Wiscon Schedule '08
Parenting On Other Planets
"Let's talk about the ways SF/F portrays (or doesn't portray) parenting. Are feminist writers bringing parenting into SF/F, or is it invisible everywhere? What are your favorite stories? What utopian visions are you trying out in your own household? Which cliches make you grind your teeth (Bambi's mom, anyone)? "
Joell Smith-Borne(M), Janet Lafler, Benjamin Rosenbaum
Reading: Love, Sex and Weirdness
Christopher Barzak, Haddayr Copley-Woods, M. Rickert, Benjamin Rosenbaum
Let's Build a World
"We'll start with some categories (tech level, economic system, climate, races, etc.), get ideas about each of them from the audience, select the best ideas in each category, then watch the panelists writhe as they try to figure out how to make them work together. "
Naomi Kritzer, Benjamin Rosenbaum(M), Kristine Smith, doselle young
On The Lifespan Of Genres
"In the October '07 issue of Helix, John Barnes argued that genres have a natural three-generation cycle, which takes them from raw, radical innovation, through a development of techniques to virtuoso polishing; after that, a genre has done its 'cultural work' and it now is dead or 'undead': ""A genre is alive if new works can [still] change the genre fundamentally, and not if the reaction instead is to say, 'Well, that's not really in the genre.'"" Does it make sense to think of SF/F -- or at least some subdefinition of SF/F (the literature of the heroic drama of figuring out how the world works and applying that knowledge?) as nearing the end of its ""natural lifespan""? As having accomplished its cultural work? Or is Barnes's ""alive"" period really a kind of adolescence, and what SF is actually reaching is maturity? What does it really mean to say pottery, knitting, and opera are lifeless, and is the idea of valorizing genres which are still capable of drastic change, and which are at the center of cultural attention, suspect from a feminist perspective? Is SF being subsumed into the mainstream, so that its tropes and techniques will live on vividly beyond its official boundaries? Will it, like tragedy or the gothic, change from a genre into a mode? And if so, which parts of SF will survive beyond its walls -- the outward manifestations, the robots and time machines? Or the habit of rigorously imagining the possible?"
Eleanor Arnason, Helen Keeble, Darja Malcolm-Clarke, Gregory Rihn, Benjamin Rosenbaum (M)