The first panel we attended that day was "Writing vs. Politics," with Gregory Frost, Eleanor Arnason, K Tempest Bradford, Douglas Lain, and Steven Schwartz. This was a very searching discussion touching on the tensions between pursuing one's art, and working to preserve a political environment that may be required for that art to flourish. This is not an easy decision, particularly when one has limited time, money, and emotional and physical resources as well. As ever, audience participation was vigorous and I picked up a number of references and connections for political writing.
At lunch break, we swept through the Dealers' room and art show, picking up a new Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, a paperback of "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell," among others, and I got an action figure fix from Rider's Dolls.
Then, we went to "Borderlands of Science." Had I known that the main thrust of the panel was going to be skepticism, I might have skipped it. Make no mistake, it was an excellent discussion, again, very scientifically rigorous, but I really had wanted to hear what we KNEW about SETI, dark matter, and consciousness theory, among other things touted in the panel description.
Then, we took a break from programming to visit the Tiptree bake sale and chat a bit before the four PM panel slot, in which we both had panels. Mine was remembering WisCon 1, with Amanda Bankier moderating me, Jeanne Gomoll, Richard Russell, and Phil Kaveny. There were a few attendees of that Con in the audience, and other who came on board at number Two or therafter, and we had a good if occasionally bittersweet time reminiscing about how it all began. I suggested this panel, so I was pleased at how it turned out. Georgie was on "Future Earth," along with Brendan Baber, Richard Chwedyk, Liz Gorinsky,and Amy Thompson, and had a good time there, as well.
Then we changed for dinner and went out to L'Etoile with our British friends, Maureen Kincaid-Speller, and Paul Kincaid. This has become a regular event for us, and it's delightful to chat with them over a lovely dinner. As ususal, Debbie Notkin, Ellen Kushner, and Delia Sherman were at another table at the same time.
We went back to the hotel to digest a bit before Georgie's panel on "The Librarian Hero," which was both well attended and well received. Georgie, Heather Whipple, Jay Lake, Laura Quilter, and Deborah Stone both recounted true tales of librarian heroism and recommended good fictional stories as well.
We caught some of the Tiptree auction action, including the "pink bra" episode. I've seen some rather inaccurate summations of what happened, so here's the scoop. Mary Doria Russell's peripatetic pink brassiere having been donated back to the auction, Ellen Klages haled both Mary and the most recent known owner, Karen Joy Fowler, up on stage and demanded they decide what to do with it. They initally complied by wrapping it around Ellen's mouth, which failed to silence her (Ellen: "I've got a microphone in my bra.") Then, their eye fell upon Geoff Ryman who had been taking his ease in the audience careless of impending danger. However, when they lunged for him, he leaped up and ran for it, making several circuits of the stage, the ballroom and corridor before going to ground underneath the stage risers and feigning to telephone for help. Contrary to many reports, Ellen did not take part in the chase, but stood bemusedly on stage while the pursuit went on. Mary Doria Russell ran in the front of the hunting pack, being assisted by several enthusiastic fans who pressed the fugitive Ryman closely despite his notable advantage in leg length. Eventually bids were accepted to put Ryman into, and then release him from the brassiere, which he modeled upside down and backward around his hips with the cups cradling his buttocks. (Having seen Ellen previously auction off a Maidenform bra add from the 60's, I was surprised we didn't hear something about "lift and separate" here, but it was getting late.) My action figure was one of the last things to be auctioned, and fetched approximately $250.00, which pleased me.
A brief pass at parties, and then to bed. This year we came too late for Haiku earring, although we did get to read the poems others had written.