We are excited about the awesome panel discussions scheduled for the 2020 Virtual World Fantasy Convention. We have some terrific conversations planned, and our panelists are amazing.



But some of our original descriptions failed to live up to our members' expectations. We apologize for offending the very people we hope to include in this year's convention. We've revised our program descriptions with advice from three respected individuals in the sf/f community, and input from several panelists. 

All times below are in Mountain Standard Time. Note that there is a time change between Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1.


Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

6:00 p.m. - Stephanie Fazio

6:30 p.m. - S. M. Stirling

7:00 p.m. - Matthew Kressel

7:30 p.m. - Kryssa Stevenson

8:00 p.m. - Mark L. Van Name

Friday, 30 Oct 2020

Readings One

10:00 a.m. - T. Aaron Cisco

10:30 a.m. - Karen Joy Fowler

11:00 a.m. - J.H.R. Lawless

11:30 a.m. - Sharon Shinn

12:00 p.m. - Laura VanArendonk Baugh

12:30 p.m. - Paige L. Christie

1:00 p.m. - Curtis C. Chen

1:30 p.m. - Akua Lezli Hope

2:00 p.m. - K. B. Bogen & David Cherry

2:30 p.m. 

3:00 p.m. - Louisa Morgan

3:30 p.m. - Kenneth Schneyer

4:00 p.m. - Ann Chamberlin

4:30 p.m. - E. Eason

5:00 p.m. - Wendelin Gray

5:30 p.m. - Gillian Polack

6:00 p.m. - Kathryn Sullivan

6:30 p.m. - Robert Devereaux

7:00 p.m. - Kathleen Jennings

7:30 p.m.

8:00 p.m. - Justin C. Key

8:30 p.m. - Weird Fiction Cluster

Readings Two

10:00 a.m. - Susie Williamson

10:30 a.m. - A. Bradbury

11:00 a.m. - James Van Pelt

11:30 a.m. - Sofiya Pasternack

12:00 p.m. - Catherine Jones Payne

12:30 p.m. - Danian Jerry

1:00 p.m. - Donald S. Crankshaw

1:30 p.m. - S. Qiouyi Lu

2:00 p.m. - Cindy Pon

2:30 p.m. - Laurel Anne Hill

3:00 p.m. - Jane Fancher

3:30 p.m. - Joyce Reynolds-Ward

4:00 p.m. - Esther Jones

4:30 p.m. - Frog Jones

5:00 p.m. - Jessica Day George

5:30 p.m. - Molly Gloss

6:00 p.m. - Varak Kaloustian

6:30 p.m. 

7:00 p.m. - Karlo Yeager Rodriguez

7:30 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

8:30 p.m. - Broad Universe Rapid Fire

Saturday, 31 Oct 2020

Readings One

10:00 a.m. - Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

10:30 a.m. - Barbara Krasnoff

11:00 a.m. - Penelope Flynn

11:30 a.m. - Mary Soon Lee

12:00 p.m. - Brandon O'Brien

12:30 p.m. - D. J. Butler

1:00 p.m. - Marie Brennan

1:30 p.m. - Karlo Yeager Rodriguez

2:00 p.m. - Julie E. Czerneda

2:30 p.m. - Sarah Beth Durst

3:00 p.m. - Sheree Renée Thomas

3:30 p.m. - Carole McDonnell

4:00 p.m. - Christine Taylor-Butler

4:30 p.m. - Jonathan G. & Mandy D. Chew

5:00 p.m. - Eugen Bacon

5:30 p.m. - James Yu

6:00 p.m. - Laura E. Goodin

6:30 p.m. - Cindy Lynn Speer

Readings Two

10:00 a.m. - Cassiopeia Fletcher

10:30 a.m. - Joe Haldeman

11:00 a.m. - Kuta Marler

11:30 a.m. - Robert V. S. Redick

12:00 p.m. - John Kessel

12:30 p.m. - Den Valdron

1:00 p.m. - K.J. Riley, David Cherry & Kassandra Cherry

1:30 p.m. - Susan Forest

2:00 p.m. - Lee Moyer

2:30 p.m. - Eileen Gunn

3:00 p.m. - Corry L. Lee

3:30 p.m. - L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

4:00 p.m. - Emily Skaftun

4:30 p.m. - Steve Rasnic Tem

5:00 p.m. - Eva L. Elasigue

5:30 p.m. - William Ledbetter

6:00 p.m. 

