Monday, May 24, 2010

Aqueduct Goes to WisCon-- a preview

Once again, Aqueduct will be at WisCon. Kath has packed up her station wagon with Aqueduct books and headed off on the long haul to Madison.. Tom and I will fly in on Thursday. Besides me, other Aqueduct authors attending: will be Eleanor Arnason, Suzy Charnas, Theodora Goss, Eileen Gunn, Lesley Hall, Andrea Hairston, Ellen Klages, Claire Light, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Nancy Jane Moore, Nnedi Okorafor, Nisi Shawl, and Rachel Swirsky. In addition, some of the members of our blog who aren't authors will be attending, as well. Aqueduct will be in the Dealers Room beginning early Friday afternoon. Come and see us and admire our fabulous list of-- can you believe it?-- 51 titles. Our new titles will include Tomb of the Fathers by Eleanor Arnason, The WisCon Chronicles Vol.4 ed. Sylvia Kelso, Without a Map (a numbered, limited-edition chapbook) by Guests of Honor Mary Anne Mohanraj and Nnedi Okorafor, and the first two volumes of our shiny new Heirloom Books series, It Walks in Beauty: Selected Prose of Chandler Davis ed. Josh Lukin and Dorothea Dreams by Suzy McKee Charnas with an introduction by Delia Sherman. Tomb of the Fathers is available now through our website; the rest will be available after WisCon.

As I did last year, I'm posting here a list of most of the programming Aqueduct's writers and blog members will be doing. Without even seeing the full schedule, you'll note a lot of potentially great programming is in conflict. (I was sorry to see that according to the full schedule, the panel I'm on discussing 17th-century fantastical fiction by women has been placed opposite a paper Nancy Johnston is giving on one of those very 17th-century works.)

Although no Aqueductista made it onto the panel, let me draw your attention to this one, on Sunday afternoon:

The Interrelationship Between Feminist SF and Feminist Science 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Room 623
In Chapter 7 ("Another Science 'Fiction'? Feminist Stories of Science") of her book The Secret Feminist Cabal, Helen Merrick writes, "Feminists should listen for and take seriously the stories about science told in feminist sf texts, which envisage social, cultural, and discursive formations that allow new narratives of gender, feminisms, and the sciences." Merrick draws on the work of Donna Haraway and on feminist SF criticism to look at ways feminist SF can help disrupt current narratives of science. Can feminist SF have an effect on how science is done and interpreted in modern society?
M: Ann Crimmins. Jacquelyn Gill, Susan Marie Groppi, Katherine Mankiller, Phoebe Wray

Oh, & I also want to draw special attention to the Aqueduct Reading, because it straddles two time slots-- it starts at 9 am (ouch!) & runs to 11: 15. This is unusual for WisCon, so please take note!


6:00 Reception and reading at Room of One's Own-- Nnedi and Mary Anne will be giving short readings, & everyone present will be celebrating the beginning of another WisCon


Writers' Workshop—Andrea Hairston
Fri 9:00AM - 12:00PM Conf 4
Writers' Workshop—Ellen Klages
Fri 9:00AM - 12:00PM Room 629

Carl Brandon Society Party, Fri 8:45 PM - Sat 3:00 AM IN 607

Get-together for readers and writers of color and their friends—a chance to talk about and share news regarding race, ethnicity and speculative literature. Grooving to a people of color in SF playlist, crown-making, talking, C-52s, drawings for Parallax and Kindred Award–winning books every half–hour, and a grand prize at the end of the party! People can also sign up for or renew their memberships in the Carl Brandon Society.

