FOGcon 2013

Feb. 4th, 2013 08:22 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
Got my FOGcon assignment!

I'll be on A Great Read with Lisa Eckstein, @sairaforreal, and two more awesome people whom I see now (oops, sorry guys) are listed as "anonymous" so I won't mention them unless they say to but seriously they are friends of mine and SWEEEET. I am especially looking forward to this because we will be talking about:
Slow River, by Nicola Griffith
which is an excellent lesbian cyberpunk book about street crime, corporate crime, and sewage. And it is also pretty interesting to contrast it with Solitaire, written by Ms. Griffith's partner Kelley Eskridge, which is also a lesbian cyberpunk book; but which is less about sewage and more about being an introvert and getting lost in your own head. So to speak. Together they are the best fiction that I know of ever written about project management. Solitaire isn't officially part of the panel, but I know that at least two of us loved it, so it may come up.

Incidentally, Slow River won the Nebula award in 1996, beating out Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age; and apparently this so incensed John Scalzi's fundraising troll that 17 years later he needs to run for president of SFWA. Or something. Anyway, if you want to see what the fuss is about, pick up a copy of Slow River and come see our panel! Saturday March 9, 10:30 am.

A brief quote on the book by Ms. Griffith:
Not long after I sent the Slow River outline to my agent, she called:

"This is not a selling outline."

"Why not?"

"Well," she said, "in Ammonite Marghe had a girlfriend because she had no choice, poor thing. But why does Lore like girls?"

"Because she's a dyke, Fran," and I fired her.
metaphortunate: (Default)
It's that time again! The time to tell the FOGcon programming committee what you're interested in talking about at FOGcon next year on March 8-10!

As always, FOGcon runs its programming on the Wiscon model, where when you think "Man, I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to see a Q&A session with Honored Guest Terry Bisson on short stories as an art form and a financially viable fiction selling model, or play a game of Eat Poop You Cat with Susan R. Matthews and other Bay Area writers, or take part in a bitter, heated public argument about whether Duv Galeni's dad was merely prescient and Barrayaran society was evolving towards the glittering tinsel of neo-fascism?" instead of just sighing wistfully and getting on with your day, you tell the programming committee! That these are things you would be interested in! Without any commitment to be on the programming or even to show up to the con, because they know that life is hard to plan for! And then all the programming is things that people are interested in and we don't end up with a schedule full of sad, 9 am five person panels on identifying alien woods.

This year's theme is Law, Order, and Crime:
New times create new crimes.

As societies change, both law and crime evolve, and punishment changes as well. Advances in technology (or the workings of magic) make possible crimes that we could never have predicted, methods of crimefighting unforeseen, prisons unlike any we have now. If a dragon is a citizen, are they allowed to eat people? How do you imprison a telepath? How does a civilization of teleporters keep from descending into anarchy? What rights do aliens or androids have? How can vast empires covering many lightyears maintain some sort of order?

The implications are much broader than the basic question of whodunnit. We are currently seeing major shifts in the balance between the individual and the state, privacy and convenience, freedom and security.

Speculative fiction has always explored questions like these, and the results have been some of our finest fictions. At FOGcon 3, we’re going to be discussing those questions and possible answers for our own future.
And once again, I got to do the program cover illustration.
FOGcon 3 cover illo - astronaut behind bars

I'm pretty pleased with it.

Note also that this year FOGcon is running a student writing contest! It's open to anyone enrolled at a Bay Area high school or university. The prize is a free membership to the con and the opportunity to publicly read the story as part of programming.

ETA: WRT the illustration, I feel like I need to mention that in my original idea, the astronaut's background was a room, and the starfield was tritely reflected across the astronaut's visor. It was [livejournal.com profile] imnotandrei who had the insight that the astronaut should be imprisoned in space.

ETA 2: I of course wanted the astronaut to be gender neutral, but after that change he became Rocket Man to me. Now I get an earworm every time I see the drawing.
metaphortunate: (fandom)


FOGcon is looking for programming suggestions.

Because I had my little timesuck this year, I am not involved in organizing this year's FOGcon: except that they asked me if I wanted to do the cover again, and I said YES. Because I knew immediately what I wanted to do. Which is not what it was like last year. Last year I had the most enormous trouble getting inspired. I almost punted, actually. And if you saw last year's cover you may have noticed that it had fuck all to do with last year's theme, The City.

But this year's theme is The Body. And every single revision that I've made to my very first sketch back in September has only been trying to more clearly draw out the drawing's themes of paranoia, alienation, fracturing, vulnerability, and early 70s science fiction.

Because that is apparently what I think of when I think of The Body.

The running figure in the drawing is fat for two reasons. First, fat people should be represented in visual depictions of the world, because we exist, and no one else is going to do it, so I guess I have to. But more importantly: a fat body seems more embodied to me. I mean, there is literally more body there. But also - Le Corbusier famously said that the house was a machine for living in, but it seems to me that that is also not a bad description of the current ideal of the body. It should be sleek, efficient, speedy, featuring the hardness and lickable curves - and endlessly duplicatable aesthetic - of an Apple product. And yet it's not like that. It wobbles, it jiggles, it weighs, it sweats, it varies wildly from the spec. And fat bodies more than most. You can't ignore that about a fat body. A fat body shouts that the nature of the body is something very different from that ideal and that the reality cannot be successfully ignored for long.

What do you think of when you think of the body in science fiction? Tell the programming committee, so that we can talk about it at the end of March! Oh, I should mention that this year's Honored Guests are Nalo Hopkinson and Shelley Jackson - and Honored Ghost Mary Shelley - so there's some great places to start!

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