6:30 p.m. 

Sunday, 1 November 2020

10:00 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

11:30 a.m. - C. S. E. Cooney & Zig Zag Claybourne

12:00 p.m. 

12:30 p.m. - Walter Jon Williams

1:00 p.m.

1:30 p.m. - Andy Duncan


A Gathering of Voices: The Importance of Anthologies

Date and Time: Thursday, Oct 29, 3:00 p.m.

Panelists: Ellen Datlow, Ann VanderMeer, Sheree Renée Thomas, Rich Horton, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

Originally denoted to evoke "a gathering of flowers," anthologies have become a vital resource in the science fiction and fantasy genre. Anthologies offer readers an opportunity to explore new and old ideas from a range of voices, both emerging and established. These collections can reignite enthusiasm about older or less known works, offer a welcoming space for new writers, and celebrate the mastery of authors who make important contributions to the field. Anthologies are fertile, contested spaces for discussions of  important developments and characteristics of the subgenres. How do these curated gatherings of works impact writers' careers? How can anthologies highlight and create new space for underrepresented voices? What are the challenges of publishing (and promoting) these works successfully, and how does the evolving taste of audiences influence this special part of the publishing industry?

Power Dynamics in Fantastical Worlds

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 3:00 p.m.

Panelists: Mark L. Van Name (M), Kryssa Stevenson, David Keck, Dave Farland

Power dynamics are intrinsic to most folktales, and really to most stories, fantastical or not. When a writer engages in worldbuilding, one of the hardest tasks is how to introduce the societal structure and cultural atmosphere the characters will inhabit in the story or novel. In many tales, plot dynamics hinge on who has power and who doesn't, even if the class dynamics are relatively calm. Panelists will talk about how power ebbs and flows in their own work and in their favorite fantasies by other writers.  

Magic for Sale: Making Money and Paying the Price

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 4:00 p.m.

Panelists: L. E. Modisett, Jr., Terry Brooks, Julie Czerneda (M), Michelle Corsillo


Whether it's portrayed as a talent, a gift, or a skill, magic can be a moneymaking venture. But magic isn't free. What gains can a magic-wielder realize - and at what cost?

Queering Fantasy

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 4:00 p.m.

Panelists: S. Qiouyi Lu, Jerome Stueart (M), Cheryl M. Morgan

How do you queer Fantasy and Fantasy tropes? Is it dropping in a queer character into an otherwise fantastical plot? Slipping in a positive queer romance? Or is it dismantling, changing, altering, and questioning the tropes that have been present in Fantasy for decades? Is it queering the way power is distributed in a society, or queering character goals and story endings? Does it touch how we build a Fantasy economy, a government, a landscape, a culture? We would say it includes all these things. Queer characters invite complete queer make-overs of Fantasy tropes. We're here to discuss that-- discussing the contributions of LGBTQIAA2S+ authors to the field; we want to give you plenty to look at and consider. Heck, we might, at the end, even compose multiple queer "I want" Disney songs for the Fantasy stories we want to create or see created--ya never know. Whether you're an activist or an ally, we welcome you.

Opening Ceremonies

Date and Time: Thursday, Oct 29, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Tracy and Laura Hickman (toastmasters); Ginny Smith (M)

During the opening ceremony, Toastmaster Tracy Hickman will provide entertainment created to encompass the convention's theme; Tracy and Laura Hickman will introduce the guests; Ginny Smith will outline virtual convention offerings and procedures.

Alternate History

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 6:00 p.m.

Panelists: Charlaine Harris, Madeleine E. Robins, Gillian Polack

Alternate history has long been the domain of science-fiction writers, but it is now being enthusiastically colonized by writers of fantasy, who are bringing in magic, dragons, and the full panoply of  the uncanny into what used to be an orderly and rational sub-genre. Who's doing this and what's going on?

Science in Fantasy

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 6:00 p.m.

