The Saturday Panel Lives

After some hard work by the programming team, the “What Do We Look for in a Fanzine?” panel has been re-constituted as a fully-online event. It will be in Harris at 10:00am EST (15:00 UK). The description for it is as follows:

Everyone on this panel writes fanzines. What that means has changed over the years, but they are all passionate about them. The panel will talk about what excites them, what delights them, and what makes them nominate something for a Hugo.

The panelists are: Erin Underwood, Guy Herbert Lillian, Jaroslav Olša, Jr., Joe Sherry and Sarah Gulde; and the moderator is me.

Tune in tomorrow.

Worldcon Starts Tomorrow

Well that crept up on me. It is all too easy to miss the excitement when you don’t have to travel to the convention. But Worldcon does start tomorrow, and I have panels. The schedule that I was given is as follows:

  • Wednesday 15th 16:00, Kress Room: Fanzines and Meta Fandom
  • Thursday 16th 10:00, Kress Room: Planning and Running a Virtual Fan Event
  • Saturday 18th 10:00, Calvert Room: What Do We Look for in a Fanzine?

Those time are for Washington DC. For UK times add 5 hours.

The first two of those are definite. The Saturday one may not happen for me because it has not been scheduled as a virtual event. I don’t know how that managed to fall through the cracks, but watch this space.

Of course I will also be online on Saturday night because I have a Hugo to lose. I shall be sad for my CoNZealand Fringe pals, but Related Work is a very tough field this year.

By the way, I see that Twitter is busy discussing accessibility issues again this year. This is not good, obviously, but it is hard to see what can be done.

Worldcon facility contracts are a big deal and are generally signed soon after a Worldcon wins site selection. If the facility isn’t accessible at the point, there’s very little you can do.

So we should only be picking sites that are accessible. And people do ask questions about this at bidder presentation sessions, but there are lots of other things that people care about in terms of site selection. In any case, the bidders have probably taken the facility’s world about it being accessible, and haven’t sent a team of experts to inspect it.

OK, so maybe all bidders should be more responsible and ensure that their facilities are accessible before they start. But finding a local facility that is the right size and affordable is really hard, and fan groups are unlikely to decide not to bid if their accessibility isn’t up to scratch.

Besides which, they don’t have to care, in that they are only in this for one year, and if they screw up it doesn’t matter because it will be Worldcon that gets the bad rap, not the people who failed to run it well enough.

The bottom line is that accessibility is never going to be done right except by good fortune, or because we have a group of people who are responsible for running Worldcon year after year and see such issues as important.

Settling In

As is the way of things with convention trips to other time zones, Kevin and I are now more or less used to Canadian time (in my case helped by their clocks going back on Sunday morning), but it is now time to start adjusting to our home time zones again.

We are settling in to Montréal in other ways too. We are eating very well, and have found the local farmers’ market so that we can sample the native cheeses. This one was rather good. We are a little hobbled due to the absence of the excellent Scott Edelman, but we shall do our best to channel his enthusiasm for fine dining and find some where spectacular to eat. We are in Montréal, that should’t be hard.

Another way in which we are getting acclimatised is that we are making like proper Canadians and going everywhere we can underground. This isn’t actually necessary. The weather has been fabulous — mostly in single digits but only very slightly negative overnght. But the underground routes are there for a reason and we are (re-)learning to use them. There’s no particular need for a coat.

I say “re-learning” because of course we learned all this in 2009 when we were here for Worldcon. This morning our route to breakfast took us past the convention center, and the fabulous Embassy Suites where Sissy Pantelis and I spent a happy week luxuriating in a superb hotel room. I want to stay in that hotel again.

However, all too soon it will be time to head home. We’ve done departure tests (though it looks like you don’t actually need one for the UK until after you have arrived, because the UK government is really keen on people spreading COVID as widely as possible). I shall have to find an excuse to come back.

My World Fantasy Schedule

I have passed my “fit to fly” test and think that I have all of the other bits of paperwork that the Canadian government requires, so I am expecting to be flying out to Montreal tomorrow. Assuming that all goes according to plan, I will be on program at World Fantasy. Here’s what I have been scheduled for.

