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To see our program book, go here

08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Concert: Ben Newman
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Cover Art
How cover art can make or break a book. Should the purpose of the art be just to bring in sales? Should it accurately depict events and characters in the story? How about aiming to attract or deter a specific demographic? What do you think are wonderful -- and terrible -- covers?
D.H. Aire,  Jeff Gritman (M),  Elektra Hammond,  Karen MacLeod,  Mike McPhail
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Is it Easier to Teach an English Major Science, or Teach a Science Major English?
Some scientists and engineers shy away from writing SF because they fear they can't write well. Some liberal arts majors don't attempt SF because they don't think they know enough science. Panelists will give both types some advice to overcome their qualms.
Michelle Markey Butler,  Leslie Roy Carter,  Nicole Jamison,  Valerie Mikles,  Steven R. Southard (M)
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Setting the Wards
Creating and fostering a safe, open, caring environment for the mythic space. We raise a shield to block uncaring energies, entities, and anything seeking to do harm. Various spiritual paths will be represented. All are welcome. Questions are welcome after.
Charles Butler
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Videogaming: Flashback Friday
The Chessiecon Video Game Room opens its doors with a blast to the past, giving games and consoles from the 1990s or older a time to shine. If we don't have it on cartridge, we might have it on emulator or virtual console, just ask!
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Song Circle: Songs of Hope and Kindness
With the world in the state it's in, T.J. thought it was a good time to focus on the good in human nature. Look for the helpers! And then sing us a song about them.
T. J. Burnside Clapp
03:00 PM - 03:30 PM      Reading: Elwin Cotman
03:30 PM - 04:00 PM      Reading: Julie Holderman
Julie will read from a work in progress called Small Mean Things, set in magical Gilded Age Chicago.
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM      Summoning your muse -- Where Writers Get Ideas
Non-writers often ask authors about this, as if writers have access to some secret stash of story fodder. The panel will divulge their methods for coming up with story ideas, and for passing the time until some come along.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail,  Harrison Demchick,  Meg Eden,  Alanna Morland,  Jay Smith (M)
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM      This year's best LGBTQ fiction
Panelists talk about their favorites, and what makes them stand out. There's so much more out there than the first time we did this panel in 1980! You'll want to take notes to add to your reading list.
Lanthir Calendae,  Carl Cipra (M),  Annalee Flower Horne,  Kelly Szpara
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM      Videogaming: Dance Dance Revolution
Step on the arrows on the dance pad in time to catchy technopop music. Fun and a good source of exercise! Towels and water will be available. (Playstation 2, rhythm/dance, E for Everyone, 1-2 Players)
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM      Reading/Signing: Ada Palmer
Ada reads the first chapter of her book, Too Like the Lightning. After the reading, she will sign books and talk to fans.
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM      Mythic Track Discussion
Brainstorming for 2018 and beyond. What do you want to see in this track for the future?
Charles Butler
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM      Musician and Artist Meet and Greet
Artists and musicians chat, answer questions, and sign CDs and prints.
T. J. Burnside Clapp,  Misbehavin' Maidens,  Megan Willis
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Mythic: The Diviner as Counselor: How to Read Ethically and Therapeutically for Others
OK, you've learned to read Tarot, runes, crystals, I-Ching, etc., and now you want to try out your skills on others. Or maybe you've been reading informally for friends and you want to go professional. When you're reading for another person, they have trusted you enough to come to you with their personal issues. What do you say and do, and how, to be worthy of that trust? And just as importantly, what is it best to avoid doing? Good reading is as much counseling as it is intuition or psychism. Here we will go over skills, techniques and ethics of giving readings in a way that that will help and avoid inadvertently hurting your clients, and what to look for in a professional reader if you wish to consult one.
Seanara Coyote
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Workshop: How to Turkey
Want write bad? How do? Join a Turkey Award judge to work on your own entry, hear what makes a good bad entry, what to avoid, and what skills go into crafting a truly stunning Turkey.
Lee Budar-Danoff, Steve Kozeniewski
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Reading: Tamora Pierce
Excerpts from Tempests and Slaughter and Tortall: A Spy's Guide
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Videogaming: Sports and Dancing on Kinect
Join us in the lobby for a choice of Kinect Sports or Just Dance, two games that use your whole body as a controller. Do the thing and win the points, or step in time with a collection of pop and rock music!
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Belly Dance Jam
We start with a quick solo performance, then begin the jam! All levels welcome, including those who just want to watch and/or learn from others.
Melanie Mansfield
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      How Steven Universe Has Grown with its Title Character
From "My favorite ice cream has been discontinued" to "My mother was a liar and a murderer" in 4 seasons. The story was always there, but it is gradually revealed to us through the eyes of a growing boy, who is only given so much information at a time (or sometimes discovers it by accident). How does Steven's growing knowledge affect the flow of the story, and the audience's experience of it?
Margaret Carter,  Meg Eden,  Julie Holderman,  Don Sakers (M),  Megan Willis
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Emotionally Engaging Modern Readers with Futuristic Characters?
How can writers create characters who exist in far-flung places and times and make them relatable for readers of our own times? How can the writer evoke sympathy and understanding (or hatred and disdain, as the story and character requires)? If "human nature" is, for the purposes of a particular SF/F work, imagined differently, reinterpreted, or done away with altogether, how does that happen without losing the interest of potential readers?
D.H. Aire,  Carl Cipra (M),  Scott Edelman,  Mary Fan,  Andrew Hiller
06:45 PM - 09:00 PM      Hula Hooping (through 8:30)
Come out and let your inner child play. There will be hula hoops to use or you can bring your own. Other toys welcome too. All levels and ages of hoopers welcome, Patches has a pretty good track record of getting people to hoop who swore they couldn't. Music will be provided.
