Small Auditorium - Videos: Take a few minutes to relax and watch a movie or TV show during the weekend! Check the door for a schedule of films.

Room 2 - Video Gaming (Opens Friday at 5pm): All ages video gaming, with systems ranging all over, from Atari and Nintendo to XBox and PS4! Ages 11 and under MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times, with no exceptions. Please no food or drink. Note: some games may be inappropriate for young children - use your discretion regarding your child's access. Closes nightly, hours will be posted on door.

Return of the Amazing MarsCon Chase: The Amazing MarsCon Chase is a scavenger hunt meant to be played by families or teams of up to 5 people. At registration, pick up your list of objects for teams to collect. Everything has a point value. Some items are pictures and you can use a digital camera or your phone's camera for these. You have until Sunday at 11am to collect the list items, then come to the room listed on the program grid for point tallying. Members of the winning team get half off 2019's MarsCon registration. By playing the game, we guarantee you'll see the full scope of the Con and get a chance to meet lots of guests and attendees. If you have questions about an item, contact the email provided on the scavenger list.

Craft Supply Swap Meet: Ongoing all weekend in Kitty & Ben’s Crafting Den near Pitcher’s Restaurant. Bring your beads, yarn, fabric, etc so your leftovers can become someone else's treasure!  Donations taken all weekend; bring a bag to take home your new goodies.



        Large Auditorium - White Plectrum Concert - 45 minutes

Room 3 - Local Food Sustainability & Community Building: Whether your motivation is global warming, the terrifying decimation of the bee population, or being up too late at night reading dystopian futures, have you wondered: if it really all went down, how you could know whom to rely on, and how much you could fend for yourself? Have you tried being proactive now: learning how to create networks, growing, raising, or gleaning your own food sources, bartering goods and services, building your own mobile shelters, passing local legislation supporting local food sustainability and rain catchment, etc.? Folks involved in such proactive individual, family, and community endeavors facilitate a discussion, ideally with avid audience participation, towards innovating ideas and sharing what works. - Maya Preisler, David Coffman

Room 4 - Finding the Right Social Media: Finding the right social media platform to build your business is tricky. Should you use Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on and on. This panel will explore what options that can work for you. -Angela Pritchett, Donna Patterson, Nickie Jamison, H.J. Harding

Room 5 - Rebel Legion Costumes: Soft Costumes: So you want to be in the Rebel Legion? Need help getting started on that first costume? Come and learn about the vast number of soft costumes and what it takes to make them. Get helpful resources and ask your costuming questions!

Room 6 - Diversity in Werewolves in Popular Culture: Why do most werewolves tend to be straight, white, males?  Where are the she wolves, the wolves of color, and the queer wolves?  Panelists will discuss werewolf movies, shows, books, and comics that feature diverse casting of werewolves and other were-creatures. -Mel Mystery, Lisa Ray

Room 7 - Battle Scenes: Is your battle scene battle worthy? In a real fight, are movements and actions even possible? Learn from pros how to create realistic battle scenes that keep your audience engaged in the action.        - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christopher De Matteo, John Baldari, Mark Wandrey

Room 8 - Fandom Generations: How did fans meet and interact before we had Facebook, YouTube, Twitter - or even the Internet?  -John Desmarais, Toni Weisskopf, Butch Allen, Michael Khandelwal

Room L - Wolf Cult Variations from Spain to the Black Sea: The cult of the living and dead wolves spread across Asia Minor, Africa, and Europe. Each of the wolf cults had their own creative variations on a theme of death. Come and learn about a selection of these cults from Spain to the Black Sea. Who were they? How were members chosen? What did they do? Are they still around? This presentation is one way to find out. -Arlechina Verdigris

Room M - Honorverse 101: Captain Romero of the Royal Manticoran Navy gives an introduction to the popular universe created by author David Weber.  We'll cover general history, the various star nations, and a brief description of the technologies that make up the world of Honor Harrington. -The Royal Manticoran Navy


        Large Auditorium - Danny Birt Concert- 45 minutes

Room 3 - How Lupercalia Became Valentine's Day - Lots of people think they know what Lupercalia was all about. It was a lascivious holiday replete with wolf-men and sexy spanking, right? Not quite... More like an ancient seven-day Halloween with ritual sacrifice intended to sate the hunger of the relentless dead. But how did it become associated with our modern season of romance? Come find out. -Arlechina Verdigris

Room 4 - George Orwell: The Father of Modern Dystopia - WAR IS PEACE , FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Panelists gather to praise Big Brother for his hard work of keeping us safe. Discuss the climate of 1984, the similarities to today, and what you would do. -D.J. McGuire, Jason Carney, Lisa Ray

Room 5 - Con Survival: Cosplay Edition! - You just finished that cosplay and it looks amazing! But will you be able to wear it all day comfortably? What things should you consider before your debut? This panel will review good habits for testing out your cosplay, and well as backup plans for when you suffer for your art! -trust me, we've all been there! (Includes general con survival tips, such as keeping energy and hydration levels up and when to call in a friend for help!) -Erica Bortnick, Angela Pritchett


Room 6 - Electronic Solutions for the Over-Ambitious Non-Engineer: This presentation is for those looking to bridge the gap between store bought electronics and wiring up your next masterpiece. We will focus on easy and affordable ways to add the bling to your project and being able to sustain it. We’ll focus on battery solutions, how to wire in items such as plasma globes and discs, safety, not catching your workshop on fire, and having fun achieving “shinny”. After all, why get dressed up if not to get the attention of your peers, family and friends?  -Dave Lee

Room 7 - A Most Respected Fan: Many people are active in fandom, whether they organize conventions, publish fanzines, attend get-togethers, or give parties. There is a whole world of terminology associated with Big Name Fans -- fans who are well known in wide circles. We define SMOF and JOF, and discuss what it means to be chosen to be a Fan Guest of Honor or win the Big Heart Award. Understanding egoboo is just the beginning...  - Julie Wall, Toni Weisskopf, Michael Pederson

Room 8 - Ethics of Tomorrow in YA Fiction: Do young adult authors have a role in creating the ethical attitudes of tomorrow? How can young adult authors of SF&F write characters and stories that will inspire tomorrow's adults and leaders to be more open-minded, tolerant, and moral? Do you see that happening in today's young adult science fiction and fantasy, or not? - John Baldari, Maria V. Snyder, Donna Patterson, Kim Iverson Headlee

Room L - Costume in Fiction: Creating the Total Package - Your hero from another world isn't going to be wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt (most likely), nor will your alternate history ... come discuss the bare bones of costuming challenges as they are found by writers. - Pamela K. Kinney, David A. Tatum, Charlie Stayton

Room M - Monsters and Enemies of the Doctor: Prepare to be exterminated, deleted, shrunk, mutated, eaten and brainwashed. Panelists explore the villains and monsters from the Doctor Who universe. - Sean Gleeson


Large Auditorium - Opening Ceremonies - Join the Toastmaster and MarsCon staff in beginning this year's con. - 45 minutes

Harrison 3 & 4 - Family Happy Hour - 2 hours: A chance to catch up with friends you know or meet new buds with whom to share activities over the weekend.  Make your own wolf, cat, or alien ears or antennae to wear.  Try your hand at building a BristleBot from a common household item - a toothbrush!  Wear your new ears in style and test your robot by creating BristleBot art and racing them. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza for sale for those with an appetite.  Recommended for ages 7-15; younger kids welcome with adult assistance.


