuel Lubell

Description: "We can cite examples: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Henlein, Neuromancer by William A. Gibson, Looking Backward by Bellamy or 1984 by George Orwell. There are some science fiction novels that have had a major impact on society. What makes these so special?"

Estimated attendance: 20


The 21st Century Disease
Saturday, 12:00 N
Dr. James Prego (mod), JJ Brannon, Andrew Breslin, Jay Wile, John Monahan

Description: "Humankind has largely overcome the deadly infectious diseases that were the leading cause of death for our ancestors. But we are now experiencing unprecedented epidemics of diseases that were rare or even unknown in past centuries: cancer, heart disease, allergy, auto-immune disease, obesity, diabetes, and autism. A growing body of evidence suggest that there may be some underlying connections between these disorders, and that aspects of the modern lifestyle may be involved. Can we find the causes and the cure for '21st century disease'?"

Estimated attendance: 20


Who is Avram Davidson, and Why Are They Still Talking About Him?
Saturday, 1:00 PM
Michael J. Walsh (mod), Darrell Schweitzer, Michael Swanwick, Gardner Dozois

Description: "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction said of him 'He is perhaps sf's most explicitly literary author.' Discover the works of one of science fiction's unique geniuses."

Estimated attendance: 10


"Mundane" Science Fiction
Saturday, 3:00 PM
Gregory Frost (mod), Barbara Krasnoff, Allen Steele, Margaret Riley, Steve Miller

Description: "Science fiction can be set in the future without all of the impossible tropes, such as time travel, faster than light travel, psi powers and galactic empires. What are some examples, and what goes into creating it?"

Estimated attendance: 20


"Dangerous Visions" Re-examined
Saturday, 4:00 PM
Tim W. Burke (mod), Edward Carmien, Tom Doyle, Jim Freund, Steve Miller

Description: "Taking another look at Harlan Ellison's ground breaking anthology. Did this change the field forever? Or is it overrated?"

Estimated attendance: 8


Upgrading the Remakes. Are the Upgrades Needed?
Saturday, 5:00 PM
Jeff Warner (mod), Christopher Stout, Andre Lieven, Andrew C. Ely, Matt Black, Mark Leeper

Estimated attendance: 8

Description: "Movies and TV shows, such as Superman, Batman, Flash Gordon, Battlestar Galactica, Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Men, Sleepy Hollow, Dracula, and others, are being "modernized," updated, and rebooted. What are the pros and cons of tweeking the original? Join the panelists as they discuss which upgrades worked and which ones should have been left alone."


The Ethics of Time Travel
Saturday, 6:00 PM
John Ashmead (mod), Evelyn Leeper, Andrew C. Ely

Estimated attendance: 40

Description: "Everyone talks about killing Hitler in his crib, or stopping Booth from shooting Lincoln. But if you could change the past, would you?"


Kowai: Ghosts, Yokai and Japanese Monster Culture
Saturday, 9:00 PM
Charles Dunbar (mod)

Estimated attendance: 10

Description: "The 'Anime Anthropologist' Charles Dunbar presents an exploration of ghosts, monsters and horror within Japanese mythology, folklore and modern media."


Tomorrow's Library
Sunday, 10:00 AM
Mary Spila (mod), Stephanie Gangone, Suzanne Rosin, ? Weisenstein

Estimated attendance: 5

Description: "Ebooks, Amazon, and Goodreads have taken over much of the library's place as the source of reading material and recommendations. How are libraries and librarians adapting? Is the library of the future a building full of books, a public Internet kiosk with a librarian on webchat, or something else?"


The Summer of Science Fiction
Sunday, 11:00 AM
Tony Finan, Orenthal Hawkins, Mark Leeper, Elektra Hammond

Estimated attendance: 5

Description: "2013 had an impressive line-up of genre films, from Star Trek Into Darkness and Elysium to Man of Steel and The Wolverine. Did this summer's blockbusters fulfill our geeky needs? Discuss with the panelists the pros and cons of this summer's movies and which ones you would buy on DVD."


Rude Astronauts and Junkie Cosmonauts
Sunday, 1:00 PM
Ian Randal Strock (mod), Barbara Krasnoff, Tom Purdom, Walter F. Cuirle

Estimated attendance: 15

Description: "One day, space travel will transition from a highly professional occupation to a blue collar job. How does writing about space change when, instead of brave explorers and scientists, your heroes are just 'Regular Joe's'?"



Many panels did not have enough microphones. Even two people sharing is difficult--three is impossible.

There was a lot of noise bleed-through, especially from the anime rooms.

Moderators are still letting panels run over their times.