Sonya Gross (M)
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      Cosplay is for Everyone. No, Really!
Cosplay is about the costume and having fun dressing up, but some people want to ruin it for others. Let's talk about how to deal with people being a jerk to people who don't look exactly like the character they're portraying. We will also discuss cosplay in general.
T. J. Burnside Clapp (M),  Beth Chandler,  Ian Greene,  Pam Smith,  Mary Spila
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      Armored Trains
Beginning with the American Civil War, the importance of railways to military operations became obvious. Since the same facilities cranking out boilers and railcars were also producing metal armor, the birth of the armored train was inevitable. During the late Victorian era, several nations built dedicated battle-trains. These grew to enormous size between the World Wars, then during the cold war were used to transport (and potentially launch) nuclear missiles. The advance of other modes of transport has rendered armored trains mostly obsolete, but they still crop up occasionally.
Fred Blonder
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      Mythic Workshop: Mirror Mirror: Using Mirror Magick, Part 1
We'll be discussing different techniques of using Mirror Magick, and uses for mirrors beyond scrying. We will also make our own Protective Mirrors. We will complete the process in Part 2 on Saturday at 8pm. Materials Fee: $15
Peggy Thompson
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      Videogaming: Crypt of the Necrodancer Session 1: OST Night
Give beatdowns to the beat in this Roguelike rhythm game! Use the keyboard or dance pad to explore randomly-generated corridors, collect treasure, and fight your way through a medley of music-driven monsters, but remember to keep the rhythm going! This year, we've made the experience even more electric with the new AMPLIFIED DLC! Same rhythmic dungeon-crawling action, with new items, new enemies, a whole new zone to explore, and new characters, including a new storyline starring the vampire Nocturna, seeking to restore her lost humanity! Since there's new content to be played, we're dedicating this slot to playing the game au natural, with its awesome original soundtrack as our guide. But don't forget to submit requests for our Saturday night custom music session! (PC, Rhythm/Roguelike, T for Teen, 1-2 Players)
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      What Even IS Feminist Science Fiction Anyway?
Does feminist SF/F have defining characteristics? If so, what are they? Is any SF/F story that presents characters, settings or situations that run counter to anthro-centric characters, settings or situations feminist by default? Are stories that explore the possibilities of non-binary sex-based roles feminist? Is all feminist SF/F contemporary social commentary?
Mary Fan,  Meg Nicholas,  Ada Palmer,  Michelle D. Sonnier,  Jan Whiteley (M)
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      How Disabilities Shape Your Characters and Their World
How might a deaf witch learn her spells if she can't hear how to pronounce 'Wingardium Leviosa?' Why might a wizard be able to raise the dead or reverse a curse, but not cure his own chronic pain? How might a superhero whose powers come from their emotions be affected by a panic disorder? What if somebody is allergic to the miracle treatment of the future?
Julie Holderman,  Valerie Mikles,  Jessica Moran,  Sarah Sexton,  Jan Whiteley (M)
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Videogaming: Mario Kart 8 Driving Lessons
Interested in trying to win the tournament's coveted K'Nex set but feeling a little shaky behind the wheel? You've come to the right place! Whether you're brand new to the game or just have to brush off some cobwebs, this time slot is to allow you to practice and get a handle on the game with no pressure. Pros at the game are encouraged to take the backseat and offer advice to those learning. (Wii-U, Racing, E for Everyone, 1-4 Players)
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Sacred Harp
Singing school session using the Sacred Harp tradition. A book of favorites has been put together by Clan Cambion. Four-part acapella harmony.
Charles Butler
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      The Marauders
Have you ever wished that you could know the story of the Marauders from the Harry Potter series? Well get your wands ready because Jester's Ink, Richmond's first National Touring Award Winning Sketch and Improv Comedy team is going to get their time turners out to tell you that tale.
Jesters Ink
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading
The authors of the Broad Universe writing organization share excerpts from their upcoming works.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail,  Margaret Carter,  J.L. Gribble,  Roberta Rogow,  Michelle D. Sonnier
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      What's good on TV?
As science fiction and fantasy become more popular (finally!) there are more offerings in the genre on television. Your time is limited; how do you know what to choose? Panelists talk about their favorite current or recent shows, tell you why, and warn you away from the bad stuff.
Elwin Cotman,  J.L. Gribble,  Jeff Gritman (M),  Steve Kozeniewski,  Meg Nicholas
09:15 PM - 12:45 AM      Time Travelers' Social
Chessiecon's annual costume/dancing/eating/hangout party! Costumes encouraged but not required. Come listen to the Misbehavin' Maidens teaser show (rated PG) at 9:15, view costume contest entries at 10, and dance the rest of the night away with Glen Arthur's misfit band. Megan Willis might be seen sketching her surroundings.
D. Glenn Arthur,  Misbehavin' Maidens,  Pam Smith
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      Mythic Workshop: The Transformation Tarot
A 5-suit deck based on principles from the Cluster Tarot of Piers Anthony, though though it takes a different direction. Decks available at the workshop and in dealer's room.
Charles Butler
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      Group Discussion: Writer's Block
What do you do when the words stop flowing? Come discuss your strategies, rituals, and coping mechanisms for writer's block.
Harrison Demchick,  Kim Headlee
09:15 PM - 09:45 PM      Reading: Jay Smith
09:45 PM - 10:15 PM      Reading: Scott Edelman
Scott will read the opening section of his story, "How Val Finally Escaped from the Basement", released this month in Analog.