        Large Auditorium - Rhiannon’s Lark Concert - 45 minutes

Room 3 - Tarot for Everyone: The Fool’s Journey: This workshop offers a quick overview of tarot history, touching on both fact and fantasy. Here we study the structure of the deck, and its relation to modern playing cards. Then, walk through the Major Arcana, those 20+ 'Destiny Cards' that always make it into sensationalist film and books. The original graphic novel, the Tarot tells the story of the Fool's Journey, complete with adventure, challenge, travails and personal evolution, An old tool for self-help, the cards invite us to know ourselves better, to help others, to explore history at both best and worst, and enjoy artwork. Bring your own favorite decks to discuss. The World Spirit Tarot will also be available for purchase or for use in class. - Madame Onça 

Room 4 - Tabletop World-Building: New to GM’ing? Bored of plot-in-a-can adventures? Want to run an alternate timeline adventure? Trying to give your novel more oomph? It’s more than just bare bones “Add X NPC, Y-world event, and Purple Macguffin to equal a great new story”. Join in the discussion on what gives a world that feel of a living, breathing atmosphere and draw your players into a world of awesome. Old-hat GM’s come share your experiences too! - John Desmarais, Jason Carney, Tonya Woldridge, Mark Geary

Room 5 - Fantasy Draft League: Fantasy football, but hold the football. Our authors assemble an adventuring party from fantasy characters and duke it out to determine the one bracket to rule them all. - David A. Tatum, Jim Minz

Room 6 - The Business of Writing: An Introduction: The Business of Writing: An Introduction presented by award-winning author Kim Headlee is open to all authors wishing to start—or jump-start—their writing careers. Whether you’re an independent, hybrid, or traditionally published author, come get the lowdown on such topics as incorporation; ISBNs; imprints; DIY versus contracting professional service providers for print and e-book layout, cover design, editing, and other production details; and a comparison of CreateSpace and IngramSpark print-on-demand companies. - Kim Iverson Headlee


Room 7 - Decolonizing Colonization: Humanity may one day spread its influence beyond our planet. But colonization on Earth has been incredibly problematic, causing oppression and destruction in its wake. Can we colonize space without all the baggage? - D.J. McGuire, Christopher De Matteo, Drey Mychalus, Brad Goodman


Room 8 - Justifying the Pink Werewolf: How to Construct Relevant Characters in Fiction: Go beyond the roll of the dice or the flashy costume to examine what makes your character tick. Learn how to interweave plot with character motivation, and create characters your audience will root for. - Pamela K. Kinney, Rowan Worth, Nickie Jamison, Maria V. Snyder

Room L - An Introduction to Alternative History: Maybe you've caught a few episodes of Man in the High Castle, or read a few  Turtledove novels. Maybe you've just spent some time wondering what the world would be like, if only some event, big or small, had gone differently. In either case, congratulations - you are acquainted with alternate history, one of the fastest growing genres in speculative fiction. The goal of the panel is to serve as a primer for the uninitiated, talking about major genre works and tropes, the evolution of the genre from a trio of novels in the 50s to the expansive genre it is today, and close by talking about some of the reasons that alternate history has not only risen to take its place as its own genre alongside fantasy and science fiction, but has the potential to surpass them both.  - Dave Lee, Robert McMath, Kacey Ezell, Nicole Ordway


Room M - Meet the ORCS!


        Large Auditorium - Blibbering Humdingers - 1 hour


        Room 1 - Nerf Wars - 4 Hours

Room 3 - Buffy vs The Big Bads: Villains of Sunnydale: Buffy The Vampire Slayer has endless sources of evil, ranging from the quirky Drusilla and the ominous The First to the Jekyll and Hyde Angel/Angelus and the reformed (but still totally bad) Spike. Join us as we compare, defend, dismiss, and condemn both the loved and the despised Buffyverse villains. - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Crystal Smalling, Lisa Ray


Room 4 - Sensory Tools to Tame Your Inner Werewolf: Coping at the Con: Some days are a pleasant balance of sensory highs and lows while others are full of people and events that push our sensory buttons one too many times and we want to bite someone's head off. Come learn how to regulate your mood with gadgets and activities that will keep you and your pack mates happy. All ages are welcome.

Room 5 - Do Stitches Really Run? (13+ Only): Hand sewing basics for the complete novice. Learn basic sewing stitches such as “ the running stitch” and how to attach a button that can be used to put together a cosplay, put that pesky loose button back on or fix a loose hem on your pants.  Participants will make a small cloth container that is designed to catch anything you want from earrings and small bits of jewelry to rogue dice on your gaming table.($3 fee, sign up at Registration) - Janna Beaufait

Room 6 - The Business of Writing: Diving Deeper: “Plans? We don’t need no stinking plans!” If you’re an author trying to function as your own publisher, yes, you do. The Business of Writing: Diving Deeper presented by Kim Iverson Headlee covers such topics as the publication plan, the promotion plan, developing a great book cover, and obtaining book reviews. Take a lot of notes—or you might just end up taking a dive. - Kim Iverson Headlee

Room 7 - Building a Space Station: Come explore the wheres and hows and ins and outs of building a space station. - Toni Weisskopf (M), Brad Goodman, Jim Beall, Dr. Michael Moore

Room 8 - Privilege of Beauty in Film & TV: While characters in novels aren't always attractive, the same cannot be said for those whose faces grace the big and small screens. There are few unattractive characters and most are outright stunning. When confronted by a steady stream of actors such as Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Jensen Ackles, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucy Liu, or Paul Newman, what effect does this lack of "beauty" diversity have on audiences? How does beauty differ from page to screen to real life? Do we crave the illusion of beauty in television and film or is it just part of a storytelling toolkit for the digital medium? Does beauty matter or is it another form of bias that we need to stamp out? - Carrie Vaughn, Leona Wisoker, Tara Moeller, Nickie Jamison

Room L - Science Fiction's Redheaded Stepchildren: Do you have that favorite show that disappeared before it's time? Can't explain your love of Terra Nova, The Cape, or Caprica? Were you that one guy who bought the American version of Life on Mars just so you could hear the show runners explain the ending? You will find like-minded people discussing those shows that everyone else forgot. - D.J. McGuire, Maya Preisler


Room M - Splendid Teapot Racing: How to Build a Racer and What it’s All About: Come learn all about Splendid Teapot Racing, the Steampunk sport that began in New Zealand the night before you watch the race! - Marilyn Romero, John Winsley

Main Hotel Lobby Fireplace - Bedtime Stories: Toddlers through teens are invited to cozy up by the fireplace to listen to an exciting short story with Brittany or enjoy an original picture book read by the author, Donna Patterson.


Room 3 - It Came from the Slush Pile: Editors of short fiction share their slush pile horror stories. What are the turns of phrase that have made you spit coffee over your keyboard? What are the cover letter faux pas writers keep committing? What are the stories that have made you edit your guidelines to avoid seeing their like ever again? Part advice for new submitters, part venting for slush pile veterans, this panel should warn both groups just what they're up against–or competing against.  - Chris Kennedy, Michael Pederson

Room 4 - Fan Art: Is fan inspired art (the art equivalent of FanFic) actually creating your own art? Discussion of how artists do it and make it their own!  - Tim Shinn, Maya Preisler

Room 5 - LGBTQ+ Werewolves in Mythology and Folklore: This workshop will highlight the major themes of gender variation and sexuality among werewolves and other shapeshifters in the mythology and folklore of selected cultures including ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Norse, and Native American. Additionally, the portrayal of LGBTQ+ werewolves in modern popular culture will be discussed.This workshop will highlight the major themes of gender variation and sexuality among werewolves and other shapeshifters in the mythology and folklore of selected cultures including ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Norse, and Native American. Additionally, the portrayal of LGBTQ+ werewolves in modern popular culture will be discussed. - Mel Mystery

Room 6 - The Wolf-Man and More: Lon Chaney, Jr: The horror film life of Lon Chaney, Jr. - Team Fantasmo

