Panel Previews!  Here’s a sneak peek at some of the awesome panels and events at Back to the ConFusion 2015!




SF/F Spelling Bee

Come test your genre knowledge in the most fantastically fictitious spelling bee ever!   From Prydain to Arameri, TANSTAAFL to gafiate, Arrakis to Raxacoricofallapatorius, we’ll be waiting to see who can claim our prizes and the title of ConFusion spelling champ of 2015!  Emceed by our Fan GOH Aaron Thul!



Come see – or show off – the best costumes of the night! Judges will scrutinize. Crowds will cheer. Audiences will swoon. Honors will be awarded. Special guest emcee is our Music GOH Heather Dale!  Sign up at Ops if you plan to compete!


Karen Lord Interview

Best-selling author Tobias S. Buckell interviews our Author Guest of Honor Karen Lord.


Heather Dale Concert

Come hear our Music Guest of Honor! As a modern woman with Celtic roots, Heather finds new insight within old material, and cheerfully fuses the Celtic folk tradition with a healthy mix of world music and rock influences.


Tom Smith Concert

Once again, Tom Smith brings humor, energy, and a damn good time to everyone.


The Other BMI: A Talk About the Brain-Machine Interface with Dr. Cynthia Chestek

Our Science Guest of Honor discusses her work and knowledge on how brains and machines can interact, and what it means for society.


Author D&D

Peter V. Brett will once again lead a group of intrepid SF & Fantasy authors on a perilous (or hilarious) journey in a rousing game of Dungeons & Dragons, for everyone’s entertainment. Attendees are welcome to observe, but during the game we ask that you refrain from interrupting or disrupting the players.


Dessert Reception

ConFusion will once again offer attendees a chance to meet and greet our GoHs. Mix, mingle, and enjoy some sweet treats.


Polaris Fellowship of Weapons Study and Self Defense

Polaris will be back with a series of historical weapons demonstrations and hands-on weapons and self-defense workshops.


SubPress Guests Interviews

Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review will be interviewing all of our awesome Subterranean Press Special Guests: Joe Abercrombie, Ted Chiang, and Steven Erikson.


So This Is Your First ConFusion

Will this be your first ConFusion? That’s awesome!  And we have a panel just for you!  Friday evening and Saturday morning, Back to the ConFusion conchair Dave Klecha and other ‘Fusion veterans will personally help to keep your actual confusion to a minimum, tell you what we’re about, and what we have to offer you this weekend!



In keeping with our theme this year, ConFusion panelists will tackle all things time travel.


Time Travel TV

From Doctor Who to Outlander, what’s going on with time travel on TV?


2015: Reality vs. Back to the Future

How’s the real world shaping up against the 2015 we saw in Back to the Future? What’s cooler about reality than the vision we had then?


Time Travel Vids!

Fanvids are music videos created by fans, using clips from TV shows, movies, anime, etc. Come watch a selection of fanvids themed around time travel and alternate universes!


Is Paradox Really So Bad?

So there you are, back in 2015, and you almost run right into yourself! But really, who cares? Is the universe really going to end? Or will you just walk away saying “Well, that was the most screwed up thing I’m going to see today?” How bad would time travel paradox be, really?


Time Travel Devices, Doors, and Deus Ex Machinas

How to travel through time (in literature and media).



ConFusion’s art track once again brings you a mix of demonstration, hands-on workshops and chances to see local and other artists at work!


Life Drawing Class

Join Mike Kucharski in drawing a live (clothed) model. Sharpen your skills in figure drawing, including costumes and props. Note: attendance is limited, and attendees will need to bring their own drawing materials.


Iron Artist

Drawing/sculpture isn’t usually a performance art, but Iron Artists show how they work while creating a piece of art (or craft) on the assigned topic.


Whose Cartoon Is It Anyway?

A cartoonist face-off — the audience gives the panel of cartoonists a situation to draw. Cartoonist #1 draws half of it – Cartoonist #2 finishes it and adds a punchline, with Jim C. Hines narrating every thrilling moment!



Along with the Masquerade, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about the in, outs, and trials of costuming.


We Have Always Fought (In Real Armor)

When it comes to armor, women in genre fiction tend to get the short end of–well, everything. We’ll look at real women’s armor from history through the present day, and discuss how to design science fiction and fantasy armor for women that’s as impressive as it is protective.


Powersuits and Prosthetics

Science Fiction has long imagined a future when technology can replace or enhance human limbs. Join our panelists to discuss how to design plausible robotics for your science fiction hero.


How the **** Do I Make This???: Stump the Costume Experts

A lively and popular discussion returns! Come ask a panel of experienced costumers your toughest questions about how to build oddball, unique, or just plain difficult things, from articulated wings to suits that light up when you talk.



