Good Times & Bad Behavior
World Fantasy Con was pretty amazing--for me, anyway. I deeply enjoy seeing all the people I don't get to see anywhere else. My panel was pretty okay. It could've used another male on it--it would've been the "all female authors who write fantasy" panel but for the one male who was the moderator. That isn't the best look, but it's a million times better than being the only female on a "guns and industrialization in fantasy" panel and being made moderator. So, progress. My reading went well--I didn't read to an empty room. (In fact, it was pretty full.) And my room mate was awesome. (Yay Shelly Rae Clift!) All good for me. However, there was the cultural appropriation panel (that I wasn't on) with the one requisite POC author. [sigh] That train wreck is discussed elsewhere. I will add that I understand that the racist question was asked by an established author who wasn't on the panel, and all the attendees I spoke with about it were not pleased. In any case, it's good to see attitudes are changing. And yes there will be struggles against positive change. There always is. I try to look upon it as a positive sign.
Another very important thing happened: Martha Wells's speech. It was important and very powerful. I teared up. I wasn't the only one, either. It felt like the perfect thing after the train wreck panel. And it was. All in all, I think the community is moving in positive directions. It's slow, but progress generally is. That said, I'll be doing my part to nudge change along much faster from behind the scenes.
And now, a more personal report behind the cut. :)
Something important happened. Well, multiple important things happened, but the main one I'm going to talk about here is about my work.
When I first started writing I visualized the usual things like everyone does: traveling to various locals, signing books, and writing something that had the power to provoke positive change--or at least a change of mind. I never thought that would happen, necessarily, but I'd been changed by novels I'd read. I thought it a lofty goal. Well, last weekend at the signing table a Reader came to the table and told me that he'd been deeply affected by Cold Iron and Blackthorne. I thought he meant that he had fun reading it and started to chat about the fun...and then it hit me that he was serious. It made me a little nervous, I'll be honest. And then later, someone else told me that Of Blood and Honey actually changed her perspective on protest--that it made her think twice about how far she was willing to go. That there were costs for extremism and was she really ready to pay that price? I look at that as a good thing too. It was one of the reasons why I wrote what I wrote. I did and do want people to think twice about attempting to create change from outside the boundaries of law. That way is dangerous and can lead to atrocity. We have a working system. It may have broken parts. It may not be perfect. But we have a functioning system of government. My belief is that we work that system as much as humanly possible.
Anyway, both situations made me a little nervous. Then the third message from the Universe came in the form of a short story on Tor.com. (Thank you, Dimas Ilaw.) You see, there's daydreaming about your work having an effect upon Readers and then there's the reality. It's a heavy responsibility. I hadn't considered that before. And honestly, it didn't occur to me until after I spoke to my weight lifting trainer. He told me not to dismiss the feedback--that it was genuinely given and should be accepted. It was then that I understood the nervousness was me feeling that responsibility and being uncomfortable with it, but that responsibility is part of what great SF/F is all about.
Because stories are how we survive.
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is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.