Featured Panels

Here are some of the highlights of 2013's programming. See the schedule.


Avatar: Legend of Korra

Come and discuss the sequel to the popular animated show, Avatar: The Last Airbender. What has changed, and was it for the best in this latest series?

50th Anniversary of Classic Anime

While 1963 is the 50th anniversary of a certain British TV show, three major SF anime series began in the same year. Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy), Tetsujin 28 (Gigantor), and 8 Man have influenced later anime and manga, and in this panel we'll discuss how and why they were so relevant.


More information coming soon!


Sandman's 25th Anniversary

Neil Gaiman's Sandman was a comic that not only helped change the way comics are made, but it was also one of those books that helped changed the public's perspective on comics in general. This year brings the series' 25th anniversary, and Gaiman is bringing to light a piece of the story that's been long missing. Come discuss one of the works that put the spotlight on DC's Vertigo line.

50 Years of X-Men

In September of 1963, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby opened the doors to Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, introducing the world to a group of flawed young teens with extraordinary powers. During its long history, X-Men has often dealt with themes of prejudice, racism, and alienation. Come discuss one of Marvel's most successful series.

Insanity and Evil in Comics

Mainstream comics, such as the Batman series, often depict their villains as being mentally ill in some way. Do comics really equate evil with insanity? How does this affect the real world, individuals who are mentally ill, or our perception of the mentally ill? Is mental instability being glorified by pop culture icons such as the Joker or Dexter? How are "evil" insane characters treated differently from "good" insane characters? How is their mental illness in turn treated differently?


More information coming soon!


More information coming soon!

Fan Interest

More information coming soon!


More information coming soon!


Hoodoo, Voodoo & the Bullshit That Authors Do

A discussion of the depiction of Santeria, Hoodoo, Voodoo, and other such practices. They are often co-opted and commodified by outsiders who don't respect them or the practitioners. Adding someone else's beliefs to your story to "spice" things up is a risky practice, especially when you don't have any connection to the community. We will also discuss oral traditions and why relying on books written by anthropologists instead of actual practitioners is a terrible idea.

The Arisia Book Club: Reading the Hugos

Read this year's Hugo-winning novel (Among Others by Jo Walton) and stories (“The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson; “Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders; and “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu) and come on down to discuss!

Greatest History Never Altered

Poul Anderson wrote a time travel story in which changing some of the finer details of the Punic Wars altered history beyond recognition, but most writers tend to stick to historical events more familiar to the readers. What other historical events would bring about interesting alternate histories? What does it take to change a more obscure historic event?


Build a Siege Engine!

Staging a siege this Arisia? We've got all the craft sticks, rubber bands, and stale marshmallows you'll need! Come design your own trebuchet, mangonel, ballista, or catapult and compete with your friends!

How to Go Pro as a Maker

Interested in turning your hobby into your profession? Come hear from our panelists who have done just that as they cover everything from raising funding to forming an LLC.

The Future of Rapid Prototyping Technology

3D printers, laser cutters, CNC mills, SLS machines... As the technology improves, these tools are starting to be used for actual production, not just prototyping. Where is this trend going? Are Star Trek style replicators on their way?


Movie Year in Review

Our annual look back at the year in SF, horror, and fantasy film. Our panel of experts will cover every theatrical release of 2012. Find out which ones are worth catching up with. Note: time for audience participation is reserved for the end of our panel's high speed review.

TV Year in Review

A look back at SF, horror and fantasy in 2012 on TV. What were the memorable shows? What are the new ones to watch? Vampires, time travel, super heroes—what's hot and what's not? No less than *3* panels on Doctor Who!


Song Contest: Doom, Gloom, and Despondency

This is a serious, formal, thematic, judged song contest. Attendees are expected to maintain a solemn aspect (e.g. dark clothes, long face, and soft, respectful speech). In the event of a breach of decorum (e.g. laughter), the offender will be evicted for the duration of the current song—and the singer will receive bonus points. Contestants should sign up in advance at Program Nexus.

Forming a Musical Group

What are the pros and cons of a performing group vs. going solo? How do you form a group, and what does it require? Do you audition people or ask people you know? What if someone isn't working out? What if your group becomes the next hottest thing? What if ...?

Geeks and Music: Beyond Filk

There are certain musical artists that seem to be consistently popular among geeky sorts beyond those artists that are directly referencing topics of interest. It makes sense that we would all listen to JoCo and Tom Lehrer, but what about all these Rush and Mountain Goats fans? Who are the artists "outside genre" that consistently appeal to the fandom audience and why is that? Who else should we be listening to?


The Psychology of Villainy

What does modern psychological research tell us about those who choose to harm others? Is there a neurochemical difference between, say, a pickpocket and an arsonist? There are papers which theorize that genes may play a role in an individual's ability to assess risk, which in turn affects the propensity for criminal behavior. Does all this research presage a society with squads of police arresting "pre-criminals"? Or does it absolve criminals as having biochemical or genetic predispositions?

Improbable Research and the Ig Nobels

Highlights from Ig Nobel prize-winning studies and patents as presented by luminaries and experts in dramatic mini-readings. Between presentations, members of the audience will be challenged to divine the intended purpose of diagrams from research papers.

Zombies: Victims of Parasites?

The idea of zombies is terrifying, with puppet-like mannerisms fueled by incomprehensible urges that seem contrary to nature. Strangely, this is more common than you might believe. From parasitic fungi that causes "zombie ants" to "voodoo wasps" injecting their offspring into termites, many parasites can affect the health and behavior of the host. Could infection by parasites be at the root of human behavior and even mental illness? What does that mean about the plausibility of real zombies?


Kill Your Darlings

William Faulker is oft-quoted as saying, "in writing, you must kill your darlings,” to indicate trimming the parts of your story that you love but just don't work. Do you find yourself writing around the object of your affection--whether a scene, setting, or character--to justify shoehorning it in? Stop now. This panel will give advice on the letting go of or changing your favorite bits that don't have the right fit for your story.

How to Give an Effective Reading

The workshop is specifically designed for authors who need to do readings at conventions, book-signings or other events. Just because you can write brilliantly does not necessarily mean you can read aloud brilliantly. Learn how to use voice acting techniques for greater impact in readings.