From modern superheroes to the broader world outside DC and Marvel, we have some great comics discussion planned.


The Comics Code

Where have all the diverse, feminist comics gone? How about the 1930s and 40s, in the days before the Comics Code?


Why is Captain America Working for Our Jaded Ironic Disaffected Selves?

It’s a grimdark world–but one of the most popular comic book heroes of recent years is Captain America, who still stands for truth and justice. Is a good man too boring in a world of dark knights? What do we love about Cap?



What’s a fan convention without the chance to talk all about fandom?


The Convention of the Future

With the fast rise of multimedia-focused conventions like DragonCon, etc., what do we see as the future of SF conventions?


Diversity in [blank]

Issues of race, class, gender, identity, orientation, generation and geography are among the most important conversations being had today both within and across a broad range of fandoms (SF/F, comics, gaming, cosplay, etc.).  How do we navigate these discussions in a way that is useful and inclusive in increasingly diverse and global fandoms?


How To Raise Your Nerd

Fannish parents discuss raising the next generation of fans.


Mary Sue and the Fake Geek Girls

Let’s talk about our favorite female characters and female fans (and maybe a word or two about why fandom keeps trying to pretend they’re not as awesome as we all know they are).



Besides our Game Room, ConFusion is offering a Gaming panel track this year, in honor of our special gaming GOHs!


Character Creation – You’re Not Just Rolling Dice Anymore

How can gamers craft compelling characters, from the PCs to the DM/GM making memorable NPCs or the Big Bad? Can you do it in a board game as well? People ask for stories/character development in video game RPGs; is it any different when you’re in charge of a piece of the narrative only (e.g. sitting at a table playing with other people) than when you’re making decisions in a video game and the rest of the world has already been set up for you?


Authors Who Game

Authors talk about their favorite games, of any type.


So You Want to Make Games, Huh?

From board games to tabletop RPGs, from computer games to apps, come talk about the ins-and-outs of creating your own worlds and adventures.



The Music track offers great entertainment and some learning opportunities, too! Plus, concerts by Howard Scrimgeour, Herculean Cheese Storm, Bill and Gretchen Roper, Mike Nixon, and Three-Fifths.


Beginning Voice Workshop

Never had a voice lesson? Come learn some of the basic stuff that singers do, from breathing to projection to diction. Participants only, please.


From Circle to Stage

How does singing on stage in front of an audience differ from singing in an open circle? What adjustments do you have to make to your performance?



What goes into crafting a song, from idea to music to lyrics? What makes a song “work”?



Our media panels tackle science fiction and fantasy on the large and small screens.


Ghosts of SyFy Past

Come reminisce about the actual science fiction SyFy used to show, and talk about the network’s plans to get back to its science fiction roots.


Visual versus Textual Reading/Intelligence

Most movies/shows are judged by critics on their textual intelligence – the plot, the dialogue, etc. But visual intelligence is also important, and often missed in professional criticism. Tumblr memes spend days going over the tiniest visual cue in Captain America, while Pacific Rim is called “a dumb movie” – how can we improve our visual intelligence?


Where’re OUR Superhero Movies?

The recent announcements of the Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel movies are exciting, as are the reveals of the Black Panther and Cyborg movies and Jason Momoa as Aquaman, but how do we remind Marvel and DC Entertainment that this a great start, but not adequate representation overall?



ConFusion once again brings you fascinating discussion about the science in science fiction.


Bugs, Magic and Protein

We share the planet with quintillions of insects, so it’s no surprise that they have an unfathomable range of uses. Let’s make the versatility of insects work for us, from a food source to a magic system.


Every Creature (Real and Fantastical) Poops

You may have read the book Everyone Poops, but it’s so human-centric. What about mermaids, centaurs, and other fantastical creatures? Let’s see if we can analogize from real species to arrive at a theory of fantastical pooping. (Caution: conversation may stray into food, sex and gestation.)


Science and Society

How do changes in science impact our society? Are we losing or gaining faith in science and the scientific method? Come discuss this year’s scientific discoveries/changes and how they’ve impacted our culture.



In addition to our fantastic science panels, ConFusion is happy to welcome these awesome science presenters this year!


Gotta Eat ‘Em All!

Listen to Dr. Julie Lesnik from the Department of Anthropology at Wayne State University discuss her research in entomophagy, i.e. the consumption of insects as food. Come for the knowledge, stay for the free samples.


Breaking Down the Caveman Diet

What did cavemen *really* eat?  Biological anthropologist Dr. Maureen Devlin from the University of Michigan Department of Anthropology walks us through the evidence, and what the contents of their fridges may have resembled.


