Category Archives: WisCon 40

A reminder from Safety

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

WisCon 40 has so far been an amazing weekend, and we hope all of you have had a wonderful three days of celebrating our Guests of Honor, reveling in our community, and dismantling the kyriarchy.

One quick reminder:  As wonderful an environment as WisCon can be, please remember that not everyone in the hotel may be here for WisCon, and be aware of your surroundings.  If you’ve had an encounter that leaves you feeling unsafe in any way, our Safety team is here for you.  The best way to reach them is via phone: 608-957-7233 (957-SAFE)

We hope the rest of your WisCon weekend is tremendous, but moreover we hope you’re safe.  Please let us know if you need anything.

Update to our Safety team’s phone number

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

We have had to quite suddenly and unexpectedly change the phone number for our Safety team.  Please make note of this new phone number:

(608) 957-7233

(That’s 957-SAFE.)

Unfortunately this has happened in the year that we added the Safety phone number to the backs of everyone’s badges.  Please take a minute to cross out the phone number on your badge and write in the number above.  There are also signs around the convention announcing the new phone number.  And remember that you can also use Safety’s online form to report an incident.

We are so, so sorry for the inconvenience!  This took us by surprise and we are working to get the information out to everyone as quickly as possible.

Pronouns: Yours, Mine, Ours

Heidi Waterhouse
SF3 Communications Committee

Hihi!  I want to take a minute to talk to you about an exciting option we’re offering at Registration this year: pronoun stickers!

We offered them last year and got a lot of reaction, so here’s the explanation:

Pronoun stickers are totally optional to wear. You don’t have to declare anything to anyone. You don’t have to wear the same sticker all weekend. These exist to make it easier for all of us to treat each other respectfully.

If someone IS wearing a pronoun sticker, we expect you will use that pronoun for them. Part of our social contract is kind and respectful treatment of each other, and there are few things that feel as terrible as being misgendered ON PURPOSE. If you make a mistake, just correct yourself and move on.

If someone is NOT wearing a pronoun sticker, the default polite behavior is to ask them what pronoun they prefer and then use that. If you don’t know and can’t ask, use the singular “they”.

We also have stickers that say “The singular they is grammatical.” Because we’re nerds like that.

No one is the pronoun police, and you’re not going to get shunned for an honest mistake, but if you persistently and deliberately misgender someone, it’s not pleasant and is sometimes a conduct violation.

If your pronoun is not represented in our pre-printed stickers, we’ll be happy to print a sticker for you custom. You can email registration now at and we’ll try to have it for you when you check in, or it may take up to a day if you ask as you check in. We’ll do our best!

We’re all looking forward to seeing you in less than a week. We hope these stickers make it easier for you to feel safe and respected. As always, if you do not feel safe and respected, please feel free to ask Safety for their help and advice.

Options. God bless WisCon. #WisCon

A photo posted by Monica Byrne (@monicabyrne13) on

Who ya gonna call? Someone with an “Ask Me” badge!

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

WisCon is a convention of hundreds of people, dozens and dozens (and dozens) of programming items, a few decades of traditions, and even several pretty brand new things.  Whew!  What’s a body to do when things are confusing and opaque?

Ask Me!  About a dozen members of WisCon’s convention-planning committee have volunteered to be wandering FAQs.  When does the Tiptree Auction start?  Where are the all-gender toilets?  Which way do I go to find the Concourse’s Assembly room??

Our Registration / Info Desk on the 2nd Floor of the Concourse is available, of course, to answer all your questions general and specific about WisCon.  And if you’re a panelist/moderator, the Green Room is at your disposal for panel-related questions.  But if the Registration Desk is closed or you just happen to see a member with an Ask Me badge while you have a question on the tip of your tongue, then please!  Go ahead and ask us.

A WisCon 40 member badge with 'Ask Me' printed in red
You can literally ask me — that’s my badge! 😀

Authors! Sign up for the SignOut


WisCon is a really great place for readers and authors to meet face-to-face.  The perfect place to do that is the SignOut on Monday.

Authors!  Would you like the opportunity to chat with your readers and sign their copies of your books/comics/video game?  The SignOut is still able to add you to the event and reserve a table for you.  Just email!

We’re even able to take your request during the convention itself, if space is still available.  So if someone spots you in a hallway and asks if you’ll be doing the SignOut, but you were too shy to sign up ahead of time?  Drop us a line!

