Oct. 14th, 2012

Con report: Capclave 2012

"I'm completely fascinated by Baum's 'to the reader' forewords and what an amazing picture they paint of the contemporaneous Oz-books fandom, in all its 'the root word is fanatical' glory. Because after a while, every book ends with Ozma or somebody being like 'So, we are now doing a magical thing that will ensure that no books can ever be written about Oz EVER AGAIN, so yeah, farewell forever to the outside world, and to that nice Mister Baum, and stuff' and then every new book's foreword is like 'So, um, I just received twelve million letters begging me to write just one more Oz book, and like, some of them were from kids in iron lungs, and, um, so, what I realized, is that even though Oz is indeed invisible and inaccessible forever, the wireless telegraph has now been invented, and Dorothy has just totally sent me this entire book in wireless telegraph form,* but then the Cowardly Lion accidentally spilled some pickled-pixie juice on the entire Oznian telegraph system** so no more after this srsly.' . . .

"*I am actually not making this up. It's in the foreword to The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

"**Okay, that part I am making up. I think the wireless signals do somehow get magically scrambled though."

--Maculategiraffe, whom I haven't quoted for far too long.

Capclave is a convention run by the Washington Science Fiction Association, focussed primarily on SF/F (science fiction and fantasy) short fiction. This is the first time I've attended it, though I did attend one meeting previously of the WSFA and was warmly welcomed by them. (From their newsletter: "A [few] new people were here for their first meeting. Dusk Peterson (in steampunk goggles). He heard about us at World Fantasy. Read SF since was a kid.")

Below is my report on panels I attended on Saturday, and my general impression of the con.

Publishing, self-publishing, and reading SF/F )

Jun. 17th, 2012

Pro-slash panel handout: Information for self-published/indie authors (especially GLBT writers)

How to create an e-book in 10 fairly easy steps )

Self-publishing resources )

My sales figures )

Con report: Con.txt 2012

Me: "Con.txt is ten times more fun than the SFWA con."

Noakes (who attended both cons): "Only ten times?"

This is my fourth time attending Con.txt, and my eighth time attending a Baltimore/DC slash fan fiction convention. Slash cons are always my favorite events; I didn't even miss attending the 2010 edition of Con.txt, in the midst of my illness.

Original slash and pro-slash )
Fanzines )
Fan fiction, RPF, and fandom )
Fan videos )
The con itself )

May. 20th, 2012

Con report: Nebula Awards Weekend

This was a convention run by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), revolving around their annual awards. I'm not an SFWA member, and I didn't attend the awards banquet, but I thought it was a good opportunity to rub shoulders with the SF/F community.

My last pro con was the World Fantasy Convention in 2003, which was so large that the pro writers, semi-pro writers, and fans kept going off to separate social events. This made me feel uncomfortable, and not just because I was a semi-pro writer. The Nebula Awards Weekend was very different: only 260 attendees, mostly authors, and everyone that Noakes and I met was as friendly as can be. The day started with this gentleman chatting with us in the elevator, and went on from there.

E-books panel )
Panel on self-publishing and SFWA membership )
Infectious diseases panel )
Story bible panel )
Economics panel )

The lack of attributions in the last panel report is due to the fact that I was flagging by that point. That was the end of Saturday's panels - I would dearly have loved to have attend the Alternative History panel on Sunday, but a second day of Metro fare would have broken my already-broken budget for the month, so Noakes and I went to the Greenbelt Farmers' Market instead, doing our part to support the local economy.

We both had a great time at the Nebula Awards Weekend. My special kudos go to the registration staff, who didn't have the record for Noakes - I'd made special arrangements for his accompaniment beforehand - but let him in anyway when I explained he was with me because I needed him to carry my belongings, due to my disability.

May. 14th, 2012

Con report: A Day at the Carter/Johnson Leather Library

This was a mini-convention, held on May 11-12 in Maryland, and sponsored by Castle Griffin, a local leather family. It included a handful of panels on leather topics, but as a couple of attenders confessed separately to me, "I like the panels . . . but the library is the main attraction."

Ah, yes, The Library. It's an amazing collection. Its only rival in the United States is the fine collection at the Leather Archives & Museum, but unlike the library at the Leather Archives, the Carter/Johnson Leather Library travels.