Room 7 - Interview with a Dalek: Interview with a Dalek Have you ever wanted to talk to a dalek and not risk extermination? Here is your chance, as a dalek from the cult of Skaro has agreed to answer your questions about dalek history, twists in time, and their extreme hatred of the Doctor. - Old Dominion Daleks

Room 8 - Wonder Woman: The breakout character from Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was Wonder Woman, and she later not only received her own movie, but co-starred in Justice League. Panelists talk about Wonder Woman through the years as a tv show character, comic book character and feminist icon. - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Carrie Vaughn, Elizabeth Pasieczny


Room L - All Nerds are Socially Awkward and Other Myths: It may be the Age of the Geek, but shows like The Big Bang Theory demonstrate that negative stereotypes about who nerds and geeks are and what we're like still persist in mainstream culture. This panel will explore where those misconceptions come from and how they can feed into and perpetuate many of the issues geek culture is currently struggling with, such as harassment, gatekeeping, and lack of better representation. - Jim Minz, Jason Carney, Kacey Ezell, Michael Khandelwal, John Baldari

Room M - Meet the Rebel Legion  (1 1/2 hours): We are the Heroes! Interested in costuming as the good guys of Star Wars? Come and learn how you can join up and be part of our organization and be able to get involved in costuming, community and charity!


        Large Auditorium - Mikey Mason (1 hour)



Room 4 - Comics in the Classroom: With visual culture becoming more and more integral to our lives, teachers are turning to comics as a new source for pedagogical material. This panel discusses strategies for integrating comics into elementary, high school and university teaching.  - Drey Mychalus, Elizabeth Pasieczny

Room 5 - What's New and Old in Queer Speculative Fiction: Come find out all about queer speculative fiction - who writes it and where to start! - Warren Rochelle

Room 6 - Publicity for Newbies: With 800,000 new books every year on Amazon, the hardest part of being a successful writer isn’t crafting a great story, but rising above the noise to get noticed. How does an aspiring author (or even an accomplished one) do this? Come to this workshop and find out!  - Chris Kennedy

Room 7 - Research, Point of View, and Filtering: How to immerse the reader in a strange setting without drowning them in facts and how to incorporate research into your worldbuilding, and convey it gracefully to the reader. - David A. Tatum, Rowan Worth, Maria V. Snyder, Kim Iverson Headlee

Room 8 - The Monsters Inside Us: Veterans or those with a "scarred life" discuss the demons we carry within us and how they may or may not affect us, our families and society. Panelists will also delve into PTSD and other veteran issues that make us feel like lone-wolves with no support; feelings of sorrow, fear, hate, acceptance, as well as the monsters featured inside characters in entertainment. - Robert McMath, Tara Moeller, Drew Avera, Arlechina Verdigris

Room L - Super-Powered Television: From Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the Inhumans, the Green Arrow, the Flash, and Jessica Jones, superheroes are everywhere on the small screen. What makes live-action comic book stories so popular today? Which shows are the panelists favorites? - John Desmarais, Crystal Smalling


Large Auditorium - Dillzilla! Come to the evening premiere proceeding this year’s Friday night show, and check out the Pickle Lady’s film! Run for your lives, we are being attacked by a 100 foot pickle! Can the National Guard, Ma or anyone stop this demented dill before the town is destroyed? - Elizabeth Pasieczny 

Large Auditorium - An American Werewolf in London (1981): This year's Friday night show, hosted by Rob Floyd, features the 1981 John Landis classic, An American Werewolf in London.

Room 7 - Ready, Set, Flash!: Four authors are each given five minutes in order to write stories based on a theme given by the audience, who then vote for their favourite. - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Tara Moeller, Kacey Ezell, Drew Avera


Con Suite - Filk & Cookies (2 hours)


9:00 am

Poolside - Morning PT with TRMN: Captain Burnham and Lieutenant Cunningham of HMS Atropos lead MarsCon's early risers in a regimen to start the day off with energy and fitness.


Large Auditorium - Improv 101 (All Ages): If you are a fan of shows like "Whose Line is It Anyway" or are just looking for a good time, check out Improv 101. Learn to play fun games like Scenes from a Hat, The Dating Game, and much more! Get ready for a fun full hour of nerdiest at its finest! Hope to see you there! - Keith R.A. DeCandido

Small Auditorium - Behind the Music: Come find out where the inspiration comes from for this year’s musical guests and their songs! - 1 hour & 45 mins

Room 1 - Wolf Songs Drum & Chant Workshop: Come learn a truly ancient combat dance with a dark past. The black wolf king has abducted your queen and the red wolf prince must fight him. You are the soldiers in the red and black armies. You can choose to be a wolf of the dead or a wolf of the living. Together both armies will dance and we will see who wins the queen. The dance is simple enough for beginners.  - Arlechina Verdigris


Room 3 - Geek Out about Werewolves: Beware - there will be spoilers!


Room 4 - My Favorite Fictional Spaceship: Come on, admit it, we all have our favorite spaceship from fiction, whether the Planet Express ship or the Enterprise. What is yours? Audience participation STRONGLY encouraged! - Christopher De Matteo, Drew Avera, Julie Wall

Room 5 - Writer's Workshop - Allen Wold, Warren Rochelle, David A. Tatum, Blake Renworth (2 hours)


Room 6 - The Hand Forged Blade:  Dave Catoe will share his experience as a contestant on the History Channel's Forged In Fire television series and show a video of the construction techniques of a forged blade made especially for MarsCon. That blade, and other handmade examples of the craft, will be available for the attendees to see and hold. Dave will also answer any questions relating to the history of bladesmithing and how modern techniques have changed the way blades are made today.- Dave Catoe


Room 7 - Building a Magical World: Panelists discuss methods for creating magic systems and ways those systems can interact with the world around them. - Pamela K. Kinney, Leona Wisoker, Jason Carney, Rowan Worth, Maria V. Snyder


Room 8 - Are Any Myths Sacred?: Disney is known for rewriting classic literature in their trademark vanilla style, turning age-old stories into products they can sue over. Now they are even rewriting their own stories. How far can Disney-style recycling go? Are any myths out of reach? - JD Jordan, Drey Mychalus, Elizabeth Pasieczny


Room L - Cosplay Materials 101: Ever wondered what fabric to use to make a costume? Ever saw a cool prop and thought, what could I make it out of? This panel is for you! Familiarize yourself with the various materials possible to construct cosplay with and where to find them!  - Erica Bortnick, John Winsley

Room M - Photoshop Cheats for Overworked Artists: If you’re like most of us, being an artist is something we do after the job or classes. Rachael has been an artist with over twenty years of experience and has been working on webcomics for Tangent Artists. since 2009. Rachael will cover layers, masks, modes, brushes, and everything in between included (shh!) trade secrets on how to get a stunning comic page without spending MONTHS on a single page. - Rachael Hixon

Poolside: Tidewater Alliance Lightsaber Academy: An interactive lesson & usage of the lightsaber, fun for all ages! - The Tidewater Alliance

Crafting Corner near Pitcher’s Restaurant - Wolf Marionette Workshop: Make your own puppet out of simple supplies which you can walk around the Con and make howl at the moon!


Room 1 - Lego Robotics: Learn what it takes to make it in the Lego League with these State Champions. You will get a chance to drive some of their vehicles and hear about the challenges they have faced in competition, including building and programming Lego robotic equipment to complete amazing tasks!

Room 3 - Geek Out about Star Wars: Beware - there will be spoilers!  -Sarah Burger


Room 4 - Magic for Me: Performer and magician Jeff Brown will not just entertain you, he will also be sharing trade secrets!  Come try your own sleight of hand with our experienced instructor and entertainer.


