redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2018 08:31 pm)
[personal profile] cattitude and I got back from Montreal a couple of hours ago; we were there for Scintillation, a small science fiction convention organized by Jo Walton.

I mostly had a good time, despite some bits where I was having trouble connecting/finding people to hang out with, and some down moods that I suspect were due either to physiological stuff (I bruised my left thumb badly, and pain interferes with sleep) or the state of the world outside the convention. I did a lot of walking, at least by my recent standards; if this doesn't leave me miserable in the next day or two, I'm going to treat it as hip strengthening PT and increase my goal for that. health/exercise details )

I went to a few program item and enjoyed all of them: Friday evening Jon Singer and Teresa Nielsen Hayden talke about medieval recipes, and Sunday morning Jon and Emmet O'Brien talked about lasers, odd corners of biology (endosymbiosis is more complex than I'd realized), and the possibility of using Bose-Einstein condensates to explore how event horizons work. (They told us that it's possible to slow light down to a few meters per second in a BEC; the suggestion is to see what happens if you move said concentrate at several meters per second, i.e. faster than the speed of light inside the BEC. As far as either of them knew, this hasn't yet been tried.)

As a tribute to Ursula Le Guin, Jo decided to have an hour of people reading Le Guin's work aloud. The pre-con description had said that it would be good if other people read, but Jo was prepared to read Le Guin aloud for an hour. I emailed her last week to say I wanted to read, and mentioning a couple of specific things I was thinking of. Yesterday morning, when I walked into the Jon Singer/Emmet O'Brien mutual interview, Emmet asked if I'd be willing to be organizer for the Le Guin panel an hour later, because Jo might be dealing with other things. I said yes, of course. I decided to read "Coming of Age in Karhide," which worked well: if I'd practiced and known how long it was, I might have picked something shorter, but people enjoyed it, and I got comments afterwards from people who were pleased because they hadn't already read that story. Someone else then read "The First Report of the Shipwrecked Foreigner to the Kadahn of Derb," a delightful piece that is partly about Venice. We then got a couple of excerpts from Malafrena about what it means to work for freedom, and a few poems. (The person who read the poems wanted to read from Le Guin's version of the Tao te ching; I don't think Jo owns that.)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 20th, 2018 07:14 pm)
Question for other people who are going to Scintillation: how long are you planning to be in Montreal?

I'm thinking of arriving Thursday afternoon or evening, just so I don't fret about missing things on Friday (even though the many of the things are trips to places I've already seen), and staying over until either Monday morning or Tuesday morning.

Being there longer has the advantage of more social time, if other people also arrive early and/or stay late. The disadvantages are that it will probably cost more (although Airfares Are Weird) and might wear me out.

(I have addressed this to people who will be there, in terms of possibly coordinating schedules, but other relevant thoughts are also welcome.)

ETA: This having been asked in the comments, Scintillation will be a small science fiction convention in Montreal, in October. (For reasons to do with hotel space, Kickstarter, and the person who is organizing, there are no more memberships available.) I sometimes lose track of who has what context.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 14th, 2018 04:46 pm)
[personal profile] cattitude and I went to Arisia yesterday. We got there late in the morning, wandered a bit in the dealers room, and connected with [personal profile] ashnistrike and Nameseeker; they were in a hurry to a panel, but we agreed to have lunch together.

Lunch was nice, if a bit extravagant, in the hotel's restaurant, which is better than it has any right to be; Ashnistrike and Nameseeker remembered if fondly from last Arisia. We talked over food for an hour and a half, and then in a corner of the con suite for another two hours, until Ashnistrike had to go be on another panel.

I am pleased, and unsurprised, that my friendship with them still works as "see each other at occasional cons, and dive into lots of interesting conversation"; this is a pattern the three of us got into at Wiscon, before I stopped going to Wiscon. I didn't find other people I wanted to talk to in the hour or so after that, and my hip was bothering me, so we decided to go home, and have dinner here. I'd been planning to head back today, but didn't quite feel up to it as I was walking toward the T station. So, a quiet day at home, and I'll try again tomorrow morning.

What I got in the dealers room (so far) is an assortment of chocolate and a t-shirt with a picture of a red panda; red pandas get much less love and attention than the black-and-white giant pandas, but are if anything cuter. They're charismatic, but not megafauna.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jan. 4th, 2018 11:43 am)
[personal profile] cattitude and I have Arisia memberships, but have not gotten a hotel room. We will be commuting, but haven't got anything like a schedule yet, and may not be there all four days.

