So, I’m not going to Wiscon next year.

There are lots of things I could say, but mostly they’ve already been said. I’m glad the concom appears to be rethinking their decision, but the fact that it had to be rethought at all is, well, I’ll settle for disheartening, though a stronger word would probably do better.

I wrote a much longer post, but really, everything in it has been said by others. But to me, it all boils down to Wiscon very clearly not having a functional harassment policy. There appear to be quite a few reasons this is the case, and none of them say anything good about how Wiscon is being run.

And the fact is, I love Wiscon. I go nearly every year. Hell, my whole family loves going. I was hoping, up until I saw the committee’s announcement last week, that they’d handle this. And then, desperately, that they’d handle the reaction–clarify somehow, or (way better, because even with the ambiguity about one or four years removed, it was still a bad call, and why do we care when or whether a serial harasser can apologize or not, exactly?) issue a new decision, because better late than never, right? But the comments and blog posts that I’ve seen over the last few days have removed all doubt on that score. The dysfunction on display has been such that even if the committee issued a new ruling tomorrow, I would have no faith they’d understood what had happened and why, and no faith that any future cases would be handled any better.

(And frankly, the stuff coming out just now about how Frenkel apparently lied about the nature of any NDA he might have had with Tor? Only makes things worse. First of all, like I said above, we care about him making an apology why exactly? This keeps Wiscon attendees safe how? And second of all, the guy’s a known serial harasser, and you take his word for this? And you’re shocked when it turns out he lied? Hello?)

Anyway. The end result of all this is, I’m not going to Wiscon next year. And won’t until I see a functioning harassment policy and very possibly a new set of names on the concom.

The title of the post is where I’ll be and when!

Basically, Left Bank Books in St Louis is having its 45th birthday, and as part of the celebration Mark Tiedemann, Kevin Killeen, and I will take turns writing a story in the shop window. Audience members–and Twitter denizens–will be able to suggest things that we have to work into the story somehow. And apparently there’ll be a live video feed, which you can find here.

During not-my-turns I’ll be available to sign books. It should be fun! So if you’re looking for something to do from about 5pm to about 9pm this coming Friday, drop on by!

So! I am going to Worldcon this year! And I am on a few panels and have a preliminary schedule. Which is reproduced below for those who may be interested.

Short Fiction is Dead, Long Live Short Fiction

Thursday 19:00 – 20:00

Short fiction markets are always in flux, but the changes over the last decade have perhaps been particularly dramatic — a general shift from print to online, the rise of new funding models, and so on. And yet there is more short fiction published than ever: alongside print stalwarts such as Interzone and Asimov’s are online magazines such as Clarkesworld, Tor.com and Strange Horizons, any number of Kickstarted anthologies, and hybrid models such as Arc. For editors, what considerations go into developing a short fiction market for today’s readers? For writers, do the available venues shape what gets written, and if so in what ways? And why do so few British writers appear in online magazines?

Liz Gorinsky (M), Eileen Gunn, Simon Ings, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Ann Leckie

A Queerer War

Sunday 13:30 – 15:00

Consideration of sexuality has been part of military sf since at least The Forever War, but while it’s easier than it used to be to find militaristic sf novels that address queer experience — Adam Roberts’ New Model Army, say, or God’s War by Kameron Hurley — they remain uncommon. Let’s talk about the implied or assumed links between combat, straightness, technology and morality, and how science fiction has succeeded and failed at complicating its understanding of the sexuality of war.

Duncan Lawie (M), Geoff Ryman, S. J. Groenewegen, Tanya Huff, Ann Leckie

Pew Pew! Where Have the Lasers Gone?

Monday 10:00 – 11:00

When was the last time you read a science fiction novel with lasers? Everything is flachettes and high explosive rounds. Do we blame William Gibson or has the technology of laser guns been debunked to the point that GI Joe and Cobra’s inability to actually kill one another has finally been explained? Is there still a place in science fiction for the obviously impossible and/or impractical?

