Wiscon 38 Panel Brainstorming Post

Wiscon 38 Panel Brainstorming Post

NOTE: If you’re coming for the first time, here are the panels that still need work:

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Panel submissions for WisCon 38 close soon, and I have many ideas! I know many of my friends have ideas too, but might need some help brainstorming or fleshing them out. Thus, I have created this post.

Anyone who has an idea can put it in the comments, not just me! Let us know what you need, such as: making a kernel of an idea into a full-fleshed panel, help crafting an effective description, coming up with a punchy title, or finding fellow panelists so you can submit a pre-populated idea.

It will make discussions easier if you put one panel idea per comment (make as many as you want) and then folks can reply below each in the thread.

That’s it, let’s have fun!

 

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159 thoughts on “Wiscon 38 Panel Brainstorming Post

  1. Need help with then description on this one:

    Lyric and Literature: When Authors and Musicians Collaborate

    Soundtrack albums are necessary adjuncts for movies and more recently TV series, but aren’t de rigueur for novels or book series. When they do spring into existence, it’s often due to a close collaboration or artistic synergy between the author and the musician (if they don’t happen to be the same person). How do these partnerships come about? And how much does each artist influence and inspire the other? If you’re a writer, musician, or other kind of artist, how do you begin to find this kind of synergistic partnership for yourself?

    Panelists: Catherynne M Valente, S. J. Tucker, Andrea Hairston, Pan Morrigan, K. Tempest Bradford (m)

    1. I’m having a moment of “this is not as smart an idea as everyone else’s” but I’ll put it out there and see what happens. Also, using bullet points for now since I have no idea what I’m doing.

      “And I’ll Drive My Beach Bus to Your Dream House”: A Fannish Life with Barbie.

      *Though there is legitimate criticism of Barbie as a toy on a variety of levels, such criticism sometimes ignores how girls have interacted with the doll and with each other.

      (insert some thoughts in here about affordability, Barbie as a way of bringing some girls together. You didn’t have to have every toy, sometimes having one doll was enough to participate. Race figures in here somewhere. Looking back as an adult as a collector. Creeping pinkfication)

        1. If Jackie is down I think we should submit it pre-populated. I’d love to do this, too. and I bet we can find at least two other good people.

      1. I have not forgotten about this Barbie panel even though I’ve been quiet. Just trying to ponder the best way to put what you have here. This is what I came up with:

        Though there is legitimate criticism of Barbie as a toy on a variety of levels, such criticism sometimes ignores the positive aspects of how girls interact with fashion dolls and with each other. For many girls, Barbie was a way to bring girls together. Because many of the dolls were relatively affordable and you didn’t need to have every accessory or piece of wardrobe to create stories, sometimes having one doll was enough to participate. Barbie is also meant to inspire aspirational goals; she’s been a CEO and presidential candidate as well as a princess. Though her default look is a blond, blue-eyed, able-bodied, white, cis woman, Barbie dolls come in a variety of ethniticies and a small number have also had different physical abilities. In this panel we’ll talk about ways in which Barbie and other fashion dolls can be part of a feminist girl’s play time and a feminist woman’s collector’s shelf.

        I’d keep your title

        1. I like it! Thank you so much. And yes to prepopulating the panel. I vaguely remember someone you knew in the dealer’s room, Tempest, who expressed some interest in this but damned if I remember her name.

          So, do I go over and submit it on the website if we don’t have a fully populated panel?

          1. Let’s wait and see if we can get two other folks to agree first. We have until Saturday (or I can just add it)

            You’re thinking of Kimberley Blanchette. And yes, she’s a good fit!

          2. Kimberley is in, haven’t heard back from Hilary yet. Do you know of anyone else who is into fashion dolls that would be good to have on the panel?

  2. This description needs to be better:

    The Next 50 Years: Where Doctor Who Should Go Next

    This year marks the beginning of the next half century of Doctor Who. After 12(ish) Doctors, dozens of companions, and a universe full of aliens, what do we hope for in the future? Will we finally get a female Doctor? Or one who isn’t White? What kinds of places and times should the Doctor travel to? What kinds of companions do we need more of (or less of)?

  3. I want to submit this panel with specific panelists to make sure we have a balance. Anyone interested? Also, the description could use some massaging.

    The Case Against Steven Moffat

    The Showrunner and/or Creator of Sherlock, Doctor Who, Jekyll, and Coupling is undoubtedly a talented writer with a long list of hit shows under his belt. His body of work is not without major problems, particularly when it comes to female characters, though ethnic minorities and the QUILTBAG community also have their bones to pick. He’s conveniently blamable for the problems of the current Doctor Who run and all of Sherlock, but is he truly the ogre fandom has made him out to be? In this mock trial the panelists will either take the side of the plaintiff or the defense, and at the end the audience will deliver the jury verdict.

  4. Description help, please!

    Sherlock vs Elementary

    These modern Sherlock Holmes adaptations are just the latest in a long line of the same. Yet for some reason there’s a particular divide in the fandom over these two shows. Plenty of people like both. And then there are people who love one and absolutely hate the other. Let’s talk about the different ways each show approaches the characters in the Holmes universe, what one might do better than the other, and ponder whether they can both exist harmoniously or if one will have to eventually eat the other’s heart.

  5. Short Story Panel

    This one is nebulous right now and could use focus. Which of the ideas do you think are better?

