No Award at Continuum: Stephanie

This whole No Award thing came about last year when Liz and I were on a panel about Social Justice 101 and people kept asking for links to not-USAmerican SJ things and we struggled to provide them. And here we are, almost a year later! What that means is, Continuum is upon us in just 11 sleeps, and I got my final list of panels ahead of the program’s release yesterday afternoon.

Check out the program and maybe come along! It can be a little exxy if you’re used to cons like Supanova, but it’s high quality and also you can come along on Friday night which is a gold coin donation and give it a go, if that’s your thing and you’re not sure. There’s programming from 3pm until midnight.

I’m proud that you can read that program (note: I didn’t have anything to do with this program) and see a lot of the things in there that I tried to help along last year in terms of program diversity, understanding, conversations and just being really obviously queer and brown.

Liz will be making her own post about her stuff shortly, but here is where you’ll be able to find me (when I’m not in the bar or loitering out by Purple Peanuts for delicious vegan food).

I am moderating Triptych:

I: Moving Beyond the Gender Binary

II: Othered Sexuality

III: Gender Stereotypes in Speculative Fiction

The plan with this series of panels has always been to really open up and discuss a lot of the issues behind the representation of gender and sexuality issues in SFF. They’re combined as a triptych (across the entire weekend – including the first one being held during the gold coin donation opening evening) in part as acknowledgement that these issues are complicated and linked together and difficult to put boundaries on or definitions around. In Moving Beyond the Gender Binary, we’re talking about the ways in which beyond the gender binary is represented, and the ways in which it’s not – aliens coded as male or female, concepts of no gender futures, reaffirmation of the gender binary within the text as the right way. Othered Sexuality is about the lack of real translation or investigation when presenting sexuality in fantasy and science fiction, and the ways in which they all ultimately boil down to looking the same as what we’ve got now. And also you know how I love talking about othering, and the role of assuming the other and that there is an other, and what that means for your fiction in the real world. Gender Stereotypes is looking at the ways in which stereotypes are reinforced or subverted, successfully and not.

I think this is going to be really interesting because often gender and sexuality in SFF is used as short-hand for a lot of things and it’s done really poorly. Current gender and sexuality on my mind is Game of Thrones (brown people are queer you guys), Avatar (I don’t even know why) and the sudden fandom thing about America for a Bisexual Captain. And also it involves a lot of different people! (I will be interested to find out how many of them are brown)

I’ve got two solo presentations. Realistic Climate Dystopias was basically the inspiration for my article at The Toast: A Look at Australia’s Climate Change Dystopia.  So it’ll be a lot like that, but less structured and at 11:00 am so I’ll probably be on my second coffee. Chinese Mythology is exactly what it sounds like, because I thought you all deserve to benefit from my thoughts and research on Dragon and his nine sons, the role of the Jade Emperor in creating culture, the mother of the earth, and the horrifying hells.

I will also be on Created Languages, Borrowed Languages, Stolen Languages, which you will not be surprised to learn was my idea.  Languages in SFF and fantasy are frequently used for denoting the other and the exotic but WHO IS THE OTHER YOU JERKS. Is it cultural appropriation? Who is the assumed audience? What does it mean to feel like one has the right to steal another’s culture through their language? Why is it always so racist? Am I going to get very angry? Of course I am. I have like five pages of notes already. Also Guest of Honour Ambelin Kwaymullina will be on this panel and she has already been sharing with us her thoughts especially in regard to indigenous languages and it has been EXCELLENT and crunchy and you will be super sad if you don’t get in on this. Language is really important, my quokkas.

I am listed on Readings Special Stream: Outside the Anglosphere, but I actually have a going away party to attend and shouldn’t have been scheduled then. The hope is that I’ll be doing that reading earlier.  The point of Outside the Anglosphere is not to read one’s own work but to highlight someone else’s, and that someone has to be, as the title suggests, outside the anglosphere.  I will actually be reading from (and, let’s face it, probably digressing upon) Cixin Liu’s article of a few weeks ago rather than a story.

I’ve got one late-night I’ll be drunk panel: The Magical Hat of Mystery. This is in no way social justice related, though it could become so. We get drunk and answer questions pulled out of a hat and submitted before the panel begins. Other panelists are people I’ve been getting drunk with for over a decade, and when I yell at them they know I don’t mean it.

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