Tag Archives: wiscon

my #WisCon41 schedule!

I’m super excited about this lineup, lemmetellya. Plus, the panel on shipping? Yeah, thanks to my experience of TWD fandom, I’m gonna have some feelings to express there.

I’ll also have copies of my short fiction collection, and both Labyrinthian and Long Hidden, both of which are now sadly out of print. But you can snap ’em up there direct from me.

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On #Wiscon’s decision regarding Jim Frenkel

Wiscon was my first con, my first real con, back when I was a tender young writer just dipping my toes into being with other writers and people who read the kinds of things I write. It was also my first con on panels, and while I’d lectured as a TA in my graduate program and wasn’t especially terrified of that in particular, the entire prospect was very anxiety-making in a lot of ways. New people, new space with strange customs and rituals, new history, new discussions. For someone like me, intensely afraid of change and new things, it was a lot to face down.

And it was wonderful. For me, it was one of those experiences where you feel like you’ve come home to a place you simply forgot. People were so warm, so welcoming, panels were so awesome. I made friends, I met amazing writers, I laughed, I danced, and at the end of a very hard year in a very rough PhD program, I felt revived.

Since then – for the last three years, with one exception where I had to miss it – Wiscon has been My Con. It’s been the con I look forward to, the con that keeps me going through the slog that is the end of a spring college semester (I teach, or I did, and it’s a slog for us too). This past May, it was a con where I reached some important decisions and where I discovered some difficult things about myself. It was hard, but it was emotionally fulfilling in ways your regular con probably would not be.

So I can’t tell you how much it saddens me to say that unless there’s a massive, massive about-face on the part of the con, I will not be back next year.

There isn’t much I can say about the Jim Frenkel situation that hasn’t already been said by others, and much better than I could. I’m also not one of the people he’s hurt directly, and who have been correspondingly so poignantly hurt by the con’s decision in this matter. But I’ve been watching things unfold, and I’ve been watching people I care about in pain, and I cannot, in good conscience, support Wiscon with my money and my presence after this. Nor do I think I could enjoy myself if I went. As far as I’m concerned, this is a con that sets a toxic, dangerous narrative of redemption above the safety of its attendees, that provides a serial harasser with more recourse in terms of a process of appeal than it provides the people he has harassed.

I am not here for that. I’m here for Elise Matthesen and Lauren Jankowski. That’s why, come next May, I won’t be there.

I haven’t set this decision in stone. If the about-face I mentioned above happens, I’m willing to reconsider. I want to be able to reconsider. But here’s the thing: Even if Wiscon pulls a Readercon (why the hell should it have to, when Readercon trod this ground ahead of them? were they paying any attention at all?) the damage is still done. An enormous amount of goodwill has been lost. A lot of people appear to no longer feel that Wiscon is trustworthy where their safety is concerned. Something that people loved has been ruined in a profound way, and a quick revision of a policy decision is not going to fix that.

(Seriously, what the fuck were you guys thinking?)

As Saira Ali said on Twitter, “Harassment, the gift that keeps on giving”.

So yeah. Unless something major changes, I will most likely be at Balticon that weekend. It’s a relatively local con that a lot of local writer friends attend, and I’ve been wanting to go for a while.

I just didn’t want to go because of something like this.

Me at the #WisCon Sign Out

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This is how I know I’m a real actual author. Note the lovely and talented booth babes (Jason and Izzy, Hulk included).

(photo courtesy of Ginger K)

On #Wiscon and trauma and recognizing it as such


You don’t want to be judged? You won’t be. You don’t think you’re strong enough? You are. You’re afraid. Don’t be. You have all the weapons you need.

Now fight.

– Sucker Punch

Anyone who follows me on the Twitters or the Facebooks or here will know that I spent this past weekend in Madison for WisCon, which is sort of My Con, because it’s almost more like an intersectional revival meeting than anything else, and it makes me have a lot of emotions. Or rather, it gives me a space in which I can feel those emotions safely.