    A panel on the best markets to find short fiction written by a diverse pool of authors with characters, settings, and cultures beyond the “mainstream” in genre. Also stories less likely to offend, trigger, or are just plain bad.

    Or

    A panel on the best short fiction the panelists have read so far this year that covers magazines and anthologies, also touching on likely places to find good stuff.

    1. If anyone has a comment, you have a few hours to make it! :D

      Where To Find The Genre’s Best Short Stories

      Short stories are still the lifeblood of speculative fiction, despite the deline of certain markets. Of the handful of print magazines and dozens of online markets, lovers of the short form have a number of choices. But are they all great for all readers? If you’re looking for fiction that speaks to more than just the white, cis, het male SF reader, where are the best places to find it? Which editors, magazines, and anthologists have a proven track record of casting a wider net than the typical mainstream viewpoint? And which stories published in the past year are must reads?

  6. Description help!

    A Sociologist, a Linguist, and an Archaeologist Walk Into A Bar…

    Fantasy and Science Fiction writers who want to create credible invented cultures and languages don’t always have the knowledge or tools to do so. The first answer anyone gives is: research, research, research. Not everyone has good research skills, and sometimes before a writer can begin to research they really need to pick a physical brain. How do you find and cultivate relationships with experts willing to have a conversation (or ten) and point you in the right direction?

  7. HELP ME TEMPEST, YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE.

    So I’ve been reading Karen Miller’s Godspeaker trilogy, and it’s brought up a lot of shit for me, particularly a desire to have conversations about two things. One below, the other in the next comment.

    Femmes in F/SF. As in a discussion not only of the devaluing of traditionally feminine pursuits, but of presenting as femme, for characters of any gender.

    1. Ooo! This is sort of similar to something we were just talking about at Arisia. Specifically Susan from the Narnia books and how she was so devalued for becoming too girly and thus didn’t deserve to be in heaven. It’s not okay to be girly, but women characters still have to be feminine. It’s a ridiculous tightrope act.

      Any other books/characters anyone can think of that serve as examples of this?

      1. Yes! Precisely. Sansa Stark is a good example, getting shit from both the text and fandom.

        It’s a tough one, because I think femmes are conspicuous mainly by their absence in F/SF, at least as heroic characters. You instead get a lot of the women who “isn’t like those other girls”. And I can think of maybe one femme guy: the tv presenter from The Fifth Element. Wow, there’s gotta be more…?

        1. Maybe something like:

          Where Are The Femmes In SF?

          Femmes are conspicuously absent in F/SF as heroic characters. There are plenty of women who aren’t “like those other girls” or who fit the Kick-Ass Woman stereotype, but characters of any gender deemed too girly or who follow/fall into traditionally feminine pursuits are usually devalued. [insert some examples like the TV guy from 5th element and Susan] [then something about finding femmes in media and what to do to encourage more?]

          1. I am also thinking about who is “allowed” to be femme in our media — I mean, we can point to some of the Disney princesses as examples of femmes who turn into capable characters. But femme is also used to signal frivolity or even malicious menace (Cinderella’s step sisters spring immediately to mind in this context versus Snow White with her comb and her corset laces). Ruby Rhod is allowed to be femme because he is PERFORMATIVE and there for the entertainment of others — but it’s even more interesting because he’s such a revered popular figure within that world. It’s played for laughs from the audience but I do actually think it’s a phenomenal example of a femme in space.

            I am thinking about this!

          2. Fantastic point about Ruby Rhod and performativity w/r/t what’s welcomes/viewed as acceptable.

            Was also thinking this morning about Effie Trinket and that moment in Catching Fire where it’s said, or implied anyway, that she views artifice as armor, socially speaking. Which certainly speaks to the femme in me.

            God, I’m just shamefully blanking on SF/F femmes who aren’t women.

          3. Trying again, but I don’t think I have this just right:

            Femmes are conspicuously absent in F/SF as heroic characters. There are plenty of women who aren’t “like those other girls” or who fit the Kick-Ass Woman stereotype, but characters of any gender deemed too girly or who follow/fall into traditionally feminine pursuits are usually devalued. It’s even used as a marker to indicate frivolity or malicious menace (see: Narnia’s Susan and Cinderella’s step-sisters) Who is “allowed” to be femme in our media and when? The Fifth Element’s Ruby Rhod is allowed to be femme because he is performative, My Little Pony’s Rarity is allowed because she’s just one in a group. [DISCUSSION QUESTIONS HERE]

          4. Hmmm pushing through some awkwardness in trying to express this bit: When and where are femme characters welcome and celebrated in our media? The Fifth Element’s Ruby Rhod’s performative femme-ininity(???) is deemed acceptable for his role as an entertainer, but is there not space for femmes who are powerful in other ways?

          5. Ooo yes, i see what you are getting at. I will return anon to poke at it, but if there are any other folks who want to take a crack, feel free.

          6. Are you hoping this panel to be specifically about femme within the context of queerness? I will admit that I thought it had context outside of that framework but I admit I could be wrong.