Panelists: Laura VanArendonk Baugh, William Ledbetter (M), Corry L Lee, Eric James Stone, Joe Haldeman

Have you ever been kicked out of a story by the author’s poor understanding of basic science? Yes, it’s a fantasy, and yes, the point of most magic is to bypass the rules of physics in one way or another, but really, there must be some consistency that the universe operates by. Which stories and authors are particularly good at portraying science in their fantasy?

Making Readers Hungry: Food in Fantasy

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 7:00 p.m.

Panelists: Karlo Yeager Rodriguez, Melissa Tolliver (M), Madeline Robins

A well-written scene featuring food can bring in the senses of taste, smell and appetite-inducing appearance. It’s a part of the story that can ground the reader deeper into the world and is often one of the more memorable actions in the story. Which authors do a good job of adding flavor to their prose?

Utah Humanities Event: Black Women in Fantasy

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 7:00 p.m.

Panelists: Willy Polomo (M), Sheree Renée Thomas, Eugen Bacon, Christine Taylor-Butler

Hosted by Utah Humanities, three Black women authors participate in an event open to the community.

Fairyland Goes to War

Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 8:00 p.m.

Panelists: S. M. Stirling, Greg Bear, David Drake, Marie Brennen, (M)

War! What is it good for? Well, it's been a linchpin of epic fantasy, and now it's marching on contiguous territories. Is war inevitable in Fairyland? What are our weapons?

Board of Directors

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: WFC Board; open to WFC attendees until confidential matters are discussed

Friday morning, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. MDT

Creating Monsters

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: Mercedes M. Yardley (M), Stephen Graham Jones, Robert V. S. Redick

Who and what are the most fascinating monsters of today's fantasy? What new uncanny and ungainly creatures inhabit our stories, and how do they differ from the faded fears of yesterday?? Our panelists talk about how they craft new monsters that embody contemporary dread.

Quiet Horror

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: E. A. Brenner (M), Stephen Gallagher, Steve Rasnic Tem, Brian Evenson

The scariest horrors are not the things that make us scream and clutch at our feet as we scramble away. They are the quiet ideas that lurk in our brains and don't come out until the lights are off and everyone else has left the building. Where do those ideas come from?

Guest Spotlight: Anne Groell

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 11:00 a.m.

Panelists: Anne Groell, David Keck

A Conversation with Anne Groell.

Noir Fantasy and Fairylands

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 11:00 a.m.

Panelists: S. Qiouyi Lu, Wendelin Gray, Korea Black, (M), Thaddeus Howze

It was a dark and stormy, well, you know. Many of the genres are about mood and atmosphere as much as certain plotlines and character types. Enter noir fantasy. Whether it’s about a grizzled gumshoe who happens to be dark elf with an interest in murder or a vampire cop who keeps his own kind from breaking the socially acceptable forms of dining, the darker side of fantasy draws readers into the depths of this fascinating genre.

Caribbean Fantasy

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: Tracey Baptiste, Brandon O’Brien (M), Karlo Yeager Rodriguez

The Caribbean is a vast archipelago with a rich and tumultuous history. Writers from the chain of 700 Caribbean islands bring the richness and political complexity of island culture to their fiction and poetry to tell stories beyond the ubiquitous stereotypes. How did those cultural influences affect their attitude toward writing and the stories they produced? Our panelists talk about what they are writing and reading right now.

The Weirder Side of the Fantastic

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: Teri Clarke, Brian Evenson, Craig Laurance Gidney, Michael Kelly, Anya Martin (M), Lesley Wheeler

What do we mean by weird fiction? Fiction which distorts reality a lot, as opposed to a little? Or something else? How and where does it overlap with fantasy and horror?

Lifetime Achievement Spotlight: Rowena Morrill

Date and Time: Friday, Oct 30, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: Bob Eggleton (M), David Cherry, Sarah Clemens

The Artful Life of Rowena Morrill.

Guest Spotlight: Cindy Pon

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 1:00 p.m.

Panelists: Cindy Pon, Kate Elliott

A conversation with Cindy Pon.

Poetic Fantasy

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 1:00 p.m.

Panelists: Brandon O’Brien, Holly Lyn Walrath, Mandy D. Chew, C. H. Lindsay Jayrod Garrett (M), Mary Soon Lee

Poetry is one of the oldest storytelling forms, but it is often underrepresented in genre literature today. This panel will celebrate the poets who use this ancient form of storytelling to spin a captivating tale.