I am doing this largely because I want to see people, and would be happy to plan ahead of time to meet for a meal or hang out in the con suite.
redbird: women's lib: raised fist inside symbol for woman (activism)
( Feb. 19th, 2017 06:37 pm)
[ profile] cattitude, [personal profile] adrian_turtle, and I went to Boskone Friday and Saturday (commuting rather than getting a room at the hotel). Friday Cattitude and I got there before Adrian, and I felt vaguely out of sorts for a bit after we got there and picked up our badges, because I was having trouble finding people to talk to (a combination of not seeing people I recognized, and seeing people who either didn't see me/hear me say hello, or were on their way elsewhere). We indulged in some restorative hot chocolate, and then Adrian got there, and things started coming together.

cut for length and disorganization )
Mostly things are going well: in particular, the cats have passed their pre-flight physicals, and we have the detailed plans for cat moving.

However, in looking at the latest email from the moving company, I noticed that the stated dates for when the moving truck will arrive didn't match what we had thought, and have been planning based on. We looked at the previous emails etc., and those are in fact the dates they gave us all along. There is one day overlap: either way, it's possible the truck will be getting there on the 19th. If it's not until the 20th or 21st, we will cope. We have the apartment in plenty of time (the landlord has already given the keys to [personal profile] adrian_turtle on our behalf, and she is talking about dropping off a tea kettle and other useful objects before we arrive).

This does have the advantage that [ profile] cattitude and I can make plans involving Vericon. There are people I want to see ([ profile] rysmiel and I had reached a state of "we'll squeeze in a bit of time once I hear from the moving company" that doesn't fit well with their dislike of last-minute arrangements), and some interesting-sounding programming. (The con dates are March 18-20, which is when we thought the moving truck was due.)

ETA: Vericon dates corrected, thank you Geri.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Feb. 1st, 2016 09:12 am)
Cattitude and I need to decide soon whether we're going to Boskone. At this point we have memberships, a hotel reservation starting the Tuesday night before the convention, and tickets from Seattle to Boston on that Tuesday. (This was done with the idea of combining a con with some apartment-hunting or at least research, which is now moot since we have a signed lease.)

If we decide to go, we need to buy return tickets and confirm with the cat-sitter. If not, we cancel the hotel reservation, tell the cat-sitter we won't need her, and probably throw away the BOS-SEA tickets. But that's a sunk cost, it would just be polite to let Jet Blue know if we won't be flying that day.

In favor: the con would be fun; Cattitude (and secondarily I) could do some exploring in Boston, a city I know better than he does but neither of us knows well; and I'd get some time with Adrian.

Against: Staying home would be significantly cheaper, and it would be a week in a hotel instead of our own apartment. We would be without cats and kitchen, and if I have freelance work I'd be doing it without my nice big monitor and keyboard, just the laptop and mouse.

Anyone reading this who is planning to be at Boskone, please speak up. Ditto any fannish Boston-area friends who are sure you won't be, please. Also anyone else who has thoughts or suggestions on this.
Right now I am grumpy and worried about where a few of my files have gone; it's one of those recursive things where I have to find something to tell me what piece of the Time Machine backups might contain the files I actually need. But that will blend into lots of other memories of minor computer issues, and I want to remember hanging out with people.

Prologue was a small pre-Worldcon relaxacon in Renton, Washington; conveniently, a bus that starts two blocks from my home stops near the con hotel, so [ profile] cattitude and I decided to save money and enjoy sleeping in our own beds and such by commuting. Friday was, well, wet and messy (steady rain mixed with thunderstorms, leading to lots of traffic problems), and we got soaked walking from the bus to the hotel, but Mary Kay Kare lent me dry socks, which helped a lot.

We had dinner Friday with Mary Kay; Nina Horvath, the TAFF delegate; and Jeff and Liz Copeland, who it turns out also live in Bellevue (though not in our neighborhood). Both the conversation and the food was good; I wouldn't go out of my way for Lemongrass Grill, but it was better than the con program/local guide led me to expect. Since Nina is from Austria, I donated some euros that have been sitting in my dresser for a dozen years to TAFF, because at some point it feels silly to hang onto cash because "I might go back sometime." If I do visit the eurozone again, I'll almost certainly want more than 15 euros in cash.

