rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
I don't expect to make the convention Thursday evening.

Friday July 14

6:00 PM 6 Terrible... but Great. Lila Garrott (leader), Bart Leib, Natalie Luhrs, Sonya Taaffe, Vinnie Tesla. Our panelists muse on books that are really bad but in an amazing way! Genevieve Valentine's term "shitmazing" may be appropriate here. What makes something both terrible and great? Are these works worth analyzing and perhaps even emulating, or do they exist simply to be enjoyed (if that's the word) on their own merits (if that's the word)?

This should be fun. Anybody else remember Lauren Baratz-Logsted's Crazy Beautiful (HOOKS FOR HANDS), or John Boyd's The Pollinators of Eden (KILLER SEXY PSYCHIC SPACE TULIPS)?


7:00 PM C The Works of Tanith Lee. Lila Garrott, Sonya Taaffe, Emily Wagner. Tanith Lee (1947-2015) was a supremely talented writer who worked in numerous genres and forms. She wrote children’s novels (The Dragon Hoard (1971)), Vancian fantasy (the five-novel Tales from the Flat Earth series), historical romance (The Gods Are Thirsty (1996)), fantasy/horror (The Book of the Damned (1988)), science fiction (the four-novel Birthgrave series), thriller/horror (the three-novel Blood Opera series), far-future science fiction (the Drinking Sapphire Wine duology), and more, including erotica, Gothic romance, and straightforward horror. Lee was clever, manipulating genre tropes and clichés in skillful and unusual ways. Lee was poetic, writing of everything from sex to childhood in lyrical fashion. And she was prolific, writing over one hundred novels and collections. She was twice nominated for the Nebula Award, ten times for the World Fantasy (winning twice), and six times for the British Fantasy Award (winning once), and was given the Grand Master Award from at the World Horror Convention in 2009 and the Life Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2013. As critic John Clute wrote, "Lee encompassed every genre of the fantastic... with supple attentiveness and an ongoing exuberance of invention which transcends... genre constraints." Join us to celebrate her work.

I wrote the entry on Lee in The Encyclopedia of Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy, which is one of the more random line items on my resume. I always enjoy talking about Tanith Lee.


Saturday July 15

2:00 PM C Lines of Consent in Fiction. Samuel R. Delany, N.S. Dolkart, Lila Garrott, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Josh Jasper. In science fiction and fantasy, consent is often handled in fuzzy, imprecise ways. Obvious scenarios of non-consent, such as the enslaved house elves in the Harry Potter books, are easily identified as problematic, but less is said about magical destiny that compels an ordinary person to become a hero; inherited magic, rank, or family feuds that empower or endanger a character without their consent; soul mates, who are forced to love and be attracted to each other; werewolves compelled to change shape under the full moon; and other strictures that are so common we've come to take them for granted. This panel will discuss work that either explicitly deals with consent or appears oblivious to its relevance, and will explore the writer's responsibility when placing characters in a scenario (or plot) that hinges on questionable consent or non-consent. Content note: this panel may explicitly discuss violations of consent and their consequences. For the purposes of this panel, trigger warnings and content notes are assumed to be valuable tools that assist the reader.

I haven't seen a convention have this panel before. It's an important panel. Let's hope we can do it right-- given the lineup, I should think so.


3:30 PM B Reading: Lila Garrott. Lila Garrott. Lila Garrott reads an excerpt from their novel-in-progress, The Journeyers.

PLEASE COME YOU'LL LIKE IT. The book is very hard to describe, especially since it's not like I've sat down and tried to write a blurb for it yet, but I promise it is enjoyable.


Sunday July 16

12:00 PM 6 Disturbed by Her Song: Gender, Queerness, and Sexuality in the Works of Tanith Lee. Steve Berman (moderator), Lila Garrott, Sonya Taaffe. Memorial Guest of Honor Tanith Lee thoroughly explored gender, queerness, and sexuality in her fiction, creating cultural pansexuality in the Flat Earth series and queering history in the Lambda Award–winning Disturbed by Her Song. Lee wrote lush, sensitive, poetic prose about people unrestricted by gender roles or cultural norms, and she did it for forty years. Were there any missteps along that span? Does her “channeled” writing as spectral lesbian author Esther Garber (and Esther's pansexual half-brother, Judas Garbah) stand out from the greater body of her sexually charged work? How did she handle her portrayals of trans people and their sexuality? Our panelists will discuss queer themes, sexual exploration, and sexual fluidity in Lee's work.


