WisCon 33, held over Memorial Day weekend in Madison, WI, was a somewhat skewed experience for me since I was simultaneously moving (as in U-Hauls and second-hand boxes) from one Madison suburb to another. This meant I wasn’t around for much of the social scene. But I did attend several panels, both as panelist and audience.
I missed opening ceremonies on Thursday and arrived Friday around noon. First I attended a YA reading by Aiden Beaverson, Patricia Cumbie and Deborah Lynn Jacobs. Then I had a late lunch with the amazing Ekaterina Sedia (The Alchemy of Stone) and Genevieve Valentine of Tor.com. That was pretty much all I accomplished, except for packing my car full of stuff at the old house and carrying it to the new one.
Saturday morning was my first panel, at 8:30 A.M. Since I have a 16-month-old who gets me up at 5, this was not early for me. The topic: “Where is the Goddess These Days?” i.e., where is the goddess figure in contemporary speculative fiction? Other panelists were artist Catherine Anne Crowe, writer Melodie Bolt and moderator Rhianna Moore. The nice thing about these first-thing-in-the-morning panels is that the folks who attend, if they’re willing to get up that early, are usually fully engaged in the subject.
I had lunch with the lovely folks from Tor, and made it back just in time for my one o’clock reading with Mark Rich, Forrest Aguirre and Robert F. Wexler. Since, as Mark put it, I was presenting “sex, gore and violence,” I closed the show, reading from Blood Groove, as well as the upcoming Burn Me Deadly. Thanks to everyone who came out to listen.
Saturday night featured a dinner gang that included SF legend Jack McDevitt, Richard Desk, Monica Valentinelli, and alternate-history author Steven Silver. Alas, once again I was forced to abandon the festivities early to move another carload of belongings, and so missed the Tiptree Auction and all the cool parties.
Sunday morning, again at 8:30, I was on the panel “Is Regionalism Dead?” along with David J. Schwartz, Catherine Cheek and Rich Novotny. Once more the crowd made up in energy what it lacked in numbers. Lunch was spent with a contingent of Tennessee folks, including Shira Lipkin and SJ Tucker.
At 1:00 was “The Care and Feeding of your Vampire,” a panel organized and moderated by Fred Schepartz, author of Vampire Cabbie. Besides Fred and I, panelists were Suzy McKee Charnas (The Vampire Tapestry), Jordan Castillo Price (Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary) and Alaya Dawn Johnson. As always with vampire panels, the sheer breadth of the topic made for some fascinating digressions into what the vampire means to society then and now.
Finally on Monday came the Sign Out, when all the authors congregated in one room to sign copies of their books for the fans. I shared a table with Kelly McCullough and John Joseph Adams, who received a zombie-themed Valentine from a fan. I met Delia Sherman, whose next book trailer is being done by Lisa Stock, the filmmaker behind the Blood Groove promo film. I also reconnected with Lynne Thomas, curator of the SFWA archives at Northern Illinois University (where my own papers are housed).
WisCon is always fun for serious-minded writers and fans, where the craft of writing gets as much attention as the fannish aspects. It’s got one of the higher writer-to-fan ratios, and the people who attend are ones who take their writing seriously. I look forward to next year, when hopefully I won’t have any major life-changing events scheduled for the same weekend.