ConFusion 2020 in Novi, Michigan, January 17-19

January 17, 2020 — January 19, 2020

The Sheraton Detroit Novi 21111 Haggerty Rd Novi, Michigan 48375 USA get directions

ConFusion has quickly become one of my favorite midwest cons. It should be one of yours, too! Join me there for this awesome programming and so much more from excellent sff pros and fans.


Avoiding Muddled Messes in World-Building

Friday 6:00PM Isle Royale

World-building is one of the most important, and also most daunting, aspects of sff writing. Here we’ll examine some of the pitfalls of world-building, from cardboard cultures to “planet of hats” races and beyond. In an effort to get beyond fantasy couched in vague European-ness, and science fiction built entirely of jumpsuits and holodecks, we ask: “What can we do to create better, richer, more interesting, and more thoughtful worlds?”

Sarah E Gibbons (m), Cherie Melinda Priest, Tracy Townsend, J. Zachary Pike, R.B. Lemberg


How To Train Your Reader

Saturday 10:00AM Manitou

Established authors tend to become known for certain kinds of writing styles, genres, and ideas, which readers come to expect from every work. But how do authors practice this consistency? How do they train readers to look for their specific voice, world-building, characterization, etc, across different works and (sometimes) different genres? How can you use these tricks to keep readers wanting more?

Tracy Townsend (m), Dyrk Ashton, Brandon Crilly, Ferrett Steinmetz


Toothless?: Making Allies of Villains and Monsters

Saturday 11:00AM Interlochen

“Enemies to Friends” and the “Heel-Face Turn” are two of the most beloved and most common tropes in genre lit, particularly in fan writing. Shuffling characters into new teams between novels or seasons also lets us see characters, often villains or anti-heroes, in a new light. In this panel, we’ll discuss the appeal of seeing what was once horrific or threatening become (relatively) “safe,” the role of “redemption” (if any) in that process, and, of course, both favorite and “failed” Heel-Face turns.

Tracy Townsend (m), John Wiswell, Brandon Crilly, Marie Bilodeau


Mass Autographing Session – Saturday 3:00PM St. Clair


Non-Monarchic Governments in SF&F

Saturday 5:00PM Manitou

Historical fantasy loves its kings and queens almost as much as space opera loves its emperors, but do we need them? What are some interesting (or terrible) alternative methods of government, and how do they show up in our favourite genre stories? From Star Wars’ Senate to Le Guin’s Ekumen, what do we learn when we put aside crowns and dig a little deeper?

Tracy Townsend (m), John Wiswell, Ehud Maimon, Kristine Smith


Managing Geek Social Fallacies in Ourselves and Others

Sunday 10:00AM Keweenaw Michael Suileabhain-Wilson’s 2003 article “Five Geek Social Fallacies” describe common social anti-patterns–specific dysfunctions that tend to develop in geek social circles and communities. How can we spot and constructively address these anti-patterns in ourselves and others, and establish better boundaries and healthier social norms with our friends and communities?

Nora E. Derrington (m), Natalie Luhrs, Tracy Townsend, Stacey Filak


Reading: Elly Bangs, Tracy Townsend, Jenn Lyons-  Sunday 11:00AM Saugatuck