WisCon and POC Space

WisCon and POC Space

I just got my final programming schedule and all of my panels are on Sunday! And now that the process is complete, it’s time to discuss the POC-only panel “Intra-POC Relationships & Coalition Building” that was first suggested in this thread. As discussed there and elsewhere, there are issues surrounding creating a POC-only space officially at WisCon. However, if we decide to hold this panel/conversation unofficially (which is what we’re doing–genius!) then that does not impact on the WisCon organization and bring up icky legal issues.

There was also an interest in having a POC-only space for folks to retire to throughout the con. Again, such a space can’t be an official WisCon thing, but, again, we’ve found a way to work it out.

The only thing left to do now is organize and set dates and times. For the panel discussion, I thought it would be a good idea to do it during the lunch break on Saturday and have people eat while it’s going on. A lunch meeting! The room will be on the 6th floor, right down the hall from the con suite, so people can pop down there, grab something to eat, and join in. However, this might not work for everyone, so I created this poll:

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{democracy:2}

Next issue, the POC-only space. Again, this will happen in one of the rooms on the 6th floor during the day (i.e. before the dinner break). But in order for it to work we’ll need to have one person in the room during the times it’s available to be a doorkeeper, as it were. We don’t need to have the room available all day, certainly, because all of us want to enjoy the con. So it will, essentially, be open when there is someone there to take a shift. You probably won’t know for certain when you’d want to do a shift until the programming schedule is posted and you see which panels you want to attend, but if you’re at all interested in taking a shift, please say so in comments (and leave an email address where I can contact you!).

Other tasks that need doing:

  • Designing a flier to tell people about the panel and the POC-only space
  • Blogging about it so that people know what’s up before getting there
  • Deciding who the “panelists” (or, as I like to think of them, moderators of the group conversation) will be
  • Scoping out if people want to have other POC related conversations/panels in the space as well — maybe people from deadbro?
  • Scoping out if we want to do a POC author reading

I’m excited!

ETA: Some folks indicated Friday afternoon so in order to prepare themselves for the con ahead.  I think this is a good idea, but we should also remember some folks won’t hear about this until the con, and we don’t want to leave them out.  But if we get together for dinner Friday or have a general meet & greet, that would work, too, and have the major discussion on Saturday once we’ve had a chance to spread the word about it.

My WisCon Schedule

My WisCon Schedule

Remember last year when I was on 7 panels and did two readings plus organized a party? Yeah, I’m not doing that again this year. I am determined to enjoy myself by actually talking to people one on one and in small groups. I plan to attend parties and hang out with cool people. I intend to attend panels and listen instead of always thinking I should be saying sensible and intelligent things.

So this year I told them I only wanted to be on 3 panels and they graciously did just that.

Can Internet Drama Change The World? – Sunday, 10:00-11:15 A.M.

Impassioned blog debates have initiated many into feminist praxis, queer critique, and antiracist ideology. But they also generate frustration, disillusionment, and flamewars. Participants in online political discussions are frequently derided for wasting energy that would be better expended in ‘real’ political work than in online drama, but many can also attest to the importance of online participation to developing understandings of power and privilege. This roundtable will raise questions of the validity and importance of online micro-political interventions, and their relationship to social justice activism on a larger scale.

M: Alexis Lothian, Julia Starkey, K Tempest Bradford, Woodrow Hill, K. Joyce Tsai

Publishing, Profit, Agendas, and Ideals: The Eclipse One Cover Debate – Sunday, 2:30-3:45 P.M.

Last year when Night Shade Books released the cover for their anthology, Eclipse One, a debate broke out over the names represented on the front. Namely, in an anthology that had 50/50 male and female authors, only male names appeared on the cover. The ensuing argument centered around two main points — the publishers felt that, of the authors in the anthology, the names they’d put on the cover were likely to attract the attention of more casual buyers. And because they were in the business of making money, they could not afford to put an ‘agenda’ ahead of anything else. Readers felt that, because no women were given a slot on the cover, the publishers were reinforcing patriarchal assumptions about who sells books, and who doesn’t. Some expressed the opinion that the lack of women on the cover was actually likely to deter them from buying the book. In this panel, which will be a debate, let’s explore both sides in depth. Does indulging agendas and ideals hinder profit? Or can adhering to an ideal lead to different and/or better ways of creating more profit?

M: K Tempest Bradford, Micole Sudberg, Eileen Gunn, Jeremy Lassen

(okay, two notes about this panel. I am extremely glad that the extremely sensible Eileen Gunn is going to be on the Editor/Publisher side of the debate, because I know that she will say things that are practical and yet not crazy. There’s always the risk of crazy in discussions such as these. I’m not particularly worried about Jeremy, either ;) But at least we won’t have people pounding on the table shouting WELCOME TO THE CLUB! The other note is that we are lacking one person on the fan/reader side. Cuz I’m the neutral party in all this–stop laughing!–and I would like to have two perspectives on each side to provide proper balance. Just putting that out there.)

