My second day at WorldCon 76 was busy! A day full of panels and moderating my own panel at the end of the day means I was utterly knackered by the time I dragged my ass back home. Imma get my money’s worth outta this con, that’s for damn sure.
Representation in Geek Media
Sarah Gulde, Donna Prior, Marc Johnson, Aaron Duran
Started the day off right with a great panel about rep. The panelists were great and really engaged in the topic and each other. It felt a little unstructured, especially once they opened it up to the audience, but the discussions were solid. I enjoyed the discussion inspired by an audience question about which was worse: no rep or bad rep.
Pronouns Matter – Gender Courtesy for Fans
Ann Leckie, Roni Gosch, Angela Lujan, Ellen Kuehnle, Rivers Solomon
Best thing about this panel? Everyone but Leckie were non-binary/gender non-conforming and used they/them pronouns! I don’t ever think I’ve seen a panel where the majority aren’t cis, at least not at a con like this. So exhilarating! Because of audience interest, Leckie structured this mostly as a learning panel for people who were unfamiliar with gender identities outside the binary. For me, the most helpful topic was how to deal with accidental misgendering. In the few times I have accidentally misgendered someone, I realize now I over apologized and dwelled on my error. But as Gosch, Lujan, and Keuhnle pointed out, doing so turns the focus onto me instead of the person I harmed. They suggested instead just acknowledging the mistake and immediately self-correcting. From now on, if I accidentally misgender someone that is exactly what I’ll do.
Making Your Prose Come Alive: Word-Level Polishing
Shelley Adina, Miriam Weinberg, Alexandra Rowland, Rivers Solomon, Jack Skillingstead
As someone who is working on a few stories and hoping to one day get published, this panel was very helpful. Weinberg, Rowland, and Solomon in particular talked about wordsmithing in ways I hadn’t considered before. And the discussion about purple prose – whether it was bad or good or even if those rankings could be applied – was very interesting. Skillingstead described his editing process as cutting out “everything that doesn’t contribute” and taking a pencil to his draft until it looks like a redacted document. Solomon suggested avoided “TV dinner” words, or shorthand, easy, cliche phrases. Weinberg recommended The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by Mark Forsyth.
Reading: Hugo Finalists – Best Novella
JY Yang, Seanan McGuire, Sarah Gailey, Martha Wells
Yang read from The Black Tides of Heaven, Wells from All Systems Red, Gailey from River of Teeth, and McGuire from Every Heart a Doorway. Of course all four were excellent. I loved each one of those novellas, and hearing the authors read their own words was an amazing experience.
The big problem was the room. The room far too small for the panel – it was absolutely packed, with people crammed onto the floors and standing room only in the back. There was no disabled seating, and several people in wheelchairs were jammed in the front and forced to block the walkway because they had no designated spaces. Other people with mobility issues also struggled with navigating the overcrowded room. Lastly, there was no mic, a deal breaker for many people with hearing difficulties.
Asexuality in Fandom
Todd Allis, Rowan Hildebrand-Chupp, Alex Brown (that’s me!!!)
I can’t tell you how nervous I was about running this panel. Due to the subject matter and the late scheduling, I was certain hardly anyone would show up. Color me pleasantly surprised when we had 20-30 people attend! We had some great discussions about asexuality, representation, and recommendations. Thanks to everyone who contributed, especially from the audience. And special shout out to those who stuck around afterwords for a chat.
See this list for some of the media suggested by panelists and audience members for ace representation.