Saturday I woke up early and worked out, and then we took it easy for a bit before going to the Farmers' Market. So we now have plenty of blueberries again, and some carrots and peaches. I also got a chocolate orange cupcake, because I'd thought about one buying two weeks earlier and then got pie instead. We took the bus to Renton after lunch, and got there around 2:00. Cattitude spotted a blackberry patch next to the sidewalk, once it wasn't pouring rain, so we could actually see, and stepping aside to gather a few berries didn't seem absurd.

We talked about a bunch of things, including the sort of catching up with old acquaintances that involves a few-sentence summary of the last n years of my and their lives; complications of working freelance; the role of odor in bee-flower coevolution; durian; and even a bit about the Hugos. I was wondering, today, whether the durian-flavored candy in the con suite was intended to be eaten, or only as a conversation starter. Cattitude went to one program item, Charlie Stross's reading, but the only programming that appealed to me was at 11 a.m. Sunday. The "old acquaintance" bit included a few variations on "I think we met at the Vegas Corflu" [more than two decades ago] and "I recognize your name from print [i.e., fanzines]."

On Saturday, Jane Hawkins was making fudge on a hotplate in the con suite, and wanted someone to guard it while she went outside "to smoke some tobacco." Welcome to Washington: I'm not sure whether that was admitting to her vices, or reassuring me that it would be fine for her to come back and deal with extremely hot liquid. (My task wasn't to stir, it was to make sure that nobody touched the fudge, for safety reasons.)

Cattitude and I had dinner with Sandra Bond and Aileen Foreman; Aileen has been living in the Seattle area for the last few months, but is moving [back] to Las Vegas right after Sasquan, and we hadn't touched base until now. that, again, was a good if not spectacular meal: a "roadhouse" with lots of pork and beef on the menu, but the crabcakes sounded good, and were. I was glad of the chance to eat with Sandra, on top of having her visit us for a bit on Thursday.

By the time we left to catch the next-to-last bus home, I was fading. On our way to the bus, I decided that it had been fun, but I'd had enough for one weekend. (I had hoped to get more useful things done today, but so it goes.)

Summary: a lot of time hanging out in the con suite chatting with people, some of whom I'd met before.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 26th, 2015 09:33 pm)
After dithering for quite a while, but spending probably too much time following the puppy/Hugo roundups on File 770, I now have a supporting membership in Sasquan, and have cast at least a partial ballot[1]. Novel I'd already done my reading for: I'd read The Goblin Emperor because lots of reviews made it sound interesting, and Ancillary Sword because I liked Ancillary Justice, and I'd tried The Three-Body Problem because it came well-recommended, and was put off by the first chapter. That chapter is well-written and dark (being a close-up description of bits of the Cultural Revolution), and "I'm not enjoying this and want to stop" is good enough reason for me to stop.

I have downloaded the samples for "best fan artist," and have ranked four of the five nominees, only two of whose work I'd previously been familiar with. The slate-heavy categories I'm mostly giving a straight no award; if I have energy between now and Friday I will take a look at the graphic story nominees. (I'm not a very visual thinker.)

[1] If you vote electronically, you can make unlimited updates/changes to your ballot until the deadline [2]. So you can vote in the one category you're sure of your opinion on and then go back and look at other things; or vote a flat "no award" on the puppy categories and then think about novels and fan artists; or change your mind a half dozen times between The Goblin Emperor and Ancillary Sword for best novel.

[2] And they will send you a copy of your current ballot every time you click "save" to make a change.
redbird: full bookshelves and table in a library (books)
( Apr. 22nd, 2015 02:04 pm)
On Wednesday again, hooray!

Recent reading:

Nemesis, by Agatha Christie. This Miss Marple mystery is I think set later than usual in Miss Marple's life. The set-up is that she learns of the death of a rich man she met on holiday the previous year, and then discovers that he has left her a significant inheritance on condition that she investigates…something. The instructions are deliberately vague, but start with a letter saying he has paid for her to go on a coach tour of famous houses and gardens. Events unfold from there, and Marple in the end lives up to her deceased acquaintance's idea of her as "nemesis," one of the Kindly Ones. A couple of stereotypes are explicitly knocked down, and justice is eventually done. (Warning: there's a mostly-abstract discussion among some of the characters that is full of rape culture assumptions.)