Decolonization in Speculative Fiction

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: Daniel Delgado, S. Qiouyi Lu, Karlo Yeager Rodriguez (M), Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

Colonialism has had an impact on everything in our world--including our stories, which too often repeat colonial fallacies and stereotypes. What does it mean to decolonize speculative fiction? How can popular tropes and archetypes be subverted? Who are the contemporary authors writing decolonial narratives? What can fantasy writers, editors, and publishers do as an industry to stop replicating colonial power structures?

Fantasy or Not, That Doesn't Work!

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: L. E. Modisett, Jr., Joe Haldeman, Greg Bear, CJ Cherryh, Anne Groell

It's fiction, right? You can just make stuff up. But that doesn’t mean that the readers will find the story, characters and actions credible. Whether it’s economics, politics or the social order in the author’s world, it has to ring true. Our panelists discuss the works that exemplify making your world work.

Podcasting - is it The Voice of Fantasy?

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: Gary K. Wolfe, The Ladies of Fright (Lisa Quigley, Mackenzie Kiera Cox), Michael Haspil, Thaddeus Howze

Podcasting gives everyone the possibility of essentially making their own private radio station, speaking on any subject or sharing their works in an audible form. What is podcasting's place in the genre of fantasy today? Is this a way to discover new writers and become informed about the state of our favorite genre?

Guest Spotlight: Stephen Graham Jones

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 3:00 p.m.

Panelists: Stephen Graham Jones, Ladies of the Fright (Lisa Quigley, Mackenzie Kiera Cox)

A conversation with Stephen Graham Jones.

Tropes and Archetypes

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 3:00 p.m.

Panelists: Kryssa Stevenson, Sarah Beth Durst, Cheryl M. Morgan, Sharon Shinn

Gilgamesh's mother was a goddess. Grendel's was a monster. Is there nothing interesting in between? How are today’s authors pushing past the old, tired tropes to bring a more real and interesting take on their female characters? Panelists take a look at the many ways of liberating the goddess and the monster in fantastic women.

Artists as Writers

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 4:00 p.m.

Panelists: Kathleen Jennings, Michael Haspil, Penelope Flynn, Lee Moyer

Do artists see the world differently than writers? What if the artist is a writer? Does their artistic discipline and obsessions carry over into their writing? Or is writing a blessed relief from the demands of art?

Black Women in Horror

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 4:00 p.m.

Panelists: Danielle Littlefield (M), Sheree Renee Thomas, Danian Jerry

We see them at the center of Blaxploitation-era horror films like Abby, Ganja and Hess, Blacula, and Sugar Hill, as well as classics from the 1990’s and more recent horror—Vampire in Brooklyn, Def by Temptation, Get Out and Us, Antebellum, and Black Hair. Horror by Black writers and directors employs distinct female archetypes with varying degrees of evil, agency, and sexual autonomy. How do we see those female characters, and how have they come to be? How do these characters differ from outside representations of Black women in horror? What do they want from us? And why can’t we get enough?

Tell Me a Story: Audiobooks

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 4:00 p.m.

Panelists: C. S. E. Cooney, Robert Devereaux, Andy Duncan, Louisa Morgan (M), Kassandra Cherry

Fantasy audiobooks can capture the listener's attention with riveting stories of mayhem and magic. Recording an audiobook can also involve mayhem and magic, and our panelists tell tales of both.

Guest Spotlight: Tracy and Laura Hickman

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Tracy and Laura Hickman, Ramón Terrell

A conversation with Tracy and Laura Hickman.

There’s Comedy in My Fantasy!

Date and Time: Friday Oct, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Paul Genesse, Laura Goodin, Terry Brooks, C. S. E. Cooney, Andy Duncan

Humor is not separate from fantasy. It's not an additive, poured in after the fact. In many ways, humor is a form of fantasy, and can render the harmful harmless and reduce the deadly to the merely morbid. Our panelists talk about how they use humor in their work to underscore the serious and to deflect an existential sense of doom. (Or maybe not.)

Norse and Germanic Fantasy: The Northern Thing

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 6:00 p.m.