That usually means that Wiscon, while it’s an incredibly positive, energizing, communal experience, is also often draining, and I come out of it mulling over some difficult, painful things. That was especially true this year, in significant part because it coincided with the Santa Barbara shootings, which reminded so many of us – as if we needed reminding – that we live in a culture that is not only hostile to us but lethally dangerous. Where we are not safe in any meaningful sense of the word.

(I should note that although I identify as genderqueer, I consider being raised as a girl an important part of the development of my identity, and in most important contexts the rest of society would consider me a woman. So I’m putting myself in that category for practical purposes. Anyway, GNC people are in that kind of marginalized Other space in any case to varying degrees for various reasons.)

So this was all going on, and emotions – again, many of them not negative ones – were running high, at least in me. And right at the apex of it – sitting in a panel on mental health, ironically enough – I had a very upsetting exchange via email with a member of my family about the shootings, which left me feeling deeply, deeply hurt.

And also something else. It took me a few minutes to really grasp what was happening. I was shaking hard, my palms were sweating, my heart and thoughts were both racing, and my breath was shallow. In other words, I was having a classic fight-or-flight response.

And I was like Oh my God. I’m being triggered.

I have a difficult past with this family member, and a very fraught relationship which we are only now – and very slowly – beginning to try to repair. The peace is fragile, and it doesn’t take much for it to slide back down into ugliness. In fairness, this is not one-sided; they were not the only one who participated in emotional abuse during the period when things were at their worst. I know they have experienced and do experience their share of pain, and that pain is real and legitimate.

But for me, that moment was a revelation. It wasn’t even really about the email and the nastiness that was in it. I was having a physiological reaction to past trauma. It was a reaction that I had experienced many, many times before, and for whatever reason I had not recognized what was happening to me.

This made me realize two additional things: 1) It wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t control it, which in the past I had believed; and 2) I could ask for help.

So I did. I texted a friend and she took me out for ice cream. And then later I Floomped (dance party) in a furious manner and went to a Jem vid party and I had a great time and by the next morning I had mostly recovered.

But again, this was a revelation, about my right to my emotions and my pain and my right to take care of myself, and to reach out to others for assistance in doing that. I didn’t have to wrestle with it alone, I didn’t have to blame myself for not being able to just calm down or let it go. It was okay to not be okay, and that actually made it possible to be okay in a way I’ve never experienced before.

So that happened. It meant that I had to miss NK Jemisin’s amazing GoH speech, which saddened me a great deal, but then later, sitting in a noisy, uncomfortable airport terminal waiting for a late flight home that had been delayed over an hour, I read the speech, and what others have very properly characterized as a call to arms also felt to me like an embrace. You’re all right. And someday you’ll heal. But in the meantime you have the right to defend yourself, and you have the obligation to come to the defense of others.

I wrote an email to my family about it, and in some respects it was a direct response to the member of my family who triggered me. It was the only kind of response I felt able to make, short of no response at all. But silence is painful, and it didn’t feel like it would protect me from anything. I have no idea if they read it. I sincerely doubt that they did. But to me, that didn’t really matter. What mattered was speaking out. So among other things, I said this:

I decided a while ago to make 2014 the year I started doing what Anne Lamott says we have to do as writers and as humans, and dig down into the truly ugly stuff hiding in my psyche, the stuff we’re told – especially if we’re gendered female – that we’re supposed to keep hidden. I’ve decided that I have to do that because that stuff is true, because it’s real, and because the best writing is the writing that tells the truth. I’ve written a few stories that go a long way toward doing that; they’ve been purchased by editors and you’ll see them soon. But something else I’m dealing with, as I consider what it means to write about pain, is that I’m entrenched in both a genre of fiction and a culture that contains many people who are clearly and unambiguously hostile to me and people like me, doing the work that I’m doing.

