So this is my third Continuum in four years, and even in that short time the con has changed quite a bit… for the better. The programming this year was especially excellent, moving into more meaty takes on topics and the “Deep Dive” stream, which was basically two twenty-minute single-person presentations back-to-back, followed by a Q&A.
For panels this year I decided to combine my habit of sketching during the talking with my general desire to take notes/livetweet. I’m not entirely sure the end results are legible in any way, but I’ve included them below, with advanced apologies to all the panelists I attempted to draw…
Once he was established as the grandmaster of SF, and someone everyone else in the field looked up to, all Heinlein’s worst aspects came to the fore, and his books tended to consist of long speeches by middle-aged male writer characters called things like Hobert A Beinlein, explaining why capitalist libertarianism is the single best political system, why incest is a good thing not a bad one like you think, and why red-headed young women should have sex with older science fiction writers, with the other characters then commenting on how wise, clever, and sexually attractive these older writers are.
Andrew Hickey on inserts.
Also known as: Why I Never Want To Hear Anyone Whining About “Mary Sues” Written By Teenage Girls Every Again.
Joining cult-like groups happens for a reason. Good people may not see what goes on behind a false front. Casual involvement can only have the positive side. Lonely people who may not have a place in other groups can be manipulated by smooth talk. Outcasts who have earned consequences for bad behavior can find enabling from organizers who recruit them. They can feel more important by dragging others down.
Ruining things and making battle is the opposite of creative fandom. It can be important to confront bad faith and dishonesty and demand better. It can also be important to listen and give space to people questioning involvement. Nobody needs friends picked for them – it’s just good to let them know that they don’t need a cult for that. The whole fandom has plenty of better friends everywhere.
Picking better friends isn’t “policing”.
Patch O’Furr on making better spaces.
The whole article is about the work the furry community has been doing to combat the alt-fur brigade, and is an interesting read. The key take-homes are, I think, 1) to create zero-tolerance environments for hate groups and other toxic edgelords, and 2) to allow honestly repentant individuals the opportunity to disassociate from said groups and reintegrate back into the community.
Want to know why these folks [libertarians, et al.] think creativity goes away when people’s needs are fulfilled?
They think the motive is specifically profit.
Peter Coffin on creativity.
Yes, this is in response to The Last Night (that so-called cyberpunk videogame that purports Universal Basic Income as the killer of all creative output), but it’s pretty much the best summation I’ve seen of why this argument is straight-up grade-A bullshit.
For the record (and the thing you’re not “supposed” to admit): I make no significant income off my novels.1 About the only commercial benefit I get from them is that they make cons tax deductible work trips. I still write, however, because, well. I always have. And I enjoy it, so I always will. The reason I don’t write more is that I need a 40-hour-a-week day job to support myself.
See also this post, which talks about creativity and capitalism from a fannish perspective.
- That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy them; you totally should! ^
I’m a deep introvert and incredibly shy, which manifests as a kind of aloof standoffishness. Nonetheless, even I managed to accrue a circle of Con Friends, mostly thanks to being adopted by more gregarious networkers (shoutout Alex and Elizabeth). Being passive about it–with the exception of joining the local spec fic writer’s club–it took maybe two or three cons to happen, starting from a baseline of “knowing no one”. So, yeah. If you’ve never been to cons before, breaking into “the scene” is damn intimidating. But, in general, people are nice, and most of the “aloofness” is a manifestation of the exact same feelings of anxiety and shyness you’re probably having.1 So… show up, and be patient.
Incidentally, at the last Continuum I was at, they has a system of color-coded pegs you could clip to your lanyard to show how open you were to approach from new people. Pretty much the only color I saw people take was the green “come talk to me” peg. I didn’t have a peg myself, for a variety of reasons, but I’m kinda interested to know how they worked out for people…
- I’ve had conversations with people that were basically “OMG I was, like, so intimidated you seemed so cool and you knew everyone and I was scared to talk to you!” from both sides, so… y’know. ^
For my sins, this year I will be appearing on four panels. They’re gonna be great. Y’all should come see them.
- Magic systems in SF fiction: Friday, 29 September @ 10am.
- Remembering Terry Pratchett: Saturday, 30 September @ 10am.
- Reinventing the myth: Monday, 2 October @ 10:00am.
- Wonderful, wide, weird, cruel & cool (worldbuilding): Monday, 2 October @ 1:30pm.
Or, actually. you should come see all of them except the Pratchett panel. Because I am totally, 100% going to cry in that and it’s going to be awkward for everyone. And by “awkward” I mean “amazing”. It’s going to be amazing. So come along!