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. ooooh, never seen “No Comments,” I’m number one! whoot… okay so, welcome back Scott! heh, we kind of created a new breed of “Ranters” over in the comments to your last post… but that’s what comes from intelligent readers who are very very bored otherwise and have no posts to read from the author of the site 😀 (yeaaaaaaah, lame excuse, whatever)
    And now I officially have to be a writer when I’m older, was gonna be a journalist… but Cons sound like SO much fun. Actual conversations… yet another reason to comment here. Oh yeah, and dude, the “multigenerational starship” story sounds awesome! Plot or no plot, that’s what Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is you know… incredibly funny book about absolutely nothing (the whole “finding the meaning of life” thing is kind of a cover-up I think. hehe, 42…)
    “me start next novel now”? YEAH, awesome.

  2. *just realizes the incredible amount of run-ons in that post* wellllll, at school now, can’t expect me to think straight, “I never let my schooling interfere with my education” 😀

  3. Oh yeah, (I’m posting three times, wow I’m pathetic, I blame school… again) the censoring of Uglies and Peeps? Censorship sucks, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, but if it’s gotten enough attention to be banned…. heh, kind of a compliment if you think about it, Harry Potter’s been banned in school libraries. Yeah, Uglies and Peeps are up there with Harry Potter!

  4. Confuding. I mean, confusing. Oh, just got PEEPS yesterday! And finished it about three hours after I got it! May I just say, you outdid yourself with PEEPS. (BTW, where can I get the parasite? J/K. Sorta.) Where is TLD? I can’t find it anywhere. Oh, also, Barnes & Noble sold out of Specials! Cool, huh?
    Did you say Deb was Serenity/Firefly fan? Where can I meet this person? I love Firefly!
    I’m not as weird as I sound.
    PEEPS is better than the Uglies trilogy, in my opinion. Please, no angry mobs trying to knock down my door because I said that. My parents don’t like company…

  5. In other countries, they actually had book burnings of Harry Potter. I think they’ve done it here too.
    Sorry, I should have announced myself before saying that. Well, I’ll do it now: And Now For Something Completely Different. And insane. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee…

  6. Okay, here I am. Again. Anyway, I went to see your music link, and I went on Google to see who Karen Finley is. May I just say: Ahem. Wow. She is, erm, well, hee.

  7. The Last Days isn’t out yet.

    By the way, at school, I got a whole circle of Scott readers. One girl went out and bought one of pretty much every book that Books a million carried at the time. All because I forced her to read Midnighters and Peeps.

    *slyly raises eyebrow* What is this next novel you speak of?

  8. Novel! Yes, you start next novel now. Yay!
    I like the starship-with-different-eras-on-each-level idea. It’s cool. I tend to come up with really cool ideas lacking a plot as well. Or cool characters lacking a plot. It’s very sad. I need to try and put it all together.
    Isn’t WTF actually German, and not French?

  9. Just to keep the record straight: though I would have ADORED to I did not get to hang out with Ursula Le Guin. I managed a bare exchange of greetings in the lift up to the Governor’s.

  10. WTF is neither german or french, its Badass English. For an example of its use portrayed, accompianed by much inappropiate language, see here: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/end.php … hmm, i hope i dont get in trouble for posting that.

    you may be writing a graphic novel? interested i am… i just recently dipped my left foot into the vast lake of graphic novels, strating with Neil Gaiman (i’m a bid fan of his novels, i reccomend Neverwhere and Stardust, but American Gods is my favorite, and i even saw his movie, MirrorMask) and his Sandman graphic novels. they were incredible, and delightfully grtoesque and mysterious and chock full of gorgeous artwork. i’ve only read the first four, but its enough to make me think i’ll be investigating further into the wild realm of books-by-pictures.

    as far as censoring Uglies and Peeps goes… it’s probably a good sign. if you write a book and it doesnt offend someone somewhere, then things remain the same, no? so by irritating an irate (i love that word..) parent, perhaps some rebellious 13 yearold will rread your book in secret… and consequently discover and underground treasure, with which they will buy a puppy… which will further irritate irate parents… yes, it seems a likely scenario. a nice cycle there. i think my point was that… oh… i dont even know what my point was. at first it was about censorship, but i think it morphed partway through into something about the butterfly effect. hmm.