Panelists: Ann Chamberlin, Jessica Day George, Greg Bear, David Drake, Walter Jon Williams

Norse and Germanic fantasy has held British, American, and Northern European readers in thrall for centuries. From Scandanavian epics to gothic novels to Wagner, from J.R.R.Tolkien to George R.R. Martin, trolls and elves and dwarves have threatened our literary and political systems almost without surcease. Our panelists explore the nature of this fascination.

How to Read Art for Non-Artists

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 6:00 p.m.

Panelists: Kathleen Jennings, Michael Oberg (M), David Cherry, Kaitlund Zupanic

An artist learns how to break images into their basic shapes and can make sense of a complicated scene while many non-artists struggle. How an artist sees a piece is informed by long hours of sketching. Artists show some of the layers and symbols in art.

Medical Realities & Improbabilities in Fantasyland

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 6:00 p.m.

Panelists: Colin Alexander, Paul Genesse, Justin C. Key

Diana Wynne Jones’s witty A Tough Guide to Fantasyland asks some awkward questions, like why nobody ever catches cold or contracts chilblains in epic fantasy novels. Fantasy heroes, no matter how many terrible wounds they suffer in battle, always seem to be able to avail themselves of a magical healer who will make them good as new with a few herbs and a spell or two. Is it possible to write fantasy with a greater degree of medical realism? Who has done so? Fiction or not, injuries and illnesses have medical consequences. How do those consequences shape the stories we love?

Collaboration: Are Two Heads Better than One?

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 7:00 p.m.

Panelists: Brandon Sanderson and Peter Orullian, Tracy and Laura Hickman, CJ Cherryh and Jane Fancher

What happens when two great authors put their heads together? Brilliance! Or maybe Double Trouble? Do they shave your head for collaboration, or are you really shaving your own head when you collaborate? Authors whose hair has mostly regrown address the question.

Global Perspectives in Fantasy and Horror

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 7:00 p.m.

Panelists: Eugen Bacon, Gillian Polack, S.P. Somtow, Robert V.S. Redick

The things that scare you might not be the ones that scare me, but there are some horrors that are nearly universal. As technology expands our global perspectives, we become more aware of the vast scope of stories from other cultures and their strong influence on fantasy and horror. Our panelists take us on quick tour of the things horrify them, from around the world.

How Swordplay in Fantasy has Changed

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 7:00 p.m.

Panelists: Cindy Lynn Speer, Marie Brennan (M), Troy Carrol Bucher, Walter Jon Williams

Those swashbuckling pirates and battle-hardened warriors had better know how to fight with swords, or the realism will drop out of the story and hit the floor with a clang of steel. Nothing stirs a fantasy-lover’s blood like the clash of blades, the ring of metal-on-metal, the dodge and parry of a skillful fighter. Panelists discuss effective sword fighting in fiction, from Sabatini and Howard to The Princess Bride. Has the art of fantasy swordsmanship changed along with reader's tastes and interests?

The Attractive Evil

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 8:00 p.m.

Panelists: Charlaine Harris, Stephen Graham Jones, S. P. Somtow, Ramón Terrell

Even as kids, we knew we were supposed to like the dashing heros, but we were secretly fascinated by the horrifying, yet oddly appealing, monsters. Vampires, dark fey, evil fairies capture our imagination and draw us into the dark places where--oddly--we love to go. Why are we attracted to the chillingly creepy?

Disabled Protagonists in Fantastical Fiction

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 8:00 p.m.

Panelists: S. Qiouyi Lu, Carole McDonnell, C. H. Lindsay

Characters with disabilities have long been included in stories of fantasy and horror, rarely as the hero and too often as the villain. Has this changed? In what way? Where can we go for stories in which the fantastic element is not somehow about a character's disability? Who are some of the writers with disabilities creating fantastic fiction, and how is their work different?

Plagues and Pandemics

Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 8:00 p.m.

Panelists: Susan Forest, Kryssa Stevenson, Matthew Kressel, Robert V. S. Redick

Writers have been portraying plagues in fiction for centuries. Society breaks down in the face of an invisible enemy. How do world events, such as the current pandemic, shape stories, and what opportunities and challenges do they give authors?

How Does Music Interact with Fantasy?