Class Basics 9PM-10:15 PM Assembly

Of all the "isms" and oppressions in the United States, class is one of the least explored and least understood, and yet having an understanding of how class issues affect people here and around the world is vital. As with race, ability, and other issues, it is not the job of people who grew up dealing with class barriers to educate the rest of us, but sometimes we find folks who are generous enough to give their time to teaching. If you feel like you don't know enough about class, classism, and how class background and class privilege inform the world around you, come join us. Serious information, given with patience and humor.
M: Debbie Notkin. Nisi Shawl, Jennifer K. Stevenson, Chris Wrdnrd

Feminism, Craftswomen and Art 10:30 PM-11:45 PM Assembly

There is a long history of feminism, craft and art by women. Women have always had societal, internal and external forces to deal with in relation to their work, both creatively and economically. The panel will discuss this in the context of the panelists' work, alluding to the historical context. "I have all these anxieties about not being a 'real' artist, and how I shouldn't steal time from writing to 'waste' it on just crafts...And then, on the other hand, I have these weirdly angry rebellious thoughts in my head."—Mary Anne Mohanraj
M: Laurie Toby Edison. Elise Matthesen, Mary Anne Mohanraj


Race Basics 10AM-11:15 AM Assembly

You'll often hear in conversations about race that people should educate themselves, and it isn't the job of people of color to be educators. This is 100% true, but sometimes people of color are generous enough to do some education even if it isn't their job. Many people who participate in conversations about race at WisCon are well–read in the subject and have spent a lot of time thinking and talking about it. In this context, especially with a highly–charged topic, it's easy to feel like your best choice is to sit back and listen (which is often a great choice) or just to go to some other panel (and there are lots of great panels out there). If you would appreciate some grounding in how WisCon folks tend to approach the topic, and some guidance for people who haven't participated in these conversations much, this is the panel for you. Serious information, given with patience and humor.
M: Debbie Notkin. MJ Hardman, Nabil/nadyalec, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Neesha Meminger

The Craft of Writing YA 10AM-11:15 AM Wisconsin

What demands of craft are particular to the YA genre? What experiences are YA readers looking for and what pitfalls should writers new to YA avoid?
M: Ellen Klages. Sharyn November, Sarah B. Prineas, Derek Molata, Karen Elizabeth Healey The Craft of Writing YA

The Politics of Steampunk 10AM-11:15 AM Capitol A
Steampunk fetishes Victorian science. Gadgets are fun, and the spirit of amateur scientific inquiry invigorates the questioning mind. But Victorian science was often pressed into service enforcing the boundaries of sexism, racism, and classism. Can we as a community claim the dress and symbols of upper–class, white Victorian society but incorporate our progressive politics? Is there a way to subvert the steampunk paradigm? What about the chambermaid chemist in the coal cellar?
M: Liz L. Gorinsky. Nisi Shawl, Amal El-Mohtar, Theodora Goss, Piglet, Jaymee Goh
The Cultural Construction of Sexuality Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm Assembly

The Mad Seer, the Holy Fool, and the God–Touched 10AM-11:15 AM Room 623

Mental illness is not always framed as a medical problem: Visions, hearing voices, and altered perception can be interpreted as signs of spiritual power. From the Firefly/Serenity character River to Tiptree's story "Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light!" to Watts' entire crew in Blindsight, SFnal characters often exhibit diagnosable behaviors. Do these characters help us understand living with mental illness? Are they role models or stereotypes? Do their impairments function as narrative shortcuts, permitting their authors "they're just craaaaaazy" non–resolutions?
M: The Rotund. Suzy Charnas, Robyn Fleming, JoSelle Vanderhooft

Left of Center Science Fiction & Fantasy 1PM-2:15 PM Wisconsin

What are the left of center SF/F books, authors, trends?
M: Eleanor A. Arnason. Liz L. Gorinsky, James Frenkel, Eileen Gunn, Jef a. Smith

Carl Brandon Society Luncheon, Sat 11:45 AM in Concourse Lobby
Nisi Shawl, Claire Light, Candra K. Gill, Victor J. Raymond

Members, supporters, and those interested in learning more about CBS awards, scholarships, and other programs meet for an informal lunch.


