Information

Click on the headings below to show summaries of all the important information you need for CrossingsCon 2021.

Since many attendees are likely unfamiliar with Gather we want to make sure everyone is able to become comfortable with the platform. There are also some tutorials on their info centre that go over the basics.

Gather gives you a virtual avatar to move around a virtual 2-dimensional space. You can move your avatar with either the arrow keys or the WASD keys on your keyboard. You will automatically join voice calls with other people as you approach them within a certain radius. You can press X on your keyboard to interact with various things in the space such as embedded websites or videos.

When you load into Gather you will see a screen such as this with several different menu options on the sides of the screen. These menu options are explained below.
  1. Home Button: Shows several links, including the Gather homepage.
  2. Settings: Control your personal settings, such as audio and video inputs.
  3. Build Tool: Allows one to edit the Gather space. This will be disabled during the convention.
  4. Calendar: Shows the day's upcoming events. Also shows one how to get to the room an event is taking place in, or else teleport there directly.
  5. Chat: Allows one to send text chat. Text chat can be done to a variety of different targets: individual users, your nearby area, everyone in the room, etc. Please use the different options appropriately.
  6. User Directory: Lists all the people in the Gather space. You can direct-message people, use the follow feature to have your avatar automatically follow theirs, and more. Note the ability to block a user, which prevents you from joining voice and video calls with them.
  7. Avatar Options: Allows you to change your name and your avatar.
  8. Quick Settings: Shows some quick settings you can change such as a status or setting yourself as away.
  9. Minimap: Shows a minimap view of the room you're currently in.
  10. Reactions: Shows buttons to make your avatar perform reactions, such as raising your hand.
There are also some special types of tiles:
  1. Spotlights: When someone steps on a spotlight tile their audio and video is broadcast to the entire room. You should never step on these tiles unless directed to by a CrossingsCon staff member.
  2. Private areas: Areas with darkened floors allow people within them to have a private conversation without any passers-by listening in.
And some other controls that may be useful to know:
  1. Bubbles: Double-clicking on another user will start a "bubble", quieting people around you for a quick conversation. Other people can still hear you (albeit faintly), and can double-click on you to join the bubble
  2. Ghost mode: Normally you cannot move through a space where another person is standing, but holding the G key on your keyboard will allow you to move through people, to prevent you from getting stuck.
  3. Dancing: Just for fun, repeatedly pressing the Z key will make your avatar dance!
Here are some tools that are recommended to make the online convention fit your needs.

If you require captions for auditory events, Google Chrome has a built-in live captioning feature which you can enable by following the guide here. The CrossingsCon staff have tested that this works well in Gather. In addition, all of the social spaces in the virtual convention space will have sections that are explicitly intended and labelled for text-only conversations.

If you've got a form of colorblindness and are finding that parts of the virtual convention space are confusing because of this, we recommend browser extensions such as this one for Firefox or this one for Chrome, or operating-system programs such as Sim Daltonism for MacOS or Windows 10's color filters to adjust colors to suit your needs.
The full list of convention rules can be found on the main rules page and every attendee is expected to be familiar with them. However, we'd like to highlight some rules that are unique to this year's convention due to it's unique virtual nature:
  • The public spaces in the virtual convention space will be considered all-ages
  • The following topics and activities must be contained to a GatherTown private space containing only other con-goers that are comfortable with engaging with the activity or topic. Private spaces are special areas where only the people in the private space can hear and see each other, and not any passers-by.
    • On-screen consumption of controlled substances such as alcohol or tobacco, regardless of the legal age of consumption in the person's country of residence.
    • Discussion of 18+ topics such as sex, kink, alcohol or cannabis use, etc. Note that this does not include discussions of sexuality or one's experience with gender, which are actively welcomed in all-ages spaces.
All times are in EDT (UTC-4)

Sunday August 1

Opening Ceremonies | 12:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

The grand opening of CrossingsCon 2021!

Guest of Honor Game Stream | 1:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring C.B. Lee, Diane Duane, Jessica Day George and Ursula Vernon

Watch CB Lee, Ursula Vernon, Diane Duane, Jessica Day George, and Stationmaster Masha duke it out in party games such as Jackbox and Bring Your Own Book!

Visualizing Alternate Worlds | 3:30 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Diane Duane, Megan Whalen Turner and Ursula Vernon

What does another world’s sky look like? Or buildings, people, or clothes? Join Diane, Ursula, Cat, and Megan as they discuss ways of illustrating alternate worlds in various mediums both written and visual

Travel Stories | 5:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Diane Duane and Ursula Vernon

From incredible adventures to unfortunate mishaps, come hear all kinds of exciting travel tales from Diane and Ursula, as well as how their travel experiences have influenced their writing

Games & Mixer | 3:00 PM in Library

Greet old friends and new as you play games, chat, and mingle in the Library space

Monday August 2

Food in Fiction | 5:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Diane Duane, Jessica Day George, Megan Whalen Turner and Ursula Vernon

