A promotional image for Confusion 2020: art of a dragon and a human in a gliding suit flying over a forest, with the text "How To Train Your ConFusion, January 16-19 2020, Sheraton Novi"

Brandon O'Brien's ConFusion 2020 Schedule

Hey, all! Have I mentioned that I’m headed to ConFusion?

On January 16-19, I’ll be at the Sheraton Novi in Michigan for ConFusion 2020! I’m the Creative Guest of Hono(u)r, which is (waaaaaaaiiiit foooooor iiiiiiiit…) quite an hono(u)r, and lots of other astounding people will be there, too!

If you want to get an idea of some of the stuff I’ll be up to, here’s it:

Guest of Honor Dinner

16 January 2020, Thursday | 7pm | Room: St. Clair

Join our Guests of Honor for a Thursday night dinner. Anyone is welcome to join.

Seanan McGuire, Gwenda Bond, Kameron Hurley, Bogi Takács, Brandon O’Brien, Dr. Julie Lesnik

Opening Ceremonies

17 January 2020, Friday | 7pm | Room: Ballroom C&D

Welcome to How to Train Your ConFusion! Please join our Conchair, Lithie Dubois, and our Guests of Honor, Kameron Hurley, Julie Lesnik, Brandon O’Brien, and Bogi Takács, along with our Subterranean Press Special Guests, Seanan McGuire, and Gwenda Bond! Hear about all of the exciting stuff you can expect from them, from us, and this weekend.

Lithie Dubois (M), Seanan McGuire, Gwenda Bond, Kameron Hurley, Bogi Takács, Brandon O’Brien, Dr. Julie Lesnik

Guest of Honor Dessert Reception

17 January 2020, Friday | 8pm | Room: Mackinac

Come enjoy desserts and mingle with our Guests of Honor and Subterranean Press’s Special Guests!

Evolving Visions of Toxic Masculinity

18 January 2020, Saturday | 10am | Room: Isle Royale

Awareness is on the rise about how toxic social expectations placed on men and masculinity poison men, their relationships, and society at large. We now have the vocabulary to discuss the precise ways in which patriarchy hurts men, too, and how that hurt bleeds into the rest of the world. How has this growing awareness changed our speculative visions of masculinity, and how can speculative fiction help dismantle the cultural poison backing social ills from rape culture to mass shootings?

Jason Sanford (M), Marsalis, Jim C. Hines, Kameron Hurley, Brandon O’Brien

Emotional Non-Violence In Fiction

18 January 2020, Saturday | 11am | Room: Petoskey

A discussion on what it looks like and what it means to integrate themes of emotional non-violence in fiction – is emotionally non-violent fiction important? Going beyond higher level issues of emotional abuse to more subtle topics such as consent, misidentification, and personal questions.

E.D.E. Bell (M), Jason Sanford, R.B. Lemberg, Brandon O’Brien

Reading: Brandon O’Brien

18 January 2020, Saturday | 1pm | Room: Leelanaw

A Reading with Guest of Honor Brandon O’Brien (I’ll be reading from How To Unmake It In Anglia!)

Masculinity and Trauma Recovery in Genre Fiction

18 January 2020, Saturday | 2pm | Room: Isle Royale

Science Fiction and Fantasy are full of tough manly heroes (and anti-heroes) with trauma in their backgrounds, from murdered families to witnessed war crimes. More often than not, these traumatic backstories serve as a justification for sarcasm, alcohol, and violence. In a world where men are significantly less likely to get professional help to heal from their trauma, how can science fiction and fantasy help to create positive examples of heroes who face their demons constructively?

Brandon O’Brien (M), Adam R. Shannon, Dave Ring, John Wiswell, R.B. Lemberg

Speculative Social Media in Science Fiction

18 January 2020, Saturday | 5pm | Room: Charlevoix

Thinly-veiled or even overt references to popular real-world social platforms are common in modern media–including in speculative stories like superhero tv shows and movies. But speculative worldbuilding often calls for a re-imagining of how humans interact–would the social media of the United Federation of Planets really look like ours? Or would a peaceful interstellar society be more likely to arise in a world where Google Reader never died? How can writers incorporate new visions of social media that reflect their speculative worldbuilding?

Marissa Lingen (M), John Chu, Jennifer Mace, Annalee Flower Horne, Brandon O’Brien

Speculative Open Mic with Brandon O’Brien and Bogi Takács

18 January 2020, Saturday | 8pm | Room: Charlevoix

Join Guests of Honor Brandon O’Brien and Bogi Takács for a speculative poetry open mic. Bring work to read, or kick back and listen as ConFusion’s poets share their work.

Kaffeeklatsch with Brandon O’Brien

19 January 2020, Sunday | 11am | Room: Club Lounge

Join Creative Guest of Honor Brandon O’Brien for a small-scale conversation and Q&A over cups of coffee or tea. Limit 10 attendees, sign up in Ops.

A Look at the World of Speculative Poetry

19 January 2020, Sunday | 1pm | Room: Charlevoix

Our panel of poets and poetry enthusiasts talk about the current state of speculative poetry–how has it evolved over time, and where is it heading? Where is it situated within the wider world of contemporary poetry? Who are our favorite speculative poets and publishers of speculative poetry?

Nora E. Derrington (M), Stephanie Malia Morris, Bogi Takács, Brandon O’Brien

Closing Ceremonies

19 January 2020, Sunday | 3pm | Room: Ballroom C&D

Come say goodbye to our Guests of Honor and Subterranean Special Guests, and learn which 2021 Guests of Honor announcements we will be sharing with you!

Lithie Dubois (M), Seanan McGuire, Gwenda Bond, Kameron Hurley, Bogi Takács, Brandon O’Brien, Dr. Julie Lesnik

So that’s what I’ll be up to, not including other GoH duties, checking out other cool panels, and meeting all of you! Feel free to say hello if you’re going to be there!