Philcon Panel Participant Biographies

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. In 2014 she joined forces with husband Mike McPhail and friend Greg Schauer to form her own publishing house, eSpec Books (

Her published works include five urban fantasy novels, a young adult Steampunk novel co-written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo collections A Legacy of Stars, Consigned to the Sea, Flash in the Can, and Transcendence, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her short stories are included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

She is a member of Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

She can be found on Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail) and Twitter (DMcPhail, eSpecBooks, and TheHornieLady). To learn more about her work, visit or

Talavou Alailima

Gaming Suite Staff, and GM for "One Night Ultimate Werewolf".

Jonathan Alexandratos

Jonathan Alexandratos writes about action figures. They edited the first collection of academic essays on action figures, titled POINTS OF ARTICULATION: ESSAYS IN ACTION FIGURE STUDIES, which is out now from McFarland. Their award-winning plays have also been produced internationally. Most recently, Jonathan's play WE SEE WHAT HAPPEN, a piece about the playwright's grandmother's immigration from Greece to the U.S. as told by bootleg action figures, won the Greenhouse Award from Strange Sun Theatre. They co-run Page 23, the literary conference powered by Denver Comic Con. Jonathan is a professor at Queensborough Community College in New York City, where they use comic books and action figures as teaching tools all the time.

Ken Altabef

An active SFWA member, Ken's short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Interzone, Daily Science Fiction, Intergalactic Medicine Show, BuzzyMag, Abyss & Apex, Perihelion and others. He is the author of eight published novels with two more on the way. Best known for his arctic fantasy series ALAANA'S WAY, his current project is an alternate history/fantasy THE LADY CHANGELING TRILOGY. Please visit

Walter Amos

Walter first developed an interest in Japanese animation with the premiere of "Star Blazers" in 1979 on WTAF TV 29 in Philadelphia, after already succumbing to science fiction in general. He attempted to catch a movie version of this series at Philcon 1984, but missed it and instead was introduced to the amazing work of Hayao Miyazaki in "Lupin III Castle Cagliostro".

Walter's education is in physics and after graduate school worked on trajectory server software for the Space Shuttle Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas. He is currently back in the Northeast working with orbital GPS satellite software.

Walter's interest in anime and history have dovetailed in his recent anime DVD credit, co-authoring the "Hidden History" feature along with Philcon co-panelist Robert Fenelon, on the extremely popular "Axis Powers Hetalia" DVD from Funimation.

John Ashmead

John Ashmead has a BA in physics from Harvard, summa cum laude, and a masters in physics from Princeton. For several years he was an assistant editor for Asimov's SF Magazine.

Since then he has worked as a software and database developer, working in the medical, legal, advertising, financial, scientific, and other areas, with clients ranging from a perinatal laboratory to a cemetery (his company slogan is cradle to grave programming). He currently supports a leading optical switch manufacturer (your web pages & email travel over switches he helped build).

John has stayed part of the science fiction community. He has given talks at NASA, and at Philcon, Balticon, Capclave, and other science fiction conventions on Time Travel, Invisibility, Star Gates, Parallel Universes, and related topics. Recently he co-edited (with Darrell Schweitzer) Tales from the Miskatonic University: what evils lurk in the dark reaches of the Dewey Decimal System?

And he is also finishing up a Ph.D. dissertation in physics, Time Dispersion in Quantum Mechanics. He presented this at the 2018 conference of the IARD (International Association for Relativistic Dynamics). His web site is His lifetime goal is to build a really practical time machine.

Lisa Ashton

Lisa Ashton is a SF/Fantasy/Historical costumer living in Harpers Ferry, WV. At Philcon 2010 she and Sandy Swank won BIS wtih "The Letter", a re-creation of the famous Civil War letter written by Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah early in the war. She has also done a humorous but historically accurate re-creation of Lizzie Borden. This past Arisia she appeared as Mother in "Three-fold Goddess" which was awarded BIS in the Masquerade, as well as "Sweet 16's" at Balticon, an homage to 2016.

She founded Miss Lizzy's Traveling Historical Fashion Show, and collects antique photographs and tintypes, as well as authentic garments and material culture from the Victorian era. She loves Czech glass beads, andhas done buying trips to the Czech Republic. She is a Physician Assistant in mundane life, and also loves quilting, hunting and the outdoors. She has two adult children, Tommy and Celia, and now a grandson, Jonathon, who just turned 7.

David M. Axler

Dave Axler is a long-time convention fan who's been a Philcon regular since the early seventies, when he came to his first Philcon to interview GoH John Brunner for local radio station WXPN. In the years since then, he has written an M.A. thesis entitled "'Fandom Is A Way of Life': A Folkloristic Ethnography of Science Fiction Fandom;" designed the weather system for TSR's "Greyhawk" campaign; arranged for Frank Herbert to be a speaker at Philadelphia's first Earth Day celebration; ushered at six Hugo Awards Ceremonies; served as DJ for three consecutive Disclave "Senior Prom" dances; was awarded the coveted "Stud Muffin" ribbon by the 1996 Los Angeles Worldcon Committee; and is known as "Lord DaveAx" in the Brotherhood Without Banners. In so-called real life, he is a retired bit-herder; a collector of books, music, and art; a member of the Zipper Club; and an avid oenophile. He also hosts the infamous annual "Alphabetical Hallowe'en Party."

Philippa Ballantine

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa Ballantine has always had her head in a book. At the age of thirteen she began writing fantasy stories for herself.

Her first professional sale was in 1997, and since then she has gone on to produce novel length fiction. In 2006 she became New Zealand's first podcast novelist, and has voiced and produced Weaver's Web, Chasing the Bard, Weather Child and Digital Magic as podiobooks. Her podcasts have been short listed for Parsec Awards numerous times, but it was Chasing the Bard that won her a Sir Julius Vogel award, New Zealand's Hugo Award. Outside of her own podiobooks, Philippa has contributed her voice to other award-nominated and award-winning podcasts including Murder at Avedon Hill, The Metamor City Podcast, Down from Ten, and Morevi: Remastered.

In 2010, Philippa sets her sights on America with her first mass market paperback release with Ace Books, the supernatural thriller Geist. Already she is hard at work with its sequel Spectyr coming out in the summer of 2011. Also in 2011, Pip will have a new series coming out. Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, co-authored with Tee Morris and from Harper Voyager is a steampunk romp.

Alan Beck

Alan F. Beck has been an artist, designer and illustrator for over 30 years doing work for many major corporations including book covers and magazine illustrations. His work has been exhibited in art shows and Science Fiction/Fantasy conventions all across the country. He has won numerous awards and honors including two Chesley award nominations and a HUGO award nomination, and received a "Body of Work" Award at LA Con IV WorldCon Art Show, Anaheim, CA. Alan's work tends to be realistic and surrealistic in nature, often whimsical and humorous. His paintings and prints can be found in collections in the US, Canada and Europe. He has recently published a children's book "The Adventures of Nogard and Jackpot" and is creator of the "Mouseopolitan Museum of Art". His artwork and concepts are produced using acrylics, watercolor, pastels, 3-D modeling and image manipulation programs. His art can be found in Space and Time magazine, The Fantasy Art Bible, assorted e-zines and various book covers.

Chris Bell

Lauren Bellamy

Panel Geeks consists of two Philadelphia-area sisters/the co-founders of Nijicon(The convention that bridges the gap between yaoi fans and the LGBTQ+ community).

This dynamic duo LOVES all things geeky and have decided to take their talents hosting panels on the road. Panel Geeks focuses on adding diversity programming to any convention, club, geeky event while maintaining the fun and engagement. They also create fun games and trivia to discuss serious issues as well as seriously geek-out over their favorite series. So, whether you want to add panels about characters/creators of color, discussions about LGBTQ+ representation, or simply need an Inuyasha fan panel, they are your PANEL GEEKS!

Lyndsey Bellamy

Panel Geeks consists of two Philadelphia-area sisters/the co-founders of Nijicon(The convention that bridges the gap between yaoi fans and the LGBTQ+ community).

This dynamic duo LOVES all things geeky and have decided to take their talents hosting panels on the road. Panel Geeks focuses on adding diversity programming to any convention, club, geeky event while maintaining the fun and engagement. They also create fun games and trivia to discuss serious issues as well as seriously geek-out over their favorite series. So, whether you want to add panels about characters/creators of color, discussions about LGBTQ+ representation, or simply need an Inuyasha fan panel, they are your PANEL GEEKS!

Earl Bennett

I was a product engineer on devices for the blind and deafblind individuals for twenty six years. I am currently working on production and q.c. test for Data Display Systems a producer of point of sales systems and in-store advertising devices and systems. I am now Lead Technician in on the production side of operations. At present I am still President of The Philadelphia Space Alliance which incorporates a number of organizations whose members support our societies expansion into, and exploration of, Space. We participated in The Science Carnival ( part of the Science Festival) in Philadelphia in May. A preliminary event was held before this and we where invited to be part of the members appreiation event at the Franklin institute.After that event we're at Philcon!

Martin Berman-Gorvine

Martin Berman-Gorvine is the author of seven science fiction novels, including the Sidewise Award-winning The Severed Wing (as Martin Gidron) (Livingston Press, 2002); 36 (Livingston Press, 2012); Seven Against Mars (Wildside Press, 2013); Save the Dragons! (Wildside Press, 2013), which was a finalist for the Prometheus Award; Ziona: A Novel of Alternate History (as Marty Armon), an expansion of the short story ”Palestina,” published in Interzone magazine, May/June 2006 (Amazon/CreateSpace, 2014); Heroes of Earth (Wildside Press, 2015); and Monsters of Venus (Wildside Press, 2017).  
Martin is also the author of the four-book ”Days of Ascension” horror novel series: All Souls Day (2016), Day of Vengeance (2017), Day of Atonement (2018), and the forthcoming Judgment Day (spring 2019), all set in the Philadelphia suburbs and published by Silver Leaf Books.  See
Martin grew up in Havertown, Pa., received a B.A. from the University of Chicago, and spent six years living in Israel. He now lives in Potomac, Maryland with his wife and the youngest of his three sons, plus four cats and two Muppetesque dogs.  

Zee Bowditch

Convinced they were born a nerd, Zee has worn many hats in their time as a lover of all things fandom. Emulating J.R.R Tolkien himself and creating their own language in high school. Having done professional blogging, and after 12 years of cosplaying in the Steampunk and Pop Culture scenes, they’ve experienced much of what fandom has to offer, for better and worse. They’ve been a shop-assistant and sales rep for Gartisan Works, a steampunk props and accessories company, and had a brief yet formative period writing for Feminerdity, a site focused on feminine struggles and impact in pop culture. Over the past three years of working with Steam-Funk Studios, they've moved from the core writing pool to Senior Staff, greatly expanding The Living MultiVerse's fictional canon whilst significantly contributing to the academic content of The Unconventional's studies in 'Fanthropology.'

Dr. Padi Boyd

Padi Boyd is the Chief of the Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory in the Astrophysics Science Division, and the Project Scientist for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission (a NASA Explorer Mission launched in April 2018). She has been at Goddard since 1993, when she was a USRA visiting scientist with the Hubble Space Telescope, studying X-ray emittin binary stars, pulsars and active galaxies.

Boyd has had leadership roles on a variety of NASA operating space telescopes including the Rossing X-ray Timing Explorer, the Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer and the Kepler Mission.