    man, i feel like writing. normally i do this on my blog or in my journal but today i feel like clogging up the omniscient mr. scott’s blog. so i will. the story about the multi-generational starship kinda reminds me of a story i made up in my head, although they’re not very similar at all. except there is the idea of levels between cultures, except in my story its city, and one part is the ground and the other half of the city is floating (probably supported by giant underground magnets or summat, like in Uglies) above the first. Downtown woudl be dirty and corrupt and disease-ridden and poverty-striken and very very angry, because Uptown would be clean and wealthy and (physically) healthy, although also corrupt. Very likely more corrupt than Downtown, since all the city officials screwing everyone over would live in Uptown (naturally). I think i’d like the story to be one where you swich the point of view in the chapters, like in Scotts books, except i’d have only one or possibly two constant characters point-of-views. so it’s go Main Char, Random Downtwon Policveman, Main Char,Random Uptown Policeman ,Main Char,main char’s friend…etc etc. oh, i’m getting carried away. i really shoudl write it all down sometime. i have big plans for Uptown and Downtown. and i think it involves rabies and a masked villian. mmhmh. stop.

    haha, it’s kinda ironic, just yesterday i read Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones… and as a few of you may know, it mostly takes place at a fantasy/science-fiction writers convention (PhantasmaCon) and it made me laugh a lot. hmm. just a little tidbit. ok, i’ll stop hoggin blogspace now.

  11. i cant tell you how many things i’ve started and never finished… theres just too many. and theres even more things i never even strated. its a shame.

  12. ugh, I need one of those pensieve things that Dumbledore has in Harry Potter (weird, I’ve come up with three Harry Potter references today and I’m not even a huge fan…), my problem is that I never START my stories, they’re in my head and then I just kinda… forget them. 🙁 Sad.
    ha, irate is my new word of the day… hehe “irritate irate parents”

  13. Wiscon sounds like my version of heaven. So, even though it’s SF, that term usually includes fantasy/horror writers too. So do they get to come too? (Mwahahahahahahahaha….)

    Debates=cool. And seriously, ditto on the polite thing. That’s hard to maintain, unfortunately.

    Ban Uglies? ARGH! What is with parents and “protecting” their kids? (Who ever heard of free speech? Hahaha.) If they’d just let them make up their own minds about stuff instead of trying to force beliefs on them, the kids would be a lot more likely to not end up hating what their parents stand for. Beliefs are fine. Pushing them on everyone else is not. (rant)

    I like the multi-gen ship idea. Knowing you, you could probably come up with a kickbutt plot for it. Even the serial killer thing could work. 😛 😀 And that was a great dialogue, hehehe!

    Holly Black was sick? That sucks. But she’s a fantasy writer, so that does mean they get to come too, right? 😀 😀

    “I never let my schooling interfere with my education” 😀
    ^That is a nice line.

    “Did you say Deb was Serenity/Firefly fan? Where can I meet this person? I love Firefly!”
    ^Ditto. With a capital “D.” Firefly is my all time favorite SF TV show EVER.

    “*slyly raises eyebrow* What is this next novel you speak of?”
    ^Yeah, Scott, what is this next novel?

    “For an example of its use portrayed, accompianed by much inappropiate language….”
    ^That is the funniest thing ever. I discovered it a while back and have since watched it upwards of twenty times.

    “as far as censoring Uglies and Peeps goes… it’s probably a good sign. if you write a book and it doesnt offend someone somewhere, then things remain the same, no?”
    Hmm….good point. I’m all for causing a stir. So yes. Vair cool.

    “i think it involves rabies and a masked villian. mmhmh. stop.”
    Hehehe! Oh, someone stop me!

    “I started a graphic novel…and never finished.”
    ^Fin and Jane-la, you should check this out: http://www.nanowrimo.org. That’s what got me to finally finish stuff.

    Well, I think I have finally said EVERYTHING. I’m at work, you know, and obviously that means extra long blog comments.

  14. Banning Uglies and Peeps? Thats bogus. I still have to read your Midnighter series but I bet it rocks. I am on page 139 on Specials; love it so far, although her being a special annoys me greatly. And a new graphic novel? Awesome. Glad you had a great time in Wiscon.