Join our authors as they discuss the foods they love (and some they despise) and the place that food has in their writing. How do they choose the foods that fit in their fictional worlds? Plus, a discussion of the fictional foods they’ve always wanted to try…

Roving Mars: Exploration Through the Ages | 6:30 PM in Wonderland

Featuring Alex Innanen

From the flybys of the 60’s up to this year’s TWO rover landings, join wizard of Mars Alex for an overview of Mars exploration through the ages, the discoveries we’ve made, and what’s next for the red planet

Book Talk | 8:00 PM in Avalon

An opportunity to share the favorite new books you’ve read, meet up to talk about all the wonderful works of our guests, and speculate about what might be coming next…

Meet the Author - Jessica | 8:00 PM in Wonderland

Featuring Jessica Day George

Sign up for a five minutes conversation with Jessica, to ask your burning questions, take a screenshot “selfie,” or just tell her how much you love her books! Slots will be chosen raffle-style

Tuesday August 3

Parent and Mentor Figures in Young Adult Fiction | 12:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring C.B. Lee, Diane Duane and Jessica Day George

Where do the grown-ups fit in in children’s books? Balancing the desire for independence with a continued need for support, parents and mentor figures in books for children and youth often fill a nebulous spot, from absent or malicious to wise and understanding. Join our Diane, Jessica, and CB as they discuss how they create their older parent and mentor characters, what relationships they have with the youthful protagonists, and what to keep in mind when writing from a kid or teen’s point of view

Meet the Author - Diane | 5:00 PM in Wonderland

Featuring Diane Duane

Sign up for a five minutes conversation with Diane, to ask your burning questions, take a screenshot “selfie,” or just tell her how much you love her books! Slots will be chosen raffle-style

Exploring Race in Time Travel Fiction | 5:30 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Isabel Sepúlveda

Join Isabel Sepúlveda in taking a closer look at how time travel stories, especially those that explore the trauma of collective atrocity, have the power not only to reclaim and reinterpret the past, but also show us how we might build a better future. In particular, this talk will examine Kindred by Octavia Butler to explore how Butler makes use of the time travel genre to comment on America’s brutal history of chattel slavery, Black-white racial relations, and the political landscape in which she was writing

Meet the Author - C.B. | 6:00 PM in Avalon

Featuring C.B. Lee

Sign up for a five minutes conversation with CB, to ask your burning questions, take a screenshot “selfie,” or just tell her how much you love her books! Slots will be chosen raffle-style

Linguistics after Dark liveshow | 7:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Eli Morris-Heft and Sarah Cowett

Modern usage got you tense? Can’t start up your conjugator? Or maybe you’d just like to make like a schwa and destress. Submit questions to the Linguistics After Dark live show with your burning language questions, and Sarah and Eli will answer them for you. Just one catch: they can’t do any research before answering. If your language is making a funny noise, they’ll get to the bottom of it, with some rowdy discussion, bad nerdy jokes, and a lot of linguistics along the way

Wednesday August 4

Interactive Worldbuilding: Game Design and Cultural Consulting | 6:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring James Mendez Hodes

How are RPGs designed and constructed? How do we respectfully create culturally diverse and varied fictional worlds? What goes into creative and cultural consulting? James Mendez Hodes shares his expertise from the world of game design and cultural consulting to answer these questions and more!

Writing Workshop | 6:00 PM in Wonderland

Featuring C.B. Lee and Jessica Day George

CB and Jessica lead a two part writing workshop which includes an opportunity to write a short piece based on a prompt, followed by an in-depth Q&A session

Pub Trivia | 8:00 PM in Library

Form a team and test your knowledge in a game of pub trivia!

Thursday August 5

Unconvention Slots | 4:00 PM in Avalon

Sign up for a time slot and talk about anything you like! If you have an area of expertise that you think people might be interested in, share it here! If you want to meet up with others that share your interests or passions, book a slot! From poetry slams to animal sustainability to kite flying, anything and everything is welcome

Meet the Author - Ursula | 5:00 PM in Wonderland

Featuring Ursula Vernon

Sign up for a five minute conversation with Ursula, to ask your burning questions, take a screenshot “selfie,” or just tell her how much you love her books! Slots will be chosen raffle-style

BAM! POW! Superhero Stories | 6:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring C.B. Lee

In an age where superheroes are all the rage, how do you create a superpowered story that feels fresh and unique? CB Lee discusses her writing process and story inspirations, what superpower she’d most like to have, and the unique pleasures and challenges of writing in a genre that’s captured the imagination of our culture

Authors in Conversation | 7:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring C.B. Lee, Jessica Day George, Megan Whalen Turner and Ursula Vernon

Hear our guests talk about their recent and upcoming writing projects, share some fun stories, and answer questions submitted by you, the attendees!

Meet the Author - Cat | 8:00 PM in Wonderland

Featuring Cat Valente

Submit your name to a lottery for ten minutes with Cat, to ask your burning questions, take a screenshot “selfie,” or just tell her how much you love her books!

