Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong (shadesong) wrote,
Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong

Wiscon Sunday/Monday

Sunday's when I had almost all my panels. Yaaaaay.

Return of the Rape Panel
Sexual assault and rape frequently get used as symbolic plot devices, with no consideration of how sexual violence actually affects survivors and the people around them. Some have said that feminists shouldn't write science fiction and fantasy dealing with rape; others felt that not writing about rape doesn't negate the reality that rape is both an actual crime and a political and personal means of attack. This year, we hope to discuss how to write about sexual violence in a way that shows the repercussions not just for survivors, but for their communities—and in a way that informs the entire story and isn't just used as a plot coupon or shortcut to character development.

I dragged grntserendipity up on this panel. Partly because I was Deeply Concerned about some of the off-topic and extremely triggery and really inappropriate stuff one of my fellow panelists was insistent about talking about, until I brought the programming chairs into it, at which point she backed down completely. Yes, that's why I wrote this. I won't go into detail, but I will say that the potential for fail was HUGE and I am glad grntserendipity was there in case I had to go off. Found out at dinner on Saturday, however, that that panelist is known for trying to bully mods into giving her her way. Which was so not going to happen with me. And as predicted, she didn't cause trouble, having been informed that programming had their eyes on her.

Given that, it went really well! We got to focus more on rape as a weapon of war, with a special focus on fellow panelist Nnedi Okorafor's highly recommended Who Fears Death. And we got to revisit a bunch of stuff from previous years, as well as some new topics and books (and TV shows). I was thrilled to get a bunch of recommendations from the audience, and altogether the panel and the audience had a great, constructive conversation on rape in fiction, rape culture, why it's important to portray the diversity of sexual violence, and much more.

One of the things I love at cons is getting props for being really smart on panels. Which I got all weekend. So yay. And at Wiscon in particular, I get those compliments from people who are themselves really freakin' smart, so bonus!

I got out just in time to intercept beloved omnisti, stealthcello, and s00j on their way out. Final hugs! I will miss them terribly, but see them in November at PhilCon.

From there, I attempted lunch. Note that I said attempted. Not enough time between panels to get a group together and quest for food. Just enough time to get something at the hotel restaurant - or there would've been if they didn't take 20 minutes just to send a waiter over. Said waiter promptly disappeared for another 20 minutes or so when told about my celiac. And then did not have complete or accurate info when he resurfaced. And then he disappeared again. So lunch was a Lunabar in the green room. Because next:

Living with Invisible Disabilities
Not all disabilities are visible. How much do you tell and explain to whom? What unexpected barriers do you encounter? How can others be better allies? How are characters who have disabilities that are not readily apparent treated in SF?

This was a fantastic panel! We had a nice variety of invisible disabilities represented on the panel itself and in the audience, and I think all of us learned a lot, panel and audience. My one regret: the conversation was flowing so well on invisible disabilities in real life that we didn't get to discuss the question of SF characters with disabilities. Another time for my analysis of Miles Vorkosigan's seizure disorder! But it was a great panel of the sort that I attend Wiscon for, that we need to see more of at other cons.

I wish I'd been able to linger longer afterward, but I had to dash off to my reading!

Goblin Girls and Bedlam Boys
C.S.E. Cooney writes mantic, manic prose, using rancid goblin fruit for compost. Patty Templeton writes hellpunk in a hand-basket, full of ghosts, freaks, and fools. Shira Lipkin will bring you to the home you never knew you'd lost. Shveta Thakrar writes about the monsters and the magic in the corners of her culture. Together, they fight crime!


And we did. csecooney read a rollicking bit of Jack O' The Hills, a gleefully vicious fairy tale! pattytempleton followed that up with the hony-tonk stomp of "Killbox Road Trip", which I need the complete text of RIGHT NOW PLZ. shveta_thakrar ushered us into an alternate India with her luscious tale from Steam-Powered 2. And I brought up the rear with a reading from Cicatrix, fundamentally the same as what I read at Arisia... and, having extra time at the end, I provided a small unicorn chaser in the form of "And to my Wife...", which got the laughs as always. :) I have so much fun reading with these amazing people and I want to do so always! We had a great crowd for our reading, too! Love!