Friday 5th – Noon: Covid-19 and the BookWorld – Effects and Consequences
We don’t have a good picture on the consequences of the Pandemic for our industry and our genre, but the effects are huge, and they’re continuing to unfold, and will likely continue to unfold for years, with massive effects on the stability of writing as a career, on small presses, on major publishers, on printers, supply chains, on bookstore chains and independents, marketing, ebooks and audiobooks, and the industry at large.
With Joshua Palmatier, Ashley Hisson, Deanna Sjolander & Julie E. Czerneda

Saturday 6th – Noon: Works in Translation
The world of fantasy has many languages and translation is an important part of making literature available to a larger audience. The panel will discuss the challenges of translating a work from one language to another.
With Jean-Louis Trudel, Mathieu Lauzon-Dicso, Eugenia Triantafyllou

The Covid panel is in person only, but the translation one is hybrid, meaning that at least one of the panel will be attending virtually. The panel should be visiable to anyone with a virtual membership.

BristolCon Programme

No sign of a government u-turn as yet, so here’s my schedule for BristolCon. First up I am on this:

Panel Room 2: 13:00 – We’ve been ret-conned again!

Does the body of work always belong to the author, or can it be removed from them and become a readership property? From film directors issuing recuts, reworkings, removing originals from print, to the issues of author bigotry the panel discusses who truly owns a work of fiction once it’s been published and who controls it’s authority

Cheryl Morgan, S. Naomi Scott, R B (Rosa) Watkinson, Justin Lee Anderson , Kevlin Henney (M)

And then I am moderating this:

Panel Room 1: 16:00 – Why is there no democracy in epic fantasy?

The genre is still in thrall to the lure of kings and queens and dynastic power, let alone the Chosen One who’s just plain better than you. Where is the voice of the people and the emergence of democracy?

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Juliet E McKenna, Kate Macdonald, Justin Lee Anderson , Cheryl Morgan (M)

Both panels look like being a lot of fun. The rest of the time I will be in the Dealers’ Room. See some of you there.

Coronavirus – Day #567

This is about the time when I’d be telling you about my programming assignments for BristolCon and World Fantasy. However, I have no idea whether I will be at either of them.

Here’s the problem. COVID infections have been rising rapidly in the UK over the last couple of weeks. We are now over 50,000 new cases every day. For comparison, that’s roughly where we were at Christmas last year.

The government says that it is not worried, because the death rate is very low. It is just over 100 a day, which compares very well to the over 600 a day we were seeing last Christmas. Vaccines work. Of course 100 deaths a day is still horrific, but the government is very happy with it. Their ideology states that anyone who dies was obviously weak and not worth saving.

So a death rate of 100 a day isn’t going to result in any change in government policy. Probably 200 a day won’t either. But that’s not the number I’m watching. The key indicator is the number of people admitted to hospital, because that tells you whether the NHS is likely to be overloaded. That number has been rising steeply through October, and is roughly tracking the level we had last winter. That’s not good.

It doesn’t help that the situation here in the South West is far worse than the national average. This is in large part because one of the testing labs that serves the region had been discovered to be returning a large number of false negatives. This is apparrently what happens when you hand out government contracts on the basis of who you know and how much they donate to Tory Party funds, rather than their ability to do the job. Anyway, lots of people around here who had COVID were told they didn’t, and as a result infections have skyrocketed.

Right now the government is trying to bluster its way through the situation. They insist that there is nothing to worry about. This is rather like when a football club says that it has total confidence in the manager. You know that a dramatic u-turn is coming soon.

There’s also the attitude of other countries to consider. Morocco closed its borders to the UK last night. Other countries are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks. Canada might be one of them.

I’m still planning to go to both conventions, but anything could happen between now and the end of the month.

Green Men at BristolCon


Yes folks, BristolCon is fast approaching, and I will be in the Dealers’ Room with lots of lovely books for you to buy.

