Last Call for WisCon35 Programming/Readings Sign-up (and more.)

A final reminder that Friday, March 18 is the last day to sign up as a panelist or moderator for WisCon 35. That’s today (or soon will be).

It’s also the last day to sign up for a reading. Groups and individuals alike are welcome to sign up to read – see the full details on doing a reading on the WisCon35 website.

And it’s the last day to tell us what panels you’re interested in, if you haven’t already done it.

All three tasks can be accomplished by visiting the programming sign-up page. You’ll need to sign-in or create an account using a valid e-mail. Once in, there’s a link for program sign-up and audience interest, and another link for readings sign-up.

We have a few favors to ask:

  • If you’ve signed up to participate in programming – please remember to let us know your availability for programming. We don’t want to assign you to an 8:30 am panel if you’re a late-night party person, or schedule your panel for midnight if you’re in your jammies by 10 pm. The availability link is on the programming sign-up page.
  • Similarly, if you’ve signed up to do programming, please complete the bio sections of your profile on by accessing your account. It helps speed along the process.
  • We can always use a few good moderators.
  • Finally, please help us get the word out by re-distributing this message among your online communities, e-lists, and friends lists. Remember, one does NOT need to have a paid registration to indicate an interest in WisCon programming, nor sign up to be a panelist (though you’ll need a paid registration in order to score a final assignment – there’s a convenient link to registration on the programming sign-up page.)

Thank you for participating – and if you have any questions, please send an email to program@wiscon.net

What Happens At WisCon…

…depends on what you tell us you want to do at WisCon.

The programming committee chooses panels and events for WisCon based on the interest expressed by members during programming sign-up. This is why we ask everyone who plans to attend WisCon – or even thinks they might attend WisCon – to peruse the proposed panels and identify the panels and events they might be interested in attending, even if they aren’t interested in being a panelist or moderator.

To date, out of the nearly one thousand persons who traditionally attend WisCon, less than seventy-five have rated panels for interest or signed up to be a panelist or moderator. That means less than seventy-five persons are deciding what panels and events will be on offer at WisCon35.

Frankly, we’d like to have a larger sampling, and we on the programming committee would be grateful if you could take time in the next week to indicate your interest in the proposed panels.

All you need to do is visit the programming sign-up page and sign in to your account. (If you don’t have an account, all you need is a valid email address to create one.) Then click on the “Sign up for programming! Tell us which panels you’re interested in serving on, moderating or just being part of the audience” link, and use the radio buttons to indicate your interest (or lack of it.) You don’t need a paid registration to do this.

Note that not voting on an item is equivalent to clicking the “not interested” button – so if you’ve already visited the programming interest/sign-up pages and didn’t indicate an interest in a panel you might like to see, there’s still time to go back, sign in and support that panel.

And if you happen to see a panel on a topic you’re passionate about, please consider signing up as a panelist or moderator. Remember, WisCon doesn’t seek formal expertise – just an enthusiasm for the topic, with an interest in discussing and debating it while being willing to share and play with others.

The deadline for indicating interests/signing up to participate in programming is Friday, March 18, 2011.

The deadline to sign up to do a reading is Friday, March 18, 2011.

Thank you!

WISCON 36 GUEST OF HONOR NOMINATIONS OPEN

The WisCon concom is about to begin the process of nominating and voting on guests of honor for WisCon 36 in 2012. As always, we will accept nominations from anyone in the WisCon community. The deadline for nominations is March 21, 2011; send nominations to gohnoms@wiscon.net.

Nominations MUST be accompanied by a SHORT statement describing the nominee’s qualifications and how the nominee’s work or activism complements WisCon’s statement of principles (see the statement below.)

As in previous years, only WisCon concom members will be involved in the voting process. WisCon concom members are those who are currently working to plan WisCon 35.

The concom will hold a first-round election in order to reduce the number of nominations to a list of 6 nominees. These nominees will then be discussed by the concom. If there are nominees with whom no concom members are familiar, we will endeavor to find and talk with people in the community who are familiar with the nominees. In the unlikely event that the concom decides that a nominee’s work does not complement WisCon’s statement of principles, their name will be dropped from the top-6-list.

The concom will vote on the top 6 nominees. Winners will be contacted and invited to WisCon 36. Their names will be announced at WisCon 35.

If you have concerns, comments or suggestions about this process, we would like to hear from you!

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

This statement of Wiscon’s mission and principles reflects our goals and ideals, and is intended to help guide our actions, even while recognizing that we will inevitably make mistakes and not always live up to those ideals. It is worth noting that this version of the statement was written towards the end of 2010, a year in which the WisCon committee has faced many challenges to both our principles and our process.

WisCon has been a feminist science fiction convention since its founding in 1977. The focus of the convention has been the intersection between feminism and science fiction. This focus distinguishes WisCon from many other science fiction conventions, and has been a major reason why WisCon has grown, developed, and flourished for so long, while some other conventions have had trouble staying vibrant.