At NASA Goddard, she has held a number of positions including Deputy Project Scientist for Operations of the Hubble Space Telescope, Associate Chief of the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, Acting Deputy Director of the Astrophysics Division, and Associate Director of the Astrophysics Division.

Her research interests focus on applying traditional and novel analysis techniques to uncover the drivers of stellar variability, and accretion in compact binaries and active galaxies, using data from a variety of space telescopes.

She lives in Greenbelt MD with her husband Jim and two delightful sons, where they all enjoy playing music together and separately, and romping around their quirky old home and welcoming neighborhood.

Marilyn 'Mattie' Brahen

Marilyn "Mattie" Brahen has published fiction in magazines and anthologies in America and Great Britain. Her 2003 first novel, CLAIMING HER, and its 2009 sequel, REFORMING HELL, received good reviews. A third mystery novel, BABY BOY BLUE, was published in 2011 and resold to Linford Mystery Library in Great Britain in 2014. Mattie has had reviews in the New York Review of Science Fiction, and essays in the NEIL GAIMAN READER. She also enjoys photography, art and is a singer-songwriter-guitarist. She lives with her husband, editor and author Darrell Schweitzer, and their two cats, Tolkien and Lillyput, in Northeast Philadelphia.

Steven Brust

Brandon Budda

Brandon Budda is a Philadelphia local podcast host and science fiction aficionado. He has a background in English and Philosophy. He is also the co-founder of Claytemple media and co-host of the Gene Wolfe Literary Podcast. Brandon is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. When he's not reading for the podcast, Brandon spends his time writing and watching British detective shows. You can find Brandon on twitter at @bebudda.

Stephanie Burke

Stephanie Burke, known to friends and readers as Flash, has a warped, twisted sense of humor, and she isn't afraid to let it show. From pregnant men to six-foot cockroaches, she's covered the of the weird, the unusual, and the just plain strange. Sheis an USA Today best seller and has about five million books currently in publication with one house or another, all under the name of Stephanie Burke. She says she won't use a pen name -- she'd have to learn how to spell it. Too much like work. Stephanie is the co-founder of the charity organization Write 4 Hope where she is hoping to help make a difference, not just talk about it...though talking is what she does best. Visit her website at and be sure to join Flash's Flame Keeper loop at Yahoo Groups -- or her facebook at

Tobias Cabral

Tobias Cabral is a clinical psychologist, whose private practice (Serenity Psychology Services) is located in Langhorne, PA. He completed his undergraduate work at New York University and his Doctoral studies at Widener University's Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology.

A lifetime fan of Speculative Fiction as well as an aviation and space enthusiast, Dr Cabral has endeavored to incorporate these interests into his practice. He strives to create a "fan-friendly" environment for clients who may be accustomed to the negative judgments and misunderstandings of 'mundanes,' and so to help them harness the boundless imagination and hope and creativity of thought which SF embodies.

Dr. Cabral is the author of the Hard SF space exploration novella, "Night Music," as well as the short story "A Night's Work," available on the Kindle and Nook platforms.

Dr. Cabral has also teamed up with old friend and fellow psychologist, Joe Cautilli, and several other scribes (including Joe's 12 year-old daughter and writing partner, with whom he published the "Zombies Vs. Robots" series) on a number of linked, world-sharing Cyberpunk stories, novellas, and novels. In August, 2018, the Post-Cyberpunk detective novella, "Mechanical Error" became his first (other than self-) published work of fiction.

Courtney Capacea

Creative Writer, Editor & Videographer for Steam-Funk Studios. Introduced to Tolkien by her father and classic science fiction shows by her grandfather, Ms. Capacea's family has always cultivated her vivid imagination. That being her most valued asset, she has funneled it into creative writing and costume production. Passionate for fashion design with nerdy flair, Courtney creates wearables based on anime, music, and movies. Courtney is currently working on a series of urban fantasy short stories, while developing her photography and videography skills, as half of Steam-Funk Studios’ in-house film crew. Having begun writing with the company in August of 2016, then being promoted up to editorial staff, she has contributed phenomenally to both their in-house fiction development for The Living MultiVerse, as well as to the pool of assets for the pending magazine, The Unconventional.

D.L. Carter

D.L. Carter was decanted from her incubation pod in the outback of Australia many decades ago. This terrifying event was closely followed by shrieks of "there, there it goes. Hit it with a brick!" These valiant attempts to correct the existence of D.L. were, unfortunately, unsuccessful and she now resides in New Jersey, US., in a box with her toys, two human beings and three cats. Amazon Bestselling author of Regency and Paranormal novels including Ridiculous and is author of The Changing Magic series and soon to come World Wide Witches Research Association and Pinochle Club trilogy.

Vikki Ciaffone

Vikki Ciaffone has been reading and writing since a freakishly young age. She is a freelance editor and writer, and has worked for Spencer Hill Press. She knows a little bit about an astonishing number of largely irrelevant things. In her spare time, she plays craps with the Fates and the Norns for shiny but useless trinkets.

Neil Clarke

Neil Clarke ( is a Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning editor and publisher. He is the owner of Wyrm Publishing and editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, and several anthologies, including the Best Science Fiction of the Year series for Night Shade Books.

Brenda W. Clough

My latest novel, A MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN, is a neo-Victorian thriller just out from Serial Box.
My previous novel, How Like a God, is out in e-format from Book View Cafe. My other works there include Revise the World, a time travel novel, and Speak To Our Desires, a dark detective fantasy.

I also write short stories and occasional non-fiction. I have a story in Patrick Nielsen Hayden's anthology Starlight 3.

Gil Cnaan

Gil Cnaan, is one of the coproducers of the Philadelphia Renaissance Faire, a local event promoter, DJ, and all around go-to guy. He owns and operates the local event planning and production company, Storykeeper Events.

Russ Colchamiro

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space opera, Crossline, the zany SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the SF anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself.

Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, and Brave New Girls.

For more on Russ and his books, visit, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @AuthorDudeRuss, and 'like' his Facebook author page. Russ encourages you to email him at

Russ is repped by The Zack Company.

Byron Connell

Byron Connell likes to help run masquerades rather than entering them. Entering once a decade is about right! Since being part of the Torcon III best-in-show entry, when he enters, he does so in the Master division. He is a member of the Sick Pups (NJ-NY Costumers Guild), the Armed Costumers Guild, and the SLUTs (St. Louis Ubiquitous Tailoring Society), making him an Armed SLUT Puppy! Byron is a past International Costumers Guild President, which honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a founder and past president of LASTSFA (Latham, Albany, Schenectady, Troy Science Fiction Association). He likes hard SF, alternate history, alternate worlds, and fantasy. He was Archon 25 Costuming Guest of Honor, Albacon 2005 co-Fan Guest of Honor, and Lunacon 2006 Fan Guest of Honor. Byron has run masquerades at Costume-Cons and ran the Philcon masquerade for three years. He directed the masquerades at Anticipation and Chicon 7. He was chair of Albacon 2016.

Elizabeth Crowens

Elizabeth Crowens is the pen name for a veteran writer who is a regular contributor to A 15-year veteran of the film industry in Hollywood, a member of Mystery Writers of Americam the Horror Writers Association, Sisters in Crime and Broad Universe. A blackbelt in martial arts, she’s lived in Japan. Facebook: Books by Elizabeth Crowens

Silent Meridian is Elizabeth Crowens’ first novel. It won First Prize in the 2016 Goethe Awards for Turn of the Century Historical Fiction, First Prize for Steampunk in the Independent Press Awards and came in as a finalist in four other competitions. It is available at selected retail bookstores such as The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City and through Ian Randall Stock, one of the dealers at Philcon. It will be re-released in its second edition along with its sequel, A Pocketful of Lodestones, in the summer of 2019. Crowens also writes Hollywood Suspense with black humor and has a story in the New York State of Fright anthology released in 2018. She is a regular contributor to

Charlene Taylor D'Alessio

Charlene Taylor D'Alessio has been illustrating in the Fantasy and Science Fiction genre for over 30 years. She is known for her exquisite painted Ties, whimsical, colorful and humorous fantasy paintings of Cats, Dragons, Owls, & Hamsters and miniature astronomical pieces. A graduate of Syracuse University College of Art, she taught art for many years. Charlene has been a full-time Freelance Illustrator for 18 years now and exhibits her Artwork at many SF cons. She's been published by SunsOut, Robot Mag., & Tate. Her wonderful husband Angelo (also a SF fan) is very patient, helpful and supportive of her artwork.

Michael D'Ambrosio

Michael D'Ambrosio is best known as the author of the Fractured Time Trilogy; the Space Frontiers series; the adult horror series Night Creeps I and II and his recent new Pain series with Princess Pain and the new sequel, Queen of Pain. Michael worked for several years as a nuclear field engineer, traveling throughout the United States and Europe on a regular basis. Currently, he is employed at the Salem Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey as a controls technician. He served several tours in the Middle East as a member of the Pa. Air National Guard and attributes some of his experiences there as inspiration for many of the scenes in his books. Michael is currently working on a new novel, Space Truckers, his twelfth book. Recently, he has teamed up with fellow writer Pete Prellwitz in adapting Pete's Angel of St. Thomas novel to a script. Michael has also completed several screenplays which are currently represented. Look for more information about Michael's projects and appearances at

Todd Dashoff

Todd Dashoff started in Fandom in 1974 and hasn't looked back. He has held numerous offices in the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and chaired three Philcons, as well as the 2001 World Science Fiction Convention (The Millennium Philcon). He understands that these conventions feature something called "programming", but he regards that as a myth, having never be able to see any at the conventions he has attended/worked.

Julie Ann Dawson

Julie Ann Dawson is an author, editor, publisher, RPG designer, and advocate for writers who may occasionally require the services of someone with access to Force Lightning (and in case it was not obvious, a bit of a geek).

In 2002 she started her own publishing company, Bards and Sages. The company produces both speculative fiction and roleplaying games.

In 2009, she launched the Bards and Sages Quarterly, a literary journal of speculative fiction. Since 2012, she has served as a judge for the IBPA's Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Samuel Delany

With four Nebula Awards and two Hugo Awards behind him, Samuel R. Delany became a Grandmaster of Science Fiction in 2014.

His novels include BABEL-17, THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION, NOVA, DHALGREN, STARS IN MY POCKET LIKE GRAINS OF SAND, the four-volume Return to Nevèrÿon, and his most recent SF novel, THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE NEST OF SPIDERS. DARK REFLECTIONS won him the 2008 Stonewall Book Award. A year before, he was the subject of a documentary, The Polymath. Two new nonfiction collections will come out early next year. You’ll find all this on his website:

All of his friends call him Chip, and you should, too. He lives in Philadelphia with his life-partner, Dennis Rickett.

Barna William Donovan

Barna William Donovan is a professor of communication and media studies at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. His first novel, CONFIRMATION: INVESTIGATIONS OF THE UNEXPLAINED, was published by World Castle Publishing in July 2018. He is also the author of three nonfiction books on film and audiences. His commentaries on conspiracy theories, film, television, science fiction, and popular culture has been quoted in media like Forbes, Variety, the BBC, The Daily Journalist, Yahoo News, LiveScience, MSNBC, CBS News, and he has been a guest on TV programs like “Science and U,” “Fresh Outlook,” and “One on One With Steve Adubato” and he has been interviewed about films on “The Projection Booth Podcast.”

Ty Drago

Ty Drago is the author of the critically acclaimed UNDERTAKERS series for middle grade. The first book, RISE OF THE CORPSES, has been adapted for the big screen by Jeffrey Reddick of FINAL DESTINATION FAME.

