M45 Chronological listing of programming items

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Minicon is over. Long live Minicon! Brainstorming wiki for Minicon 46 is hereby initiated!

The programming schedule for Minicon 45, listed in order by time (and time slot).

"(m)" denotes moderators. See the moderator tipsheet.

See also the Pocket Program.

Participants should shortly be receiving individual notification e-mails with more details. We apologize for the delay.




Visualizing Magic: The Gathering

From card to art -- how the process works: an illustrated lecture.

Dan Dos Santos

Friday 4:00PM – Veranda 3/4


The Evil Librarian Panel

Brandon Sanderson has written a book called Alcatraz vs.the Evil Librarians, finally revealing the librarian plot to conquer and rule the world. Let's take a look at this young adult fantasy novel series and answer some of the obvious questions posed by the work. If librarians are so smart, why don't we rule the world yet? How is the role of the librarian transforming as libraries change into destinations and byways along the Information Superhighway? What opportunities will this new role provide for those among us with sights set squarely on global domination?

Eric M. Heideman (m), Laura Krentz, David Lenander, Brandon Sanderson

Friday 5:30 PM - Krushenko's

Ask a Scientist

Professional scientists answer questions about physics, engineering and pharmacology. What's new and interesting in these fields, and what's next on the horizon? What are some favorite resources for learning more? Go ahead, ask anything except “Can you tell me what this rash is?”

Mary Bertelson, Chas Somdahl (m), Matt Strait

Friday 5:30 PM – Veranda 5/6

The Snob in Every Fan

Given the common dismissal of our favorite genre, you might think that fans would be a little more accepting of others. But, let's face it - we all have (types of) books, media, activities, or even whole segments of fandom that we look down on. What kinds of fiction get ignored or marginalized by fans? Why?

Rachel Kronick (m), Diane Lacey, Kelly Strait, Liza Furr

Friday 5:30 PM – Veranda 3/4


Opening Ceremony and Keynote Speech

Everything you always wanted to know about The Opening Ceremony but were afraid to ask. Thrills, Chills and a Keynote Speech by Brandon Sanderson, our author GoH!

Friday 7:00 PM - Bloomington


Slide Show: Dan Dos Santos Presents

An illustrated lecture about the evolution of Dan Dos Santos' work from childhood on up. Presented by the artist, Dan shows examples of his artistic influences, and of course, the art itself.

Dan Dos Santos

Friday 8:30 PM – Veranda 3/4

Recursiveness in Science Fiction That's About Recursiveness

The first rule of Mime Club is "Don't talk about Mime Club." Enter the hall of mirrors to discuss some favorites in fiction about fiction, games about games, movies about movies and other stuff about itself. Is it the novelty of the genre that allows us to enjoy self-aware entertainment, or is it the other way round? What does it all mean? Is this postmodern, or should we discuss that tomorrow? A panel about the elusive set that contains itself.

Emily Stewart (m), Laramie Sasseville, Dave Romm

Friday 8:30 PM – Veranda 2

Writing Cross-Genre

Cross-genre fiction is coming popular at the same time that many new sub-genres are being defined. What is there about SF today that calls for ever more specific categories while also inviting blurring of those boundaries?

One might say the whole point of genre is to help bookstores/libraries/etc know where to shelve your book, and cross-genre books are notoriously difficult to categorize. And if no one knows what to do with your book, it probably won't sell well. So why write cross-genre fiction? What is the appeal?

Dana M. Baird, Rob Callahan (m), Michael Merriam, Lettie Prell, Caroline Stevermer

Friday 8:30 PM – Krushenko's


Invasion of the German Games

German and European boardgames have become immensely popular in the past few years. What qualities do they share? Which ones are the best?

Brad Bender, Matt McMillan (m), Richard Tatge

Friday 10:00 PM – Veranda 2

Retro Video Game Freakout

Artist Guest of Honor Dan Dos Santos is a huge fan of old video games. If we're lucky, Dan may even bring his Atari. Come play some of the classics! Legacy game systems will be available -- feel free to bring your own to share as well. Kick-off happens at 10pm. Play continues throughout the con, or until there is unanimous agreement on exactly how many buttons a controller should have.

Friday 10:00 PM - Room 219



Who Wants to Live Forever?

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and immortal. Extending the human lifespan for centuries, even to the threshold of immortality, is an eternal human dream and a popular subject for speculative fiction. But there's always a catch, isn't there? The difficult implications of extended lifespans range from boredom to loneliness to raving insanity. On the other hand...you don't have to die!