          7. Well, I guess I generally think of “femme” as a queer term, distinct from “feminine”. Stealing a rough working definition from a friend here: “femme is a queering (but not always queer) & expression of socially evolved ideas of femininity, c.f. hard femme.” So when I was originally thinking of this panel, it was in that context, and as opposed to yes, we can identify some butch characters in F/SF, but where are the femmes? Which grows out of this comic script I’ve been poking at that explores femme identity in post-apocalypse/emergency scenarios. The root of which was the following four panels:

            1:
            Minnie: I’m just saying: femme identity is basically a luxury item.

            2: Patty’s face.

            3:
            Patty: Fuuuuuuuuuuuu

            4:
            Patty: ck you.

            SO ANYWAY. I really like what we’ve been talking about! But very much hesitate to call it a discussion of femmes, as I’d rather not confuse the term with feminine.

          8. We can re-focus the description if that’s what you want. It’s your panel, I am only here to help! AND now that I understand wht you mean better I can see the concern. We can rebuild it!

          9. How about this:

            Femmes are conspicuously absent in F/SF as heroic characters. There are plenty of women who aren’t “like those other girls” or who fit the Kick-Ass Woman stereotype, but characters of any gender who present as femme are usually devalued. When and where are femmes welcome and celebrated in our media? [Something about Karen Miller’s Godspeaker trilogy???] the The Fifth Element’s Ruby Rhod’s performative femme-ness is deemed acceptable for his role as an entertainer, but is there not space for femmes who are powerful in other ways?

          10. I can think of a number of male femmes in Japanese SF/F (in manga and anime), but a lot of them aren’t in works that are translated or widely known to English-speaking audiences. There were several in Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Zoisite, Airu, Fiore, Fisheye) that are well known, but most of them are villains and the US translators habitually change their genders. :(

  8. Orientalism in F/SF. Or, more generally, the thing where authors will use stereotyping dog whistles to imply things about a character based on real-world racial stereotypes, despite that they are writing about characters In Space, or in a fantasy, non-Earth setting. Idk if this is actually a useful topic of discussion, or just an urge I have to scream for a really long time.

    1. Diano Pho might be a good person to bring in on this since I believe she’s written about this topic for Steampunk, at least, and can maybe help us craft a description. Because yes, this!

      1. I’d be behind this! Are you talking specifically about creating SFF cultures without restoring to using racial/cultural analogues? And connected to that questions is how to create SFF cultures where you want to use cultural analogues without appropriation/stereotyping? Because both issues are different sides of the same coin, imho.

        1. Oh, thank God for you. It sounds like it could even be a three-part progression: 1) wow, using racial stereotyping analogues is very prevalent and awful 2) here are examples of not doing that 3) here are ways to use analogues without stereotyping and/or being appropriative.

          1. Hm, we’ll be talking more than one stereotype, though I like the direction.

            How about: “Not All Aliens Act Japanese: Writing SFF Cultures without Orientalism”

            or as a variant to the subtitle: “Writing SFF Cultures without Exotifying Real Ones”

          2. Ooh, I like the variant as the main title, actually. Very clear, and establishes a wide range for discussion.

            I was talking aloud to myself in the car last night, thinking about this, coming up with horrible titles like “Almond-Shaped Clearly Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does.”

          3. Nice! We’ll go with that then.

            And for a draft of the description, how about:

            “Not All Aliens Act Japanese: Writing SFF Cultures without Exotifying Real Ones”

            Description: The journey to writing effective SF/F worlds is full of pitfalls – especially when creators feel “inspired” to draw from various real-world cultures. From stereotypes used as the “Other” to cultural analogues that explore our world’s current and historical issues, this panel will discuss a range of examples from SF/F world-building. How can writers and creators veer away from Orientalism, and appropriation to create nuanced speculative cultures?

          4. That looks great! I think this is one I’d rather attend than be on-panel for. Thank you so much for fleshing out the bitsy seed of an idea!

  9. I want to do a panel about Jem & the Holograms. Something that touches on the fact that the show was science fiction with a dash of fantasy mixed in. Also about how Jem is in a poly triad where she’s two of the people. Also, something Isabel said about why does Jerrica need a secret identity in order to have a fulfilling life? And does that translate to expectations of women in the real world? All sketchy! Help.

    1. !!!!!!!!!! YES PLEASE JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS!

      Can we also talk about how very few men are even in the show? I mean, there’s really only Rio and Eric as main male characters. But they’re in gatekeeper positions — Eric as a manager and Rio as a road manager and engineer. So there are all these dynamic women but they’re still being corralled and herded around by men-in-power.

      The Holograms are a multi racial group, some of whom have known each other since foster care — and the Misfits are a collection of class issues.

      Complex shit.

      1. Taking a stab:

        Complexity in the World of Jem

        Awesome 80s cartoon Jem! is far more than just a half hour long commercial for fashion dolls. The show’s premise of a woman who must take on a secret identity using a science fictional AI computer to save the people she loves is just the beginning. Jem also explores race and class using the dynamic of the two main rock groups, The Holograms and The Misfits, shines a light on issues surrounding the foster care system and runaway teens via the Starlight Girls, and interrogates the problem of monogamy in the central relationship between Jem, Jerrica, Rio, and later Riot. Let’s explore how the show navigates these deep waters while also pondering gender roles on the show (why are the few men on the show often controlling the women?), how not to run a business (Starlight Records has exactly one act on the label), and answer the question of why no one ever called the cops on the Misfits even when they did clearly illegal, dangerous things (every episode ever).