Room 6 - Meet the Fan Groups: Captain Burnham of HMS Atropos hosts representatives from the TRMN, SCA, Klingons, Teapot Racers, and other groups as they take some time to talk about their organizations and encourage you to join whichever groups interest you. - TRMN, SCA, Klingons, Etc

Room 7 - Genre Blending: Whether it's a steampunk fairytale or an end of the world love story between science and magic or a Hong Kong-style revenge space opera, stories are spilling over the edges of genre. When is it done well? What is left to explore? - Carrie Vaughn, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Chris Kennedy, JD Jordan, Kacey Ezell

Room 8 - Fantasy Tropes - A Writing Tool or a Story Crutch?: Tired of princesses and dragons and swarming hordes overrunning fantasy novels? What about the questing orphan turning from farmer to prince? The internet contains a lot of rants against such tropes, but are tropes really that bad? What happens to a fantasy story that tries to avoid every trope? Is such a story revolutionary or unmarketable? Is it even doable? Panelists discuss the use and avoidance of tropes in developing storylines.  - Jim Minz, Jason Carney, Rowan Worth, Donna Patterson


Room L - RavenCon Meeting: Each year, our sister convention RavenCon has a meeting at MarsCon. Come learn what's going on and see how you can get involved! - Michael Pederson and RavenCon Staff


Room M - Working with Foam: Discover the tricks of working with Foam to create the perfect costume or costume accessory. - Dave Lee

Pool - Mermaid Beauty Secrets: Want to learn some mermaid secrets? Join our professional mermaid with her many years as a siren of the seas, synchronized swimming coach and swimmer, and a premiere princess/character entertainer for over a decade! She will you give you her tips to apply and which to buy.


Room E - MarsCon Doctor Who Tea Party (1 ½ hours): Come enjoy tea and treats at the original MarsCon Doctor Who Tea Party! Seating is limited. Sign-up available in the hallway, $5 entry fee required.



Small Auditorium - Rhiannon’s Lark Concert

Room 1 - Magic the Gathering Rivals of Ixalan Pre-Release (6 hours)

Room 3 - Geek Out About the DC: Beware - there will be spoilers! - Sarah Burger


Room 4 -  Crowdfunding Your Way to Success in Gaming: Crowdfunding has passed the stage of being "all the rage" and is now becoming a stable way to launch new board, card and video games. However, what does it take to hold a successful crowdfunding games campaign, and what steps should be taken after this is complete? Our panelists share their tips and trick on crowdfunding within the gaming industry. - John Desmarais, Gareth Johnson


Room 5 -Ain't No Cosplay High Enough: Basic clothing shapes are basic clothing shapes no matter whether it’s for your favorite anime or sci fi character or street wear.  This panel will cover the basic adjustments to OTC patterns to fit body types and how to adjust the shape to create new lines for cosplay ideas.  Bring along your sketches and pictures for your next cosplay and if there is time, the floor will be opened for specific questions on how to adapt patterns to your idea.  - Janna Beaufait


Room 6 - Werewolf Folklore and Legend: An overview of werewolves from folklore and legends. - Team Fantasmo


Room 7 - History of the Tidewater Fandom: Frank Kelly Freas: Mike Khandelwal presents the history of the Tidewater Fandom as it centers around Frank Kelly Freas - Michael Khandelwal


Room 8 - Ways to Motivate, Impede, and Change Female Characters: Women's sexuality has been used as backstory for far too long. We'll talk about other ways to flesh out female characters, realistic portrayals of trauma, and the variety of motivations for women, with examples from Furiosa, Jessica Jones, and more. - Leona Wisoker, Elizabeth Pasieczny, Arlechina Verdigris


Room L -The Fermi Paradox: So where are signs of alien civilizations? Is it a case of not looking the right way, they are too far to detect, or something else? This panel will discuss this problem first postulated nearly 70 years ago and still very much a topic to this day. So why haven’t we found signs of intelligent life yet in spite of decades of searching? - JD Jordan, Drey Mychalus, Jim Beall

Poolside: Tidewater Alliance Lightsaber Academy: An interactive lesson & usage of the lightsaber, fun for all ages! - The Tidewater Alliance

Pool - Mermaid Swimming Lessons: Learn the basics of how to swim like a wild beauty of the deep. Our professional mermaid with her many years as a siren of the seas, synchronized swimming coach and swimmer will teach you the basics of mermaid swimming. Bring a swimsuit and swim accessories as needed.  All ages are welcome as long as participants are good swimmers. Participants must be comfortable and capable of staying in the water without their feet touching the bottom, as well as putting their heads underwater. An easy test of retrieving 2 rings from the bottom and swimming to deep end and back will be requested at the beginning. NOTE: Although a lifeguard will be on duty during our pool programming please remember that you, not MarsCon nor the DoubleTree Hotel, will be responsible for the safety of yourself and your children.


Room 3 - Geek Out About Marvel: Geek out about all things in the Marvel. Beware - there will be spoilers! - Sarah Burger


Room 4 -  Middle Grade and YA Fiction: What's the Difference?: YA and MG, it's all just kids lit, right? Not necessarily. James and the Giant Peach is a much different story than The Hunger Games, and yet the two audiences often get lumped together -- like we're doing here. So, let's break them apart. Panelists discuss defining characteristics of Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction, differences in worldview, special problems -- and provide some literary examples. - John Desmarais, Tara Moeller, Maria V. Snyder, Donna Patterson

Room 5 - Werewolf Mythos in Pre-Augustan Rome: Before the great Augustus Caesar came in and streamlined the Roman religion, Rome was all about the cult of the wolf. Who were Romulus and Remus? What does the She-Wolf of Rome actually represent? And what does all of this have to do with modern werewolves? Come find out.  - Arlechina Verdigris

Room 6 -The Life of Wolves: Learn about the real life habits of a wolf pack. - Virginia Living Museum


Room 7 - History of the Tidewater Fandom: HaRoSFA & Sci-Con: Panelists discuss the early years of The Hampton Roads Science Fiction Association and it's Con Creation: Sci-Con! - Julie Wall, Ivan Clark, John Kaiser, Linda Kaiser, Butch Allen


Room 8 - Them's Fighting Words: Writing Combat in Science Fiction: We’ve all seen movies or read stories where what we know about science does not mesh with what’s presented to us. Science fiction readers are willing to suspend their disbelief to a point, and it’s important to know where that point is. This panel will focus on the finer details of writing combat in science fiction where the planet, the vacuum of space, and the technology can all challenge what we know. - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Chris Kennedy, Kacey Ezell, Mark Wandrey


Room L - Writing for Tabletop RPGs: Have an idea for a fantastic tabletop adventure? Want to break into the world of freelance writing?  Come discuss what it takes to get published with one of tabletop's leading producers of RPG games. - Tonya Woldridge


Room M - Mars Exploration Update: Get an update on the exploration of Mars! - Dr. Eric Queen

ConSuite: White Plectrum (45 mins)

Main Lobby: Martian Midway (2 hours): Come one, come all and join us for an afternoon of games, merriment, and prizes at MarsCon's Martian Midway. Compete in Barsoomic Bowling, Alien Egg Toss, Olympus Mons Penny Drop, and more to win tickets to trade in for prizes, or just come by to get your face painted. All con-goers get 3 free tickets when you show your badge, additional tickets can be purchased at the Midway Management table during the event. All proceeds benefit MarsCon's charity of choice, the Heritage Humane Society.

Poolside: Legend LARP Demo

Pool - Water Quidditch: Think what you got what it takes to be a seeker, chaser, beater or keeper.... but that darn gravity is keeps pulling ya down? Come try it in the water! Each witch or wizard will receive a broom (or pool noodle) to fly on, and try to beat the other team! Rules will be covered at the pool! Bring a swimsuit and swim accessories as needed.  Please note: All ages are welcome as long as participants are good swimmers. Participants must be comfortable and capable of staying in the water without their feet touching the bottom, as well as putting their heads underwater. An easy test of retrieving 2 rings from the bottom and swimming to deep end and back will be requested at the beginning. Although a lifeguard will be on duty during our pool programming please remember that you, not MarsCon nor the DoubleTree Hotel, will be responsible for the safety of yourself and your children.


