Following on from my Wiscon schedule post, some questions:
I need to get from Madison to Chicago on the Monday (27 May). The Greyhound site shows several stops in each city – does anyone know which ones I should use? Or, a long shot: if anyone’s driving that route on that day, do you have a spare seat? I’m happy to chip in for petrol.
Another long shot: does anyone have a bed/sofa/floor in Chicago that night? If not, I shall find myself a hostel.
I will be at Wiscon in (ahhh) under 2 weeks’ time! My schedule is pretty light – 2 readings, 1 panel – which means lots of time for hanging out with everyone. I look forward to seeing lots of people there! (I will also be at Readercon, and remaining in the US between the two cons, for maximum people-seeing. As well as essay-finishing.)
Open Secrets: a Speculative Poetry Reading – Sat, 2:30–3:45 pm – Senate B
Lisa Bradley, Amal El-Mohtar, Gwynne Garfinkle, Nancy Hightower, Kathrin Koehler, Shira Lipkin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Elizabeth R. McClellan, Julia Rios, S. Brackett Robertson, Sofia Samatar
Members of the Secret Poetry Cabal (a speculative poetry group) will read their work.
Spindles and Spitfire – Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm – Conference 2
Lisa Bradley, Shira Lipkin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Patty Templeton
Join us for a reading packed full of sinister whimsy, hidden hearts, folkloric sensibilities and SNACKS! Lisa Bradley dances with the skeletons in her closet. Shira Lipkin will apparently write anything if you dare her to on Twitter. Alex Dally MacFarlane works at a spindle of bones and gold. Patty Templeton writes hellpunk in a handbasket, full of ghosts, freaks and fools.
Gender in Science Fiction – Sun, 10:00–11:15 am – Capitol A
Dr. Janice M. Bogstad, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Lauren K. Moody, Joan Slonczewski
How have our views of gender changed in real life and in science fiction? Is gender now like ethnicity — many different types that shade into each other? As new possibilities emerge, are there new taboos — new things we don’t allow?
For those of us who are stressed at the moment, a gif that is perhaps* relevant:
*picture, if you can, your preferred drink/food** of comfort
**some foods may be more difficult than others
So there’s a laughable defense of poor little Eastercon in the Strange Horizons 2012 round-up, which I may or may not blog about. This isn’t about that, but it’s inspired by the negative side of my feelings for cons.
Last year I went to Bristolcon and had a great time: hanging out with friends, going to some interesting (although sometimes a bit frustrating) panels, having fun talking about toilets IN SPAAACE. It’s a small, local con and very well-organised and I plan to attend again this year.
I was on a steampunk panel, where I was loud and vocal about things like the representation of women and lesbians, and the importance of stories that reconstruct history from non-dominant viewpoints, with some speaking about issues of colonialism/racism to the extent that my white self can – and afterwards Anne Lyle, a fellow panellist, described the panel as such: “The panel, on “The Evolution and Future of Steampunk” was lively, to say the least, but the very dapper Philip Reeve* did a splendid job of keeping us all in order.”
Because when someone’s being lively~ about under-represented voices, what we need is a man to keep her in order.
That has been making me a feel a bit sick whenever I’ve thought about it since the con.
And today I finally got weary of not mentioning it in public.
*For the record, I thought Philip was a good panel moderator. I did not feel “kept in order” by him at all; I felt like he let everyone on the panel say their piece.
Hello! I’ve been in the Orkneys for over a week, walking a lot, seeing prehistoric tombs and gorgeous scenery, getting rained on — just the kind of relaxation I enjoy. :>
There are a few things I want to post about, but first of all I want to let people know:
I will be moving to a new place in London very imminently. If you have my 11 T– Street address, do not use it anymore. Let me know if you’d like my new address!
At Readercon this year, Rene Walling sexually harassed and stalked Genevieve Valentine. (Warning for descriptions of that behaviour.) Readercon had in place a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, stating that offenders would be banned from the convention for life. What happened to Rene Walling? A mere two-year ban. Why? Because he aologised nicely to the board.
That third link is not to the board’s response (right now I can’t read it) but to a post that links to it and also provides some past evidence of Rene Walling’s attitude towards harassment.
It’s not a positive, supportive view, nor does it suggest that his apology came from any other place than a self-centred desire not to lose out on Readercon attendance.
Especially when you take into mind what Genevieve says in her second post: “My harasser this year was named elsewhere, and since then I have been made aware, via private correspondence, I am not the only person he has harassed.”
No, she does not give names. Demanding them is no one’s right. However, one person has come forward with a statement of the harassment she has experienced.
Given the behaviour that Rene Walling exhibited towards Genevieve and Kate, I believe 100% that he has done this to many other women and will continue to do this to many women at whatever cons he is permitted to attend.
When you take into account the fact that Rene Walling is a known person within fandom (a recent Arisia Guest of Honour, has chaired a Worldcon, and writes for Tor.com), don’t you start to wonder why he was treated so leniently? Why his apology counts for more than Genevieve’s report of harassment? Because when you add “rape culture”* to “slightly famous dude”, what you get isn’t nice.