His latest book, a steampunk superhero novel title TORQ was released through Sparrow's End Publishing in October.

Ty's short stories have appeared in numerous publications, both print and online, including SPACE AND TIME, HAUNTS, AFTER HOURS, PANDORA and MIDNIGHT ZOO. He was also honored to be the Grand Master in Fortress Publishing's anthology YESTERDAY, I WILL. On the novel front, his first SF/Mystery, PHOBOS, was published by Tor Books in 2004.

For nearly twenty years, Ty has also been the editor/publisher of ALLEGORY (, one of the premier online paying markets for online SF, Fantasy and Horror.

He makes his home in Cherry Hill, NJ, with his wife Helene.

Bruce Dykes

Bruce has been a long time gamer and an SFF reader for even longer. His writing career has actually achieved negative time flow.

Amy Fass

Amy Fass has been filking since before she knew what filk was. Having read science fiction since her age was in the single digits, she went to her first SF convention in 1976, got involved in filk starting around the mid-90s, and has been on filk, science, and costuming programming for the last few years. She plays non-filk music too and performs in the Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, singing and playing recorder and crumhorn. Amy enjoys nonsense (well, the literary kind) and is working on a recitation of The Hunting of the Snark with the voices of all the speaking characters. She is one hell of a good science/medical (and occasionally science fiction) editor, whose home office has a view of the George Washington Bridge.

Gary Feldbaum

Overworked fan, voracious reader, I've been reading science fiction from about age 4 (and still own all of the books I've purchased). When I'm not busy working as an attorney, you can often find me working on conventions here and there.

Aaron Feldman

Aaron Feldman is a mechanical engineer, longtime fan, gamer, fic writer, vidder, and amateur post-modernist.

Robert Fenelon

Robert Fenelon walked into a room party at Philcon 1981 and was introduced to the wonderful world of VHS tape trading, Japanese pen-pals and Anime. RF spent the next four decades sharing that experience by writing, editing and publishing about anime, and showing anime at convention video rooms and film programs. And of course, by speaking at panels, like the several here speaking over this weekend. Come check out, we show clips that highlight what we are talking about.

Tony Finan

Tony suffers from photophobia caused by prolonged servitude in the Philcon film room, which he had run for over 15 years. He is an avid fan of the science fiction and horror film genres, specializing in British, Asian, and Zombie films. When not watching movies, he can be found behind his camera, where his work has appeared in a such publications as Philadelphia Magazine, CSO, and Die Welt.

Carl Fink

Carl Fink has worked for conventions on and off since 1979. He was the founding chair of LI-CON, a convention based on Long Island, in New York. He has also worked in various capacities for several Worldcons including 2018's in San Jose.

In real life he is an Instructional Designer, after career periods as a science teacher, programmer, systems administrator, and marketer. Oh, and did he mention the freelance computer journalism? He's currently pursuing a Masters in Learning Technologies.

Gregory Frost

GREGORY FROST is the award-winning author of eight novels (including SHADOWBRIDGE, LORD TOPHET, FITCHER'S BRIDES) and sixty-plus short works of the fantastic, including dark thrillers, historical fantasy and science fiction. Most recently he collaborated with Hugo-Award winning author, Bill Johnson, on the novelette "Three Can Keep a Secret..." in the March-April 2017 Asimov's Magazine. His previous Asimov's collaboration, with Philadelphia author Michael Swanwick, on "Lock Up Your Chickens and Daughters, H'ard and Andy Are Come to Town," won the Asimov's Magazine Readers' Award.

Facebook: gregory.frost1
Twitter: gregory_frost

Phil Giunta

Phil Giunta’s novels include the paranormal mysteries Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side published by Firebringer Press. His third novel in the same genre, Like Mother, Like Daughters, is slated for release in late 2018.

Phil's short stories appear in such anthologies as A Plague of Shadows from Smart Rhino Publications, Beach Nights from Cat & Mouse Press, the ReDeus mythology series from Crazy 8 Press, and the Middle of Eternity speculative fiction series, which he created and edited for Firebringer Press.

As a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG), Phil also penned stories and essays for Write Here, Write Now and The Write Connections, two of the group’s annual anthologies. Visit Phil’s website:

Marc Glasser


Brian T. Graening-Price

Brian T. Price was hooked on japanese animation at an early age after his exposure to "Battle Of The Planets" in the first grade. But it wasn't until a chance meeting in New York City circa 1987 that he learned about organized anime fandom in the form of the Animation/Fantasy Association.

Within a handful of years Brian became a founding member of the Atlantic Anime Alliance, staffing Chibicon (the east coast's first anime conference) and ANIMEast '94 & '95. In recent years he indoctrinated into public speaking on panel discussions by publisher and fellow anime pundit Robert Fenelon. He now speaks on panels about anime and other sci-fi & fantasy related topics at conventions up and down the East Coast.

Terry Steiner Sisk Graybill

Long-time moderator of the PSFS Hugo Review Panel (shhh – 38 years, but who’s counting), Terry was raised from earliest childhood on a steady diet of mythology, fairy tales and fantasy, moving into science fiction along the way. She taught science fiction and fantasy for six years at a local Philadelphia-area high school, has painted and drawn SF works, is active in fandom, particularly PSFS and Philcon. She was part of the Philly in ‘86 bid and the later successful bid for the 2001 worldcon, The Millenium Philcon, where she headed the Communications Division. She ran the main program track of the 1986 worldcon in Atlanta. She has worked on publicity and publications for Philcons, PSFS, bids and other non-SF-related organizations. She was the first recipient of PSFS’s Oswald Train Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the Society. Professionally, she is a graphic designer, editor and marketing communications specialist. She has been designing and producing the Philcon bookmarks, postcards, program book and more for several years.

April Grey

April Grey's short stories can be found in various anthologies, both in print and on-line. Her collections of short stories, The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe, and I'll Love You Forever are also available through Amazon. She is the editor of Hell's Garden: Bad, Mad and Ghostly Gardeners; Hell's Grannies: Kickass Tales of the Crone; Hell's Kitties and Other Beastly Beasts; Hell's Bells: 15 Tales of Wicked Tunes, Mad Musicians and Cursed Instruments; Hell's Heart: Twisted Tales of Amour Fou; as well as being a co-editor for New York State of Fright. She is also the author of two urban fantasies: Chasing the Trickster and St. Nick's Favor.
She is a member of Broad Universe and HWA.

Leigh Grossman

Leigh Ronald Grossman is a writer, college lecturer, editor, and occasional reviewer. He teaches in the English Department at the University of Connecticut and is the president of Swordsmith Productions, a book development and book production company. Grossman is the author of fifteen published books from six different publishers. He is the editor of Sense of Wonder, the longest single volume science fiction anthology ever assembled. He lives in northeast Connecticut.

Marc Grossman

Marc has been in fandom since the 70's and part of Filk since almost immediately after coming to his first Con. While he waited to the early 80's to write his first filk, he's got a few credits here and there. With his wife, Marc is active in supporting the arts..especially the Art Shows of what conventions he attends.

Marc and his wife are also avid members of the SCA and players of the Traveller RPG. In the mundane world, Marc is a computer geek like sooooo many of you, and those into filk noted he long ago moved his songbook to an IPad.

So say "hi", sit in the filk room and sing along!

Sally Wiener Grotta

Sally Wiener Grotta is a full-time award-winning freelance writer, photographer and speaker. Among her numerous books are the novels "The Winter Boy" (a 2015 Locus Award nominee) and "Jo Joe" (selected as a Jewish Book Council Network book). Her hundreds of stories, columns, essays and reviews have appeared in scores of magazines, newspapers and journals. Sally has traveled on assignment throughout the world, covering a wide diversity of cultures and traditions. Her far-ranging experiences flavor her stories and presentations with a sense of wonder and otherliness, plus a healthy dose of common sense. A popular speaker, Sally has a reputation for stimulating energetic, meaningful discussions about storytelling, the business of writing, photography and how to use creativity to build bridges in our increasingly divisive society. A member of SFWA and The Authors Guild, Sally is co-curator for the SFWA-sponsored Galactic Philadelphia author reading series and has recently been appointed The Authors Guild's Philadelphia Area Ambassador. Connect with Sally at, and Twitter: @SallyWGrotta.

Savan Gupta

Professional Emcee, Author, Game Developer. Former Wizards of the Coast employee. Entering the realm of fandom from a prior background in Financial Operations and Business Management, he delights in bringing proven expertise to these geeky endeavors. Quite the fan himself, Mr. Gupta has mentored generations of gamers and contributors into the roleplaying and speculative fiction genres. President & CEO of Steam-Funk Studios and founder of the 'Living Multiverse' brand with its six related performance troupes, nationwide. Furthermore, he has personally created and implemented an array of nationwide marketing campaigns, for a variety of clientele, spanning game designers, event producers, and non-profit organizations. A veteran emcee and keynote speaker at many events across the country, Savan has had a hand in many projects, from Standup Comedy, LARP Production and some RPG products to the launch of the new online magazine, as Editor-in-Chief of a study in 'Fanthropology' dubbed "The Unconventional".

Elektra Hammond

Elektra Hammond emulates her multi-sided idol Buckaroo Banzai by going in several directions at once. She’s been involved in publishing since the 1990s—now she writes, concocts anthologies & edits science fiction for various and sundry. When not freelancing or appearing at science fiction conventions, she travels the world judging cat shows. Her latest story "Two Horses," can be found in TV Gods: Summer Programming edited by Jeff Young and Lee C. Hillman.
Elektra is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and an associate member of SFWA. She lives in Delaware with her husband, Mike, and more than the usual allotment of felines.
You can find her on Facebook (Elektra Hammond), Twitter (elektraUM), LiveJournal (elektra_h), g+ (Elektra Hammond), and building her website at

Russell J. Handelman

Russell Handelman has written both fiction and nonfiction. He lives next to a swamp in Connecticut.

Ian Hanley

Ian Hanley, known as "Taliesin" in the Society for Creative Anachronism,has been a professional storyteller for longer than he's willing to admit in public. His specialty is improvisational storytelling, with his tales ranging from side-splittingly funny to thoughtfully dark and scary. He has been creating and sharing his unique blend of humor insight, and intrigue with audiences for as I said more years than I'm going to admit so really stop asking. He has charmed audiences with his wit and humor at SCA events, including the Pennsic War, at science fiction conventions, at schools, at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, and at storytelling events such as The Butterfly in Collingswood, New Jersey and Tellabration in Philadelphia. He lives in New Jersey with an impressive collection of toy soldiers. Or perhaps they live with him.

Michael Hanson

Author, Poet, and Publisher Michael H. Hanson created the ongoing SHA'DAA shared-world anthology series currently consisting of "SHA'DAA: TALES OF THE APOCALYPSE", "SHA'DAA: LAST CALL", "SHA'DAA: PAWNS," "SHA'DAA: FACETS", "SHA'DAA: INKED", and the recently released "SHA'DAA: TOYS", all published by Moondream Press (an imprint of Copper Dog Publishing). In 2017, Michael's short story "C.H.A.D." appeared in the Eric S. Brown edited anthology "C.H.U.D. LIVES!” and his short story "Rock and Road" appears in the recently published Roger Zelazny tribute anthology "SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS." Michael also has stories in the Janet Morris's Heroes in Hell (HIH) anthology volumes, "LAWYERS IN HELL," "ROGUES IN HELL," "DREAMERS IN HELL," "POETS IN HELL," "DOCTORS IN HELL," "PIRATES IN HELL," and the recently published “LOVERS IN HELL.” Michael has had four collections of his poetry published in recent years, “AUTUMN BLUSH,” “JUBILANT WHISPERS,” “DARK PARCHMENTS,” and “WHEN THE NIGHT OWL SCREAMS.”