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. This drew me in, in a way that relatively few books have in the last few years. (I don't know if that's becaues it's that good, or a hopeful sign about the future.) Maia is a lonely 18 year old who suddenly finds himself Emperor of the Elflands after his father and older half-brothers are murdered. He has a lot to learn, because it never occurred to his guardian that Maia would need to know much about politics, or much else. He has a realistic amount of trouble finding his footing, and a lot happens in a year. Part of what I liked about this book is that it's not a story about an obscure person who is the only hope for his people, or the world. He does want to be a good emperor, and not just because he's stuck with the job, and his definition of "good" isn't the same as the last few emperors', but it's one a lot of us could agree with, from concern for the well-being of his subjects to taking an interest in even dull-sounding legal issues. Also, there's a good scene with a steam-powered model bridge. (As a side note, if you find yourself lost in the sea of names and foreign terminology, there are glossaries and lists of characters at the back, which I wish I'd noticed before I finished the book.

This is on the Hugo ballot for best novel; if I don't vote straight "no award" in every category, I would be happy to vote for this, and think Monette deserved the award. (I need to give the Liu another try and see if I can get past the gory first chapter about the Cultural Revolution; I liked Leckie's Ancillary Sword but right now would rank this higher.) [If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry about it: it has nothing to do with the quality of this novel.]

(Nothing in progress)

What I plan to read next:

Past Forgetting, by Jill Robinson, a memoir about amnesia.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 8th, 2013 03:12 pm)
Last night, [ profile] cattitude and I went to Vanguard, the monthly Seattle fandom social. This month it was at the home of [ profile] kate_schaefer and her husband Glenn (who is not on LJ or DW as far as I know).

I've been wanting to get to one of these since we moved here, but logistics of one sort or another (ranging from that month's being way out in the suburbs, to my being out of town) had been getting in the way. So, we took a couple of buses over to Wallingford, for a couple of hours' pleasant conversation with a variety of people.

I had a long, pleasant conversation with Glenn, Elinor Busby (who I knew from ages ago in A Women's Apa, but hadn't met in person), and a woman named Keir who I had never met before, sitting in a quiet spot in the living room. Plus other shorter interactions with a variety of people, though as Kate noted she had been too busy hosting to say much more than hello with us. I should get together with her when she doesn't have a couple of dozen guests, including small children. (We manage to talk in Madison, it should be possible in Seattle or Bellevue.)
There was a post on the Vanguard list yesterday afternoon saying that Rob Hansen was arriving from London on his way to Corflu (in Portland, Ore., this weekend), and if people wanted to see him, meet at a brewpub that evening. Then a follow-up mentioned that Sandra Bond was also likely to be there; I haven't seen either of them in years (it's been ages since I went to England, other than that brief visit to my mother when her husband died), and was particularly looking forward to a chance to talk to Sandra.

I ran the idea past [ profile] cattitude, who agreed that it seemed like a good idea, and pointed out how little socializing we'd been doing. So we took a couple of buses out to Lake City, and spent a bit over an hour catching up with a few people. A few of the locals said things along the lines of "what are you doing here?" or "I didn't expect you"; apparently I hadn't done nearly as good a job of letting my Seattle-area friends and acquaintances know we're now in Bellevue as I'd hoped.

Bellevue is an hour from Lake City by bus, more than that if you miss a connection, as we did om the way back; we spent significantly more time in transit than at the pub, but I'm willing to do that now and then, since part of what we get by living in Bellevue is a much shorter commute for Cattitude. (Our specific location in downtown Bellevue is also handy to a small but important list of things, including a supermarket and the library.)

It would have been nice to get to Corflu myself, but the timing didn't quite work. There's a slight chance I'll get to see Sandra next weekend, but that's very much up in the air.
I just got one of the two pairs of socks I won in the Magick for Terri fundraising auction last spring; I suspect I'll be wearing them soon, since it's starting to feel a bit like winter. I'm posting this partly as a belated follow-up to [ profile] minnehaha K's query a while ago about whether other people had gotten their auction winnings.

Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order allowing New Yorkers who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote at any polling place in the state. The details: this is limited to residents of the federally declared disaster area—New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland—and if you vote outside your legislative district your vote won't count for that district. (It's not clear to me how overlapping but distinct boundaries for congress, state assembly, and state senate affect this.) But your vote will count for president and senate (yes, we have a senate race).

