All posts by commsadmin

Announcing Visioning WisCon: a very low-key virtual event


This spring (unlike last spring) has gone fast, but we’ve found the time to be sad about the lack of a WisCon this year as much as we have been hearing you are missing it. But we looked at our energy levels (sadly low) and our virtual-event-expertise levels (also pretty low), and we had to conclude that we weren’t going to be able to do a second WisCONline.

BUT! We heard from lots of you, and you said you miss lobby-con, where folks usually get to relax and chat with other con-goers, and bar-con, where folks get to relax and chat with other con-goers, except more dimly lit and with a drink.

Well. We DO have the energy and expertise for that! We’re setting up a group video chat space, complete with a bar (virtual) and a pool (also virtual) and sofas (you guessed it: virtual), and we would love it if you can join us there on Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend!

BUT WAIT. There’s more! We’ll have spontaneous programming, and, less spontaneously, discussions of what the future of WisCon should look like. And even less spontaneously, we will be hosting a few of WisCon’s familiar special events — including the Otherwise Auction!

Come meet up with the folks you miss seeing at the con in person, hold a spontaneous panel, attend an event or two, and help us to use some of this time to talk about where WisCon has been and where we should be headed. Our platform does support real-time captioning when accessed using a Chrome browser and is keyboard-navigable.

We’ll have blog posts (nearly) every day between now and Memorial Day weekend, to share more details about how to attend, how to spin up a spontaneous program, the event schedules, and to lay some groundwork for discussing the future of WisCon.

We wanted to get this announcement out before more time slipped away, so you can make plans! (Apologies that this is so late; in my defense, time is fake and jobs are the worst.)

We will be asking folks to register, so we can send you the information you need to attend. Our base membership price is FREE! Memberships priced at $10 help us make the next in-person convention happen; $60 memberships go to our Member Assistance Fund, helping folks attend in 2022; the $200 memberships help assure that WisCon can keep happening past 2022. The program space will be open 4pm to 11pm Central time, Saturday May 29 & Sunday May 30.

Stay tuned for more details, and in the meantime, register here!

Nominate Your Friends or Your Heroes (or Both) As WisCon 45 Guest of Honor

The clock is running down on your time to nominate a Guest of Honor for WisCon 45 in 2021!

We opened nominations back in May during WisCon 43, and you have until Tuesday, October 15, at 11:59pm Central Time to send in all your wildest dreams of who you’d like to see us spotlight.

Don’t talk yourself out of sending us your thoughts! It’s easy, and nominations for Guest of Honor can come from anyone. That means whether you’ve been to WisCon forty-one times, one time, or maybe you’ll come someday in the future, we want your nominees. As long as WisCon is important enough to you to send an email, your ideas are important to us.

Our Guests of Honor help shape and focus our programming, influencing our conversations at the convention and afterward, so we welcome nominees who have something to say about the world, science fiction, fantasy, and elements of inclusive intersectional feminism as described in WisCon’s Statement of Principles. Guests of Honor can be essayists, critics, artists, reviewers, fans, authors, musicians, scientists, performers, or none of the above, so long as you think they fit the bill.

To make a nomination (or ten, or more), send an email to We’d love to hear your reasoning, but that’s not mandatory. We’ll make a list of all of the nominees on October 16, and the convention planning committee will take a series of votes then extend invitations to the top candidates. We’ll announce the WisCon 45 guests during WisCon 44 in 2020, and then this whole process will start again.

More questions about Guests of Honor and the whole process? We’ve got lots of details in a previous version of this blog post – just don’t forget that the dates have changed.

Happy nominating – we can’t wait to hear who you want to invite!

Building WisCon together — take our survey!

Looking for the survey? Go here!

The thing that makes WisCon so amazing is that it’s built by its members. From your suggestions on how we can improve to what our programming should be, nearly everything that happens at WisCon happens only because a member proposed the idea.

We know things just got started, but as your weekend wraps up please take a moment to fill out our surveys and let us know what you thought and how we can keep improving the convention!



Updates for WisCon 44

Reservations for both hotels and memberships for WisCon 44 are now open! Our amazing guests of honor are:

Yoon Ha Lee

Yoon Ha Lee’s debut novel from Solaris Books, NINEFOX GAMBIT, won the Locus Award for best first novel and was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke awards.  Its sequel, RAVEN STRATAGEM, was a finalist for the Hugo.  He has also written a middle grade space opera, DRAGON PEARL, from Disney-Hyperion.  He lives in Louisiana with his family and an extremely lazy cat, and has not yet been eaten by gators.

Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse is a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her short fiction has also been a finalist for the Sturgeon, Locus and World Fantasy awards. Her novel Trail of Lightning (Book 1 in the Sixth World series) was selected as an Amazon, B&N, and NRP Best Books of 2018, among others, and is a Nebula and Hugo award finalist for 2019. Storm of Locusts, the second novel in the Sixth World series, was recently released to critical acclaim. She lives with her husband, daughter and dogs in Northern New Mexico.

Note on Hotel Offerings

We wanted to draw attention to a slight change in our Governor’s Club booking. Beginning WisCon 44, we will no longer be offering rooms for four people on the Governor’s Club level. Rooms for three people (including a rollaway bed) will still be available for WisCon 44.

