This weekend I’ll be a Guest of Honour at WisCon in Madison Wisconsin. WisCon is the longest running feminist science fiction convention in the USA.
I used to be a regular attendee and always had an amazing time. This will be my first time back in ten years. Pretty cool to return as a Guest of Honour, eh? I’m thrilled. Disbelieving, but thrilled, and in such company: Nalo Hopkinson is one of the finest writers of science fiction and fantasy ever. Sofia Samatar is an astonishing new voice. Her debut novel was rapturously received.
In addition to my convention schedule I’ll be doing one event open to the public:
Thursday, May 26, 2016 – 5:00pm to 6:45pm
WisCon Guest of Honour Reception and Reading
A Room Of One’s Own
315 W. Gorham Street,
Nalo Hopkinson, Justine Larbalestier, Sofia Samatar
As well as my Guest of Honour duties of speechifying etc. I’ll be on the following panels:
Fri, 9:00–10:15 pm
Whether it’s a steampunk fairytale or an end of the world love story between science and magic or a Hong Kong-style revenge space opera, stories are spilling over the edges of genre. When is it done well? What is left to explore?
M: Rebecca Holden. Alex Jennings, Justine Larbalestier, Loren Rhoads, Kristine Smith, Brooke Wonders
Sat, 10:00–11:15 am
AMA with GOHs
Have a question for Guests of Honor Sofia Samatar, Justine Larbalestier, or Nalo Hopkinson about writing craft, writing life, or their fiction? Come to this Ask Me Anything session with your questions!
M: K. Tempest Bradford. Nalo Hopkinson, Justine Larbalestier, Sofia Samatar
Sat, 1:00–2:15 pm
#KeepYAKind and Other Nice Tools of the Oppressor
There is always a point in the midst of heated Internet discussions where someone lifts their voice to make a call for Kindness, Niceness, Civility, or any other adjacent concept. These calls often go up when the issue at hand concerns an individual with privilege being called out by folks with significantly less privilege or cultural power. And Kind, Nice, and Civil become synonyms for Keep Your Mouth Shut. When this happens again, what tools can we use to dismantle this toxic dynamic and get back to the core matter? Are there secret code words we can deploy to neutralize the terms?
M: K. Tempest Bradford. Becky Allen, Betsy Haibel, Justine Larbalestier, Mark Oshiro
Sat, 2:30–3:45 pm
Science Fiction and Social Change
Many people believe science fiction/fantasy is escape from reality into made up worlds. But all sci fi is based and rooted in this world’s problems and issues, and will reflect those back. Often times mainstream science fiction reflects back visions of the future or alternative realities that reinforce systems of power. But throughout history science fiction has been used as a means of envisioning progressive new worlds, and has also been used by those organizing to transform power dynamics and create a more fair and equitable today, rooted in the experiences of those who have been marginalized and silenced historically. Come hear a panel of presenters discuss the ways science fiction is being used on the ground to create social change.
M: Jacquelyn Gill. Carlie Forsythe, Justine Larbalestier, Fred Schepartz, Sheree Renée Thomas
Sun, 10:00–11:15 am
Women Can Be Evil Too
Mikki Kendall and Justine Larbalestier discuss their research on women serial killers and psychopaths long thought to not exist.
M: Tanya D.. Mikki Kendall, Justine Larbalestier
Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm
GOH Kaeseklatsch: Justine Larbalestier
Come hang out with Guest of Honour Justine Larbalestier and talk about whatever comes to mind! In honour of Wisconsin, we will sample cheeses. Note: Since this is in a parlor room, it may get crowded and attendance may be limited. Sign up at the Registration desk to reserve a seat.
Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm
Women Writing SFF, All Around The World!
A reading recommendation panel! What books would be of interest to WisCon members? Whether Anglophone, in translation, or in different languages, from Indigenous to diaspora works, let’s share SFF we’ve read recently that encourages USian WisCon members to step out of our cultural bubbles.
M: Jaymee Goh. Jackie Hatton, Arrate Hidalgo, Emily Jiang, Justine Larbalestier
Sunday 4:00-5:15 PM
How Not To Think About Women Characters
Debbie Notkin, Becky Allen, Megan Arkenberg, Claire Humphrey, Justine Larbalestier
“She’s such a Mary Sue.” “She’s only there to serve the story of a male character.” “Her characterization is so inconsistent” or “She’s too flat to be interesting.” As consumers of media;even feminist consumers;we have a whole language at our disposal when we need to justify disinterest or dislike towards a woman character. But as often as these idioms are accurate criticisms of a work, they can also be ways to avoid actually talking about the character AS a character. Some questions to consider: Do the ways in which we critique women characters result in a denial of their agency? Is describing women characters as “inconsistently characterized” a way to avoid seeking out their motivations? Is being a “foil” or a parallel always a subordinate role?
Quite the schedule, eh? I’m especially excited about talking evil women with Mikki Kendall. But I reckon they’ll all be fun.
If you’re going to be at WisCon I look forward to seeing/meeting you. I’ll be at the big sign out on Monday and am happy to sign whatever you want. Well, almost anything.
See you soon, Madison! I’ve missed you!