It doesn’t matter if you’re promoting your 99th book or your very first book — the SignOut welcomes all authors who’d like to be available to sign books for readers.

WisCon very rarely has signing opportunities outside of the SignOut, and we discourage asking for signatures after panels so that the room can reset for the next panel and everyone, panelist and audience member alike, can get to their next thing.  Plus, with all authors signing in one place at the same time, for once WisCon isn’t scheduling your favorite thing exactly opposite your other favorite thing.  Everyone wins!

Your new and improved Con Suite!

Con Suite

We have gotten a lot of feedback about how to improve the Con Suite, and we’ve been working hard to incorporate your suggestions to make the Con Suite a great experience for all our members.  The Con Suite is not just about fun and hospitality — though we’re big fans of both! It’s also an important accessibility and affordability measure, because it’s a way we can make Wiscon more financially feasible for people as well as supporting folks with special dietary needs. So here’s what we have in store for you….

What to expect

Grab & Go options! If you’re in a hurry to make that next panel and you need a fast meal, we’ve got you covered. We will offer a small set of one-dish meals and quick, protein-heavy snacks pre-packaged in takeout containers. And they’ll be right by the door so you really can just grab and go!

Meaningful veg*n options! You told us last year that you wanted more vegetarian and vegan options. We heard you, and we’ve got some wonderful plant-based chow in the works! We’re especially excited about Friday night’s aloo saag (spinach and potato curry) and grab and go options like squash and bulgur salad with pumpkin seeds!

Gluten-free snacks and meals! You told us that you wanted more gluten-free (GF) options. You got it! We’ll have gluten-free options at every meal and gluten-free snacks available all the time, too.

Coffee and tea room! Need a pick-me-up? You can get your caffeine on with coffee and tea available from 8am to 1am every day in room 626!

More info about the food! We will post menus on the wall outside of the Con Suite every day. We will also have signs inside listing ingredients.

Changes in the Con Suite hours.  To improve food safety and help us stay organized to serve you better, the Con Suite will close for cleaning twice a day on Saturday and Sunday, 2pm – 4pm and 7:30pm – 8:00pm. the Con Suite will also be closed during Opening Ceremonies, Guest of Honor speeches, and award ceremonies so our volunteers don’t miss out. But we’re also open later! We’ll have snacks and drinks available until 1am Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. If this seems complicated, not to worry! the Con Suite hours will be posted outside the room and by registration on the 2nd Floor.

Comfier, more accessible space.  We want to make sure everyone can get in and out of the Con Suite easily when it’s crowded, so everyone can get what they need and then get where they need to go. So we’ll have smaller tables and more open floor space. And we’ll have a dedicated zig-zag blue tape accessibility lane that leads straight to the main meal service area. We ask that, like in the 6th Floor hallway, all members keep that lane open and available for folks trying to get something to eat rather than just hang out. There is plenty of socializing space in the rest of the the Con Suite, and we welcome you to hang out with us there as much as you like. To make it easier to understand where everything is, we will also have signs up pointing the way to our different service areas — meals, snacks, drinks, et cetera.

We hope these changes will make the Con Suite more welcoming, comfortable, and accessible for everyone. We want to keep getting better, so we welcome your continued feedback! We’ll have a suggestion box in the the Con Suite, and please keep an eye out in June for an email with our post-con survey. See you in the the Con Suite!

Menus for the weekend

Grab & Go (pre-packed in take out containers)

  • Cheezy pasta salad (vegan)
  • Squash & bulgur with pepitas (vegetarian)
  • Turkey & parmesan pasta salad
  • Two-bean quinoa salad (vegan, GF)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Hummus

Daily Breakfast

  • Coffee & tea
  • Bagels
  • Cream cheese & Tofutti spread (dairy free, vegan, & gluten free)
  • Doughnuts & Kringle
  • Cereal
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Hard boiled eggs

Friday dinner

  • Chicago style Italian beef on rolls (GF rolls available) MOVED TO SATURDAY LUNCH
  • Aloo saag/spinach & potato curry (vegan, GF) MOVED TO SATURDAY LUNCH
  • Ian’s Pizza! Expect a mix of the weird and mundane, including GF and vegan pizzas.
  • Creole roasted sweet potatoes (vegan, GF)
  • Gingered veggies (vegan, GF)