We know that this is a change! We will continue to work with the awesome folks at the Concourse Hotel to advocate for our membership while respecting the needs of the hotel.
Thanks and we’ll see you next year!

Updates from WisCon’s Access Team

Greetings from Accessland, a magical realm where volunteers work behind the scenes to make WisCon accessible for as many humanoids as possible. We’d like to take a moment to remind our attendees of WisCon’s Access-related policies and opportunities, so we can all make the most of a wonderful weekend. Some of this may be old news to long-time con-goers, but I promise there’s at least one new thing below! We invite you to read more at In no particular order:
  1.  I’m blue, daba-dee, daba-dah. WisCon uses blue painter’s tape to mark areas of the convention space for various users, including squares on the floors of panel rooms for wheelchair parking, slashes on chairs near the fronts of panel rooms for those who who need to be close to hear or see, and 6th-floor aisle markings to keep travel lanes clear. It takes volunteer power to mark and upkeep these markings throughout the convention. If you’d like to help with the Blue Tape Crew, please sign up by filling out our online form, or emailing
  2. Oo oo, that smell. WisCon asks con-goers to please consider those with allergies or chemical sensitivities by minimizing strong scents at the con, be it perfumes, incense, cigarette smoke, or similar. Unfortunately, the convention space is not a fragrance-free zone, but WisCon takes steps to minimize strong scents, including providing scent-free soaps in the restrooms. Keep these practices in mind when donating clothing to the Gathering’s clothing swap—washing donations with scent-free detergents before the convention will make the swap more awesome for everyone!
  3. In my room, in my room. WisCon can be overwhelming at times, so we offer a Quiet Room on the 2nd floor where attendees can get some peaceful respite. We also offer three Safer Spaces rooms for people of color, people with disabilities, and people who are trans/genderqueer. Other relaxing escapes are available, like sitting in on a reading or taking a stroll through nearby parks.
  4. I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas. Don’t let the hanger consume you; consume some of WisCon’s goodies instead! We try to accommodate as many eaters as possible, whether vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or just on a tight budget, we have plenty of options for you. The Friday Bake Sale, Sunday Dessert Salon, and free snacks and meals at the Consuite will have major allergens marked, but are not entirely nut-free if you have severe allergies.
  5. I got two turntables and a microphone. WisCon works hard so that everyone can read and listen how they read and listen best. We offer CART captioning at the Guests of Honor speeches and at select panels, as well as limited ASL interpreting. With a heads-up before May 1st, we can also provide large-print or Braille versions of our Souvenir Program Book. Larger panel rooms are equipped with microphones, and we remind our panelists not to cover their mouths when speaking, for the benefit of audience members who lip-read. Descriptions of the visual components of panels will benefit audience members who are blind or low-vision.
  6. I like to move it, move it. WisCon wants to make it as easy to get around the convention space as possible. Because events take place on multiple floors, many attendees use the hotel’s elevators to move around. If you can take the stairs, please do, to alleviate traffic to the elevators for those who need them! Additionally, WisCon provides shuttles to our off-site Thursday night reading. We encourage a visit to the Welcome table at the Gathering on Friday to learn more about getting around the convention.
  7. Can you feel it, can you feel it, can you feel it? This WisCon 42 will be the convention’s first year offering a Tactile Art Tour of our Art Room. With a dozen artists participating, we’re excited for a new way to experience the art showcased at the convention. Details are still being ironed out, so stay tuned!
Questions? Concerns? Forget to request an accommodation, or want to make a suggestion? Email us at We look forward to creating a stellar experience with you at WisCon 42!

Get More WisCon: Sign Up For a Workshop!

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood Workshop department! Did you know that beyond the panels, panels, and more panels that we are all SUPER EXCITED ABOUT, there’s even more WisCon out there for you? We’re talking about Workshops! Workshops are more responsive, participatory sessions, and while some require preparatory work on your part, some of them are very drop in! Read below to find out offerings this year, or click here for more general information about how Workshops, um, work. If you’re interested in signing up, read the descriptions and email!

Critique Sessions

The deadline for critique sessions has been extended to May 1, 2018. Critique sessions take place on Friday morning, scheduled from 9am to noon. See here for instructions on what to send as part of your signup email! This year’s amazing critique session facilitators are:

For novels and short stories:

  • Eugene Fischer
  • David Levine
  • Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Nino Cipri

For short stories:

  • Vylar Kaftan
  • Charlie Jane Anders

For romance/erotica:

  • Elizabeth Reeve

Special Sessions

But wait, there’s more! Our special sessions are pretty great this year. Some require signing up ahead of time; others will be open for drop-ins.

First, our salons!

These salons are open sessions and will be led by facilitators who can offer advice and hands-on assistance whether you’re a beginner or just looking for a space to get some work done. These will be in the schedule once it’s out, so don’t forget to look!

  • Knitting and Fiber Salon
  • Evening Writing Salons

Reserved Workshops

These sessions require sign up prior to the workshop. Sign ups for these workshops are open until May 21 or until all slots are filled. Email to reserve your space!