      1. I wish that could be an official wiscon thing. Like, we get a big room and one late night panel block to watch jem and a second late night block to have the Jem panel. gawd.

        1. Why not? There are late night panels, so this could be one of them. Just add it to the description and let the program folks figure out the logistics.

          1. I really like this idea — a late-night viewing followed by the panel the next day. I mean, there’s always vids and movies and that sort of thing showing so I don’t think it’s technologically difficult.

            Or we could straight up have a Jem and the Holograms slumber party.

          2. Okay, here’s what we’ll do. I put in for a party just in case, but due to some hotel stuff going on I kinda doubt we’ll get a room. When I submit this panel I will request the two panel slot, one for watching Jem and one for discussion and see if programming will let us have it if we can’t have the party.

  10. Title and description help, please! (Suggested by Isabel)

    How to Integrate Kids Into Your Fandom Life Without Cramping Your Style

    This panel is not necessarily just for parents, but for anyone with a kid in their life. Nieces, nephews, cousins, children of friends. The kids you’re close to and want to encourage in the ways of geekiness by bringing them to cons or into your online communities, or to local fandom activities and hangouts. Then again, you are an adult and have adult geeky things to do. What’s the best way to encourage and include without giving up all your adult space and time with friends?

    1. I totally want to go to that panel, though I don’t feel competent to be on it (I’m still mostly GAFIAted because of childcare).

  11. This needs a lot of fleshing out, but: I would love a panel on the increasing number of people making the jump from writing fan fiction to writing pro fiction. And/or just doing both. Is there a secret world of people who went the other way– started as pro writers, and in their free time write fanfic under an untraceable AO3 name?

    Basically I want a panel where everyone in the room outs themselves as an internet weirdo who is still also a functional professional and then we all hug and kudos each others’ fic.

        1. I am suddenly even more interested in this panel. BTW, do you know if anyone working with the Organization for Transformative Works would be attending WisCon then?

      1. Heck, yes. Especially as I’m very much a comics person myself, and the shared universe sandbox thing is a long-standing tradition.

    1. Title and descrip polishing help, pls:

      secret fanfiction writer identities are like ani, watson. everyone has one

      You may not know it, but some of your favorite pro writers may have secretly or not-so-secretly written fanfiction before they got their first publishing deal and may have even continued writing it even after. The list includes such luminaries as Naomi Novik, Lois McMaster Bujold, Seanan McGuire, Martha Wells, Sarah Rees Brennan, Una McCormack, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and one of this year’s GoHs N. K. Jemisin. SHOCKING. On this panel authors who write in both worlds will talk about how fanfiction influenced and continues to influence their author brains and how they approach the writing process.

      Does that approach what you were looking for, Gabby?

      1. Want to change the last sentence to:

        On this panel authors and publishing professionals who happily exist in both worlds will talk about how fanfiction influenced and continues to influence their work or author brains and how they approach the writing/editing process.

        1. That’s gorgeous. And I like especially your last sentence edit– puts it out there immediately that the assumed stance of panelists is that fanfic is an overall positive thing.

          I think it looks ready to go! Would you like to submit it, as you wrote it up?

    2. I would _totally_ come to this panel. I know Marie Brennan writes some fanfic, and she didn’t start until well after she’d made her pro sales. She and I co-presented a paper on fanfic at ICFA about… god, a decade ago.

      I believe Nora once wrote her Elfquest fanfic for Yuletide. It was damned awesome Elfquest fanfic.

      That’s all I have, though. Nothing helpful in the way of an organizing principle.

  12. Need a good title for this and help with the description.

    Wearable Tech

    One of fastest growing trends in gadgetry is wearable tech. It doesn’t only encompass incredibly expensive products like Google Glass but all the different devices designed to be strapped on a wrist, clipped on clothing, perched on our head, or even worn on our feet. These gadgets are getting smaller, less noticeable, and literally woven into the fabric of our lives. In this panel we’ll explore the implications wearables have on health, personal interaction, privacy, and social issues through the lens of science fiction literature that addresses these themes and our real world experiences.

    1. God, I want to be at this panel already. Maybe some pithy pull quote from Iron Man: Extremis, or Limit of Vision, or Transmetropolitan for a title?

    1. In case anyone hasn’t seen them, a couple of possibly relevant links (are these first two what inspired the panel topic?):

      Intriguing musing about a feminist programming language: http://www.hastac.org/blogs/ari-schlesinger/2013/11/26/feminism-and-programming-languages

      Link to annoying-in-intent but occasionally mildly amusing-in-execution 4chan parody: (http://beta.slashdot.org/story/195595)

      Research on which (if any) existing languages are most female-friendly: http://www.quora.com/Computer-Programming/Which-programming-language-is-the-most-female-friendly

      …And of course no such discussion would be complete without a mention of Native Tongue’s use of “REM”, borrowed from BASIC.

  13. Where Are The Good Reviews?

    Reviews of books on Amazon and other bookseller sites or Goodreads and other reader communities should theoretically be great places to find out if a book will be a good fit for you. The reality is that fake reviews abound on online bookstores and reader communities usually get attention when drama breaks out into the rest of the Internet, leaving no good impression. Where can one go to find more useful reviews than astroturf and people more interested in a good read than a good fight?