Back for a second go–round, by popular demand! Writers of color working in F/SF face unique challenges, it's true. But, at the end of the day, being a "person of color" is only one aspect of what makes up our identities as writers and, while it's very flattering to asked to be on panels, most of these panels never crack the ceiling of Race 101. With that in mind, wouldn't it be nice for multiple writers of color to sit on a panel that isn't about race at all? Here's our chance to do just that. So, what are we gonna talk about, instead? Practically anything! Presented in game show format, REVENGE OF NOT ANOTHER F*CKING RACE PANEL brings together writers of color to get their geek on about any number of pop culture topics—none of them race related.
M: Julia/Sparkymonster. Amal El-Mohtar, Andrea D. Hairston, Cecilia Tan, Shveta Thakrar, Yoon Ha Lee

Tortured Families 1PM-2:15 PM Conference 2

Mad scientist's daughters, dysfunctional pagans, angry ghosts, and abandoned androids.
Theodora Goss, Haddayr Copley-Woods, M Rickert, Benjamin Rosenbaum

Guest of Honor Reading: Mary Anne Mohanraj 2:30-3:45 PM Capitol B

Mary Anne Mohanraj

The Cultural Construction of Sexuality 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Assembly

Much of what humans find sexy is culturally constructed, and of course there's a very broad range of things different humans find exciting (e.g., not all cultures eroticize breasts, nor, of course, do all individuals within a culture that does). So when you're writing about the sexuality of any being from a culture other than those of Earth of the present or past (e.g., aliens, robots, elves, humans from a fantasy realm, etc.), how do you consider the impact of society on sexuality, in addition to biological concerns? And what are examples of works that do this well?
Moderator: Trisha J. Wooldridge. Kate Bachus, Alan Bostick, Joyce Frohn, Anna Black, Lesley Hall

The Big Fear: Genre Fiction as a Reflection on Society 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Wisconsin

What does the threat or conflict implicit in a work of fiction say about the society that made it? In the 1940s, books like George Orwell's 1984 and George Stewart's Earth Abides were examples of fears of a totalitarian dystopia and the end of civilization respectively. John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar is an example of the fear of overpopulation present in many works of 1970s fiction. What are the cultural boogeymen of today? What will the big fear be 20, 50, 100 years from now?
M: Vito Excalibur. Chip Hitchcock, Georgie L. Schnobrich, Rich McAllister, Eileen Gunn

Different and Equal Together/Camouflage and Gender 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Conference 3

1) Different and Equal Together: SF Satire in District 9 (Andrea Hairston) Lurking behind the biting SF satire District 9 is the troubling question of postcolonial age: how can we be different together? In this militantly ironic film, characters are, no matter race, gender, or ethnicity, equally guilty of horrific disdain for any "alien" life. Successful irony requires familiarity with the subject of the satire. If the satire in District 9 does not bounce off of an audience's knowledge of Nigerian culture and history, how do we read Nigerian savagery? Is District 9 caught in the colonial impulse it is trying to disrupt? 2) Camouflage and Gender: Disrupting Human Normality (Anne Flammang) Camouflage disrupts boundaries between what is and is not human, as Cylons do in Battlestar Galactica and as Andy Warhol did in his camouflage series. These examples raise the question of legibility, pertinent for military women, who are not read as women and cannot be read as men. Camouflage masks military women's ambiguous gender, permitting them to succeed. Yet camouflage also opens a fantasy realm, where women's alterity dislocates them but also offers the promise of recognition, thus challenging the military’s definitions of gender.
Andrea D. Hairston, Anne Flammang

6 Feet Long With Spikes: What Makes a Good Writer's Group? 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Conference 4
Do deadlines help? What about rules? What do you do about the clueless or really bad writer in your group? How can an only POC or woman keep from being "the spokesperson"? What do you do when members don't realize or won't admit how sexist or racist they are?
M: Jennifer Pelland. Margaret Ronald, Ada Milenkovic Brown, Rachel Virginia Swirsky, Karin Lowachee, Derek Molata

