Many in the loop know about the painful issues that have been courageously brought up regarding Arisia 2019. After careful consideration, I will be attending this year in the tentative hope that the staff have begun to get things back on track. For a convention that has long prided itself on its inclusivity and progressive politics, their mishandling of reports of abuse and sexual misconduct is disturbing and deeply infuriating.
I understand why there are those who have decided to boycott the convention. My own reasons for going hinge on supporting local independent artists and writers. I would also like to see first hand, since Arisia's board has made their apology, how they will be moving forward. Historically, Arisia has been the largest of the New England science fiction and fantasy conventions. I want them to grow, learn, and be better, and I want to be a part of that positive change. If successful, I also want to see how that learning process can be utilized to make other conventions better, too.
But we'll see how it goes together. The ball's in their court.
So, if you have weighed all this and decided to go next weekend, either for a little while or the whole thing, I'll be moderating four panels and on seven panels total:
Friday, January 18
FADE IN: Speculating in Other Media
Cabot (4th), 7pm - 8:15pm
Stories and novels get most of the attention in workshops and panels like these. What are some other outlets for writing? What should an aspiring speculative screen writer know about the art? How hard is it to become a comic book writer anyway?
Saturday, January 19
Tired: Moving Past Stale Writing Advice
St. James (4th), 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Writers of every level encounter a lot of free advice on their way to honing their craft. Write what you know. Kill your darlings. Show don't tell. Has this advice become tired or even harmful for novice writers? Or is there still a kernel of truth to them? By discussing which advice might be past its expiration date, panelists will share any pithy advice they have.
Steven Universe: We'll Always Find a Way
Tremont (4th), 4pm - 5:15pm
Steven Universe continues to be a show that deals uncompromisingly with issues around gender, childhood, and family in ways both unexpected and delightful (if not without the occasional problem). It's also telling a great long-form adventure story. We'll talk about all elements of this show in a panel that, like the show itself, will appeal to fans of all ages.
Sunday, January 20
Romantic or Repulsive?
Cambridge (4th), 11:30am - 12:45pm
Tracks: Fan Interest
From Aladdin's cosplay deception to the cue cards scene in Love Actually, stories often treat behaviors such as stalking, deception, and lack of consent as romantic, when in reality they are anything but. We'll talk about some of the most common romantic tropes and consider the question, "Is this behavior romantic? Or repulsive?" Please note that this panel will cover topics regarding consent that some may find upsetting.
The Past in Present Tense: Escaping Flashbacks
Cabot (4th), 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Whether through flashbacks, exposition, or time travel, speculative fiction often needs to travel backward before it can go forward. How have authors handled the question of backstory besides writing a flashback? What are the advantages and disadvantages of introducing elements of the past through other means (fragments of written records, fever dreams, reality gem illusions, etc.)?
Monday, January 21
Whispering Woods: Fairy Tales and #MeToo
Newbury (4th), 11:30am - 12:45pm
Spindles. Tall towers. Tricky villains in disguise. Fairy tales so often served as cautionary tales about very real social dangers. Have social media and the 24-hour news cycle shifted the need for allegorical warnings? What stories continue to call out missing stairs and common predictors? How can and should new fiction, particularly in fairy tale form, serve generations of readers to come?
Moonlighting: Making Money While Still Writing
Beacon Hill (4th), 1pm - 2:15pm
Kevin McLaughlin (moderator), Kenneth Rogers Jr., Felicitas Ivey, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Gillian Daniels
Now that you're a writer, how do you survive until your best-selling novel gets published? Mixing personal experience with sound financial advice, writers will discuss how to write and still make ends meet. Expect a discussion of jobs good for writers, side-line gigs, and when you should declare how much you're making (or not) to the IRS.