And how difficult it is to turn and face that and demand recognition of that hostility.

Because without that recognition, there can be no healing, and there can never be reconciliation. Broken bonds won’t be repaired. People will remain strangers to each other.

Me and people like me have been told, repeatedly, to chill out. To get over it. To stop reading too much into things. To sit down. To shut up. To stop making people uncomfortable. That we’re overreacting. That we’re hysterical. That we’re crazy. That we’re looking for things to get upset about. That if we laugh it off everything will be okay.

It’s not okay. And I’m not crazy. And I won’t shut up.

All of us suffering, all of us walking wounded, we have a right to ourselves and our safety. We have a right to be protected and to protect others. We have a right to self-care, and we have a right to ask for help in caring for ourselves. It can be so difficult to recognize and accept that right, because I think often we have a harder time seeing ourselves clearly than seeing others, but also because we’re just straight up taught that we don’t have a right to any of that. We exist in a context that denies our right to be good to ourselves in that way.

We need to claim it. It’s vital that we do that. Without that, we won’t heal.

And we also have a right to fight back. Nora speaks true.

Arm yourselves. Go to panels at Wiscon and claim the knowledge and language that will be your weapons. Go to sources of additional knowledge for fresh ammunition — histories and analyses of the genre by people who see beyond the status quo, our genre elders, new sources of knowledge like “revisionist” scholarship instead of the bullshit we all learned in school. Find support groups of like-minded souls; these are your comrades-in-arms, and you will need their strength. Don’t try to do this alone. When you’re injured, seek help; I’ve got a great list of CBT therapists, for any of you in the New York area. Exercise to stay strong, if you can; defend what health you have, if you can’t. And from here on, wherever you see bigotry in the genre? Attack it. Don’t wait for it to come directly at you; attack it even if it’s hitting another group. If you won’t ride or die for anyone else, how can you expect them to ride or die for you? Understand that there are people in this genre who hate you, and who do not want you here, and who will hurt you if they can. Do not tolerate their intolerance. Don’t be “fair and balanced.” Tell them they’re unwelcome. Make them uncomfortable. Shout them down. Kick them out. Fucking fight.

And maybe one day, when the fighting’s done, then we can heal. On that day, all of us will dream freely, at last.

#WisCon schedule!

Okay, meant to do this ages ago, but here – for those interested – is what I’m slated to be doing at WisCon this weekend. I am excited about every single one of these panels.

A few notes first:

  • I lovelovelove how WisCon has official hashtags for the panels. It makes me all TtW14-happy. I really hope people use them for some great discussion. I’ll certainly be trying to do so when I can. In fact, during the panel on cyborgs that I’m moderating, I would love to be able to take questions from Twitter. So if you have any, shoot them my way. WisCon, maybe consider the option of formally having hashtag mods?
  • I will have one or two copies of Line and Orbit to give away, and I’ll be putting one into the Tiptree Auction for sure.
  • I am incredibly bad with retention of both faces and names. So if you come up to me and we’ve met but I don’t recognize you, please don’t take it personally. It’s just a brain thing that I deal with.
  • In general, I still have a hard time approaching people socially, but I love meeting and talking to people. I just have a lot of trouble making the first move. I’m working on it and I think I’m better than I was, but if you want to just come up and say hi, please don’t hesitate to do so. Especially at the parties, where I’m easily overwhelmed and often looking for something specific to focus on as an anchor.

Secret fanfiction writer identities are like ani, Watson. Everyone has one. | Sat, 12:00–1:15 am | Senate A |  #FanficSecretIdentities

Panelists: M: Cecilia Tan. Sunny Moraine, Samantha Haney Press

You may not know it, but some of your favorite pro writers may have secretly or not-so-secretly written fanfiction before they got their first publishing deal and may even have continued writing it after. The list includes such luminaries as Naomi Novik, Lois McMaster Bujold, Seanan McGuire, Martha Wells, Sarah Rees Brennan, Una McCormack, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and one of this year’s Guests of Honor, N. K. Jemisin. SHOCKING. On this panel authors and publishing professionals who happily exist in both worlds will talk about how fanfiction influenced and continues to influence their work or author brains and how they approach the writing/editing process.