Tom Becker (M), Gillian Clinton, Rachel Erickson, Neyir Cenk Gokce, Ann Leckie

In addition to these items, of course, I plan to attend the Hugo ceremony. There will probably be a few other things added into my schedule as the con draws nearer. Possibly quite a few, actually, but I do hope to be able to say hi to people I’ve so far only met online, and hi again to people I’ve met in person but don’t see often. The last couple Worldcons I’ve been to, I didn’t go to a single panel–wait, no, actually, the last two Worldcons, I did go to a reading or two but that was pretty much it–because I spent all my time hanging out with people. I suspect this one won’t be terribly different, except for my actually being on panels myself and having a reason this year to be busy doing book things.

Anyway, hope I see you there!

So, do you love tea? More importantly, have you felt a strong desire to drink Ancillary Justice-themed tea?

Now you can!

Click on over to Adagio Teas, where I’ve made three novel-related blends:

Justice is a green tea–the main component is kukicha, with a bit of cucumber white and some coconut. If you’re not a green tea fan, this might not be your thing. Kukicha is leaves and stems, and very…it’s the sort of thing reviewers at Adagio call “grassy” which, I guess I can see. I like it a lot, personally, but if you don’t, you’ll probably prefer….

Propriety, which is a white tea with apricot and cornflowers. Very mild, just a bit fruity.

Or you could go for Benefit, which is a black tea, with orange and chocolate. This tea smells amazing in the bag, and it’s the one my daughter and her friends drank all up last winter.

Benefit, by the way, is in a ‘ship with Propriety, which in Adagio-speak means that if you order both, you get ten percent off.

Oh, and some fandom blenders over at Adagio make the most beautiful labels, but…well, you can see from my labels just exactly how skilled I am at graphic design. Which is to say, not very. Well, it is what it is.

Now, you’re probably wondering what I get out of this deal. So, it works like this: when someone buys one of my blends, I get points that I can apply towards the purchase of more tea. Like I need more tea! (It is all research, I swear!) So one bag sold equals essentially one dollar towards my next tea purchase at Adagio.

The website says they ship overseas, too, btw, though I imagine it’s kind of expensive to do so.

And no, I don’t have a tea problem, I can stop any time, I swear.

So, starting, I think, yesterday, and I think going on for the next couple of weeks, Ancillary Justice is available for $1.99. In ebook, of course. And only certain places. Amazon, of course, is not one of those places, because Amazon is…I am biting my tongue about Amazon.

Anyway. You can get Ancillary Justice for $1.99 at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, or the Google Play store.

So if you or someone you know read the first hundred pages of the novel in the Hugo packet and would like to read the rest? You can get it for pretty cheap right now.

I wish I could say that Amazon and Kobo were doing the same. Amazon…yeah. And I’ve actually been making most of my ebook purchases through Kobo lately, because my local indie shop gets a cut. But ebooks are pretty nearly always full price through Kobo.

When I first bought an ebook reader, I got myself a little Sony e-ink thing, which I liked very much but then dropped on the driveway and cracked the screen. I spent some time considering whether I should replace it with another Sony, or buy something else. In the end, I bought a tablet because I didn’t want to be locked into a particular bookseller. (And just this year Sony got out of the business of selling books and transferred my purchases over to Kobo–which was tremendously easy for me to handle since I’ve already got the Kobo app on my tablet.) But of course, tablets (and e-readers that can function as tablets) are more expensive than your basic e-ink reader, so I realize that’s not an option for everyone. I recommend it if you can do it, though.

Stuff!

Last Wednesday I had a lovely G+ Hangout visit with the SF1 Science Fiction Book Club. (Link goes to a Facebook group.) It was a delightful meeting, we had some lovely conversation, some of it even aboutAncillary Justice. I had a great time.

I have also recently acquired a box of bookplates. Now, they’re nothing fancy. They’re these ones, in fact. I’ve had a few emails from people who have copies of Ancillary Justice who want them signed, but who have very little chance of getting their books into my hands. So. If you are one of those people, and you’re in the US, send me a note–nothing fancy, “May I please have a signed bookplate” will suffice–and a self addressed stamped #10 envelope, and I’ll sign a bookplate, put it in the envelope, and drop it in the mail. Sound good? Here’s the address:

PO Box 190308
St Louis MO 63119

If you’re not in the US–Orbit has actually been sending me batches of bookplates to sign for the UK. I just sent back a fresh batch. If you can’t find any of those, and you don’t run across me at Worldcon, email me and we’ll figure something out.