The book that will probably be most in demand is The Green Man’s Challenge. I should have enough paperbacks, but if you want a hardcover it would be best to reserve one. Equally if you want a copy of something else that is low on stock.

Anyway, the bookstore now sells paper books to UK customers. Mostly that means postage, but if you expect the pick up the book at a con then just select that delivery option instead. Please check any books that you want, because the website does have stock levels so it is easy to see if anything is in short supply.

Did I mention that you get a free copy of the ebook if you buy a paper book direct from us?

See (some of) you at BristolCon.

Octocon This Weekend

Ireland’s national SF&F convention will be taking place virtually again this year. It is free to attend, and there is a lot going on. Details are available here.

I am on two panels. They are as follows.

Saturday, 21:00 How Not to Code Your Non-Humans
Writers often use traits of neurodiverse, non-binary, queer or disabled people as blueprints for their aliens, robots and monsters, but don’t allow their humans to share these characteristics. How can we build both human and non-human characters to exhibit a wide range of identities without resorting to mere ambiguous coding or else to using racist, sexist or other bigoted stereotypes?
With: Faranae, Kat Dodd, Angeline B. Adams & S.L. Dove Cooper

Sunday, 15:00 Uncovering the Hidden Treasures of the Past
Science fiction as a genre looks to the future, but authors of the past can still have a lot to say to us even though their work may have fallen out of print and become a distant memory. Why have some writers and works been consigned to the vaults of history while others have remained on the shelves, and what would our panel most like to see restored from the archives?
With: Ian Moore, Michael Carroll, Cora Buhlert & Deirdre Thornton

I will also be available in the Wizard’s Tower Press channel of the convention’s Discord.

Juliet McKenna is doing a couple of panels on Saturday, and a reading on Sunday.

As far as the rest of the programme goes, I’m looking forward to the great Shelly Bond talking about editing comics, Gillian Polack’s talk on Food in Fantasy, and S.L. Dove Cooper on Asexuality in SF&F. The full schedule is available here.

Hopefully I will see some of you there.

HFRN 2022 – Call for Papers

The Historical Fictions Research Network (of which I am a Trustee) has elected to hold their 2022 conference entirely online. The situation with the pandemic is too confused for us to be able to make any other plans.

Of course the great thing about being online is that we can get papers from all over the world. As with this year, we are aiming to schedule timeslots that will allow everyone from New Zealand to California to particpate.

The dates of the conference will be February 19-20.

Our keynote speakers will be:

  • The George Padmore Institute: An archive, educational resource and research centre housing materials relating to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe.
  • Amy Tooth Murphy: A Trustee of the Oral History Society and a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the blog Notches: (re)marks on the history of sexuality. Dr. Murphy will be talking about her project on the oral history of the Butch Community.

The Conference Registration Fee for this year is £75 for regulars and £40 for concessions (PhD students, low-income). Tickets are available here.

Paper proposals are due 1st September 2021: they should consist of a title, and up to 250 words abstract. The decisions on acceptance would be communicated by 1st November 2021. All papers will be delivered live and we will schedule across time-zones.

The theme of the 7th annual conference of the Historical Fictions Research Network is “Communities” and spans a wide array of topics across the disciplines of Archaeology, Architecture, Literature, Art History, Cartography, Geography, History, Memory Studies, Musicology, Reception Studies, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Museum Studies, Media Studies, Politics, Re-enactment, Larping, Gaming, Transformative Works, Gender, Race, Queer studies.

For the 2022 conference, HFRN seeks to engage in scholarly discussions and deliberations on how communities construct their own pasts; how different versions of the past are used to create – or question – a national memory and identity; how communities challenge the narratives that have been foisted upon them or are used to oppress and discriminate; how communities challenge their own consensual understandings of their past; or how a re-evaluation of the past and past events may change a communities’ self-image. We welcome paper proposals across historical periods, with ambitious, high-quality, interdisciplinary approaches and new methodologies that will support research into larger trends, and which will lead to more theoretically informed understandings of the mode across historical periods, cultures, and languages.

