Category Archives: Appearances

Archon 42 Schedule

We’re less than a month away from Archon, the midwest’s most excellent fan-run science fiction & fantasy convention! If you want to find me, here’s my schedule:

Author Reading with Benjamin Philip, Van Plexico, and Daniel Yezbik
Saturday 10:00 – 11:00, Illini A (Gateway Center)
Benjamin C. Kinney, Van Plexico, Prof Daniel Yezbick

Does Science Fiction Still Give Us Hope?
Saturday 12:00 – 13:00, Lasalle (Gateway Center)
Cynthianna/ Celine Chatillon (M), Christine Amsden, Charlie Jane Anders, Mr Mark Tiedemann, Benjamin C. Kinney
Science Fiction has shown us the greatness we could strive for in the future. Is it still capable of that or are we too jaded?

Editing: Behind the Scenes
Saturday 13:00 – 14:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
Cynthianna/ Celine Chatillon (M), Benjamin C. Kinney, Prof Daniel Yezbick, Ms Joy Ward , Edward Stasheff
A chance for new authors to understand what happens to stories after they’re submitted.

Religion and its Place in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Saturday 15:00 – 16:00, Madison C & D (DoubleTree – Collinsville)
Setsu Uzume (M), David Benem, Benjamin C. Kinney, Ms Judi Cook
Plenty of our favorite worlds have their own religion, or have a mix of real world religions. How do they stem from what we know in the real world?

Understanding Non-Human Point of View
Sunday 11:00 – 12:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
Kathryn Sullivan (M), Kasey Mackenzie, Benjamin C. Kinney, Mr Mark Tiedemann
Characters don’t always have to be human. Discuss how to effectively create a POV for an animals or other non-human character.

I’m going to have a busy Saturday midday, but your presence and enjoyment shall carry me through!

Worldcon 76 Schedule

Barely a week until Worldcon 76 in San Jose California!

I’m on a bunch of programming, so there are lots of ways & places you can come watch me shoot my mouth off – whether on my own as a writer and neuroscientist, or as a member of the Hugo-finalist Escape Pod team!

Ethical Responsibilities to Alien Life
Friday 8/17, 3-4pm, 210B
Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Gonzalo Munevar, Guy Consolmagno, Eric Schwitzgebel, Ina Roy-Faderman
Extraterrestrial life could be anything from microbes to “advanced” intelligence. How would different forms of life fit into our ethical systems? What responsibilities – or opportunities – do we have when encountering the alien?

Escape Pod – Live at Worldcon
Saturday 8/18, 10-11:30am, 210DH
Alasdair Stuart (M), SB Divya, Marguerite Kenner, Benjamin C. Kinney, Norm Sherman, Setsu Uzume, Mur Lafferty
Come watch us do a live recording of Escape Pod! We’re still brewing up our nefarious/amazing spaceplans, but I promise you a showcase of Escape Pod’s talent from top to bottom.

Alien Minds: What is Possible, and What Can We Do with Them?
Saturday 8/18, 2-3pm, 210A
Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Eric Schwitzgebel, Gonzalo Munevar, Ina Roy-Faderman, SL Huang
Given the different paths that evolution can take, there is no reason to think that extraterrestrial intelligence would look or work like ours. Human intelligence is thought to have developed from evolutionary pressures around deception and detecting deception in troupes of primate. How different would intelligence be if it evolved from other ecological niches? Are there universal constants that define or constrain the nature of intelligence? Can we communicate with something truly alien?

Judaism and the Roots of Science Fiction
Sunday 8/19, 3-4pm, 210A
Rani Graff (M), Benjamin C. Kinney, Moshe Feder, Navah Wolfe, Elana Gomel
The Hugos are named after Jewish inventor Hugo Gernsback, who coined the term “science fiction” and Judiasm has had a big influence on the genre before and since. Jewish stories frequently explore diaspora, almost featuring it as a character or trait with space being the natural extension of that idea in everything from Star Trek to Space Balls. The ultimate displacement, if you will, but this time deliberately, purposefully, to seek out new life, etc. How does diaspora shape fiction? What is the state of Israeli SFF compared to Jewish SFF in the US?

