I am done my panel reports! *victory dance* Here are some general notes.

I had a good time! Once again, I have to remember to make specific arrangements to see people ahead of time, no matter how busy I am or weird I get about asking to see people, because while I got some great conversations in there were more people I'd hoped to see and only did in passing. Still, there was close to the right amount of socializing, and I got to talk to cool new people, which is always great.

Otherwise:

  • I didn't do the ribbon scavenger hunt game thing, but I did treasure the "said something interesting!" ribbon someone in the audience of the Queering Up Canon handed to me (and to the rest of the panel, and some of the audience too).
  • Food trucks: brilliant. Food options have been a constant issue at this venue.
  • A con that hits its membership cap of 3,650 (I looked it up because we kept wondering) has the leverage to negotiate decent free WiFi throughout the con hotel, which was great.
  • LTK (The Legal Test Kitchen) had really good lobster mac & cheese and excellent sangria. (I only drank half of it because I had a panel at 10 and hadn't eaten properly that day, but I still enjoyed it very much.)
  • Arisia TV, in the hotel, played Allego Non Troppo (Wikipedia) after the Masquerade replay (the live-action version), which is so stunningly weird that words frankly fail me.
  • That was also the party where I witnessed the creation of a new anthology, Maiden Voyages, Motherships, and Clones, off the tongue-slip of "maiden, mother, clone" by [twitter.com profile] IsabelSchechter.
  • The most beautiful party that I saw was the Cryptozoology party, which had been gorgeously and thoroughly decorated with restful colored lights, Nessie on the walls, and a Bigfoot print in the corner. Well done.
  • There was a chocolate vendor in the dealers' room, Dark Matter Chocolate Laboratory. The dark-chocolate-only robots were weirdly dry and crumbly, but the dark bars with freeze-dried strawberries were very good.
  • If I were into the steampunk aesthetic, I'd be in heaven in the dealers' room. I am not.
  • . . . and yet I still ended up buying four pieces of jewelry. Apparently I substitue jewelry for paper books at cons. The jewelry is probably more expensive, but at least it takes up less space?

    picture )

    This was almost certainly excessive, but I love them all so much.

And that was my con! How was yours, if you went?

For some reason I find creative-writing-process panels fascinating, probably because all my writing abilities are so decidedly on the nonfiction side.

Description:

Authors sometimes say that they started writing because they were looking for a story to read that they couldn't find. What happens when you can't find the story elsewhere and you can't make it either? What fragments do you have sitting around, ideas you wish someone would write for you and plot bunnies that plain up and died on you? Have you ever found something you wanted in a story in other media?

Erik Amundsen (m), Greer Gilman, Sonya Taaffe, Trisha Wooldridge

notes, including throwings of gauntlets and sketches of plot bunnies )
I found myself awake at 9 a.m. on Sunday, somewhat to my surprise, so I actually made it a panel not my own!

Description:

Blindness has been used as a metaphor in fiction for centuries, a way to talk about knowledge, enlightenment, ignorance and agency. But for some people it is a simple fact of everyday life. We have moved away from using gender and appearance strictly as metaphor in stories (pretty = good, ugly = bad). Are we ready to look at disabilities as part of who people are, and start including them in more kinds of stories and in more diverse roles?

Gann Monroe, Sarah Smith, Rachel Tanenhaus, W. A. (Bill) Thomasson, Tanya Washburn (m)

Note: I began noting whether audience members were sighted or blind, based on their own statements, partway through my note-taking, because I thought it brought important context to the discussion. I was able to extend that to some early comments as I started tidying these notes immediately after, but unfortunately on Monday I've forgotten who said some things, so these designations aren't complete.

Trigger warning: contains an instance, late in the panel, of blatant, aggressive, and unapologetic ableism.

Read more... )

This was a great panel and I particularly applaud Rachel for dealing with the asshole so well.

Another great panel in a much-too-small room, and one that could have gone on much longer. (I went to non-me panels today but I'm writing this one up now while it's still fresh.)

(My first draft of this was a wall of text, so I'm making all my sentences bullet points; since that takes up a lot of scrolling space, I'm also putting it behind a cut.)

Description:

Much fanfic has a large interest in QUILTBAG themes. Maybe your fic involves making characters of the same gender fall in love with each other, having a character established as cis turn out to be trans, or asking if Sherlock has never shown any interest in a "proper" Victorian marriage because he's asexual. Can fanfic writing and QUILTBAG activism potentially intersect? What does it mean that fans of works with cis, straight characters are looking for more variety in the fiction they consume?

Kate Nepveu, Julia Pilowsky, Adrienne J. Odasso, Cassandra Lease

I reformulated the order and phrasing of this description somewhat, and set out a three-part structure for the panel: why queer canon; what general ways can fic advance activism; and how can specific story types/tropes queer canon?

panel notes )

And I think that is the gist of it! If I forgot stuff, let me know, my note-taking tailed off toward the end. I had a lot of fun and those there seemed engaged and enthusiastic (also very patient waiting their turn for questions!), which makes me really glad.