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: Peter Orullian, Louisa Morgan, Darian Jerry, Sheree Renée Thomas

Some writers evoke music in their work to create a mood for the reader, and some listen to music while they're writing to evoke moods in themselves. How does this work for fantasists?

Short Fiction's Place in Fantasy

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: Gordon Van Gelder, Stephen Gallagher

Fantasy is clearly a friendly place for writers who write long, but is there a nook by the fireside for short story writers? Editors and writers who enjoy a short story as much as a thousand-page novel explain why.

Lifetime Achievement Spotlight: Karen Joy Fowler

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 11:00 a.m.

Panelists: Karen Joy Fowler, Molly Gloss (M)

Karen Joy Fowler: a career retrospective.

Crossing the Genre Line: Stories in Multiple Genres

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: C.J.Cherryh, L. E. Modisett Jr, Charlaine Harris, Kathleen Jennings​

Many of us enjoy stories in several genres. And some authors write in multiple genres. Some even blend the two together. Let's talk about books and authors who cross the genre line.

The Fall of Shannara

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: Terry Brooks, Anne Groell

More than 40 years after Terry Brooks first published The Sword of Shannara, The Last Druid has brought the series to an end. Let's take a look at the ways in which these books and their popularity influenced other writers and the fantasy genre as a whole.

Guest Spotlight: Brandon Sanderson

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 1:00 p.m.

Panelists: Brandon Sanderson, David Doering

A conversation with Brandon Sanderson.

What's New in Books for Teens?

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 1:00 p.m.

Panelists: Sarah Beth Durst, James Van Pelt (M), Cindy Pon

In the last few years, the excitement in fantasy has been in the teen and young adult categories. An explosion of titles now line the shelves. What are the new books, authors, trends and directions for this vibrant market?

Black Speculative Futures

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: Eugen Bacon, Thaddeus Howze (M), Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Sheree Renée Thomas

There is wealth in the diverse voices of Black writers, stories that challenge traditional narratives and old power dynamics, illuminate hidden histories, and give voice to those who speak from the margins. Our panel explores Afrofuturism, African Futurism, and other Black Speculative Fiction, and how these writing traditions engage with reimagined futures across world contexts.

Fantasy in Films and TV

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: Christopher Kastenshmidt, Stephen Gallagher, Marina Berlin, T. Aaron Cisco, Genevive Valentine

Fantasy was underrepresented in movies and tv shows for decades, but that is no longer true.
Filmed fantasy storytelling has been increasing greatly in the last decade or so. What are the hidden gems? Underappreciated shows? Movies to look for and enjoy?

Small Press Impact: Great Books Not Published by the Big Five

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: Yanni Kuzia (M) Cherise Papa, Kathryn Sullivan, J.R.H. Lawless, Cheryl M. Morgan

Small-press editors and publishers talk about why writers and readers both should check out what's happening at the small presses. They're not just for poetry anymore….

Contemporary Fantasy

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 3:00 p.m.

Panelists: Kenneth Schneyer, MaryAnn Mohanraj, Madeline Robins, T. Aaron Cisco

Literature responds to the anxieties and concerns of the times in which it was written. Think of WW I's impact on The Lord of the Rings. Contemporary Fantasy are the stories which are set in current time. What are the anxieties and concerns of our own era, and how are they influencing the composition of today's Fantasy?

Guest Spotlight: David Cherry

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 3:00 p.m.

Panelists: David Cherry, Michael Oberg

A conversation with David Cherry.

Fairyland Was Nothing Like This…

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 4:00 p.m.

Panelists: James Yu, Penelope Flynn, Tracy & Laura Hickman

What happens when the pandemic curse of 2020 hits fairyland? How far can an author push re-thinking fantasy elements and still keep the fae in tales of fairy? Our panelists share the works that change the very shape of fairyland.

Diasporic Voices

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 4:00 p.m.

Panelists: Gillian Polack, Brandon O'Brien (M), Geoff Ryman

We live, and we have always lived, in a world of diasporas, in which groups of people are moved or driven or stolen from their homelands and yet continue to remain a community and remake their lives in an unknown land. The journey to retain sense of self and community captures our sympathies and our imaginations. What fantasy and horror stories best describe the experiences of characters who are caught up in a diasporic event due to circumstances beyond their control? What are the stories of fantasy or horror being created to reflect on this experience and to re-imagine it?

