I started with a reading featuring a RL friend, Kat Beyer, and members of her writing group, which included Naomi Kritzer, and she read "Cat Pictures, Please", which made my day almost before it had even started. Lunch today was with heavenscalyx and her wife, whom I know through auronlu, and then I had an afternoon of panels: a rousing discussion of female characters and the problems that arise when you have only one woman standing in for all women (or any other sort of tokenizing for that matter) (Twitter feed, a check in with year two of the #INeedDiverseGames project (Twitter feed, and a panel on the queer experience of science fiction modded by the one and only Mark Oshiro ("Queer Eye for SciFi" - Twitter feed). I have more notes and thoughts on all of these, which I hope to share at a later time. One aspect I would like to note, though, is that all of these panels consisted of mostly or entirely people of color. I gather that improving racial diversity of attendees is something that WisCon has been actively working on, and it shows. Mark even commented on it, saying that this is the first time he's ever run this panel and had all the participants be people of color.
Then came the guest of honor speeches. I was promised this would be a highlight, and it was true. All three GoH gave rousing speeches featuring a call to action -- Justine Larbalestier on the importance of taking teens and YA fiction seriously, Sofia Samatar on stretching your wings and writing your truth and not worrying about fitting within the boundaries of genre, and Nalo Hopkinson on the importance of supporting one another while still not letting bad behavior stand -- and she announced her intention to found an award for promoting positive change in the community, the Lemonade Award. I hope that the full text of these speeches are posted eventually, and if they are, I'll link to them; if not, I'll see if I can find good write-ups to share.
Also, the Tiptree award was presented to Eugene Fisher. Then next year's Guests of Honor were announced, and they are Amal El-Mahtar and Kelly Sue DeConnick. I gasped audibly when the second name was spoken. I think that means I have to come back.
Because the speeches ran long, I missed the first part of the last panel I wanted to attend, on female friendships in comics. (As it happens, this panel was all white. But I was still pleased to see this as an exception rather than the norm.) Apparently we missed the more positive part of the discussion (I'm not just saying that, the moderator apologized), and the panel mostly discussed why the large stable of characters in most mainstream comics, combined with the focus on the big franchise names which are mostly not women, leads to relationships between female characters not being able to develop over the years in the same way as, say, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent's friendship. So as characters drop in and out, sometimes disappearing for decades, there's no chance for true friendships to grow. Lots of good recs at the end, though.
Afterwards I made my way to barcon (after a few false starts) and hung out with folks for a little while before deciding it was time to make my exit, and I worked on this entry while also packing and getting ready for bed. And now it's much later than I planned, so I should get to it. Sorry to make these reports all so sketchy -- I took pretty good notes throughout and should be able to share many more details, including recs, later.
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