Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chicon Day 2

Started my second day full-steam by going to three panels in a row. My advice to other newbies is to avoid doing this. You need time, after a good panel, to process, and anyway the seats are uncomfortable. Don't sit still in them for four and half hours as I did. This morning, I turned around and ran out of a panel, even though it had Carol Berg in it, for that very reason.

The first panel I attended on was gender in SF literature, and all other panels that day seemed to echo all that I had heard at 9 am (even the one I attended this morning, "Men Writing Women," addressed some of the same issues).

The thing is that you can't talk about gender without addressing the society that constructs the gender. Cultures set up the expectations, the restrictions, and the consequences for deviation. When worldbuilding it is important to take this into account. I came away from the panel with a list of authors that address gender successfully (will post it later, if I can read my own handwriting).

So when we talk about "feminine" traits and "masculine" traits we are, in some ways, talking more about our culture than we are about the character or the individual. Among sensible authors the consensus seems to be that writing successfully means writing about human beings and not necessarily their genders. This also applies to 'strong female characters': human first, gender second.

After panel fatigue came setup for the Night Shade Party, or rather, waiting around to begin the setup for the Night Shade Party (housekeeping had to come and fiddle with things before we could begin). In the end I didn't help at all - it seems most of the work fell to Bradley Beaulieu (sorry!). Had dinner with Teresa Frohock and E.J. Swift (Osiris), got dressed and returned for the bug-eating party (eat a bug, get a free book), which was a great success. I finally met Jeremy Lassen who was wearing a most impressive bright orange suit, and many others, too numerous and show-offy to list.

All in all it was a great day. Today there will be fewer panels and more drinking, I expect.

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