Posts tagged #fandom

My ConFusion 2015 Schedule

This Thursday, I'm headed to fabulous Detroit for ConFusion, which is without a doubt my favorite annual Science Fiction and Fantasy convention.

Here's where you can find me at the con:

5PM Friday - What About Peaceful Societies? - Erie Room
Utopias are often described to be perfect, peaceful societies. Peaceful societies in Sci-Fi are almost without fail a reference to enforced peace and a situation to be escaped from - the dystopic novel. But what happens to peaceful societies that aren't part of a dystopia world? Can any society truly be peaceful? And what's the conflict worth writing about in an inherently peaceful society?

10AM Sat - We Have Alwats Fought (In Real Armor) - Michigan Room
When it comes to armor, women in genre fiction tend to get the short end of--well, everything. We’ll look at real women’s armor from history through the present day, and discuss how to design science fiction and fantasy armor for women that’s as impressive as it is protective.

5PM Sat - Clothing Your Characters - Warren Room
They say ‘clothes make the man,’ but they also make his physical and social world. Help our panel of writers and costumers build and dress a fictional world, and learn how you can use costume details to enhance the depth and verisimilitude of your work.

7PM Sat - The Masquerade!
I'm helping out behind the scenes at this year's masquerade. If you're coming and you're into costumes, I really encourage you to enter--we have an excellent lineup of judges, and our prizes include a free ticket to next year's ConFusion. It's a great show.

11AM Sun - Costuming From Ink and Pixel - Allen Park Room
From anime to comic books to CGI and video games, animated worlds are full of iconic, stylish characters. But it often takes a little work to translate their costumes into the real world. Come learn how to examine your source material to choose the right fabric, colors, and construction techniques to bring your favorite animated characters to life.

ConFusion has a reputation for taking good care of guests and putting on a great con. I'm really looking forward to hanging out with friends from cons past and meeting fabulous new people.

Will I see you there?

Posted on January 14, 2015 .

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On Not Creeping: Fan Edition

Tsssss....
Tsssss....

I'm at CapClave this weekend (about which more later; I'm having a great time), which has helped me distill some of my thoughts on Fan Creeping. As a relatively-young woman with a relatively-large personal and social space bubble, I don't worry much about accidentally sexually harassing people. But fan creeping? The fine art of making the smile freeze on the face of a famous or influential person? Yeah. Pretty sure I've done that. And it's a little mortifying when I realize I've done it.

John Scalzi is here as CapClave's author guest of honor (and I know that by typing his name, I'm invoking the Law of Scalzi*, so hi Scalzi!).

Yesterday, my spouse and I spotted him in the hotel bar, as we were wandering past.

"That's John Scalzi," said Spouse.

"Yup," I said.

"You should go say hi."

I glanced back over at Scalzi. He was surrounded by a crowd of people I didn't know, and sunk so far down into his armchair that I could barely see the top of his head.

"Nope," I said.

"But he knows you," said Spouse.

My spouse is a sweetheart, but overstates my relationship with John Scalzi. I'm a regular commenter on Whatever, and Scalzi and I have met enough times that he recognizes me when I see him, but he and I are not buddies. He's polite to me in the way famous people are polite to their fans, and I sincerely hope I don't inflict upon him that sense of social dread we all get when we see That Guy Who Thinks We're Friends. In service of not becoming one of Scalzi's Guys Who Think We're Friends, I'm not going to approach him while he's talking to people I've not met, and hang awkwardly around the edge of the circle like a fart everyone's pretending not to smell.

It's harder for me around Quakers. My mother is something of a Name among Quakers, to the extent that I grew up accustomed to random strangers approaching me and telling me they've 'known' me since I was X weeks/months/years old. You'd think this would make me more sensitive to the concept of the one-way relationship that can develop between the public and those in the public eye, but it's actually kind of messed me up. I've gotten so used to people doting on me for my mother's sake that I've lost any sense of social decorum around walking up to other Big Name Quakers and expecting to be treated as part of their circle.

This may have been endearing when I was a child, but now that I'm a grown woman, not so much. This summer, I walked up to two of the biggest Names at a Quaker gathering and asked them if I could join them for lunch. They were very nice about telling me to go the hell away, because they're very nice people. That was a bit of a wake-up call (paging Annalee--your party is waiting for you in the Grown-*** Woman's department). So the next time I was at a Quaker event where there was a Name present, I tried my best to stay the heck away from her outside of my capacity as event staff. She came over to say hi to me at one point; we caught up, then I left her alone some more.

The thing I try to keep in mind when dealing with famous people, for whatever value of 'famous' is relevant to the context, is that they're 'on' when they're talking to people who have a one-way relationship with them. Most of them are good-natured people who are inclined to be kind to fans just for kindness's sake, but in many cases, being kind is usually also an important part of their public brand. A science fiction author can do just fine if they never go to conventions, but if they show up at conventions and don't put on their Author Face for fans, they're likely to get a bad reputation that might affect them professionally. Big Name Quakers don't have public brands in the same way, but in many cases they know they're going to end up having to work with me on committees and things, and probably prefer not to make things awkward even if I really have it coming.

Our side of the bargain is that in exchange for their kindness, we can't ask too much of them. They've only got so much Author Face they can put on, and it's not fair to take more than our share. We also can't expect them to welcome us into the circle of people with whom they share their personal, non-brand face. If we take the kinds of liberties their friends might take (like inviting ourselves to lunch, or asking them to read our work, or just following them around like they must want to spend the whole weekend hanging out with us), then at best, we're going to see that smile freeze. At worst, we're going to creep them out badly enough that they feel the need to shut us down. Even if they're nice about it, that's mortifying for us and probably not much of a picnic for them.

*What's the Law of Scalzi? Simple. Stand in front of a blank blog post and type 'Scalzi' thrice. By the time you get to the third i, HE WILL HAVE SEEN THE POST. His massive robot army apprises him of all things.

Posted on October 14, 2012 .

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