Wiscon Report

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.

Scott: Exactly!

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.

100 thoughts on “Wiscon Report

  1. ehz
    my first time on this site.
    Just finished reading peeps today – i borrowed it from the school library – at the same time that i realised that they had pretties too – and that someone else had reserved it. Can’t wait to read it and Specials. I borrowed Uglies from the school library too a while ago. I recommended it to a friend who’s one of those people who just can’t be bothered reading books with many pages but i told her it was really good and she ended up loving it. I love how perfectly all the covers match with the stories. Especially uglies. The girl on the cover looks average and yet beautiful all at the same time. I have a different cover for peeps than the one that’s shown on the website. The girls’ face is white and her eyes look so.. i don’t know what the word is but it looks really good. *nothing to do with the fact that i love black and white* This guy is my favourite author right now. My favourite before him was franscine pascal but after reading uglies she was gone. I should really be getting to sleep now..

  2. 51 comments before me!! *ugh*
    oh well, and about the banning, i think it’s probably because it’s got some adult concepts in it. The thing is, most adults haven’t een read half the books that we people read, but when a book get’s really famous and big, like yours, then they read it and go OH MY GOSH! when really all the lame stuff like gossip girl is more dramatic , stuff like Stephen King is way more scairy, and stuff like alex rider has way more dumb stunts that their kids could try. I think it’s sort of like a compliment, cause it means that your books are so well known that even parents have gotten into them. Just don’t let them win, like you said. That way it will be like even more of a special thing to read your books. Like since it was going-to-be-banned more kids might read it and then be like, “dunno y it was gonna be banned, but this is really good!”, lol,
    and, new book???!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ :D,, the starship idea…. maybe you could make it like where the character is like special, and she has like a sense of deja-vu, so she like leaves herself a message, and then is like WTF? so she like investigates, but then the authorities who are trying to like so wome wierd human nature experiment are on to her, and besides all of this she falls in love with this guy in the future era, who discover’s is actually her son or something… nvm, wrong track. I think i’ll leave the planning up to u , lol
    (snakes on a plane?? more scairy than funnny but wuteva)

  3. Hmm, where to start, where to start. (I am at school at the moment, computer class, so naturally I read all of the comment and have lots of time to reply.)
    Well, first of all I really see no reason for UGLIES to be banned. I mean, there’s a lot worse books that could be banned. Though I do agree, attention is good, just can’t let it get too far. I haven’t read Peeps yet (my bookstore didn’t have it last time I went!), so can’t really say anything about it yet.

    While we’re on the subject of books XD, are you going to write novels from now on, or are there going to be trilogies in the near future? I like novels, but they’re so short! The fun ends too quickly.
    The starship idea sounds so awesome. It would be really cool if you had it from different characters’ points of view. Like one from each floor or something, then somehow they all discover what’s going on, on some huge adventure battling the pink fairy or something…
    Sounds like you could totally pull it off.

    When is your next novel due to be released? Seems like you’re keeping all info from us (along with the mysterious big news)!

  4. Lyra, there’s going to be a movie called Snakes on a Plane (you probably knew that much) and the thing with it is that it’s just so stupid it’s funny. They have t-shirts and everything. I would totally buy one if I weren’t living in brokeland right now. It’s just so ridiculous. I mean, whoever heard of snakes on a plane? Although rumor has it that the movie is based on an actual occurence. Something about an assassin wanting to kill some guy on a plane, and so he let loose a bunch of poisonous snakes. Probably not the brightest assassin in the bunch. But it makes for a crazy movie. πŸ˜€

    And OMG, I won’t quote you due to spoilerage, but I totally know what you mean about X-Men. And HOW am I going to see that end clip? Maybe they have it online somewhere….. Running off to google it now. πŸ˜€

    Oh, and just out of curiosity, Lyra, you wouldn’t happen to be a Philip Pullman fan would you?

  5. i dont know about Lyra, but i am big, fat, huge, gluttonous Philip Pullman fan. its disgusting. mmmm. i eat him for breakfast.