Hugo Reception & Ceremony
Sunday 8/19, 6:30–??
Time to lose to some of the Best Semiprozine category’s excellent competition!

Readercon 2018 schedule

Next weekend I’ll be a guest at Readercon in Quincy, MA. My first time back to my home territory for convention purposes! Here’s where to find me:

Reading (with José Pablo Iriarte)
Friday 11:30am-12:00pm, Salon B
Joe Iriarte and I are sharing a reading slot. Come listen to our awesome projects! I will probably read something about my favorite baby artificial intelligence, but no promises. I only promise awesomeness.

Understanding Neuroscience
Friday 1-2pm, Salon C
“The human brain may be the most complex structure in the universe, but that won’t stop us from learning, thinking, and writing about it. How can we dive into something so impenetrable, and extract stories that are coherent, plausible, and free from the cliches of the past fifty years?”
• This solo presentation is an updated version of the talk I gave at the 2017 Nebula Conference, so if you missed it there, now’s your time!

Lethe and Mnemosyne: Memory as Plot Device
Saturday 1-2pm, Salon 6.
Tamara Vardomskaya, Elizabeth Bear, Yves Meynar, LJ Cohen, Benjamin C. Kinney
“Authors use amnesia and other types of lost and regained memory to reveal information to the reader as it’s revealed to or remembered by the protagonist. How does this type of narrative function? How does it change if a person’s memory can be stored externally, warped, or erased through technology or magic? This panel will explore works that make use of memory and examine its connections to other stories of what’s lost and found.”

Viable Paradise Alumni Dinner
Saturday Evening
If you’re a member of the Viable Paradise community, I’ll see you there!

Speculative Fiction in Audio: What’s Working and Why
Sunday 12-1pm, Salon C
Victoria Sandbrook, Benjamin C. Kinney, John Chu, Heath Miller, James Patrick Kelly
In 2017, 60 million people tuned in to podcasts, and episodes of Welcome to Night Vale had already been downloaded over 170 million times. Audiobook sales are skyrocketing. Podcast production value and diversity in formats and voices are improving daily. This panel will discuss the radio dramas, short story podcasts, serials, audiobooks, and other listenable forms of speculative fiction, and how they’re influencing storytelling.

Kaffeeklatsch
Sunday 2-3pm, Seven Masts
Want to talk to me about neuroscience, Escape Pod, or anything else? Let’s get a coffee and nurse our hypothetical hangovers together!

Fourth Street Fantasy 2018

This weekend is the Fourth Street Fantasy convention in Minneapolis, and I’m delighted to be a panelist there once again!

You can find the full schedule here, but I’ll be on the following panel:

Saturday, June 23, 8:00 PM: Who Put This $#@!! Balrog Lair in the Middle of a Sewer Line? (Alternate Title: Life in the Temporary Topmost Layer)

Elizabeth Bear, Benjamin C. Kinney, Arkady Martine(M), Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Vivian Shaw

The Balrog, of course, would say “Who tried to drive a &^%#!! sewer line through the middle of my lair?” First principle: We’re not all that excellent at shunning risk even when we manage to identify it. Some of our cities are literally sinking, while others are precariously perched next to volcanoes, and yet we keep buying new furniture anyway, c’est la vie.

Second principle: We’re all living on top of stacked and flattened layers of history. Our nations spread over the bones and borders of the nations they replaced by fair means or foul. Our neighborhoods are named for trades or functions that vanished decades ago, our streets were built for the vehicles of ages past, and they were built atop still older streets and neighborhoods.

