Tag Archives: worldcon

Friday Links is Not a Dirty Word

tiara__by_furbelows-d3hn2spThe last few days have been a mighty era of internet commentary about diversity, gender issues and other fun stuff in genre, much of it inspired positively or negatively by recent convention panels and in-person discussions.

A lot of the commentary happened over Twitter, quite annoyingly while I was asleep because, Australian. Still, worth checking out the #DiversityInSFF hashtag and from last night (where I did catch some of it thanks to being woken up at 2am for the Great Blankie Hunt) this splendid, thoughtful collection of ragey-tweets from Seanan Maguire.

Post of the week for me is undoubtedly this clear, sharply-honed essay at Apex by Deborah Stanish: Fangirl Isn’t a Dirty Word. Deb works through some of the issues we discussed at greater length in a recent episode of the Verity! Podcast, but has transformed the conversation into a very effective piece of writing about gender, ageism and the destructive nature of fandom gatekeeping.

Fangirls are not only being told they are doing it wrong, they are also being mocked and marginalized within the larger fandom community.

Madeline Ashby writes about the ageing population of Worldcons, and its “youth problem.”

Tobias Buckell responds with some further thoughts about conventions and how useful they are for authors.

At Strange Horizons, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz writes On Escapist Literature and Being Dangerous in response to a recent Nine Worlds conference panel about the various RaceFail discussions across the net.

Continue reading →

Yet Another Worldcon Post

Heh I need to quickly sum up the rest of the con before I forget it all! I do rather feel like I’m repeating myself, as I have done summy up podcasts with Galactic Suburbia covering some of the same material. But here we go:

Sunday was Father’s Day! No sleep in or cooked breakfast for my sweetie, though. He did receive a school-made card from Daughter #1 and a gift card for the apps store from me (very appropriate as the iPad had become our complete lifeline over the trip, as entertainment, internet connectivity and a social networking tool. I want my owwwwwn.

My one panel for the day was one I had been super excited about – The Case for the Female Doctor. Not only did I get to sit next to Paul Cornell, but the really cool thing was that all of the panellists except the moderator were completely in love with the idea of a female Doctor, and thus the discussion moved quickly belong ‘should we’ to ‘how should we’. Discussion points ranged through the age of the Doctor, whether a female Doctor would *have* to be older to convey confidence and dignity, or conversely *have* to be younger to count as ‘now’ and ‘sexy’ from the production POV. We also discussed the readiness of fans and the media to accept a female Doctor, and the different ways in which gender might affect the show. I was particularly delighted that almost all of the arguments about things that might change were met with a heartfelt ‘yes, wouldn’t that be great’! Mostly by me, admittedly 😀

So yes, it was a great panel and completely buzzy to be part of it. I’ve been meaning to send Grant Watson a heartfelt THANK YOU by email for putting me on it, but what the hell, better to do it on public. Being on a Doctor Who panel at a convention is one of those things I have always wanted to do in my life, and this far exceeded any expectations. Grant did some fantastic work with devising programme items, many of which had great female-centric or feminist themes, and I think it’s worth a particular shout out because in my experience, often the media items are the ones most likely to end up with all male panels, or unimaginative takes on the material. Not so this year!

From a ‘mama writer at the con’ point of view, it’s worth noting that I had Raeli sitting up front with me, right in front of the table. Paul Cornell managed to frighten her by suggesting that she touch the inflatable daleks who visited us, to prove they weren’t real, but she had come to terms with them by the end of it and announced that they really were just like the bananas. Mostly I kept her busy with sweets from the table while she worked in her activity book (anonymous sketch artist who presented the panellists each with a caricature from the panel – thank you for including Raeli in this! it’s adorable!). At one point she whispered that she wanted to ask a question and I am ashamed to say I wouldn’t let her – afterwards I checked what she would have said and her question was “why are you talking about a female doctor?” which to be fair wouldn’t have added much to the conversation.

I told her why we were discussing it and asked her if she thought the Doctor could be a woman and her response was “hee hee, that’s silly.” Good thing I didn’t let her contribute!!!

Continue reading →

Galactic Suburbia Episode 15.0 Worldcon Special Show Notes

It’s up! You can download/stream our “live” Worldcon episode directly from our Galactic Suburbia site, or from iTunes.

Live from Aussiecon4, speaking from the entirely unsuburban wasteland of downtown Melbourne, Alisa, Alex and Tansy faced an audience of real people, and managed to keep their chatter to a 50 minute podcast. SHOCK. Some awards news, Worldcon gossip, what we are reading and our pet topic: female heroes in SF & Fantasy.


World Fantasy Nominations
Sir Julius Vogel Awards Winners
European SF Society Awards
Fave bits of Aussiecon4 so far.