The Art of Book Covers

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Lee Moyer, David Cherry, Kathleen Jennings, Bob Eggleton

A book cover, ideally, is both a work of art and a sales tool, and lord help you if your book cover is only one of these. Our panelists tell tales of tragedy and triumph in this space where art meets commerce.

The Fantastic Detective

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Gayle Surrett (M), Gwenda Bond, Willie Siros, Les Klinger

The clues they follow aren't fingerprints and DNA. The culprits they're chasing might be human - or they might not. But solving crimes takes on new depths when the detective lives in a supernatural world. Whether they're cops, private investigators, or amateur sleuths, who doesn't love a gripping follow-the-clues mystery?

Western Mythology in the American Culture

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Molly Gloss, Karen Joy Fowler, Fred Lerner (M)

The myth of the Old West was created quite deliberately, and its lies were enhanced and sustained by historians, writers, showmen, and entertainers for well over a century and a half. How has this myth informed and been subverted in the work of contemporary writers of fantasy, including in the substantial body of work by Native American writers?

Magazines and Their Impact on the Genre

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 6:00 p.m.

Panelists: Emily Skaftun, Gordon Van Gelder, MaryAnne Mohanraj, Darrell Schweitzer, Ellen Datlow

Magazines bring a variety of story worlds into your home monthly. They are a touchstone for the readers of what is transpiring in the genre. Technology has had an impact on how those stories are delivered. Will magazines survive in this "on demand" world?

What's Next in Children's Fantasy?

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 6:00 p.m.

Panelists: Jessica Day George, Christine Taylor-Butler, Kathryn Sullivan

Do the trends in children's fiction follow adult fiction, or does the age of the readership define the direction a genre goes? What new trends do we see developing in children's fantasy?

The Roots of Fantasy

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 7:00 p.m.

Panelists: Les Klinger, Darrell C Schweitzer, K. Eason, Jim Mintz

Fairyland in many forms has been in our culture since the beginnings of recorded stories. Is "Fairyland" a fairly recent invention? Elves and trolls go back, it's true, to pre-Christian Northern European beliefs, but do the elves and trolls we know descend from those beliefs? Where does Tolkien go out and D&D come in?

The Art of the Series

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 8:00 p.m.

Panelists: Eva L. Elasigue, Ramón Terrell, Melissa McPhail, Matthew Kressel, Sharon Shinn

Writing a series can be a balancing act that takes place over years to decades. Keeping the characters, themes and atmosphere consistent over the years can be a difficult trial for those who work in this longest of all forms. Who is particularly good at the art of the series?

Is Fantasy Essential?

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 8:00 p.m.

Panelists: Gary K. Wolfe, Eileen Gunn (M), Andrea Hairston, Andy Duncan, Marie Brennan

The earliest recovered folktales and written stories are fantastic, and unreal images—people with animal heads or antennae or horns—are found in even the earliest cave paintings. And it’s not just humans who explore the unreal. Wild chimpanzees create unreal narratives and act them out. Hermit crabs deliberately tell lies to one another. Why? Is fantasy, like narrative, an essential neurological activity that conveys an evolutionary benefit—and not only to humans? Panelists from divers backgrounds explore this idea.

Guest Spotlight: Stephen Gallagher

Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 11:00 p.m.

Panelists: Stephen Gallagher, Ginny Smith

A conversation with Stephen Gallagher.

Board of Directors

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: WFC Board; open to WFC attendees until confidential matters are discussed

Sunday morning, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. MDT

The Laws of Fairyland

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 10:00 a.m.

Panelists: David Drake, J. R. H. Lawless, Den Valdron (M), Mary G. Thompson

Every society, real and imaginary, has at its basis a legal system, a method of evaluating right versus wrong. What influences have modern legal systems had on fantasy fiction? What fictional worlds demonstrate a finely-tuned legal system, and what impact do those laws have on the development of the stories?

Using Trauma in our Tales

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 11:00 a.m.