  • Storytelling – Friday from 9am to noon – The art of telling a story with Susan Ramirez
  • Speculative Fiction and the Academy – Friday from 9am to noon – Writing about spec fic in the academy with Laurie Fuller
  • Introduction to Vidding – Friday from 9am to noon – The basics of vid making with eruthros
  • The Anatomy of a Retelling – Saturday from 8am to 10am – How to adapt and retell well-known stories with Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Lessons for the Not-Quite-Pro Writer – Saturday from 10am to noon – How to deal with rejection, pick markets, write cover letters, track submissions, plan for conventions and other exciting topics with Nibedita Sen
  • Filing Off the Serial Numbers – Sunday from 8am to 10am – How to turn fan fiction into original fiction with Joselle Vanderhooft

Open Sessions

These workshops do NOT require sign ups so feel free to drop in! You can also email to reserve a guaranteed space and help us anticipate attendance.

  • Neopronouns – Friday from 4pm to 6pm – How to use neopronouns in fiction – S. Qiouyi Lu
  • Art In Your Pocket – Sunday from 10am to noon – Making artist trading cards (ATCs) with a WisCon theme – Mary Prince
  • Introduction to Embroidery – Saturday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn the basics of embroidery or bring your own project to work on – Candra Gill
  • How to Read for Fun and Profit – Sunday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn how to choose the best selections and perform your readings for maximum audience engagement – Keffy Kehrli
  • Libre Planet – Sunday from 3pm to 5pm – Learn how to program! – Morgan Lemmer Webber
  • Teasecraft – Sunday evening (time TBD) – It’s a kinky crafter meetup with projects and discussion – Kit Stubbs


Discounted rooms on the 6th floor available for WisCon 42

Jess Adams

WisCon is pleased to offer a limited number of discounted rooms on the sixth floor of the Concourse Hotel.  Because there are so few discounted rooms available — this year we have 5 — we’re offering them via a lottery.

The discount applies to specific rooms (all of them are double rooms with 2 queen beds) on the sixth floor of the Concourse.  This is the floor where many parties happen in the evening and also where the safer spaces and the Con Suite are.  This means that there’s more noise generated by foot traffic, elevators, and so on. If you are someone who needs a very quiet room with not many people passing by at all hours, then the discounted rooms may not be a good fit for you.

How can you enter the lottery for a room?

We are accepting requests April 6-20 (closing at 11:59pm Central Time). After the request window closes, we will get in touch to let you know if your request is filled.

To request to be entered into the drawing for a discount, send an email to, with the subject line: ROOM RATE DISCOUNT.  Include the following details:

  • The name your reservation will be under
  • Your arrival and departure dates
  • The number of people in your party
  • Any accessibility needs you have.
  • The best email address to contact you.

See you at WisCon!

WisCon 42 Gaming Update


WisCon’s Gaming Department is gearing up for an awesome con!  Here’s what we have in store for gamers and the gaming-curious.

pile of board games
The Gaming table at the WisCon 40 Gathering.

Our Open Gaming Space will be open each evening from 8pm to 12am in the second floor lobby in front of the Dealers’ Room doors. We will teach and play a variety of modern games open to casual drop-in players. Most games will be suitable in theme and content for players of a variety of ages from children on up. New players are welcome and encouraged to join us! This year, we are excited to share new additions of Braille-marked accessibility kits to our collection, for the popular Pandemic and 7 Wonders board games, as well as a Braille RPG dice set that can be loaned out for scheduled (or impromptu) role-playing games.  We welcome you to bring games to share with fellow attendees, or to choose a game from our collection to play.

Reserving Seats

WisCon 40 Gaming sign
The Gaming sign-up / notice board at WisCon 40.

Reserve a seat to ensure a spot in one of our scheduled games! Reservations are not required, but they are recommended, especially for role-playing and storytelling games. Reserve a seat today by emailing us at At the con, a board outside of the Dealers’ Room will feature that evening’s featured games along with sign-up space, or you can sign up at the Gaming table at the Gathering on Friday. Throughout the weekend, we will advertise games that are looking for players, so stay alert for posters, tweets, and whispers.

Scheduled Games at WC42


  • Participants: 3-6
  • When: Friday: 2:30-5:15 pm
  • Location: Room 641
  • Larp

Sign is a silent game about being understood.

In 1977 fifty deaf children from across Nicaragua were brought together to an experimental school to teach lip reading, but something far more remarkable happened. At this time in Nicaragua no sign language existed, so the children did the only thing they could — they created one. In Sign, players experience a small piece of their journey of struggling to be understood and finding ways to share what is important to them.

Sign is equally fun to play if you are new to games, you’ve never signed before, or you are fluent in a sign language.


  • Participants: 3-5
  • When: Friday: 6:30-9:30 pm
  • Location: Room 641
  • Roleplaying Game

Fiasco is a storytelling game inspired by cinematic tales of small-time capers gone disastrously wrong, with powerfully ambitious characters who lack impulse control. A game of big dreams and flawed execution, Fiasco is an award-winning, GM-less game for 3-5 players, designed to be played in a few hours with no preparation. During the game you will engineer and play out silly, disastrous situations, usually at the intersection of greed, fear, and passion. It’s like making your own Coen brothers movie, in about the same amount of time it’d take to watch one. This game is particularly welcoming for those new to role-playing games. Players will choose among several “playsets,” some of which are family-friendly, to create a story in a customized setting.