        Small Auditorium - Nosferatu (1922): Soundtrack by Valentine Wolfe (2 Hours)



Large Auditorium - Carrie Vaughn Interview: Get to know this year's Author Guest of Honor! - Michael Pederson

Room 3 - Geek Out about Doctor Who: Beware - there will be spoilers!


Room 4 - Cosplay on a Budget: Cosplay can be an expensive hobby. But don't worry, you don't need to buy that super expensive clay or thermoplastic sheet to make your cosplay successful and look awesome! This panel will share methods that could help you complete that awesome cosplay but at a fraction of a cost. This would include tips like coupons and trend shopping, reusing found materials and getting creative with your project. - Erica Bortnick, Angela Pritchett


Room 5 - Allen Wold’s Plotting Workshop (2 Hours) - Allen Wold


Room 6 - The 1893 Columbian Exposition: Many of us know about the 1893 Columbian Exposition, aka the Chicago World’s Fair, thanks to America’s first serial killer H.H. Holmes. In this panel we’ll look at some of the other reasons why it was a significant event. We’ll talk about the Egyptology Exhibit and how it introduced Arabic culture, namely the art of belly dance, to the eager US masses. Professional belly dancer Aela Badiana, will show just why Steampunk and belly dance are perfect for each other. - Dave Lee


Room 7 - History of the Tidewater Fandom: Past Cons Gone but Not Forgotten: A discussion of past local conventions that live on forever in our memories.  - Michael Khandelwal, Julie Wall, John Desmarais, Butch Allen


Room 8 - Finance for Writers: Fiscal survival is what it's all about. - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Pamela K. Kinney, Chris Kennedy, Kim Iverson Headlee


Room L - Jessica Jones: Antihero or Anti-Hero?: Jessica Jones – is she really the hero that everyone expects her to be? Is she a hero at all? Though her comic series has existed since 2001, Marvel’s Netflix show, Jessica Jones, changes the dynamic of how superheroes are represented in the media. Join in a discussion of the ethics of the hero business and what this means for the future of the superhero genre. - Elizabeth Pasieczny, John Baldari


Room M - Mars or Bust?: There is growing excitement about a human Mars mission. One of the benefits of moving humanity off-Earth is the incredible range of possibilities. Before the PR juggernaut obviates the debate, we must ask seriously; Is Mars the best next step for Human space expansion?  - Dr. Michael Moore and Guests

ConSuite - Win Lose and Tim Draws: This year's Win, Lose, or Draw will have a special guest doing the drawing - our Artist Guest of Honor, Tim Shinn! Come join a team and win a fantastic prize!  - Tim Shinn

In Front of Pitcher’s - Splendid Teapot Race: Join this fun and entertaining event! (2 hours)

Poolside: Tidewater Alliance Lightsaber Academy: An interactive lesson & usage of the lightsaber, fun for all ages! - The Tidewater Alliance



Large Auditorium - Carrie Vaughn Autograph Session: Bring your books to be signed by this year's Author Guest of Honor!

Room 3 - Geek Out about Supernatural - Beware - there will be spoilers! -Sarah Burger

Room 4 - Asian Ancestresses: From Mulan, to Begum Nur Jahan, to Princess Shirin, to the Lady of Mount Ledang, the mythologies and histories of Asia are filled with women who tower large, rivaling the men of their times despite the unequal footing. How were their stories told to us when we were children? How did we find out more about them? What lessons can we take from their stories? And how do we retell them and partake in their legacies today? - Maya Preisler, Angela Pritchett

Room 6 - Meet the ORCS!


Room 7 - Social Media for Writers: What social media trends are necessary for the writer building their web footprint? What are some important things to do, and what should you not do? - Rowan Worth, Nickie Jamison


Room 8 - Evoking Emotions, Provoking Readers: Creating authentic characters who seem to experience a full range of believable emotions is only half the equation in character-building. How can we use character emotions to evoke real feelings in our readers? What other tricks are there? - Dave Lee, Kacey Ezell, Maria V. Snyder, Mark Wandrey


Room L - Questions to Ask When Creating a Fictional Culture: How does one create a fictional culture that is tangible, realistic and sucks readers in? Need help avoiding overdone or stereotypical culture devices? This panel will discuss important questions writers must ask themselves when creating a fictional culture. - David A. Tatum, Christopher De Matteo, Jim Beall, Donna Patterson


Room M - Editing for Your Spouse/Partner/BFF/Pet: “Can you read this and tell me what you think?” is a question to test any relationship. We will learn some ways to navigate that communications minefield while musing on the nature of editing, the care and feeding of your larval writer and some small, practical steps towards upping our editing game. - D.J. McGuire, Chris Kennedy, Tara Moeller, Nicole Ordway

Con Suite: Mikey Mason


Room E - MarsCon Doctor Who Tea Party (1 ½ hours): Come enjoy tea and treats at the original MarsCon Doctor Who Tea Party! Seating is limited. Sign-up available in the hallway, $5 entry fee required



Large Auditorium - Luna-C (45 mins): Come check out one of the funniest sketch comedy groups around!

Small Auditorium - Dillzilla! Run for your lives, we are being attacked by a 100 foot pickle! Can the National Guard, Ma or anyone stop this demented dill before the town is destroyed?

Room 4 - Getting Started With Your Comic: Part 1: You have a great idea for a comic, what now? This handy 2-part panel can help you get started. It’s hosted by Monica Marier and David Joria who have been writing and drawing webcomics together since 2006. Part 1 focuses on getting story ideas and characters, and translating them into a basic plot and script. From tension to plot devices we cover the basics of plotting a good issue. What’s the ideal length? What sort of characters play well off each other? What on earth is a Macguffin? - Monica Marier, David Joria

Room 5 - Costume Contest Prejudging (2 Hours): Sign up for the costume contest in Artist’s Alley, then come here for the pre-judging segment of the costume contest. Not open to the public, contestants only, please.


Room 7 -Marvel Through the Mediums: What do Marvel's The Avengers, Disney XD's Avengers Assemble, and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D show about storytelling? They demonstrate that the tale of Earth's mightiest heroes can be told through different mediums. Panelists discuss storytelling in an ever-evolving creative landscape through live-action television, animation, and the digital space, along with the skill sets, trends, and challenges. - Keith R.A. DeCandido

Room 8 - Creating Your Own Religion: Which SF authors create interesting, believable religions, and which get religion wrong? (What does it mean to "get religion wrong" anyway?) Do made-up religions with intervening gods work better than those without? How can we as writers avoid making mistakes when creating and writing about fictional religions? - Leona Wisoker, Christopher De Matteo, Drey Mychalus, Nickie Jamison, Donna Patterson

Room L - Artificial Intelligence in Literature Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Although the term “artificial intelligence” is relatively recent, the concept of non human artificially made creatures exhibiting close to human intelligence and emotions can be traced back to the mythological tales and literature. This panel will discuss artificial intelligence in literature from ancient to modern times. - Jason Carney, John Baldari, Mark Wandrey, Andrew Hiller

Room M - ISS Robotics: While there may be disagreement about the precise definition of a robot, there are many systems aboard the International Space Station that behave in a robotic manner. This presentation describes what’s up, what’s planned, and explores how robots and humans work together. - Brad Goodman

Poolside - SCA Demonstration (2 hours)



Room 6 - Baen Books Traveling Road Show: Come to the annual Baen Books Traveling Road Show! Win a book and find out what's new from Baen! - Toni Weisskopf, Jim Minz, Kacey Ezell (1 ½ hours)