Eric Hardenbrook

Eric Hardenbrook is a fan, an author and an artist, generally in that order but not always. Eric's most recent work is being published in the Defending the Future series from E-spec books. He has been part of the team running the Watch The Skies science fiction and fantasy group and publishing the Watch The Skies fanzine for the past seventeen years. When not working on a project or spending time with his amazing wife and daughter he enjoys the occasional video game or board games and is an old school role player. Find him at The Pretend Blog (

Erin M. Hartshorn

Erin M. Hartshorn did her graduate work in fish olfaction (and yes, she’s heard all of the jokes about how fish smell) before turning to words to make her living. Her freelance business makes others’ words look good through copyediting, proofreading, and indexing. Her fiction has appeared both online and in print, placed in the PARSEC short story contest, and been shortlisted for the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Award for science-fiction novellas. She currently serves as Vice President for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She also publishes mysteries under the pen name Sara Penhallow. Erin lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two kids, who are gradually being inculcated in the joy of all that is science fiction and fantasy, as well as one cat and one dog.

Joseph Haughey

Joseph "Cosplay Joe" Haughey is a musician in the geek performing arts, specializing in songs related to science fiction and anime (Japanese animation). He also does panels ranging from Anime Music Videos and anime opening and closing themes to various sci-fi topics like Back to the Future, and time travel in general.

Glenn Hauman

Glenn Hauman has been called a "young Turk of publishing" by the New York Observer and a "Silicon Alley Veteran" by Crain's New York Business. He has been a featured speaker on the future of publishing at numerous industry trade shows. He's missed out on being an Internet millionaire five times and counting, but hey-- he's not in this for the money, but for the power and prestige. He's currently VP of Production for ComicMix (, a partner in Crazy 8 Press (, and is best known as co-author of "If You Were A Puppy, My Sweet" and writing the first Klingon Jewish wedding ceremony.

His main job nowadays is working for ComicMix Pro Services, which does everything comic creators don't want to deal with or know how to do themselves.

In what's left of his spare time, he enjoys writing for Star Trek and X-Men books, challenging unconstitutional laws in court, banging his head into chandeliers, and writing autobiographies in third person. You can find out more at his personal blog, View From Above, at and at ComicMix at

Orenthal Hawkins

Orenthal V. Hawkins is an IT professional and a self-described Pop Culture Fiend. He is also adorkable, geektastic & delightfully nerdy. He is also 100% original and not a reboot.

From B-movies to anime, from Old Time Radio to the Golden Age of Television, comic books and the film adaptations of same, if it has anything to do with pop culture he has an opinion on it. And as an IT professional for almost 30 years, he's also got a few choice opinions about gadgets and technology.

His essays on widowhood, pop culture and a variety of topics can be found at and you can find him on Twitter, he's @odorkable.

Lisa Hertel

Lisa Hertel is an artist from a long line of artists. She specializes in clay and watercolors, but dabbles in many other media; her works are often the products of this cross-pollinization. Her recent materials include encaustics (wax painting) and alcohol inks. In her spare time, she helps run science fiction conventions. She has a studio in Lowell, MA. See her work at, or her Instagram Cogitation_Zone.

Karen Heuler

Karen Heuler’s stories have appeared in over 100 literary and speculative magazines and anthologies, from Conjunctions to Clarkesworld to Weird Tales, as well as a number of Best Of anthologies. She has published five novels and three story collections with university and small presses, and her collection The Inner City was chosen for Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2013 list. Another collection will be published by Tartarus Books this fall. She has received an O. Henry award, been shortlisted for a Pushcart prize, for the Iowa short fiction award, the Bellwether award and the Shirley Jackson award for short fiction. Her stories and books often feature women facing strange circumstances on this world and others. Find her at, befriend her at /karenheuler on FB, or follow her on Twitter (@karenheuler), which she neglects shamefully. She lives in New York City with a large dog and two codependent cats.

Inge Heyer

Inge Heyer, Ph.D., has spent decades developing a unique expertise in astronomy communications across a variety of settings, including college classrooms, K-12 schools, informal educational settings, professional scientific journalism, and science fiction venues.

Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, she completed her secondary education there before accepting a scholarship to attend Tenri University (Japan), where she studied Japanese. After later earning an undergraduate degree in Astronomy and Physics from Smith College, she earned a Master’s degree in Astronomy from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and a Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Wyoming.

In addition to her professional work as senior data analyst at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Dr. Heyer also served as the public information officer at the Joint Astronomy Centre, where she led the education and public outreach efforts. She served as Deputy Press Officer for the American Astronomical Society for 10 years. She has earned Shodan in both Judo and Karate, and serves as guest science blogger for

Dr. Heyer currently teaches astronomy and physics at Loyola University Maryland. And if you have ever wondered how those beautiful Hubble images got into science fiction series like Babylon-5 and Star Trek, Inge is the trouble-maker who instigated this...

James Hicks

A founding member of the DC-based panel troupe "Winning The War On Pants", James "Shep" Hicks has presented panels on a variety of topics within the anime fandom.

Jazz Hiestand

Born and raised in AZ, Jazz has done a lot of cool things and met a lot of cool people. As a 3rd generation member of fandom, Jazz has a rambling pile of knowledge and is willing to share it freely. Currently in cosmetology school and hanging out with amazing people online and in person. Jazz has been active in online fandom spaces for 18ish years, which is impressive considering she is only 27.

Anastasia Holt

Anastasia has been sewing and costuming since she was 10 years old and started participating in convention since 2006. Anastasia started in recreation costumes and has expanded to original costumes. Anastasia has been participating in Masquerades since she was 14 years old and has been a Master Level costumer for 4 years now. She spends her October working at Haunted Overload and creating costumes for the spooky event. She is experienced in many different fields of costuming and still learning with each year that passes.

Heidi Hooper

Heidi Hooper is the dryer lint Lady -- Believe it or Not! Her unusual art is featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not Museums all over the world and in their books. She's also a two time winner of the prestigious Niche award, as has been the Artist Guest of Honor at Albacon and Heliosphere. You may have also recently seen her on ABC TV's "To Tell The Truth" where she showed off her dryer lint art to celebrities like Mel Brooks.

Heidi has a Bachelors in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and Master's in Metalsmithing from the Massachusetts College of Art. Her work has been seen in many galleries across the country (including A Mano in nearby New Hope) and can be viewed on her web page at

Heidi has won many costuming awards for her metal armor pieces, including a Best Craftsman award at the Worldcon level. She has been a masquerade judge at Worldcon, Balticon, and Ravencon.

Heidi is one of the founders of modern American fantasy medieval LARPing along with her husband Michael A. Ventrella. They now run Alliance LARP (

Kirsten Houseknecht

Kirsten is a longtime costumer who enjoys playing with textiles and colors SO MUCH that she went back to college in her forties for fashion design. Her senior collection featured stenciling, dying, bleaching and color removal as well as hand weaving and knitting. She likes combining techniques and considers herself a mixed media textile artists.

Bob Hranek

I play Wargames (,, run & drink with Hash House Harriers groups, and as a PT (Professional Thigmophiliast), I give excellent back rubs! I also have an understanding wife (she lets me come to conventions!) and 2 great grown kids. 6 years of computer programming started my professional career, followed by 27 years as an intelligence analyst, systems engineer, and program analyst. I’m a vocal Space Exploitation Advocate, read hard-SF whenever I have time, give blood 5 times a year (194 pints & counting!), and judge at several Science Fairs every year. At PhilCon, you’re likely to see me hanging out in my Lunar-kilt if I’m not setting up/tearing down the Art Show or on a science-oriented panel.

Muriel Hykes

Muriel Hykes (AKA Dr. Mom) At Philcon, and elsewhere in East Coast fandom, she participates in panels on nutrition, allergies, education, ADHD, learning disabilities, computers, and the future of just about everything (isn't that what SF is really about?) She and her rocket-scientist, filker, pilot husband live on a hilltop just north of Williamsport, PA with two remnants of their seven recombinant DNA experiments.

Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen reviews for Publishers Weekly. Her most recent novel is The Duke and the Pirate Queen, fantasy erotica from Harlequin (2010). It's set in the same universe as her first novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (2008). The Duchess… has been translated into French, German, and Russian. Her major historical research interest is World War One, which is reflected in some of her fiction. Her second novel, The Moonlight Mistress (2009), an erotic historical set during that period, was a finalist for an RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award. A tie-in story with a cross-dressing soldier heroine, "Under Her Uniform," was translated into Japanese.

Janssen has sold over thirty short stories, many of them genre, including stories in Sex in the System (Tan, ed.), So Fey (Berman, ed.), and Periphery (Jamneck, ed.). Her most recent story, "Still Marching," appears in Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3. For a full list of her publications, please visit her website at

Other interests include fanfiction, fan studies, comics, choral singing, and fighting the patriarchy. You can follow her on twitter @victoriajanssen.

Ben Jorritsma

Ben's interests include Anime, hard and soft sciences, promoting DIY/Maker culture, and promoting agricultural awareness.

Anna Kashina

Anna Kashina's writing draws on her diverse backgrounds as a Russian-born scientist, a competitive ballroom dancer, and a fan of martial arts, history, and folklore. She is the author of the award-winning “Majat Code” series featuring adventure fantasy, medieval politics, assassins, and romance. She lives in the US Northeast, where she combines her career in biomedical research and her passion for writing.

Nicholas Kaufmann

Nicholas Kaufmann is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated, Thriller Award-nominated, and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author of nine books in the horror, fantasy, and adventure genres, including CHASING THE DRAGON (ChiZine Publications), DYING IS MY BUSINESS (St. Martin's Press), and 100 FATHOMS BELOW (Blackstone Publishing). His short fiction has appeared in CEMETERY DANCE, BLACK STATIC, NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE, DARK DISCOVERIES, and others. In addition to his own original work, he has written for such properties as ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS and THE ROCKETEER. He also teaches writing classes for LitReactor. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two ridiculous cats.

Tauney Kennedy

Living Historian, Co-Owner of Big Bear Trading Company, ad hoc Troupe Manager for Steam-Funk Studios, and Office Manager at The Nerdy Duo Productions. Recruited in April of 2013, Ms.Kennedy is a veteran performance director for Steam-Funk Studios, having co-written and produced portions of the firm's stable of content at events spanning the continental United States. At The Nerdy Duo Productions, Ms. Kennedy works as an administrator, and is credited as Art Director, Costume Supervisor, Line Producer, and Pre-Production Assistant across various projects. As a Historian, Ms. Kennedy has taught adults and children alike to find Inspiration and wonder in the Events of the past, as well as lending her insights for content for The Unconventional. Finally, for The Living MultiVerse and other endeavors, Tauney has been the Props Mistress, overseeing costuming, armor, weaponry, props and occasionally, makeup, for many photoshoots to secure visual assets and product identity.

Daniel Kimmel

Daniel M. Kimmel is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award from the New England Science Ficion Association. A veteran film critic, he was a Hugo finalist for "Jar Jar Binks Must Die." He is the author of a number of short stories, as well as Compton Crook finalist for "Shh! It's a Secret." His latest novel, "Father of the Bride of Frankenstein," will be released by Fantastic Books in January 2019.