Surveillance and Privacy: Big Brother vs. Little Brother 10:30 PM - 11:45 PM Assembly
More and more, our world is being captured by a surveillance camera, our internet usage is archived, monitored and mined. Orwell's 1984 is an important early SF work and Cory Doctorow's recent Little Brother YA novel deals with these issues from a modern teen's perspective. Just what is at stake here? How does this trend impact our lives, liberty, and work for social justice? Are there books, TV shows, and movies that use these elements as plot devices without exploring their possible problems (e.g., the TV show Torchwood is fond of using CCTV to accomplish their goals)?
M: Eileen Gunn. Deb Stone, Talks-with-wind, Bill "whump" Humphries

Lightspeed Magazine Launch Event 10:30 PM - 11:45 PM Conference 2

Join us to celebrate the launch of Lightspeed Magazine (, a new online science fiction magazine published by Prime Books (publisher of Fantasy Magazine). Lightspeed editors John Joseph Adams and Andrea Kail, along with publisher Sean Wallace, will be on hand to discuss this exciting new venture, and will present readings by the authors.
Alice Sola Kim, Genevieve Valentine, Vylar Kaftan, Cat T. Rambo, John Joseph Adams

Internet Publishing: The Graduate Seminar 10:30 PM - 11:45 PM Conference 3

Authors who have been selling fiction directly to the public via the Internet talk about their experience: start–up learning curve, teamwork, the role of volunteers, working the social network, staying sane and writing through it all.
M: Nancy Jane Moore. LaShawn M. Wanak, Jordan Castillo Price


A Path to Ending Women's Fear of Men 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM Senate A
There is nothing more transgressive against patriarchal society than women who are not afraid of men. Using the woman warrior of fiction and the experience of women martial artists and members of the military, this presentation will look at how to dismantle the fear that has kept women in check throughout history, offering positive solutions for both individuals and society as a whole. While issues related to violence and the physical ability to fight will be discussed, they will not be the primary focus of the presentation, which is intended to expand the concept of warriorship.
Nancy Jane Moore

Aqueduct Press Reading 9 AM-11:15 AM Conference 2

Reading by Aqueduct Press authors. And Nisi also does her Michael Jackson impersonation.
Suzy Charnas, Andrea D. Hairston, Eleanor A. Arnason, Nisi Shawl, Claire Light, Timmi Duchamp

Must Pleasures Be Guilty? (Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Capitol A

Moderator: Vito Excalibur. Lesley Hall, Sumana Harihareswara, John O'Neill, Sonya Taaffe

Why are we ashamed of the books we love? Critical acclaim recognizes some SF/F as serious literature, works one might recommend to a non–genre reader who thought it was all talking squid and ray–guns in space, to demonstrate what the genre can do. But are these the books you love and reread over and over again, especially when feeling low? And if not, why not? What is the difference between love and admiration? And why is pleasure so often constructed as "guilty" or embarrassing to admit?

Must Pleasures Be Guilty? 10:00–11:15AM Capitol A

Why are we ashamed of the books we love? Critical acclaim recognizes some SF/F as serious literature, works one might recommend to a non–genre reader who thought it was all talking squid and ray–guns in space, to demonstrate what the genre can do. But are these the books you love and reread over and over again, especially when feeling low? And if not, why not? What is the difference between love and admiration? And why is pleasure so often constructed as "guilty" or embarrassing to admit?
Moderator: Vito Excalibur. Lesley Hall, Sumana Harihareswara, John O'Neill, Sonya Taaffe

Once Upon a Time 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Senate A

Pro writers use the card game "Once Upon a Time" to tell half–baked fairy tales for laughs. Find out what happens when four panelists play tug–of–war on a story, trying to bend it towards wildly different endings.
M: Vylar Kaftan. Sumana Harihareswara, Richard Chwedyk, Ellen Klages, Terry Bisson

Privilege and Discussion Dynamics: How We Talk, How We Listen, and How Who We Are Changes Things 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Wisconsin

Just what is a "productive" discussion? Gender, race, sexuality, and culture all factor into interpretations and misinterpretations of what has really been said. How does privilege disrupt an open dialogue? How can we converse with each other in producing useful knowledge about topics that are controversial?
M: Michelle Kendall. Alan Bostick, Eileen Gunn, Andrea D. Hairston, N. K. Jemisin