  15. KORBE NEEDS A PENSIEVE TOO! when u get one lyra can i borrow it?
    Major congrats Scott on such a wonderfull trip full of inspiration! Cant wait to read the new book!
    now onto censorship of uglies pretties specials and peeps, that is absolutely CRAZY! But its also a great way to sell books, if people want to ban this book, then people will buy it in order to see if its worth banning. And of course they will see that its NOT! so all will be well and you will be a richer man! YAY! and of course when you are a multi billionare you will remember us and send us each 1 thousand dollars! (jk jk jk jk jk)
    Also, that pic was really funny, one of the women in the photo looked like my math teacher, it was really kinda cool (but scary, i dont like math!) but that was really great thanks for sending that to us scott! well i think i have said my peace, ill be back!

  16. Next novel. NEXT NOVEl? NEXT NOVEL??????
    Ok, calmed down now. What is this next novel?

  17. So…. you saw Holly Black? Any chance she happened to mention when her next book comes out? *cough* specifically “Ironside” *cough cough*
    heh, Rebecca: that quote was Mark Twain’s, go figure hehehe
    And yes, people, Nanowrimo ROCKS, they give you a month to write a 500,000 word story (or something along those lines anyway…) I’ve never actually been a part of it, but I’m DYING for the next one to start, not until November or something though…
    Elle, you MUST read Midnighters, they are amaaaaaaazingly good. (don’t let that get to your head Scott!)
    hahaha, Korbe if I EVER manage to find a pensieve, I’ll be sure to let you know

  18. Oh, and with the multi-generational starship story, we also thought that the “Pink Fairy Learns Ballet” sounded good, might want to keep that in mind. lol

  19. Yes, horror and fantasy are allowed and encouraged at Wiscon. We only call it an sf con because it was sf fans who invented conventions in their modern form. (I guess.) But it’s sf and fantasy in equal measure.

    I think Ironsides comes out next spring. Justine’s already read it, though, and she says it’s wonderful. (She and Holly read each other’s drafts. I wish I had more time for that.)

    Hmm, maybe my protag could pursue a machine-gun-wielding Pink Fairy through the multi-generation starship.

    The next novel? Well, so far it has airships, and is set in an alternate 1913 or ’14. That’s all I’m saying right now.

  20. Graphic novel…?
    Oh my god, please say that you are serious. I’d definately buy that :q…
    Lordy, I never have much to say in response to your rants. But keep ranting.

  21. oooh, alternate realities, cooool!
    *gapes* tell Justine that I currently envy her more than anyone in the WORLD
    hehehe, you should do a short story about the pink fairy and the starship, seriously… well, maybe not SO seriously… hhehehe

  22. Would this graphic novel be western-style, or would there be any manga influences? I love both. Please write it!!!

  23. well,
    i have to say that whole spaceship different decade thingy,
    sounds mighty intersting!!!
    I’d so buy it.
    but then again,
    i would buy anything from you…
    book-wise at least.
    and yeah graphic novels!!!
    poor holly black,
    may her sickness evaporate!!!

  24. ooooh! i cant wait for the spaceship book to come out, sounds intresting!
    I think you should work on that scott! :]

  25. “The next novel? Well, so far it has airships, and is set in an alternate 1913 or ‘14. That’s all I’m saying right now.”

    Am I pathetic for smiling just at that sentence?

    Alternate times? Airships (how can I resist after the wonders of hoverboards)? Early 1900’s?

    I’ll buy it the day it comes out.

  26. There must be a pink fairy with a machine gun. Somewhere. Anywhere.

    I think that it’s a bit stupid that Uglies and Peeps would be challenged anywere but a middle school (unless it was an elementry school…). So whats “mostly” middle schools about? Huh. I can see why some parents wouldn’t want their 6th grade-age children reading some of the stuff in Peeps and Uglies, but I completely agree with the 7th/8th graders needing to read about a hero like Tally. How many books include grenades, building-eating goo, hoverboards, and plastic surgery all at the same time? Schools should just risk having a few offened parents and put Uglies in the library! Really, there is always someone that is going to be offeneded by anything thats written…
    Peeps though, I could see that one being more of an issue for all middle-school ages. I believe that the book said it was for grades 9+. But It’s really great!! I just finished it yesterday. I feel extremely smart about parisites now…possibly smarter then I wanted to be…ew…anyhow, it would be very lame for them to be totally banned. Especially if it’s just because of different views of evolution. How bogus. Maybe those parents should just take their kids out of biology class too, and ban the science books while they’re at it. Hmph.
    *done with rant-ish-type-thing and moving on.