Edit: remembered one additional bit: an audience member asked about creators, especially TV show runners, interacting with fandom and whether we thought that might lead to changes in the shows etc. We thought it could go either way, but that the more significant change might come from fans rising to positions of creative power within TVs and movies, much the way fic writers and other fans are increasingly getting published without disclaiming all involvement in fandom and bringing the discussions they've had in fandom to their professional writing.

The panel about books you threw, or wanted to throw, against the wall was lively and seemed to be enjoyed by all.

I attempted to come up with structure ahead of time, because I'm a lawyer, that's what I do, and the categories of book-throwing reasons I came up with initially (with thanks to [personal profile] veejane and [personal profile] sparkymonster at dinner):

1) Failures of basic competence / craft.

One of the panelists, Carl Fink, had an example of a book whose villain literally spent an entire chapter sitting alone in a room meditating on his evil plan. An audience member mentioned fundamental ignorance of human anatomy. [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll mentioned a book in which spacecraft were powered by a particular kind of engine that would have solved all the problems on Earth that the spacecraft were being used to escape. Genevieve Iseult Eldredge mentioned urban fantasies where the female protagonist has a law enforcement background but the author doesn't know what kind of training she would have, so you get things like "bad guy has twisted my arm up behind my back playground style, oh no, what shall I do?!" Like that.

2) Breaking the contract with the reader.

Apparently, according to the audience, there exists a SFF series that literally ends with either "it was all a dream" or "and then God rewound and started over." My example for this was Sayers' Five Red Herrings, in Peter tells a Sergeant to look for something critical, and the Sergeant asks what it is, and the book literally says, on an otherwise-blank page, "(Here Lord Peter Wimsey told the Sergeant what he was to look for and why, but as the intelligent reader will readily supply these details for himself, they are omitted from this page.)" Which, okay, I'm sorry Dorothy L. Sayers, I admire your writing greatly, but that is deliberately and with malice aforethought fucking with your reader.

3) Pull up your pants, you're embarrassing yourself (and us).

I need a better title for this, but: your -isms are showing (examples we discussed in particular: your belief that the only thing female characters are for it to be raped to motivate men; your desire to write about only white Americans, manifested in wiping out Eurasia and Africa in events for which white Americans bore no blame whatsoever), your fixation on prostitutes is showing, etc.

(Here is the article about Piers Anthony's first Xanth book and Firefly that I mentioned on the panel; trigger warnings for pedophilia as well as sexism.)

A couple additional ones that people came up with:

4) There's nothing objectively wrong with this but it interacts with my personal tastes / triggers in a way I can't cope with.

Examples: All of the characters are so unpleasant that they outweigh any other virtues the book might have. Uh, can't remember other examples because I'm tired--gratuitous character abuse is generally an unexamined -ism.

5) The book is trying to engage with X serious topic but can't handle the weight of it.

I'm not sure this doesn't really fall under "unexamined -isms," failing to recognize that weight, but it does feel somewhat different.

6) I had an incredibly strong emotional reaction to events that the book earned but that was still very upsetting.

I don't actually remember the character death in The Stand that someone told an anecdote about, several people sharing the same physical volume and reading it in turn, and all of them throwing the book at the same point without talking to each other about it first, but it was a great story. Someone else cited book 6 of Harry Potter.

(This made me realize that for some reason the endings of the Dark Tower series (past posts) and Kage Baker's Company series (reviews) don't come to mind when I think about "books against the wall," probably because for me that's an instantaneous response, not a dawning-horror-at-the-wreckage response. Which is to say, the other book that immediately came to mind when reading the description, besides The Five Red Herrings, was Cold Fire, as discussed previously.)

We also referenced two of my favorite literary criticism terms, the Suck Fairy (a prominent cause, as [personal profile] rushthatspeaks pointed out, of book-throwing upon re-reading) and the Id Vortex (some really popular things get their popularity from the Id Vortex (Twilight, Flowers in the Attic), but if those id-tastic tropes are not your id-tastic tropes, that disconnect is often prime book-throwing territory).

There were a lot of beautiful, horrible examples, like the book that attempted to wipe out an alien species by dusting them with apple cinnamon oatmeal; the book that had been a WWII, I think, novel until the last chapter when Dracula comes in to save the day; the mystery novel in which a lesbian couple is somehow getting fertility services from someone associated with the Vatican, one of the women is impregnated with cells scraped from a relic, and at the end their son, you guessed it, resurrects some fish; and I have just literally spent two minutes staring at my water bottle trying to remember other examples, without success, so it's time for me to go to bed.

