I’m back from Wiscon and have at last recovered enough to post. Thanks to so many of you for holding down the fort with so many debates and conversations while I was gone. You managed to cover X-3, The Davinci Code, Hollywood adaptations, and even the dominance of religion in American life, all while staying extremely polite! (The outside-this-blog world of public debate could take a lesson here.)
But back to Wiscon: I had tons of fun. It’s too much to blog it all, so here are some random things to report:
Justine‘s new collection of eleven science fiction short stories written from 1927-2001, each with a critical essay about the story, sold about 50 copies over the weekend. That’s great for an academic book. (For more about what Justine did during the con, click here. She got to hang out with Ursula K. Le Guine and Samuel R. Delany more than I did.)
I met Livejournal Diva Cherie Priest, who turned out to be both smaller (size-wise) and more gargantuan (personality-wise) than I expected. It was a gas, and thanks to Liz Gorinsky for taking us out to the same dinner.
I met Deb Stone at my signing. She’s the American Library Association’s anti-book banning guru, and turned out to be a Serenity-hat-wearing sf fan to boot. (Great combination.) Weirdly, she told me that Uglies and Peeps have both been challenged by (wacko) parents in the last year. Now, I can sort of understand not wanting your kid to read Peeps because it’s so scary, but not wanting your kid to read something and yanking it from the library shelves are two different things. (Methinks the real reason for going after it may have something to do with certain people’s views of evolution.)
And Uglies? Excuse my abbreviated French, but WTF? Deb said it was mostly in middle-grade schools that it’s been challenged, but seventh-graders need bomb-throwing, surgically modifed eco-terrorist heroines too, you know.
Don’t worry, though, neither of the books have ever been successfully challenged. In fact, the ALA has never lost a court case over any book banning. (Rock on with your bad self, Deb.) The real problem is when books are quietly removed by principals who don’t want to make a fuss. When our side fights, we win . . . we just have to make sure we fight every time.
In related news, our lunch with the local Wisconsin book-protection team, the CCBC, was a blast. They’re a laugh a minute, and are always way up-to-date on the latest manga. Thanks for lunch, guys.
One of the things I love about Wiscon is the mystically expanding breakfast. If you check out this photo, you’ll see Justine and I having breakfast with seven other con-goers around a table design for TWO PEOPLE. Now that’s just funny. And all of them were brilliant writers!
Speaking of which, I got to hang out with Ted Chiang, who’s story “Liking What You See” first inspired the Uglies series way back in 2002. If you check out this interview, you’ll see he’s wicked smart. Bouncing ideas off him and all the other cool people at Wiscon led to many a brain-storm.
Of course by the end of five long days, we started to get some very silly ideas too . . .
Scott: So, I just got this idea for a multi-generational starship story.
Christopher: The kind where the passengers don’t know they’re on a multi-generational starship?
Scott: That’s the only kind! Okay, get this: each deck of the starship is designed to represent the same small middle-American city. But each one is set for a different decade. Like, deck three is the 1960s, deck four the 1970s, and so on.
Ted: And these micro-cultures don’t progress from one decade to the next?
Scott: No, they wake up every New Year’s Day with memory resets.
Christopher: And what’s the starship builders’ purpose for setting all this up?
Scott: Uh, well, it’s sort of a way to maintain . . . [masterfully explains].
Christopher and Ted: Yes, that makes perfect sense!
Scott: But the cool part is when the protagonist breaks through the fourth wall and starts taking the elevator up and down, and seeing the past and future of her own culture.
Ted: But without any time-travel paradoxes.
Christopher: Great, but what’s the plot? Like, exactly what is the protag doing, besides just exploring?
Scott: Um, well [takes long drink] . . . chasing a serial killer?
Ted: I can see you’ve put a lot of thought into this.
Scott: Dude. That’s cold.
Geoff Ryman, whose novel Air won the James Tiptree Award, charmed us all exceedingly and has become part of the Wiscon family.
Holly Black was sick all weekend, which made me sad.
Hanging out with comics writer Doselle Young has made me really, really want to finish my graphic novel. Watch this space for more details.
For more on Wiscon 30, check out Technorati, which already has hundreds of blog entries about the con. Whew.
Me start next novel now.