Guest of Honor Reading: Nnedi Okorafor 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Capitol B
Nnedi Okorafor

Book View Cafe 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Vilas (Inn on the Park)
Latest work from the famous online collective's authors.
Jennifer K. Stevenson, Madeleine Robins, Lori Devoti, Anne Harris, Nancy Jane Moore

Writing the Other: Shout–Outs 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM Assembly
Fail is not the topic of this panel; instead, we want to hear about where you feel like your group was well represented in fiction by someone from outside it. This panel is the carrot, not the stick!
M: Nisi Shawl. Moondancer Drake, K. Tempest Bradford, Nabil/nadyalec, Michelle Kendall

Wild Women of the 17th century! 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM Capitol A

Have you heard about proto–SF writer Margaret Cavendish, whose Blazing World was borrowed in a recent comic book? Catalina de Erauso, Spanish nun turned New World Freebooter? The dangerous, treasonous, terribly helpful Duchesse de Chevreuse? The Roaring Girls? The Chinese women scholars who brazenly got published when they ought to have lived life unheard and unseen? And more. Own your history: it's titillating.
M: Georgie L. Schnobrich. Rush-That-Speaks, Timmi Duchamp, Ariel Franklin-Hudson, Jenny E. Nilsson

Dissecting the Language of Fail 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM Capitol B
Difficult conversations often go bad in similar, predictable ways. What do you say in response to "I'm sorry if you were offended"? This program item will use one or two public writings (such as blog posts) as texts for panelists and audience members alike to workshop together to identify fail language, dissect it to see how it works, and formulate follow–up responses.
M: Jess Adams. Maevele Straw, Chris Wrdnrd, MJ Hardman, Mary Anne Mohanraj

Back to the Future; or, Does Distance Lend Enchantment to the View? 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM Conference 5

Looking back, the 70s and 80s seem a halcyon age of feminist, or feminist–influenced, SF/F that was deliberately attentive to various issues of diversity, including relationship possibilities. Much of it seems to have fallen from view. Have things gone backwards since then? Or is this a selective view based on remembered books and stories that stood out from a morass of very different works? Would what seemed radical then now seem badly dated, less inclusive, and more tokenistic than they probably intended, or do these works still hold up? What works from 20–40 years ago deserve to be remembered or have been unjustly forgotten?
M: Karen Babich. Sandra McDonald, Chip Hitchcock, Lesley Hall, Amy Thomson

Moving to Small Press Publishing 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM Room 634

What are the arguments for writers moving to small presses? Are small presses becoming more important in SF/F? Why do people start small presses?
M: Cliff Winnig. Kimberley Long-Ewing, Catherine Lundoff, Eleanor A. Arnason

Take Back the Sci–Fi: Redux 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Caucus

Sexual assault and rape frequently get used as symbolic plot devices, with no consideration of how sexual violence actually affects survivors and the people around them. Let's discuss books that accurately portray the repercussions of and recovery from sexual assault, as well as those that merely use it as a shortcut to character development and those that end up glorifying it in the process—and how we can write about sexual assault and rape in a way that is true to the character and respectful to survivors. Note: this is a discussion of rape and sexual assault in fiction, and is not the place to discuss our personal experience with sexual assault.
M: Shira Lipkin. Michelle Kendall, K. Tempest Bradford, Rachel Virginia Swirsky

Facebook and Its Discontents 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Senate B

Have your friends abandoned their blogs and Live Journals for Facebook? How does writing on our friends' walls differ from commenting on their posts? How do you navigate privacy on a system that forbids anonymity? Is "liking" someones update the same as commenting "This!"
M: Cat T. Rambo. Kater Cheek, Penny Hill, Sumana Harihareswara, Alena McNamara

Desert Dames 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Conference 2

Words! Sentences! Paragraphs! Time travel! Chocolate! Dessert in the desert! Dry wit, salty expression, and far fewer exclamation points than we have used in this description! Free dessert with every dame!
Terry Bisson, Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Eileen Gunn, Carol F. Emshwiller

