The Answer-Man’s at ‘Escape Velocity!’
I’ve been invited to the Museum of Science Fiction’s Sci-Fi Event
Science Fiction meets Science Fact Convention in Washington D.C.
September 1–3, 2017
Escape Velocity isn’t just pop culture — it’s meant to be a hybrid science fiction and science event with demonstrations, lectures, and cool experiments.
There are the standard panels and signings, but there’s also a science fiction film festival (which one of our new favorite indie films, Olfactory, will be a part of), a drone racing competition, and a stunt workshop.
The guests reflect that division of science and science fiction: legendary writer, Joe Haldeman (The Forever War) is one of the guests, as is Cas Anvar from ‘The Expanse’ along with the creator of the Klingon language, Marc Okrand, and NASA astrophysicist C. Alex Young. It’s a smörgåsbord of Who’s Who in science and science fiction.
Thanks to the gracious introduction of a variety of excellent writers I will be speaking on a number of panels this year. Here’s my schedule for Escape Velocity 2017. I will be on five panels this year:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
14:30 — Literary Representations of AI and Robotics
Scholars will discuss the role of artificial intelligence and robotics in science and speculative fiction literatures.
- They will address questions such as: Why do so many texts depict the dangers of AI?
- Why are we so afraid of our creations gaining sentience and turning against us?
- What do we stand to lose? To gain?
- Why does organic humanity need to be the only rational consciousness? And how closely do these texts mirror the reality of today’s tech?
15:45 — Utopia vs. Dystopia
Scholars discuss the portrayal of utopian (and dystopian) futures in science fiction writings:
- What are some of the common themes? Have these portrayals changed with time?
- What are the odds we are heading towards these futures (or trying to move away from them)?
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
12:30 — Man as Machine: Androids and Cyborgs in Literature
Are humans more than the sum of their parts, or are they merely organic machines, as philosophers from antiquity on have suggested?
- Today, new innovations in science and technology provide new ways to interrogate this question, even as they continue to raise it. On the one hand, increasingly advanced prosthetics, neural interfaces (such as Elon Musk’s recently-announced Neuralink), and other enhancements allow us to go beyond the limitations of our human bodies.
- On the other hand, machine intelligence now rivals, and even supersedes, humans in everything from game-playing strategies to driving and facial recognition, suggesting that we’re moving closer to the holy grail of creating an artificial sentient being.
These innovations pose the ultimate question: what does it mean to be human?
- More specifically, (how) do our physical bodies define us and shape our humanity, and how might we retain that humanity as we change, or even transcend, those bodies?
16:00 — Afrofuturism: Butler and Beyond
Afrofuturism can be characterized as an artistic movement — one that attempts to discover, recover, and reinvent the film, literature, and graphic art created by African-Americans and other Afro-diaspora peoples across the globe.
- Most fundamentally, literary Afrofuturism attempts to imagine a future in which black peoples and cultures have found a voice and gained visibility alongside or apart from traditional Eurocentric themes and traditions, which both respects the legacy of African-American and Afro-diaspora peoples and attempts to break free of the stereotypes and historical injustices that define so much of modern race-related thinking.
- This marriage of African-American literature and SF yields interesting discourses on race, gender, technology, and the face of the future.
- Scholars will discuss Afrofuturist literature, its legacy, its ethos, and its most pressing questions.
18:30 — I, the Alien; or the Alien as Self
Sci-fi narratives are often seen as an excellent place to explore foreign entities and species. It is also a unique tool to explain the alien as self.
- This panel will explore the usage of alien narratives to represent the alienated self as a representation of people who have been pushed aside, ignored, or rendered invisible.
- This panel asks: How do sci-fi narratives give voice to populations and individuals who are seen as alien or other?
If you’re coming to Washington DC for Escape Velocity or are in the area during the event, let’s schedule lunch. I will be there for the entire convention!
Escape Velocity 2017 will be held on September 1–3, 2017
Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd NW, Washington, DC 20008
In case you haven’t realized it, I am extremely excited to be INVITED to go to this convention. I have been invited to local conventions in my neighborhood but to have my work get me the attention of someplace not local to me is a big deal.
I am hoping I can convince those of you familiar with my work to support me with whatever you can spare for these three amazing days where I will be walking among the luminaries of science fiction. Little ol’ me.
I will be headed to Washington DC at the end of the month for the Escape Velocity Convention. Like KQED we have come to the Pledge Drive in the last 11 days before Escape Velocity begins.
Any donations you care to make will ensure the smooth operation of my home while I am gone, and my continued production of high quality science fiction, comic analysis and cutting edge political commentary.
As the Answer-Man I make comics smarter and more understandable to new readers answering their many questions about the thousands of devices, characters and stories with some of the most well-known characters in fiction. I curate my own sites on Facebook, ‘Comic Lore,’ ‘The Black Age of Comics’ and ‘Dammit I’m a Science Fiction Writer.’
Writing at Krypton Radio, I dissect movies, culture and television ideas around science fiction themes. I have been working on new projects hoping to bring new talent to the site for your enjoyment.
I also work with the Good Men Project which has been exploding lately writing social commentary, political analysis and dissecting what it takes to be a more progressive and aware individual in the 21st century.
When I am not writing for these publications, I am still writing science fiction, fantasy and just about any other kind of fiction I can wrap my mind around. Working with the Afrosurreal Writers Group in Oakland and Futura SF Magazine we are redefining the boundaries of speculative fiction.
Every year I write 300+ articles spanning science, technology, economics, politics, culture and anything else which piques my interests. You can see what I have been working on at this year at: http://thowze.carrd.co.
You can donate to my Paypal at email@example.com. If you are experiencing a love affair with my work and who doesn’t, you can donate long term to my Patreon account at http://patreon.com/ebonstorm.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning essayist, author and journalist for various online publications, anthologies and websites which fancy themselves having discriminating tastes in speculative fiction, non-fiction journalism and critical thinking.
If you like his work, consider donating to his Patreon. It easy to donate. Skip one or two cups of coffee Starbuck’s overpriced coffee a month and send that to him via this Patreon link.