Fanfiction Discussion | 8:30 PM in Avalon

A space to share all your fanfic thoughts - recommendations and requests for the next favorite fic, current writing projects and ideas, or simply a discussion of your favorite tropes and AU scenarios!

Friday August 6

Portal Fantasy | 12:00 PM in Wonderland

Featuring Megan Whalen Turner

Join Megan Whalen Turner as she discusses portal and quest fantasies, the ways in which authors construct their fantastical worlds, and the relationship of protagonists to those worlds, using the seminal work Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn as a touchstone of her analysis

Unconvention Slots | 4:00 PM in Avalon

Sign up for a time slot and talk about anything you like! If you have an area of expertise that you think people might be interested in, share it here! If you want to meet up with others that share your interests or passions, book a slot! From poetry slams to animal sustainability to kite flying, anything and everything is welcome

Meet the Author - Megan | 5:00 PM in Wonderland

Featuring Megan Whalen Turner

Sign up for a five minutes conversation with Megan, to ask your burning questions, take a screenshot “selfie,” or just tell her how much you love her books! Slots will be chosen raffle-style

Baron Munchausen | 6:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring C.B. Lee, Cat Valente, Eli Morris-Heft and Ursula Vernon

Watch Ursula Vernon, Cat Valente, CB Lee, and Eli play a game of collaborative storytelling that will leave you in stitches!

Conlang Panel | 8:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Cat Valente, Eljay Rich, Jenny Peterson, Marcus Miles and Sarah Cowett

Ever wonder what it takes to create a language? Join Sarah and our panelists to discuss the construction and use of conlangs in different fictional and nonfictional settings, and how readers/consumers interact with them

Watch Party! The Angry Red Planet | 9:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Join us in a virtual watch party of the 1959 film The Angry Red Planet (as referenced in A Wizard of Mars). Don’t forget the popcorn!

Saturday August 7

Authors in Conversation | 12:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring C.B. Lee, Cat Valente, Diane Duane, Jessica Day George, Megan Whalen Turner and Ursula Vernon

Hear our guests talk about their recent and upcoming writing projects, share some fun stories, and answer questions submitted by you, the attendees!

Planets in Science Fiction | 1:30 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Alex Innanen, Cat Valente, Diane Duane and Emma Puranen

Curious how planets both inside and outside our solar system are portrayed in science fiction? Join authors Diane and Cat in conversation with scientists Alex and Emma (studying Mars and exoplanets respectively) as they discuss the many worlds visited in the books we read

Folklore Inspirations | 3:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Jessica Day George, Megan Whalen Turner and Ursula Vernon

Ursula, Megan, and Jessica discuss the myths, folklore, and fairy tales that inspire them as well as finding new ways to tell old stories

Baron Munchausen | 4:30 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Diane Duane, Jessica Day George, Megan Wegenke and Megan Whalen Turner

Watch Diane Duane, Jessica Day George, Megan Whalen Turner, and Megan Wegenke play a game of collaborative storytelling that will leave you in stitches!

Unconvention Slots | 4:00 PM in Avalon

Sign up for a time slot and talk about anything you like! If you have an area of expertise that you think people might be interested in, share it here! If you want to meet up with others that share your interests or passions, book a slot! From poetry slams to animal sustainability to kite flying, anything and everything is welcome

Heaven's Vault | 7:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

Featuring Dash, Eli Morris-Heft and Sarah Cowett

Resident archaeology-and-linguistics nerds Eli, Dash, and Sarah analyze aspects of the exo-archaelogy video game Heaven’s Vault. How did they decode the Ancient language? Why is that language the way that it is? Why is the protagonist the only person in her world who believes in history? They’ll do their best to answer these questions and more–be ready for spoilers!

CrossingsJam | 9:00 PM in Library

Featuring everyone!

Open mic night!! Bring your best tunes/standup routine/slam poetry/performance art and enjoy the multitude of talent in this community!

Sunday August 8

Unconvention Slots | 12:00 PM in Wonderland

Sign up for a time slot and talk about anything you like! If you have an area of expertise that you think people might be interested in, share it here! If you want to meet up with others that share your interests or passions, book a slot! From poetry slams to animal sustainability to kite flying, anything and everything is welcome

Games & Meetups | 12:00 PM in Library

One more chance to play games, chat, and mingle with all your con friends

Closing Ceremonies | 5:00 PM in Tír na nÓg

A fond farewell to the wonderful week we’ve had, and hopefully a see-you-soon as well!

CrossingsCon isn't the only time and place you can hang out with the wonderful community! The convention has closest ties with The Crossings Slack, but there's also the Out of Ambit Discord Server, /r/errantry on Reddit and the Young Wizards Facebook Group.
We've put a lot of hard work into CrossingsCon 2021 and we hope you really enjoy it! If you want to help us keep putting on conventions in years to come please consider supporting us on our Ko-fi or our Patreon.
The next iteration of the convention will be held from August 5th to 7th 2022 in Montreal, Canada! Early bird badges are available at register.crossingscon.org