Last, but absolutely not least, Saturday the Locus Awards were announced. I couldn’t make it to Seattle–which made me kind of sad, I’d have loved to have gone. Instead Rashida Smith represented me, and had a speech all ready to read for me, saved to her phone. Ancillary Justice was up for Best First Novel. Which it won! I really cannot tell you how pleased I am about that. It was certainly a privilege to see my book in such a great list of finalists. Congratulations to all the finalists, and all the winners!

Yeah, so, the Riverfront Times did a profile on me. And in the way of such things, its kind of weird to see myself depicted by someone else, and lots of little details seem just…off, but most of them are, you know, little, and I’m basically just shrugging, no big deal. I’ve seen other people who I knew fairly well turn up in news stories or columns and seen the way the reporters’ depictions seem…more or less alien to me, not really like the person that I know. It’s one of those things that happens. (And something to keep in mind when one is tempted to make judgments–particularly moral ones–with nothing more than a news article to go by.)

There was one detail, however, that I do feel compelled to correct. I’ve already spoken to the reporter about it, and he said he’d fix it in the online version, but of course the print version is what it is. So I’m going to mention it here, too.

The article said that I had found solace in science fiction during a time when I’d been bullied and harassed in high school. (Rosati-Kain, for those of you with enough connection to St. Louis to be wondering, and/or don’t want to read the entire article for that detail.)

In fact, while I was indeed bullied and harassed in elementary school and had a horrible time and I suspect this drove me to spend even more time reading than I might have otherwise (which possibly isn’t saying much considering how much I loved to read), high school was an entirely different story.

In fact, it was obvious from the very first day of freshman year that high school was going to be different. Classes were classes, so far so good, but I dreaded lunch. At my K-8 elementary school we’d all had to sit each class at the same table, and of course I knew that no one wanted me there, or at least (in retrospect) it amused some of my classmates to be sure I never got the impression anyone wanted me there. I didn’t see any reason things should be different in high school, but being able to sit wherever I wanted might mean that at least I’d be left alone. When lunch time came around, I went through the line and got my tray and then started looking for an empty table. Spotted one and headed over–and didn’t get three steps before a table full of people I’d had a couple classes with waved me over. “Ann! Sit over here!”

My first thought was that they were having me on–playing (or attempting to play, perhaps I would decline to fall for it) a cruel joke, luring me in so they could mock me. But then I thought, you know, Ann, these people don’t know you. They don’t know that no one is supposed to like you. They most of them don’t know each other, either, do they? It’s the first day of high school and everyone here is from all over the city. Maybe…maybe they’re just being friendly.

And you know what? They were! I had a great time at lunch, and ultimately a great time in high school. Not counting the various normal emotional upheavals, right? But nobody ever treated me the way I’d been treated in elementary school. And I had friends. Some of whom loved to read science fiction and fantasy, and some of whom didn’t, but really it didn’t matter.

So I really feel strongly that I need to correct that. I was not, ever, at any time bullied or harassed in high school.

I do understand how the mistake happened–lots of people are bullied and harassed in high school, and the conflation of my experience in elementary school with my high school is understandable. But it’s inaccurate.

So–no. Actually, high school was great, for me. And I’d just like to thank the folks–most of whom I’ve lost contact with over the years but still–who called me over to their lunch table that day, and who were friends or friendly acquaintances at a time when I really, really needed it and didn’t in the least expect it. I have never forgotten it.

Some studies seem to suggest that swearing uses parts of the brain not generally involved in regular speech–parts of the brain that have a role in emotion and instinct. Some people have made the assertion that chimpanzees swear, though how you could know that, I’m not sure. But at any rate, it seems entirely possible that what we call “swearing” is a kind of speech distinct from other speech–not just in the way we categorize it, but in the way our brains process it.

So you’d think people would just, you know, swear. But it’s more complicated than that. In the US at least there are all kinds of rules about who swears and when.* So even if we accept that swearing is a speech with a distinct neurological difference from other speech, it’s also clear that it intersects very strongly with culture, sometimes in complicated ways.
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I have just sent an email to chair@wiscon.info regarding Wiscon’s failure to address multiple incidences of harassment. I won’t say anything more about that, unless it becomes clear that only public outcry will have an effect. This is not to say that I at all disapprove of anyone else engaging in said public outcry right now–quite the contrary. If everyone involved had refused to say anything publicly up till now, no one would know there was a problem. And that’s exactly how harassment keeps on happening.