Combine these two principles and you begin to construct a fascinating, disquieting picture of how our lives are shaped by the compacted strata of legacy infrastructure, detritus, and danger beneath our very feet. All the layers of history in a place act upon the living. How and when has this been accurately reflected in fantasy fiction? How do you present the secrets and dangers of a fantasy landscape as a vivid influence on its inhabitants rather than a meaningless detail on a map or list? Also, how do we grapple with the notion that we must some day become just another thin line in someone else’s deeply-layered history?

Social & Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology Notes (2016)

As part of Storify’s shutdown, I now want to use my website to archive important Twitter threads. So here are some awesome threads from the first Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (SoCIA) conference. These are incomplete, and sometimes abbreviated, but there’s still a lot of fascinating science, philosophy, and theory in here!

If you think these topics look awesome, keep an eye out for SoCIA 2018 this coming April!

“Is talking to aliens like talking to your cats?”, Sara Waller

“Cosmic complexity,” Kelly Smith

“Impossible Friendships: human-alien relationships,” Jonathan Trerise

“The role of worldview in predicting societal impact of discovering ET life,” Connie Bertka

“Anthropocentrism, exoplanets, and the cosmic perspective,” Neil Manson

“The life bias in planetary protection,” Jim Schwartz

Keynote: “Homo Astronauticus: cultural implications of space colonization,” Sheyna Gifford

“Astrobiology research & policy dilemmas in public decision making,” Margaret Race

“Astrobiology education via interactive alien construction,” Randall Hayes

“Astrobiology, ET, and ETI: science & speculation,” Linda Billings

“Replicator Theory: testing evolutionary theories of life,” Lucas Mix

“Toward a Family Resemblance definition of life,” Erik Persson

“Extending the Idea of Wilderness Beyond Earth,” Alan Johnson.

“Human life and ethics in outer space,” Koji Tachibana

“Astrobiology and the precautionary principle,” Mark Lupisella

“Convergences in the ethics of space exploration,” Brian Green

“Ethical obligations between us and extraterrestrial life,” Adam Potthast

ConFusion Appearances

Here’s my panel schedule at ConFusion in Novi Michigan, the weekend of January 28-21!

Saturday 11am, Isle Royale
Reading: Benjamin C. Kinney, Angus Watson, Marie Bilodeau

Come hear me read an excerpt from one of my short stories coming out in 2018! I haven’t yet decided which – could be “Spies and Border-Magic,” maybe “Dead Battleship Romance Politics,” or else perhaps “Fairies Gentrify Manhattan.”

Saturday 1pm, Saugatuck
SF and Philosophy: Exploring the Connections

Benjamin C. Kinney, Andrea J, Dyrk Ashton, Ken Schrader, Nathan Rockwood

SF has been called the literature of ideas, and the ideas explored in SF have become increasingly philosophical throughout the history of the genre. What are the most illuminating thought experiments in recent and classic SF? Which philosophical questions do they raise? And how are philosophers in today’s universities employing SF in their teaching and research?

Saturday 5pm, St. Clair
Autograph Session (5pm)

I don’t have any books to autograph, but I will have something to sign, if anyone wants to stop by and say hello! I won’t be too busy, so this could be a great place to find me and chat, about Escape Pod or anything else. Consider this my “office hours” – you’ll know where to find me for sure!

Sunday 2pm, Charlevoix
A Novel Look at the Short Story

Lucy A. Snyder, Jessi Cole Jackson, A. T. Greenblatt, Benjamin C. Kinney, Scott H. Andrews, Amal El-Mohtar

Short stories require a different approach to pacing , character , world-building , exposition , and plot than longer works. Let’s explore the tools we use to convey important information to the reader when we have a lot fewer words to do it with.
Unfortunately, I will probably miss this panel due to travel timing. But you should go anyways, it’s a great topic and an amazing set of panelist!

Archon panel schedule

I have my schedule for Archon 41! I’m participating in 3 panels, moderating a fourth one, plus a a reading. If you’re anywhere in the greater St. Louis area, come on down and say hello!