Ruth Berman, Rob Callahan (m), Ricky Foos, Lettie Prell, Laramie Sasseville, Pat Scaramuzza

Saturday 10:00 AM - Krushenko's


The Wheel of Time from the Younger Point of View

The Wheel of Time series certainly was not created as Young Adult fiction, but many young people do in fact love these books. What makes this series work so well as YA fiction?

Jennifer Liang (m), Jory Phillips, Brandon Sanderson, Dorf

Saturday 11:30 AM Veranda 5/6

Minn-Spec Meeting and Meetup

Learn about this resource-sharing network for professional and aspiring speculative fiction writers.

Michael Merriam, leading

Saturday 11:30 AM - Krushenko's


Astronomy for Children and Adults

Sharing astronomy with kids provides kids with a great way to stimulate their natural curiosity, and encourages a life long love for science. Cultivating that interest into adulthood need not break the bank. What are some effective ways to share astronomy with kids? How can one find free astronomy events like clubs or star parties in the area? Topics will include how to create an analemma on the ground in a sunny yard or on a ceiling in a sunny room, building a safe sun viewer, how to make and use a Sky Wheel, how to find a person's real sun sign, light pollution intro for children, and a telescope buying guide.

Michael Kauper

Saturday 1:00 PM – Veranda 3/4

The Rivendell Group Discusses Works of Brandon Sanderson

The fantasy-book discussion Rivendell Group has met regulary since 1973, including Minicon meetings most years since at least 1981. This year, Rivendell will discuss the writings of Brandon Sanderson.

David Lenander(host). Brandon Sanderson may attend.

Saturday 1:00 PM - Krushenko's

Oil Painting with Dan Dos Santos

Our artist GOH will show us how his work happens with a live demonstration of painting. Watch this wonderful ongoing demo in the Art Show room!

Dan Dos Santos

Saturday 1:00PM – up to two hours -- Art Show

Secrets of the Sheraton Bloomington

Some of us have been attending conventions at the Sheraton Bloomington (née Raddisson South) for decades. We've played hotel tag in the stairways, made friends, gotten married, and experienced life-changing firsts. Some of our younger members may even have been conceived here. Let's celebrate this architectural fixture in our fannish lives. Remember watching the sun come up from Mr. C's on the 22nd floor? Does anybody know where the time capsule is hidden? What is the weirdest place we've ever found a sleeper?

Karen Cooper, Emily Stewart (m), Thorin Tatge

Saturday 1:00 PM – Veranda 5/6


Disability, Self-Care and Fandom

How do you balance the demands of your disability - be it energy, medication schedules, battery life, whatever - with your desire for the Full Con Experience™? What specific modifications could fandom make to create a more accessible environment? What does fandom get right and why do we stay involved? How do you perform fan outreach in disabled communities and among your disabled friends?

Peer Dudda, Magenta Griffith, Betsy Lundsten (m)

Saturday 2:30 PM – Veranda 5/6

The Editors' Panel

Editors answer questions/share their thoughts about the craft of editing, particularly speculative fiction.

Eric M. Heideman (m), Moshe Feder, Ben Bova, , Michael Merriam

Saturday 2:30 PM – Krushenko's

Solar Eclipse in China

The longest total eclipse of the 21st century was on July 22, 2009. Despite some unfavorable weather, there are many beautiful photos of China and the eclipse. Special attention will be paid to preparing for the eclipse, choosing a super portable telescope, the equatorial drive, and camera modifications. Stories of ancient astronomy, tourism and shopping will be shared, along with some rather unusual vacation advice.

Michael Kauper

Saturday 2:30 PM – Veranda 3/4


Avatar - Cinema Event of the Year or Festival of Plagiarism?

James Cameron's high-tech sci-fi cinema baby has finally been delivered, and it's a blockbuster. Its reception among SF fans has been decidedly mixed. The plot and theme strike some as iconic and deeply moving, where others see it as trite and derivative. Cameron has been accused of plagiarizing everything from Dances With Wolves to Poul Anderson's novella Call Me Joe, and Ursula K. Le Guin's novella The Word for World is Forest. Enthusiasts have declared that this movie redefines the cinema experience so deeply that a decade from now 2D will be as retro as black and white. Detractors are less enthralled. What do you think -- cinematic breakthrough, just a big yawn, or...?