  6. i dont know about Lyra, but i am big, fat, huge, gluttonous Philip Pullman fan. its disgusting. mmmm. i eat him for breakfast.

    … oohohohoho. lyra. phillip pullman. rebecca is putting the threads together. dark materials. *wink* gotcha rebecca.

  7. Wow, yes that is one interesting post.

    BTW, do you have to see the first two X-Men to get the 3rd one? I haven’t seen any of them… =/

  8. i too love phillip pullman. i wanted his dark materials to go on forever. and even though i know the ending was the *right* one……argh, it’s like a knife in the heart every time i read it. (incidentally, if you ever get the chance, listen to the books on tape/cd. they’re *amazing*. it’s not just one person reading, it’s a full cast, and phillip pullman himself narrates!!)

    jane-la: do you ever wish you had a daemon, and wonder what he would be?

  9. I want a daemon. He would be a cat. And the ending of those books nearly killed me. Heartwrenching. The Golden Compass was my favorite of the three, but they were all great.

    I haven’t seen the first X-Men but the other two still made sense. It would be nice to know the background though. My friend only saw the third one and she thought it was great.

    “Ò€¦ oohohohoho. lyra. phillip pullman. rebecca is putting the threads together. dark materials. *wink* gotcha rebecca.”
    Yep. πŸ™‚

  10. I have a quick question….Did you post the BIG NEWS or secret yet? sorry latley I have been so anti-social so get me updated!!!!

  11. That’s interesting about Uglies being challenged. It’s on the New York City (3 library systems) summer reading list!

  12. Lyra and Rebecca, you would SO be welcome at Wiscon! Coming out of the fannish tradition, it is a place where the attendees, the con committee and the program participants are a mixture of writers, janitors, professors, clerical workers, clergy, editors, artists, housewives and househusbands, and everybody else who cares about SF/fantasy (a distinction which is itself pretty recent). It’s just that they do it better there than anywhere else in fandom!

  13. if i had a daemon… ho geaz. i have so many ideas. i really think a cat, but at the same time i’m disappointed that it’s something more creative. maybe an ocelot then. it’s just that i’ve always felt catlike…. curious and quiet for the most part, but occasionally wildly hyper and crazy, and i sleep through most of the day, too. nighttime is my time. daemons are so fun to think about. i think it would be killer to have one, just in general. maybe i’d have a otter.. or a meerkat! that’d be neat.

    sigh. i love his dark materials, they’re so great. a few years ago i borrowed the thrid one from my cousin because my mom wouldnt give me the money to buy it and i *accidently* spilt soda on it, deforming it grotesquely. and of course, i couldn’t return that way, so my mom bought him a new one and i got the ugly, but still prefectly readable copy.

    i’m so crafty πŸ™‚

  14. so sir westerscott is hiding something from us… The Big Secert. i mean, The Big Secret. riiight. how does one measure the size of a secret anyhow? is the secret the size of a car, or an elephant… or a sperm whale? or perhaps it is not sizeically (new word!) large, but big in respect to importance. …. no, that couldn’t be it, it makes too much sense. my money’s on the sperm whale.

    or perhaps there is no Secret, and its something we all already know. for instance….umm…

    frodo lives.

  15. “Lyra and Rebecca, you would SO be welcome at Wiscon!”

    Night is my time too. Or it was, until I got a job that starts at 8. At night, there’s no one around to bother me, so I can work for hours without being disturbed. And then I sleep through have the day, but that’s fine with me.

    “i *accidently* spilt soda on it”
    Mwahahahahahaha! I was known to do stuff like that too. My parents would rarely buy me stuff unless it was birthday or Christmas, even books. I understand your pain.