Research: UR Doin It Rong 4:00–5:15PM Conference 3

Why is the process of research depicted as more linear and leading directly to The Answer than any actual researcher knows it to be? Desire for narrative economy aside, it would still be nice to see the slog, the dead–end paths pursued, the startling revelation uncovered when looking for something entirely different. Why not a Book Of Knowledge that has to be painstakingly reconstructed (and disagreed about) from partial copies and out of context quotations, rather than found in its entirety? Which authors are the praiseworthy exceptions who get it right?
Moderator: Jim Leinweber. Alma Alexander, Lesley Hall, Madeleine Robins

Is Science Fiction Keeping Up with Science? 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM Conference 4
Are we as Science Fiction writers keeping up with science or are we only following older models of science fiction? Can we have space travel without instant FTL?
M: Liz L. Gorinsky. Eleanor A. Arnason, Joyce Frohn, Mary Robinette Kowal

PARTY!!! Eleanor Arnason Publication Party 9PM-Midnight Room 634
A publication party for Tomb of the Fathers, a novel authored by Eleanor Arnason and published by Aqueduct Press, and "Mammoths of the Great Plains," a chapbook authored by Eleanor Arnason and published by PM Press.
The party is being co-hosted by Aqueduct Press and PM Press. Y'all are invited!


Lady Poetesses From Hell/SFPA Poetry Slam!
The Lady Poetesses read their mostly unladylike (but usually tasteful) work aloud. This year they would like to honor the memory of Camilla (Mog) Decarnin, poet, editor, and fanfic/slash writer. Mog very recently passed away. The Lady Poetesses will be joined by members of the SFPA, who will discuss speculative poetry and read their new work, published and unpublished.
Terry A. Garey, Ellen Klages, Sandra J. Lindow, Elise Matthesen, F. J. Bergmann, Rebecca Marjesdatter, Rez

Working On The Plan For Reducing Global Levels Of Machismo 10:00 - 11:15AM Room 634

In her acceptance speech for the SFRA's Pilgrim Award, Gwyneth Jones characterized her particular form of feminism as "her plan for reducing global levels of machismo." Our whole culture, she said, "...could stand to be a little less masculine. Could stand a strong infusion of the values designated as 'weak and 'feminine'—negotiations above conflict, empathy above self–interest, and all the rest of that repertoire." But, as she noted elsewhere, we are living in a sort of perpetual wartime, dominated by masculinism and machismo, presumably the reason she calls this form of feminism "awkward." Clearly a change in administration in the US has done nothing to mitigate this culture. Is there any hope for this "awkward" kind of feminism in the near future? Or is machismo here to stay?

Religion and Science: Can't We All Just Get Along? 10:00 - 11:15AM in Senate A

Defining how the world works is power. Religion has held that power for millennia. In the last few centuries, science has become a powerful tool for this purpose. Now some use science to explain atheism, while others try to scientifically "prove" their faith is the one true way. Conflict between religion and science adds to and is at the root of some of the most bitterly divisive political issues of our time—but is it really either/or? Are there ways to approach spirituality and science such that they are not mutually exclusive? Can faith and science inform each other? SF/F literature offers cautionary tales and explorations of this conflict—does it offer any useful examples of peaceful, productive coexistence?
Nisi Shawl (M), Darrah Chavey, Gayle, Elena Tabachnick

Mon 11:30AM - 12:45PM Capitol/Wisconsin


Anonymous said...

Very exciting! Congrats on the many excellent new releases. I'm hoping to make it to the end of the Aqueduct reading Sun morning, but have to finish the quarter marathon and, sadly, can't do three minute miles yet...

-Carrie D.

Timmi Duchamp said...

Thanks, Carrie. I had no idea there was a quarter marathon Sunday morning-- good luck with that. We'll be glad to see you, however late you are. Aqueduct's party is on Sunday night, by the way. Hope to see you there, too.