Check out ConQuesT’s panel programming schedule below! Plus, we have the following events:

  • Friday, 6:30 pm – Opening Ceremonies
  • Saturday, 7:30 pm – Discord Karaoke
  • Sunday, 4:45 pm – Closing Ceremonies

Panels are listed here by day and time. All times are CDT.

Panel Programming

FRIDAY, May 28, 2021

Discord 101: A Guided Tour Through ConQuesT 52’s Discord Server
ConQuesT co-chair, Stephanie Sullivan, will present the basics of signing up for Discord from the point-of-view of a brand new user and provide a “tour” of ConQuesT’s server and the activities in store for the weekend on the server.
Friday 2:00 PM – Mystic
Stephanie Sullivan (M)

A Year in Pandemic: How’d You Handle It?
Most of us lost 2020 (and then some) to a virus we all know the name of. It threw everything off, and we would be remiss not to at least talk about it. So let’s talk about it. The panelists will discuss how they got through the pandemic, from their points of view as authors, artists, and fans.
Friday 2:00 PM – Cosmologist
Carol Doms (M), Reed Alexander, Rachel Stumblingbear, Rosemary Williams

How’s Your Apocalypse?
2020 was a challenging year across the board, and it took a personal toll on all of us. Let’s talk about creating art in the midst of a pandemic, how it impacted our work and what we’ve learned.
Friday 3:30 PM – Cosmologist
Jan Gephardt (M), Becky Chambers, Dan Wells, Toni Taylor

A Year in Review: Science Fiction Television in 2020
This is a review of new Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror shows that premiered in 2020 or the first part of 2021. The panelists will share first impressions of the shows they watched the pilot episode or first season of.
Friday 3:30 PM – Mystic
Rosemary Williams (M), Carol Doms

“Behind the Curtain”: The Process Behind the Art
Every artist develops their own style, and works with their tools in their own way. In this panel, the moderator will give the artists some space to walk through the process of creating their works, giving a view “behind the curtain” into their artistic processes.
Friday 5:00 PM – Cosmologist
Jan Gephardt (M), Allison Stein, Harold Sipe, Toni Taylor

Will 2021 Harken a Renaissance for Dune?
In 2021, Modiphius Entertainment is releasing a new Dune RPG and a major motion picture is expected to be released in October. Could this lead to a renewed interest in Frank Herbert’s classic narratives? Does the franchise have the potential to replace Star Wars in popularity? Come geek out about the spice planet, Arrakis!
Friday 5:00 PM – Mystic
Stephanie Sullivan (M), Dana Bell, Dan Wells, Sean Demory

Opening Ceremonies
Join us as we kickoff ConQuesT 52 in style! Meet the Guests of Honor, learn about the weekend’s events, and get excited for the weekend ahead!
Friday 6:30pm – Ancestors
Rob Rafferty (M), Stephanie Sullivan (M), Becky Chambers, Dan Wells, Toni Taylor, Chris McKitterick

Boardgames: Cooperative versus Competitive
As board games have experienced a renaissance, the style of game has expanded as well. Not every game has a single declared winner. In many games, the whole group of players win or lose together. It creates a completely different dynamic of play. The panelists will discuss this shifting dynamic. What are the unique experience each type of play, competitive and cooperative, bring to the board gaming table?
Friday 8:00 PM – Cosmologist
Earline Beebe (M), Dan Wells, Stephanie Sullivan

Finding Games and Gaming Groups Online
How do you wade through the abyss of the internet to find a handful of fun people who you will enjoy gaming with regularly? Managing your expectations and knowing how and where to look can save you a lot of trouble.
Friday 8:00 PM – Mystic
Katharine Reid (M), Harold Sipe, Sean Demory

SATURDAY, May 29, 2021

Learning Lang Belta, the Belter Creole of The Expanse
Science fiction & fantasy have an established history of constructed languages, such as Klingon from Star Trek and Dothraki from Game of Thrones. Lang Belta (Belter Creole) is the cultural language spoken by many the TV show, The Expanse. Come get a primer about the language of the Belt with fellow fans and xunyam wit milowda!
Saturday 10:00 AM – Mystic
Earline Beebe (M), Katharine Reid, Michael Kingsley

Being a Creative in 2020: Building Community, Visibility, and Audience in a Virtual World
With so much changing in the SFF community this year, how can you find your people, promote your work, and connect with readers? Writers discuss how to build and maintain professional community at a distance, publicize new work online, navigate the world of traditional and independent publishing as we all adjust to a new reality, and prepare for any shifts to the industry that the end of the immediate crisis may bring.
Saturday 10:00 AM – Cosmologist
Dana Bell (M), Allison Stein, Reed Alexander, Rosemary Williams

Making Readers Hungry: Food in Fantasy
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?
Saturday 11:30 AM – Cosmologist
Jan Gephardt (M), Claire McCague, Reed Alexander

The Andromeda Strain – 50 Years Later
Michael Crichton basically started the techno-thriller genre with his 1969 novel and the 1971 movie was an influential film for the 1970s. How has it stood up over time? What can a thriller about an alien virus tell us about life on Earth and astrobiology? How would you create an Andromeda Strain?
Saturday 11:30 AM – Mystic
Earline Beebe (M), Dana Bell, Michael Kingsley

“This ain’t one body’s story; it’s the story of us all.”: Mad Max and mythmaking
The Mad Max series has existed since 1979 as an ever-expanding, self-referential epic told as a series of myths from a shattered future. We will discuss the Mad Max movies and mythos, exploring how the films subvert expectations and build an iconic myth-cycle in the space between gunshots and revving engines.
Saturday 1:30 PM – Mystic
Earline Beebe (M), Reed Alexander, Sean Demory