*What makes rape culture work also causes harassment such as this, even where no rape is involved. (Warning for discussion of rape at that link.)
I was hoping to go to Readercon next year, because I enjoyed Readercon 2009 so much. Now I don’t feel comfortable going. Not because I think I’m particularly likely to be harassed, no more or less than anywhere else, but because I know that if I – or anyone else at the con – is actually harassed, and I or anyone else comes forward, an act of bravery in itself, my or their report will not be taken seriously.
And it’s not just that, because in most places reports of harassment are not taken seriously – but at Readercon we have just witnessed that seriousness and support pulled out from under our feet and used to coddle the harasser and tell him that it’s okay, it’s fine, he’ll be able to go back, two years isn’t long.
And here’s the thing about harassment: it makes you feel helpless. It makes you feel like there is nothing you can do to stop it. In certain situations, there really is nothing you can do. (My experience at school. A lot of other people’s experiences, too.) In certain situations, you might know that there is a con policy in place to support you. You might not feel helpless, or you might feel less helpless, knowing that the harasser will be kicked out of the con for a long time or forever.
Well, Readercon just made victims of harassment feel helpless there, too.
I’ve been busy! Writing, family gathering last weekend, day job (only 9 weeks left until I leave it and begin my life as a MA student and writer, which I can finally talk about publicly because I told people at work that I’m leaving – it’s a MA in Ancient History at King’s College London and it’s going to be awesome – although before the MA starts I’m going to Scotland to visit family and fiends and see old things for a few weeks), etc.
But! A brief post is necessitated because the latest issue of Cascadia Subduction Zone is now available for subscribers, and it contains my poem “Most Beautiful in Death”. Its cover is thus:
To subscribe or buy individual issues, you can head on over to the CSZ website. After 6 months, the issue will go up online for free reading. The full table of contents for this issue is on the homepage.
This is the poem inspired by a study of the Lady of Shalott by J.W. Waterhouse, which is still pinned in postcard-form to my computer, and discussions around the beauty of dead women. I read it at Wiscon and am very fond of it.
On the story-front, I’ve learned that “Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints” is due to go live on Strange Horizons in two parts on 9 and 16 July. I’m very excited that soon, so soon, this will at last be out there to be read. Keep your eyes peeled.
Wiscon was so awesoooome. Tiring – I made it to almost no parties, after spending every day talking to people, and also because of timezones – but really awesome.
I am finding that what I love most about cons is the conversations: talking to all the excellent people I know, usually over delicious food. I got to chat to some people I’ve known for a while online, as well as meeting some entirely new people, and people I’ve met in person before. So many people. :3 Parties – especially the ones with loudness – aren’t something I feel sad for missing, except that I would have liked to go to the Genderfloomp. But nooo, I had a 10pm panel, and after that I needed sleep before getting up at 5am to fly to NY. Next year! (I am determined to go next year. Be right back, writing all the stories.)
I’ve come to like being on panels even more than I thought I would. I was on three, my favourite of which was the one about writing historical SFF: all of the panellists came from different historical backgrounds and researched different eras. Ellen Klages talked about finding decades-old postcards and conducting interviews and reading old magazines – and then I talked about researching a story set 16,000 years ago and how slightly different that is. =D Lucy Adlington’s focus is quite recent too, while Elizabeth Bear’s is more like 500 years ago. Vylar Kaftan moderated the panel brilliantly and we all got to say many good things. There was a moment of fail, but no argument about it after I pointed out the fail, which almost never happens. We had a big audience and I heard afterwards that people really liked the panel – it was certainly an excellent one to be on, so I’m glad the audience felt similarly. I definitely want to do allll the panels in future.
I attended a couple of really good panels, too, especially the Asian Ancestresses panel, which was 5 Asian women (Jaymee Goh, Annie Chen, Saira Ali, Angeli Primlani, Emily Jiang) of varied backgrounds talking about how they’ve engaged with the various women of history/folklore. There was another that was basically just an interesting natter about Baba Yaga, and got especially good when a Russian member of the audience was invited to join the panel.
And then there were readings!
Rose Lemberg hosted a reading for The Moment of Change and Here, We Cross, where many poems were read. If you think Sofia Samatar’s “Girl Hours” is fantastic on your computer screen, then know that hearing it out loud is even better; that rhyming couplet is an emotional punch to the chest. Other awesome readers included Emily Jiang, Shira Lipkin, Na’amen Tilahun, Lisa Bradley, Rose herself and more. And I read two poems: “Most Beautiful in Death” (which recently sold to Cascadia Subduction Zone) and “Sister” (which was newly edited that morning, newly titled just today and sold in only a few hours to the inaugural issue of the new poetry zine Through the Gate). (Would that I could sell stories as easily as I am selling poetry at the moment!)