Sharon Kahn (m), Bob Blackwood, Doug Wickstrom, Sybil Smith, Kathy Sullivan

Saturday 4:00 PM – Krushenko's

Brandon Sanderson Talks to Authors About Writing

Brandon Sanderson is fascinated by the process of writing and he loves to talk about writing with other writers. Join him for an in-depth lecture, followed by questions, answers, and open discussion.

Brandon Sanderson

Saturday 4:00 PM – Veranda 5/6

Costume Workshop

Before the evening parade, a workshop open to all ages. Create a new costume out of provided raw materials, or bring your unfinished costume for a chance to sit and work with fellow costumers. Seamstresses, sewing machines, hot-melt glue guns, a drill and other tools will be provided. All skill levels are welcome.

Bonnie Somdahl

Saturday 4:00 PM

Designing Your Own Game

A lot of us can't help but house-rule and fiddle with games. Many gamers want to take the next step and design our own games. How do you get started? How can you become rich and famous designing games?

Jeremy Keller, Rachel Kronick (m), Thorin Tatge

Saturday 4:00 PM – Veranda 2


Do I Know Enough Science to Write Science Fiction?

What if you were never all that big on science in school, but you love the SF genre and want to break in? How do you educate yourself? Is it possible to learn how to write hard SF by reading lots of hard SF? How much science do you need for the soft stuff? Are there tricks for disguising your lack of knowledge in a way that doesn't make you look incompetent?

Eleanor Arnason, Ben Bova, Rob Callahan, Phyllis Eisenstein, Marissa Lingen, Eric M. Heideman (m)

Saturday 5:30 PM – Krushenko's


Doctor Who and the Forest of the Timey-Wimey Monster Planet

As of 2010, Doctor Who has a new production team, a new companion, high profile writers, and a new Doctor. Which of the announced changes are we most looking forward to? What other changes would we like to see? Which of the classic series episodes will be referenced in the 2010 season? Which was worse - "The End of Time" or "Daleks in Manhattan"?

Emily Stewart (m), Aliera Brust, Rob Callahan, Michael Lee, Kathy Sullivan

Saturday 7:00PM – Veranda 5/6

New Images of Fantasy

How has fantasy illustration changed over the past few years? How has digital media changed the field, and what's it like to break in as a new artist? What cool things are new artists doing?

Dan Dos Santos

Saturday 7:00pm - Veranda 3/4

The Social Contract: Making It Explicit

We've had a lot of discussion about the social contract -- the rules by which our gaming groups operate, whether unspoken or not. Too often, though, they remain unspoken until someone blows up, or stinks up, the game. How can we go about making sure everyone is on the same page regarding how we game together? Is such a thing even desirable?

Beth Kinderman, Rachel Kronick (m), Aaron Vander Giessen

Saturday 7:00 PM – Veranda 2

The Year in SF: What Should I Read Next?

Our annual confab about what's good and (mostly) new in (mostly) science fiction and fantasy.

Greg L. Johnson (m), Laura Krentz, David Lenander, Russell Letson

Saturday 7:00 PM - Krushenko's


Fantasia Parade and Costume Contest

In your Eeeeaster bonnet, with all the squids uponnnnit... Show off your finest costume from home, or display one created at the costume workshop earlier in the day. Guests of honor Brandon Sanderson and Dan Dos Santos will be on hand to judge.

Saturday 8:00 PM


Borges as Science Fiction

Jorge Luis Borges wrote some wonderful, mind-bending fiction. One of his stories was an inspiration for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Where have his stories taken us?

Magenta Griffith, Beth Kinderman, Rachel Kronick (m), David Lenander

Saturday 8:30 PM – Veranda 5/6

Guest of Honor Interview: Brandon Sanderson

An in-depth discussion with our Author GOH.

Brandon Sanderson, Moshe Feder

Saturday 8:30 PM - Krushenko's

Lady Poetesses from Hell / Memorial for Mog

Lady Poetesses From Hell is a poetry performance group. They dress very nicely and have wicked senses of humor. Their performance this year is dedicated to Mog Decarnin, who passed away in January. Mog's full name is Camilla M. Decarnin. She was a poet, essayist, and a well known fanfic/slash writer, who lived in the Twin cities several years ago.

Terry Garey, Elise Matthesen, Ruth Berman, John Rezmerski, Rebecca Korvo, KC O'Malley, Eleanor Arnason

Saturday 8:30 PM – Veranda 3/4



YA and Genre

In addition to the traditional genres, "young adult fiction" is often considered a genre in and of itself. But there is clearly a lot of (unlabeled) genre fiction with the YA library. Is there something about the nature of YA that makes genre fiction more acceptable/legitimate for this age group?