  • Participants: 5-6
  • When: Friday: 10 pm-12 am
  • Location: Room 641
  • Larp


It is July third, 1950. The Korean War is eight days old. National Security Council Report 68 is sitting on Harry Truman’s desk, a grim outline of the Cold War that is to enfold the world for the next 40 years. Alan Turing’s paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” is circulating for review. Cinderella is a box office sensation.

And you have invented a computer that can see the future.

Employing cutting-edge Ward-Takahashi identity derivations outside their quantum-theoretical framework, JUGGERNAUT processes enormous data sets, ostensibly in the service of code-breaking once the technology is proven and refined. The unstable geniuses behind the math have reached some curious conclusions that only experimental evidence can confirm. By the numbers, JUGGERNAUT —given enough resources— should be able to crack ciphers before they are even invented.

JUGGERNAUT is a live-action game about free will that plays like a creepy Twilight Zone episode and requires almost no prep. Replay value is high and it is always weird and intense To play.

Dream Apart

  • Participants: 2-5
  • When: Saturday: 9-12 am
  • Location: Room 641
  • Roleplaying Game

GM-less, mechanics-light storygame set in a fantastical 19th century Eastern European Jewish village, based on Avery Alder’s Dream Askew.

Dream Apart gives us demons and wedding jesters; betrothals and pogroms; mystical ascensions and accusations of murder; rabbi’s daughters running away to be actresses or bandits or boy soldiers; the sounds of the shofar ringing through cramped and muddy streets, of cannon fire, of the wolf’s footfalls in the snowy pine forest; asking “What do you do next?”

In Dream Apart you play a Jew of the shtetl, a little mostly-Jewish market town in the Eastern European countryside. In the cities, the industrial revolution has begun. Prussia, Russia and the Hapsburgs have devoured the small countries between them. Surrounded by an often hostile Christendom, by wild forests in which anything might creep, and by the invisible creatures of the Unseen World — angels, demons, ghosts, and dybbuks — the Jews of the shtetl try to outwit or outlast those who would do us harm. We feud and reconcile, bargain and gossip, celebrate and mourn, and snatch a little joy and love while we can. Life in the shtetl is sweet as raisin pastries and bitter as horseradish: may it be the Divine Will that it endures another season…

Deep Forest

  • Participants: 2-5
  • When: Saturday: 1:00-5:15 pm
  • Location: Room 641
  • Roleplaying Game

In this map-drawing game you collectively explore the struggles of a community of monsters, trying to rebuild and heal after driving off the human occupiers. It’s a game about community, difficult choices, and decolonization. When you play, you make decisions about the community, decisions that get recorded on a map that is constantly evolving. Players work together to create and steer this community, but they also play devil’s advocate and introduce problems and tensions into the game.


  • Participants: 3-6
  • When: Saturday: 6:30-10:30 pm
  • Location: Room 641
  • Roleplaying Game

Dread is an elegant survival-horror game that runs on a very simple mechanic: Jenga! Pull a block to succeed, or refuse and fail— but when the tower falls, somebody dies. No dice needed. Game facilitator will provide all materials. 2 scenarios will be available, and players will choose which one to play based on interest. One is a classic AI space horror called Only the Food, the other is Stranger Dread (based on, guess what: Stranger Things). Warning: This is a horror game and characters will die! However, we will use safety mechanics such as the X card to avoid specific triggering topics.

Pokémon Go!

  • Participants: 1-100
  • When: Sunday: 10-11:15 am
  • Location: Meet in the hotel lobby
  • Video Game

Pokémon Go! is a fun Augmented Reality game in which players go out in the world and catch pokémon either alone or in a group! Urban areas such as the area around the convention hotel are excellent places to catch pokémon, battle gyms, and even join together to take on large raids.

I would like to bring a group of Pokémon-catching enthusiasts on a short expedition out and around the square near the capitol (bordered by Doty, Fairchild, Dayton, and Webster Streets at most, but probably staying right around the capitol itself). This is intended to be a social outing + game, so players should plan to come and chat about their favorite pokémon, what they need to complete their pokédex, etc.

The game is all ages, but as it involves leaving the premises of the WisCon hotel, children must bring their guardian with them.

Players should bring: comfortable walking shoes and/or any mobility aids, a device capable of playing Pokémon Go! and connecting to the network (or a friend willing to provide a hotspot), water, and sunscreen.

Accessibility: I intend to stick to sidewalks and will avoid any extremely difficult to maneuver areas (for instance, construction). The game does involve some movement and some standing/staying in one place to capture pokémon.

Group size: Although there is no theoretical limit to group size, I am hoping to recruit 1 or 2 other people to be potential “group leaders” just in case the group is extremely large. Although a very large (more than 20 people) will be good for a pokémon raid, it will result in logistic problems as we move around the square. If we have enough people to split into groups, I would like to send the groups in different directions so that we don’t clog the sidewalk.

Dialect – Mars Colony

  • Participants: 2-5
  • When: Sunday: 1:00-3:45 pm
  • Location: Room 641
  • Roleplaying Game

Have you ever wanted to create your own language for a creative project? In Dialect you can live that dream by building a unique vocabulary for a Mars colony. Dialect is a story game about a Mars colony that loses contact with Earth. Players tell the story of the colony and it’s dialect growing and changing without Earth’s influence. When contact with Earth is re-established, our story ends. This engaging and beautiful game is perfectly suited to first-time storytellers of any age.