Large Auditorium - The Blibbering Humdingers  (1 hour)

Small Auditorium - I was Literally a Teenage Werewolf: Craig T. Adams of Fuzz and Stuffing Puppets and the Doctor Madblood TV show presents “I, Werewolf: The Curse of the Brotherhood,” an 8mm film he made when he was 14 years old. Also playing “Hair of the Dog,” a Doctor Madblood episode from 1995 which he wrote and sprouted hair in. A brief question and answer session follows. - Craig T. Adams

Room 4 - Getting Started With Your Comic: Part 2: You have a great idea for a comic, what now? This handy 2-part panel can help you get started. It’s hosted by Monica Marier and David Joria who have been writing and drawing webcomics together since 2006. Part 2 focuses on the art basics and writer-artist collaboration.  How to write so your artist can draw, and how to ask your writer questions so you can work. It also focuses on layouts, mood setting, “camera angles,” communicating a story through your art, and the terror of speech bubbles. - Monica Marier, David Joria

Room 7 - Latchkey Kids in Fiction: Parents are often missing (or at least sidelined) in today's young adult fiction. With the emergence of these latchkey kids who come home to empty houses and who have very little (if any) parental supervision, what message is this sending to today's readers? What purpose do these absentee parents play in the larger story? Sure, it ratchets up the tension, but why is it such a common theme? Moreover, what resources are available to these latchkey kids and what dangers should they keep in mind when operating without a parent? - Tara Moeller, Maria V. Snyder, Andrew Hiller


Room 8 - Star Trek The Original Series: Top 10 Best and Worst: Every Star Trek fan has their favorite TOS episode, and one they'd rather forget existed (we know we do!).  Set your phasers to fun as we host a hilarious and interactive "Top 10" style game where we determine either the best of the best... ...or the worst of the worst - with prizes offered to the most passionate (or gut-bustingly funny) defenses of our favorite show! - Keith R.A. DeCandido, D.J. McGuire, Brad Goodman


Room L - Femme Fantasy: B*tch or Bad-ass?: Exploring the culture and characterization of women heroes in Fantasy and Cross-genres. Are the "new" women a force to be reckoned with or simple a force with a bad attitude? - Pamela K. Kinney, JD Jordan, John Baldari, H.J. Harding

Room M - Rising Above the Noise: Maximizing Your Profits with Now that you’ve got a book, how do you get people to find it among the 800,000 books that will be published on Amazon this year? How do you draw attention to your book and get into the Amazon algorithm? You need to know Amazon’s algorithm and how to beat it if you want to maximize your sales. This workshop will show you the path to success Chris used to sell 40,000 books last year and have two different #1 Amazon best sellers!  - Chris Kennedy


Large Auditorium - Costume Contest (1 ½ hours): Strut your stuff and show your skills in our annual Costume Contest! Sign up Friday or Saturday morning in Artist Alley and be sure and report to the prejudging in order to compete.




Room 4 - Physical Intuition and the Suspension of Disbelief: Readers want to suspend their disbelief in our improbable scenarios, but one violation of their physical intuition is all it takes to lose their trust forever. How do we keep it feeling real, even when the impossible is happening?  - Nicole Ordway, Nickie Jamison, Mark Wandrey

Room 6 - The Hand Forged Blade: Dave Catoe will share his experience as a contestant on the History Channel's Forged In Fire television series and show a video of the construction techniques of a forged blade made especially for MarsCon. That blade, and other handmade examples of the craft, will be available for the attendees to see and hold. Dave will also answer any questions relating to the history of bladesmithing and how modern techniques have changed the way blades are made today. - Dave Catoe


Room 7 -  Series-Long Arcs: We've seen it in several different franchises, whether it's the Kitty Norville books or the Dresden series; often, a book series is leading up to an ultimate confrontation. How long is too long, and where do you go after it's happened? How do you keep the reader invested in the series?  - Drew Avera, Toni Weisskopf, Lisa Ray

Room 8 - Worldbuilding 201: Filling in the Details: Once you've got the big details of your world in place, how can you use subtler details - food, clothing styles, architecture, games, etc - to reinforce the big picture? - Pamela K. Kinney, David A. Tatum, Maria V. Snyder, Christopher De Matteo

Room L - Harrington, Hornblower, and Lucky Jack: Captains Romero and McDonald of the Royal Manticoran Navy lead a discussion into how David Weber's heroine Honor Harrington was inspired by the historical fiction of C.S. Forester and others.  Given time, we'll conclude with a theoretical discussion into who would be victorious in a single ship engagement between Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey. - Captain Romero, Captain McDonald

Room M - Star Wars Fan Talk 101: Come geek out with your fellow Star Wars fans! Talk about a wide range of topics from canon material to the legendary to the unknown of what Disney has in store for us and beyond! Moderated by members of the Rebel Legion. - Rebel Legion


Large Auditorium - Charity Auction (1 Hour): On behalf of the Heritage Humane Society. Come help us raise money for the kitties and puppies! - Auctioneer: Mike Khandelwal



Small Auditorium - Werewolves on Film: An overview of the best and sometimes worst werewolf movies. - Team Fantasmo

Room 4 - Social Media, or, Why I Haven't Finished My Novel: In which our panelists will talk about the pleasures and perils of social media when you have deadlines. - Nicole Ordway, H.J. Harding, Keith R.A. DeCandido


Room 7 - Mapping Your Novel: Maps in sf novels are either useful for the readers to keep track of where everything is in the novel and how characters move across the landscape. They can be terrific aids to world building but aren’t the easiest things to create. Panelist will discuss the advantages maps offer to an author, how to create them and make them believable, and how accurate authors need to be. - David A. Tatum, Maria V. Snyder

Room 8 - There Can Be More Than One: What Makes Strong Female Characters: Characters like Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel, and Supergirl have been wildly successful but the idea still exists that "there can be only one" kind of female character who will appeal to mass audiences at a time (and she's usually cisgender, white, able-bodied, and heterosexual). Women aren't a monolith and there are more amazing female characters in geek media beyond "tough women who kick ass." This panel explores what it means for female characters to be "strong" how that variety of "strength" is narrowed by race, gender, disability, and other identity factors; and the importance of reflecting the diversity of women's experiences. - Tara Moeller, Elizabeth Pasieczny, Kacey Ezell, Drew Avera

Room E - Leona Wisoker’s Book Launch Party (3 hours)

Room L - Space Travel and Religion: Astronauts and cosmonauts have observed their religions while in space, both publicly and privately. Muslims aboard the International Space Station have struggled with fulfilling their religious duties including kneeling and facing Mecca to pray in microgravity while traveling at thousands of miles per hour. As more people travel into space the practical concerns of practicing Earthbound religions will become more evident. How will people living on other worlds have to adjust where the days and years are different? How will the religious faiths of future space settlers change as more and more people take up a permanent presence on places like the Moon and Mars?  - Drey Mychalus, David Coffman, Dr. Michael Moore


Room M - Classic Doctor Who for Beginners (2 Hours): This presentation looks at essential and recommended serials from the Classic series that people who are only familiar with the new show should watch, either because they are very good, or they tell important pieces of the show's backstory.   - Sean Gleeson

Main Hotel Lobby Fireplace - Knit with Carrie! Join our GoH for a knitting/crocheting/crafting circle (8pm til whenever)


        Large Auditorium - Mikey Mason (1 hour)



Room 1 - Black Wolf vs Red Wolf Dance Workshop: Come learn a truly ancient combat dance with a dark past. The black wolf king has abducted your queen and the red wolf prince must fight him. You are the soldiers in the red and black armies. You can choose to be a wolf of the dead or a wolf of the living. Together both armies will dance and we will see who wins the queen. The dance is simple enough for beginners.  - Arlechina Verdigris