Ghosts in the Machine: Anonymity, Autonymity and Social Construction of (Internet) Reality | Sat, 8:30–9:45 am  | Assembly | #OnlineAnon

Panelists: M: Heidi Waterhouse. Alan Bostick, Renee Ismail, Sunny Moraine

It’s easier to notice online that how we perceive each other is something we collectively create. What are the pleasures and pitfalls in constructing online identities? How is the internet version of the identities people create different from identities constructed in meatspace? What’s in a name, anyway, when services like Google+ try to enforce which names are ‘real’?


Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, The Panel | Sat, 1:00–2:15 pm | Conference 1 | #LongHidden

Panelists: Lisa Bolekaja, S Lynn, Sunny Moraine, Daniel José Older

The anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History comes out from Crossed Genres Publications the same month as Wiscon. A selected group of Long Hidden authors and one of the editors speak about process, craft, and what it means to dig into the margins of history to find inspiration for speculative storytelling.


Cyborg Identities 2: The Cyborgs Return! | Sun, 8:30–9:45 am | Caucus | #CyborgIdentities

Panelists: M: Sunny Moraine. Michelle Heeg, Jim Lutz, Paul Rehac, Ariel Wetzel

At WisCon 37, a bunch of us got together and talked cyborgs, bodies, identity, and what it all means when you squoosh it together. That was awesome, so this year we’re doing it again. We’ll be discussing the significance and potentials of the cyborg in fiction, the intersections between that fiction and our daily experience, the enmeshing of the organic and the technological, the boundaries between human and nonhuman, the possibilities of the cyborg for resistance and revolution, and a mess of other things besides.


Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History – The Reading | Sun, 10:00–11:15 am | Conference 2 | #LongHiddenReading

Panelists: Kemba Banton, Lisa Bolekaja, L.S. Johnson, S Lynn, Sunny Moraine

The anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History comes out from Crossed Genres Publications the same month as Wiscon. A selected group of Long Hidden authors reads from their work. Hosted by editor Daniel José Older.


The SignOut | Mon, 11:30 am–12:45 pm | Capitol/Wisconsin | #SignOut

Participants: Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, Stacie L Arellano, Eleanor A. Arnason, Greg Bechtel, F.J. Bergmann, Susan Simensky Bietila, Alex Bledsoe, Gwenda Bond, K. Tempest Bradford, Chesya Burke, Wesley Chu, Julia Dvorin, Rhea Ewing, Hiromi Goto, Eileen Gunn, Andrea D. Hairston, Dorothy Hearst, Liz Henry, Lauren Jankowski, N. K. Jemisin, Emily Jiang, Vylar Kaftan, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ellen Kushner, Ann Leckie, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Heather McDougal, Allison Moon, Katrinka Moore, Nancy Jane Moore, Sunny Moraine, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, Melissa F. Olson, Samantha Haney Press, Mary Rickert, James P. Roberts, Madeleine E. Robins, Catherine M. Schaff-Stump, Nisi Shawl, Delia Sherman, Cecilia Tan, Sheree Renée Thomas, LaShawn M. Wanak

Really looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. OMG WISCON

News – Wiscon recovery, Shimmer 17 ToC, general flailing

Shimmer #17 ToC, out this summer:

“The Mostly True Story of Assman & Foxy” – Katherine Sparrow
“How Bunny Came to Be” – A.C. Wise
“The Moon Bears” – Sarah Brooks
“Sincerely, Your Psychic” – Helena Bell
“Out They Come” – Alex Dally MacFarlane
“Love in the Time of Vivisection” – Sunny Moraine
“Fishing” – Lavie Tidhar
“98 Ianthe” – Robert N. Lee
“Stealing My Sister’s Boyfriend” – Jordan Taylor
“The Metaphor of the Lakes” – Yarrow Paisley
“Romeo and Meatbox” – Alex Wilson
“Like Feather, Like Bone” – Kristi DeMeester
“Girl, With Coin” – Damien Walters Grintalis
“River, Dreaming” – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“The Fairy Godmother” – Kim Neville
“We Were Never Alone in Space” – Carmen Maria Machado
“The Herdsman of the Dead” – Ada Hoffman

Jesus, what a fantastic lineup.