1:00 PM 5 Clothes Make the Story. S.A. Chakraborty, John Chu, Lila Garrott, Kathleen Jennings, Shariann Lewitt. Costuming says a great deal about era, wealth, status, and taboo in both the setting of a work and the time and place where that work was created. It's frequently discussed in the context of visual media, but costuming can be just as important in literature, and it's a vital part of worldbuilding for speculative works. This panel will dig into the implications of clothing choices in speculative fiction, how they age as the work ages, how they interact with diverse readers' expectations around concepts such as modesty and gender, and their use as signposts to help the reader understand how to approach the created world.

An astonishing amount of post-modernist theory centers around clothing, and I'd like to see that transfer to the conversation of SFF. Lo, Barthes did not Fashion System in vain.


2:00 PM 5 Imagining a New Normativity. Lila Garrott, Shariann Lewitt, Alena McNamara, Tui Sutherland. In the varied settings of fantasy and science fiction, writers have an opportunity to model characters who don't make familiar assumptions related to personal characteristics such as gender, sexuality, politics, race, and religion. Some speculative worlds have new defaults, such as the setting of Rose Lemberg's "Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds," in which women are expected to form families with other women; in others, the default is to make no assumption at all, as in the world of full gender parity in Tanya Huff's Quarters series. This panel will explore some of the new norms of recent works, and discuss techniques for writers interested in creating worlds with new notions of normativity.

An object perpendicular to another object is said to be normal to it. This is pretty much how I feel about the concept of "mainstream"-- perpendicular. My day-to-day life, meanwhile, is apparently so unimaginable that the details of it don't come up in art, which is ridiculous.


Also I will be around generally, and [personal profile] gaudior and Fox will be there on Sunday, though I'm not sure yet at what time or for how long.

I look forward to seeing a lot of you there!

Date: 2017-07-13 05:45 am (UTC)
nineweaving: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nineweaving
Sadly, I'm scheduled against Lines of Consent in Fiction and Disturbed by Her Song: Gender, Queerness, and Sexuality in the Works of Tanith Lee, but I'm looking forward immensely to hearing you in colloquy.

Nine

Date: 2017-07-13 06:29 am (UTC)
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)
From: [personal profile] ckd
I'm on my way. Literally, as in I'm posting this from 35000 feet above North Dakota.

Date: 2017-07-13 10:12 am (UTC)
lydy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lydy
I will not be there. I hugely regret not being able to attend the Consent panel. That sounds awesome!

Date: 2017-07-13 03:28 pm (UTC)
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
From: [personal profile] asakiyume
I'm intrigued by the depth of the consent panel. The fact that it includes naturalistic factors (like a werewolf's having to change into a wolf) makes me wonder about how far the concept of consent can be extended.** I hope the panel has a chance to go there, but there's so much fruitful stuff to talk about that I could understand if you don't. I hope someone writes it up!

**I made the asterisks when I thought I was going to write some of my own thoughts down, but then I figured you'd probably already thought about that question, and I'd need to work out more of my own thoughts before I tried to write them down.
Edited Date: 2017-07-13 03:29 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-07-13 04:12 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I'd initially skimmed past that one, but this sent me back to read it properly, and Oh, my! (And all that and Samuel R Delaney!!!). I think I've seen pre-ordained destiny for a protagonist really addressed maybe once or twice, and I'm not sure I've ever really seen it framed as a consent issue. Combining that with the way most narrative constructs frame accepting that destiny as the only 'right' thing to do is disturbing.

The werewolf side is really interesting (says the writer with a werewolf for a protagonist), particularly as werewolf status itself often flows out of a violation that may be analagous to rape (and I can think of a couple of cases in well known works where it really was rape). The idea that forced change may force a reliving of the original violence on the victim is something I really need to think about.

The one author I can think of who has really addressed this to any extent is Terry Pratchett, with his talk of narrative determinacy. And being Pratchett he even managed to do that in-story.