Our focus includes science fiction, fantasy, and speculative literature of all sorts. Science fiction itself has been critiqued as a colonialist and imperialist genre, and in many ways this is true. But many of those influenced by it are dedicated to changing the genre to more accurately reflect the field’s vital role in our society: envisioning positive futures for all people. WisCon’s focus on science fiction has played an important role in the exploration of feminist futures: futures where people of all colors, and backgrounds flourish, where women’s rights and women’s contributions are valued, where gender is not limited to one of two options, where no one is erased out of convenience, hidden discrimination, or outright bigotry.

Feminism, at its root, is the belief that women and men are equal, and the rejection of sexist beliefs and practices. We, as feminists, have come to realize that all forms of oppression are interrelated. Our practice of feminism is based on a belief in the social, political, and economic equality of all. Feminism is part of a larger constellation of movements seeking social, political and economic equality for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sex, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, creed, ability, status, or belief.

Feminism is vital to WisCon’s identity. Feminism itself has grown and changed over the decades, and WisCon has worked to reflect those changes. Since its inception, WisCon has worked to create a space for feminism and its consideration within the science fiction community.

At base, we recognize that a commitment to feminism means a commitment to social justice of all sorts–we might not be able to focus equally on every issue, but still we cannot pick and choose which people deserve justice and which issues we are more comfortable with. We are called to be true to our principles, even (and especially) when they are unpopular.

WisCon’s commitment to feminism is also reflected in our processes. Meetings, decision-making processes, program development, and guest of honor choice all reflect a commitment to feminist ideals of equality, respect for everyone’s right to be heard, and the obligation to hold each other accountable for what we say. WisCon’s commitment to feminist process means that we reject hierarchies of oppression, recognizing that “the need…to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive.” (paraphrased from Audre Lorde’s essay, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, ” which can be found in her collection Sister/Outsider.)

For 35 years, WisCon has aimed high. By our long existence and commitment to our goals, we have changed the face of science fiction and we will continue to do so. When we make mistakes, we keep working to improve. WisCon’s commitment to feminist science fiction and feminist process is a commitment to ensuring that our future is not just for not just white, well-off, able-bodied, straight men, but rather includes everyone.

eCube#8 now online: Programming and Reading Signups Now Open, GOH noms, and More!

eCube #8 is now online, with news about programming signup, readings signups, the Carl Brandon Awards, WisCon36 guest of honor nominations, the SignOut, the first timers’ dinner, news about past Tiptree winners attending Wiscon, and the Tiptree Book Club.

And yes, it’s that time you’ve been waiting for…WisCon 35 programming participant sign-up is open through March 18! Come peruse the possibilities: read all about it on the programming page.

Readings signup is now open through March 10! Full instructions are available on the readings page.

Important Hotel News: Deadlines, Reservations, Availability

WisCon’s room block at the Concourse Hotel is now full. There are a few rooms available in the “overflow block,” at a higher rate per night than the convention’s discount rate, although still less than rack rate. The Concourse’s online reservation system doesn’t accommodate reservations once the main block is closed; you must call the Concourse (800-356-8293 or 1-608-257-6000) to get a room in the overflow block.

This year, for the first time ever, the Concourse has committed in writing to moving WisCon members in the overflow block into the main discount block as soon as cancellations come in. As openings occur in the main discounted block, they will be offered to people in the overflow block in the order in which the reservations were made. So if you have a reservation in the discounted block that you discover you no longer need, please release that room so another WisCon member can benefit from the discount.

The Inn on the Park, just two short blocks away from the Concourse, still has plenty of sleeping rooms at this point, and has features and amenities very similar to those at the Concourse. If you plan to attend WisCon and have not yet gotten a room at the Concourse, we strongly encourage you to make a reservation at the Inn. Our room block at the Inn on the Park is not available through online reservation systems; call the Inn at 800-279-8811 or 1-608-285-8000, and be sure to mention WISCON 2011 BLOCK to get our special con rate.

IMPORTANT DEADLINES:

If you decide to cancel a reservation, you must do so before April 25 if you want another WisCon member to be able to benefit from the discount! All discounts expire on April 25, and reservations released after that date will no longer be eligible for our convention rate.

The absolutely last day you can cancel your reservation without being charged is ONE WEEK BEFORE YOUR RESERVATION STARTS! Cancellations made after that date will be subject to the hotel’s standard one room-night charge plus tax.

If you have questions or concerns about your reservation, please email the Hotel Co-Liaison for Sleeping Rooms at rooms@wiscon.net and we’ll do our best to help you.

Tiptree Award Book Club

Join a conversation on Maureen McHugh’s evocative and powerful short story “Useless Things” at the James Tiptree Award website from March 1 to March 31. Moderated by Karen Joy Fowler, this discussion marks the start of the Tiptree Award Book Club, a forum for conversations about the works honored by the Award and the issues they raise. If you are interested in gender issues, the apocalypse, and the intersection of the two, you won’t want to miss this. “Useless Things” can be found in Eclipse 3, edited by Jonathan Strahan, and in the 27th edition of Gardner Dozois’ World’s Best Science Fiction.