We’re a few hours from the official start of WisCon, the world’s first—and largest—feminist science fiction convention, held annually in Madison, Wisconsin. WisCon is my (and many people’s) favorite convention of the year, but the concept can be somewhat baffling to anyone who’s never thought about how one might combine activism with science fiction fandom. I can’t explain it much better than WisCon’s already has on their homepage:
WisCon encourages discussion and debate of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class. WisCon welcomes writers, editors and artists whose work explores these themes as well as their many fans.
If you’re still baffled, a look at this year’s programming slate will go a long way towards explaining where the discussion will be starting off this year, but it can’t really convey the way that WisCon’s social system functions. Like any convention, WisCon leads to the Brigadoon-like effect where it feels like no time has passed between annual iterations. This is undoubtedly amplified by the deliberately constrained size of the convention (a thousand people max) and the self-selecting pool that it draws. This leads to a vibrant, dedicated, and very interconnected community.
I doubt I’ll be be blogging from the convention because I’ll be too busy learning, having fun, and attending fabulous readings; but I do wish that the social agenda that WisCon focuses on was better represented on Tor.com. To that end, I’d like to invite all members of the WisCon community to a Tor.com mini-meetup at Michaelangelo’s Coffeehouse (enter at 114 N. State Street or 114 N. Carroll Street) from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, 2009. Stop by at any point during that time frame, I’ll buy you some coffee, and we’ll chat about what Tor.com has been up to and where we should think about heading in the future. You can also talk to me about this at any time throughout the WisCon weekend (especially at the Tor party, which will be from 9:00 p.m. to who-knows-when in room 629), but Michaelangelo’s will be your best shot at a lengthy and lively discussion.
Spread the word! I hope to see some of you there.