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM      Videogaming: Worms Revolution
It's a little-known fact that worms are highly territorial and will fight each other to the death in military combat. It's also a little-known fact that they are terrible at military combat. Take turns lobbing grenades, shooting bazookas, and dropping concrete donkey statues on each other - and yourself - in a free-for-all fight with up to four players. Last worm standing wins. (PC, strategy, E10+, 1-4 Players)
10:30 PM - 03:15 AM      Bardic Circle
All are invited to share stories, songs, and other performances. Please be clear if you don't want others helping, because otherwise they almost certainly will.
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM      Mythic: Open Divination Workshop
Do you read tea leaves, runes, playing cards, hands, auras, Tarot cards, shells? This is a time for you to learn and teach.
Charles Butler
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM      Jesters Against Humanity
Mature content. Jester's Ink, Richmond's first National Touring Award Winning Sketch and Improv Comedy team, is proud to bring Jester's Against Humanity to you. This is a short-form improv show based soley on the party game Cards Against Humanity. The audience is encouraged to vote in on our polling system to choose the answer they like best to some very interesting questions taken directly from the game. The most popular answer is what the Jesters must bring to life. This is the only fully audience interactive multi media show of its kind and it is here for your viewing pleasure.
Jesters Ink
10:30 PM - 11:00 PM      Reading: Cristin Kist and Jeff Gritman
"KAT" (A New Prison Dad Short). This story is about the time that an interdimensional rift opened over Sarah's house. I know what you're thinking too, poor Sarah. All she wanted to do was hold a classy dinner party for her friends. One by one, the whole crew-- except for Les -- leaves the house to investigate the phenomenon. They each end up exploring increasingly bizarre alternate realities. As they face dragons, robots, aliens, and monsters, the gang realizes that they are actually in a race against time to return to their correct dimension. Will everyone make it before the sun comes up?
11:00 PM - 11:30 PM      Reading: Kelly Szpara
Kelly reads from his novelette Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time, about a gay trans guy who is bitten by a vampire. Published in Uncanny Magazine.
11:45 PM - 12:45 AM      Mythic: Candle Service
Healing service and Remembrance of all who have died in our community in the past year. Yartzeit and Spirit candles will be lit. This is open to anyone and is not a formal service. There will be an open time to speak, and a time to be silent, ending with a circling of candles.
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Mythic: Theater and Social Work
Theatre is a very special kind of interactive fiction. It's live, it can be used to change lives. When one is a social worker, one is looking for a way to empower a person to make more productive choices in their lives. A castle in the clouds can help someone born in poverty see a way out. Come and see this PowerPoint discussion first presented at Howard University.
Charles Butler
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Unintentional Geoengineering: The Current and Future Status of Climate Change
One major consequence of modern industrial society is shifts in the Earth's climate variability: aka, climate change. Find out about the reasons we know that humans contribute to climate change, the reasons why (over all) these changes are detrimental to our society; and the prospects of responding to it in the future.
Tom Holtz
10:00 AM - 12:15 PM      Videogaming: Kids' Swim
Family friendly hours; all games are rated E for Everyone/E10+ and inappropriate language is forbidden. See Saria for a complimentary temporary tattoo! (one per guest, must be applied by a member of staff and children under 13 must have permission and be witnessed by a parent or guardian)
10:00 AM - 12:15 PM      Videogaming TV Special - Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series (1993)
Video games and other media don't often cross paths in a successful way, but this show, also known as Sonic SatAM, is considered one of the best adaptations of a video game to tv ever created. Doctor Robotnik has taken over the planet Mobius, and it's up to Sonic and a band of freedom fighters lead by Princess Sally to fight back against the robotic regime. Episodes: "Ultra Sonic", "Blast to the Past" Part 1 & Part 2, "No Brainer", "The Void", "The Doomsday Project".
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Join the Mod Squad: Enhance Your Moderation Skills
Participants and moderators-to-be will consider how to help foster discussion, guide a conversation, avoid a runaway panel, and bring more voices into the discussion when it comes time to share the mic. Keeping yourself organized, queuing up comments and questions, and discouraging premature audience participation will also be discussed.
Carl Cipra (M),  Annalee Flower Horne,  Heather Rose Jones,  Don Sakers,  Steven R. Southard
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Small Everyday Forms of Resistance in SF/F
SF often presents resistance as dramatic: clearcut choices, cinematic fight scenes, and so forth. It's difficult to get away from that mindset, even in real life. For those of us muddling along in moral murkiness, for those of us who can't or don't want to commit violence, for those who cannot for any number of reasons take up protesting full time, what are examples of small, everyday ways to resist injustice and fascism?
D.H. Aire,  Jeff Gritman,  Steve Kozeniewski,  Ada Palmer,  Kelly Szpara (M)
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Concert: Maugorn the Stray
Maugorn The Stray has a repertoire that spans many ages, genres, & lifetimes. With the help of years of experience and a little magick, he'll find songs that you love and play them for you on his arsenal of instruments, sometimes on several at once!
Steve Haug
10:00 AM - 12:15 PM      Workshop Fair: Demos and Hands-On Crafts
Come to the atrium where people will demo and teach various skills such as spinning, weaving, knitting, beading, chain mail, and origami. Feel free to just watch, or try your hand at any of the crafts available. Children welcome!
Loren Damewood
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Concert: Totally Not the Clams
A collection of mollusks and a friend or two who have been around for a while will make some old music or new, borrowed or possibly blue. Will probably include some sing-alongs and a waltz.
Bob and Sue Esty,  John Huff,  Kathleen Sobansky
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Turkey Awards Panel
At our somewhat misguided request, authors created the opening paragraph to the worst SF/F novel they could conceive of. For three years running, our imaginative and inspired writers have come up with some beautiful, horrible, awful, and awe-inspiring works. Come hear what our finalists have written this year, and what our judges have to say about it. Winners will be awarded dubious prizes later in the evening.
