CVG 2018 Day 1 - Part 1

CONvergence 2018 was July 5-8, 2018, 2 months ago now. I had meant to write these posts shortly after CVG ended, but as I’ve explained in previous posts, I have been dealing with broken technology, depression, and other things that have been occupying my time. This year, the theme was “Natural Twenty: Celebrating The First 20 Years Of CONvergence” - for the full archive of all twenty years of CONvergence, click here.

On Thursday the 5th, I attended the following panels: “Deep Space Nine Fan Panel,” “Breaking the Holographic Ceiling: Female Leadership in Star Trek,” “Speculative Biology 101,” “Women in STEM - The Road Not Taken,” “Flirting 101,” and “Misogyny in the Geek Community”. Here is part one of my notes from the panels - I plan on providing my thoughts and analysis from my notes in the near future.

Deep Space Nine Fan Panel

Arguably the best Trek series of all time, it is 25 years old this year! How has it aged? Panelists: Jenny Stohl Powell, Cetius d'Raven (mod), Stef Bentley, Taylor Cisco, Brittany Kerschner

Roddenberry being dead helped it be great.
Baseball metaphor in pilot episode - phenomenal episode. Being centered in exploration and discovery not done well again until Star Trek: Discovery.
Has consequences, both intended and unintended. It matters. Also shows everyday life. Characters feel real.
Even evil characters have motivations that are not “be evil” but rather convictions.
We get to explore religion because Roddenberry is dead. Great way to explore conflict between religion & science & culture & society.
DS9 is still relevant.
Dukat = Thanos = Killmonger in their ways of being evil.
DS9 is queerest Trek?

Who watches the watchers?

The Federation is secretly a military junta. Forced blood transfusions. Martial law. “Paradise Lost” (DS9 S4E12).
Leeta - a prop for Rom instead of a full-fleshed character?
Nog - takes the Federation more seriously than the Federation
Moogie - has no apologies!
DS9 asks the difficult questions:

Breaking the Holographic Ceiling: Female Leadership in Star Trek

Ever since Number One in "The Cage", there have been many great female leaders in the Star Trek universe. Let's talk about their evolution. Panelists: Taylor Cisco, Laura Okagaki-Vraspir (mod), Aaron Coker, Brittany Kerschner, Jennifer Manna

Gender Equality?

  • Still has the Sadie Hawkins Dance
  • Can they remove gender from the story-line?
  • Can we have more enby, queer characters? In past, has always been labeled as alien.

Women characters seem to be written differently. Evil women = sexually free. Women in power are vilified for their sexuality. Mirror Kira, Mirror Georgiou, et cetera.
There is a trope in our society that when we normalize, we go to erasure. But we’re writing, watching, consuming. It’s our chance to say something.
Women in positions of power are either over-emotional or lack emotion.
They put in so much effort into redemption for male characters that they do not for females. Admiral Norah Satie - do we see a similar emotional outburst as their downfall? No. It’s seen as strength.
The change in the writer’s room shows - fewer women = creepier episodes.
Klingons do not show gender equality.
Star Trek does not do “Mother” characters well. They put more effort into fatherhood - even Data got to be a better parent.

Some shows with great female characters:
Cleopatra 2525 is great.
Blake’s 7 handles writing female characters well.
Some companions from Doctor Who:

Wynonna Earp - though it’s horror
Dark Matter
Resident Evil
- though it’s horror

Speculative Biology 101

Biologists explain the "real science" behind sci-fi and fantasy universes' various life forms. Panelists: Laura Okagaki-Vraspir, Vernon McIntosh (mod), Renate Fiora

Unfortunately, I arrived 10 minutes into this panel. The panelists rolled a giant D20 to choose each topic. It was awesome. There are also a lot of gaps in my notes here - I’m not that kind of scientist and was trying to keep up. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up with the panelists one day and ask them to help me fill out the missing parts.

Empaths. Renate answer: quantum mechanics. Vernon answer: entangled particles from big bang? Quantum entanglement swirling around. Laura answer: possibly micro-expressions.

Clairvoyance. Renate answer: entangled particles, timey-whimey, perhaps tachyons moving back in time? But what about determinism?

The Borg. Laura answer: not so fantastical. We can implant things. It is feasible to connect into neural pathways. It has to be nano-scale and follow the correct pathways. Vernon answer: how do you stick AI into the squishy world of biology. The rest is child's play. Renate answer: If you download someone, it’ll likely be a bad copy. Something is lost in translation, so to say.

The Silence. Renate answer: quantum mechanics thing. Landauer's principle - erasure of information followed by an increase of energy. Must remember entropy. Laura answer: amnesia & PTSD? The terror is enough to trigger an amnesia event? Needs to be refined. Vernon answer: cannabinoids. Certain types of anesthesia.

Rapid Acceleration. Laura answer: sounds like a great way to die.

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