Me? I’m still recovering from Wiscon, which was really pretty fucking fantastic – I made a bunch of new friends and got to catch up with some old ones, my reading went really well, and I had a blast at my panels to the point where I think I’ll have to do a part 2 of my cyborg panel next year since there seems to be popular demand and we didn’t get to so much stuff, and of course I got my genderfloomp on – but it was also exhausting, and I think I’m feeling it now.

Case in point: I meant to do so much stuff today and all I did was novel edits and watching The Hunger Games and thinking about thinking about my dissertation. Friday I’m due to write a blog post for Cyborgology on the monetization of fandom, so I need to get my shit together by then.

aaaaaaah the summer is already running away and it’s not even June

I have cover art for Crowflight but I can’t share it publicly yet. You don’t even know how difficult that is.

Final #Wiscon schedule!

Cyborg Identities: Haraway and Beyond | Fri, 9:00–10:15 pm | Senate A | #Cyborgidentities
Moderator: Sunny Moraine. Participants: Scott E. Gould, Andrea D. Hairston, Lettie Prell, Micole Sudberg

Donna Haraway famously argued that cyborgs transcend science fiction and enter the realm of feminist theory — that we are all cyborgs, transgressing identity boundaries and binaries and, in so doing, recreating ourselves. But many of the most powerful explorations of cyborg identities are still found in SF. What does SF tell us about ourselves as cyborgs? How can we make SF into useful social theory (and can we at all)? What are the implications for politics and power? How can we draw connections between fiction and political non-fiction? Like all cyborg transgressions, is the line between fiction and reality more porous than we often like to think?

When “Love Your Body” Isn’t Enough | Sat, 10:00–11:15 am | Senate A | #LoveYourBody
Moderator: Debbie Notkin. Participants: The Rotund, Jackie M., Kiini Ibura Salaam, s.e. smith, Sunny Moraine

“Love your body” is the hot trend in empowering catchphrases intended to connect people with their bodies and put them back in control, but what happens when it’s not enough? How does it exclude people don’t love their bodies and are struggling to figure out where they fit in? What kinds of structural inequalities are people perpetuating with an exhortation to “love your body,” and how can we change the way this phrase is used?

Roleplay and Identity | Sat, 2:30–3:45 pm | Caucus | #RoleplayIdentity
Moderator: Lisa Blauersouth. Participants: Kurt Ellison, Katherine Olson/Kayjayoh, Talks-with-wind, Sunny Moraine

Many of us use cosplay and tabletop, live-action, and computer role-playing games (RPGs) to explore our own identities and/or that of “the Other” (for many values of “other”). How can these experiences of roleplay help us to expand our understanding of ourselves and the world? At the same time, how can we address examples of roleplay that are exploitative or simply perpetuate stereotypes? And how do we keep ourselves from falling into this?

Outer Alliance: New Writings in LGBTQ SF/F/H | Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm | Conference 2 | #OuterAllianceReading
Participants: Julia Rios, Julie Andrews, Megan Arkenberg, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Catherine Lundoff, JoSelle Vanderhooft, Sunny Moraine, Cliff Winnig

Outer Alliance is an organization for writers and readers of science fiction, fantasy and horror that advocates positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. We will be reading from a wide range of fiction that fits this description.

And I still don’t know for sure what I’m reading aaaaaaaaa