Kim Kindya

Kim Kindya is a freelance web content manager, editor, writer, and event planne. She has worked at the SoHo ArtHouse (formerly the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art) in New York City, where she organized the successful AniMiniCon SoHo anime convention for 3 years. She has also been a producer for several interactive digital products, such as the "The Star Trek Encyclopedia," "Farscape: The Game," and the original game "Darkened Skye." She has reviewed SF and Fantasy bookw for Publishers Weekly, as well as published X-Men short stories, a Powerpuff Girls "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" book for kids, and Looney Tunes books for Scholastic. She is a Master-level costumer who has competed at Philcon, Lunacon, WorldCon and Costume-Con.

Tess Kissinger

30 years ago at Philcon 1980 - Tess Kissinger met Bob Walters, and the rest, as they say, is history. Actually, paleontology. Tess and Bob are two of the most famous dinosaur artists in the world. Recently they were chosen by the US National Park Service to paint the 80 foot long mural at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado. They continue working for Dinosaur National Monument creating mini-murals of the life in the various formations at the Monument as it formerly existed. They also have a very popular family dinosaur book "Discovering Dinosaurs" available in Barnes

Anastasia Klimchynskaya

Anastasia Klimchynskaya is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, where she's working on a dissertation on the emergence of science fiction in the 19th century. In particular, she's exploring how the genre came out of the scientific history of the period. She has presented on science fiction, AI, Star Trek, fandom history, and transmedia storytelling at various conferences and conventions, including Star Trek: Mission NYC, Escape Velocity, and Science in Public, and recently taught a course titled "Living in a Science Fiction World," which used sci-fi to tackle contemporary sociopolitical, legal, and technological issues. She's passionate about using science fiction as a tool to envision and prepare for our future, and loves to explore the means through which science fiction so often becomes science fact. She is also head of Media Programming for Philcon, at which she has been a panelist since 2014, and a peer reviewer for the Journal of Science Fiction.

Diane Kovalcin

Diane Kovalcin is a long-time costumer, competing in both Science Fiction and Historical masquerades, a quilter and fan fiction writer. She also loves Star Wars and the BBC tv show Merlin - just ask her (or better yet, don't ask as she won't shut up about it).

Lawrence Kramer

Dr. Lawrence Kramer has had a lifelong interest in science, sparked at a young age by avidly reading science fiction. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry followed by a career as a programmer analyst for a Fortune 500 financial company. However, the lure of science was too great to resist and Larry went back to school and earned his PhD at Rutgers University where he taught genetics and published original research looking at proteins involved in allowing synapses to become stronger or weaker. He has also taught at Drew University, and currently teaches varied biology courses at Raritan Valley, a nationally recognized community college in NJ. A frequent guest at Science fiction conventions, he has spoken on topics including scientific accuracy in fiction, science education, gene testing, ethics/trends in biology, and the spread of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains.

Chris Kreuter

Chris is the author of two sci-fi books: The Intergalactic Adventures of the Rainy River Bees, and The Shortcut. He's also designed & published multiple board games under the banner of Masquerade Games. During daylight hours, Chris is a career railroader, voracious reader, and occasional plucker of banjos. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, daughter, and two cats. Learn more about him at

Dotty Kurtz

Host of our non-denomination Sunday morning services.

Dina Leacock

Diane Arrelle, the pen name of South Jersey writer Dina Leacock, has sold more than 250 short stories and has three published books including Just A Drop In The Cup, a collection of short-short stories and her newest collection of horror stories, Seasons On The Dark Side, .
She is proud to be one of the founding members as well as the second president of the Garden State Horror Writers and is currently on the board of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference.
Retired from being director of a municipal senior citizen center, she is co-owner a small publishing company, Jersey Pines Ink LLC. She resides with her husband and her new cat on the edge of the Pine Barrens (home of the Jersey Devil).

Linda J. Lee

Linda J. Lee is the Director of Instructional Design at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where she helps faculty use technology in their courses. She also teaches online and face-to-face Folklore courses for Penn’s School of Liberal and Professional Studies, including Introduction to Folklore, American Folklore, Fairy Tales, and Folklore & the Supernatural.

Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (winner of Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction Novel of 1999), Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006), Unburning Alexandria (2013), and Chronica (2014) - the last three of which are also known as the Sierra Waters trilogy, and are historical fiction as well as science fiction. His stories and novels have been nominated for Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, Edgar, Prometheus, and Audie Awards. His nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), New New Media (2009; 2nd edition, 2012), McLuhan in an Age of Social Media (2015), Fake News in Real Context (2016), and Cyber War and Peace (2017), have been translated into twelve languages. He co-edited Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion in 2016. He appears on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel, NPR, and numerous TV and radio programs. His 1972 LP, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued in 2010. He was President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, 1998-2001. He reviews television in his blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009.

Andre Lieven

Andre Lieven has been involved with SF conventions for [mumbly, mumbly]years and still loves it as much as in the beginning. His interests start with hard SF from Asimov and Clarke and range out to his old childhood favourites of Star Trek and Thunderbirds. All that lead to connecting with his interests in political science, history, military and aerospace technology and policy, and space flight. He has participated in working in most parts of SF conventions and speaks on panels at various conventions with Worldcon included on both points.

Nathan Lilly

N.E. Lilly is the editor of, Everyday Weirdness, and Thaumatrope. He develops websites for Science Fiction professionals and organizations through GreenTentacles. He has designed artwork and illustrations for a variety of media and processes, such as stage productions, desktop publishing, and advertising specialties, as well as dynamic and interactive content for the Internet. Find him at or on Twitter @nelilly.

Gordon Linzner

Gordon Linzner is the author of three published novels and dozens of short stories, former publisher and editor in chief of the oldest extant small press science fiction magazine, SPACE AND TIME. He is also copy editor, a New York City tour guide, a story teller, a sound technician, and front man for the Saboteur Tiger blues/oldies band. His most recent stories appeared in the anthologies Corporate Cthulhu and Baker Street Irregulars II

Gary Lippincott

In this increasingly digital age, when images are more frequently painted with pixels than paint, Gary Lippincott remains an illustrator’s illustrator. His fantasy and faerie-themed artwork represent his mastery of a vibrancy and depth only possible in the traditional watercolor medium. Beyond their physical beauty, there is always a richness of storytelling present. His artwork has the style of old world craftsmanship often found in folk and fairy tales. His delicate, highly detailed watercolors can be found in children’s picture books, on book covers, calendars and tarot decks.

His work has been featured in prominent fantasy and science fiction publications and on labels for imported beers and ales. His art hangs in galleries and has been purchased by collectors worldwide. Gary has received numerous awards, including 3 Chesleys and nominations for both a Hugo and World Fantasy award. His artwork has also appeared in many editions of the Spectrum Annual and has been shown at their “Best Of” show three times at the Society of Illustrators Museum in New York City.


Lynati is a freelance writer, artist, costumer, and event organizer in the Philadelphia area who is currently serving a fourth year as the head of Philcon's programming division. The eels are not what they seem.

Kyle Lynch

A classically trained musician, music producer, writer, philosopher, and philanthropist. Mr. Lynch is a skilled tradesman and electrician during the week. On weekends, he’s an accomplished cosplayer and public speaker. Having hosted a plethora of panels and open forums throughout assorted fandoms and geek subculture events for the last decade, this is hardly his first rodeo. His style of engagement, analysis, and speculative-fiction writing informs his theatrical costuming and public engagement. Kyle can be found as "TheChozoBard" on Facebook and Instagram. Having been a proud member of the Red Fork Empire artistic fraternity for years, Mr. Lynch was recruited and has been a writer for Steam-Funk Studios since May of 2018. During this time, he has contributed worthy segments to both The Living MultiVerse, and The Unconventional.

Nicholas MacDonald-Martell

Nick Martell was born in Guelph, Ontario, where he lived for 8 years before moving to Huntington, New York. After elementary school, Nick went on to attend Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School. Nick started writing in 5th grade, beginning to explore the world that would fully emerge in THE KINGDOM OF LIARS. After graduating from Long Island Lutheran High School, Nick attended Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. While attending, Nick was a Head Resident for Residence Life, a member of the Executive Board for a Fraternity and InterFraternity Council, spent a semester abroad in France, and was a breaststroker for the varsity men’s swim team after joining the team as a walk-on his freshman year. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in French. Since then, Nick has done a wide range of jobs that had nothing to do with his major in university from a Quality Insurance Tester for an engineering company in New York City to a volunteer on an organic farm in Ireland. THE KINGDOM OF LIARS is his debut novel and is scheduled to be published by Saga Press and Gollancz in Fall 2019.

Marshall Ryan Maresca

Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: Four parallel series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. This includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and the forthcoming The Way of the Shield. His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced. He lives in Austin with his family.

Glenn McDorman

G.L. McDorman writes horror and fantasy, and is lucky to have already achieved his life's ambition of having his name appear next to H.P. Lovecraft in a table of contents. Several of Glenn's speculative-fiction short stories and novellas will be published in 2019, and he is hard at work on a fantasy novel exploring a colonial North America that might have been. Glenn is also an avid fan of science fiction, and he hosts two SF podcasts: The Gene Wolfe Literary Podcast and Lower Decks, a Star Trek podcast.

Mike McPhail

Author and graphic artist Mike McPhail is member of the Military Writers Society of America. He is dedicated to helping his fellow service members (and deserving civilians) in their efforts to become authors, as well as supporting related organization in their efforts to help those "who have given their all for us."
He is best known as the editor and illustrator of the award-winning Defending The Future (DTF) series of military science fiction anthologies.

In 2015 he added the title of publisher to his character sheet as co-owner of eSpec Books LLC.

John Meyer

A member of The Chromatics, this year's musical guest of honor. As the bass-baritone and vocal percussionist, John composes unique ditties that make you think, laugh, and go "huh?" Some have even been performed at the Maryland Renaissance Festival by men in tights. Others are sung with gusto by the Chromatics, including Cowboy Chant, Science of Love, and Before You Sing with more always on the way. John's style can be best characterized as Frank Zappa meets the Swingles Singers.

Dr. Valerie J. Mikles

Dr. Valerie J. Mikles is a PhD astronomer who defected from academia to work on weather satellites for NOAA. While developing her sci-fi novels, she wrote and produced a series of comedic films about asexuals surviving the hypersexual world, inspired by her own journey. She’s active in community theater as an actor, choreographer, costumer, stage manager, and much more. In 2017, she began publishing her New Dawn novel series, and is here celebrating the release of her fifth book 'The Gray Market.'

Bernie Mojzes

Had things worked out differently, Bernie Mojzes might have been a song & dance man. Fortunately, he can't dance, so instead, he writes and edits. His fiction has appeared in "Betwixt Magazine," "Daily Science Fiction," and "Crossed Genres," among others. He co-edited and published "Unlikely Story" (formerly "The Journal of Unlikely Entomology"), which can be found at For additional out-of-date information, go to

John Monahan

John Monahan is a writer, and science teacher. He is the author of the non-fiction book They Called Me Mad: Genius, Madness and the Scientists Who Pushed the Outer Limits of Knowledge. His newest book is another non-fiction work, Babbage & Lovelace: The Victorian Computer Wizard and the Enchantress of Numbers. He lives and works in Baltimore with his wife, his two children and various pets/evil minions. His blog, Mad4Science can be found at

Karalyn Morris

K. L. Morris has been published in The Flexible Persona, Body Parts, and Shimmer. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was an honorable mention for Ellen Datlow's Best of the Year Horror Anthology. She works as a freelance academic editor, copyeditor, developmental editor, and adjunct professor. She has an MFA from Lesley University and is active in the Phoenix Fiction Writers.