Harrison Demchick,  Steve Kozeniewski,  Timothy Liebe,  Don Sakers,  Michelle D. Sonnier
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Workshop: Pysanky Eggs
A traditional Ukrainian Easter Tradition, these complex and beautiful eggs have a long history. In this workshop we'll look at the origins of Pysanky while making our own wooden versions of this traditional Easter activity. Materials fee: $10- maximum 15 people
Peggy Thompson
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Reading: Charles Butler
Readings from Matrona of Crete, the Second Book of the Princess of Galilee Series, plus discussion on historical fiction.
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      Romance Mixed with SF/F
Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together - for decades authors as diverse as Catherine Asaro, Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon have been blending them to often wonderful effect. A look at these, and some others in the history of Sf/F.
Jamaila Brinkley,  Mary Spila,  Kelly Szpara (M),  Martin Wilsey
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      The Psychology of Fear: Why Do We Love Horror?
Panelists will discuss the enduring quality of horror tales. Why do we love being scared when the world is already a pretty darn scary place?
Margaret Carter,  Scott Edelman,  Meg Eden,  Meg Nicholas,  Jay Smith (M)
12:30 PM - 05:15 PM      PowerPoint Improv
Volunteer presenters pick a slide deck they've never seen before from a list of titles on a variety of topics, and improv a comedic or serious presentation loosely based on the slides for up to 5 minutes. Audience participation comes with each presentation's brief Q&A session! As improvisations accumulate, we can build off each others' ideas. Come play with us!
Harrison Demchick,  Sarah Elkins,  J.L. Gribble,  Cristin Kist,  Steve Kozeniewski,  Valerie Mikles
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      Author Meet & Greet
Authors chat, answer questions, and sign books.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail,  D.H. Aire,  Mary Fan,  Kathy MacMillan,  TJ Perkins
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      Who is the Dark Lord?
An exploration of Dark Lord of Derkholm and other books where the named villain isn't really the focus of the story.
Tamar Lindsay
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      Workshop: American Gods: Joining the Bacchanal
Mature Content. Workshop centered around suggestive and playful marzipan candies based on the Characters from Neil Gaiman's book and their recent TV debut. The cost is $10/per person (for materials) with a maximum class allowance of 25 people. There will also be a fun prize for best piece.
Jessica Moran
12:30 PM - 02:45 PM      Concert: Kiva
For 28 years and counting, KIVA has been entertaining and enthralling audiences with their percussive, acoustic, worldbeat ensemble that celebrates the magic of nature and ancient bardic traditions with music that opens the heart and heals the spirit. The band blends strong vocal harmonies with rich and diverse acoustic and electric instrumentation, performing originals, traditionals, and covers. The musicians are inspired by many cultures, spiritual disciplines, and musical styles, including celtic-folk, folk-rock, blues, big band, traditional chants, and jazz.
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Author Meet & Greet
Authors chat, answer questions, and sign books.
Michelle Markey Butler,  Meg Eden,  Julie Holderman,  Timothy Liebe,  Valerie Mikles,  Tamora Pierce
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Creating Animals in a Fantasy World
Fantastic characters need fantastic beasts to populate their fantasy worlds. What are some of the more interesting creatures in fantasy and how can writers go about creating their own memorable beasts?
Leslie Roy Carter,  Mary Fan (M),  Alanna Morland,  TJ Perkins,  Megan Willis
01:45 PM - 04:00 PM      Building a World: The Genre Fiction Workshop
Private writing workshop; advanced sign-up only.
Harrison Demchick
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Genealogy in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Often there are complex family histories and genealogies in books, particularly in epic fantasy. Genealogy research techniques can add depth to world building and plotting. This panel will discuss the advantages and potential pitfalls.
D.H. Aire,  Jamaila Brinkley,  Kathy MacMillan,  Don Sakers (M),  Michelle D. Sonnier
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Mythic: Writing and Reading at Meta-Level
On reading the author's intent -- with or without directions. Example "Howl's Moving Castle".
Tamar Lindsay
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Videogaming: Turbo Dismount
Do you consider mom's warnings not to play in traffic a challenge? Here's a game to give you the thrill of breaking all the laws with none of the hospital bills! Pick a vehicle, pick a track, rev up and watch the carnage! (PC, simulation, Not Rated, 1 Player)
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Guest of Honor Speech
Ada Palmer
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Where Do We Dystopia From Here?
Dystopia as a genre has been reigning in many science fiction circles and shows no sign of losing popularity. What's powerful and useful about this trend or its manifestations? What's limiting or frustrating? How do we feel about dystopian fiction when we live in dystopian realities?
Elwin Cotman,  Mary Fan (M),  Andrew Hiller,  Timothy Liebe,  Jay Smith
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM      Storytelling Extravaganza
Harold Feld,  IAN HANLEY,  Ed Sobansky
03:00 PM - 05:15 PM      Marriage of Shango
a tale of West Africa. The varying mores of polygamy, truth telling, and justice are intertwined. Discussion and ritual. This is s ritual storytelling with parts chosen by the participants to act out One learns by doing. People get out of it what they put into it. Discussion follows on polyamory, religious systems, and ways of doing honor in both the primary world (African diaspora, Latter Day Saints, the Polyamory movement) and fantasy and science fiction (Doctor Phlox on Enterprise and others).
Charles Butler,  Seanara Coyote,  Karen MacLeod,  Peggy Thompson
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM      Megan Talks About the Animation Industry
Megan talks about her experience working with the My Little Pony team, what inspired her to be an artist, and some fun facts she learned in her field.