Date: 2017-07-13 04:33 pm (UTC)
asakiyume: (miroku)
From: [personal profile] asakiyume
It's such a rich topic! Like, is acquiescence consent--or different? If a technology (or magic) makes something possible that wasn't before (e.g., preventing puberty), then does not adopting the magic/technology equate to consent to going through puberty? Does something that wasn't a matter of consent become a consent thing?

Regarding werewolves, on the one hand, it's analogous to rape, but it could also be taken to be analogous to, say, loosing your leg in a car crash, or getting PTSD from combat. The initial event is definitely nonconsensual (and maybe beyond your control entirely, so consent isn't even an issue--I can't consent to or withhold consent from a lightning strike or an earthquake), and dealing with the aftereffects can be super hard... but is there a consent issue there? ... I guess it depends on the rules that you apply in-story to werewolf-dom.
Edited Date: 2017-07-13 04:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-07-13 05:55 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I think puberty may be a significant parallel. The moon cycle of werewolfdom seems to bear a clear link to menstruation and quite a few stories link the acquisition of (female) magical power to puberty. Historically puberty hasn't come with choice attached, and has come with a default assumption it's a good thing. Real life tends to be messier, and there's clearly room for narrative to match that.

Does something that wasn't a matter of consent become a consent thing?

We're actually starting to see puberty become a matter of consent WRT trans issues, AIUI, so there's a precedent for the expansion of consent into areas previously considered not to involve consent. Plus I've just linked in my own DW to an article on the systemic ignoring of disability voices, which is effectively society denying us the right to a voice and an opinion, so coming at consent from another angle.

Regarding werewolves

I've seen stories that treat becoming a werewolf as voluntary, so consensual; ones where it was random violence, so nonconsensual; and several where it was used in a targeted, explicitly sexual fashion, to create/control female werewolves, which really makes rape seem the appropriate label. And of course the other aspect is that for stories that postulate a more structured werewolf society, there is implied consent, or not, from the wolves to the one targeting a human. Really interesting stuff to think about.

Date: 2017-09-30 11:50 pm (UTC)
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] lokifan
Belatedly, just since I'm rediscovering some old tabs - I know someone who read George's turning (he's the werewolf in the British TV programme Being Human) as being presented as a sexual assault, in his reactions afterwards and especially in the episode where the guy who turned him shows up. I'm not 100% sold but I think it stands up, especially in how George assumes it's the dude being clueless but nope, he totally knew what he was doing.

Date: 2017-10-01 02:11 am (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
There's an argument linking sexual assault and power/dominance, male (primarily) dominance being turned on by the exercise of power, even without an explicit sexual component; which arguably/potentially applies in a non-consensual turning. And pack position and reproductive rights being linked for wolves makes that linkage even stronger for werewolves.

Date: 2017-07-14 07:24 am (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
I wrote the Lines of Consent panel and I'm so excited to see people so excited about it!

I really really hope Kit and Fox can meet—please text me when Fox is around!
Edited Date: 2017-07-14 07:24 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-07-14 08:59 pm (UTC)
gaudior: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gaudior
Sunday's the only day I'll be there (work, blargh), so I'm certainly planning that Fox will be there with me for as much of the day as possible! We'll keep you posted-- I am also psyched for this Meeting of the Babies.

Date: 2017-07-16 06:42 am (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
The best way to reach me is SMS. Looking forward to seeing you!
Edited Date: 2017-07-16 06:42 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-07-14 07:01 pm (UTC)
ethelmay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ethelmay
Oh, I wish I could be there! Maybe next year.

Date: 2017-08-03 09:58 pm (UTC)
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
From: [personal profile] asakiyume
I was wondering how the lines-of-consent panel went--did it live up to its promise?

Date: 2017-08-04 01:33 am (UTC)
asakiyume: (miroku)
From: [personal profile] asakiyume
Thank you so much! I agree with what you say in the last paragraph. It sounds as if the panelists managed to at least open up many of the possible areas in which a conversation about consent is possible--lots of different degrees of reality and narrative and abstraction. I can see how it would have ended up being conversations whizzing past each other, though.

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