Saturday lunch

  • Chicago style Italian beef on rolls (GF rolls available) Moved from Friday dinner
  • Aloo saag/spinach & potato curry (vegan, GF) Moved from Friday dinner
  • Potato salad (vegetarian, GF)
  • Three bean salad (vegan & GF)
  • Carrot slaw (vegan & GF)
  • Jerk tofu (vegan, GF)
  • Turkey & ham cold cuts MOVED TO SATURDAY DINNER
  • Sliced cheese
  • Sandwich bread (including GF bread)
  • Sunbutter (nut free)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams & jellies

Saturday dinner

  • Ian’s Pizza! Expect a mix of the weird and mundane, including GF and vegan pizzas.  MOVED TO FRIDAY DINNER
  • Turkey & ham cold cuts Moved from Saturday lunch
  • Garlic lovers pasta salad (vegetarian, GF)
  • Kale (vegan GF)

Sunday lunch

  • Potato salad (vegetarian, GF)
  • Curried potato salad (vegan, GF),
  • Kale (vegan, GF)
  • Jerk tofu (vegan GF)
  • Turkey & ham cold cuts
  • Sliced cheese
  • Sandwich bread (including GF bread)
  • Sunbutter (nut free)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams & jellies

Sunday dinner

  • Chili night (beef & vegan)
  • Maple roasted vegetables (vegan & GF)

Monday lunch

  • Potato salad (vegetarian, GF)
  • Curried potato salad (vegan, GF)
  • Carrot slaw (vegan, GF)
  • Jerk tofu (vegan GF)
  • Turkey & ham cold cuts
  • Sliced cheese
  • Sandwich bread (including GF bread)
  • Sunbutter (nut free)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams & jellies

Staples available all day

  • Popcorn (butter, cheese corn & kettle corn)
  • Potato chips & pretzels
  • Assorted cookies (including GF)
  • Assorted candy
  • Assorted fruit
  • Raw veggies
  • Pop Tarts
  • Crackers (including GF varieties)
  • Sandwich bread (including Udi’s GF bread)
  • Sunbutter (nut free)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams & jellies
  • Assorted sodas & fizzy water

WisCon 40 Art Show Awards

Jordan West
SF3 Communications Committee

Stop by the WisCon Art Show and vote for your favorite art and artists!

This year, Art Show Awards will be given in the following categories:

  • Best in Show (You’ll have the option to nominate an individual best piece as well as picking an artist.)
  • Best 2D Art
  • Best 3D Art, Non-Wearable
  • Best Wearable Art
  • Best New (to the WisCon Art Show) Artist

Winners receive certificates and bask in the admiration and envy of everyone at WisCon!

Instead of paper ballots, voting this year will be conducted online, and con members will be able to access the form from their personal devices or from tablets located at the table in the Art Show room.

Voting will open at 6pm on Friday, beginning during Meet the Artists, and will remain open until the Art Show closes at 6pm Saturday evening.

Registration update — including free day passes for Friday and Monday!

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

the Registration Desk -- gently cluttered with bookmarks, Registration infoYou have just a few short hours left to register for WisCon using our online registration system!  We’ll be turning that off at 11:59pm Central Time tonight (today’s Thursday, May 19, by the way — the last week before the convention is a blur and we keep forgetting, too).  [Midnight update:  IT’S DEAD, JIM.]

But if you still haven’t quite made up your mind if you’re coming this year, don’t worry!  We will still have at-the-door memberships available when Registration opens at 9:30am on Friday.  We also offer day passes for all four days of the convention.

And speaking of our day passes — for those of you who are on the fence about attending WisCon 40, here’s the really great news…

Friday and Monday day passes are now FREE.  Yes, $0!  ZERO.

(Saturday and Sunday day passes are $25 each.)

So if you’ll be in the Madison area over Memorial Day weekend and you’re interested in checking out this feminist science fiction convention you’ve heard about, please swing by on Friday or Monday for a visit!  Friday would be an especially great day to get a taste of WisCon because there’s The Gathering on Friday afternoon, followed by some of our famous panel programming, Opening Ceremonies, and evening parties (and more panels)!  Monday is a more low-key day, with panels only in the morning and both the Dealers’ Room and Art Show wrapping up around lunchtime, but Monday is also when the SignOut happens if you’re interested in getting any books/comics/&c. signed.

WisCon is only a week away now and we get more and more excited as each day gets crossed off the calendar!  We are really looking forward to seeing all of you who will be joining us this year to honor Sofia Samatar, Justine Larbalestier, and Nalo Hopkinson, and to celebrate 40 years of smashing the patriarchy with science fiction!

Calling all lovers of baked goods!