Megan Willis
04:15 PM - 06:30 PM      Workshop: Paper Beads
Make your own paper beads and create a necklace and bracelet! $5 material fee, maximum 5 participants.
Sue Cochran
04:15 PM - 06:30 PM      Medieval Dance
Come and learn some wonderful dances from the Renaissance and Medieval periods. Partners and fancy garb not required! There will be an open band led by Maugorn - the more musicians the merrier. Dances covered will depend on audience interest but will include some English Country (Gathering Peasecods, New Bo Peep, Rufty Tufty, along with others) and possibly other types of dances such as dances from the Inns of the Court (Black Alman), Bransles, and 15th century Italian dances. Again, don't worry if this list is meaningless; all dances will be taught.
Sonya Gross (M)
04:15 PM - 04:45 PM      Reading: Danielle Ackley-McPhail
04:45 PM - 05:15 PM      Reading: Meg Eden
Meg reads from her novel Post-High School Reality Quest. Audience participation.
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Suddenly, the Power Went Out...
How is horror affected by modern improvements in technology? Do you have to knock out the Internet and smart phones to have a compelling horror story? Or can modern technology be used to enhance the experience, rather than an impediment that has to be subverted or mysteriously disabled before things can truly get chilling?
Elektra Hammond (M),  Cristin Kist,  Jay Smith,  Kelly Szpara,  Martin Wilsey
05:30 PM - 07:45 PM      Videogaming: Mario Kart 8 Tournament
Speed around a selection of 48 tracks as your favorite Mario character in this fast, fun, and occasionally dangerous grand prix in Mario Kart 8! You don't have to be a pro to come try your luck behind the wheel, and our grand prize is an official Nintendo Mario Kart K'nex set! Start your engines and watch out for those blue shells, it's gonna be a wild race! (Wii-U, Racing, E for Everyone, 2-4 Players at a time)
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Group Discussion: Coming Out
Fans discuss how to know when it's safe to come out (and to whom), reasons not to come out, how to come out if you decide to, and tell stories about personal experiences.
Victoria Besner,  Jan Whiteley
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      How to Do Research For Your Book Without Scaring Yourself Away
Research is a key ingredient in good storytelling, as many writers tell you. When the character knows something you don't or the world works in a way that's beyond your current knowledge, accurate details are a must. What do you do when your character knows the ins and outs of a subject when you can only absorb the cliffnotes? How do you build a world's political climate when you flunked government class? Where do you even start researching, and how do you know what you're looking for? This panel gives advice to those who need to do research for aspects of their books, but are intimidated or flummoxed by the process.
Michelle Markey Butler,  Carl Cipra (M),  Heather Rose Jones,  Mike McPhail,  Tamora Pierce
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Mythic: Babylon 5 Chaplaincy
For those in the SF community who find that some people come up to us as if we have "chaplain" written on our foreheads. Think of the episode of Babylon 5 when the Captain was asked, "What is the religion of Earth?" Our gift is that we have many. Come and share your experience.
Charles Butler
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM      Concert: Sassafrass
Sassafrass performs tales from Viking mythology set as close harmony a cappella, and other musical works composed by Ada Palmer, and performed by Ada along with Lauren Schiller and other friends. Their songs usually tell stories, and use lyrical complexity, often with multiple different lines of lyrics woven together to communicate different characters or aspects of a story. This concert will focus on pieces from their Norse Myth song cycle "Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok" which narrates the death of Baldur and the relationship between Odin and his blood-brother Loki.
Ada Palmer,  Lauren Schiller
06:45 PM - 08:15 PM      T. J. Burnside Clapp Concert (through 8:15)
T.J. will sing a combination of filk, folk, & funny...some original material, and other stuff she just picked up along the way during her 40+ years of being a fan.
T. J. Burnside Clapp
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      Learn a Game: The Great Balloon Hunt; a scenario for 5 players for Wings of Glory
Introduction: 16 October 1916, the Verdun battlefield: the French have prepared a massive artillery concentration and have started a preliminary bombardment in obvious preparation for an offensive to reclaim what the Germans won earlier in the year. The German 5th Army has noticed a line of French observation balloons directing the artillery fire. The command sends out a flight to destroy the balloons. The French, knowing full well how important the observation is, have scraped together a defensive fighter patrol to stop any attempt to destroy the balloons. French: Four Observation balloons, four B-firing antiaircraft machineguns, one Nieuport 11 (defensive patrols are scraping the bottom of the barrel: most first-line aircraft have been sent off to theSomme), two Nieuport 17s. All French aircraft, regardless of model used, are B-firing. German: One Albatros D-II, and one Roland C-II. (Again, the Germans have pulled out most of their aircraft to send to the Somme). Their game will be refereed by a Gamesmaster, who will teach or re-familiarize the players the rules as needed.
Aleksandr Poryshkin,  Aleksandr Poryshkin
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      Survival Under Stress
In this class, we will discuss ways to survival during stressful times. Reverend Taylor will offer some tips and share some of her life experiences. Audience members are encouraged to also share ways they survive during stressful times.
Rev Patricia Taylor
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      How The Twilight Zone Embraced 'Less is More'
In 1959, Rod Sterling's television anthology The Twilight Zone engrossed audiences with thrilling stories of all sorts. In 2017, many episodes of the five-season series and its various spin-offs are still intense, captivating, and even scary, often thanks to the show's ability to say as much as possible with very few special effects. Our panelists talk about their favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone and how the minimalist style made it more effective and memorable.
Scott Edelman,  Elektra Hammond (M),  Steve Kozeniewski,  Karen MacLeod,  Alanna Morland
06:45 PM - 07:45 PM      Nevertheless, She Persisted
This comment about Elizabeth Warren's refusal to be silenced during a Senate session were meant as an explanation for how Warren's behavior was unacceptable. Instead, they quickly became a feminist battle cry, celebrating women who never gave up in a system stacked against them. In this panel, we talk about the badass women in history who Got Shit Done.