  14. Description help needed!

    Philanthropy In Fandom

    Fandom is full of generous people, as evidenced by recent high-profile spontaneous fundraising efforts. [name 3 here] The problem is that these efforts are usually spontaneous and often involve the participation of a handful of high-profile individuals. How can we get more organized and harness the power of a generous and caring fandom to spread the love (and the money) around to all the organizations and people who need it?

    1. oops! Posted this on the wrong panel the first time!
      I would be interested in this panel on Philanthropy. Also, let’s talk about how we can get the industry involved-for example, how about we ask the big 3 publishers to agree to a matching campaign? Etc. We could also have a speed-dating type presentation on specific charities of interest to fans.

      1. Maybe the speed dating thing could be the follow up panel? That sounds like it could take up a whole programming slot if we did it right.

          1. Okay, so one panel on philanthropy, one presentation to follow where we do lightning talks. Allow for 5 – 10 minute presentations by orgs that need donations. There may not be that many who attend WisCon in person, but we can also maybe ask people to make 5 minute videos and we play them?

            This assumes that such activities are allowed at WisCon. I suppose we should ask!

          2. Everyone gets 2 or 3 minutes, not 5. Everyone needs to know that upfront and be told to time themselves, otherwise, we will run over! Plus, there’s probably going to be a ton of folks that want to represent, so we need to make as much space available as possible. Should we have a 1 minute for questions after each person, or 15 minutes at the end?

          3. Panels are 75 minutes, do you think we will have that many orgs? Lightning Talks are usually 5, so even if we take an hour for the actual talks that’s still 12.

          4. If I can come up with 3-5, how many other folks can probably come up with more?
            Carl Brandon, Girls Who Code, RAINN, BARCC…

      2. Here’s what I came up with. I’m submitting today, but if you have any changes let em know and I will tiptoe into the backend and add them.

        Philanthropy in fandom

        Fandom is full of generous people, as evidenced by recent high-profile fundraising efforts by John Scalzi (Regency dress for Clarion, matching funds for Carl Brandon Society), Jim C. Hines (gender-swapped book cover poses for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation), an Patrick Rothfuss (fantasy authors as fantasy characters calendar for Heifer International). The problem is that these efforts are often spontaneous and/or involve the participation of a handful of high-profile individuals. How can we get more organized and harness the power of a generous and caring fandom and the business entities that want our money and attention to spread the love (and the money) around to all the organizations and people who need it?

        Lightning Pitches: Fandom Organizations

        In the last panel we talked about how we can harness the power of fandom to raise money and attention for the organizations we care about as a community. Now it’s time to meet those oranizations. Each group gets 3 minutes to give a presentation about themselves and their funding needs followed by a short Q&A from the audience. Afterwards, you can sign up for the mailing lists of the groups you want to support either with your time or your funds.

  15. Title and description help needed.

    Worldbuilding [Masters] < -- need a new word here

    With some writers worldbuilding seems effortless because it is so rich and engaging that the reader wants to crawl into the book and live there. The world of the One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms in N. K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy, [2 more examples]. What can we learn about how to build worlds of our own from these and other examples?

    1. Does “Worldbuilding Wonders” work for you? I’m a fan of alliteration.

      Some other world builders that have enchanted me: Catherynne Valente, Garth Nix, Saladin Ahmed. I’m sure I’ll be able to think of more, but that’s what’s visible in my room right now, and so what’s at the top of my mind.

    2. I would be interested in this panel. Also, let’s talk about how we can get the industry involved-for example, how about we ask the big 3 publishers to agree to a matching campaign? Etc.

    3. Revamp:

      Worldbuilding Virtuosos

      With some writers worldbuilding seems effortless because it is so rich and engaging. The world of the One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms in N. K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy, China Mieville’s Bas Lag books, Catherynne M Valente’s Orphan’s Tales duology and Fairyland series. What can we learn about how to build worlds of our own from these and other excellent examples?

  16. We should also generate some panel ideas specifically about the guests of honor. I want to do something on religion and the portrayal of gods in N. K. Jemisin’s work. But I’m blanking on how to write that up. Other thoughts?

    1. I think a panel focusing on the concept of immortality in N.K. Jemisin’s work would nicely cover a LOT of themes in both the Inheritance trilogy and the Dreamblood books, and would tie into religion without being directly about religion. Though maybe that’s a completely separate panel idea?

    2. I think a fun thing to look at in N.K. Jemisin’s works are the gods, for sure – in the Dreamblood books, though religion is a HUGE thing, there’s no direct evidence that The Goddess is a “real” physical being, or actually responsible for the magic or religion at all. Compare and contrast that to the Inheritance Trilogy, where the gods are Right There and in your face and undeniable from any perspective.

      There was a panel last year about religion and worldbuilding which got kind of caught on the word “real” – someone asked “ok, so are we going to have Real Gods walking around and doing stuff in the world, and if so how does it impact things?” and there were objections to the idea that the gods we have here aren’t “real” – I think N.K. Jemisin’s works deal gracefully and wonderfully with both “real” and more nebulous gods, and if we can work that idea into a panel discussing the religions in her works, that would be awesome.

      Also, I suck at writing descriptions, but am great at rambling thinky thoughts. Heh.