Iconography of Goddesses in Art
Though their origins are thousands of years old, goddesses can still inspire and empower citizens of the contemporary world. How are female deities depicted in the arts from different cultures and different eras? Which ones are your sources for motivation?
Saturday 1:30 PM – Cosmologist
Claire McCague (M), Dana Bell, Toni Taylor

Publishing: The Personal Journey
The most common answer to “How do I get published?” is that publishing is a personal journey. There are some pieces an author can do to help themselves along the way, but in the end, the road to publication is as unique as the authors themselves. In this panel, published authors take some time to talk about their unique roads that led them to where they are today.
Saturday 3:00 PM – Cosmologist
Jan Gephardt (M), Becky Chambers, Claire McCague, Dan Wells

Writing While Life Rolls Over You
How do you survive unexpected life events while trying to juggle both a day job and a writing career? How do you stay organized and get back to a project when everything is trying to tear you away? Let’s share the tricks we use to keep ourselves going.
Saturday 3:00 PM – Mystic
Rosemary Williams (M), Cynthia Polsley, Lynette Burrows

 A Gathering of Voices: The Importance of Anthologies
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?
Saturday 4:30 PM – Cosmologist
Sean Demory (M), Allison Stein, Dana Bell, Harold Sipe

Becky Chambers: A Discussion of her Works
Rob Rafferty will have a conversation with Becky Chambers about the works she has published, the works that have been announced, and various topics relating thereto.
Saturday 4:30 PM – Mystic
Rob Rafferty (M), Becky Chambers

NaNoWriMo: Writing Fast in a Digital World
National Novel Writing Month is a fast-paced event in November where participants challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. Who would be crazy enough to take on this challenge? Many writers! Even when the world was locked down, NaNoWriMo shifted, adapted, and the challenge continues. Join panelists as they discuss the event and some of the unique challenges that came up during the 2020 NaNoWriMo season.
Saturday 6:00 PM – Mystic
Katharine Reid (M), Reed Alexander, Rob Rafferty, Stephanie Sullivan

So, What’re You Working On…
Writers talking to writers about what they’re writing, what they’re reading and the state of the written word. Nothing is true – all is permitted.
Saturday 6:00 PM – Cosmologist
Sean Demory (M), Becky Chambers, Lynette Burrows, Mary Chambers

SUNDAY, May 30, 2021

FTL: Is It Possible? What Does Science Say?
Faster than light travel has been a staple of science fiction for decades, but the mechanism of that travel has undergone innumerable iterations in that time: wormholes connecting one side of the galaxy to another, hand-wavium pseudoscience jargon of warp drives, “punching” holes through the fabric of space, etc. Scientists, meanwhile, have taken the idea seriously, and they are working toward solutions. In this panel, the panelists will go through some of that research, drawing on academic papers, announcements from organizations like NASA, (if applicable) their own dealings with the science of FTL to bring us all a little closer to the reality of what it might look like.
Sunday 10:00 AM – Cosmologist
Katharine Reid (M), Claire McCague, Dana Bell

KC SF&F Literati book discussion of our Guest of Honor’s book
Dan Wells Partials
Sunday 10:00 AMDiscord: Overflow Room (voice channel)
Carol Doms (M), Dan Wells

Writers Groups: Strength in Numbers
A good writer’s group can help you strengthen your writing, polish your manuscript, and help you produce publishable work, while also providing motivation to just keep going when you think you’ll never get the hang of this writing thing. How do writers groups work? What makes a good writers group? How do you find one that feels like family and doesn’t crush your creative soul?
Sunday 11:30 AM – Cosmologist
Allison Stein (M), Barbara Hill, Jan Gephardt, Lynette Burrows, Mary Chambers

Neurodiversity in Star Trek
Individuals on the neurodiverse spectrum empathize with many Star Trek characters (e.g., Spock, Data, Seven of Nine, Tilly). A case can be made that the television shows benefited many in how to view the world around them, as well as shape their perspectives on social issues. Our panelists discuss how the Star Trek universe speaks to a neurodiverse audience.
Sunday 11:30 AM – Mystic
Harold Sipe (M), Dana Bell, Michael Kingsley

KC SF&F Literati book discussion of our Guest of Honor’s book
Becky Chambers The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Sunday 11:30 AMDiscord: Overflow Room (voice channel)
Carol Doms (M), Becky Chambers

Trials and Tribulations of Running an Interstellar Space Station
Lousy drivers in the docks! Automated systems (and vermin) eating the cargo! What fun it must be to operate a way station among the stars. What characteristics are needed to be the stationmaster for an interstellar space station? Who would be crazy enough to want the job?
Sunday 1:30 PM – Cosmologist
Jan Gephardt (M), Becky Chambers, Claire McCague, Michael Kingsley

Female Superheroes in Film and Television
From Isis, The Bionic Woman, and Wonder Woman in the 1970s to modern day, female superheroes have went through an evolution in appearance and some characters have seen a renaissance in popularity.
Sunday 3:00 PM – Mystic
Earline Beebe (M), Carol Doms, Claire McCague, Michael Kingsley

Dan Wells: A Discussion of his Works
Sean Demory will have a conversation with Dan Wells about the works he has published, the works that have been announced, and various topics relating thereto.
Sunday 3:30 PM – Cosmologist
Sean Demory (M), Dan Wells

Closing Ceremonies
Join us as we wrap up ConQuesT 52 and look forward to the upcoming years!
Sunday 4:45pm – Ancestors
Rob Rafferty (M), Stephanie Sullivan (M), Becky Chambers, Dan Wells, Toni Taylor, Kolbe Krzyzanowski

ConQuesT Schedule. Photo: Microsoft Stock Photo

ConQuesT Schedule. Photo: Microsoft Stock Photo