FAQ – Program

Introduction to the Sasquan Program

The Sasquan Program team is working to create an interesting, informative Program. For panels, we have invited people who can have enlightening discussions with others. We encourage lively, respectful debates among knowledgeable panelists who are interested in engaging with other panels and the audience.

We invited a broad mix of Program participants — writers old and new, scientists, artists, professionals and fans, people from around the world with all kinds of backgrounds. We will feature many different viewpoints and topics ranging from detailed discussions of world-building to the many incarnations of Star Trek, from costuming to science fiction art, from writer development to publishing, from space travel to microbiology, and from religion to Discworld to the latest season of Orphan Black and Z Nation.

Worldcon Program at Sasquan is more like a twisted version of NPR and less like a reality show. We will encourage rational exchange of ideas and discourage drama. We ground our panel discussions on facts and speculations on logic. We will encourage respectful exchanges among the panel members and between the panel and the audience.

Index to Questions

FAQ for Attendees

Q: What happens at a Worldcon?
A: A Worldcon is five days full of activities celebrating science fiction and fantasy, bringing together about 5,000 fans, writers, artists, editors and scientists from around the world. In addition to the big Events like the Hugo Award Ceremony, Masquerade, and First Night and an Exhibit Hall with a Dealers Room, Art Show and dozens of exhibits, a Worldcon feature hundreds of hours of panels and presentations. Sasquan will have Program items around literature, science, fandom, media, costuming, art, gaming, Discworld – a huge array of topics. Our Program types range from small items that require sign-up (Kaffee Klatches, Literary Beers, Pub Crawls), to Workshops (particularly Writers, Costume & Art), to large panels/presentations for hundreds of attendees. Sasquan will start around noon on Wednesday, August 19 and end around 4pm on Sunday, August 23. If you’re interested in following specifics about who’ll be part of Sasquan Program and what we’ll be doing, follow our Program page and our special @sasquanprogram Twitter account.



Q: Why aren’t you running “X” Program this year?
A: Every Worldcon runs different types of Program. Some years, Worldcons are unable to find a volunteer
to run an area that’s been run in the past. We’re an all-volunteer organization and it’s not possible
to run areas without a volunteer.



Q: What are Kaffee Klatches?
A: Kaffee Klatches, Literary Beers and Pub Crawls, provide fans with the opportunity to talk to a writer, artist or an editor in a small group. Drinks and snacks will be available for sale near the items. These items will require advance sign-up and will be limited to 10 fans. We will have complete information on how to sign up closer to the convention.We will also have a Pub Crawl one evening that will also require advance sign-up. Led by a local fan, the Pub Crawl will walk to several bars that are in downtown Spokane. We expect 20 fans will be able to join the Pub Crawl.



Q: What is Stroll with the Stars?
A: Stroll with the Stars is an opportunity to walk with a group at 9 in the morning before the convention really gets going. Typically, 4-6 writers/artists/editors walk with each group, and the walk lasts about 45 minutes to an hour. As the Spokane Convention Center is adjacent to Riverfront Park, we’ll have strolls in the park. Stroll with the Stars is open to all; no advanced sign-up needed.



Q: How Will Writers’ Workshops be run?
A: Sasquan will be running Speculative Fiction Writers Workshops, consisting of several writers and Sasquan members. Each workshop will last three hours.



Q: What Are Meetups?
A: Meetups (or Discussion Groups or Special Interest Groups) are informal get-togethers, usually organized by individuals or groups. Most Meetups are scheduled during off-times of Program – between 9 and 10 am or after 5:30 pm. Space permitting, you can organize a discussion of your favorite Marvel superhero or have a meeting of your local club at Worldcon. To request a time and a room for a meet-up, write to program@sasquan.org by July 15 and tell us the name of your group, who’s responsible for this meet-up, roughly how many people you expect, and whether you prefer a morning or an evening time slot. We encourage you to request a Meetup slot in advance so we can include as many requested Meetups in the schedule as possible.



Q: What Are Fannish Inquisitions?
A: No one expects… No, wait, almost everyone expects our Fannish Inquisitions — a series of presentations by bid committees for future Worldcons. If you’d like to learn more about upcoming Worldcons and Worldcon bids, attend a Fannish Inquisition, stop by a bid table and/or go to a bid party in the Davenport.

FAQ for Writers/Artists/Musicians/Scientists


Q: I’ve never heard back from Program – why not?
A: We have made every effort to respond to all volunteers for panels. It can sometimes take a few weeks as we’re still getting a surprising number of volunteers (over 800 at last count).

Q: How can I get on Program at Sasquan?
A: Sasquan Program is full.

Note: For MidAmeriCon, please be sure that your E-mail account
can accept E-mail from midamericon2.org and grenadine.co. Some number of our Program invitations seem to have been caught by spam filters.

If you’re a new science fiction or fantasy writer, welcome to the community! Please take a few minutes to learn more about Worldcon by browsing the Sasquan Website. We’ve collected links to some useful articles on Worldcon on the Web:

Just as all other attendees need to abide by the Sasquan Code of Conduct, program participants must as well.

Note: There is a common myth that if you are a writer or artist and are not on Program, you cannot claim a conference as a business expense. That is not true – you are required to show a business-related reason to be at a conference, but that can include business meetings, attending panels about the business and so on. Worldcons have some business-related panels as part of Program.



Q: If I am a Program participant at Sasquan, will I get a free membership?
A: No one, other than a Guest of Honor, gets a free membership. If you are a member of the science fiction community, Worldcon needs your financial support before the convention to be able to pay convention expenses (like the convention center fees and publication bills). If Sasquan has money left over after all the convention bills are paid (and we are budgeting to do so), we plan to reimburse all or part of the membership fees for Program participants. If you decide not to attend Sasquan, you can sell your membership. See the Membership FAQ.



Q: If I am a Program participant, when will I get my schedule?
A: We sent out initial schedules by the middle of June 2015. We asked participants to review their schedule as soon as possible, and let us know of any changes to make (e.g. concerns over the items scheduled on or time conflicts). Final schedules went out in mid-July. The entire schedule and mobile apps will be posted on July 31.



Q: What does “from the science fiction community” mean?
A: It means people who attend science fiction conventions, write science fiction, publish science fiction, or are fans, agents, or editors of science fiction — you. We will be providing a few day passes (without voting rights) to people from outside the science fiction community who come in to make presentations for us, such as scientists, academics and craftsmen who don’t otherwise attend science fiction conventions or are involved in fandom.



Q: How can I promote my books/art/music/projects at Sasquan?
Hiding behind a wall of books
Illustration by Robin Monogue

If you’re on Program, you can come to panels and your autographing session with color postcards and flyers, with your book and social media information. Small, informative freebies can help remind people of this interesting panelist they heard during Sasquan. Be sure to prepare for your panels and for the convention itself. Think of things to say, people to quote, and questions to ask. If you impress your audience with your wit, intelligence, and erudition, they are more likely to want to buy your books, your art, visit your Website, drop in at your launch party, and so on. Monopolizing panels or abusing panelists or attendees is not likely to leave people with a favorable impression.

One of the worst things you can do is to build a wall of books around yourself when you’re on a panel. You don’t want to hide from your audience.
Even if you’re not on Program, you can promote your books/art/music in many ways, including buying ads in Progress Reports, providing freebies for the freebie table and by sponsoring a launch party.

You are not permitted to sell books/music/art at panels or at Autograph sessions. Even if you’re not on Program, you can rent a table in Artists/Authors Alley for a few hours. To see who’s selling in the Dealers Room, check the Dealers Room list.