  16. Good point jane-la but my money is on the blue whale (the largest mammal in existance) ^.^

  17. man, I checked this two hours ago and there are now 10 more posts…
    First and most importantly, YES I have read His Dark Materials, I own two copies of each ehehehe, they’re SO good (I won’t say that they’re the best because that would be stupid on Scott’s blog, but they’re right up at the top of my list, along with the Midnighters and Uglies books of course, and Peeps, and Michael Crichton books and Ken Follett books, and Les Miserables… dude, I read too much) anyway, yes that’s where “Lyra” is from, my email name is actually Lyra Silvertongue πŸ˜€ hehehe my personal favorite was The Amber Spyglass, even though the Golden Compass rocked too, the first half of the Subtle Knife was amazing too, but the second half was just Will walking around going “Where’s my dad?” “My hand hurts” “am I gonna die?” course I’ve read the Subtle Knife five times, so I can’t exactly say I didn’t like it lol. The Amber Spyglass was by far and away the best though (I like complications…. the end WAS heartbreaking though, one of the very few books that I cried in), The Golden Compass had a great plotline and if anyone has a chance to go through the book, look at the bit where Lyra is in Lee Scoresby’s balloon, the description is AMAZING. But the Amber Spyglass has a lot of history and religion intertwined into it (mostly religion) and it’s so fun to read, I did my semester bible project on it, comparing bible passages with quotes from the Amber Spyglass (hehehe, I got an A++, which I didn’t even know was possible) As for daemons…. anyone else feel like you’re not alone, even when you are? Not like a weird paranoid “people are watching me” kinda feeling, and not like a God kind of thing, it feels DAEMONISH I swear. To me anyway heheh. But I think mine would be something intelligent, but strong too… I like to think of myself that way. πŸ˜€
    Orange Mike: Thanks! Wiscon sounds like some kind of reader/writer’s paradise πŸ˜€
    About Kate, you don’t HAVE to see the first two, but you SHOULD. The third one would make a lot more sense if you did, plus they were both GREAT, watch-worthy movies (as opposed to the ones that you fast forward through so you can see one of the later movies with a friend *cough* of course, I’VE never done that *cough cough*)
    ehhehehehe, we need to call Scott “Sir Westerscott” from now on, *giggles into oblivion* So Sir Westerscott…. Big Secret you must tell (Yoda voice, hmmm….) please? πŸ˜€
    I still don’t think snakes on a plane is THAT funny, I don’t know why… I think I spent too much time thinking about it lol

  18. heheh, the Secret had BETTER be Blue Whale size, not some disapointing little itty bitty thing that totally wouldn’t be worth wondering about…. like Pink Fairy sitings or something… though that’d be kinda cool, and somewhat worth wondering about… yeah…

  19. okay, that was really creepy-making. i refreshed this page to see if there were any new posts, and it…changed. not new posts, the whole thing was different. there were numbers by each post, and a cool/creepy picture at the top of the page where everyone (i think) had peeps eyes. but when i refreshed it again it said “page not found” and when i did it again it was back to normal. bizarro.

  20. okay, maybe i’m not so crazy, it’s back to the changed way again. glad to know i’m not losing my mind. lol

  21. i think i *am* losing my mind, because it’s normal again. i’ll be quiet now.

  22. heheheh, poor orangedragonfly, you SOUND like you’re losing your mind *shakes head* just the new look according to Scott’s post, COOL new look, creepy picture at the top, but COOL

  23. insanity is the only true relief to life. umm, i didn’t say that, if any one asks.

    i’m glad someone besides me liked the name sir westerscott. i think it just has this really nice ring to it.

  24. im glad to hear your not crzy (the same thing happend to me, but i was waaaay to afraid to say anything for fear of being accused of witchcraft *sorry just studies salem witch trials, do forgive*)

  25. Hey, I know this is totally random, but have any of you guys read Jasper Fforde’s books? They start with the Eyre Affair, and tell the story of Thursday Next, a LiterTec? I’m just curious because right now I only know one other person who has read them and they’re awesome books.