The conference will prioritize (but will not be necessarily limited to) the following thematic strands:

  • Past, Present and the community writing
  • Literature, Language, and community building
  • Historical Fiction, Gaming and Community
  • Gender Writings, Health and Community
  • Textual retellings, revisions, and Community construction
  • COVID, Community and resilience
  • Queer Space and community development
  • Social Media and digital communities
  • Web series, Film adaptation and community
  • Memory, community, and identity
  • Ecological writings and community
  • Community, worldbuilding and historical imagination
  • Cultural histories of communities
  • War, Migration, and community restoration
  • National memories and identities

Each presentation will be of 20 minutes followed by an interaction session.

To register your interest in presenting a paper, please fill in this form.

Visit our website for more details and regular updates. You can also email us.

Clevedon Tomorrow

This is a reminder that Juliet McKenna and I will be in Clevedon tomorrow for their literary festival. Juliet is appearing on the Fantasy Fringe panel at 3:30pm, but the lovely people from Books on the Hill, who are organising that event, have a stall there all day, so I’ll be going over early to give them some books to sell.

Mind you, given that Clevedon is a seaside town, and the weather is forecast to be excellent, I might not be at the venue all day. A little bit of breathing in of sea air might be necessary.

WiFi SciFi Returns


In theory today is Hug Day in the UK, the day when we are finally allowed to hug other people. In practice, of course, COVID restrictions have been getting gradually looser for some time, and both the infection rate and death rate are now on an upward curve. Everyone is hoping that that the vaccination programme will mean that things don’t get out of hand again.

In the meantime, virtual events continue to be staged, and that includes a return for our very own WiFi SciFi. What’s more, we are full-on international now, with a whole bunch of guests from across the Atlantic. It should be fun. It will be on May 29th at 5:00pm, UK time. And it is free. Welcome, one and all. Full details of all the fabulous guests (and me) are available here.

Coronavirus – Day #398

Slowly but surely, infection and death rates continue to fall, at least they do in this country. Are we getting back to normal? How would we tell?

Well, one of the potential signs is people feeling confident enough to hold coventions. Not here, just now, I hasten to add, but this year’s Eurocon, to be held in Fiuggi, Italy, has announced that they have permssion to go ahead. Their dates are July 15-18.

Data point: infection rates in Italy are currently four times what they are in the UK. That’s not huge. The USA and France are much higher, and India is off the scale, but it is still an interesting level of confidence from their government.

Currently us Brits are forbidden from going on foreign holidays (unless we are very rich or related to a Cabinet minister). We are due an announcement on the 17th about possible loosening of those restrictions. Whether Italy will be on the list of permitted destinations is another matter.

Am I going? I don’t have a clue. It would be lovely, but I haven’t had my second vaccination yet and I would not put it past our disaster of a government to suddenly stop second injections for anyone they deem expendable so that can save a bit of money. Ordinarily wild horses couldn’t stop me from taking a trip to Rome, but these days going anywhere still seems potentially unwise. FantasyCon in Birmingham in September seems like a more realstic goal.

Thank You, Relampeio

As best as I can gather from social media, you folks are spending the holiday weekend either at Eastercon, at Norwescon, or at both. (Or possibly you are on Facebook complaining about how much you hate online conventions.) I’m not at any of these, mainly because I’m on call for jury service at the moment and this weekend is one time that I know I can get a bunch of work done without having to worry about being called away. However, I did make an exception for Relampeio, because when you get invited to be a guest at a convention in Brazil you obviously say yes.

As a result, last night I spent a couple of hours online with some fabulous people, and had a great conversation. We did a panel titled, Dissident Bodies in Science Fiction, which covered all sorts of ways in which a body can be viewed as less than human, or as inhuman.

With me on the panel were Samuel Muca, who is a podcaster, literary critic and eco-Socialist activist. He’s also blind. Thiago Ambrósio Lage is a lecturer in biotechnology, a writer, and proudly gay. And Járede Oliver is a lecturer in Social Anthropology. We had a great chat, and it is available for reply on YouTube.

