When I was a younger boy, I watched coverage of the San Diego Comic-Con on TV*. It looked like heaven. It looked like a place that make-believe could make as much belief as it wanted. People dressed up as Ghostbusters! As Skeletor! As various shades of pink! It was cool. It was exciting. It was geeks being geeks. I never thought I would get there, though.
And then I went to Clarion and I got to go there and lose my ability to even.
World Fantasy, which I attended in 2012, was lovely and amazing but not full of the same geek-fervor of SDCC. Most things aren’t.
A week or so ago, after a 24-hour-plus journey (including a linger in Chicago as Obama passed through), I arrived in Madison for my first WisCon. WisCon is not at all like SDCC except for that sometimes people are pink or blue or glittered**. Also, that they are geeks. Geeks for feminism, for discourse, for conscious consideration, for science, for robots, for korean dramas, and so forth, and so on. At the Con, I went to a few readings and a lot of brunches. I heard discussions of hidden narratives and monsters. Of the growing roles of women in Korean dramas, and the proliferation of time travel in the same. I saw a Dalek lingering in the hotel hallway’s linger lane.
There’s an energy to WisCon. It comes, in part, from how small it is. Just a thousand or so people who gather to ponder and celebrate a certain corner of the geekverse. In this it’s the inverse of Comic-Con, which is a gathering of an astronomical amount of people to celebrate all corners of the geekverse.
At WisCon, I discovered that the wonder of all wonderful conventions is meeting old and new people and old and new ideas that you get to discuss with those old new friends. Plotting novels and life goals in a hot tub is another good thing which is a plus for WisCon.
Below are pictures and more words.
Madison, it turned out, is a fantabulous city what features lake-front cider, delicious gluten-free muffins, buckwheat crepes, and delicious coffee.
The panels and readings I attended were the following:
- Three Awesome Women, in which did read three awesome women: Elise Matthesen, Delia Sherman, and Nene Ormes; as well as one awesome Wesley Chu.
- Awkward Robots Read***, in which I, and many others of Clarion 2012, did read scary, funny, weird things. There was wine, cider, and beer, in the back.
- Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, in which I for the first time ever attempted to live-tweet something as it happened live rather than wait until it was over and say things about what happened
- Guest of Honor reading by N.K. Jemisin, in which mountains moved
- Women in Sageuk/K-dramas, wherein Ha Ji Won was awesome and I learned what Sageuk meant and how popular time travel is of late in Korea****.
- This Might Get Weird: Stories by Writers You Just Met Last Night, wherein Clarion alums, greatly from 2010, got weird and wonderful with their words.
- Questionable Practices, wherein Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Eileen Gunn, and Nisi Shawl rocked. Karen Joy Fowler stood on a chair, for example, so that all could see. Nisi sang a song. Which she does every reading, apparently, which is awesome.
I’m not sure why I bulleted these things, reader, but having done it I feel pretty good about it.
Here are more pictures.
Happy conversations and cinnamon, readers. Listen to THE STATUE.
*Specifically, Tech TV, ZDTV, and now, I suppose, G4, unless it has changed names again.
**The floomp dance is a thing wherein people at WisCon dress up in ridiculous handsomeness and dance. This being my first WisCon this was my first WisCon floomp. It was terrifically glittery and I wore a rainbow.
***Reading with Awkward Robots = gluten-free carrot cake with awesome sauce. You know. If you have to be gluten free and enjoy awesome sauces.
****In dramas. Not, so far as I know, in real life. Though possibly in a novel I’m writing.