  26. amanda–i *love* the thursday next books!!! i think literatec would be the greatest job, especially if you really could…er…jump..into books the way she can. fantastic!! highly recommended, too funny to pass up. i actually wrote about them on here recently, i think maybe in the last blog entry (wiscon schedule). either that or i *meant* to…maybe the trippy changing of the blog is messing with my brain. πŸ™‚

  27. amanda: it was actually up higher on this page, post 35. πŸ™‚ (see, trippy-making!)

  28. Wow, I actually didn’t see that… I just posted about it ’cause I recently rechecked them out of the library. Now I feel kinda awkward… Yeah…Well… Read them if you haven’t ’cause they’re awesome.

  29. lol, never feel awkward about recommending a good book!! who cares if someone else recommends it too…that’s even better, actually! πŸ™‚

  30. Wow, orangedragonfly well glad that I wasn’t the only one feeling a bit insane after first seeing the change. *nods* Insanity, good.

  31. “anyone else feel like youÒ€ℒre not alone, even when you are? Not like a weird paranoid Ò€œpeople are watching meÒ€ kinda feeling, and not like a God kind of thing, it feels DAEMONISH I swear”

    Yeah, I do, although fifty percent of the time I feel like the person(?) doing the watching is playing jokes on me. Like hiding my keys, for instance. Seriously, either that or I have a serious memory disorder. πŸ˜›

    I hope the secret is sizically on the scale of blue whales because the bigger the better, I say. πŸ˜€

  32. I love thc convo… haha… Wow, is it just me or has your fanbase really grown? Look at all these comments! This many used to be reserved for spoiler sections…

  33. I think that we all have so much to ramble about because we’re all fans of the same books and feel connected. Like a special club, so therefore we’re all automatically friends. Or something. =P

  34. personally I think we’re all linked by geekiness and insanity, but that’s just me… every forum I go on, same thing: geekiness and insanity *shrugs*

  35. Hmm, I dunno I wouldn’t really say that. Since not everyone has to be a geek to go on blogs and read sf books.

  36. I love this place, even though my friends think im kinda weird because i talk to authors, but i think they are the strange ones, cause its soo much fun to be here. Like this may just be me, but i really like it here, its a place to be around people kinda like me, its kinda like having some crazy people to relate to (not that all u guys are crazy, but there are at least a couple among us *raises hand* lol) but seriously thanks scott, even though we dont always talk about ur books and stuff thanks for making this and letting us talk here. Its totally fun-making

  37. A Jayne hat wearing Serenity lover? She must be awesome.
    Even more awesome if she loves Firefly, because Firefly beat out Serenity by a long shot.
    Damn it, Fox!
    Having a Jayne hat would be so amazingly cool.
    If only I had the skills to knit xD

  38. Dear Mr. Westerfeld,
    I am a HUGH fan of the Uglies series you recently finished. I was so happy when I saw that the last one was out. As soon as I finished it though, I started wondering something and thought I should ask the only person that would really have an answer. My question is if you had ever thought of making these books in to a movie, or 3 movies, because it would be so cool to see how you or someone else visualized the amazing world you have created. To get to see some of the places and things you have thought up, I love them. I do hope you write back with an answer, what ever it my be.

    Best Wishes from a Hugh fan,
    Skylar from Salem Oregon USA.

    P.S. Please say yes.

  39. that’s rubbish, trying to ban uglies and peeps…
    heck, we live in the world of resident evil and grand theft auto..
    btw, love the spaceship idea in your dialogue with ted chiang!

  40. that is ———–. Let’s not even go into that. Anyway, that makes me quite angry…okay listen those books are GOOD for you! at least Uglies is….I mean, before I was PARANOID of needles and after reading the Uglies trilogy I can go get a shot and now I’m not paranoid anymore!! Although the downside is, now that I’m over my fear of surgery and shots my parents have me scheduled for plastic surgery next week which probably wouldn’t be what most parents would be going for… my parents, who haven’t read the books of course, keep saying “You’ll be so PRETTY”, which doesn’t exactly make me feel so great…I have visions of scary people trying to mess with my brain….like my new principal….*shiver* my friend and I swear she drags people in the other room to give them brain lesions…

Comments are closed.