Most of the subway lines are up and running, though with fewer trains than normal, but we don't have good information about most of the remainder, and what we do know is discouraging: it will be months before the A train is going to the Rockaways again. My hunch is that the MTA wants to avoid saying anything specific that they may not be able to deliver on.
Just because you like someone doesn't mean they won't do bad things. It's a cliche to hear "but he's a nice guy" when someone is accused of harassment, and we tend to side with our friends. That's part of what friendship means, in practice if not in everyone's ideals. (For me, if it's a matter of whose needs to prefer, who to help first, I will tend to help my friends. But there's a difference between helping someone with the rent and driving a getaway car or faking an alibi.)

I recently got a reminder that my judgment of people isn't perfect, that I can enjoy someone's company and call them a friend, and that proves little or nothing about what they're capable of when I'm not around.

Genevieve Valentine was repeatedly harassed at Readercon. She posted about it, and there was some discussion of ways in which the harasser's behavior was inappropriate, and why you don't get to insist on someone's attention to your apology after she has repeatedly told you to go away. The conversation in the comments was pretty good (despite one or two people effectively defending the harasser, by trying to create impossible and shifting standards of proof).

At that point, Genevieve had filed a complaint but was waiting for a decision from the Readercon committee. The harasser had not been identified. A few days later, on July 26, [personal profile] badgerbag asked if someone could tell her who was being talked about. They did, and she posted the information: The harasser was René Walling.

Until this, I've thought of René as a friend. A few weeks ago, I was playing board games with him while visiting [ profile] papersky, and it's been the sort of friendship where we hug hello and goodbye, which I've been comfortable with.

The fact that I have felt safe around Rene proves nothing, or nothing relevant. (Few harassers or sexual predators try to grope every woman they meet, after all.) Maybe he's just not attracted to me. Maybe he leaves me alone because he knows I'm partnered and therefore I look less vulnerable. The reasons don't matter, because I don't think they're likely to change: whether I want to keep spending time with Rene will be about whether I am comfortable knowing that he harassed other women, not about my own safety.

Yesterday, Readercon told Genevieve that they were suspending the harasser for two years and would be making no announcement about this, just telling her (and presumably him) privately. Bear in mind that until now, Readercon's official policy was that anyone who harassed another con member would be suspended permanently.* After a few hours of people pointing out that they were violating their own policy, that Genevieve did not feel safe, and that they seemed to be prioritizing either the con's reputation, or Rene's, above Genevieve or any woman's safety, Readercon issued a statement which basically said that they were going easy on Rene because he had admitted his deeds but told them he was sorry. Oh, and if they get "substantiated reports" of him harassing anyone elsewhere, they may ban him permanently.

There's a lot wrong with that, discussed in the Readercon LJ community and elsewhere.

At the moment, I'm expecting to see René next weekend (in the company of dozens of other people). I'm not at all sure how I feel about this. Yes, he's a friend and normally I would ask him what he had to say about this. But having read and thought about most of the story before I knew it was about him, I can't think of much he could say that would make a difference. He has admitted to harassing Genevieve. The Readercon committee, while asking for his side of things, didn't follow up on the other complaints about him—but they are significant, and mean that my friend, this guy I enjoy hanging out with, is a repeated sexual harasser. One instance may not imply two; two implies more.

Do I want to try looking past that, and if so, why? Do I believe that he is going to try to rehabilitate himself, and if so, would my saying something like "I think the Readercon ban should be permanent*, but I think we can still hang out together" be helpful in that? (If I conclude that his contrition is an act, and he's just going to be sneakier from now on, my decision is easy: someone who intends to keep harassing women is no friend of mine.) My social circle is large enough that I am statistically confident it includes other sexual harassers. I can only hope that the harassment is entirely in the past. If René stops, is that good enough for me to keep socializing with him? Trust, no: but I don't need trust on that level to play boardgames or proofread something for him. (There are different kinds of trust: I don't think he'd be likely to cheat at cards, but that doesn't matter if I decide I don't want to sit at the same table with him.)

* I pointed out in comments to someone that while the phrasing in the not-actually-followed Readercon policy is "zero tolerance," enforcing that wouldn't mean throwing Rene in jail, or confiscating his car or other property, or banning him from all conventions. Just Readercon.
It's now the beginning of July, and my memories are fading (which of course is part of why I want to make these posts in the first place, so I can look at them in a year or three). This is mostly a version of notes I made shortly after the con (and the first section is from a comment to [personal profile] amaebi):

cut for length )
redbird: purple drawing of a trilobite (trilobite)
( May. 31st, 2012 02:36 pm)
The first thing I did on Friday morning of Wiscon was wake up much too early.

