( blather about travel logistics, mostly )
Tomorrow: I try to take pictures of our room, and the buildings that have huge imposing doors . . . with everyday-use doors cut out of them that are about five feet tall; and we do museums and stuff. (Someone else arranged the tour, I'm not entirely sure what's on it beside the Vatican in the afternoon.)
End of day update: dinner here was really excellent, but finishing eating at midnight may pose serious problems.
I know a few of you stitch and have admired her work before, so there you go.
(I still haven't been reading DW, sorry, and now I have to go prep for oral argument tomorrow)
Rogue One: yay female protagonist, boo leading a team of only other dudes, otherwise can't really tell.
Jason Bourne (the version I saw did not have the first few seconds of this, but started with the overhead shot of Jason on the bed): if this movie fridges Julia Stiles' character I will be REALLY ANGRY. Also I just don't think that there's anything left to say in this franchise?
The Shallows: nice to see a survival action movie about a woman, I guess?
Kubo and the Two Strings: there are a whole lot of white actors' names getting top billing of this fantasy-Japan animated story.
Suicide Squad: awww, lookit the trailer trying so hard, aren't you precious?!
( spoilers only insofar as you consider trailers spoilers )
Thanks to the extreme generosity of Chad's parents, we went with them on a Disney cruise this last week in the western Caribbean. I have been almost entirely offline as a result, and have opened half-a-dozen posts from the last page of my reading list to read and respond to, but am unlikely to go further back than that, sorry (see above).
Cruise was great; challenging solely because of the children's ridiculously narrow tastes in food, which the staff bent over backwards to accommodate, and a little because SteelyKid has a very low melting point. Also I did get a smidge motion sick but not that often. Rooms very comfortable, lots of stuff to do (even if you're not that into Disney characters), quite good food, generally a well-oiled machine. SteelyKid snorkeled for an hour and a half straight and swam with a dolphin, the Pip touched a sea turtle and went on a waterslide ten times in a row, and I smeared sunscreen on the kids at every opportunity and some that weren't and they didn't burn, go me.
Sadly I was on the same ship as Susan Egan, who voices Rose Quartz in Steven Universe, and did not lay eyes on her or, more to the point, hear her sing. (New episodes next week!)
. . . there was more, but I have no idea what right now. (Oh, wait, it was about the MCU, and therefore needs the next rock.)
(Edit: Chad has a more thorough review.)
Want it? Post a comment WITH YOUR U.S. MAILING ADDRESS and EMAIL ADDRESS (all comments are screened) in the next twenty-four hours and I'll mail it out tomorrow to someone selected by random number generator. (U.S. only to be safe, because it says that rights have been sold many places and I don't want to get anyone in trouble.)
Don't resell, don't be a jerk, only comment if you actually want to read. Thanks!
2) Announcing Con or Bust, Inc. and the 2016 Auction!
*stares at tonight's to-do list*
yeah i can't actually open my reading list tonight either, i'm so sorry, bye
It's a movie about a 1950s movie studio executive dude, who runs around putting out fires while contemplating the direction of his life, that fairly regularly stops dead for set-pieces like Channing Tatum singing (I didn't know he could!) and tap-dancing, or Scarlett Johansson in one of those aquatic ballet thingies. I don't have strong feelings about Hollywood movies of this era, I'm aware that the studio system was awful, and I didn't much like the main character or agree with him (the second thing he does is slap a woman twice across the face. The first is go to confession; notably, he goes the next day and confesses only to slapping someone else.). So this was visually attractive and certainly not bland but not something that engaged me.
The trailers were fucking dire and, accordingly, are better left unmentioned. (Now in comments, because skygiants asked.)
Description: Race and identity have been issues in science fiction for about as long as SF itself. From the whitewashing of SF settings to “the black guy dies first” phenomenon to the underrepresentation of minority authors in the genre, there’s a long way to go. What can we do as individuals and as a community to encourage progress?
