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My belated Boskone post

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Boskone was a blur. This is the first time I've done programming at any con so the time just flew by. Being on panels was actually a lot of fun. The topics were interesting and my fellow panelists had interesting things to say. I caught up with a bunch of friends I otherwise don't get to meet face to face. On balance, I had a fun time.

However, I've now heard about the harassment panel both via the internet and a friend who was there. I should point out that I did not attend that panel. I was interested but couldn't go. It was at the same time as the QUILTBAG panel and I was on the QUILTBAG panel. It didn't go unremarked at the QUILTBAG panel that the two were at the same time. Due to the overlap in interest, the scheduling forced some people into a hard decision on which panel to go.

My friend was literally shaking with fury over the harassment panel. For this and other related reasons, she may never go to Boskone again. Another friend called it "Arisia for old people" (after which we went to the net to study up on the history of Boskone and Arisia).

Ultimately, I can't really disagree with either of them. Boskone definitely has its issues. I'm sure the con committee is interested in addressing them. However, it does feel like the con gets smaller and smaller every year. (I have no idea if this is literally the case.) Boskone is actually one of the first cons I'd ever attended so I can't help but be concerned.

That said, I thought the panels I was on went well. The QUILTBAG panel explored how works that may not be problematic in isolation may read that way in conversation with the rest of the field. The Doctor Who panel was just plain fun. The genre in theater panel covered a surprising breadth and I got across in my contention that, in theater, genre is just another tool in the kit. Happily, I wasn't the only one who felt this way. I discovered that I could speak more cogently about translation than I'd expected. (Secretly, I don't know that I'm ready, but I'd love to do some for real some day.)

Some of the panels I attended were terrific. Lots of interesting people saying interesting things. The panelists on the "The Paper Menagerie" panel said unfailingly deep and insightful things about the story. It was a real education in why stories work and, in particular, why *that* story packs such a wallop.

Close to the end of the session, an audience member supplied the awkward, vaguely racist moment that I had spent much of the past hour fearing. He suggested that when a person of color or a woman wins an award, one should consider that the field was weak that year. Srsly? That story? Not to mention, for example, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"? I can't even begin to...

The panel called him on it. They were much nicer to him than I think I could have been. (Note that I'm saying this as a good thing. Incoherent foaming at the mouth rage is not generally useful.)

I witness (or am the recipient of) at least one awkward, vaguely racist moment at every con I go to. This was the only one I witnessed at Boskone this year. *shrugs*

Outside of that, someone approached Jennifer Pelland and me at the con suite on Sunday to tell us that both our names came up in the panel about who to nominate for the Hugo. This was immediately after my Doctor Who panel which I think he attended. Also, I always make sure that my name tag is clearly visible at all times. It's possible he might not have mistaken me for Ken Liu (who wasn't at Boskone but whose name surely came up and will surely and deservedly be nominated for at least one Hugo if not more). So that was cool. It's certainly a first.

Also, late Saturday night, a podcast I'm a big fan of queried me to narrate a story for them. I'm thrilled. Of course, I will narrate the story for them.

So, for me, Boskone certainly ended well. I also recognize though that some of my friends had a radically different con experience. *sigh*
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On February 22nd, 2013 10:25 pm (UTC), bogwitch64 commented:
I'm so glad it was a good experience for you, John!
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