      1. Been pondering and pondering this one, too.

        Immortality in the works of N. K. Jemisin

        In both of Jemisin’s series, Inheritance and Dreamblood, there’s a strong theme of immortality and the persistence of consequences from long-ago actions. [SOMETHING ELSE I AM DRAWING A BLANK, HELP]

        Different Conceptions Of The Divine In The Works Of N. K. Jemisin

        In her first series, the Inheritance Triology, gods and goddesses are manifest in Jemisin’s world, interacting with humans and shaping everything from politics to religion directly. In the Dreamblood duology, power derived from the goddess is real and drives the main conflict, though the deity herself never makes a personal appearance. [NEED HERE some discussion questions arsing from that. Suggestions?]

        1. Immortality in the works of N. K. Jemisin
          In both of Jemisin’s series, Inheritance and Dreamblood, there’s a strong theme of immortality and the persistence of consequences from long-ago actions.

          hmmmm… I’ve only read the Inheritance trilogy. Stuff that stuck out to me around long term consequences ranges from the global – revisionist history and long term negative impacts of colonialism.

          to the personal, different ways different people recollect the same events (with the gods the advantage that people were actually there and still have vastly different memories). The way emotion, self perception, perceptions of others etc can profoundly shape experiences and also the memory of those experiences as they are told and retold.

          Different Conceptions Of The Divine In The Works Of N. K. Jemisin
          In her first series, the Inheritance Triology, gods and goddesses are manifest in Jemisin’s world, interacting with humans and shaping everything from politics to religion directly. In the Dreamblood duology, power derived from the goddess is real and drives the main conflict, though the deity herself never makes a personal appearance.

          Some questions that may or may not make sense (given I’m only half read). What makes a god a god? Which depiction is more ‘humanistic’/human centered world (<- not quite the right word) gods that are somewhat like humans or humans being our only interface with a more powerful entity. Or more general world building… how many other ways are there of representing, exploring powerful supernatural entities?

          I have no idea if that helps, but at least its some noise that might lead to more noise!

  17. I don’t know if anyone else would be interested in something like this…

    Six Adventurers Walk into a Bar: Creating Stories out of Gaming Experiences

    Speculative fiction has a long tradition of novels and series springing from table-top games: Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance novels, Stephen Brust’s Taltos/Adrilankha books (list more major ones here). More recent works like Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series or (something else here) show that these kinds of stories can break away from the old tropes that make editors cringe and add “Write-ups of your table-top game’ to their list of do-nots. How can a writer take a game experience and turn it into a story or novel while avoiding the six-adventurers-on-the-road chestnut? What sorts of rights issues do they need to be worried about, from filing the serial numbers off a well-known system to respecting the creative contributions of other players? How can the more collaborative, non-D&D style games offer an opportunity to write specfic that isn’t based around a single hero’s quest narrative? And how can these sorts of works chip away at the stereotype that gaming is an activity only enjoyed by white males?

    More discussion questions and refining of the description would be welcome!

    1. I like what you have but I am not up on my game-inspired series! I asked Shanna Germain to come over and give some input as she might know. Other than those holes I think the description works.

    2. Here’s my edit of the description:

      Speculative fiction has a long tradition of novels and series springing from table-top games: Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance novels, Stephen Brust’s Taltos/Adrilankha books, and Raymond E. Feist’s world of Midkemia. More recent works like Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series or the Kingkiller Chroniclers by Patrick Rothfuss show that these kinds of stories can break away from the old tropes that make editors cringe and add “Write-ups of your table-top game’ to their list of do-nots. How can a writer take a game experience and turn it into a story or novel while avoiding the six-adventurers-on-the-road chestnut? What sorts of rights issues do they need to be worried about, from filing the serial numbers off a well-known system to respecting the creative contributions of other players? How can the more collaborative, non-D&D style games offer an opportunity to write specfic that isn’t based around a single hero’s quest narrative? And how can these sorts of works chip away at the stereotype that gaming is an activity only enjoyed by white males?

      —–

      As I said, I think the rest of the description is solid. Anyone else think we’re in need of more discussion questions?

      1. Good additions, thank you!

        I was thinking this might be an interesting additional question between the contributions of other players and the more collaborative quesitons:

        How can thinking of our stories through a gaming lens help with issues like plotting, pacing, and reader (player) engagement?

        But I wonder if that might be loading too much into one panel, and/or diverging too far afield.

        1. No, I think that can fit. How about:

          Speculative fiction has a long tradition of novels and series springing from table-top games. More recent works like Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series or the Kingkiller Chroniclers by Patrick Rothfuss show that these kinds of stories can break away from the old tropes that make editors cringe and add “Write-ups of your table-top game’ to their list of do-nots. How can a writer take a game experience and turn it into a story or novel while avoiding the six-adventurers-on-the-road chestnut? How can thinking of our stories through a gaming lens help with issues like plotting, pacing, and reader (player) engagement? How can the more collaborative, non-D&D style games offer an opportunity to write specfic that isn’t based around a single hero’s quest narrative? And how can these sorts of works chip away at the stereotype that gaming is an activity only enjoyed by white males?

  18. Another take on the fanfic panel:

    Calling a Spade a Spade: When Pro Writers Write FanFic (Even If They Won’t Admit It)

    Writers often love playing around in the fictional worlds created by others. When the world is copyrighted and the author isn’t paid, we call it fanfic. But how about when the original works are in the public domain and the author does get paid? Stories and novels in Lovecraft’s mythos, all the Jane Austen “pastiche” on store shelves, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and its ilk. These should also count as fanfiction, but the authors who write them (and the stores that sell them) may deny this is so. Is denying the label inherantly disparaging to fanfiction and should we let them get away with that?