Victor Raymond (m), Amber P. Knight, Kate Nepveu, Mark Oshiro, Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez
Victor skipped right to the question at the end of the description. We talked about institutional things like Con or Bust; Pablo and Mark's work with Detcon1, which involved reaching out to specific local existing groups and communities; and Arisia's recent creation of a Diversity Committee (and the danger that people decide that oh, well, there's a diversity committee therefore we don't have to think about it). In terms of con program participants: recommend people to cons, ask for recommendations of people to invite to cons, and once they come don't put them only on panels about their particular minority trait.
We talked about SFF fandom's tendency to see other (related!) genres as insufficiently ~~pure~~ and what kinds of support, lessons, and connections are being lost thereby (anime, YA, paranormal, telenovelas (where was Jane the Virgin in programming, an audience member asked? [*]) etc.), and ditto other expressions of fandom, particularly the failure to recognize that people of color have always been fans. For instance, Amber's podcast (and others like it) is super-fannish, including about SFF, but podcasts aren't talked about much in SFF fandom (edited to clarify, maybe). (Podcasting: super-low entry barriers, Amber said she was very happy to help people out!) Or the Blade movies, whose success made the MCU possible but rarely get mentioned in con panels/by white people generally.
[*] I just put a suggestion into WisCon's programming that they do a panel on this.
Individual level things: Google shit you want to learn about. (Racism School on Tumblr was particularly recommended.) But also follow people who have different identities than you on your preferred form of social media, which gives you a passive exposure to stuff you don't know you don't know about. And when you inevitably see/hear something that you instinctively do a full-body recoil at, recognize that as a possible defense mechanism, take the time to process it on your own, and evaluate it over time and without demanding a justification/explanation from whoever posted it.
Woo, hello, energy crash. Uh. Things we didn't talk about but want to next time: codes of conduct. New media. Whether Pablo and I were going to have a fight over who was the smartest person in the room (not really). Okay, seriously, I am about to fall over, but if you were there, feel free to say what I'm forgetting, and if you weren't and have questions or suggestions, please do.
First, there was ( Thrown with Great Force: Classics We Won’t Finish )
I'm putting this outside the cut because it is still the best thing I've heard all weekend:
Ken said that there is a huge genre of serial prose stories in China, and in one very popular one, two armies were literally facing each other across the battlefield when the author announced that he was stopping writing it. The author went off and wrote other things, and then years later, came back and announced he was going to finish the story. Everyone was very excited, downloaded the installment, and said " . . . wait, this is only about a thousand words long, that's nowhere near long enough to finish the story." And in the story, the armies were facing each other, but then there was this light, and they looked up, and it was a meteorite, that was getting closer, and closer, and . . .
Yes, it was LITERALLY rocks fall, everyone dies.
Next up was ( How Lord of the Rings Stunted Fantasy’s Growth )
Finally, today there was ( Everything I Say is a Lie )
I also went to a panel called "Arisia Fixes Hollywood" (not many concrete fixes that I heard, but I was really sleepy and playing a mindless tablet game to stay awake; also the moderator alas thought it was an hour panel instead of the 75 minutes it actually was); and "The Future of Disability in Literature," which was heartfelt and well-prepared and I have zero notes because again tired. (I was going to say that disability panels seem to get fail even more consistently than race panels, but on reflection it's possible that it was the same person saying something upsetting this year and the last time I was at an Arisia disability panel.)
And now it's midnight and I fall at concision. Le sigh.
Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe has been a breakout hit for Cartoon Network. The first series on the network created by a woman, it tells powerful, funny, and moving stories in tiny doses, and has dealt uncompromisingly with issues around gender, childhood, and family in ways both unexpected and delightful. It’s also telling a great long-form adventure story. We’ll talk about all elements of this show in a panel that, like the show itself, will appeal to fans of all ages.
Cassandra Lease (m), Gillian Daniels, Max Gladstone, Juliet Kahn, Cody Mattes
I'm going to say upfront that this panel made me unreasonably grumpy because (a) the room it was in had some deep thrum in the HVAC that made me feel like my brain was melting (I left a panel yesterday because of that, also because I needed a nap) and (b) my breakfast consisted of two chocolate cookies, which was nobody's fault but my own. I heard lots of people being happy as we left.