Lovecraft Letter

  • Participants: 2-6
  • When: Sunday: 4:00-5:15 pm
  • Location: Tables outside the dealers room
  • Board Game

Lovecraft Letter is fast moving, quick to play card game, in which players seek out dark secrets, risking their very sanity. But not really. Lovecraft letter is a game of risk, deduction and luck that uses the award-winning love letter engine.

Individual games move very fast (as little as 10 minutes), so far more people than six can sign up and get a chance to play. Players can drop in and out throughout the time slot.


  • Participants: 3
  • When: Sunday: 6:30-10:30 pm
  • Location: Room 641
  • Larp

Since 1992, approximately 28,000 Danish soldiers have gone to war abroad. Distance is a scenario about some of their wives who were left at home. Jesper, Simon, and Kenneth are stationed in the Danish army in Afghanistan. They will be there for six months and all communication with their loved ones will take place through unstable telephone lines and bad internet connections. Meanwhile, Anne-Mette, Camilla, and Josephine take care of things at home. The three women have formed a support
group where they share their experiences.

Distance is a tragic story about how the three marriages are affected by the husbands’ absence. The scenario is played out through short stand-alone scenes showing highlights spread out over all six months. The story focuses on the wives and life at home. There are snapshots of busy days and anxious nights waiting for a phone call that never comes. There is awkward Skype sex and confrontations with judgmental friends. There are episodes of meeting new men, sometimes in the form of unwanted sexual advances, other times igniting new sparks of attraction.

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

It can be hard to know when and how to acknowledge death when it happens in a community. When do you write a blog post, and when don’t you? But it seems impossible not to make a statement upon the death of a treasured member of our WisCon community, one of our greatest and most influential writers, Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ursula Le Guin attended WisCon thrice: WisCon 2, WisCon 20, and WisCon 30. She came to WisCon 2 (February 1978), in support of her friend Vonda McIntyre, our 1978 Guest of Honor. She was invited as Guest of Honor in her own right the first time we celebrated a landmark year, for WisCon 20 (May 1996). And she was one of the many prior Guests of Honor we invited to be part of the WisCon 30 celebrations (May 2006).

For WisCon 30, we received grant funding—necessary to support 29 years worth of returning Guests of Honor—from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Le Guin’s letter of support, included as part of the grant application, explained why she found WisCon unique, as opposed to other conferences and conventions, which she described as “a waste of time” (don’t tell anyone!) Echoing the experience of many, she said that she “came away with a head full of new ideas, perceptions, and understandings—about literature, about the ethical concerns of writers and readers, and about gender concerns both in literature and daily life.”

Her letter of support continues:

As writers under repressive regimes have long understood, science fiction is particularly well suited to the indirect but intense examination of the political and moral status quo, since its tropes and metaphors (outer space, far future, etc.) allow the writer to look from a distance at what is actually very close at hand. As the scholar Darko Suvin said, science fiction is the mirror that lets us see the back of our own head.

This is notably true when it comes to issues of gender. No other literary form has asked so many questions so usefully about the nature and construction of human gender, the actual and possible relation of the sexes in society. When they wanted to ask such questions, realistic novelists such as Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing turned naturally to science fiction. A good many of the talks and papers read at WisCon concern these subjects and ask these questions.

The atmosphere of the conference is extremely open, uncoercive, and intellectually stimulating. Academics who attend it are often delighted by the freedom of discussion without competition. To women academics it is of particular value, as they seldom find so supportive a milieu. Women writers treasure it for the same values of freedom and support. Men and women who confuse feminism with misandry may be kept away by their own prejudice, but one of the happiest aspects of WisCon is the presence of men who relate to women with total equality of expectation on both sides—a refreshing experience for all.

What WisCon does above all is affirm a community of writers, scholars, and readers brought together by a sense of dissatisfaction with our society’s solution to many problems of gender and justice, plus a sense of hope that with intelligent and ethical work we can achieve a more just and less destructive society. They share in common a courage of the imagination which may yet justify that hope. The fact that they’ve been meeting for thirty years to exercise and celebrate such courage is cause itself for hope.

WisCon 40’s ConCom briefly considered the idea of inviting all past Guests of Honor back for 2016, in the tradition of WisCon 20 and WisCon 30. It may have been coincidence, but the conversation didn’t last for long after a tangent on Ursula’s health, and the fact that she rarely traveled far from home anymore.

We’ve continued to treasure her and her outlook in her absence. A few years ago, during a time of vociferous disagreements within our community, many of us spent time interrogating whether WisCon was “worth it”—worth the labor, both tangible and emotional—that we invest to sustain it, and that the convention itself sparks. People like Ursula remind us why it is worth all that and more.

She imagined impossible futures, and she shared them. She held that it was important work to do so, and had little patience with authors who dismissed science fiction and fantasy as trivial or lesser genres. “Fantasy is probably the oldest literary device for talking about reality,” she said in a blog post eviscerating Kazuo Ishiguro for sneering at the fantasy genre.

She used her writing to explore concepts like gender, capitalism and truly fair societal structures. Her body of work is a testament to the conversations that people have at WisCon every year. What other shapes could society take? What would a more just, more equitable, and more inclusive world look like?