Room 4  - LGBTQ+ Alphabet Soup: An educational take on the different terms used within the LGBTQ+ community. We’ll start from basic terms and work our way through some not so common terms. - Maya Preisler, Mo Moeller

Room 6 - Let’s Draw a Face! Monica and Rachael of Tangent Artists teach attendants the basics of how to draw human facial features and how to make an expression sheet for an original character. - Monica Marier, Rachael Hixon

Room 7 - It's Not Torture if it's the Good Guys: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Zootopia at first glance appear to have little in common but both use the premise "I won't kill you, but my friend will." Just a few scenes apart in season 2 of Daredevil the lead is shown torturing someone "heroically" followed by a mob boss torturing someone "evilly." In this session we discuss the hows and whys this dichotomy has  developed and whether it is time to start challenging the notion of good torture on screen. - D.J. McGuire, Nickie Jamison, Jason Baldari


Room 8 - Westerns in Science Fiction and Fantasy: These days, the Western is the genre equivalent of peanut butter: not often served on its own, and yet it seems to go with just about everything. Why is the Western so appealing and adaptable, and what are the best examples of great Western fusion? - Jim Minz, JD Jordan, Drey Mychalus, Kacey Ezell

Room L - It Takes a Village moving at 80% the Speed of Light: How will parenting change aboard your generational colony ship? The values you impart will determine the success or failure of the ship and how society develops once you arrive. What parts of Earth’s culture will you jettison?   - David A. Tatum, Drew Avera, Mark Wandrey


Large Auditorium - Dungeon Masters of Vaudeville (1 ½ hours): Join world-renowned juggler and comedian Paul Garbanzo and torch songstress Madame Onça for 'Dungeon Masters of Vaudeville', a variety show full of danger, comedy and tongue-in-cheek references. Be thoroughly entertained by nationally touring sword-fighting duo Lords of Adventure, steampunk queens of bellydance Wicked Hips (USA), and so much more in this 1 1/2 hour vaudeville show!


Room 1 - Improv 101 (18+ Only): If you are a fan of shows like "Whose Line is It Anyway" or are just looking for a good time, check out Improv 101 - with a mature twist! Learn to play fun games like Scenes from a Hat, The Dating Game, and much more! Get ready for a fun full hour of nerdiest at its finest! Hope to see you there! - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Michael Khandelwal

Room 5 - Werewolf Sexuality (18+ Only): Do werewolves lust after more than just blood?  This discussion will focus on the sexual appetites of werewolves and other shapeshifters in popular culture, mythology, folklore, and historical accounts.  - Mel Mystery

Room 7 - Creature of the Night: SciFi & Fantasy in Romance (18+ Only): Romance novels are for lonely, middle-aged housewives...right? Ones who love vampires. And werewolves. And alien alpha male invaders. And cyborg commandos on remote space stations. Well, actually, it turns out that romance isn’t the same, tame genre it used to be, and we’re liking those changes.  Join us while we talk about changes in the romance genre, and all its smutty goodness. - Julie Wall, Rowan Worth, Nickie Jamison

Room 8 - Gay Retellings of Fairy Tales: More than Just Substituting a Straight Character with a Gay One: Panelists discuss how to create compelling retellings of traditional fairy tales with gay and lesbian twists. - Warren Rochelle


Con Suite - Billy Jack (2 hours)


        Large Auditorium - Nerdlesque (18+) (1.25 Hours): Burlesque with a geeky twist!



Large Auditorium - Dark Side of Classical - Valentine Wolfe

Room 1 - Practical Self Defense: Keith R.A. DeCandido, a black belt in karate, teaches you some basic techniques that will help you defend yourself against a physical assault. No prior training necessary (that's kind of the point), and we recommend you wear comfy clothes.  - Keith R.A. DeCandido

Room 3 - Freelancing in the Publishing Industry: The publishing industry makes frequent use of freelance talent, from editors to proofreaders. What freelancing roles are there? What do they do? How does one break into freelancing behind the scenes?- Chris Kennedy, Toni Weisskopf

Room 4 - History of the Book: From Cuneiform tablets to papyrus and parchment to paper, from the scroll to the codex to the hand-written and hand-bound book, to the Gutenberg Press and the e-book. Let us take a journey through time and technology. - Jason Carney, Arlechina Verdigris, H.J. Harding

Room 5 - Tea Etiquette with Talk of the Tavern


Room 6 - The Films of Tobe Hooper - Texas Chainsaw and Beyond: A look at the work of the late Tobe Hooper - Team Fantasmo

Room 7 - Writing Major Minor Characters: Do you ever read a book and come across a character that is so wonderful you want to know everything about them, yet you know you never will because they aren't the main character? Such characters add immeasurably to our reading experience and yet they are very hard to write. This session discusses how to do just that.  - Carrie Vaughn, Pamela K. Kinney, Michael Thompson, Kim Iverson Headlee

Room 8 - If the Pen is Mightier Than the Sword, Have You Been Stabbed Lately?: Our panelists discuss how to bring modern social issues and viewpoints (gay rights, feminism, war, poverty, immigration) into SF/F literature.  - Leona Wisoker, Tara Moeller, Andrew Hiller

Room L - Colossus, Skynet, or the Culture?: If and when our AI masters arrive, how will they come about? Will they spring spontaneously from the internet or be deliberately built by men? Our panelists discuss the possibility. Will they rule us, destroy us, or partner with us? With recent developments in robotics, are they already among us? - Jim Beall, Brad Goodman, John Baldari

Room M - No More HonorCon...Now What?: With HonorCon 2017 having been the last iteration of the convention being held in Raleigh, NC, Rear Admiral Lyons of the Royal Manticoran Navy discusses the future of military sci-fi themed conventions in our region.  Surprises are in store! - TRMN

Poolside - Tidewater Alliance Lightsaber Academy: An interactive lesson & usage of the lightsaber, fun for all ages! Presented by The Tidewater Alliance.


Large Auditorium - Rhiannon’s Lark Concert (45 minutes)

Room 1 - Lego Challenge (1 ½ hours): Participants will have the opportunity to earn Marsbucks to spend in the Dealers Room by earning points from completing Lego based challenges. Who can build the tallest tower or build something to toss the most bricks in a bucket? Come find out what the challenges will be and have fun!

Room 3 - Check In for the Amazing MarsCon Chase: Time to tally the points and see how well you did on our scavenger hunt. - Sarah Burger

Room 4 - Ranking the Doctors: Join the panelists as they rank all 13.5 Doctors from last to first! Possible spoilers for the Christmas special. - Sean Gleeson, Michael Pederson, Angela Pritchett

Room 5 - YA is the New Fiction Section: YA is now an established and dominant genre with much of our media dedicated to telling YA stories. How has the genre changed since its inception? Our young adult authors discuss this growing genre and how they have grown with it.  - Drey Mychalus, Maria V. Snyder

Room 6 - Theogony Books And Beyond: 30 Books In 2018: It doesn’t matter what you like in a book, Chris Kennedy Publishing probably has something for you in 2018. From bestselling sci-fi to thrillers to epic fantasy, we’ve got it all! Come see what will be released in 2018… and maybe win a free book for the effort. - Chris Kennedy, Mark Wandrey, Kacey Ezell


Room 7 - Class and Equality in Fantasy and Science Fiction: In even the most equalistic science fictional societies, class plays a role. They seem to be so endemic to the human psyche that authors can't get away from them. We look at how class is perceived by authors and how to develop them within a world. - Carrie Vaughn, Jason Carney, John Baldari


Room 8 - Is it Necessary to Unplug to Unwind?: We have all heard the advice about taking time to remove ourselves from our digital devices, but is that really necessary? Can one utilize technology to relax after a long day of using technology? - John Desmarais, Julie Wall, Nickie Jamison


Room L - Beyond Infinity: How close are we to interstellar travel?  - Toni Weisskopf (M), Jim Beall, Dr. Michael Moore


Room M - The Next Space Stations: The first elements of the ISS were launched 20 years ago. Today the Chinese are planning their own orbiting station, and the United States and Russia are developing a Deep Space Gateway to orbit the Moon. We can only guess what SpaceX or Bigelow Aerospace might come up with. - Brad Goodman


Large Auditorium - Valentine Wolfe

Harrison 3&4 - Art Auction - Mike Khandelwal

Room 3 - Rebel Legion Events: Come learn all about the different events the Rebel Legion appears at and participates in, and make a quick pitch for your own.

