Do you remember what ComicCon was before it got ginormous with the Marvel and Disney infiltration? Before the story became about showing trailers all day in Hall H? There were all these little discussion panels, like an academic conference for science fiction. It was a weird little nerd nirvana where you could go and listen to authors ramble with each other and the audience about the implications of discovering alien life, of what technology was needed to make a space elevator happen, or even just to argue over whether Kirk or Picard was the better captain. The latter wasn’t really much of an argument, because everyone knows that it’s Picard.
They’re still there, but they’ve been gradually pushed to the periphery of their own convention so that ten thousand people can wait in line to see a trailer that will be released online within a couple of hours anyway.
Well, if that makes you sad, I’ve got a convention for you. Over the last couple of years a foundation has been pulling together donations and working on establishing the National Science Fiction Museum. The museum isn’t open yet, that’s still a couple of years off, but they’re having their first annual convention this weekend in Washington DC. Oh yeah, there’s, like, that Independence Day stuff happening on Monday, but while Obama is great, it’s not like they got Bill Pullman to come give an encore performance of the greatest Fourth of July speech in the history of this country, so how meaningful could it really be?
Side note: If for his last Fourth of July in office, Obama reenacts Pullman’s speech, complete with pilot’s jacket, speaking into a radio handset, and then telling Michelle, “I’m a pilot, I belong up there,” before jumping into an F-18, then we need to just shut down the country. We’re done. We peaked. Drop the microphone in China’s direction and let them have a chance at topping that.
Anyway, they’ve got panels like How to Build a Planet, The History of Computing, Nanotechnology Will Give You Superpowers, and The Future of Food. I assume the latter is about bacon.
Oh yeah, and I should also mention that they’ve got this asshole named me who will be there and participating on several discussion panels that may be of interest to your discerning palate:
The History of Science Fiction
Why Are We Drawn to Science Fiction
2015 & 2016 in Sci-Fi Films
Where is Science Fiction Going?
Romancing the Uncanny Valley: Why We Love Robots
Website is here if you want more information.