Tee Morris

Tee Morris has been writing science fiction, fantasy, horror, and non-fiction for over a decade. His first novel, MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana, became the first novel to be podcast in its entirety, ushering in a new age for authors — podcasting. He went on with Evo Terra to write Podcasting for Dummies (as well as the 2nd Edition alongside Chuck Tomasi). His expertise reached deeper into social media when he penned on his own All a Twitter and Sams Teach Yourself Twitter in 10 Minutes.

In 2011, Tee returned to fiction with the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, penned with his wife, Pip Ballantine. The series and its short fiction podcast, Tales from the Archives, has won several awards including the 2014 Parsec Award for Best Science Fiction Anthology Podcast, the 2011 Airship Award for Best Steampunk Literature, and RT Reviews’ Choice Awards for Best Steampunk of 2014.

Tee and Pip also host The Shared Desk, a podcast covering collaboration and other aspects of a writer’s lifestyle. He enjoys a writer’s life in Virginia alongside Pip, his daughter, and three cats. Explore the works of Tee Morris, and his occasional geek rants, at

Shannon O’Shea

Shannon O'Shea is a speculative fiction writer from Phoenixville, PA. She's an active member of the Phoenix Fiction Writers Workshop, and has presented at The Pennsylvania Writers Conference and the King's College Creative Writing Conference. Her work can also be found in The Flexible Persona.

Michelle Orhan

A member of The Chromatics, this year's musical guest of honor. Michelle is a singer and a teacher. Her background in vocal performance means she teaches us a thing or two at every rehearsal. And her ability to deal with middle-schoolers means she has no trouble with the Chromies. As the youngest member of the group, she's already brought arrangements of the latest tunes and some awesome Christmas songs into our repertoire.

Joshua Palmatier

Joshua Palmatier is a fantasy writer with a PhD in mathematics. He is the author of nine epic fantasy novel, his most recent being the conclusion of the "Ley" series, REAPING THE AURORA, from DAW Books. He is also the founder and an editor for the small press Zombies Need Brains, which produces SF&F themes anthologies. Find out more at and

Carl Paolino

Carl Paolino is a veteran of the entertainment industry. As a producer, director, screenwriter, and production designer, his credits include feature films, television series, music videos, Broadway shows, and television commercials. His animated productions include: MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, and Celebrity Face-Off. He also wrote and directed the feature film, The Sickness, and The Halloween Pranksta, with co-producer Mark Hamill, of Star Wars fame. His Young Adult novels include Penny Dreadful and the Poisonberry Fortune, and The Secret of the Cybersapiens. His new horror novel series is titled, Virgin Falls: Worst Vacation Ever, and the second book in the series is titled, Virgin Falls: The Return of the Woodsman. He is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, and a professor at School of Visual Arts in Manhattan where he teaches Stop-Motion Animation, Makeup FX, and Body Casting as an Art Form.

Eric Parmer

Eric Parmer has a degree in English Literature with a focus on all the weird stuff that English Literature really shouldn't cover. Russian Fairy Tales. Vampires. Slavic Sci-Fi. He runs the Phoenixville Fiction Writers workshop.

Kevin Patterson

Kevin Patterson is an active member of the Philadelphia polyamory community. He's been practicing ethical nonmonogamy since August of 2002 after opening up a relationship that eventually became his marriage.

In April of 2015, Kevin was inspired to start Poly Role Models, an interview series for people describing their experiences with polyamory. Poly Role Models is part of a drive and a desire to change the way our lives and communities are viewed. It is currently the most diverse and inclusive platform for polyamory available.

To continue the discussion of polyamorous representation, Kevin has extended the blog's work into nationwide speaking engagements about how race and polyamory intersect. This has led to the writing of the book, Love's Not Color Blind: Race and Representation in Polyamorous and Other Alternative Communities. Kevin also co-authors the identity-conscious superhero series, For Hire.

Alana Phelan

Alana Phelan is an author, librarian, editor, event planner, advice columnist, and lifelong nerd. Along with Kevin Patterson, she has written For Hire: Operator, the first in a series of novels set in a universe that centers characters of color, queerness, and alternative relationship styles. You can find her online as The Polyamorous Librarian.

James Prego

Dr. Prego is a naturopathic doctor from Long Island and a past recipient of the NYANP's Physician of the Year award. He is an adjunct professor of Biology at Molly College, NCC, and LIU. A longtime fan of science fiction, he enjoys discussing xenobiology, health in space, fusions of biology and technology, how natural ways of healing fit in a sci-fi/high-tech world, and many other topics both science and non-science related. He was the New York Delegate to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, after spending time as a board member of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Dr. Prego has given talks, written articles, and been a show guest, discussing naturopathic medicine, children's health, and other health-related topics. He spent over a decade as a volunteer EMT, and has interests in acting/shadowcasting, gaming, burner culture, and more.

Peter Prellwitz

Peter Prellwitz has been writing stories, plays and skits since the fourth grade. As a child and young adult, Peter saw limited publication of three plays, thankfully each one better than the previous.

Presently, Peter has a total of nine novels published in trade paperback and ebook, all by Double Dragon Publishing. His novel Horizons was selected by Mike Resnick as Best Science Fiction and awarded DDP's Draco Award. Four of his short stories appear in the anthology Twisted Tails, which won the Dream Realms Award. Other short stories appear in a half-dozen anthologies by DDP and especially by eSpec's Beyond the Cradle; Defending The Future; and Bad Ass Faeries anthology series.

Together with more than two dozen short stories located on his site, Peter's novels weave a tapestry of mankind's exploration and settling of the galaxy over the next three thousand years.

A native Arizonan, Peter has also lived in Wisconsin, California, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, where he now lives with his wife, Bethlynne. In addition to writing, Peter enjoys history, scuba diving, backpacking, and languages.

Tom Purdom

Tom Purdom's first published story appeared in the August, 1957 issue of a magazine called Fantastic Universe His latest can be found in the November-December issue of Asimov's, now on sale. His contributions to the science fiction scene include novels, short stories and novelettes, magazine articles, book reviews, two terms as vice president of SFWA , three years as Eastern Regional Director of SFWA, and approximately fifteen years of volunteer work for the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and Philcon. In the last twenty-eight years, he has produced a series of short stories and novelettes that has appeared in Asimov's, Jim Baen's Universe, and anthologies such as the year's best series edited by Gardner Dozois and David Hartwell. Fantastic Books has published two collections of his stories: Lovers and Fighters, Starships and Dragons and Romance on Four Worlds, A Casanova Quartet. He lives in center city Philadelphia where he devotes himself to a continuous round of concerts, social events, and other urban pleasures.

Ray Ridenour

I'm a long time fan (since 1966) and artist. At conventions I've exhibited
paintings, drawings and stained glass windows. I've acted and sang in fan-musicals, been on many panels and have also moderated quite a few.
Outside of fandom, I've created commercial displays for department stores and display houses, and done illustrations for newspapers.
Then there's the twenty years as a professional artist and community liaison for the Baltimore City housing department.
I've been in two horror films, one as a featured player. (Lines, baby, Lines!)
I also do general commission pieces and volunteer art work.

Rebecca Robare

Dr. Rebecca Robare has a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and has worked as a college professor, camp counselor, science writer, library book-shelver, dishwasher, brain wave recorder, and cognitive simulation builder, before landing in her current job of statistical analyst. She is always willing to consider changing careers for a well-paid sinecure, however.

Charlie Robertson

How to make a Rock Robertson. Mix two Adventure genomes (predominantly endurance-selected North African with a splash of European), decant in Asia and inoculate through Global Travel, ensuring at least four continents of pathogenic exposure. Introduce a disdain for blind Authority, while inculcating curiosity, Equanimity, loyalty, physicality and a Relentless pursuit of practical knowledge. Surround with literally peerless family and friend love and affection, seasoned with hardship, triumph and gratitude. Currently consulting in IT and Rapid Prototyping for a multinational, like something out of a science fiction novel... Also a former President of PSFS, and a former Chair of Philcon.

Roberta Rogow

Roberta Rogow has been involved in Fandom since 1973 as a Filker, Costumer, Fanzine writer and editor, and Artist (specializing in needlework). She has written historical mysteries; her most recent book, Madness in Manatas, is a mystery set in an Alternate Universe, best described as "Last of the Mohicans meets Arabian Nights with a Spanish accent." Roberta is a retired Children's Librarian, now living in New Jersey.

Scott Rohrbach

A tenor-baritone, Scott was the first new Chromatic in 11 years, bringing another scientific mind to the group. He has a high energy groove, and a high frequency voice, but enjoys the occasional ballad when things get a little too excited. He's been writing original astronomy songs and parodies galore and is amazingly proficient at transcribing music into software, helping us all learn more quickly!

Robert C. Roman

Robert C Roman is an author of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steam Punk, Space Opera, Superheroes, and Paranormal Romance. Robert has taken a long and winding path to get where he is today. Finally growing tired of life of adventure, Robert settled down with the Ur-Goth and began spawning and writing. Both have borne fascinating, humorous, and occasionally, horrifying fruit. By day, Robert is a mild mannered High School teacher. By night, he tells stories, plays games, and raises children and Hell (in that order). He can be found online at Robert presently has two ongoing serials at JukePop Serials: “Blank” and “Blue Bloods.” In addition, he has been a staff writer for Steam-Funk Studios since November of 2014, to the benefit of many of their collective projects.

Aaron Rosenberg

Aaron Rosenberg is an award-winning, #1 bestselling novelist, children's book author, and game designer. His novels include the best-selling DuckBob SF comedy series, the Dread Remora space-opera series, and, with David Niall Wilson, the O.C.L.T. occult thriller series. His tie-in work contains novels for Star Trek, Warhammer, World of WarCraft, and Eureka. He has written children's books, including the original series Pete and Penny's Pizza Puzzles, the award-winning Bandslam: The Junior Novel, and the #1 best-selling 42: The Jackie Robinson Story. Aaron has also written educational books on a variety of topics and over seventy roleplaying games, such as the original games Asylum, Spookshow, and Chosen, work for White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight, Pinnacle, and many others, and both the Origins Award-winning Gamemastering Secrets and the Gold ENnie-winning Lure of the Lich Lord. He is the co-creator of the ReDeus series, and one of the founders of Crazy 8 Press. Aaron lives in New York with his family. You can follow him online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter @gryphonrose.

Michael Ryan

Mike Ryan is a Twitch streamer ( and produces a bi-weekly video game talk show, Inside the Magic Circle. He has been a fan of science fiction ever since the age of six. His love of the genre has expanded to include tabletop games, video games and anime.

Carol Salemi

Carol Salemi costumes at the Master level and has been involved in all aspects of costuming for over 30 years, trying her hand at everything from teaching, creating, and competing to judging and masquerade directing. Each competition costume usually involves some new, fun, or challenging technique that keeps it fresh. While best known for Media recreations and Native American clothing, her most recent work can be seen on TLC's "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding". Carol has enjoyed working as a medical massage therapist for over 30 years, works part time for Regal Cinemas and Sondra Celli Designs with seasonal jobs in the Haunt Industry. She now has a growing interest in Steampunk accessories and check out her jewelry in the art show!