The introduction and farewell are in Portuguese, but the rest of the panel is in English. I understand that that was live translation going on, but we were backstage in StreamYard so we didn’t get to see any of that.

And if you enjoyed that, why not check out the rest of the Relampeio feed, which includes events with Chen Qiufan and Nisi Shawl, plus one this evening with Amal El-Mohtar.

History Month Round-Up

Well, that’s over for another year. History Month is great fun, but exhausting.

A lot of people have been asking about recordings of my talks. There aren’t any. There are two reasons for this. The first is copyright. If you are giving a talk to a small audience then it is generally OK to use images that are of uncertain provenance. If you make something available for free online that’s very different, especially for places like museums and heritage properties. So we err on the side of caution.

Reason two is the transphobia that is rampant in the UK these days. At least one of the events I was involved with this year had people try to shut it down. A recording that is freely available online is a magnet for anti-trans trolls, and I’m not surprised that organisations don’t want to have to deal with that.

However, if you missed everything, then there is one recording that you can watch. The lovely people at A New Normal wanted to do an interview with me, so I sat down with Theo, their social media guru, and we recorded this.

There is one more video yet to come. Dan Vo has been doing some work with National Galleries Scotland on their Ray Harryhausen exhibition. There will be three videos, but there’s a lot of editing to be done and currently only the one with John Johnston is online. He’s talking fairly generally about Harryhausen, including the Sinbad films and Jason and the Argonauts. It is worth a watch.

My film (assuming that Dan can find something useable in the material we recorded) will be about Medusa, who is totally a feminist icon (and possibly a trans one too).

Finally while I am here, the Call for Papers for next year’s Historical Fictions Research Network conference is available. The theme is Communities, and we very much hope to be in person in London. Full details here.

A Worldcon in December

Vaccines for COVID-19 are finally starting to be rolled out in some countries, but it will be a very long time before everyone can be inocculated, and before we know how long it is efffective. Events trying to plan for 2021 are still in a very difficult position.

In view of this, the 2021 Worldcon, DisCon III, is giving people a choice. They can run a primarily virtual event on their expected dates; or they can move to mid-December when they believe that an in-person event will be safe to hold. You can register your opinion here.

Obviously I voted for a virtual event, because I cannot travel to the USA, so I can only attend Worldcon if it is virtual. I’m sure that is the case for many other people too.

On the other hand, I know that most Worldcon regulars view the event as an opportunity to meet up with friends, and thus for them an in-person event is the only option that fits the bill.

The obvious solution is to run some sort of hybrid event, and DisCon III has held out the possibility of some online programming even if they move to December. However, they haven’t specified what form that will take. And at SMOFcon over the weekend there was a substantial core of people who were dead set against running hybrid conventions.

I don’t want to go into the hows and whys of hybrid cons now. I’ll save that for this month’s Salon Futura. I will note that we are committed to running a hybrid event for Westercon 74. Also, if you are someone who cannot attend Worldcon regularly in person, but would like the opportunity to do so virtually, please fill out the DisCon III survey and let them know.

The way in which big conventions this year have become genuinely international has been a delight. It would be a shame if major events such as Worldcon and World Fantasy forgot that and went back to being conventions only for those who can afford to attend in person. Of course if they do then the future of fandom will shift to events such as FIYAHCON and FutureCon, because the future will happen, regardless of whether people want it to or not.

I believe that the deadline for responding to the DisCon III poll is 5:00pm EST today. Sorry about the short notice.

Geek and Trans

As anyone who is on social media will know, this week is #TransAwarenessWeek, which basically means that us trans folk have to be aware that everyone will be looking at us more for a whole seven days. Eeek!

But this week is also the week of Trans Pride South West. There will be a (virtual) parade and community day on Saturday. I will, as usual, be helping host the Trans Day of Remembrance event on Friday. And during the week the TPSW team have been putting on a number of virtual events. One of them is called Geek and Trans: Talks about Geek Culture, Conventions and Gender Identity. It is hosted by my friend Nathan, and I am one of the people that he chose to interview about being trans in the geek community.