I'd visited the library three times before and assisted at it twice (or was it thrice?). In fact, Vi Johnson boasts that I was the first person to sleep in the library. (My recollection is that I didn't do much sleeping. I was too busy scanning copies of early leather magazines.) Although the library's core collection is on leather and BDSM, the library covers a number of topics outside the mainstream, such as transgenderism.

The founding members of the library, Viola Johnson and Jill Carter, were mentored by leathermen in the 1970s. Some years later, they began meeting a new generation of leatherfolk. "Sometime during the weekend laughter, fun and food one of the kinklings invariably would ask if we had this magazine, or that book," Mama Vi reports at the library's website. "'Did we have pictures of this march or that event?' At least twice each weekend the three or four big boxes of books and magazines that we had saved got dragged into the living room so that the 'kids' could go through them. But just as often as not, I had to apologize for what was not in those old boxes. So very much had been thrown away with each relocation that we were missing far more than we had saved."

As Mama Vi put it at the mini-con: "[The younger generation] made me realize that my old stuff was their history, and they needed to be able to access it."

Spurned on by reports of leather writings being burned by people who objected to them, Mama Vi not only saved everything she could, she also began spending large amounts of money to rescue books, periodicals, artwork, and ephemera that might otherwise disappear from history. As the library slogan puts it, "Never again landfill. Never again flames."

The library carries everything from the latest books to rare nineteenth-century publications such as Lucifer the Light-Bearer. "Don't yell at me, Dusk!" said Mama Vi at the mini-con as she passed around pages of Lucifer the Light-Bearer that had been laminated so that they could be handled without damage. I told her afterwards that, on the contrary, I was delighted to encounter an archival library which understands that the purpose of publications is to be read.

The library is well worth a look if you're interested in queer literature, history, and art (including plenty of heterosexual queer material). And if you're a reader or writer who has a book, e-book, or periodical that falls within the library's scope, you might consider donating works to the library. Based on what I've seen from four visits to the library, I can guarantee you that any works you donate will be examined with tremendous interest by visitors to the library.

The friendship pin that Vi Johnson gave me on Saturday.

Jun. 20th, 2010

Con.txt con report and commentary: Original slash finds it place (sort of)

"Okay. I am really, really tired of professional writers - or maybe I should say published writers, since professional behavior is not these people's long suit, generally speaking - posting rants about how they don't like fan fiction and here are their random reasons why. (If they would just say, 'It feels wrong. I don't have a reason - it just feels wrong,' I still wouldn't agree, but at least I wouldn't have to question their maturity. It's when they try to justify their feeling that they start to sound like a seven-year-old explaining why his cousin shouldn't be allowed to come near his toys.)

"So, I'm going to help you out, oh hater of fan fiction! No more do you have to embarrass yourself (and piss off rape survivors everywhere) with the inevitable reference to rape! . . . No more do you have to issue legal proclamations that make it very clear that you don't understand what copyright is and, in fact, think of copyright as Captain Copyright, Defender of Whatever Rights You Feel You Should Have!"


Here's my report on Con.txt 2010. I'm usually online once a week, so it may take me a while to respond to comments.

Vendors )
Swap table )
Vid show )
How soon is too soon? )
Gadgetopia )
Temeraire )
AUs and the Fans Who Love Them )
Slash and the Victorian Age )

Jun. 17th, 2008

Con report: Con.txt slash convention 2008

No offense intended against professional authors - I'm one myself, after all - but sometimes I'm on a forum for pro authors, and they're talking about submissions and contracts and marketing and sales figures and are saying things like, "Should I tell the tale from a different point of view? Would that make the story sell better?" and "Should I change this scene? Would that make the story sell better?" and "Should I use one-and-a-half-inch margins rather than one-inch margins? Would that make the story sell better?" and I just want to scream.

So here's to amateur fiction conventions, that oasis where the writing conversations center on whether the story was fun to write and fun to read.

Introduction for newbies: What is a slash convention? )

Con Atmosphere and Fandom Trends )

Dealers' Room )

Vid Show )

Panels )

Overheard at the Con )

June 2018




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