So, except for that part of things, I had a great time at Wiscon, hanging with friends old and new. I was on some panels, all of which were a lot of fun, including the “SFWA, is it Relevant?” panel, which for some reason the Deities of Panel Assignments had decided I ought to moderate. But all the panelists, and the panel audiences, were awesome and smart and fun. I am well aware that I lucked out.

I don’t generally attend as many panels as I used to, certainly not as many as I intend to when I first look at the schedule. One of the few that I did was about gods as characters, and there was one small moment of “hrmph?” that, later, I wished I’d thought of raising my hand and saying a particular thing in response to.

So, one of the panelists had grown up Muslim and was now, ISTR, Episcopalian. They remarked that Ishmael had been a major and central figure to them, growing up, and that it sometimes startled them how little emphasis he got in Christian traditions, sometimes it seemed (I am paraphrasing here) as though he barely existed for Christians.

Another panelist replied that, no, actually, Christians knew about Ishmael!

And I sat there, and I went, “hrmf.” And it was only this afternoon in the shower (as often happens) that something sort-of-parallel occurred to me.

A friend of mine, who is Roman Catholic, married a lovely man who had grown up Southern Baptist, and who had decided to convert to Roman Catholicism. So they attended the sort of classes that you do, when you’re converting. In one of these, the instructor was trying to explain to the students just how incredibly central the Eucharist is to Roman Catholics.

One student said, “Oh, but it’s central to the church I grew up in, too! We have Communion at least once a month!”

Reader, did you just laugh? I’ll lay money you have been, at some time in your life, Roman Catholic. In case you didn’t laugh, to a Catholic, that statement sounds a lot like, “Bathing is very important to me! I take a bath every month, whether I need it or not!”

The thing is, I’m quite certain that student was utterly and completely sincere–no doubt the Eucharist was very important to them, and no doubt they felt quite sincerely that their devotion was equal to anyone else’s–but, not (yet) having been Catholic, they had no freaking idea just how central and important it is to Catholicism. Catholics don’t have Communion monthly, or quarterly. Weekly is a bare minimum and I’ve known quite a few people who attend Mass daily. Even if you don’t go to Mass every Sunday, it can be kind of weird to visit some other Christian denominations and find so many things missing, things that point to that very centrality of the Eucharist. It’s not that denominations that have Communion monthly or quarterly don’t care about or understand or value it–but until you’ve been a Catholic, or spent a lot of time with Catholics and/or Catholicism, or attended Mass on a regular, long-time basis, it can be hard to appreciate the differences in scale and intensity, between the way Catholics do and quite a few other denominations do.

I wished I’d remembered this story, to tell it. I’m sure the panelist meant well, but I’m equally sure they don’t actually have any idea what the first panelist meant, or how big that difference the first panelist was describing probably is.

So, yeah, sometimes I google my book. And I ran across this thing called “Tumblr”? I don’t know, maybe you’ve heard of it? I actually have an account but I have done nothing with it because I don’t quite understand the logic of Tumblr, how the conversations work there. It took me a while to get Twitter, too, though, and I eventually did. I’ll probably figure Tumblr out just before everyone leaves it for the next big thing.

But meantime. I was googling, like you do, and I ran across some fanart. Which I gather is kind of a thing on Tumblr? I don’t know, I just think this fanart is awesome, and I thought I would link to it and share the awesome.

So check out Raemanzu’s picture of Breq/One Esk Nineteen and Seivarden and another one on Deviant Art, both of which made me smile so much when I saw them. And this one just of Breq.

Then there’s Marrowskies’ drawing of Lieutenant Awn, and one of Breq/One Esk Nineteen and Seivarden. Those just made me happy.

How fabulous are those? No, don’t answer that, because I already know. Pretty darn fabulous! One of the things I love about all these (definitely not the only thing, but) is the way that each artist has their own vision of the characters, and their work is very different, and of course neither of them has drawn the characters exactly the way I think of them–and yet they work, they seem right. At least, to me they do!