We’re Probing Space

Rosetta is chasing comets, Dawn is on its way to the asteroid belt, New Horizons will be visiting Pluto in less than a year, and Curiosity is touring the mountains of Mars. Come and hear Bill Higgins tell us what’s new with these exciting projects!


To Mars!

Jim Beyer of the Michigan Mars Society tells us about their work on how to get people to Mars, and what we’d do when we got there.


Solar, Lunar and Planetary Observations

Bob Trembley will once again be on hand with his telescope to show us the wonders of the night (and daytime) sky.



ConFusion’s Lit Track once again brings in a ton of great authors to talk writing, reading and a whole slew of topics in science fiction and fantasy.



This group was formed to address the need for all types of diversity in children’s literature. The hashtag has been used to highlight examples of diversity in books across many genres. Come discuss the ways that social media movements can be used to effect real change in literature, and hear about some recommendations for books highlighting diverse characters and settings.


Beer, Brewing and Books

Beer in fiction. You read it. You want to drink it. Let’s talk about fictional brews, real brews, and why no one in science fiction/fantasy drinks Bud Light.


Books You Read as a Kid that Screwed You Up for Years

Clan of the Cave Bear, VC Andrews, the *wrong* Piers Anthony book… how screwed up were some of the books you picked up before you could drive? How did you overcome it? And what books are screwing up the next generation?


Interstellar Economies

Economies are part of a complete world-building experience, and are often very challenging to create. How do money and trade work when ships are flying from planet to planet, from species to species?


Romancing the Vulcan

Emotionally restrained heroes were popular in the age of reason; after Romanticism swept Europe, Jane Austen’s Darcys and Knightleys were the only emotionally Vulcan-esque heroes left in media for quite some time. From Darcy/Lizzie on the page, to Spock/Uhura on the screen and Spock/Kirk in our fanfic, we love human passion rubbing up against Vulcan reason. What are other models of this dynamic? What’s so appealing about loving a Vulcan… or being one?


Post-Colonial SF

Can our world’s own colonization history help us write the stories of future colonizations? What were the pitfalls? And how can we avoid them? Or are we just doomed to repeat history…


Rustbelt Dystopias

Dystopian novels seem to like our beloved rustbelt cities as settings. Perhaps it’s easier to imagine a future dystopia in Detroit than it is in San Diego, sure. The fall of the rustbelt industries may also be useful as a warning… this, too, could happen to you…


Tough Love for New Writers

Seriously, you’re not going to get famous or make any money. Learn how!


Writers as Fans, Fans as Critics, Critics as Writers and Fans

Reviews are not for authors, they’re for fans. But many authors are engaged, critical fans. How can authors engage with fans without creating a chilling effect on criticism?



ConFusion is once again offering the opportunity to come meet your favorite attending authors and musicians and have them sign things! (Please limit your signing requests to 3 items per person.)  3:00 PM and 4:00 PM on Saturday.


Attending authors include:


Joe Abercrombie, Saladin Ahmed, Scott H. Andrews, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Robert Bennett, Leah Bobet, Tobias Buckell, Rowena Cherry, Ted Chiang, Cinda Williams Chima, Wesley Chu, Myke Cole, Brigid Collins, Ron Collins, Heather Dale, J.C. Daniels, Delilah S. Dawson, Seleste deLaney, Michael J. DeLuca, Susan Dennard, Tom Doyle, Steven Erikson, Janet Harriett, Carrie Harris, Merrie Haskell, Jim C. Hines, Douglas Hulick, Kameron Hurley, Philip Kaldon, Christian Klaver, Mary Robinette Kowal, Karen Lord, Brian McClellan, Courtney Allison Moulton, Peter Orullian, Cindy Spencer Pape, Christine Purcell, Cherie Priest, Laura Resnick, Diana Rowland, Jason Sanford, John Scalzi, Catherine Shaffer, Ferrett Steinmetz, Amy Sundberg, Michael J. Sullivan, Patrick S. Tomlinson, Michael R. Underwood, Doselle Young, Lara Zielin.




Panel Previews!  Here’s a sneak peek at some of the awesome panels and events at Back to the ConFusion 2015!


Autograph Sessions

ConFusion is once again offering the opportunity to come meet your favorite attending authors and musicians and have them sign things! (Please limit your signing requests to 3 items per person.)  3:00 PM and 4:00 PM on Saturday.


So This Is Your First Confusion

Will this be your first ConFusion? That’s awesome!  And we have a panel just for you!  Friday evening and Saturday morning, Back to the ConFusion conchair Dave Klecha and other concom members and ConFusion veterans will personally help to keep your actual confusion to a minimum, and tell you what we’re about and what we have to offer you this weekend!