Tag Archives: Cat Valente

Rabid Animals

I generally avoid blogging on certain topics, not because I don’t think they are important, but because I don’t feel qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment, or because I simply don’t feel I have any right to do so (cowardly of me? Perhaps. You know, I actually found writing this a bit scary*). But sometimes you read things, and they make you feel so sad or mad or depressed (or all of the above) that you simply must say something.

Amidst the furore created by Christopher Priest’s comments on the Arthur C. Clarke Awards were a number of excellent posts, one of which by Catherynne M. Valente really stood out for me, where she discussed how Mr Priest could get away with a lot more by virtue of being male. It is an excellent and thought provoking piece, and I suggest you read it, but it is actually her follow up post that really hit home for me and made me want to write this post.

You really should read the whole thing. But there are bits that leap out at you and grab you by the head and shake you.

The fact is, to be a woman online is to eventually be threatened with rape and death. On a long enough timeline, the chances of this not occurring drop to zero.

This is not exaggeration for the purposes of making a point. It is simply a fact. It’s one of the main reasons why I don’t read below the comment line on many blogs because the amount of hatred and vitriol make my stomach churn, and, while it gets directed at men too, it is undeniable that when it comes to women it goes up a whole other level.

Chris Priest can say what he says not only because he is a giant in his field (Sady Doyle is barely less prominent in hers, and while I do think that harsh criticism goes down better when it’s not the authors in the field at hand who do it, both Sady and Requires are not SF authors of any stripe) but because he is a man. And we respond to it with some anger, but mostly reasoned philosophical or humorous posts, macros, examining what it means, the value of juried awards, defending the authors and jurors but mostly accepting what he said as either a sad gesture by an old man, a hilarious and miserable rant, or valuing that at least someone cares that much–even wishing someone would go equally ballistic about a different award. There is a marked lack of viciousness–and what he said was every bit as bad as some of the stuff that gets Requires Only That You Hate a fever pitch of loathing and seething fury just about every time she posts.

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Continuum 7 – The End

After a lovely dinner with the SuperNOVA crew, I lingered for the C8 launch and discovered that the Guests of Honour were rather exciting, Kelly Link and Alison Goodman, with the Fan GoH being Sue Ann Barber. So, that gives us all something to look forward to!

After that I went and sat in:

In the style of…
Just what would The Matrix look like in the style of a Jane Austen novel? Or Lord of the Rings as a sitcom? High-speed, high-silliness, competitive improvisation.
Danny Oz, Steve Cameron, Alice Clarke, Terry Frost, David Innes, Peter Marz, Heath Miller

I thought I was going to damage myself laughing at one point, it was absolutely hilarious. Improv, when done well, is one of my favourite things and this was done well. My particular favourite was X Men in the style of Iron Chef, with a cook off between Magneto and Cyclops.

After that, a few of us took Cat Valente to a local pub for some drinks, and then a few of us spent some time in one of the committee member’s room discussing a interesting range of subjects, all the way from purity rings to Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

The next day I was getting extremely nervous as I was moderating a panel for the first time, and it wasn’t any ordinary panel.

Goodbye Sarah Jane
For a whole generation of Doctor Who fans, she defined what a Companion should be. Join us as we share our favourite moments, discuss what made Sarah Jane Smith so memorable and say goodbye to the incomparable Elisabeth Sladen.
David McDonald, Ben McKenzie, Danny Oz, Candice Schilder

This was something I didn’t want to get wrong, because I knew not only was it important to me, but to a lot of others. In the end though, my nerves were misplaced as an excellent team on the panel made it a breeze to moderate, and it turned out to be a lovely time of celebrating a life well lived, with tears and laughter and lots of audience participation.

I then took a long, leisurely lunch with my friends from SuperNOVA and enjoyed being able to relax in the knowledge that it was all over as far as places I HAD to be from here on in.

After the closing ceremony, the last lingering remnants retired to the bar for drinks and I did head out to the dead dog party, but I was so exhausted I was happy to get home and to bed pretty early.

All in all it was an amazing couple of days and the organisers should be very proud of themselves. The GoHs were excellent, very accessible and with lots of useful and fascinating things to say. It was probably more fan than writer orientated than Swancon was, but I still picked a lot of things that will improve my writing and made some useful contacts.  Most importantly, though, I got to spend time with old friends and meet a whole heap of new ones.

Oh, and I have decided I have to go to Conflux now, I can’t wait any longer than that for my Con fix!

Continuum 7 – My con so far

Just a quick update of how Continuum is going so far. I am doing this from a dilapidated net kiosk, so you will have to forgive me if it isn’t a work of art, and for any spelling errors with names.

Last night didn’t get off the the best of starts. With my panel starting at 7pm I had planned on arriving about 6pm so I could meet my fellow panelists. Due to some unforeseen circumstances and horrendous traffic, I walked in 6:55pm! Fortunately, it was all very casual, and when really well. Danny and Hespa were in fine form and it really just flowed. We had about 25 there I think, though I am not sure how many were only first time goers!

After that, I watched Jack Dann and Richard Harland compete to see who was the craziest at the launch of “Liberator”, which made for a very entertaining time. I think Richard won after he managed to get a surprising amount of his body into a small wastepaper basket.

Then it was time for the Chronos Awards. I had planned on tweeting it award by award, but Alex (of Galactic Suburbia fame) gave a demonstration of how its done, beating me to the punch each time…even when she won her awards and had to get up the front and back! I soon admitted defeat (plus I realised that getting people’s twandles right is a required part of the process).

The winners were:

Best Long Fiction: Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott (Pan MacMillan Australia)
Best Short Fiction: “Her Gallant Needs”, Paul Haines (Sprawl,Twelfth Planet Press)
Best Artwork: Australis Imaginarium cover, Shaun Tan (FableCroft Publishing)
Best Fan Writer: Alexandra Pierce
Best Fan Written Work: “Review: The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick”, Alexandra Pierce
Best Fan Artwork: Continuum 6 Props, Rachel Holkner
Best Fan Publication: Live Boxcutters Doctor Who at AussieCon IV, Josh Kinal and John Richards
Best Achievement: Programming: AussieCon IV, Sue Ann Barber and Grant Watson

All very deserving winners, and great to see the strong SuperNOVA representation.

There was a chance to admire Rachel Holkner’s sterling work on the Conquilt (who can’t be praised enough!), and we then had the presentation of the A. Betram Chandler award. If you hadn’t been at Swancon, the run down of Paul Collin’s illustrious career would have been most informative.

Speaking of Paul Collins, there was then the launch of his latest book, with Sean McMullen.

As I had an airport dropoff early the next morning, I decided it was time to call it a night.

This morning, we had another Con101 panel. There was only a few people compared to the Friday one, but it was still enjoyable.

I got into Cat Valente’s GoH speech just as she started reading her piece, “13 Ways of Looking at Space Time”. I wasn’t familiar with it, and I have to say it blew me away as I have never heard anything like it. I am still processing it so, to be honest, I can’t even say whether I actually liked it or not because it was just so different than anything I have come across. Really brilliant.

She came across as interesting and entertaining during the Q and A session afterwards, and I am now determined to check out some of her writing.

By that point I was starving, so together with some of the SuperNOVA crew I went and grabbed some lunch across the road.

So far I am having a brilliant time, made some new friends and caught with some old ones.

And…that’s it for now 🙂 I will try and update again tomorrow, and hopefully be able to rave about the panels I am heading to this afternoon.