Elwin Cotman,  Mary Fan,  Heather Rose Jones,  Tamora Pierce,  Jan Whiteley (M)
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Who are the Biggest Jerks in the Post-Apocalypse?
In survival horror the monsters are scary, but it is often a breakdown of the survivors' moral compass that puts everyone in danger. From terrified civilians trapped inside a mall to space marines hiding from xenomorphs, panelists will discuss which is scarier, hostile humans who will do anything to survive, or the monsters they're hiding from.
Jeff Gritman,  Julie Holderman,  Cristin Kist,  Timothy Liebe,  Jay Smith (M)
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Group Discussion: How Carrie Fisher Changed the World (Glitter Makeup Optional)
Carrie Fisher gave no *&@%s about what other people thought, lived her life the way she wanted, and showed other women that was an OK way to be. She also struggled with mental illness and drug addiction, and was open about it in a way that made it easier for others to ask for help. Fans discuss these and other ways the world is a better place for her existence, and a sadder one now that she's gone.
Pam Smith
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Author Meet & Greet
Authors chat, answer questions, and sign books.
J.L. Gribble,  Andrew Hiller,  Steve Kozeniewski,  Michelle D. Sonnier,  Steven R. Southard,  Martin Wilsey
08:00 PM - 09:00 PM      Mythic Workshop: Mirror Mirror: Using Mirror Magick, Part 2
We will complete the mirrors we started making in part 1 on Friday at 6:45 pm.
Peggy Thompson
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      Author Meet & Greet
Authors chat, answer questions, and sign books.
Leslie Roy Carter,  Margaret Carter,  Jeff Gritman,  Cristin Kist,  Jay Smith
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      Concert: Misbehavin' Maidens
Mature content. The Misbehavin' Maidens are a bawdy nerd-folk band comprised of four women from the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area with a love of feminist, sex-positive music, LGBTQIA+ representation, parodies, drinking & fandom references for the 18+ geek crowd.
Misbehavin' Maidens
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      Group Discussion: How Would You Survive? An Interactive Storytelling Adventure
The group discusses a a survivor horror scenario they choose: the zombie apocalypse, vampire invasion, sharknado, or other global catastrophes. Plan your strategy to survive as the story the group creates unfolds. You've barricaded yourself in the mall, but now you've found another survivor, do you let them join you? You found a stockpile of food, but it's only enough for three people, what do you do? Every action has a consequence, and group members will add new twists and turns to the story as it progresses.
Harold Feld
09:15 PM - 11:30 PM      Videogaming: Crypt of the Necrodancer Session 2: Custom Music Night
We're back in the crypt, and this time our musical fate is in your hands! We will be taking requests for custom music to play as you traverse the crypt and give beatdowns to the beat. Bring your own MP3s to give a whirl on the beat detector, or try some from our almost thousand song collection, including 19 customized playlists! The full list is available at tinyurl.com/necrochessie, and we will take requests from the start of the convention all the way to midnight Saturday. (NOTICE: Lyrics of custom music may contain mature, obscene, or offensive content. Please be respectful of other people's music tastes. Custom playlists currently do not include songs for Zone 5 or the new boss fight Fortisimole.) (PC, Rhythm/Roguelike, Not Rated, 1-2 Players)
09:15 PM - 10:15 PM      Zuul: Destroyer of Shins! (and other recent prehistoric discoveries)
Aside from being the coolest dinosaur name ever, what does the recent find of Zuul, and other dinosaurs of 2016/2017 mean? A review of the latest finds, and how they inform the scientific world, and the public.
Tom Holtz
09:15 PM - 09:45 PM      Reading: Kathy MacMillan
Kathy will read an excerpt from her novel Sword and Verse (HarperTeen, 2016). A tale of political intrigue, romance, and the mysteries of language. The story features Raisa, just a child when she was sold into slavery in the kingdom of Qilara. When she is plucked from her menial labor and selected to learn the forbidden language of the gods, she must balance her desire to learn with the desire to stay safe -- and the romance that's been blossoming between her and Prince Mati isn't helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance to help liberate the city's slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries -- one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.
09:45 PM - 10:15 PM      Reading: Don Sakers
Don reads from The Rule of Five, a serial space opera involving pirates, judges, weird physics, desperate refugees, struggling colonists, missing persons, a mystery ship, and a quest for human origins in a pocket universe.
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM      Reading: Ada Palmer. Includes Terra Ignota Spoilers
Ada reads from The Will to Battle, book 3 of her Terra Ignota series. This reading is recommended only if you have read the first 2 books in the series; per the author, "If you haven't read the first two, [this reading] isn't just spoilery, it's actually incomprehensible."
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM      Kink and Disability
How do disabled people navigate the world of kink? Are there any guidelines for handling the special negotiation needs that result? Does the answer to that question change if the disabilities in question are "invisible"? Has modern technology anything to offer for ease of negotiation and/or play?
Victoria Besner,  Lanthir Calendae
10:30 PM - 03:15 AM      Bardic Circle, Again
Second verse, same as the first. See Friday.
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM      Showtunes Singalong
Filthy Pierre leads the masses in singing Show Tunes.
Erwin S. Strauss
10:30 PM - 11:00 PM      Reading: Michelle D. Sonnier
11:00 PM - 11:30 PM      Reading: Kim Headlee
Mature content. Come hear some steamy bits from Raging Sea, book 3 in The Dragon's Dove Chronicles by Kim Headlee.