Chime in, do, whether or not you were at the panel, because this is clearly a topic ripe for much discussion and catharsis.
We had a lot of fun in a room filled to overflowing! Someone from the audience had made a Glow Cloud and kindly put it on the table for us all to admire and hail; a fellow panelist brought wheat and wheat by-products in the form of a box of Wheat Thins. Mostly we talked stuff I've talked about in my zillion posts--but I am totally thrilled to talk more about anything, absolutely!--but I've decided it's time to adopt "Night Vale as crossroads/soft place" as my headcanon and not "Night Vale as pocket universe within our own."

Links I promised:

The Two-Headed Quarterback: Disabled Identity in Night Vale (just so people don't have to scroll back)

Fanart of POC!Cecil and the insulting caricature

And a link from someone in the audience to an interview they did with Cecil Baldwin.

We had fun, though probably it was not a 75 minute panel. People were very respectful of my grumpiness and we had some good discussion. Things we haven't talked about here before: the number of people with disabilities; shoes as a character / design theme; the hour of cut character development that isn't on the Collector's Edition disc release, damn it; and that Tom Cruise was apparently offered Idris Elba's part (!!!!).

Links I promised at the panel:

Awesome vid:

Level Up (8 words) by starlightandstatic
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pacific Rim (2013)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Raleigh Becket & Mako Mori, Raleigh Becket/Mako Mori
Characters: Mako Mori, Raleigh Becket, Stacker Pentecost
Additional Tags: Fanvids, Embedded Video, Vienna Teng - Freeform
Summary:

A love letter to Pacific Rim, in the form of a fanvid. Mostly about Mako, and also Raleigh and Stacker, and rangers, and JAEGERS. Much like the movie, there is no irony here. Only love.

"if you are afraid, give more / if you are alive, give more now / everybody here has seams and scars / so what? level up"

The song is from Vienna Teng's new album, Aims.

The Visual Intelligence of Pacific Rim

My prior post has a few fic recs. Oh, and because I complained about Tendo Choi being played by a Latino actor in that post, the non-movie stuff establishes that he has Latino ancestry, but since that didn't get into the movie, I wish they'd changed his name to reflect that instead.

I'm so excited about this. Moderators listed first.

Pacific Rim: Breaking the Mold
Burroughs | Media | Fri 7:00 PM | 01:15

_Pacific Rim_, a love letter to Kaiju and giant robots, manages to defy expectations throughout. American exceptionalism is irrelevant, as the world is saved by a multinational (and multi-racial) coalition; nerds with disabilities save the day by being themselves; and the story arc, although narrated by a white male, is centered around a woman of color. Is _Pacific Rim_ (with its huge global box office) a harbinger of things to come? What can other filmmakers learn from this movie?

JoSelle Vanderhooft, Frank Wu, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Kate Nepveu, Bob Eggleton

Do Something About Diversity!
Burroughs | Communities | Fri 10:00 PM | 01:15

Make-believe worlds can be as rich and diverse as the real one, right? We'll talk about the Carl Brandon Society's role in this: the organization's Parallax and Kindred Awards (given out this weekend at Arisia!), the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship, the grants to fen of color via Con or Bust. What are people in our community doing to promote diversity? What can you do?

Victor Raymond, Maria Velazquez, Dash, Andrea, Kate Nepveu

Welcome to Night Vale: And Now, the Weather.
Paine | Media | Sat 1:00 PM | 01:15

"Welcome to Night Vale" has become the most popular podcast on iTunes over the last year. A creepy take on small-town life in the Southwest, replete with conspiracy theories, bizarre humor, and a dog park in which neither dogs nor humans are allowed, it's both entertaining and scary, and has generated a huge fan community. Come if you're interested in learning about what makes the show so popular, to discuss favorite moments, or to speculate on where the story is headed.

Gillian Daniels, rushthatspeaks, Melissa, Adrianne Brennan, Kate Nepveu

That's It! I Am Throwing This Book!
Faneuil | Literature | Sat 10:00 PM | 01:15

We’ve all been there. You’re reading a book, and that thing happens. Maybe it’s a small thing like poor research or plot holes. Maybe it’s a huge thing like a gratuitous tragedy done for nothing more than shock value. This panel will discuss some moments where they felt like throwing a book across a room.

Kate Nepveu, rushthatspeaks, James Nicoll, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Carl

Queering Up Canon
Hale | Fan Interest | Sun 7:00 PM | 01:15

Much fanfic has a large interest in QUILTBAG themes. Maybe your fic involves making characters of the same gender fall in love with each other, having a character established as cis turn out to be trans, or asking if Sherlock has never shown any interest in a "proper" Victorian marriage because he's asexual. Can fanfic writing and QUILTBAG activism potentially intersect? What does it mean that fans of works with cis, straight characters are looking for more variety in the fiction they consume?

Kate Nepveu, Julia Pilowsky, Adrienne J. Odasso, Cassandra Lease

Who's coming? Who's not but will be around that weekend? As you can see, I have large chunks of Saturday & Sunday free and would love to hang out with people, over meals or otherwise.

And if you have things to say about these panels, that would be great too!

May 2017

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