    1. I replied to this last night but perhaps the spam filter got it because it had a link? Anyway, I think this is too narrow a topic; there was a panel at 2011’s Readercon called “Borders (if Any) Between Fan Fiction and “Original Fiction”” that went really well, and you can find links to writeups in the tags of my Dreamwidth journal.

  19. Okay I’ll have some more time later today to attach panel descriptions and submit and such, but dropping this here for now just to ask whether this even a WisCon appropriate topic.

    I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking about this one Mindy Kaling quote: ” I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. For me, there is no difference between Ripley from “Alien” and any Katherine Heigl character. They are equally implausible. They’re all participating in a similar level of fakey razzle-dazzle, and I enjoy every second of it.

    It makes sense, then, that in the romantic-comedy world there are many specimens of women who—like Vulcans or Mothra—do not exist in real life.” (http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2011/10/03/111003sh_shouts_kaling)

    Is this a feminist approach to rom-coms? Can we re-position rom-com heroines as genre heroes?

    1. Sounds like a WisCon conversation to me, though it makes em wonder why she feels Ripley is implausible? Does that mean similar male heroes are implausible?

      The Rom-Com as fantasy (not just in the general sense but int he spec fic sense) is definitely an interesting way to interrogate those movies.

      1. I was taking more that the situation was implausible? Just in the scene of being, you know, science fiction. And that any given Han Solo is as implausible as the rom-com perfect guy architect dude. But then, I also have an unreasonable benefit for the doubt for Mindy Kaling because I’m in love with her, so.

        1. Love is a beautiful thing :D

          Here’s a stab at it:

          Have Romantic Comedies Been A Sub-genre of SF All Along?

          Mindy Kaling wrote in The New Yorker: “I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. … It makes sense, then, that in the romantic-comedy world there are many specimens of women who—like Vulcans or Mothra—do not exist in real life.” Kaling admits that like rom-coms make one seem “slightly stupid,” but re-framing them as spec fic fantasy provides an excellent angle for interrogation and interpretation of a genre that many peg as un-feminist at best.

          1. How are you/others in these comments so good at writing these? I feel like I’m in here just barely holding back from replying to everything with cat .gifs.

            Anyway! That’s gorg. Maybe end on some talking points? Such as: can we trace a heroic journey in the typical rom-com narrative? Does reality necessarily bend for a meet-cute to occur? Is the architect boyfriend with perfect hair and teeth as implausible a creature as the sparkle-skinned vampire?

          2. I dunno, probably has something to do with writing about tech all the time. Puts me in a good brain space. meanwhile, when I look at my descriptions i think they aren’t good enough.

          3. Those questions fit perfectly. here’s the full descrip:

            Mindy Kaling wrote in The New Yorker: “I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world. … It makes sense, then, that in the romantic-comedy world there are many specimens of women who—like Vulcans or Mothra—do not exist in real life.” Kaling admits that like rom-coms make one seem “slightly stupid,” but re-framing them as spec fic fantasy provides an excellent angle for interrogation and interpretation of a genre that many peg as un-feminist at best. Can we trace a heroic journey in the typical rom-com narrative? Does reality necessarily bend for a meet-cute to occur? Is the architect boyfriend with perfect hair and teeth as implausible a creature as the sparkle-skinned vampire?

            — You should submit!

  20. So, I should have put this here earlier. Last year I moderated a panel discussion about intersectional fat acceptance. We covered a LOT of topics, including some practical how-to takeaways.

    This year I would like to build on that but I’m not sure people would be interested. So I think I’m more trying to figure out if I should suggest the same kind of panel (with panelists pre-selected) again.

  21. I’ve been out of sorts all week and been meaning to get more on-top of this thread.

    Not sure if anyone can help expand upon this, but I have a panel idea that first came to me from last year’s WisCon: how do you explain concepts understood in social justice/ activist circles without using their specific terminology?

    Specifically, because some terms (like “checking your privilege”) have gotten out in public discussions but had gotten backlash over their use: people instantly shutting down instead of listening, because of negative stereotypes of the “SJW”. I’m not deriding the use of these terms or their effectiveness once the context is understood. But I suppose I’m getting at questioning how to explain oppression to the average guy on the street without evoking those crusading associations.

    Does that make any sense?

    1. Yes, it does. Towards A newbie-Friendly Terminology or something like that. I’m all about finding ways to make it easier to communicate these ideas to people who aren’t familiar with the in-group terminology. It’s a little like code switching.

      1. Code-switching is a great way to frame that, actually. I personally think of this as “in-community lingo” but I have heard some people call it “SJ fandom talk” which does hit at some of the both negatives and positives associated with using these terms.

        Here is the draft of my panel stuff. Thoughts about a title? I don’t think I have exactly what I want with either one…

        Draft titles:

        1) “Check My What?”: Explaining Oppression
        2) We’re not all “Social Justice Warriors”: How to Explain Oppression for the Average Joe

        Draft Description: Over the past several years, conversations about gender, class, race, and sexuality – and how they affect pop culture and media representations – have included terminology frequently used by social activists. This development has been a double-sided coin: while growing awareness about how oppression functions in the world is helpful in combating structural injustices, terms like “checking your privilege” have been associated with the negative stereotype of the “social justice warrior” (SJW). While these terms can still be helpful in fielding discussions, how can we talk about concepts like privilege without using the world “privilege?” This panel aims to brainstorm new ways of explaining oppression those unfamiliar with the subject without evoking crusading associations.

