Friday, May 26, 2023

Quick Sips 05/26/2023

In which I give...

- my WisCon schedule

- random updates

- weird pre-convention musings

Hi all! So it turns out this week is WisCon. AHHHHHHH! Ahem. I mean, joy! Really, though, WisCon is always amazing but also involves a lot of people and travel and general stress. But I am rather excited. And I did manage to print my little poetry chapbooks so I'll have some swag to purchase if you run into me (probably at the SignOut where I will also have copies of The Burning Day and the 2020 and 2021 We're Here. So yeah, hopefully I will also have change!

Anyway, I suppose I should give my schedule for the convention, for people curious. It is...

Where Are the Pans of Yesteryear?

Assembly • Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction • Fri 9:00 PM–10:15 PM

In an era of continuously declining book coverage, a single review can make or break a book, particularly one without significant marketing resources behind it. Many reviewers choose to highlight books they loved and ignore those they hated, whether out of personal preference, awareness of limited review space, fear of inciting online harassment against an author, or deference to an ethos that conceptualizes criticism as unkindness. What space exists (or should exist) for the negative review

Trope Subversion vs. Embracing with Caveats

Assembly • Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction • Sat 2:30 PM–3:45 PM

When writing a queer romance do you prefer to subvert a cishet trope or embrace and queer it? When tackling a theme common to settler narratives do you want to see it subverted in some way or told straight but with the POV's switched? There can be value in upending harmful or reductive tropes, but also in allowing marginalized characters to claim the power of the roles usually relegated to their oppressors. As creator or consumer what do you prefer and why?

The Past And Future of Feminist Time Travel

Conference 4 • Feminism and Other Social Change Movements • Sun 4:00 PM–5:15 PM

Roundtable discussion. Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone's This is How You Lose The Time War and Annalee Newitz's Future of Another Timeline both introduce women striving to edit a single timeline. Are these examples of feminist time travel? What makes a time travel story feminist? How do feminist time travel stories differ from those that are not?

So it looks like it'll be a fun time. Apparently this year the con is also having a round-table panel, which is what the time travel one is, which I guess is where I moderate a talk just in a big group. Haha that sounds...well, I'm willing to give it a shot! Not that I'm super familiar with the works cited in the description, but I have read a lot so LET'S DO THIS!

They're all super interesting panels, though, and already I'm starting to think about what I'll say or what might come up. The first panel on negative reviews seems like it could be a bit...contentious, shall we say, because of the central idea that negative reviews are in the decline. And I'm just not sure they are, as the continual Discourse surrounding negative reviews, often published at high-prestige print or online publications, is not infrequent. The description lists off some reasons why people *might not* write negative reviews, but doesn't exactly get into the idea of if there is an actual shortage of them.

I think part of the issue is just that...people are less likely to share negative reviews. They might read them and enjoy them but there is a different...landscape and positioning of readers, writers, and reviewers these days because they all share a lot of the same spaces. And when you share a lot of the same spaces, there is a tendency to not want to share out the more negative things like reviews that pan the work they cover. So there is a discoverability aspect to this conversation, and how sometimes what *seems* dominant and widespread might not be or might not be as much as it seems.

Further into that is the question of what reviews are. Literary criticism? Journalism? Both? Something else entirely? In most of those cases, being negative is often seen as being more "fair and balanced" and so there isn't exactly a tendency to be too glowing with one's praise. So why is there this mentality that there are not negative reviews being put out? Anyway, I am sure that it will be a lively panel. Because there is something to be said about...why does it *feel* that negative reviews are difficult to find? Is it more that there is a kind of guilt that many people feel when putting out a negative review? Are we self-censoring and, if so, what might that mean? All very interesting questions and ones that I know I ask myself fairly regularly, especially as someone who has often been criticized as being "too positive" in my reviewing. So yeah, look forward to this panel.

The trope one is interesting, too, especially when looking at romance stories (and even, let's be real, fanfiction). I'm still percolating on that one, though, so I'm not sure I have everything figured out. Also I might be moderating that one haha I *just* saw that oops. Well that will be fun and I guess I better get my thoughts together a little sooner on that. I am a mess.

Anyway, I hope you like the Morn picture. And I hope to see some of you at WisCon! Feel free to say high even if I look panicked and awkward. Cheers!


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