11:45 PM - 12:45 AM      Turkey Awards Presentation
Winning entries are read aloud, and dubious prizes awarded.
12:00 AM - 02:15 AM      Carrolling
Sing Christmas Carols by the "fire" with Filthy Pierre and others.
Erwin S. Strauss
12:00 AM - 01:00 AM      Hallelujah Chorus
Chessiecon's annual tradition of singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus in the lobby. Sheet music will be provided.
Bambi Riggsbee-Smith
01:00 AM - 02:00 AM      Mythic: Healing Circle
Circle for Healing in the Haven Tradition. Each participant can both help and/or receive help. (begins after Hallelujah Chorus).
Charles Butler
10:00 AM - 12:15 PM      Open Sparring Boffer Swords
Have fun, hang out, hit people with padded sticks. Whether you are a master of the padded sword or have never even considered the possibilities of percussion therapy, stop by to just watch, or to engage us in boffer combat. Time will include open practice, melee free-for-all, one-on-one and team battles.
Luke Katafiasz
10:00 AM - 12:15 PM      Michaeline Mass
Christian Mass offered by the Order of St. Michael.
Fr. TommyLee Whitlock
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Feminist Manga
As noted by Alvina Lai on The Mary Sue: "The portrayal of female characters in anime and manga is a complex discussion, not only because of the various tropes that exist but also because of the cultural perspectives through which they must be filtered and digested." Our panelists discuss what feminist manga is and isn't, how culture comes into play when evaluating manga, and generally what they like and why.
Beth Chandler,  Ada Palmer,  Lauren Schiller,  Pam Smith,  Megan Willis
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Videogaming: Kids' Swim
Family friendly hours; all games are rated E for Everyone/E10+ and inappropriate language is forbidden. See Saria for a complimentary temporary tattoo! (one per guest, must be applied by a member of staff and children under 13 must have permission and be witnessed by a parent or guardian)
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM      Cultural Ramifications of Universal Translators
The Universal Translator is one of the most common sci-fi tropes, for obvious reasons. Usually it's just a literary convenience, but let's delve a little deeper. What unspoken assumptions does the trope rest on, and what ramifications get overlooked? What consequences (good or bad) could there be for societies at large? We will talk about how languages work, and how computers work, as we work out the sociopolitical and ethical implications of a universal translator.
D.H. Aire,  Lanthir Calendae,  Steve Kozeniewski,  Mike McPhail,  Kelly Szpara (M)
10:00 AM - 10:30 AM      Reading: Valerie Mikles
What if humans settled on a planet, only to realize that a non-corporeal life was cohabiting the space? What if these spirit-creatures had the power to possess humans and pass on their supernatural abilities to corporeal offspring? To most of the humans living in this new solar system, the human-spirit hybrids are nothing more than a fairy tale, but what happens when one political leader taps into that power and takes control by making his enemies Disappear? Author Valerie J. Mikles will be reading excerpts from the first two books of the New Dawn series: The Disappeared and Sequestered.
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM      Reading: Heather Rose Jones
Excerpts from "Gifts Tell Truth", a story that will be appearing in the next Lace and Blade anthology edited by Deborah J. Ross and coming out in February 2018. This is an Alpennia short story about Jeanne de Cherdillac's adventures with a French spy during the Napoleonic occupation of Alpennia.
11:15AM - 12:15PM      Concert: Homespun Ceilidh Band
John Ward, Trix Whitehall, Jennifer Lubell, Felicia Eberling, Karen Osborne, Mike Stoddard, D. Glenn Arthur
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Serious Subjects in Children's Media: How Do You Approach It and How Cautiously?
Not everything made for children is 100% sunshine and rainbows. Children's media has plenty of memorable, if sometimes traumatic, moments that cover heavy real life subjects or dark themes such as death, loss, evil, and sometimes even horror. Society seems to be of two minds; many say that these subjects are too scary for children and they should never be exposed to it, while some, such as animator Don Bluth, believe that children can handle anything as long as there's a happy ending. What side of the fence are you on? Do you believe there's a middle ground? Where do you draw the line, and how carefully should you tread around it?
Harrison Demchick (M),  Mary Fan,  Tamora Pierce,  Michelle D. Sonnier,  Mary Spila
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Videogaming: 1-Cup: Talk over Tea
Enjoy a hot drink and some cookies as we sit together and talk about video games in a light-hearted round-table discussion. This year's topic: Gamers of the Internet. Since the founding of YouTube and other easily accessible video hosting and streaming websites, there has been a viral trend of watching other people playing video games, be it Let's Players like Markiplier or Chuggaaconroy, charity events like Extra Life, the community effort of Twitch Plays Pokemon, or machinimas such as the classic Red vs. Blue or Ross Bollinger's Freeman's Mind. Do you have any personal favorite Let's Players or gaming events you like to watch? What is it that you like about them? How is the experience different from playing a game for oneself, and what makes that experience enjoyable?
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Travel Guide to Steam Punk Aviation in the Baltimore-DC area
This talk will describe steam punk aviation that took place in this area, that you can see in local museum exhibits and participate in. A few examples: Local author Edgar Allen Poe wrote a couple of balloon stories. Balloons were also used locally as spotters in the Civil War. Local museums display important parts of the origins of heavier-than-air flight. The National Air & Space Museum in DC houses a steam-powered drone designed by Samuel Langley, who was secretary of the Smithsonian. His scaled-up, man-carrying version crashed. (It was restored and is now at the museum's Dulles Annex.) Langley's crash ceded the field to the Wright Brothers. Their first Flyer is now at the Air & Space Museum. When the Army bought planes from the Wrights, they built the College Park Airport so they'd have some place to fly them. You can fly a simulator of a Wright biplane at the museum there, and see full scale replicas of that plane and other early aircraft that were based there. The speaker has experienced early flight for himself locally, and you can too!
