Wiscon: Women Destroy Science Fiction

Panelists: Megan Arkenberg, Kimberly Long-Ewing, Vylar Kaftan, Shira Lipkin

Kimberly: In what ways can we encourage more diversity?

Shira: Publish diverse woks.
Vylar: Some sort of statement about publishing stories from all backgrounds. It means a lot when that statement is there. Read the magazine you want to publish in, and know the stories that it publishes. Some editors say, “I just publish the best stories,” but the idea of the best stories is subjective. Stepping outside of yourself and your culture is hard.
Megan: It helps if you have genre lists that include women and POC. Support kickstarters that back them.

Kimberly: What about slush readers? Are they gate keepers?

Shira: It could happen that they are.
Megan: Ask for a type of story from a type of writer if you’re not getting it.
Vylar: Readers expect what they’re used to in plot and form. Again, it’s a matter of stepping outside of culture. Spend time supporting diverse writers.

Kimberly: What works?

Megan: What works is something that doesn’t try to solve every problem at once. If you have a woman’s only anthology, what’s your goal? What are you trying to do?
Shira: You have to be careful you’re not producing a pink version of a magazine. This can lead to the mentality of “We gave you a women’s only issue. What more do you want?” You want to think about the long term effects in SF as a whole. Also you want to consider women who don’t consider themselves women.
Vylar: You want to avoid the compartmentalization of SF and the women who write it.
Kimberly: I don’t know if I want to read girl stuff. I might get cooties.
Megan: A magazine should introduce new people, rather than using the same old authors.

Kimberly: What doesn’t work?

Vylar: Not publishing diversity.
Megan: Reviewers missing the point. Projects being shot in the foot by their reception.
Vylar: See section on publishing the best stories above. Editors should help and encourage young writers.
Megan: The Mary Shelly phenomena. Some women recommended over and over and over…
Vylar: Places to find new writers: Broad Universe, Carl Brandon Society, Outer Alliance, Tiptree. Support writers by buying their books.
Kimberly: Non cisgendered male voices are important too.
Shira: The stories look different with different viewpoints.
Vylar: Stories shouldn’t represent a narrator as a token.
Megan: All women anthologies avoid the tokenism problem. Everyone deserves to see different perspectives while respecting their own perspectives.

Kimberly: Book recommendations?

Megan: Read anthologies with writers you haven’t heard of.
Kimberly: Look at the Broad Universe catalog.
Vylar: Look at Nebula winners and nominees.
Shira: I will post a list on my blog.

Questions from audience.

Do people run away from writing women’s issues, such as raising children or domesticity? These stories don’t seem to be published as much.

Shira: There is a danger of writing women as men with boobs.
Vylar; All readers have biases. This doesn’t match the greatness I have read, rather than the greatness that can come forth from something new.
Megan: No one likes being the token anything.

Other comments:
Slushers are doing what the editors want. We should make an effort to have diverse slushers.

An Honest Man: Jay Lake

Regrettably, Jay Lake has passed away.

My sincerest condolences to his friends and family. What a mighty struggle this lion put forth in his efforts to stay alive as long as he could for his loved ones. His courage was higher than Everest.

My views of Jay Lake were mostly through his website. When I started writing, he and I had some communication, but mostly I was reading his incredibly honest, intimate blog of what it was like to have cancer. I thought he was a powerful human being, to be able to share his best and worst moments with others, both in his situation and out. He gave a name and a face to cancer, and that was, I think, his point in some ways. That, and he was a human being, speaking to us about a human condition.

Jay’s blog is honest. Now that he is gone, we do not only have the legacy of his books, but we also have the journal of a man still living in the face of incredible adversity, right up to when he couldn’t. Jay took us with him for every step of his cancer, the good, the bad, the ugly, with candor.

I went to Paradise Lost 3 in part to meet Jay. I had bronchitis that weekend, and ended up isolating myself from him as much as I could, in spite of his insistence that he was not immuno-compromised at the time. So I heard him speak, and he was pleasant. We met at World Fantasy in 2009 as well, and I wished him luck on his next set of treatments at World Con in 2012. He knew who I was, which astounded.

Loss is hard, so hard, and Jay is missed. I have missed his posts for some time now, and I am very sorry that they have ended. What has Jay taught me? He’s the man who wrote a short story a week to improve his craft. His author story is one of persistence and practice and patience. He lived his life an honest man who held nothing back, and part of his legacy is the truth he spoke about his disease.

If you are interested in donating to Jay’s Memorial Fund, here’s that information.

Clayton Memorial Medical Fund
c/o OSFCI
P.O. Box 5703
Portland, Oregon 97228

Donate to my MDA Lock Up

Well, I’ve allowed to talk myself into going to jail for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. On July 10th, I will be incarcerated unless I can raise $1600 in bail. I’ll be incarcerated at Texas Roadhouse, so I know the food will be good at least.

Can you help save me from this fate? Here’s how you do it. Click on the link below and keep me out of jail. It’s that simple.

Help Catherine raise bail!

Thank you in advance! Every bit helps!