    Ooh! New novel! Yay!

  27. i cant wait for this new book! and the last days is going to rock! im thinking about going and getting some of your older stuff scott, has anyone read his other books? if so tell me where i can find them! plz! my goal over the summer is to read all of scotts books, o and to learn how to sight read music, but u didnt need to know that because it has absolutely nothing to do with scotts books…..o well. w/e. well yea. if anyone has that info it would be greatly appreciated! thanks ^.^

  28. Hey, this is kinda random but you never told us what you thought of X-Men. (for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, do so now. IT ROCKED!)

  29. *you meaning Scott, or anyone really…. X-Men rocked and always deserved to be talked about lol

  30. dude… i saw x-men… and it was awesome. it was sad at times, but i thought that there was closure.
    whoaa! new book! also awesome.
    definitely gonna read it.
    oh and i finished peeps last week and it was also very cool.
    that is all.

  31. i saw x-men last night. i loved it…although there were bits of it i hated because i’m an emotional female. lol anyway…don’t want to spoil anything, but i’ll just say this: if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure you stay until THE END…i found out today that there is a scene after the credits (or partway through or whatever) and i missed it!! argh. i know what happened, though. guess i’ll have to wait for the dvd to actually see it..

    just started reading graphic novels this summer. or spring, i guess, since it isn’t technically summer yet, but it’s been very hot! anyway, i’ve been reading runaways and fables (recommended by justine in her blog) and have enjoyed them so far. if i can ever find a copy i want to read scott pilgrim, and the sandman books are on my list, too. my husband says, “you’re reading *comics*??!” in disbelief. i love to be surprising, and to be surprised new things. i’ve been checking out manga at the bookstore…that’s next. 🙂 any recommendations?

    scott: a bit off-topic, but do you have cover-art for the last days yet? i’m excited to see it…….and even more excited to read it!!! 😀

  32. you’re trip sounded like fun, Scott
    and that new book of yours……..mmnnn…………i think i’m interested

  33. oh, also…the alternate…er…past….book sounds fun! and who doesn’t like airships?!! (actually, airships always make me think of a series by british author jasper fforde, which is also alternate-past, alternate 1980s, about a girl named thrusday next. *hysterically* funny. but that’s probably another topic. 🙂 )

  34. Wow that all sounded like lot sof fun. BUT guess what!!! I was in Madison on Saturday….AT the farmers market. Then I went to the Concourse Hotel to use the bathroom and there were all these people every where with the Wiscon things around their necks. It was then that I thought of you and the fact you were probably in that same hotel at that same moment but o well. 🙂

  35. Clairo: COOL
    hehe, yeah, for anyone that HASN’T seen X-Men yet (you crazy people) stay AFTER the credits, not just halfway, alllll they way, it’s worth it. Glad I looked at a fansite before I saw it… hehehe (geeky is me)

  36. i just can’t believe i didn’t wait until the very end, i very nearly always do…but i was at the theatre alone, and it was cold (air conditioning cranked way up)…..argh. when i found out i had missed it, i literally felt sick. well, just for a minute, it’s only a movie, but still…..argh.

  37. i always stay to the end of the credits, mostly because my mom used to always make me, and now i’m in the habit and i force whoever i’m with to stay to the end also. “just in case, you never know..” and alot of times i like to see what music they use, adn that s usually near the end.

    i havent seen X3 yet… in fact, i though ti hadnt seen X2 and i borrowed it from a friend to watch it. turns out not only had i seen it before, i own it too! i felt pretty dumb. but oh well, now i’ve refreshed my memory, i suppose.

    hah, orangedragonfly, my dad and sister like to make fun of me for reading “comics?!” and i usually end up all mock-huffy “they’re not comics…. they graphic novels. get it right.” and then i smack them with my book. gently, of course.