Sarah Sanders

Sarah's costuming journey runs in a straight line from reenactment to LARPing to the convention costuming circuit. She likes to work on a new skill or try a new material for every new con season.

Kathy Sands

I went from kids' fantasy to sf & fantasy in 4th grade then in the mid-70's discovered conventions, filk, & media fanfiction, & extended my SF addiction to encompass them. To date, I've produced 4 media fanfiction zines and 2 filk CDs, with more of each in the works.

I took over Tales from the White Hart, an sf bookstore, from Sue Wheeler in 1977, and ran it for 17 years, marrying Leo Sands, my favorite customer, about 2 years after the shop reopened under my management. Both of our kids grew up there, and at conventions around the country & 2 other continents. Neither has yet run screaming into Mundania (our son was married at a con), so I guess we raised them right.

Having spent 42 years in fandom, I hope to enjoy at least that many more.

Michal Schick

Lawrence M. Schoen

Lawrence M. Schoen has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, and five Nebula awards. He's won the Cóyotl Award for Best Novel. He holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, is a world authority on the Klingon language, operates the small press Paper Golem, is a certified hypnotherapist, and writes science fiction and fantasy about life, death, and the continua between the two. His latest book, THE MOONS OF BARSK, explores racism, determinism, and free will, also elephants (in space).

Darrell Schweitzer

Darrell Schweitzer's books include three novels, THE WHITE ISLE, THE SHATTERED GODDESS, THE MASK OF THE SORCERER, and THE DRAGON HOUSE, plus nine short-story collections, the most recent of which is a volume of Lovecraftian stories, AWAITING STRANGE GODS, published by Fedogan & Bremer. His work, both fiction and non-fiction, has appeared in publications as varied as POSTSCRIPTS, INTERZONE, REALMS OF FANTASY, and ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE.

Miriam Seidel

Miriam Seidel is a writer, librettist, and longtime sci-fi fan. Her novel, The Speed of Clouds (New Door Books, 2018), which takes place in the world of sci-fi fandom, has been called “a fantastic read, with characters who will make you cheer and hurt for them, a plot that delivers, and strong depth of feeling” (The Coil). Her dramatic work includes the libretto for Violet Fire, an opera about the visionary inventor Nikola Tesla, performed in Belgrade, New York, and Philadelphia, another opera based on a tale from Ovid, and a sci-fi radio play for New American Radio. She’s written for Art in America, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications, and her writing has won multiple fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Miriam has recently been a guest speaker at PSFS and Galactic Philadelphia. Fun fact: she plays the theremin. More at

Dr. H. Paul Shuch

Dr. SETI is the name of the blatant exhibitionist who inhabits the body of noted author and educator Dr. H. Paul Shuch. A cross between Tom Lehrer and Carl Sagan, it is said that Dr. SETI sings like Sagan and lectures like Lehrer. Armed with a laptop computer and an acoustical guitar, Dr. SETI travels the world, making the search for life in space accessible to audiences as diverse as humanity itself.

A retired academic, Prof. Shuch serves the nonprofit, membership-supported SETI League as Executive Director Emeritus (all work and no pay makes Jack a poor prof.), coordinating its science mission and delivering hundreds of Dr. SETI (R) presentations since 1994, to thousands of enthusiasts, in dozens of countries on six continents. (He'd like to make that a clean sweep, if ever he has an opportunity to lecture to the penguins.)

At college campuses, science centers, public lecture halls, and on television and radio, Dr. SETI's unique mix of science and song seeks to educate as well as entertain. He compels the listener to contemplate a fundamental question, which has haunted humankind since first we realized that the points of light in the night sky are other suns:

Are We Alone?

Alex Shvartsman

Alex Shvartsman is a writer, translator and anthologist. Over 100 of his short stories have appeared in Nature, Analog, Strange Horizons, IGMS, and many other 'zines and anthologies. He's the winner of 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction and the two-time finalist for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction. His latest collection, "The Golem of Deneb Seven and Other Stories" was published in 2018.

Alex is the editor of Unidentified Funny Objects, an annual anthology series of humorous SF/F, as well as several other anthologies, and Future Science Fiction Digest, which can be found at

His published fiction is linked at

Susan Shwartz

About the Author

Back after several years, Susan Shwartz's most recent books are a reprint of WHITE WING (with Shariann Lewitt , writing as Gordon Kendall) and THE SUBVERSIVE JOB HUNGER'S HAND BOOK. She is also responsible for HOSTILE TAKEOVER (Tor) and the VULCAN SOUL trilogy (with the late Josepha Sherman; SECOND CHANCES, a retelling of LORD JIM; a collection of short fiction called SUPPOSE THEY GAVE A PEACE and Other Stories, SHARDS OF EMPIRE (Tor) and CROSS AND CRESCENT (Tor), set in Byzantium; along with the STAR TREK novels (written with Josepha Sherman) VULCAN'S FORGE and VULCAN'S HEART.

Others of her works include THE GRAIL OF HEARTS, a revisionist retelling of Wagner's PARSIFAL, and over 70 pieces of short fiction. She has been nominated for the Hugo twice, the Nebula five times, the Edgar and World Fantasy Award once, and has won the HOMer, an award for science fiction given by Compuserve.

She received her B.A., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke and earned her doctorate in English from Harvard University. She has also attended summer school up at Trinity College, Oxford, and has held a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for postdoctoral study in conjunction with Dartmouth College.

For the past 20 years, she's worked in the financial services industry. .

Her nonfiction has appeared in VOGUE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, ANALOG, AMAZING, various encyclopedias, and collections of critical work. She is a frequent public speaker, most recently at the Naval War College, but also at the NSA, Harvard, Princeton, Mount Holyoke, the University of Connecticut, The State University of New York at Binghamton, Smith College, the Air Force Academy, and the United States Military Academy.

Hildy Silverman

Hildy Silverman is the publisher of Space and Time, a 52-year-old magazine featuring fantasy, horror, and science fiction ( She is also the author of several works of short fiction, most recently including "The Great Chasm (co-authored by David Silverman, 2016, Altered States of the Union, Hauman, ed.), "The Show Killer" (2017, TV Gods 2: Summer Programming, Young and Hillman, eds.) and "A Scandal in the Bloodline" (2016, Baker Street Irregulars, Ventrella & Maberry, eds.), and "Invasive Maneuvers" (2017,Love, Murder, and Mayhem, Colchamiro, ed.) In 2013, she was a finalist for the WSFA Small Press Award for her story, "The Six Million Dollar Mermaid" (Mermaids 13, French, ed). In the "real" world, she is the manager of Marketing and Public Relations at Sivantos, Inc.

Mark Singer

Jack of all trades but master of none. I am a long-time SF fan, gamer (board and rig), and voracious reader of history.

John Skylar

John Skylar, Ph.D. is an infectious disease scientist, medical writer, and writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in Strange Bedfellows (Bundoran Press 2014), The Future Embodied (Simian Publishing 2014), Perihelion SF, Mashable, and The Huffington Post. He lives in New York along with his wife and their ramen soup.

Alan P. Smale

In addition to singing bass with the Chromatics, this year’s Musical Guests of Honor, Alan Smale writes alternate and twisted history, and occasional pure SF and fantasy. His novella of a Roman invasion of ancient America, “A Clash of Eagles”, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and his novels set in the same universe, CLASH OF EAGLES (2015), EAGLE IN EXILE (2016), and EAGLE AND EMPIRE (2017), are available from Del Rey. Alan has also sold 40+ pieces of shorter fiction to Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Abyss & Apex, and numerous other magazines and original anthologies. His latest Asimov’s tale, a collaboration with Rick Wilber, was the cover story for their May/June 2018 issue. Alan grew up in Yorkshire, England, acquired degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford University, and currently conducts astronomical research at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Find him online at, Facebook/AlanSmale, or Twitter/@AlanSmale.

Karen Smale

A member of The Chromatics, this year's musical guest of honor. Karen sings tenor, alto and mezzo, and writes songs about the Sun and planets, as well as the occasional cautionary tale of gridlock. She also designs most of the group's cover art.

Jay Smith

Jay Smith is an award-winning audio dramatist, author, and podcast producer. He is the creator and writer of the online zombie horror series HG World, pulp adventure serial Hidden Harbor Mysteries, and the upcoming weird western series The Road to Renascence. His books include the geek noir thriller The Resurrection Pact and The Diary of Jill Woodbine: an LGBTQ coming-of-age New Adult novel about life and love in the zombie apocalypse. Jay holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and is very open to opportunities that will help pay back those student loans.

Pam Smith

Dame Dahlia is a cosplayer from Central Pennsylvania and is an active member of the Central Pennsylvania Heroes Coalition and a recruit in the Philadelphia Avengers which are cosplay groups that does community service to local children’s hospitals and other organizations in Pennsylvania. She is originally from Dallas, Texas. Dame Dahlia is a veteran of the United States Air Force.

Kristyn Souder

Kristyn is happy to return to Philcon to present her thoughts on anime, gaming, fantasy, sci-fi, con-running, and all things geek. In addition to heading the Anime Track at Philcon, she is the Vice Chair of Zenkaikon, a local anime and sci-fi convention. Her hobbies include watching anime; reading manga, fantasy, and science fiction novels; and playing her half elf druid on EverQuest 2.

Tim Souder

Tim is a long time fan of science fiction and anime. He is sits on the Board of Directors and is the Treasurer of Zenkaikon (another local anime and science fiction convention). He has read all of the science fiction novels by Asimov and Clarke, and numerous other series. He is an avid fan of Babylon 5 (having watched the series at least five times, and a follower of He has watched over a hundred anime series from the classics (such as Space Battleship Yamoto, Bubblegum Crisis, Cowboy Bepop) to the modern (such as Attack on Titan, Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, Sword Art Online, and many others).
Tim has participated in panels at Philcon for the last eight years, and is currently co-chairing the Philcon Anime track with his wife, Kristyn for the seventh year.
In the real world, Tim has his Masters degree in Computer Science from Drexel University. He currently works as a software engineer.

Mary Spila

Mary Spila is not your stereotypical, mild-mannered librarian. She is an active member in the Society for Creative Anachronism. The spins her own yard, knits, and does tablet weaving. She reads everything within visual range. Current favorites are mixed genre fiction, History, and anything else that catches her eye.

Muriel Stockdale

Muriel Stockdale’s successful 35-year career in entertainment as a designer, director, filmmaker and artist honed her ability and desire to tell her stories. She has for her entire life been fascinated by myths, spirituality and science fiction. She began avidly reading and comparing diverse creation myths at age ten then moved onto science fiction as a teen. Muriel was soon disappointed to find that the genre rarely considers evolution of consciousness. She has spent her life devouring material about the inner, sacred, unknown nature of man by reading sacred texts, scientific studies and contemporary books expressing diverse spiritual points of view. Her first novel, Gabriel Born, published in December 2016 by Balboa press explores consciousness and creativity. It presents a window of possibility for science and the mystical to interact and is intended to inspire and enthuse its audience. The novel is based on her award winning film script entitled, Gabriel’s Flight.

Ann Stolinsky

Ann Stolinsky is a Pennsylvania-based word and game expert. She is the founder and owner of Gontza Games, an independent board and card game company. Three of her games are currently in the marketplace: “MINDFIELD, The Game of United States Military Trivia”; “Pass the Grogger!”; and “Christmas Cards.” Her website is She is also a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Visit for more information and testimonials.

