Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WisCon 38 Wrapup

It's hard to believe this was my fifteenth WisCon. As always, it passed much too fast, and I was torn in several different directions. Here's the recap:

Alex had a play at school Friday afternoon, so once that and the reception were over, we were able to leave. We arrived in Madison around 5:00, which is earlier than we’ve managed in the last few years. After checking in, I dropped off some books at the Broad Universe table, where I ran into some friends. We went out for dinner and stopped by a chocolate store for dessert, where we saw more friends. However, by the time we got back to the hotel, Alex, Eugene, and I were all pretty tired, so I skipped the opening ceremonies/parties.

I woke up early Saturday morning because that’s just how it is with me.  At least I had plenty of time to swim and attend the Farmers’ Market before heading to panels. My panel focus this year was learning about diversity so I can write well-rounded, diverse characters. I was on a panel called What Is Science in Feminist SF, and it went well (though I’m not sure if we answered the question if classifying a work as “soft SF” discriminated against women authors). Then I took my turn at the Broad Universe table for two hours before attending two more panels.  They were How to Ally (which was a good panel) and Non-Binary Genders (which proved less helpful than I thought it would be).

 For dinner, I had vegetable sushi and gelato with my family, and we also had a family swim before Alex and Eugene retired. I went to the parties, which seemed smaller and quieter this year. The Tor party was noticeably absent. I stopped by the haiku party to exchange a poem for a pair of earrings and give the hostess a copy of Life at Seventeen Syllables a Day. Somehow, I even found the energy to attend a late-night panel on Bisexuals in Science Fiction. By the time it ended at midnight, I was ready for bed.

On Sunday, I attended four panels and participated in the Broad Universe reading. The panels were on The Corporation as Character (OK), Women of Color in SFF (good), Is SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) Relevant? (good), and Where Have the Bisexuals Gone? (OK).  Since I’m Readings/Events Coordinator for Broad Universe, I had lunch with one of the officers and brainstormed ways to make it easier for members to run tables at other cons. Afterwards, I introduced her to my favorite Madison store, The Soap Opera. For dinner, Eugene, Alex, and I visited local college friends. We had a good time, but we got back so late I missed the GoH speeches. I read the transcripts, which you can find on N.K. Jemisin’s and Hiromi Goto’s blogs.

After packing up Monday morning, I attended a reading (Hard Chargers, featuring women who write hard SF) before participating in the Sign Out. Jemisin was kind enough to sign my hard copy of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and I talked with some other authors as well.

I didn’t make a lot of sales at this con, but I made a couple. I also met some other indie authors, so it’s good to expand my network. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend some more local conventions between now and next WisCon. WisCon, however, will always be my favorite con.

Edited to add: I meant to mention this earlier about the SFWA panel, but they are looking into ways of qualifying indie writers as members. It sounds like it may take a while before they decide to do it, however, and I'm not sure what the delay is. Maybe some members don't want to make it too easy to join. For me personally, I know for a long time joining SFWA was one of my goals as a writer, as a sign that I'd "made it." I don't feel the same way about SFWA anymore; I'd have to see what benefits it would offer me as an indie (or even hybrid author) before deciding to join. But despite the unpleasant incidents in the last couple of years, I'd still consider it. After all, the more people who join SFWA, the more diverse it will be--and hopefully more welcoming to all writers.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you had a good time. Even if you didn't make many sales, I bet you made a lot of contacts.

Pat Dilloway said...

Sounds like you had fun. I've really liked those kind of things myself. You should have looked up Briane Pagel while you were in Madison, lol.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks, Alex! Meeting other authors is always helpful.

Maybe next time, Pat.

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