Martha Jones: Made of Awesome or Disappointing Stereotype? Sunday, 10:00-11:15 P.M.

The third series of the new Doctor Who heralded the addition of Martha Jones as the main companion. Fans of color cheered the news and many loved her first the first episode. But as the series went on, some fans found a lot wanting in Martha’s character and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the writers and producers. Now that Martha’s Series Three character arc is complete and her guest episodes on Torchwood are also complete, we can examine her role in the Whoniverse.

(We’ll of course mention her season 4 appearances as well. I’m very pleased this panel got on the schedule. Not just because I suggested it, but because I have been longing to have a discussion about my conflicting feelings regarding Martha and how fans of color perceive her. Plus, I am going to bring in clips! Yes, clips, people. Hear me roar!

I am sad that it’s taking place so late on Sunday evening, but something’s got to happen at these times! Plus, it will mean a smaller crowd and more chance at a real group discussion, which I was hoping for when I proposed it.)

So there’s my schedule, for those who wish to stalk me.

World Fantasy Convention Report

I am a little late with this, sorry. Also, I don’t do much in the way of detailed con reports. Not only because I’m lazy, but I’m convinced people don’t really experience the con vicariously through them. Overall, the con was really great for me. Got to see many people I haven’t seen in a long time, met some fabulous folks, was able to get things done, and I came away feeling like I have some of the most wonderful friends in the universe.

The one thing I did not do was go to any panels. I only attended two readings, and I only did that because I wanted to support those friends and didn’t happen to have something already scheduled or those times. I’m not a particular fan of readings. I think this is because I can rarely sink into fiction being read to me the way I can if I’m reading it myself. Also, not everyone is a terrific reader. Further, one of the points of going to readings for some is to meet the author in question. More often then not I find other ways to meet authors I really like.

Still, the readings I attended were good. Not like some others I heard about… goodness.

I spent a little time in the dealer’s room behind the Prime Books table, but only a little. During the day I tried to get things done, like writing or freelance work, and in the evenings I partied! There were several memorable dinners with the Prime Books crew and assorted special guests. I also got to eat with fabulous award winning and nominated Catherynne Valente and her entourage of sexy, sexy men. There was lunch with Scott from LaunchPad, whom I did not see enough of, and much running around with Alaya Dawn Johnson, Carol Burrell, Nina (Nivair H. Gabriel), and Evonne Tsang.

I met David Anthony Durham in the flesh for the first time. He’s an incredibly nice guy and I made sure to gush about his book to everyone. Mike Kabongo and I had to break the sad, sad news to him that there were, indeed, only about 8 black people at the con. I think he eventually met all of them.

I met a lot of other people for the first time, but at the risk of leaving someone out, I won’t go into a long list of names. Let’s just say that there were plenty of cool people running around and I got the chance to touch them, which is all I really want.

There were almost 1200 people there this year, which meant I kept missing people or sometimes saw them exactly once before they had to go. I’m particularly sad I didn’t get to spend more time with Karin Lowachee, whom I haven’t seen in years and years, and Steve Perry, same years and years deal. There were many OWW people there whom I haven’t seen in a while. Charlie Finley snubbed me! Is that any way to treat a cousin? Humph.

All the people I saw most I saw at parties. And there were some great ones.

The Paper Cities/Secret History of Moscow party was really, really great. I know we stayed up far too late at that one talking about all kinds of crazy stuff. If you do not have a copy of Ekaterina Sedia’s book, go to your local indie bookstore and buy it right this instant. It is seriously fabulous. She is a great person to hang around with and I couldn’t be happier for all her success so far. I’m also most pleased that Matt Kressel’s first foray into anthology publishing is shaping up. The book looks great, there’s a great roster of authors in it, and I think it will do well.

That night Nina and I decided to start writing at 3am. Somehow, words did not flow freely as we thought they would. We resisted Liz Gorinsky’s siren call to “breakfast” at the diner opening up at 3am, though.

Other memorable parties – the Abyss & Apex party, the Electric Velocipede High Tea, the Tor Party, after it calmed down a bit, the Aussie party, where Garth Nix served me wine, the Weird Tales party, which I could only be at for a little while, and other, secret soirées.

I brought many wonderful shirts with me to cons, as I am determined to be known for having awesome shirts. But none of the shirts I brought could top the one John Klima had waiting for me:

Tempest and Jim Minz pimp Electric Velocipede

It reads: tempest says read electric velocipede or she’ll come to your house and smack you around.

