Wiscon: The Social

Wiscon is my standing date now with three friends. Lisa and Dan, whom I’ve known for about 20 years, have been going with me since I was just sort of pretending to be a writer. My great friend Yolanda from Texas is now joining us, and it’s wonderful to have an opportunity to see her each year. She’s so cool. So, I have this great group of friends to hang out with, eat with, joke with. This is my standing reason for going to Wiscon, and it would make the con cool, even if I didn’t know other people.

But I do. It’s one of a few chances each year that I get to hang out with my friend Caroline Stevermer. I’m a fan of Caroline’s and I gush all over her, and she puts up with it each year with grace. I can tell you this–I’m looking forward to her new book with anticipation, and you should be too.

So. Ann Leckie and Vylar Kaftan won Nebulas this year, and I know them. I know Vylar more casually than Ann, but Ann and I hit it off at a breakfast a few years ago. I thought she was so nice and genuine, and a couple of years ago she was telling me about a new book deal, and now she’s a winner of several major awards for Ancillary Justice. I’m trying to get her to come to Icon in 2015. I love it when people succeed. Vylar organized us into reading groups, and was her fantastic, affable, gregarious self.

Other people I was happy to see: Will Alexander, who read a fantastic story that will be in Fantasy and Science Fiction soon. He’s so pleasant. The Clockwork Lasercorn reading group–Shane Halbach, Gary Koster, Julia Dvorin and Heather McDougal–who made reading a breeze.

Keffy Kehrli, Shira Lipkin, Sarah Frost, Brooke Who-Will-Be-Moving-to-Cedar Falls (and I apologize your last name has fallen right out of my head), Keyan Bowes, Sigrid Ellis, Charlie Jane Anders, Cassie Krahe, some nice snatches of friendly conversation there. And I’m sorry if I’ve missed you. I’ll probably be remembering people all week.

In the SFWA panel, I was mightily impressed by the questions of Dr. Brooke and Blair MacGregor and Janice Smith, and would like to get to know these smart women better. At the sign out, I had good conversations with Caroline, with Greg Bechtel, with Mary Rickert, and with LaShawan Wanak, whom I’m hoping might come to Paradise Icon.

I fell in love with the voice in Daniel Jose Older’s Salsa Nocturna. Oh, the way he reads, and oh, the character! This made me go out and get a subscription to Crossed Genres magazine and buy his book collection, which I will devour at my earliest convenience.

Finally, a word about guests of honor. I admired and appreciated Nora Jemisin’s speech, and I can see that she is an important force in the field. I don’t know her, but I appreciate her. However, I connect with Hiromi Goto. She was very friendly, we communicate on Twitter, and I like her. From her Oscar the Grouch t-shirt to her literary fantasy and her understanding of what it is to be in a dysfunctional place, well, we have some writing in common. I will value this Wiscon as the time I had a chance to talk to her, and I hope to repeat that again.

So, overall, a good time was had. We’ll talk more about events soon.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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