        1. I like the second title. The description is excellent. I have a few tweaks, let me know how you feel about them.

          Draft Description: Over the past several years, conversations about gender, class, race, and sexuality – and how they affect pop culture and media representations – have included terminology frequently used by social activists. This development has been a double-sided coin: while growing awareness about how oppression functions in the world is helpful in combating structural injustices, terms like “checking your privilege” are confusing to some and have been associated with the negative stereotype of the “social justice warrior” (SJW). While these terms can still be helpful in fielding discussions, how can we talk about concepts like privilege without using the world “privilege?” This panel aims to brainstorm new ways of explaining oppression to those unfamiliar with the subject and people who shut down at the hint of crusading associations.

          I fall on the side of not wanting to lend too much credence to people who fall out and use terms like SJW since it’s less of a misunderstanding and miscommunication and more of a derailing tactic in my experience.

          1. Oooh, I like your tweaks.

            I don’t give credence to people who lob SJW around either (it goes into the same bucket as “PC”). Fighting that stereotype may be another conversation altogether.

            I think I shall go ahead and submit this!

  22. How about a panel on Afrofuturism? Or, maybe on how black people have been creating new spaces such as Afropunk and ECBACC. Also the new books that represent a whole different approach to SF&F such as:
    * “Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture” by Ytasha L. Womack
    * “Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond” edited by Bill Campbell and Edward Austin Hall

    1. Since we’re running out of time and I’m only now getting my ass together on this, I think I’ll just submit the idea and if there is any interest we can proceed from there.

      1. we have a few more days :) And if you want help with the description, let us know. But I would *love* a panel on that as it’s a topic I’m really interested in. I don’t know much about Afrofuturism as a movement but I feel like I should be more involved in it.

        1. I’ve never suggested a panel before. (I did a reading last year which was kinda easy to put together). I feel I don’t know enough about what’s going on in Afrofuturism either. Yet, I get the feeling that I’m going to be pulled along into its wake just by doing what I’m doing. I don’t feel uncomfortable about that. I just would like to know more. I also don’t want to be pulled into a direction that isn’t really “me.” Yet, I cannot deny to interesting marketing and audience potential.

          1. Submitting a panel is easy! Just like submitting a reading. I’ll help if you want.

            Also, it’s okay not to know everything about a topic when you submit the panel. For some people’s that’s the point. They want to know more about it and so they ask for a panel hoping people who have knowledge will come and be on it.

            The panel could be:

            What’s Going On In Afrofuturism?
            The Afrofuturism movement, defined as “a cultural catchphrase to describe the world of tomorrow today in music, art, theater, politics and academics” on Ebony.com, has roots that reach back all the way to George Clinton’s Parliament and Funkadelic as well as the works of Octavia E Butler and Samuel Delany. Though Arofuturism is clearly falls under the speculative fiction umbrella, it has developed just outside of mainstream genre/fandom culture and find expression in a wide array of artistic endeavors. In this panel we’ll explore the movement through it’s works and academic excavations.

            Don’t think there’s room to fit in the books you mentioned above in the panel description, but they should be mentioned. Also, we can do this same panel at ReaderCon where the description absolutely should mention those books. Does this sound like what you were hoping for?

  23. Coming out of the trans* panel last year, Autumn Nicole Bradley and I were both totally pumped to do a panel something like this next year … but I have no idea if anyone else would want to be on it or attend. Draft (caution, contains much suck):

    Trans* Truths: Ask Us Anything

    Do you want to write gender-variant characters, but are afraid of stepping in it in some obvious way? Not all ficcers have handy trans* friends, and nonfiction books can leave out a lot. The good, the bad, the embarrassing, the gross, the funny: don’t ask if you don’t really want an answer.

    We both kept tossing around the phrase, “Next year on TMIsland!”, but I don’t know how to put that in a title. If this were even a panel anyone but me and Autumn would enjoy. :->

      1. Example content: I’m fine going into moderately gory anatomical detail on What Surgery Entails; Autumn mentioned ‘dilation humor’ which I am TOTALLY there for. :->

    1. This is an excellent panel and I think many people would be interested. Your descrip sound solid, but let me ponder or a bit if tweaking would help it pop.

      1. It needs a clear “our panelists share their personal experiences as examples of what SOME gender-variant people go through and know” kind of ALL TRANS* ARE NOT THE SAME YO disclaimer, I know if those aren’t present there’s a tendency to assume the other.

        That was actually on our Trans 101 handout the last two years. :->

    2. I would attend. My partner wasn’t able to make the trans* panel last year and I had a conflict, so we had a friend sit there with my digital recorder so both of us wouldn’t miss it.

      If this got in, I’d go in a heartbeat.

  24. I’m sorry, late to the party, but: has there been any thinking on panels specifically for teens to be on? I ask because my teen will be attending for the first time this year. They’re critically invested in queer issues and deeply interested in several areas both feminist and fannish. I’d love to see something where they and other like-minded teens are able to stretch their wings in this milieu.

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