Worldcon Day One! (Thursday) Chicon 2012

Worldcon Day One! (Thursday)
We actually arrived here Wednesday, but fairly late at night, so didn’t do anything but go up to the room and not emerge until this morning.
Today, however was non-stop action! (As cons like this often are.) Included in this post: recommendations of GLBT-inclusive sf/f books & media. But it’s at the end.
First order of business was move into our party suite. We got up early so we could move over there and register before my 12 noon panel. Managed to accomplish both those things and then get to the panel only a mere five minutes late after trying to figure out the odd arrangement of towers, elevators, and escalators in this hotel.
First panel was one I suggested myself, so therefore I got to moderate it: “We’re here, we’re queer…. are we used to it?” I suggested the panel when upon looking at the initial panel suggestions list back when it was first circulated to program participants, it felt to me like there was a serious dearth of gay or GLBT topics. And this was most likely that none of us bothered to make a panel suggestion because we’ve gotten complacent and jaded. I wondered… is the reason we are so complacent because now there are so many sf/f tv shows (Torchwood, Lost Girl, etc), movies, video games (Dragon Age), and books where queer characters are visible and so now we are no longer fighting for visibility? How about a panel on whether visibility still matters to GLBT fen, both in the media we consume and in con space in fandom.
So, I thought it’s the very first program slot at a Worldcon, no one will be here yet, who will show up? Well, the room was packed to capacity, every seat taken, with people standing in the back. The basic message of that is YES VISIBILITY STILL MATTERS.
On the panel with me were the always engaging and fun Catherine Lundoff and Kevin Roche. (Gene Armstrong was also supposed to join us but never made it–hope he’s OK and was merely delayed or time-challenged.)
At the start of the panel I asked how many people there was it their first Worldcon. I was amazed that more than half the hands went up. Later in the panel I asked everyone to do the goofy thing of turn to your neighbor or someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. Because these are the queer folk you’re now going to run into over and over at the con! Make friends. Everyone indulged me and did it.
Also as part of the panel, we made a recommendations list. Here are what was recommended for queer and alt-sex characters in sf/f these days:
Jacqueline Carey has a newish YA series Santa Olivia. “A lesbian character who doesn’t end up either killed or married to a man at the end!”
Laura Anne Gilman’s Vine Art series, in which winemaking is the magic, but becoming a wine mage sort of turns one asexual. (Asexuality being an alternative form of sexuality.)
Alyx Dellamonica, Indigo Springs, Blue Magic
Dean James “To Death” series, including Baked to Death, Posted to Death, etc…
mystery series, probably sold in the dealer’s room at the Cargo Cult table
Warehouse 13 — Jinx is a gay character who comes out after the cute girl character has a crush on him.
Foil’s War, WWII historical fiction, has a subplot I won’t describe in case anyone wants to read it and not be spoiled by it.
Doctor Who — “gay people exist in this universe.”
Ginn Hale “The Wicked Gentleman” — steampunk, won the Spectrum Award a few years back
Naomi Clark “Silver Kiss” — lesbian werewolves, woman discovers she’s a werewolf the first full moon of menopause
Melissa Scott “Point of Hope” now re-released by Lethe Press, and a new novella in the series is available
Pantomime — forthcoming book, not out yet
Batwoman, esp. the Elegy trade paperback graphic novel by Gary Rucka
Welcome to Bordertown, the new Bordertown book edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner
Gemma Files, Hexslinger series, (A Rope of Thorns, etc…) — a gay couple are the focal point characters
More recommendations can be found by listening to the Outer Alliance podcast and reading the Outer Alliance newsletters, and also looking back at the past winners of the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards.
After that it was all party prep, putting up signs in all the designated party sign places, grocery shopping with the help of two of my assistant editors, Joy and Jensen, setting up the room, and then corwin and I went for a late lunch/early dinner at 5pm at a local sushi bar (Oysy–pronounced Oishi) and then hopped on the shuttle bus to the Adler Planetarium party.
The planetarium was great fun. We saw the movie “The Searcher” which featured all kinds of animated simulations of galaxy collisions, supernova formation, et cetera, strung together on a sort of story of an alien searching for his lost civilization. A LOT of math went into those animations! And I must say, ours is a very good-looking galaxy. Not that I’m biased or anything.
Afterward we looked at some of the info displays, and it turned out a bunch of the really psychedelic imagery at the beginning and the end of the film was created by Scott Draves and his “Flame” software. Scott was known as Spot back when I knew him at Brown University in the 1980s. Such a small world!
We then looked at the other exhibits at the planetarium and topped it off with looking through real telescopes at the planet Saturn. The planet wasn’t yet visible in the evening sky, through haze and the remnants of sunset, but through a telescope was perfectly visible.
Then we hopped the shuttle bus back to the Hyatt to open up the doors on our Circlet Press 20th Anniversary Party. The party was rocking and busy right until 1am when everyone mysteriously evaporated…. (that was our announced ending time). We shut the door and ordered chicken soup from room service for a late dinner, and now it’s time for some sleep.
Can’t sleep in though. Going to Wrigley Field for the first time tomorrow! Finally! After years or trying!

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