I’ve just finished watching it, and Nathan has done a great job getting some really interesting people on the show. He’s also edited my contribution beautifully (which I can say as I know what it was like raw). It is also not too embarrassing, so I’m OK sharing it with you. Here you go:

World Fantasy Schedule

My appeal for people to complain to the World Fantasy Board about failings in this year’s convention seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I’m not entirely surprised. Fandom generally prefers to blame other fans when things go wrong, rather than the people whose fault it is, and who might be able to change things.

That left this year’s WFC badly short of knowledgeable panelists. So I had a choice: either join the boycott and let this year’s ConCom take the rap, or accept panel slots and use the platform to talk about why this year’s original programme descriptions were so bad in the hope that someone might actually take note.

There were a whole bunch of things that informed my decision. High on the list was the fact that the convention told me that they had a lot more international members this year. WFC is very expensive and almost always in North America. If going virtual this year meant lots of new members from around the world, I wanted to be able to talk to those people.

I confess also to wanting to rub certain people’s noses in it. The usual rule for WFC is that no one gets more than one panel slot. This year I have three. Take that, Steve Jones! Doubtless this will be an excuse for him to declare this year’s convention the new “Worst WFC Ever!”

Another important factor was that I got offered a panel on small press publishing, and I have a duty to my authors to promote them were possible.

Anyway, here’s what I am doing. All times are US Mountain Time.

Queering Fantasy
Date and Time: Thursday Oct 29, 4:00 p.m.
Panelists: S. Qiouyi Lu, Jerome Stueart (M), Cheryl M. Morgan
This is the one that originally had a trans-exclusionary description. Kudos to Jerome for writing something much more interesting.

Tropes and Archetypes
Date and Time: Friday Oct 30, 3:00 p.m.
Panelists: Kryssa Stevenson, Sarah Beth Durst, Cheryl M. Morgan, Sharon Shinn
This one was originally a “women in fantasy” panel. I’m pleased to see that the new description actually addresses one of the issues that causes the problem. Mythology and folklore are full of misogynistic tropes and archetypes.

Small Press Impact: Great Books Not Published by the Big Five
Date and Time: Saturday Oct 31, 2:00 p.m.
Panelists: Yanni Kuzia (M) Cherise Papa, Kathryn Sullivan, J.R.H. Lawless, Cheryl M. Morgan
Yanni is with Subterranean, so from my point of view I am totally playing with the big boys here.

The full panel descriptions are available here.

Of course WFC is expensive, so most of you won’t get to see me in action. I’m hoping that you might hear about it, though.

Another Year, Another World Fantasy Debacle

As we approach Hallowe’en, regular as clockwork, it seems, people start complaining about the current World Fantasy Convention. This year, despite the con having gone virtual, is no exception.

I need to start with a little personal context. On October 4th I received an invitation to be on programme. It was for a “women in” type panel. The panel description seemed pretty dumb, but I could see how a panel could make interesting things out of it so I said yes.

However, I also checked out the other panel descriptions. I didn’t read them all closely, but I did look at the LGBT panel and I could immediately see that it would be seen as transphobic. It being my job to do this sort of thing, I added a polite note to my acceptance explaining the problem and suggesting that they re-word it before people on social media noticed. I did not get a reply.

I spent much of the next week or so concentrating on doing promotion for Aleksandar’s book, and attending Eurocon and Octocon. I noticed a few rumblings, including Tempest Bradford holding forth in fine style, but didn’t notice any more.

Then yesterday I noticed that WFC had posted an official apology for a whole lot of unspecified mistakes, and that a lot of the programme descriptions had been re-written, including the one I had been asked to be on. I also discovered that at least 7 people had withdrawn from programming at the convention in protest at its lack of sensitivity to diversity issues. Several of them were good friends of mine.

As it happens, although I thought I had confirmed my willingness to be on panel, no one from WFC has been in touch to explain about the change of panel description. So now I am not entirely sure whether I am still on panel. In any case, I am considering my position.