What have we been reading/listening to?

Alex: Beastly Bride, ed. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling; Legends of Australian Fantasy, ed. Jonathan Strahan and Jack Dann; Secret Feminist Cabal, Helen Merrick;
Tansy: Shades of Milk & Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal; The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins; Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
Alisa: Death Most Definite, Trent Jamieson.

Pet Subject: Female heroes in SF/F

As ever, please send feedback to galacticsuburbia@gmail.com or to our Twitter account @galacticsuburbs. We’d especially love to hear your response to our “live” episode, or your highlights from Aussiecon.

Over the next week we’ll be putting up a series of mini-eps from the convention, including our post-Ditmars round up, our post-Hugos round up, a omg-the-convention-is-over round up, and an interview between Alex and Phil & Kaja Foglio of Girl Genius fame. Was Jake Flinthart correct to accuse her of giggling? Find out!

On a personal note, thanks to everyone who came to the panel, or talked to us at the con about Galactic Suburbia. We were blown away by how many people have listened to us, bought books we recced, and wanted to say hi. Extra special mention to Celia, who apparently DID have an awesome Worldcon, and to the woman who recognised Alisa & Alex gossiping in the row behind her at the Hugos, because SHE KNEW WHAT THEIR VOICES SOUNDED LIKE.


Thoughts from Worldcon

I’m awake crazy early and if I don’t catch up on blogging the early days of the con now, I never will.

Typingn on the iPad, which is an odd experience – I miss my laptop like a sucking hole in my chest. Next time I do a con I am totally leaving my children behind and taking my laptop.

Not that the iPad has not been awesome to us this trip, providing children’s entertainment, instant 3G access to internety stuff so we don’t have to rely on the super expensive rates everyone else is complaining about, and so on. I am desperately regretting my refusal to upgrade my phone, as I do miss twitter rather a lot, actually. I suppose it’s good for me.

We arrived Wednesday evening and before even coming to the hotel, landed on Random Alex and her husband for delicious snack and a catch up with friends Alisa, Tehani, Kathryn & Jonathan Strahan plus significant others, etc. Raeli took an instant shine to J’s girls, which was to be a theme of the convention. She has been making small female friends constantly!

The Riverside apartments are lovely, with a view of the south bank which light up with gushing flames every hour. Raeli was delighted with the trains rushing by far below us. It turned out we were much closer to the con centre than we had dreaded, and the promised storm has not yet made the walk untenable.

Thursday began with the setting up of the dealer’s room, and was especially memorable for the grand opening of the box of Glitter Rose hardbacks, direct from the printer, which turned out to be perfect and pink rather than blue, and actually having pages rather than just being composed from bubblegum wrappers and string, which I suspect was one of GJ’s many nightmares. I’ve heard so much buzz about this book at the con, how pretty is is, and how excited people are about it, so hooray. With nine books on display the biggest problem at TPP was how to stack them all up on the table without it collapsing.

Other notable dealers room antics were provided by Raeli, who befriended a certain junior member of the Girl Genius family, and spent what seemed like hours playing hide and seek with her under tables. I still have not as of Sunday morning actually looked at all the stalls in the dealer’s room. It’s always so busy and has been a fantastic hub to the convention.
Continue reading →

Feminist Fail and Win at Aussiecon 4

Today I was trying to be con-lite and hang out with my family when not actually appearing on panels, to make it up to them about the entire lack of mummy for the las two and let’s face it, the next two days. This choice in itself has some feminist ramifications, let’s face it. Juggling motherhood and writing is hard, and juggling motherhood with cons is extra hard. I have help in my partner whi is basically prime child carer for them this week, and mostly on his own in the evenings, which he has managed excellently. Jem has been less than impressed with the arrangements, and clings tragically to me whenever she gets the chance. Raeli, while she is herself a mistress of emotional blackmail, is having a ball.

My morning panel, on the plight of the female superhero, was a sadly disappointing experience. I had been desperately looking forward to talking about this topic with Karen Healey, one of fantastic writers behind the Girlwonder.org project. Unfortunately the male member of the panel had not expected to have a conversation involving feminism, and the institutionalized sexism in the comics industry and all that sort of thing, which meant that we ended up in a frustrating argument about what the panel topic meant for most of the hour. It was a shame that we got derailed so badly and were not able to properly address the topic, and an even greater shame that no one had thought to bring the feminist bingo card as a power point graphic, to save time. We didn’t know we would need it!

Luckily there was some pro feminist awesomeness to redeem the day. I spent the afternoon chatting with Helen Merrick and a veritable cabal of academic women while Raeli had a playdate with Helen’s daughter. I then walked back over to the convention centre and got to sit down with Marianne and Maxine for fifteen lovely minutes, before going over to the green room to meet some of my fellow panelists.