Much is made about her female protagonists. There’s already one obituary from a national newspaper remarking on her “tough-minded feminine sensibility,” missing the point almost entirely in a way I’m sure Le Guin would have relished skewering. Reductive obituaries, like that one, ignore the variety of incredible and alien outlooks she managed to portray, her protagonists who fall outside of the gender binary, and the fact that so few of her characters were white.

We feel fortunate that there is still so much of her fiction available for us to explore. Her writing is a beacon of light, particularly in the current political era. Since the election in November 2016, many of us have returned to her acceptance speech, titled “Freedom,” given as part of the award presentation at the 2014 National Book Foundation. “Any human power can be resisted and changed by humans.”

Every day we confront the terrible realities that debase us as people: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, capitalism, colonialism. It’s overwhelming, and lately, inexorable. These oppressions can feel final, but as Ursula reminds us: “[their] power seems inescapable—but then, so did the divine right of kings.”

Resistance happens because people can imagine a different reality—because they demand a different reality. Ursula K. Le Guin showed us how to imagine and demand better from our society.
We will miss her. We will not forget her.

Rest in power, well-loved one.

In solidarity,

Jackie Lee, SF3 President

Allison Morris, WisCon 42 Co-Chair

Phredd Groves, WisCon 42 Co-Chair

Levi Sable, SF3 Communications Chair

WisCon 41 at-con newsletter — A Momentary Taste of WisCon, Monday edition

Last day of the con, last newsletter of the con.  ?????

Please don’t forget to turn in your plastic badge holder at the Registration desk.  While you’re there grab one of our Souvenir Books!  Enjoy a day of relaxing in Madison if you’re staying today, and safe travels if you’re leaving.

We all had a great time this weekend, and we can’t wait to see you again in a year.  Hope you can join us!

WisCon 42 — May 25-28, 2018

We are overjoyed to announce that our Guests of Honor for WisCon 42 are Saladin Ahmed and Tananarive Due!  Want to join us?  Memberships and hotel reservations are open!

Saladin Ahmed
Saladin Ahmed (Photo by Al Bogdan).

Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due.

Keep in touch after WisCon

We’ll miss you, too!!!  Please keep in touch!  Sign up for our email newsletter (eCube), or follow us on social media.

Registration / Lost & Found

Have one last question?  Want to register for WisCon 42?  Lost something over the weekend and hope someone turned it in?  The Registration desk is open until 1:30pm.


You still have a few more hours to visit the Art Show, Dealers’ Room, and the Con Suite.  And get your drabbles in to the Drabble Challenge!

  • Art Show:  10am – 12pm
  • Dealers’ Room:  10am – 2pm
  • Con Suite:  Closes at 1pm
  • Drabble Challenge:  Closes at 4pm

Today’s big events


  • 11:30am – 12:45pm
  • Capitol/Wisconsin

Come to the SignOut, a signing party and WisCon farewell rolled into one! Writers and those who love them will gather together to sign and get signatures, to thank and praise and schmooze one last time before we fly away for another year.

Authors at the SignOut this year are:  Becky Allen, Charlie Jane Anders, Paul Dale Anderson, Eleanor A. Arnason, Robyn Bennis, Lee Blauersouth, Ty Blauersouth, K. Tempest Bradford, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Moondancer Drake, Timmi Duchamp, Amal El-Mohtar, Ruthanna Emrys, Alexandra Erin, Michael Thomas Ford, Andrea D. Hairston, Naomi Kritzer, David D. Levine, Nancy Jane Moore, Sunny Moraine, Pat Murphy, Anne M. Pillsworth, Beth Plutchak, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Cath Schaff-Stump , Nisi Shawl, Jan Suzukawa, Sheree Renée Thomas, Amy Thomson, Nancy Vedder-Shults, Cynthia Ward

Fond Farewell Party

  • 8pm – 12am
  • Room 629

If you’re still here on Monday night, come join others who are still here for a Fond Farewell party. We’ll have munchies, beverages, and good conversation. It’s the last party for WisCon 2017! It’ll begin at 8 PM and run until the last fan falls over.

Volunteer needs


SignOut:  Still needs volunteers to help with set-up and during the event.  Contact

Art Show:  Desperately needs help packing up the art of the 8 artists who mailed their work into the show.  Also needs help for breaking down displays during tear-down. Stop by the show in Senate (1st floor) to sign up.

Tear-down:  MANY departments will need help to tear down after the convention.  Stop by the volunteer board (2nd floor, next to Registration desk) to see where you can help!

More details on volunteering in the section at the bottom, or email

The once & future WisCon

How can WisCon improve?  What programming would you like to see next year?  Who would make a great Guest of Honor for WisCon 43?  Please check out this blog post and help us continue to build a great WisCon.

Need to contact Safety?

Reminder:  Our Code of Conduct

  • email:
  • phone:  608-957-7233 (957-SAFE)
  • reporting form:

Or look for one of our on-call Safety volunteers. They’re wearing bright yellow/green high-visibility vests.

Announcing our WisCon 42 Guests of Honor — Saladin Ahmed & Tananarive Due

We are overjoyed to introduce our Guests of Honor for WisCon 42!

Saladin Ahmed

Saladin Ahmed
Saladin Ahmed (Photo by Al Bogdan).

Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit. His novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon, was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards, and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. His poetry and short fiction have been widely anthologized, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Salon. He is currently writing “Black Bolt” for Marvel Comics.

Tananarive Due

Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due.

Tananarive Due is a screenwriter and an award-winning novelist who teaches Afrofuturism at UCLA. She also teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles and for Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA). She was the former Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Spelman College. Due, an  American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient, is the author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus and has been named to the Grio100 and Ebony Power 100. Her short story collection, Ghost Summer, won a British Fantasy Award and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. In 2013, Due and her husband/collaborator Steven Barnes co-wrote a short film, “Danger Word”, based on their YA zombie novel Devil’s Wake, which they co-produced with director Luchina Fisher. Starring Frankie Faison (“The Wire,” “The Silence of the Lambs”) and Saoirse Scott, “Danger Word” was nominated for Best Narrative Short at the BronzeLens and Pan African film festivals.

WisCon 41 at-con newsletter — A Momentary Taste of WisCon, Sunday edition

It’s Sunday!  Which means the Dessert Salon and Guest of Honor speeches are tonight — CAN’T WAIT!!

Sunday’s also a great time to slow down for a minute, catch your breath, and make sure you’ve eaten recently.  And, oh, hey, have you taken your meds?  I almost missed mine this morning until a friend reminded me.

By the 3rd day of the convention we also have a fairly HUGE newsletter for you, so find a comfy chair and put your feet up for this one!

Amal El-Mohtar — Schedule changes

Amal will be doing her honey-tasting at 1–2:29pm today in room 627.

Unfortunately, she’s had to withdraw from her other appearances today in order to rest her voice for the Guest of Honor speeches tonight.

Register now for WisCon 42!

Start planning your 2018 trip to WisCon now — memberships and hotel reservations are available today!!  WisCon 42 will take place Memorial Day weekend — May 25-28.  Full details on membership costs and next year’s room rates are in this blog post.  Adult memberships for WisCon 42 reflect a small price increase to $55 (all other memberships remain the same).

Toilets for all

We’ve had some questions about our arrangements for all-gender toilet — because it really seems like WisCon should just have all-gender toilets everywhere, right?  We agree!  But unfortunately, that’s not possible for the time being.  At this time the hotel cannot accommodate this need; the issue remains open. In the meantime, WisCon wishes to be very clear that we support all people’s right to use the restroom they consider appropriate.

We have all-gender toilets in two locations:

  • In Conference 1, on the 2nd Floor  (Yes, this is an awkward location.)
  • On the 6th Floor, between rooms 627 and 629

And, of course, all women are welcome to use the women’s restrooms.  All men are welcome in the men’s restrooms.

Questioning anyone’s right to use a restroom based upon a perceived mismatch between their gender and who a restroom is “for” is a violation of WisCon’s Code of Conduct.  If you feel unsafe or harassed, our Safety Team is here to assist you.

  • email:
  • phone:  608-957-7233 (957-SAFE)
  • reporting form:

Or look for one of our on-call Safety volunteers. They’re wearing bright yellow/green high-visibility vests.

Magic the Gathering tournament

  • Sunday, 4-5:15pm
  • Room 606

Formerly the Teen Programming Magic the Gathering tournament, the tournament is now open to all WisCon attendees.  THERE WILL BE PRIZES.  Tap your mana, shoot with your dragon — BOOM! — victory.

Film project; Researcher

At WisCon this year we have two folks working on projects who have asked for our help connecting with people.

Clara Pacotte — Film project

You may see Clara filming during WisCon.  She’s familiar with and has agreed to our photo policy; if you need to ask her to stop filming you, of  course do so.

Here’s what Clara has to say about her project:

The project is a splitted interactive “movie”. It is composed of four videos parts and textual, audio and visual documentation.
In each short documentary that will constitute the movie’s poles, I will explore one of the following themes:

  • Genre and sexuality in science fiction : interviews of guest writers about genre questionning in sci-fi, social alternatives and women’ status
  • Testimonies for the future : members of the Wiscon tell how they imagine women in 2070
  • From the 70s to the present day : the link between Wiscon’s original history and its current situation, focus on Wiscon as a community as well as a concentration of ideas
  • Fictionalized Madison : this part present several sequence-shots of Madison from different transportation means, mute and surrounded by voice recordings of Wiscon members telling their favourite part of their favourite science fiction story.

I need your participation to make this project exist. To be interviewed or give an audio or textual testimony, you can contact me at (in french, english or spanish). This way, we can already get in touch as I begin to plan the filming.

I’m available for any question and will be glad to give you more details if you send me an email.

Joey DiZoglio — Researcher

Joey DiZoglio is a student from Brown University’s Medical School researching women and non-binary health care providers who write speculative fiction. He will be in attendance at WisCon. If you identify as this kind of author or want to meet him or suggest authors you read or know then contact him at or on Twitter @JoeyDiZoglio.

Workshops — Clarification on how to join them

We’ve caused some confusion about how our Workshops operate, and we are deeply sorry about it. To clarify:

The WisCon Workshops are sign-up in advance. This was not made clear in the program; we apologize for the oversight. Many of the WisCon Workshops are full and unfortunately cannot take drop-ins. Some can! Email to ask! This was something we missed when Workshops expanded from Friday-morning-only format. Again, our apologies! We are already fixing it for WisCon 42.