As I noted above, this sort of thing does tend to happen every year (Tempest’s post has a timeline of WFC debacles). Like Worldcon, WFC is run by a different group of fans in a different city each year. But unlike Worldcon, WFC does actually have management. There is actually a “They” who are responsible for it, and who could in theory make changes if they wanted to. World Fantasy has a Board of Directors.

Not being on the inside of this year’s WFC, I don’t know who put the programme together. I do know that the last time I was heavily involved (the 2009 World Fantasy, which was run by San Franciso Science Fiction Conventions Inc.) the creation of the programme was the element that was most ruthlessly micromanaged by the Board. Things may be different now, so I can’t be certain where the blame lies.

However, the Board does have responsibility in another way. They are the people who select bids to run WFC. So if the fan groups who run the convention keep screwing up, that must be because the Board is selecting the wrong people to run it. The Board is also responsible for the fact that this “World” convention hardly ever leaves North America. (The Brighton WFC only happened because Steve Jones was a Board member and was able to persuade them to let him run it.)

So here’s my point. The folks in Utah may have screwed up. They may also have been trying to run a convention with one hand held behind their backs by the WF Board. That was certainly the case for us with San José in 2009. I am absolutely up for supporting a boycott, provided that it is the Board that is the target. I want them to accept responsibility for this year’s mess, rather than leave it to the Utah con chair to carry the can. I want them to commit to change, at a Board level. And I want a promise that they will work with next year’s WFC in Montréal to make significant improvements. Because if all we do is yell at the Utah folks this year, and the Montréal folks next year, and so on, nothing will ever change.

This is your chance, fandom. You keep complaining that “They” should fix Worldcon, even though you know that there is no “They” with the power to do it, at least not in the short term. “They” should fix World Fantasy too, and in this case They exist. Here they are. They even have a convenient email address for you to write to.

Please don’t hassle individuals. I know nothing about the internal workings and politics of the WF Board. Some of the members may have more power than others, and some may be as upset about the state of things as we are. Some of them are friends of mine, so I very much hope that they are. This is a matter for the Board collectively. It needs to act.

Octocon Happened

Another convention done. I didn’t see a lot of it due to the OutStories Bristol AGM and there being a Grand Prix on the weekend, but the Octocon folks have done a superb job of getting their content available for viewing by those people who missed it. All of the links are here. My panel was Better With Age, which was on Sunday at 10:00am.

Large parts of the convention were on Zoom run through Twitch. The use of Twitch was partly because such services make it easier to control the streaming, and I suspect it also helped with getting the content available.

One of the elements that wasn’t on Twitch was the parties. I attended the Glasgow in 2024 and Dead Dog parties, as did Kevin because it was a virtual convention and being in Nevada is no more of a barrier than being in the UK. There may have been whiskey.

Many thanks to my Irish pals for a fun weekend. Hopefully I will be able to visit Dublin again soon.

Octocon Schedule

October is pretty full-on when it comes to conventions. Last weekend it was Eurocon, this weekend Octocon, the FIYAHcon, a weekend off (I think) and World Fantasy. FIYAHcon is the only one I’m not on programme for.

You can find the full Octocon schedule here. The programme item I am doing is:

Sunday Oct. 11th – 10:00am
Better With Age – Older Characters in SFF
There’s a lot to be said for – and by – characters with life experience, so why are fantasy and science fiction so often focused on those who have none? What is lost by pigeon-holing or even ignoring the wisdom of age, and what can be gained when we include the full spectrum of age and experience in our fiction?
Ian McDonald, Cheryl Morgan (m), Gillian Polack, Marguerite Smith

I’ll have to miss some of Saturday due to the OutStories Bristol AGM, but hopefully I will be back in (virtual) Dublin in time for Juliet’s reading.

This will be the first virtual convention I’ve seen that is being streamed through Twitch. I will be interested to see how it stacks up against StreamYard, which we used for CoNZealand Fringe.