Unbelievable – in just under 2 weeks, I’ll be at WisCon! I’m very excited! So is EOLYN! This will be our first time at the Madison-based fan con that focuses on discussion of gender, race, and class in the context of science fiction and fantasy. Overall, the programming looks very interesting. Based on the panel descriptions I’ve read so far, we’re going to be planning the next revolution.
I decided to be brave and sign up for a couple panels as well as a reading; my schedule is listed below. The WisCon organizers made my life easy by putting all my stuff on a Saturday, but I plan to be around all three days (more-or-less) attending panels and chatting with people. If you know me or my work, please seek me out – I’ll be looking for friends! Here’s where you’re guaranteed to find me:
PANEL: Women, Practical Folk Knowledge, and Magic in Storytelling. Saturday, May 26 at 10am, Conference 5
In the South, the Ozarks, Appalachia, or wherever women reside in our big beautiful world, women are the keepers and the carriers of humanity’s knowledge. According to musicologist Anjali Capila, “there are no facts without value, no reason without emotion, and no knowledge without experience.” Women’s knowledge is a culmination of our shared experience. Its transmission across generations and geography, in spite of active suppression and denigration in patriarchal cultures, is a testament to its strength and ingenuity. Gather with us as we discuss some of the different folk knowledge and magical, spiritual practices of healing and creation that are in some of our favorite stories. Bring a snippet of your own work or of another writer you love.
READING: Blood and Resistance, Saturday, May 26 at 1pm, Michelangelos
Stories from various subgenres celebrating the power of blood and resistance. In CrossTown, vampires, carnivorous goddesses, and bounty hunters displaced in time navigate boundaries of possibility, and resistance to oppression is the heart’s blood of a life well-lived. Daughter of Aithne blends love, honor, betrayal, and vengeance in a conflict between powerful women, in opposition yet destined to shatter a thousand-year cycle of violence and bloodshed. In The Persistence of Blood, Selemei unbalances her repressive caste-based society when she refuses to continue having children despite pressure to carry on the blood of the noble Race; in Vampire Cabbie, a scheme to hypnotize Uber drivers ends with an encounter with the biggest bloodsucker of all.
PANEL: Female Friendships in Our Stories, Saturday, May 26 at 4pm, Caucus
Women are often portrayed as competitive and territorial in media. In science fiction, this can be even stronger as the Smurfette principle often rules, and many of the women characters fill the “not like other girls” trope. It’s rare to see genuine female friendships flourish in our stories. For many of us, the “mean girl” trope does not reflect the reality that we live in, and we’re hungry for better depictions of our lived experiences. More stories are digging deeper into what female friendships can and do look like, however. Shows like Big Little Lies, Grace and Frankie, and Insecure; as well as female-led movies such as the new Ghostbusters and the Pitch Perfect series are some examples. Few of these are SFF-related though – we need more!