Wednesday, March 6, 2013

FOGcon: Law, Order & Crime

FOGcon sounds like fun. If you're in the San Francisco Bay area, you'll want to check it out! Definitely a crime and mystery bent this year! 

FogCon 2013: Honored Guests: Terry Bisson, Susan R. Matthews and the Late Anthony Boucher

FOGcon ( is an annual science fiction and fantasy convention in the San Francisco Bay Area. Theme this year is Law, Order, and Crime. Mystery-reading friends invited to join discussions of books, fiction writing, and the future of crime. Dealers Room, and more.

FOGcon takes place from March 8-10 at the Marriott, Walnut Creek, CA (easily BART-accessible).  Memberships are $85 for the weekend; daypasses are $35/40/30 for each of the three days of the event.

Email FOGcon (contact on website) if you have any questions, or if you'd like to know more about FOGcon.

Theme: Law, Order and Crime 
New times create new crimes.

As societies change, both law and crime evolve, and punishment changes as well. Advances in technology (or the workings of magic) make possible crimes that we could never have predicted, methods of crimefighting unforeseen, prisons unlike any we have now. If a dragon is a citizen, are they allowed to eat people? How do you imprison a telepath? How does a civilization of teleporters keep from descending into anarchy? What rights do aliens or androids have? How can vast empires covering many lightyears maintain some sort of order?

The implications are much broader than the basic question of whodunnit. We are currently seeing major shifts in the balance between the individual and the state, privacy and convenience, freedom and security.

Speculative fiction has always explored questions like these, and the results have been some of our finest fictions. At FOGcon 3, we’re going to be discussing those questions and possible answers for our own future.

Sample panels:

Crime and Punishment: The Future of Prisons
Prison is changing. Prison populations are increasing, and state and local budgets are feeling the strain. One solution is privately owned for-profit prisons (which the state must contractually keep filled at a certain level). However, there's a growing consensus that prison doesn't work for certain kinds of offenders. Electronically monitored house arrest - for prisoners who can afford the expense - is already available. What alternatives to traditional prison sentences will be made possible by advances in technology? And what are the social and civil rights implications of all of the above?

Charismatic Criminals -- Why We Love Them
Whether it's Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat, Gibson's Molly Millions, Bester's Foyle, or Peter O'Donnel's Modesty Blaise, some criminals are unquestionably charismatic. Who are the most charismatic criminal protagonists not enough people have read? What's the magic that turns a selfish thug into a charismatic rebel? Are the rules for criminal heroes different for women or minorities? And were there any real-life Robin Hoods, or does that only ever happen in stories?

Historical Crime Fighters
Thief-takers, Bow Street Runners, Pinkerton detectives...What was solving crime like in the bad old days?

It's All About the Gravy
How do you thicken the plot in your fiction? What techniques can you use to increase tension? How do you change your story from a string of unrelated events into an exciting story? Writers talk about the craft of building a strong plot.

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