WisCon — Changing Science Fiction With Bake Sales

This weekend, I became a member of the Secret Feminist Cabal, with insidious plans to take over the world and indoctrinate the masses…with Feminism.

I’d been hearing about the awesomeness of WisCon for years, from writer friends, scholar friends, and complete strangers.  I intended to go last year, but plans fell through.

This year, I made it a priority and finally reached the nerdy casual halls of the Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club in Madison, WI.  I flew directly from having been in NYC for a week (working, including BEA), so I had a wicked-overpacked bag.  We had a six-hour delay getting out of LaGuardia, and I was very happy to have my various gadgets and some books on hand for distraction.

I could spend quite a long time talking about how awesome WisCon is, but I think I will start with a bullet point approach.

  • Starting off the convention with a writing workshop, getting great feedback on the opening of Shield & Crocus.
  • Getting to see friends from far away, catching up with @Teleidoplex, @futuransky, @DougHulick, @CassieY4, @creature57, @rachelswirsky and many others
  • A convention where the default level of discourse is high enough that when I ramble about the ideological implications of semiotic paradigms, people nod instead of making confused or annoyed faces
  • Bake Sales for Activism
  • A riotous auction filled with communitas
  • Great readings from brilliant writers.
  • Meeting several of my authors (for Night Shade Books and Prime Books)
  • Acquiring several books and only having to pay for two.
  • Discovering delicious food in downtown Madison, from tapas to pizza to Himalayan food
  • My awesome roommates @Keffy and EJ — we all worked excellently together and helped me have a Con Posse despite never having been to WisCon
  • Rar and Squee in various amounts across the weekend, with cutting critiques and effusive praise
WisCon has been going on for thirty-five years, and as such, has an incredible amount of history, in-jokes, and a lovingly-curated feel of inclusiveness, plurality of voice and perspective.  Unlike pretty much any other convention I’ve ever been to, the gender balance was possibly up to 2:1 women:men — making for a very different feel.
I’m excited to attend again next year, and I’d love to be able to do a reading (especially if I have more sales by then).  I think WisCon and World Fantasy are a great pairing of conventions for me, one more formal and ‘professional’, the other more informal and more academic.  If possible, I’d like to hit even more conventions, but that will come down to budgeting and time negotiation between the SCA and writing conventions.
Next post:  Week One with my HTC Flyer.

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