And, you know, I totally will. Because that zine is pretty damn great. I had the pleasure of seeing that t-shirt on several people over the weekend. And I know David Anthony Durham, Matt Kressel and Nina all have one. I hope they wear them to the next con.

There was a very interesting progression of shirts over those first few days. They got more and more threatening. Day 1 I was in a posse, Day 2 I was going to smack you around, and Day 3 I was tired of slitting throats. I felt the need to buy a shirt with a fist coming out of it for Day 4.

What else… several editors said, “Send me a story!” which I love to hear. (And I did send two of them, just two more to go.) An agent said, “Hey, when am I going to see a submission from you?” which also makes me happy. I pitched a non-fiction book to a publisher and, when I told others about said book, several people encouraged me to put the proposal together and try to get it in front of a major press. I shall not ignore such advice.

And just to round out the business dealings, I asked some people about doing interviews and artist profiles for Fantasy magazine, and all said yes. A productive weekend to be sure.

Sunday night, when most folks were gone and things were winding down, I had a nice (slightly drunken) conversation with Jetse de Vries about being cool, asked Jim Minz his opinion on some agents, and talked with Holly Black about “beavage”. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that word means. Apparently the conversation that gave birth to that unholy (but incredibly awesome) word was about the subject discussed in this post. When I told Holly that I had written said post, she exclaimed, “That was you? Oh my god, that post is legendary!” which I was not aware of. Nice! At least I do not have cause to write another one like it this year.

I’m glad I got a chance to see so many people and sad that I missed so many others. But it was a good con, I had many great conversations, things got done, and I came away feeling like an awesome person for knowing so many awesome people. I’m not suffering too much post-con depression, but I’m chalking that up to the fact that I am surrounded by a sizable chunk of those very awesome people here in my regular life. I don’t have to go far to be with my people. If only everyone was so lucky!

More of my pictures here. Pictures by Stephen and Nina here. Pictures by Sean Wallace here. Ellen Datlow’s here. WFC Flickr Pool here.

Other places to find me

A couple of newish projects to announce. Firstly, I’ll be writing reviews for The Fix online, the revival of TTA Press’ short fiction review magazine. I am only one of many, though, and if you’re looking for some insightful reviews across the scope of short speculative fiction, The Fix is the place to go.

Also this week, Fantasy magazine relaunches online (I sense a theme) with yours truly as the non-fiction editor. Right now there’s an interview up with the fabulous Catherynne Valente and soon there will be a spotlight on a young artist who bowled me over with her talent. There will be new fiction, non-fiction and reviews up every week.

Hopefully when this goes live the November issue of Cerise will be up. It contains my review of the game Wedding Dash, which I object to on feminist principles.

Finally, by the time you see this I will be at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, NY and probably having a fabulous time. No readings or panels scheduled, thank goodness. I’m spending the day working and the evenings partying.

Write-a-thon Week 3

I reached my week 3 goal! Go me. It was difficult with ReaderCon impinging on my weekend writing time, but I had a lot of fun and it was worth it. I didn’t end up taking any pictures, so unfortunately you’ll have to do without.The con itself was great. I ended up not going to many panels. I think that I completely paneled myself out at WisCon and felt more like relaxing and talking with friends. I spent a lot of time in the dealer’s room behind the Wildside Press table. Lots of people hang out in the ReaderCon dealer’s room, though, so I was sure not to miss anyone standing around in there.

I finalized all the details of my new position as Fantasy Magazine’s non-fiction editor. I know now exactly what I need to do and when. I already have my first interview in the bag and I’m ready to start on at least three more. I’m very excited about this job! I get to have conversations with awesome people about fantasy and writing and literature. How cool is that?

This next week is all about getting stuff done before I go to the LaunchPad workshop (and still having to write a story). I may also have a small surprise.

Write-a-thon Week 2

I’m pleased to announce that I reached my Week 2 goal of writing a new story!  It’s short (under 2K) and has no title yet, but it exists.

The next piece I’m going to work on isn’t a story, exactly.  It’s a combination of prose and graphic novel script for a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-type book.  A friend of mine asked if I could produce a short novel for them in less than a month.  Might as well use the Write-a-thon to get the first draft done!  It’ll be about the same length as a short story.

My Tuckerization auction earned Clarion West about $51!  I hear the other auctions went even better than that, so at least $200 raised, but probably more.  I think I will Tuckerize the winner in next week’s project.

I’m also going to Readercon next weekend.  Doing another Interfictions reading.  I’ll post pictures and a con report next Sunday.