Brent Warner
11:15 AM - 11:45 AM      Reading: Steven R. Southard
Steven will read an excerpt from his story "The Cats of Nerio-3" which appears in the anthology In a Cat's Eye.
11:45 AM - 12:15 PM      Reading: Annalee Flower Horne
Annalee will be reading from The Unnatural, a novelette that appeared in the Futurescapes anthology. She describes it as "a queer Carmen Sandiego with telepaths, and a feminist riff on The Demolished Man."
12:30 PM -      Learn Lang Belta, the Language of The Expanse!
Far from the Earth's gravity well, the brave and resourceful people of the Belt have developed their own creole language. Lang Belta combines languages from all over Earth with the unique culture of the Belt. Join us for a friendly immersive introduction that will have you leaving behind your Earther roots and interacting comfortably in Lang Belta. By the end, you'll be ready to learn more on your own, and even join the Outer Planets Alliance!
Hanne Madeleine Gates Paine
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      Group Discussion: Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota Series
An in-depth discussion of Ada Palmer's works and the world she created. Not recommended for those who have not yet read at least the first book of the series. Interview questions will be provided by Beth, and audience participation is encouraged.
Beth Chandler,  Ada Palmer
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      From Sherlock to Sheldon: SF/F Characters on the Asexuality Spectrum
This panel discusses what asexuality is and is not, and proposes ways for authors to explore this overlooked orientation in their characters. Is it enough that a character has no on-page sex life, or should asexuality be more positively portrayed? Asexuality in real-time fandom and asexual characters in fiction and media may also be discussed as time allows.
Ian Greene,  Heather Rose Jones (M),  Valerie Mikles,  Mary Spila,  Megan Willis
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      Belly Dance Knowledge Exchange
We welcome anyone with any knowledge of any variation of belly dance to share what they know, including folkloric, cabaret, ITS, ATS, or fusion! We encourage participants to bring props, handouts, etc.
Melanie Mansfield
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM      Concert: Dimensional Riffs
Dimensional Riffs is a Nerd Rock band that was born like a Phoenix out of the ashes of Paradox Machine. We represent all that is awesome in Fandom!
Dimensional Riffs
12:30 PM - 01:00 PM      Reading: J.L. Gribble
J.L. Gribble reads short scenes from her new novel, Steel Blood.
01:00 PM - 01:30 PM      Reading: Steve Kozeniewski
Steve will read "The Rules of a Drinking Contest Against Brian Keene".
01:45 PM - 04:00 PM      Videogaming: PC Games Only, Featuring Jackbox Party Games
The convention is drawing to a close and it's time to start putting our toys away. From now until closing time, the only things left out to play with are our computers. But you're welcome to stay and join us in a few hilarious rounds of Jackbox Party Pack games, a set of wacky party games from the creators of You Don't Know Jack. Use your laptop, tablet, phone, or one of our provided computers to play You Don't Know Jack, Quiplash, Fibbage, Drawful, Earwax and more! Easy to sign in and play, always good for a final laugh, and maybe you'll even learn something about the world…or your friends. (PC/mobile, Party/Trivia, T for Teen, 1-8+ Players)
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Feedback Session
Come let us know what you loved, what you hated, what we can do better next year, and how you'd like to help!
Jo Hogan
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Tammy Talks to Her Fans
Tamora Pierce answers questions and chats with the audience. Open to the public.
Tamora Pierce
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Concert: Maugorn the Stray
Maugorn The Stray performs again for your listening/dancing pleasure.
Steve Haug
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      But What if There Really Is a Wolf?
"The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is a powerful story of why one shouldn't call for help unless it's needed, but the story becomes a little more complicated when you think about the fact that the village still lost a little boy and they have to deal with that. Is it OK to handwave it with "he brought it on himself" or does the village still have some responsibility? Where is the line between "you could have behaved differently" and "it's your fault"? How do we avoid falling into the trap of believing wolves never attack anyone because a few people in the past have lied about it?
Ian Greene,  Valerie Mikles,  Meg Nicholas,  Don Sakers (M),  Kelly Szpara
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Music Jam
T. J. Burnside Clapp
01:45 PM - 02:45 PM      Mythic: Closing Wards
Bringing down the protections that we have invoked and returning the space to open intent.
Charles Butler,  Tamar Lindsay,  Peggy Thompson

Writing Workshop

Working on a sci-fi novel? Fantasy? Horror? Want to be sure you're on the right track? This year, Chessiecon will host Building a World: The Genre Fiction Workshop, open to up to six writers working in the diverse world of speculative fiction. Led by developmental fiction editor and literary horror/dystopian novelist Harrison Demchick (The Listeners), Building a World is an opportunity to sit down with fellow authors to analyze, critique, and improve those crucial first 10,000 words of your novel-in-progress. If you're serious about making sure that the early chapters of your novel engage your readers--if you want your characters clear, your story engaging, and your world compelling and tangible--then this is the workshop for you. To sign up, send an email to programming@chessiecon.org.

Harrison Demchick came up in the world of small press publishing, working along the way on more than fifty published novels and memoirs, several of which have been optioned for film. An expert in manuscripts as diverse as young adult, science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, literary fiction, women's fiction, memoir, and everything in-between, Harrison is known for quite possibly the most detailed and informative editorial letters in the industry--if not the entire universe.

Harrison is also an award-winning, twice-optioned screenwriter, and the author of literary horror novel The Listeners (Bancroft Press, 2012). He's currently accepting new clients in fiction and memoir at the Writer's Ally (http://thewritersally.com).