Room 4 - Tarot Spreads for Everyone: The centuries-old tradition of card reading provides a fascinating window into our own minds, showing us what we already know deep down. After a quick overview of Tarot history and deck structure, we will dive into exploring ways of reading the cards. There is no 'Right' way to use Tarot, but we have inherited many methods of laying out the cards for consideration. Come learn some creative 'spreads', or reading formats, from the classic and practical to the whimsical and futuristic. We may even create one together in this workshop!   - Madame Onça

Room 5 - The Fine Art of Cobble Together Cosplay: Sometimes called “closet cosplay” this panel is be designed for the complete novice wanting to put together something that will help them join in the cosplay fun. Bring your cosplay ideas with you so we can help you sort out your wardrobe to make it happen - Janna Beaufait and Andrea D'Amico

Room 6 - Marketing for Newbies: A common misconception among authors is that your book is your brand. Wrong! YOU are your brand! So…How do you draw attention to your brand and use it to gather sales? Come to this workshop and find out! - Chris Kennedy

Room 7 - Exclusivity and Social Media: The days of the phone tree and paper mailing list are rapidly fading. The rise of electronic media has changed how people communicate. This brings new problems: do certain people fail to hear about meetings because they aren't on Facebook? Who is in the dark about events because they don't have a Twitter account? Is the "hot new social media" becoming a means of age and other types of discrimination? Are people being excluded from the public discourse and the community because they lack a good internet connection, and what does that mean? - D.J. McGuire, Leona Wisoker, Nickie Jamison, David Coffman

Room 8 - Combining Artistic Passions: It is easy to pigeonhole creators as artist, author, or musician, but in truth, many of the most creative people combine passions in a variety of areas in order to produce their best work. Creators share what drives them and how they reach a synthesis. - Tim Shinn, Elizabeth Pasieczny, Arlechina Verdigris

Room L - Hard Science: Gift or Curse?: Science fiction is the art of imagination tempered by science, our panelists will discuss whether realistic science is a challenge or a boon to writing Sci-Fi. - Jim Beall, Toni Weisskopf, Mark Wandrey

Room M - Doctor Who and the Trouble with Time Travel: How do we travel in time without serious consequences? Can we change history at will, or does that make things go wibbly wobbly? What different outlooks has the show presented to the topic of time travelers changing history, and what do we think works most effectively as drama? - Angela Pritchett, Maya Preisler, Sean Gleeson


Large Auditorium - The Blibbering Humdingers Concert

Room 1 - Live Action Star Wars Chess (2 Hours): Live Action Star Wars Chess returns to MarsCon for the third year in a row. Will the Lightside or Darkside win this year? Will the Force be one with you? Wear your favorite Star Wars cosplay and come join in the game!

Room 3 - Allen Wold's Workshop Follow-Up (Invite Only)

Room 4 - Sell it, Baby! Costume Contest Pointers: Learn from the experts how best to perform in a costume contest and ensure that your cosplay stands out from the crowd! - Dave Lee, Michaela Lee

Room 5 - Star Wars from a Kid's POV: Remember when you were a kid? Are you a kid? Do you love Star Wars? Try to bridge the gap between what you knew as a kid to what kids are enjoying today, we'll open up the floor to hear what all ages have to say on why they love Star Wars, no matter what the iteration. Come join the discussion and find the Force that binds us all together! - Rebel Legion

Room 6 - Between Fire & Ice: Living in a Meridian(al World): The most common planets in a star’s habitable zone are overwhelmingly likely to be found around M-class stars—by far the most plentiful stellar type in the universe. However, any planet in the hab zone of such a star will be facelocked to it. So, would life be possible in such a strange environment, and if so, how likely/unlikely would it be. If it is possible, what would life be like without a diurnal cycle? How would plants adapt? What kind of creatures might evolve? And could humans colonize such worlds successfully? - David Coffman, Michael Pederson

Room 7 - The Name Came First: A werewolf named Kitty. A slayer named Buffy. A skull named Bob. Coming up with the perfect name for a character can be difficult, so just how do our writers manage it? Come find out! - Carrie Vaughn, David A. Tatum, Tara Moeller, Kim Iverson Headlee

Room 8 - Dystopia: The Rise and Fall of Societies: The image of the future is not always democracy and shiny stuff. Sometimes it's widespread civil oppression and technology which expands the human condition, for better or worse. Panelists discuss the elements which lead to the downfall of society, from Orwell to cyberpunk to Hunger Games. Topics will include mega corporations, cybernetics, transhumanism, and government oppression. - D.J. McGuire, Christopher De Matteo, John Baldari, Mark Wandrey

Room M - Beyond the Basics of Being a GM: Want to start running RPGs for your gaming group but afraid of where to begin? Have an ongoing campaign that needs a shot of nitro to spice things up? Bring your questions to this panel as our expert GMs talk about how to make a good game into a great one and how to overcome common issues facing GMs of all stripes while dealing with the George in your group. - John Desmarais, Jason Carney, Mark Geary, Charlie Stayton


        Large Auditorium - Round Robin Music (2 hours)


Room 4 - Sharing an Oral History: The Art of Verbal Storytelling: We’ve all been there: this absolutely amazing thing happened to you yesterday and you want to share it with your friends and family. You take a deep breath and begin…only to helplessly watch as the story falls directly on its face. Storytelling is an art, and like any art it takes practice, study, and one of those books where you draw Sparky the turtle on the grid then mail it to Pueblo CO. This panel will basically be the turtle grid. - Nicole Ordway, Arlechina Verdigris, Charlie Stayton

Room 6 - The View from Inside the Bowl: A Madblood Retrospective: Craig T. Adams ("Uncle Feloneous Madblood," "Brain," "Waldo Monster," and many more characters) and Debra Burrell ("Yokel," various puppet characters, script continuity) will show excerpts from episodes of "Dr. Madblood" and talk about working on the show for 37 years. The secret of how to schedule segments will be revealed. Brain himself will be in attendance, to answer questions more or less honestly. - Craig T. Adams, Debra Burrell

Room 7 - MarsCon 2019 Rally - Available MarsCon Staff

Room 8 - Where's My Jetpack?: In 1961, President John F. Kennedy promised an American presence on the moon before the end of the decade - and it happened. Computers went from being the size of a large room to being small enough to fit in a watch. Smartphones are now calculators, encyclopedias, and maps all in one. But cars aren't hovering, no one has personal jet packs or transporters, and video calls still lag horribly. When did technology start to stagnate and how do we keep moving forward?  - John Desmarais, David Coffman

Room L - A Brief History of Time Machines: There are other time machines in sci-fi besides the TARDIS. We'll talk about time travel, from H.G. Wells to the Time Tunnel to Quantum Leap. - D.J. McGuire, Michael Pederson

Room M - Apollo +50, A Retrospective: Starting with the Apollo 1 fire, a look at the chain of events that ultimately put 12 humans on the Moon.  - Brad Goodman



Large Auditorium - Closing Ceremonies: Join the MarsCon staff in closing out the con and finding out how things went over the weekend