Volunteer needs


Safety:  Needs volunteers for shifts throughout the convention.  Training provided!  Contact

Con Suite:  Openings today until 8pm.  Stop by and ask the person with the orange apron for shift openings.  Everyone visits the Con Suite at some point — this is a great way to see people you may miss otherwise!

Art Show:  Needs a volunteer for the 5-6pm shift today.  Stop by the show in Senate (1st floor) to sign up.


SignOut:  Still needs volunteers to help with set-up and during the event.  Contact

Art Show:  Desperately needs help packing up the art of the 8 artists who mailed their work into the show.  Also needs help for breaking down displays during tear-down. Stop by the show in Senate (1st floor) to sign up.

Tear-down:  MANY departments will need help to tear down after the convention.  Stop by the volunteer board (2nd floor, next to Registration desk) to see where you can help!

More details on volunteering in the section at the bottom, or email

Lost & found

The Registration desk (2nd floor) has the following items in Lost & Found:

  • orange bag with white paint on the side
  • jumbo Hefty™ zipper bag containing a lot of brown fabric (sweater? shawl?)
  • black zipper hoodie with roller derby team logo
  • gray T with long navy sleeves
  • black sweater
  • stripey-grey Mossimo hoodie
  • red composition book
  • ball of multicolored yarn in the blue-purple range, with attached crochet project
  • ball of multicolored (rainbow) string
  • small dolphin pendant
  • two magnetic “pin” backs

If you’ve lost any of these items, please come and retrieve them from Registration.

We also found a con badge.  Ask at the hotel front desk.

Today’s big events

Dessert Salon

  • 7:30-8:30pm
  • Capitol/Wisconsin

What’s a little decadent, a little laid back, and full of great conversation? Our Dessert Salon! Every year, right before the Guest of Honor speeches, WisCon members (who have purchased a salon ticket) enjoy delights crafted by the Concourse’s pastry chef, up to two desserts per ticket-holder.  You can peruse the selection of desserts to find one that suits your particular dietary needs on this blog post.

Guest of Honor Speeches
& Tiptree Ceremony

  • 8:30-9:45pm
  • Capitol/Wisconsin

The Guest of Honor event is the high point of the WisCon weekend.  This is when we celebrate and honor our guests, and our guests honor us with a speech, a song, or whatever they wish.  At the end of the evening, we’ll announce our Guests of Honor for WisCon 42.


Open Gaming Space will be open 8pm – 12am in the second floor lobby in front of the Dealers’ Room doors. We will teach and play a variety of modern games open to casual drop-in players. Most games will be suitable in theme and content for players of a variety of ages from children on up. New players are welcome and encouraged to join us! This year, we are excited to share new additions of Braille-marked accessibility kits to our collection, for the popular Pandemic and 7 Wonders board games, as well as a Braille RPG dice set that can be loaned out for scheduled (or impromptu) role-playing games.  We welcome you to bring games to share with fellow attendees, or to choose a game from our collection to play.

Today’s Open Writing Salon

  • Sunday, 8-10pm — With drive-by drabbling!

Looking for a quiet place to get some words on the page? Join us every morning and evening from Friday night to Sunday night for an opportunity to share space with other writers. The full weekend schedule is in this blog post.

Weekend drabble  challenge!

For the WisCon FanFic Drabble Challenge, we’ll be accepting works that are 100-250 words long, from any fandom. These will be collected and included in a collection on the Archive of Our Own. The challenge is open from Saturday at 12pm through close of con on Monday at 4pm.  This post has all the details!

Today’s Con Suite menus

This blog post has the full list of menus for the weekend.

Sunday dinner (3-5pm)

  • Ian’s Pizza

CART / live-captioning service available

WisCon is proud to offer live-captioning services — available all weekend long, at request, for (almost) any panel.  We always offer the service for Opening Ceremonies, the Tiptree Auction, and the Sunday night Guest of Honor Speeches.  But would you like to have CART for a panel you’re going to attend?  Our CART providers will be hanging out in the Green Room (2nd floor) all weekend long.  Check with a Green Room volunteer to see if the CART provider is available.  Or you can email!  Want to follow our CART captioning on your own device?  The URL is:

Location typo in the Pocket Program Book

Our printed Pocket Program Book has a typo for the location of the Safer Space for People with Disabilities.  It’s in room 625.

The once & future WisCon

How can WisCon improve?  What programming would you like to see next year?  Who would make a great Guest of Honor for WisCon 43?  Please check out this blog post and help us continue to build a great WisCon.

 Got an hour or two to volunteer? #WisConGiveBack

What makes WisCon go are the volunteers. Have a free hour or two? Would you like to help out and earn a rebate on your membership?  If you’re up for volunteering, please email us!

  1. Current urgent needs are posted on a white board next to the Registration desk on the 2nd floor.
  2. We always have a strong need for folks who can help out in the Con Suite.
  3. We also have a regular need for volunteers at Registration Desk and the Art Show desk.
  4. Other specific needs are added as needed to the blog’s volunteers tag.

Need to contact Safety?

Reminder:  Our Code of Conduct

  • email:
  • phone:  608-957-7233 (957-SAFE)
  • reporting form:

Or look for one of our on-call Safety volunteers. They’re wearing bright yellow/green high-visibility vests.

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