Ann is an Assistant Editor at Gathering Storm Magazine, Her most recent publishing credits are: a short story in two Clarendon House anthologies; a short story in Curiosities magazine, as well as the story narrated on the Gallery of Curiosities website; a short story on the With Painted Words website,, a short story in Running Wild Press's Vol I Anthology of Stories; and a poem in the Fall 2015 issue of Space and Time Magazine. She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class. Ann is a member of the Writers Coffeehouse, and the writing critique group located at Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park, PA.

Richard Stout

Richard premiered his trilogy of kid spy movies featuring James Blond, Agent Uh-Oh 7, at Philcon, beginning with 1993's LEARNER'S PERMIT TO KILL. His horror makeup/special FX workshop "Monsters, Aliens, and Spirit Gum" has been popular both here and at I-Con. He and his wife Kathryn run an educational publishing company, and while she is the brains of the outfit, she allowed him to co-author MOVIES AS LITERATURE. Among his recent publications are six comic poems and a short story that appeared in ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE. Richard has also published the occasional cartoon. Oh, and his singing voice has been heard by hundreds of thousands: Howard Stern once played one of his song parodies on the air.

Jim Stratton

Jim Stratton is a chameleon. By day, he is a mild-mannered government lawyer, and lives with his wife and children in southern Delaware. But he's been an avid fan of speculative fiction all his life, and began writing genre fiction 20+ years ago. In recent years he's been forging his dark alter ego of genre fiction author through publication of his tales in venues like Nth Degree Ezine and; anthologies like Rum & Runestones (2012), Fantastic Futures 13 (2013) and Bad Ass Fairies IV (2014). He danced in the light when his stories appeared in 2015 & 2016 in the Nth Degree #24 & 27, a further step in his master plan. His final reveal will come with publication of his novel "Loki's Gambit", when he will step into the light of day, triumphant.

Ian Randal Strock

Ian Randal Strock is the editor and publisher of Fantastic Books ( As a writer, his fiction has appeared in Nature, Analog (from which he won two AnLab Awards), and several recent anthologies. His nonfiction has much wider distribution (including "Ranking the First Ladies" and "Ranking the Vice Presidents," which Carrel Books published in 2016, and "The Presidential Book of Lists" [Random House, 2008]). For everything Ian, see

Steam-Funk Studios

John Swann

John has been coming to Philcon for over 20 years. He met his wife at a Philcon and together they decided to create the Gaming Suite as their way to give back.

Stephanie Swann

Virginia Swann

Long time Sci-Fi fan and annual participant of Philcon since 2000. Big time gamer girl, she and her husband John now manage the gaming suite. Ginny is also an actress/singer.

Michael Swanwick

Michael Swanwick has received the Hugo Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, World Fantasy, and Grand Roscon Awards and His work has been translated and published throughout the world.

His novels include DANCING WITH BEARS, STATIONS OF THE TIDE, JACK FAUST, THE IRON DRAGON'S DAUGHTER, BONES OF THE EARTH and THE DRAGONS OF BABEL. He most recent novel is CHASING THE PHOENIX and his most recent collection is NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT. THE IRON DRAGON'S MOTHER will be published by Tor next summer.

Swanwick lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Marianne Porter.

Ronald C. Taylor

Nathan Thatcher

A new presenter for Philcon's 2017 Anime track.

Phillip Thorne

Interested in everything, especially if it can be organized and analyzed, except for sportsball. "Everything" includes LEGO bricks, vintage science magazines, international travel plans, linguistics, and macroeconomic time series databases. Affiliated with Philcon since 2001 as repeat children's program head, LEGO exhibit liaison, and program book designer.

Michael A. Ventrella

Although primarily known as "that guy who predicted the Hodor plot," Michael A. Ventrella would rather be known for his humorous novels like "Bloodsuckers: A Vampire Runs for President" and "The Axes of Evil." He edits the "Tales from Fortannis"anthologies as well as the "Baker Street Irregulars" with NY Times Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry. His latest anthology is "Release the Virgins!". His short stories have appeared in other collections such as "Dreamers in Hell", "The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Archives", "Dance Like a Monkey" and "Rum and Runestones."

At his website ( he interviews other authors, editors, agents and publishers to get advice for the starting author.

In his spare time, he is a lawyer.

Steve Vertlieb

An award-winning writer, film historian, critic, archivist, musicologist and poet, Steve Vertlieb has been writing about motion pictures and symphonic film music in a variety of books, magazines, journals, tabloids, and on the internet, since 1969 and has been profiled in "Who's Who in Entertainment in America." He assisted in the preparation of Warner Bros. premiere DVD release of "King Kong" (1933), was the subject of a lengthy interview by the prestigious Sci-Fantasy web site, "The Thunder Child," appears on camera in the documentary "Kreating Karloff," and has written the liner notes for the booklet accompanying its DVD release.

He has worked for fourteen years in local television and radio, appeared as a guest speaker at The Philadelphia Art Museum, and both programmed and appeared as a guest on stage at a major film festival for the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and at the sixtieth anniversary "King Kong" celebration at Chicago's venerable Gateway Theater in conjunction with Turner Entertainment. His work has appeared in such publications as "Cinemacabre," "Midnight Marquee, and "Penny Dreadful," and has been featured in such books as "The Girl In The Hairy Paw," "King Kong Cometh," "Dracula: The First Hundred Years," "Memories Of Hammer," " and "The Man Who Collected Psychos: Critical Essays On Robert Bloch."

He was nominated for a Rondo Award in 2010 for an affectionate remembrance of his forty five year friendship with Forrest J. Ackerman..."The Most Famous Monster Of Them All," as well as subsequent Rondo Award nominations for his remembrances of personal friends, Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen, and will appear in a new film documentary from acclaimed director Paul Davids. He was inducted into The International Association Of Film Music Critics early in 2011 and, in the Spring of that same year, wrote and delivered a live three hour lecture to a film studies school in Western Pennsylvania on The History Of Motion Picture Music. He is also the subject of a forthcoming, feature length, motion picture documentary entitled Steve Vertlieb: The Man Who "Saved" The Movies...currently filming on both coasts, and scheduled for film festival release in 2019.

Steve Vertlieb is the recipient of The "Rondo" Lifetime Achievement "Hall Of Fame" Award, presented in June, 2016 by David Colton, former Editor In Chief of U.S.A. Today. Previous recipients include Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Christopher Lee, and Forrest J Ackerman.

Robert Walters

Robert Walters has been a professional artist for twenty years. His artwork has appeared in more than a dozen museums, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian, and in more than twenty books and innumerable magazines throughout the world, as well as television productions for PBS and the Discovery Channel, and electronic media such as Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. He has a BFA from the Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia and has science credits from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner, Tess Kissinger.
The couple have a studio in Philadelphia where they pursue projects of all sorts which bring together art and science. Most famous for their work in paleontology, they are also involved currently in museum exhibits in robotics, and anthropology, and the history of the planet, as well as personal experiments in the computer animation of movements of extinct animals based on fossil evidence.

David Walton

David Walton is the author of the 2017 science fiction thriller THE GENIUS PLAGUE, winner of the Campbell Award for best novel. He also won the Philip K. Dick award in 2009 for his first novel, TERMINAL MIND. He lives near Philadelphia with his wife and seven children. By day, he works as an engineer for Lockheed Martin. Find out more about his books and ideas at

Jeff Warner

Jeff Warner is a professor of autodidactism, stand-up philosopher, not-recently-published writer, former president of the Science Fiction Forum, freelance punslinger, and a co-founder of a hat trick of sf conventions. "Geek, Nerd, AND Dork? I'm a Triple Threat!"

Joan Wendland

Joan Wendland is a game designer, an engineer, and the owner of Blood and Cardstock Games. Joan has designed card games, live action role playing games, and honest to God war games for the US government. In addition she has published two novels- Backstage: a novel of secret agendas, slow burn romance, and imaginary cats, and a steampunk retelling of Pride and Prejudice - Mr. Darcy: Cogs Maketh the Man. Check her out at or

Jay Wile

Dr. Jay L. Wile holds an earned Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in nuclear chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry from the same institution. He has taught at both the university and high school levels and has won several awards for excellence in teaching. He has also published more than 30 articles in nationally-recognized, peer-reviewed journals and has 15 books to his credit, including Reasonable Faith: The Scientific Case For Christianity.

Alyce Wilson

Alyce Wilson, a Philadelphia area freelance writer and editor, is the editor of Wild Violet (, a weekly online literary magazine. She has published a poetry chapbook, "Picturebook of the Martyrs," an essay collection, "The Art of Life," and an ebook, "Dedicated Idiocy: How Monty Python Fandom Changed My Life." More information can be found at her author site:

Steve Wilson

STEVEN H. WILSON is the creator of the Mark Time and Parsec Award-winning podcast series The Arbiter Chronicles, as well as the author of two novels spawned by the series Taken Liberty and Unfriendly Persuasion. He is also the author of Peace Lord of the Red Planet and three short stories for the ReDeus series from Crazy 8 Press. He has written for DC Comics and Starlog, and is publisher for the Maryland-based Firebringer Press, whose seventh and latest book, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, collects tales of science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal by Mid-Atlantic authors.

Batya Wittenberg

Batya "The Toon" Wittenberg is, in no particular order: a successfully transplanted New Yorker, a practicing Orthodox Jew, a happily married woman since 1999, a certified master of Pun Fu, an enthusiastic cook and foodie, a filker, a founding member of filk group Lady Mondegreen, a fanfic writer, a habitual online roleplayer, and in no particular order.

Mark Wolverton

Mark Wolverton is a science journalist, author, and 2016-17 Knight-MIT Science Journalism Fellow. He writes for various national and international publications including WIRED, Nature, Undark, Scientific American, and Air & Space Smithsonian. He has also worked with the NASA Ames History Project, Argonne National Laboratory, the Franklin Institute, and the NASA ISS Science Office. His latest book is "Burning the Sky: Operation Argus and the Untold Story of the Cold War Nuclear Tests in Outer Space." Previous books include "A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer"; "The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes"; and "The Science of Superman." More information at

F. M. Yates

If you've bought comics on South St. in Philadelphia in the past 30 (?) years, then you've probably bought them from Michael. As owner of Atomic City Comics, on South St. (The coolest street in Philadelphia), Michael has been the local Comic Book pusher for decades. Writer and performer for the Comedy group Iron In Our Thighs Productions, he worked on the kiddie show satire 'Hellorama', the video 'Comic Book Pajama Party', and the radio play 'Santa Vs. Dracula' with his longtime writing partner the Late Great Martin King. He was also the Head writer and Director of the webseries 'Forever Wednesday' that he co-created with Victoria Kopesky. Furthermore, Mr. Yates has been a member of Steam-Funk Studios' in-house performance and Senior Creative staff, since February 2013, contributing significantly to both The Living MultiVerse and The Unconventional.

Simone Zelitch

Simone Zelitch is the author of five novels, most recently Judenstaat, an alternative history about a Jewish state established in Germany in 1948. A National Endowment for the Arts recipient, her work as appeared in Art Papers and The Forward, Lilith Magazine, and National Public Radio’s The Best of Channukah Lights, and she chronicled a 2015 trip to Jerusalem, Hebron and Jaffa in a series of articles in Jewish Currents. A former Peace Corps volunteer, she has taught at Community College of Philadelphia for over twenty years where she established their creative writing program. She manages to write during the summer, mostly. Read more about the author and her work at

Robert Zygala

The Vice-president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Delaware Anime Society. The Head of Technical Operations and member of the Board of Directors for Zenkaikon.