Brandon O’Brien’s Capricon 41 Schedule

Hey, all! Have I mentioned that Capricon 41 is coming up soon?

Capricon 41: Creating The Future We Want – February 4-7 2021

This year’s Capricon takes place from February 4th to 7th–virtually!

Science Fiction and Fantasy are all about envisioning futures yet to come and worlds that don’t exist. We are in a unique moment in time – The Great Pause, as some are calling it. We have an opportunity to make choices that will create the future we want to live in, from social change (Black Lives Matter) to technological change (digital surveillance) to economic change (income equality) and more. Capricon 41 will ask members of science fiction fandom, pros and fans alike, to draw on our experience with worldbuilding, envision what could be, and talk about how to get there.

–from the Capricon 41 home page

You can find out more and register for the online convention over at! Registration starts at $10, and there is also a free registration available for those who have been struggling financially.

I will be up to a lot at the convention, so here’s all the events I have planned (all times should be Central Standard Time):

Thursday, February 4

Speculative Poetry Reading

Maple, 7pm-8pm
Brandon O’Brien (mod), Anne E.G. Nydam, Lucy A. Snyder, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Wendy Van Camp

This event will feature readings by speculative poets, including yours truly!

Friday, February 5

SFF is How I Learned To Be Political

Willow, 3pm-4pm
Michi Trota (mod), Brandon O’Brien, Anoa Changa, Aliette de Bodard

Politics have never been absent in SFF, and for many fans, genre fiction is now we learned to recognize how politics work and how they affect our lives. In this panel, fans and creators will talk about navigating the political nature of storytelling, and how their favorite SFF works on the page and on screen influenced their own political development.

A Special Blades In The Dark One-Shot

Birch, 4pm-6pm
Brandon O’Brien (GM), Michael R. Underwood, Iori Kusano, Jeoi Gawain Lin, Valerie Valdes

Watch me take on the role of gamemaster as I lead my writer friends through a one-shot session of John Harper’s Blades in the Dark for your amusement!

Brandon O’Brien’s Magical Literary Open Mic Night!

Maple, 9pm-11pm
Brandon O’Brien (host)

This casual open mic night will be open to all attendees. Come share your poetry, fiction, and other literary work in a no-pressure, share-the-love environment. You don’t need to be published or even want to be published. Whether you write for fun or to one day have it see the printed page, all are welcome here!

Saturday, February 6

Solarpunk Now & Future, Solarpunk International

Ravinia, 10am-11am
Brandon O’Brien (mod), Casella Brookins, Vida Cruz

Solarpunk is an art movement known for its positive visions in which humanity has solved some of the most pressing issues of the present. Imagine a world in which we’ve solved pollution, moved to renewable energy, and developed a better relationship with the natural world. This panel will explore the contours of solarpunk, including what makes it such a powerful subgenre today, why it deserves much more attention, and some of the ways an international perspective on ecological issues impact the subgenre.

Thrillers, Detectives, and Weird Mysteries

Willow, 3pm-4pm
Deirdre Murphy (mod), Jen Haeger, Brandon O’Brien, Roberta Rogow, Bob J. Koester

A panel on writing/exploring/discussing variations of the detective story and the thriller in SFF.

The Skiffy and Fanty Show LIVE! with Brandon O’Brien

Maple, 5pm-6pm
Shaun Duke, Jen Zink, Brandon O’Brien

Let the shenanigans ensue! Shaun Duke, Jen Zink, and GoH Brandon O’Brien join forces for a live recording of the 3x Hugo Finalist podcast, The Skiffy and Fanty Show! Together, they’ll discuss the power of science fiction to explore the present and uncover hope, from its technological imagination to its approach to social issues and beyond. They might even give you an absurdly long reading reading list… Bring your questions and thoughts! Audience contributions are strongly encouraged!

SF Media and the Goshwow Problem

Willow, 6pm-7pm
Sean Mead (mod), Michi Trota, Brandon O’Brien, Jason Taylor

So often, our SF media focuses its attention on the flashy and the exciting rather than on critical explorations of the SF concepts that might help build a better world. This “goshwow” problem means properties like Cyberpunk 2077 or the Transformers films are more interested in big action set pieces or explosions rather than the ways that technology or other considerations might help uproot a corrupt system or alleviate a societal problem. This panel will explore the how and why of the “goshwow problem,” some of the ways to avoid it, and some of the media properties that already do avoid it.

Sunday, February 7

That Was Unexpected!

Willow, 10am-11am
Brandon O’Brien (host), Ada Palmer, Steven Silver, Elizabeth Hirst

Ever wanted to know what your favorite fantasy novelist would do if they were suddenly turned into a witch’s familiar? Or how a popular sci-fi writer would communicate with an alien race that only speaks in bad puns? Watch a team of esteemed writers talk their way out of the kinds of problems they’re accustomed to writing their characters out of, and some that they would never have imagined.

Kaffeeklatsch: Brandon O’Brien

Mable, 1pm-2pm
Brandon O’Brien

Meet Brandon O’Brien! Hang out and ask questions about their work and their interests! Advance signup required, with signup opening Wednesday, February 2 through the virtual convention site.

He Hacked Us With a Clam (or, Hey, It’s TNT’s Leverage)

Willow, 2pm-3pm
Brandon O’Brien (mod), Michi Trota, Jonathan Pessin, Red

A thief, a grifter, a hacker, a retrieval specialist, and an insurance investigator make up the central cast of this action crime drama sleeper hit. It’s got its own roleplaying game and a dedicated following so strong that filming on a revival began in August 2020. And there’s also that thing with the clam… But what makes TNT’s Leverage such a fascinating show? Why do we love the characters and its narratives? And why should you give it a try?

Closing Ceremonies

Ravinia, 3pm-4pm
Michi Trota, Brandon O’Brien, Cacophonie Tamayo, John Jennings, Aliette de Bodard, Tammy Coxen

Sadly, every convention must come to an end, and so must this one. Say goodbye to our Guests of Honor and find out who won our fabulous Awards. Capricon 42 will also give a hint of what’s to come when we convene again in 2022.