It is reasonable of me to be grumpy that, after announcing that questions were going to be held until the end, the moderator let someone who appeared to be a white dude interject a question. (Many other people had put hands up and been told by the panel to wait.)
( I also had some subjective grumps about the panel's structure )
I didn't take a lot of notes because I didn't bring a keyboard and because I've still never tidied my exhaustive notes from several Readercon panels. Also, a lot of what was said was good and true but also not new to me. Here are some non-spoiler comments:
Rebecca Sugar did fanart for a show called Ed, Edd n Eddy, plus created a comic called Pug Davis which is a space opera about a guy with the head of a pug and his gay sidekick, and which a fast Google suggests is now comprehensively unavailable.
Ian Jones-Quartey, before animation school, did a webcomic called RPG World which Max was a big fan of and which also appears to be completely lost. (Also, his grandmother was awesome.)
( And now a few spoiler comments: )
My question, that I didn't get to ask: does anyone have a theory on why it's the Crystal Gems?
Finally, today I learned that Utena is UTE-ah-na not you-TAY-na. One of these days I'll watch it, I swear.
(After the panel I had mediocre food at Rosa Mexicano—half the tortilla chips were so soggy with grease they were actually difficult to chew—and then wrote this first because I was going to write up Friday's panels to put myself in a better mood, but it's already three and I have a panel at four, so probably that should wait. I have had my SU playlist on repeat, though, which has done wonders for my mood all by itself.)
Arisia! Next weekend, wow.
Panels I am on:
5:30 pm Friday: Thrown with Great Force: Classics We Won’t Finish - Literature, Panel - 1hr 15min - Marina 2 (2E)
This is a panel for all of you who didn’t finish LotR; everyone who needed to self medicate through Infinite Jest, exiled Frankenstein to the frozen wastes, or wanted to flush the Foundation. What did you fail to finish, which ones do you feel guilty about not finishing, and which ones do not make you feel any twinge of guilt at all?
Kate Nepveu (m), Mark L Amidon, Vikki Ciaffone, Debra Doyle, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Ken Liu
7:00pm Friday: How Lord of the Rings Stunted Fantasy’s Growth - Literature, Panel - 1hr 15min - Marina 3 (2E)
LotR’s shadow looms huge over fantasy. From the moment it achieved its massive popularity, it’s had a stranglehold on the genre. The diverse and weird pre-LotR fantasy landscape was obliterated in favor of decades of Tolkien clones, and we’re only barely beginning to see the genre recover now. Why did something so stilted, mediocre, sexist, and racist capture the public’s imagination in such a fevered and intense way? What would fantasy look like today in a world where LotR never happened?
Kate Nepveu (m), Erik Amundsen, Shira Lipkin, Mark Oshiro
4:00pm Sunday: Everything I Say is a Lie - Writing, Panel - 1hr 15min - Hale (3W)
There are several works of fiction, both genre and mainstream, that rely on the unreliable narrator. Used to good effect, this can create an artful twist ending or have the reader second-guessing throughout the whole story. However, how does one create such a narrator? Does the viewpoint have to be first person, or can third person suffice? How do you keep readers following the path you’ve laid out without guessing the real story? A discussion on the making and use of an unreliable narrator.
Ken Schneyer (m), Ken Altabef, Terri Bruce, Kate Nepveu
11:30am Monday: Race and Identity Issues in SF - Communities, Panel - 1hr 15min - Marina 3 (2E)
Race and identity have been issues in science fiction for about as long as SF itself. From the whitewashing of SF settings to “the black guy dies first” phenomenon to the underrepresentation of minority authors in the genre, there’s a long way to go. What can we do as individuals and as a community to encourage progress?
Victor Raymond (m), Amber P. Knight, Kate Nepveu, Mark Oshiro, Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez
I will definitely be at the Steven Universe panel, naturally (11:30am Sunday; Burroughs (3E); Cassandra Lease (m), Gillian Daniels, Max Gladstone, Juliet Kahn, Cody Mattes). Other things to be determined.