Panelists: Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Justin C. Key (M), Mark L. Van Name, Fred Lerner, Varak Kaloustian, Carole Mcdonnell

Many writers explore their own trauma in their writing, and readers often seek characters through whose senses they can experience a story. The characters who endure trauma are a challenge for authors, especially in realistic and compassionate portrayal of those trials and their aftermath. How do fantasy and horror writers deal with revisiting traumatic experiences that may be essential to their writing? Can authors exploring personal experiences breathe life into their characters and find catharsis in the process?

Fantasy Trendsetters

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: Jim Minz, Jo Fletcher, Anne Groell

What new and exciting trails are today's fantasy books blazing? What books are setting trends, and what upcoming books do we not want to miss?

What's Now and Next in Horror

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: Ellen Datlow, Ann Vandemeer (M), Steve Rasnic Tem, Penelope Flynn, Mercedes Yardley

Join us for a brief overview on today’s field of horror.
Who are the authors to watch? What upcoming books do we not want to miss? What are the new and exciting subgenres to watch for?

World Fairy & Folk Tales

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 12:00 p.m.

Panelists: Tracey Baptiste, Cindy Lynn Speer (M), Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Wendelin Gray

Fantastic tales are found all over the world and back in time to the earliest storytellers. Africa, China, India, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, Central Asia, and North and South America, Melanesia, Australia, even Europe--everywhere there are human beings there is a history of startling stories of unreal happenings. Panelists talk about the folktales, from within or without their own cultures, that have influenced their lives and writing.

Better than Ever!

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 1:00 p.m.

Panelists: Joyce Reynolds-Ward (M), Ann Chamberlin, David Drake, Darrell Schweitzer

Experience helps a writer gain perspective and sharpen their skills. Their writing deepens in complexity, and their focus shifts. Are there some topics that can only be handled well by experienced writers?

Morally Grey Protagonists

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 1:00 p.m.

Panelists: Stephen Graham Jones, Troy Carrol Bucher, Matthew Kressel, Korea Black (M)

A sub-theme permeating modern society is the reversal of good and evil. But readers want to care about the story’s protagonist.. How can the morally grey characters be written in a compelling and sympathetic way? Which authors have done this in a way that pulls characters through to the end?

Transport Me to a New World!

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 1:00 p.m.

Panelists: Sharon Shinn, Gwenda Bond, Catherine Jones Payne

Some books establish such a vivid sense of place that we feel as though we have stepped through the page into the story world. Some worlds are so sharp, so realistic that when we look up, our own worlds look dull and unexciting. Let's talk about the fantastic (or terrifying!) worlds that come alive in our minds.

Alternative Forms of Storytelling

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: Christopher Kastenschmidt, Jonathan Chew, Mandy Chew (M)

Whether it’s gaming, video games, or narration on a theme park ride, storytelling surrounds us. What influences do these alternative forms of story have on today's books? And what role do fantasy books have on the stories we encounter in our everyday lives?

Was I Inspired?

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: Stephanie Fazio, Laurel Anne Hill (M), Carole Mcdonnell

Was it inspiration, or careful planning? Listen as writers tell us the surprising inspirations and the secret diligent planning behind their newest works.

Guest Spotlight: C.J. Cherryh

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 2:00 p.m.

Panelists: C.J. Cherryh, Jane Fancher

A conversation with C.J. Cherryh.

World Fantasy Award Ceremony

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 3:00 p.m.

Panelists: Tracy and Laura Hickman (toastmasters); Ginny Smith; WFC 2020 guests; WFA presenters and winners

Toastmasters Tracy and Laura Hickman will deliver an address (this address will be recorded); Ginny Smith will introduce the guests, who will each give a short speech; Jo Fletcher and Gordon Van Gelder will announce the WFA winners; if in attendance, winners will deliver a short acceptance speech.

Feedback Panel

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Ginny Smith (M), Pamela Oberg, Diane Lacey, Terry Fong

WFC members are invited to ask questions and give feedback to this year's Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson; next year's chair will be on hand to answer questions about the 2021 WFC.

Judges' Review Panel

Date and Time: Sunday Nov 1, 5:00 p.m.

Panelists: Michael Kelly, Victor LaValle, Gwenda Bond

Following the WFA Ceremony the attending judges will discuss this year's award process and answer questions.

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