I stuck around for the tithenai, Benjamin Rosenbaum, and assorted others' reading, which was great - and included Geoff Ryman's excellently written and performed tale of secondary trauma. I joined a few others in an impromptu "have you ever considered trigger warnings?" consciousness-raising.

After that? Dinner! Tutto Pasta once again, with the soon-departing csecooney, pattytempleton, Katie, and John O'Neill, and not-leaving-yet Nivair, tithenai, and shveta_thakrar. I was well into I LOVE EVERYONE mode at this point. So very. My one regret here: we were having so much fun that we missed pretty much all of the Dessert Salon! Ah well. At least I got some solo tithenai time after bidding farewell to the Chicago contingent. Solo tithenai time is a rare honor, you know.

I did get to a few parties that night! Because the Genderfloomp Dance Party was late starting. Also got bonus hangout time with cabell and her husband, vylar_kaftan, and many more. There's a lot of "and many more" at this con.

So Genderfloomp. At Wiscon, dance parties have a reading list! Oh yes. I considered presenting more masculine for this, but I defaulted to uberfemme because that's actually easier to pack for - I was determined to fit everything into a small rolly bag. AND I DID. Five days, a bunch of dressy dresses, and I even fit my ten ARCs from the Gathering in for the way back. PACKING NINJA.

Not that kind of packing. Maybe next year.

So dance! You guys. This was so much fun and it needs to happen at every Wiscon ever! I was mostly dancing with grntserendipity, tanyad, angelsscream, sophy, and a few others, but had my moments of flitting about with other people and having gigglefits in the hall and petting people heavily (by invitation!), and the dance-off between Ben Rosenbaum and Keffy Kehrli was A WONDER TO BEHOLD. Also, daaaaaaaaaaang I did not know tithenai could dance like that. I really can't capture the magnificent silliness of Genderfloomp without having an entire post dedicated to it. Suffice to say it was one of the highlights of the con for me and I want it to happen every year forever. I'm already planning my ensemble for next year.

I retired far too late, but far before the party was over. 10am panel on Monday, after all. Fie upon responsibility.


Is Science Fiction the New Reality?
Star Trek offers a vision of the future that includes personal, networked communicators, talking, intelligent computers, and the tricorder, a portable, hand-held networked computing device. Today we have cellphones, IBM's Watson,and the iPad. Are we already living in the science-fiction future? What does this mean for writers of speculative fiction?

My answer: yes. There, we're done! :) In all seriousness, though, great and far-ranging panel moderated well by ktempest, and if you have ever wondered whether it's fun to politely and firmly disagree with James Frenkel, I tell you now that it is. Also I got to do that thing that makes people go ooooh, where people *koffFRENKELkoff* ramble on about a thing for five minutes and I sum it up in five words. I am succinct. I'm not even any taller than I need to be, y0.

And then? Then I hugged a lot of people, and packed, and nommed Corn Chex in the hotel room (if cannot pack, eat), and lingered in the lobby, and I caught the airport shuttle with too-seldom-seen jnanacandra, rachel_swirsky and her partner, Ay-Leen the Peacemaker and Lucretia Dearfour, and - say it with me - many more! I parted ways with jnanacandra at MSN, but got to hang out with the others until the flight to MKE, and stayed with Ay-Leen and Lucretia until my 7:00 flight to BOS. The Wiscon party does not stop until everyone's on separate flights, y'all.

I knitted, I napped, I listened to my new mix CDs from pattytempleton; I got home 'round midnight. And then Wiscon was over.

Until next year. When it will be EVEN BETTER.

If I did not mention you, it's not because I didn't have an awesome time with you! It's just my brain is overfull. You are all fantastic and I adore the lot of you, so there, and I cannot wait to see you again.
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