  38. The copy of Midnighters 2 you autographed for my friend Olivia earned me three hugs, a lot of high-pitched squealing, and an impromptu dance of joy from its recipient. Also, she started reading it within seconds. I get to say hello to you, Justine, and everyoneelseatwiscon AND I get preteen adoration. Life should always be so rewarding. *grin*

    Also — loved the artwork on the business card! I’ll pounce on Last Days as soon as it hits shelves.

  39. jane-la: the smacking thing is great. 🙂 my husband actually thinks it’s cool. he’s in iraq right now, and he wants me to send the runaways books to him.

  40. I recently discovered a notebook I used to write in to record all dreams that I could turn into novels. It’s hillarious, just a collection of strange ramblings. On another note: You HAVE to include a machine-gun welding fairy, if only in your protagonist’s dreams. Seriously, you promised, you must deliver!!!! Also: I totally found my pre-released copy of Midnighters: The Secret Hour. Turns out my sister swiped it and put it in her classroom. I swiped it back. 🙂 Now write, man, write!!!

  41. “they give you a month to write a 500,000”
    Ack! 500,000? It’s actually just 50,000. Eep. What a thought. 😛 Lyra, are you already signed up on the NaNo forums? If not, even though the actual writing doesn’t start till November, you can sign up on October 1 for the forums. I’m currently trying to convince my writing prof to do it, mwahahahaha!

    Ooooh, yes, Ironsides, me can’t wait! 😀 I still can’t decide whether I like Tithe or Valiant better, very unique take on things too, gaaaah, there is NOTHING TO READ this summer! Not even required summer reading! ‘Tis insane. 🙁

    Yay, well, I don’t think I’ll ever be in Wisconsin, but it’s nice to know that the F/H crowd is included too. 😀

    “The next novel? Well, so far it has airships, and is set in an alternate 1913 or ‘14. That’s all I’m saying right now.”

    Actually, it doesn’t surprise me at all that school libraries are the ones banning books. Schools have a bad habit of infringing on student rights. Grrr. I got lucky with my high school, but middle school was awful, and my little brother has had the worst luck with school all his life. They’re all about control and punishment. And I can’t really see why Peeps should be an issue. The kids at one of my middle schools were doing much worse things than anything mentioned in Peeps.

    “Maybe those parents should just take their kids out of biology class too, and ban the science books while they’re at it. Hmph.”
    ^The scary thing is, people actually do that.

    “has anyone read his other books?”
    I will when I get my paycheck (tomorrow!). I’m going to start with Evolution’s Darling. You can find used copies on Amazon.com.

    “i saw x-men… and it was awesome. it was sad at times.”
    Yeah. I know what you mean. *SPOILER-ISH ALERT* What is it with final movies and people dying? Why do they always think that just because the series/franchise/whatever is ending they have to kill off half the main characters? (Any Alias fans here? Heh heh) *END SPOILER*

    “i found out today that there is a scene after the credits ”
    WHAT?!?!?!?! AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!! Why do they do that?

    “Seriously, you promised, you must deliver!!!!”
    Oooh, yes!!!! Brilliant idea! You should, you could totally pull it off!!!!

    I’m not at work anymore, I have excuse. 😛

  42. except that it wouldn’t be polluting, it would be more like digesting or something…good grief, i need to go to sleep.

  43. I hate it when soooo many people comment before I check this blog. Sigh. ANYWAY. With your graphic novel, are you the actual artist? That would be awesome, being able to draw AND write (WELL!). And it just has to be manga-like. Really. Otherwise it’s not as awesome! Lol.
    Good luck with your new novel!

  44. OKay, will someone tell me exactly WHY Snakes on a Plane is so funny? And why have of the people in the theater shouted out “on a plane!” after the screen showed “Snakes” during the previews? I don’t get it…
    oohhh, only 50,000? hmm… not so hard 😀 I’ll sign up, Oct. 1!
    And with X-Men…. *spoiler* *spoiler* *spoiler* **************

    They didn’t really kill that many people off, and they’ll probably come back in the next movie, because there HAS to be a next movie, that’s why you have to see the credits! And the end of the movie with the METAL chess pieces… and Rogue and Bobby totally ended off at a weird place… it COULD end, but it CAN’T at the same time…. *Grr* I hate it when movie people do that….

Comments are closed.