Unlike this morning’s panel, Feminism in Fantasy was exactly as a feminist panel should be. Moderator Delia Sherman made it very clear right from the start that we all accepted the premise that fantasy has historically been a genre in which women got the short end of the stick, and no one argued. Hooray!

With Gail Carriger, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Catherynne Valente and Glenda Larke talking about feminism in their writing, I would have already considered this panel a must see of any convention. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be sitting up there with them, listening to what they had to say and contributing my own thoughts and experiences. I had so much lovely feedback from the audience afterwards, and the whole thing was a pleasure.

Then I got to hurry back from the con centre to record a quick (ha!) Galactic Suburbia extra credit podcast with Alisa and Alex before returning to eat sushi and actually read bedtime stories to my daughters. Yes, yes, I still owe you all the first two days. I’ll get to it. Tomorrow we Hugo!!!


I promised to post every day of the con, didn’t I? So much for that. Two days in a foreign land (yes, Alex, FOREIGN) with ten minutes Internet access a day and it appears I have forgotten how to Internet.

I know from long experience that the first two days of a long con feel like they’ve lasted a thousand years and you’ve been there forever, meeting people and caught up in the whirl, and then you blink and it’s Monday. So we must be nearly home, right?

Noooo so much more con to be had! Random Alex and I have been exchanging fangirly confessions of our biggest OMGLOOKWHOTHATIS moments, which seems to be a theme of this convention. When I start trying to think of listing all the amazing things I have done or witnessed in the last 2 days, and all the very awesome people I have got to have actual in person conversations with, my head comes close to exploding.

Don’t be jealous, my sweet Internet. All my lovely imaginary friends will have returned to their respective foreign climes by Tuesday and then I will be all yours again. And there will be a con report, I promise. With words and everything.

Tomorrow I get to talk about super heroines with Karen Healey, and feminism with Glenda Larke, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Cat Valente, Gail Carriger and Delia Sherman. Does life get much better?

Ps: there were purple drinks!

Worldcon Prep

For some reason I have ended up with several days for preparation for leaving for the convention, instead of the usual day-before or even morning-of frenzy. My honey likewise finished up work last Friday, and so has had four days prep time.

Which means of course we have spent the last four days in a constant state of packing!

Not actually packing the whole time, of course, but somewhere between beginning and ending the process. We’re still there!

Amazingly, we seem to have been able to compress clothes, entertainment and other necessities for 2 adults and 2 children into 2 suitcases, 1 handbag, 1 kid’s backpack, 1 iPad bag & 1 nappy bag (spot the carry-on luggage) with possibly one extra tote bag to hold a baby pouch & kids carseat.

That’s a whole lot of stuff.

The good thing about fretting so much about how we were going to manage this trip for oh, most of the last year, is that we seem to have got to the point of leaving all that behind us and just being all wheeeee anticipatory. Which usually I don’t get until we’re in the car on the way to the airport.

Reader, there is nothing better in the world than that feeling of getting on the plane and knowing it’s too late to go back for whatever it is you forgot. As long as that thing isn’t essential medicine or your iPod.

My travel reading: Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson, The Uncrowned King by Rowena Cory Daniells, the latest Doctor Who Magazine and, should I actually get my hands on the iPad, Diana Comet & Other Improbable Stories.

My travel listening: the latest episodes of Boxcutters, Up For Grabs, and from Big Finish: City of Spires (6th Doctor and Jamie!), Home Truths (Sara Kingdom!) and the last two Tom Baker Hornet’s Nest plays. I also had Jubilee by Robert Shearman but totally listened to that already while packing.

Yes, Melbourne is only a 50 minute flight away and I’ll probably spend most of that wrangling children. What of it?

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee almost there! People are arriving in Melbourne already, and I almost gnawed my hands off with jealousy yesterday as the ROR gang met up without me. This is my first post-Twitter trip, and so far I LIKE IT. It will also be our first trip with the iPad which enables access to gmail, googledocs and tweetdeck. Ahhh living in the future. Isn’t it going to be fabulous, until we run out of fossil fuels?

Testing for Aussiecon

This is an experimental post, to see for myself how practical it is to blog from the iPad and thus to blog regularly from the convention. I’m surprised at how easy the virtual keyboard is! And the lack of apostrophes on the main keyboard is made up for by a fairly smart – what’s the word, the thing that fills in words for you.

So yes, assuming I get more than five minutes to myself each day and that these five minutes correspond to me getting to the front of the family iPad queue, there will be blogging.

Ooh, I wonder if they’ll let me take it to the Hugos…

Probably not since this is where the bedtime stories live.