My other reading was my first prose reading ever, with Patty Templeton, Rose and Shira, whose readings I all enjoyed. (Patty, get that novel finished! I want it all.) I read from “Feed Me The Bones Of Our Saints”, which is due out in Strange Horizons in July. Rose liked it so much she begged the full printed manuscript off me and read the rest of it on her flight home; John O’Neill blogged about his liking of it and many other people’s read work here; other people have told me how much they enjoyed my reading and want to read the whole story. (July! Not too much longer! =D) Though I’m a shaky mess inside whenever I read, my voice seems to carry the strength I want it to.
I also attended one reading, the highlight of which was Sofia Samatar reading from her forthcoming novel A Stranger in Olondria, which I want to read even more than I already did. I believe it’s due out in August or thereabouts; the publisher is Small Beer Press.
And I spent $lol in the dealers room and ate wonderful food and didn’t entirely want to leave, despite being quite tired by the end, and after a lot of public transport (and one pervy old train employee who said I could sit in his lap when I asked whether the train had assigned seats or free-for-all, eughhh) I got to Nicole’s house and will go to Shveta’s house tomorrow (sans creepy fucks, I hope) and then, sadly, I will have to return to the UK and the dayjob early next week.
In the meantime, writing. I’m 1,800 words into the prehistorical story about foxes and people set 16,000 years ago. Hoping to finish it soon so I can return to the SF novella. Feeling energised and excited and creative.
This time tomorrow I will be on a plane. I arrive in Madison at 15.56, so I’ll be at the hotel after however long it takes me to get there from the airport. I’m leaving at the crack of dawn on Monday, to go a-visiting friends for another week.
I will be on 3 panels and at 2 readings! I will otherwise be lurking around other panels, the dealers’ room, the Genderfloomp party, the Strange Horizons tea party and assorted places of gathering.
For identification purposes: tall (5’11”), fairly slim, fairly pale, long curly dark hair either in a braid or loose.
See you there! =D
As I think I briefly mentioned, I will be at Wiscon this year, and here are the panels/readings at which you will be able to find me:
The Moment of Change: Feminist SFF Poetry Open Mic, Fri 9:00–10:15 pm, Michelangelos
Reading: Rose Lemberg, Shira Lipkin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Sofia Samatar and anyone else who wants to celebrate The Moment of Change and feminist poetry in general!
The Powerless Heroine, Sat 10:00–11:15 am, Capitol A
Nancy Werlin, Beth Friedman, Anna Black, Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey, Alex Dally MacFarlane
YA fantasy is filled with kick-ass competent heroines. But what about the girl who can’t wield a weapon or use magic? Can she even be a heroine? What kind of power can she have? In other words, does a writer always need to bestow powers that are unlikely in the real world on a girl, in order to have her be powerful and important in a fantasy landscape? Or are there other metaphors for power?
The Wild Ones, Sat 4:00–5:15 pm, Conference 2
Reading: Rose Lemberg, Shira Lipkin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Patty Templeton
It’s Actually Quite Hard to Rip a Bodice: How to Use (and Not Abuse) Historical Details in Fiction, Sun 1:00–2:15 pm, Capitol B
Vylar Kaftan, Lucy Adlington, Ellen Klages, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Elizabeth Bear
Anachronisms can really get a person’s stockings in a twist. A 19th-Century heroine stalking the land in stiletto heels? Or, worse, being assaulted by a hunk who has no idea how to access a body bound by corsetry? But readers don’t want the story derailed by an author’s excessive display of “see-what-I-know-itis.” There are an increasing number of online sources for historical research. How do you gauge their accuracy? When telling your story, how do you strike a balance between imaginative flair and downright pedantry?
Creating Your Own Religion, Sun 10:00–11:15 pm, Conference 4
K. Tempest Bradford, Ann Leckie, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Deirdre M. Murphy, Larissa N. Niec
Which SF authors create interesting, believable religions, and which get religion wrong? (What does it mean to “get religion wrong” anyway?) Do made-up religions with intervening gods work better than those without? How can we as writers avoid making mistakes when creating and writing about fictional religions?
Many things! Exciting! Less than a month and a half away! =D
Aliens: Recent Encounters
I'm the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters, a reprint anthology of science fiction stories, out in June 2013 from Prime Books.
Coming in 2014
The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women
I will be editing an anthology of powerful, important science fiction stories by women, showcasing the unforgettable contributions made to the genre in recent decades.
Out in late 2014.
People I Read
- Ambling Along the Aqueduct
- Astrogator's Logs
- British Museum Blog
- Brooke Bolander
- Erzebet YellowBoy
- Goblin Fruit
- Hyperbole and a Half
- Invisible Games
- io9: archaeology
- J M McDermott
- Kameron Hurley
- KJ Bishop
- Molly Tanzer
- Papaveria Press
- Rachel Stark
- Requires Hate
- Silence Without
- Silver Goggles
- Small Beer Press
- Stone Telling
- Terri Windling
- The Daily Cabal
- The Streets of Bangkok
- The World SF Blog
- Urban Ghosts