The second thing I did was go soak in the hotel's hot tub. It was a little weird being there that early: when I got there, someone was using a pool vacuum to clear out some sand. We chatted a little, and he showed me how to turn the jets on. There was nobody else in the water, but two or three people were using the exercise room. I soaked a bit, hoping it would ease my shoulder and back, which had been sore for a few days, slid into the cool pool to keep my body temperature okay, and repeated. (Usually I swim, slowly and awkwardly, in the cooldown stage, but this time I just stood around, rather than exert my sore shoulder.)

I had an early lunch Friday with [ profile] elisem at Nick's, a Greek diner on State Street (which is, or was, a regular hangout for Madison fandom), lured in by the chance at avgolemono soup. We talked, which was good, and then went back to the con, where I helped her set up her dealer's table. I went to my room, got a pair of earrings I'd sent her a bug report on a little while ago, and she put on new earwires. This batch of earrings had been sold as experimental, so I thought, correctly, that she would appreciate the bug report; I wasn't expecting free repairs, especially as Elise's usual "guarantee" is "everything will break, sooner or later" (though my earrings seem to get lost more often than wearing out). I think part of Elise's reason for repairing them/replacing the ear wires is that it gave her a chance to examine them and confirm our guess as to what had gone wrong.

This was also a chance to hang out and talk to her, and [personal profile] roadnotes, a bit more. Eventually I wandered over to the Gathering, where I browsed the clothing swap (but found nothing I liked that fit), and got a cookie and some hot water for tea. Someone expressed surprise that I had brought my own tea, but I have accepted that the otherwise excellent hotel cannot boil water. So I had some jasmine pearls, because I'm happy with green tea brewed at temperatures that would be too cool for black.

I went out to dinner with [ profile] ashnistrike, her wife Nameseeker, and their friends Brin and Gary, who I don't think are on DW or LJ. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby long enough to miss opening ceremonies, as I usually do. (I sometimes enjoy them when I go, but they don't feel important to me, unlike the GOH presentations on Sunday.) In the last couple of years I've fallen very naturally into spending large chunks of time with them at Wiscon; this is one of those friendships that, as [personal profile] bcholmes puts it, are years deep and three days wide. My friendship with Ashnistrike and Nameseeker may be getting a bit wider than that: I do read Ashnistrike's LJ, and am hoping to see Nameseeker here in New York in a couple of weeks. But I wouldn't have any idea of how to find Brin and Gary, whose company I enjoy, other than by asking them to put me in touch.

The only party I specifically remember going to on Friday evening was the LJ/Dreamwidth one, which had user icon stickers, cake, and mimosas ([personal profile] holyoutlaw's idea of a weak drink was still stronger than I'd asked for, but not problematically so). Random conversations, and so to a relatively early bed.

(I didn't get to any programming Friday, unless you count the Gathering.)
Con report, Friday of Wiscon 35 (27 May 2011):

I should note up-front that I talked to a lot of cool people during the weekend, and even if I get through to Monday, these posts are in no way complete. (I'm starting this one the Sunday after the con, with some brief notes I made mid-week.) As you know, Bob, Wiscon is a feminist science fiction convention held in Madison, Wisconsin. The con hotel is a block from the state capitol building. This was Wiscon 35, and I've been going almost every year since Wiscon 20.

Read more... )
redbird: full bookshelves and table in a library (books)
( Jan. 23rd, 2011 07:00 pm)
I just finished Jo Walton's Among Others, which means I can now go read my friends' posts about it. It's very good, at least if you're our sort of person, the sort whose mind is furnished partly by what we've read. I think it would work even for someone who hasn't read large amounts of the fiction that Mor refers to in the book, though the familiarity helps. Mor reads mostly sf, and some fantasy and historical fiction, and some poetry: I liked the bit where she got back at a teacher by doing her Latin translation in the style of T.S. Eliot, and the teacher couldn't say anything because it was also an accurate translation.

There are books, and fairies, and deniable magic—not splashy, and not following neat rules or spells that a person can read and memorize. The book is also about family, and feeling alone, and finding people that you can really talk to and connect with.

Read this. Yes, Jo is a friend of mine, and I generally like her writing, but I think I'd be recommending this book even if I'd never met her. Knowing her and knowing that parts of this are autobiographical, I was noticing similarities and differences between Among Others and things she's said about her life, but that's not why I liked it.

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