Eleanor Arnason, Dana M. Baird (m), Ruth Berman, Rob Callahan, Laura Krentz

Sunday 10:00 AM – Veranda 3/4


The Flight of the Female SF Author

From Asaro to Zettel, female authors that used to stock the science fiction shelves are now almost exclusively writing fantasy. What are the reasons behind the mass migration? Are there new women coming into the genre, or will our daughters find the SF section filled solely by men?

Marissa Lingen, Betsy Lundsten, Kelly Strait (m), Joan Marie Verba

Sunday 11:30 AM – Veranda 3/4

Guest of Honor Interview: Dan Dos Santos

Discussing the techniques, workflow and energy of our Artist GOH.

Dan Dos Santos, Matt McMillan

Sunday 11:30 AM – Veranda 5/6

Playing the God Card

How do you introduce gods into your work without pushing the human characters into insignificance? Does it matter if they are "real" (e.g. members of the Greco-Roman pantheon) or products of the author's imagination? Can deities play a role beyond gigantic projections of human characteristics? What makes divinities so attractive to fantasy authors? Why do readers find them so compelling?

Eleanor Arnason, Ruth Berman, Ricky Foos, Sharon Kahn (m), Brandon Sanderson

Sunday 11:30 AM - Krushenko's


The Fannish Community Center

A discussion of proposals for a fannish community center in the Twin cities. What would such a thing be used for? If the fannish community center goes forward, what are the next steps?

Kevin Austin (m), Dave Benhart, Michael Lee

Sunday 1:00PM – Veranda 2

Game Theory - Through the Prisoner's Dilemma, and BEYOND

Game theory as an approach to the study of human behavior has become a scientific metaphor for a wide range of human interaction. Forget the computer models, let's try some game theory games on unpredictable humans!

Doug Shaw (m), Thorin Tatge

Sunday 1:00 PM – Veranda 3/4

How Brandon Got the Gig: Finishing the Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney) died before completing the last part of his magnum opus, the Wheel of Time. How did Brandon Sanderson wind up being the guy to carry forward the work on the final book of the series? What were the hopes and fears of fans of the WoT when the announcement was made? What was the Minnesota fannish connection?

Elise Matthesen(m), Jennifer Liang, Brandon Sanderson

Sunday 1:00 PM – Veranda 5/6

The Western as Fantasy

Westerns share common ingredients with traditional fantasy such as heroism/chivalry, 'magic' weapons and/or abilities, the lure of landscape/travel, comfortingly familiar settings, fun costumes, and of course, horses. The Old West was the dominant fantasy setting a couple of generations back. But is the Old West of fiction/film really so different from the Old West of reality? Sponsored by Con-Sarnit Three, a Western convention to be held Saturday, June 5.

Bob Blackwood, David Christenson (m), Eric M. Heideman, Patricia C. Wrede

Sunday 1:00 PM – Krushenko's


Brandon Sanderson Reading and Signing

Brandon Sanderson

Sunday 2:30 PM - Reading room

Including Disabled People In Fiction

How is disability presented in movies, book and TV? What are some of the best examples, and what makes us change the channel or press the eject button? How can publishers and authors make media more friendly and accessible to disabled fans?

Peer Dudda (m), Betsy Lundsten, Elise Matthesen, Michael Merriam

Sunday 2:30 PM – Veranda 3/4

The Space Program in the Obama Years

The Obama administration has recently suggested some strategic and budgetary changes for space exploration, in and out of NASA. Will these changes fly through Congress? What are the good points and the bad points?

Ben Bova, David Buth, Ben Huset, Pat Scaramuzza, Eric M. Heideman (m)

Sunday 2:30 PM - Krushenko's


Closing Ceremony

Sunday 4:00 PM - Bloomington


Giant Soma Cube

As a continuing activity throughout the con, we will be building a giant Soma Cube. You know, that puzzle where you assemble irregular 3-dimensional pieces into a giant cube? Please join in and do your part!

Ongoing - Garden Court


Blade & Crown: The Bandit Map

Bandits have been plaguing the area for years. Now, you have found a scrap of paper that seems to reveal the location of their base. Whether for fame, wealth, or just to do the right thing, you resolve to journey to the highlands and stop them. An RPG, played using the Blade & Crown system.

GM: Rachel Kronick. Up to five players.

Friday, starting after opening ceremonies - Gaming area