Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Countdown to WisCon

If all goes well, I'll be getting on a plane in a bit over a week to attend my first WisCon. That means rising early on the 22nd and zipping roughly 80 miles down to Tampa for my flight.

I'm pumped -- and looking forward to meeting a lot of people.

I'll try to ignore for the moment that I haven't flown in five years and change. I'm now registered for airline updates and TSA updates. I've never left my car at an airport before, so that's also new. Thanks to WisCon's blog, I've downloaded and printed out a map of Madison and a list of local eateries, including a grocery store four blocks from the convention site.

Here's what I'll be doing the weekend after next....

Friday, May 23, 8:45-10:00 p.m. -- Poetry reading with the Science Fiction Poetry Association: "Lilacs, Laundry Lists and Lycanthropy: The Magic of Everyday Life," spearheaded by Sandra Lindow, with Jeannie Bergmann and Alan DeNiro.

Sunday, May 25, 10:00-11:15 a.m. -- Panel "Hot Flashes and Power Surges." Description: "In The New Moon's Arms, Nalo Hopkinson gave us a protagonist whose menopausal hot flashes create magic. Carol Emshwiller, Ursula Le Guin, and Terry Pratchett, among others, have also written with force, wit, and creativity about women who have moved into the third stage of their lives. In this panel, crones and those of us currently making the transition discuss the emotional and physical changes of menopause, as well as the ways those around us respond to our changing bodies. Where can we find models for the kind of women we want to be when we grow up? How do we mourn our fertility -- especially those of us who have no children? And how can we be visible, strong, and powerful in a culture where women disappear with the first chin hair?" Moderated by Janice Eisen, with Debbie Smith Daughetee, Karen Moore, and Jamie Feldman.

Sunday, 1:00-2:15 p.m. -- Panel "Writing Working Class Characters." Description: "Many SF writers live in an essentially middle-class world. Perhaps as a result, SF features relatively few working-class characters, preferring stories about warriors, merchants, scientists, military officers, and mages to tales of carpenters, assembly line workers, day care providers, blacksmiths, nursing aides, service center reps, and spaceship janitors. Do we assume characters doing this work don't have interesting adventures? That they don't have interesting thoughts? And if we do write about these characters and don't have a working-class background ourselves, how do we get it right?" Moderated by Paula Fleming, with Eleanor Arnason, Joyce Frohn, and Christopher Barzak.

Sunday, 2:30-3:45 p.m. -- Panel "Revealing Your World." Description: "Now that you've invented the world, you have to reveal it to your readers. Some authors create poetry or myth or maps, some describe clothes in ardent detail, or throw in an invented vocabulary. Some make sure the reader sees everything, while others make it up and then leave most of it off the page. Panelists discuss their personal style, and what they hope to accomplish." Moderated by Amy Thomson, with Betsy James , Alma Alexander, and Alex Bledsoe.

Monday, May 26, 8:30-9:45 a.m. -- Panel "How Much Is Too Much?" Description: "Unless we're reading or writing about a utopia, the societies in our fantasy worlds are going to have problems. In fact, a culture without problems invariably comes off as shallow and unrealistic. Does this mean we need to include things like sexism and racism if we want to tell a believable story? And if so, are we, as authors, guilty of perpetuating whatever-ism in the real world?" Moderated by Sarah Monette, with Catherynne M. Valente (who had a great interview in the latest Locus), Gregory Rihn, and Guest of Honor L. Timmel Duchamp.

Later on that day I'll be part of the Sign-Out book-signing event. I'll also put in time at the Broad Universe dealer table, probably Friday and/or Saturday. Then early Tuesday morning I zip over to the airport for my return flight. On Friday the 30th I drive up to the panhandle for The Wrath of Con. During the two-and-a-fraction days that I am home, I plan to be a zombie, resting up from WisCon. During Wrath of Con I will plant myself behind the Aisling Press dealer table and do my best to look awake.

WisCon also marks the release of Electric Velocipede #14, which contains my story "Hermit Crabs." You can see a sneak preview of Lisa Snellings-Clark's terrific cover at EV's blog and order a copy here.

I'm traveling light to WisCon -- one checked bag (half of it copies of Covenant), one carry-on, plus laptop. (It also occurred to me that I should try to fit a few books into my carry-on, in case they lose my luggage.) Before I leave for WisCon, I plan to have my extra supplies for Wrath of Con ready to just toss in the car, namely my book poster, standing easel, travel food, TripTik, and iPod speakers for when I lose my classical music signal during the long drive. The only travel food I'm taking on the plane is Power Bars, which weigh in under the Transportation Safety Administration's 3-ounce limit.

Now all I have to do is make myself travel-worthy.

Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders, Buecher.ch, Buy.com, DEAstore, libreriauniversitaria.it, Libri.de, Loot.co.za, Powell's Books, and Target. The Deviations page has additional details.


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