Columbus’ long-awaited hosting of its first North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) will become an online reality this weekend.
“We have put a great team together to make this NASFiC totally VIRTUAL,” the convention organizers promised recently – and they’ve delivered with online versions of the Masquerade, Art Show, Dealer’s Room, a Writer’s Workshop and other events, beginning with opening ceremonies at 3 p.m. Friday Aug. 21.
And the Libertarian Futurist Society and our Prometheus Awards will be among the weekend’s highlights.
“Other highlights for the weekend will include the Announcement of the Chesley Awards Nominees, and the Prometheus Awards. Please give yourself a break from the mundane world and join us, for the 2020 North American Science Fiction Convention,” the organizers wrote on the website.
The now-three-day, multi-track, Zoom-online NASFiC will run Friday through Sunday with a wide range of programming. Among the highlights will be the Prometheus Awards ceremony (1 p.m. Saturday EDT) and a related panel (1:30 p.m. Saturday EDT) on “Visions of SF, Liberty, Human Rights: The Prometheus Awards Over Four Decades, from F. Paul Wilson and Robert Heinlein to Today.”
Many more panels, activities and special events will be offered online through Sunday than initially conceived when the in-person version of the convention was canceled some months ago because of the pandemic.
Plus, the entire event – unlike the recent CoNZealand Worldcon, which was limited to paid registrants – will be free and easily accessible online throughout the busy weekend from the NASFiC website.
Even with all the newly added events listed now on the noticeably expanded website, the Libertarian Futurist Society’s two-part program remains an honored and highly visible centerpiece of the weekend.
All one needs to do to see that is visit the www.columbus2020nasfic.org website: Immediately prominent among the clickable subheads along the top of the home page are the words “Prometheus Award.” Clicking on those words takes you to a full page highlighting the awards ceremony and panel discussion in detail, including the bios and photos of the award presenters and panelists.
Here’s the direct link to the NASFiC website’s Prometheus Awards page.
Among them: bestselling and Prometheus-winning novelists Sarah Hoyt and F. Paul Wilson, who will headline both the awards show and the panel.
Hoyt (Darkship Thieves), introduced by awards-show co-emcee Tom Jackson, will present the 2020 Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction.
Accepting the Best Novel award, for their novel Alliance Rising, will be co-authors C.J. Cherryh and Jane Fancher.
Here’s how the LFS/NASFiC panel is described on the NASFiC Schedule page:
Visions of SF, Liberty, Human Rights: The Prometheus Awards over Four Decades, from F. Paul Wilson and Robert Heinlein to Today
(1:30-2:30 p.m.) Saturday afternoon (EDT Aug. 22)
Sarah Hoyt, F. Paul Wilson, Michael Grossberg, and William H. Stoddard, Moderator: Tom Jackson
How have our visions of a free, dynamic and better future, with universal respect for each other’s rights, evolved and changed in science fiction/fantasy? What about cautionary dystopian visions, from Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm to Doctorow’s Little Brother? Prometheus-winning authors Sarah Hoyt (Darkship Thieves) and F. Paul Wilson (An Enemy of the State, Repairman Jack series) will join journalists Michael Grossberg (LFS co-founder) and Tom Jackson in examining the perennial tensions between Liberty and Power and cooperation versus coercion, as reflected in these and other authors’ diverse Prometheus Award winners over the past 40 years.
And here’s how the same NASFiC Schedule page describes the 2020 Prometheus Awards ceremony:
Prometheus Awards’ 40th Anniversary Ceremony
(1-1:30 p.m. Saturday)
F. Paul Wilson and Sarah Hoyt
Moderator: Michael Grossberg and Tom Jackson
“The Prometheus Awards, first presented in 1979 to F. Paul Wilson and administered by the nonprofit Libertarian Futurist Society (www.lfs.org), recognizes outstanding pro-freedom and/or anti-authoritarian speculative fiction. Winners are selected in a ranked vote by LFS members from finalist slates in annual categories for Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame).
The 2020 awards ceremony features novelists F. Paul Wilson (presenting Best Novel category) and Sarah Hoyt (presenting Hall of Fame category), with acceptance speeches by the winners.
Among past winners: Hans Christian Anderson, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Cline, Cory Doctorow, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein, Hoyt, Ursula LeGuin, Ken MacLeod, George Orwell, Jerry Pournelle, Terry Pratchett, Ayn Rand, L. Neil Smith, Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross, J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Turtledove, Vernor Vinge, Kurt Vonnegut, Jo Walton, Jack Williamson, Wilson and Robert Anton Wilson.”
But the Columbus 2020 NASFiC will offer many other panel topics and events of interest to LFS members and other sf/fantasy fans.
Worldbuilding: Innovations in Leadership & Governance
Saturday 5:00 PM
Ada Palmer, Andrea Hairston, and Malka Older
Our panel draw from the wide range of speculative and science fiction to offer up their new visions of leadership and innovations in governance.
Lessons Not Learned: The Future of Dystopian & Utopian Stories
Friday 9:00 PM
Christine Taylor-Butler, Elsa R. Sjunneson, John Wiswell, and Mari Ness Moderator: Brandon Wilson
The panel discusses: Where does the genre go now that so much of the dystopian warnings sci-fi warned us about were ignored? What does a dystopian world look like in a post-COVID, post-Trump, melting-polar caps world? Can we ever move back to utopianism? Should we do away with utopian and dystopian scenarios altogether?
Future of Policing: A Journey Planet Fanzine Workshop
Sunday 10:00 AM
Christopher J. Garcia, Erin Underwood, Errick Nunnally, and James Bacon Moderator: Anne Gray
The Co-editors discuss and encourage you to consider contributing to this issue. SF often uses police to examine the gray areas of good vs bad as well as to question authority and explore the evolution of our humanity, it also gives us a view into who we are today and who we may become tomorrow, Today, policing is creating history in unprecedented ways from the tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis to elected parliamentarians being stopped in London because they are Black, the brutal suppression of hope and democracy in Hong Kong. How is the trope of police and/or law enforcement depicted in science fiction? Is there potential for exploring new law enforcement options? Is there a solution in SF that can help to deconstruct, redesign, and rebuild a police force that truly reflects a better future? What questions do you want to ask and answer?
Writing Real History Into Fictional Pasts
Friday 12:00 PM
Alma Alexander, Eric Flint, Gillian Polack
Historical fiction writers discuss approaches and techniques for writing major events of the past into stories.
Youth & YA Fiction: Who’s Reading Who?
Friday 12:00 PM
Christine Taylor-Butler, Marieke Nijkamp, Nino Cipri, and Phoebe North Moderator: Kathryn Sullivan
What do trends in SF/F youth and young adult fiction tell us about the values and perspectives of Gen Z?
Myths & Legends: Culture Shifts & Societal Transformation
Saturday 7:00 PM
Alma Alexander and Chris “Silver Spook” Miller
Moderator: Victor Raymond Our cross-genre and cross-discipline panel shares their favorite stories of great shifts and transformation. From resistance and collapse to evolution and re-emergence: it is the stuff of myths and legends!
If you want to attend any or all of the above, just visit the NASFiC webpage titled How to Attend for instructions, with fresh links to be added on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Here’s what the page said before the convention begins:
HOW TO ATTEND
Attending the North American Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention will now be easy as everything will be online.
On the day the convention begins, the page you are viewing now will provide you with a virtual “log book”. When you have signed it, this website will provide you access to several more pages, with embedded chat channels and streaming video.
It will be free, but we will still accept donations.