Space Colonies and Planetary Chauvinism

Saturday 9/30, 13:00 – 13:50, Great Rivers A (Gateway Center)

Should our major effort be settling on worlds or building inside out worlds in free space?  Can we do both?

Benjamin C. Kinney, Christine Nobbe (M), Bob Perry

The Mystery of H.P. Lovecraft

Saturday 9/30 15:00 – 15:50, Marquette B (Gateway Center)

Why do so many fans read and enjoy H. P. Lovecraft while others find faults in his writing?

Benjamin C. Kinney, Mr. Brian Katcher (M) , John Jacobs, Shawntelle Madison

Short-Story Podcasting for Writers, Readers, and Voice Actors

Sunday 10/1, 10:00 – 10:50, Salon 6 (Gateway Center)

Podcasts are a huge opportunity to publish and listen to short fiction, and engage with the fan community. They can also provide an avenue into audio book narration and voice acting. Join us to discuss the podcasts we love, how to build a recording setup, and the path to publication.

Benjamin C. Kinney, Setsu Uzume

Author Readings with Benjamin C. Kinney, Jim Pyre, and Jimmy D. Gillentine

Sunday 10/1 12:00 – 12:50, Cahokian (Gateway Center)

Benjamin C. Kinney, Jim Pyre, Jimmy D. Gillentine

Editing: Behind the Scenes

Sunday 10/1, 13:00 – 13:50, Marquette A (Gateway Center)

A chance for new authors to understand what happens to stories after they’re submitted.

Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Mr. Brian Katcher, Mr. Adrian Matthews, Rich Horton

Worldcon 75 Schedule

Less than three weeks until the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki!

If you want to know where I’ll be, check out the appearances list of Escape Artists staff!

My two panels are:

  • Superintelligence (Thursday noon, 2014)
  • Critiquing: how to give and how to receive (Thursday 8pm, 209)

You can also find me at:

  • Escape Artists fan meetup (Wednesday 3pm, fan lounge)

Otherwise, I’ll be around acting excited!

Nebula Neuroscience

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m going to have a speaking slot at the SFWA Nebula Conference in June!  My talk “Understanding Neuroscience: The Evolved Brain” will take place on Sunday at 10am for anyone with enough fortitude to shake off their hangover and come here me talk about neuroscience, and how we can improve our understanding and portrayal of the human brain in fiction.

I haven’t yet developed the talk, so if you have any questions or issues too complex for #NeuroThursday, let me know! Or ask me over a beer1 afterward.

I hope to see some of you there! I’ll only be at the Nebula conference Sat-Sun (arriving late Friday night) due to the travails of work, but so it goes.

Archon 40 Schedule

I’m excited to announce my schedule at Archon, the St. Louis area’s fan-run SFF convention! This year, Archon 40 will be September 30 – October 2, 2016.

All of my panels are on Saturday, October 1. I don’t expect to be there on Friday, but I may on Sunday.

Author Readings with Benjamin C. Kinney and Lloyd Kropp

10am, Cahokian (GC).

Changing Landscape: Science Fiction Then and Now

12pm, Illini A (GC). Science fiction has rapidly evolved in the last 60 years. Discuss current science fiction and if the changes have been for the better.

Van Allen Plexio (M), Rich Horton, Lettie Prell, Benjamin C. Kinney, Sara M. Harvey.

Writing and Selling Short Stories

3pm, Marquette B (GC). Short stories behave differently than full-length novels in many ways. Come get tips for writing, editing, and selling your best short stories.

Benjamin C. Kinney (M), Ellen Datlow, Joey Froehlich, Joy Ward, Lettie Prell.1

Writing Sexuality and Gender in Science Fiction

6pm, Marquette B (GC). A conversation on the whens, whys, and hows of addressing sexuality and gender in your writing.

Cole Gibsen (M), Tex Thompson, Betsy Phillips, Sara M. Harvey, Benjamin C. Kinney.