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

baked goods on a paper plate
Tempting baked goods!

Sometimes, world domination is best achieved through a bake sale. Every year, WisCon does just that — holding a Saturday bake sale to support the Otherwise Award.

To pull off this delicious fundraiser, we need your help. We are looking for donations of baked goods, preferably home-baked instead of store-bought. We need folks who can contribute a single batch or pan of their favorite dessert. Bakers should provide a list of ingredients in their contributions so that friends with dietary restrictions can choose wisely.

We’re also looking for volunteers to staff the bake sale as counter help for 1-hour shifts from 11am to 4pm on Saturday. Don’t forget that working a shift in the bake sale counts toward the six hours needed for your volunteer rebate!

If you have questions about bringing some baked goods for the sale, or if you’d like to volunteer as counter help, email

(Your convention can hold an Otherwise bake sale, too! Details are on the Otherwise site.)

Nalo Hopkinson Signing at the PM Press Booth

Report from Planet Midnight Nalo Hopkinson

SF3 Communications Committee

Get your sign on!

Saturday, May 28th, Nalo Hopkinson will be at the PM Press Booth from 2:30 – 3:30pm to sign her book Report From Planet Midnight.

Published in 2012, Hopkinson’s Report From Planet Midnight takes on sexism and racism in the publishing industry. Also included is her short stories Message In A Bottle, a time travel story with a twist, Shift, an erotic adventure, and PM Press’ Outspoken Interview with the author.

Nalo Hopkinson is the author of Falling in Love With Hominids, Midnight Robber, and Brown Girl in the Ring. She is a recipient of the John W. Campbell Award, the Andre Norton Award, a two-time recipient of the Sunburst Award for the Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, and the World Fantasy Award. She is also WisCon’s 40 Guest of Honor.

Breaking down the genre walls to open up conversations of race and ethnicity in SF and Fantasy, we’re honored to have Nalo Hopkinson at WisCon! Make sure to head over to the PM Press Booth on Saturday and get your own signed copy of Report From Planet Midnight!

Tiptree auction seeking donations

Megan Condis
SF3 Communications Committee

An image of items found at Tiptree Auctions -- books, a tentacle
A sampling of Tiptree Auction items — don’t worry, it gets even stranger and more delightful than this. Tentacles are just the tip of the … iceberg?

Just a reminder that the Tiptree Auction is still seeking weird, wild, and fabulous donations.

The Tiptree Auction is one of the premiere annual events for the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award — and it’s certainly the highlight of any convention that hosts it. WisCon has been proud to host the Tiptree Auction time and again over the years, and we’re delighted to welcome the auction back again this year.

An image of items found at Tiptree Auctions -- a Space Babe, zap gun, Wonder Woman
Tiptree Auction items range from Space Babe and zap guns to Wonder Woman.

Follow the links for forms to donate books or to donate other items, from jewelry to art to memorabilia.  The sooner we know what wonderful things are coming our way, the better the auction will be!

We’d really love it if you could send donations ahead of time, but if you can’t, we’ll have a donation station at the con on Thursday and Friday.

We are also on the lookout for Auction volunteers.  Contact us here if you are interested in helping out.

Remember: every single dollar from the Auction goes to supporting the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award.

For more information, check out the Auction FAQ here.

a woman scowls at the camera while displaying blasters
Fans of the Tiptree Award will have the opportunity to bid on a genuine blaster that was once the sidearm of Space Babe, a legendary feminist superhero. (Blaster is modeled here by a Space Babe cosplayer.)

2016 construction and traffic update for Madison

WisCon 40 Co-Chair

Ah, the four seasons in Wisconsin: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.

The entire north half of the Capitol Square is currently undergoing heavy road work. Both blocks of Mifflin Street (the side of the Square closest to the Concourse Hotel) and their intersections will most likely be closed to vehicle traffic during the convention. The sidewalks are still open, but if you do plan to walk or roll along the Square you should expect some additional bumpiness. For those of us who like to visit the Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Square, the market is running more or less as usual in spite of the dust.

The City of Madison website has additional road construction information.

The construction on the Square has also affected the routes of the Madison Half Marathon and Twilight 10K, which will now send runners down Dayton Street right in front of the Concourse Hotel. The 10K begins on Saturday around 8pm, and the half marathon begins on Sunday at 7am. In both cases our hotel is near the beginning of the racecourse.

The Madison Marathon website has course maps, start times, and other marathon information that you may find useful.