Some conventions – the 2014 World Fantasy Convention in DC, for instance – have worked to ensure that disabled members have full access to the convention.

Others have not.

Thanks to far too many examples of the latter, I have decided not to attend conventions that do not offer an accessibility statement on the convention website, and/or a written statement to me guaranteeing disability access, and offering specifics about that disability access.

I will also no longer be attending conventions that do not provide access ramps to stages.

I am, granted, only a very small voice in fandom, but I'm a very small voice that can no longer use my money and time to support conventions that cannot take the time to ensure that I can fully participate in the con.
Worldcon was this weekend in Spokane, which meant smoke! Sad and Rabid Puppies! And an end to what I fear is just one chapter of the Hugo Award drama. If you missed the announcement, No Award won in the five categories with only Sad/Rabid Puppy nominations. Most of the Puppy nominees also lost in the other categories.

To put this in some perspective, in the 60 years prior to this, No Award won five times. It won five times last evening alone, although maybe "won" is the wrong word.

Some quick thoughts:

1. Once again, apparently the only way to reach the Hugo stage? Stairs. No ramp.

2. On a much happier note, SASQUAN did provide a sign language interpreter throughout the ceremony, something I hope future Hugo Award ceremonies will continue to do. My understanding is that a sign language interpreter was also at the business meetings, so yay.

3. Also, having an actual astronaut announce the winner of the Best Novel Award? And getting a Worldcon badge up to the International Space Station? TOTALLY RULES. Well done, Sasquan. Well done.

4. Speaking of Best Novel Award, I'm pleased to see that a novel originally written in Chinese won an award at a _World_con.

5. And yes, my neighbors really did break out into a noisy, unrelated block party, complete with booming music and some firecrackers, well after midnight while the Hugo Awards were going on. Late night parties on the weekends aren't all that unusual for them, but I like to think, in my head, that they were celebrating the Hugo Awards. Or at least the astronaut part of it. And yes, I did spend a not insignificant part of the pre and actual ceremony chatting on topics including spanking, cider, maple syrup and Arrow. These sorts of conversations just happen.

6. And now onto the Puppies:

During the ceremony, Twitter exploded with (expected) accusations about voting.

Over on Chaoshorizon, Brandon Kemper has run some initial analysis on the voting numbers, determining that of the 5950 people who voted on the Hugo, about 10% were Rabid Puppies, and about another 10% were Sad Puppies, for a 20% Puppy total, more or less, with considerable overlap.

Kemper also estimates that about 2500 voters voted No Award out of principle, and another 1000 voters ended up joining this group anyway, for a total of 3500 voters - or about 59% of the vote. I think Kemper's estimate of the number of voters who voted No Award out of principle is a bit high: the estimate is focused on the voting totals for Best Editor, categories that the Puppies swept, but categories that included some qualified people who might have been nominated/won in previous years, and one person, Mike Resnick, who has been nominated, frequently, in the past. But Best Editors are also relatively opaque categories, which in the past have tended to garner fewer nominations/votes (a typical voter comment is "Yeah, I have no idea what books X person even edited") and I think that opaqueness may have affected the vote here.

That suggests that, despite current claims on Twitter that the voting was completely political and voters didn't even try to read the Sad and Rabid Puppy nominees, a good half - and perhaps more - of the voting members did. That theory is borne out by a win for Guardians of the Galaxy, which was on the Puppy slate. Had Hugo voters voted solely based on politics/sticking it to the Puppies, I think one of the non-Puppy films (Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Edge of Tomorrow) would have taken it. Edge of Tomorrow even killed Tom Cruise over and over, so it had a lot going for it, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier had Black Widow.

Voters liked Guardians of the Galaxy more, suggesting that Hugo voters did take voting seriously, did not just dismiss the Puppy ballots offhand, and chose things they liked.

6. Wired has an interesting interview with multiple Puppies here. It includes the phrase "faceless minions," used unironically.

Also, it discusses the hopefully-this-year-only Alfie Awards, which went to, among others, Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos - two writers who withdrew their names from consideration after getting nominated.

7. I am a little skeptical of current hopes that if everyone who voted this year nominates next year, we'll have a Puppy free/slate free ballot. Skeptical mostly because the list of recommendations that I see tend to vary wildly (as they should) and rarely if ever agree with me (also as they should). Almost none of the things I nominated made it to either the actual ballot or the alternative, Puppy free ballot (determined from the long list). This includes popular, widely read things - the AVClub, for instance, which I nominated for Best Related Work, and which is one of the 1000 most visited websites in the U.S. and one of the 3000 most visited websites world wide, was not on the long list at all. My guess is that more nominators are just going to result in a wider spread of works, not necessarily in eliminating future slates.

8. Something I did nominate, that made it to the long list but was probably cut out by the Puppy balloting (it didn't earn the needed 5% of the votes, but it might have without the Puppy ballot): When It Ends, He Catches Her, by Eugie Foster, who died tragically young last year. Still highly recommended.

9. And on a completely different note, while many of you were having fun at Worldcon, some of us were having fun at FakeCon. Warning: includes squirrels.
It's been brought to my attention that I haven't posted my official Loncon 3 schedule. This is true, mostly because for the most part I was trying to AVOID having an official Loncon 3 schedule. That flopped, if, I'm pleased to say, not too badly. So, the official Loncon3 schedule, in between arriving at some point Wednesday and leaving at some point Monday:

Chivalrous Critics of Fannish Dimensions
Saturday 20:00 - 21:00, Capital Suite 16 (ExCeL)

What makes a good epic fantasy? Does quality of prose matter, or is insisting on literary rigor killjoy and elitist? Is it possible to 'overthink' your experience of reading epic fantasy - or is it patronising to the sub-genre to suggest it should be given an easier ride than other types of writing? What are some of the primary critiques of epic fantasy and how can they be used to improve the genre moving forward?

Myke Cole (M), Liz Bourke, Nic Clarke, Justin Landon, Mari Ness

(I am tempted to show up with some sort of mash-up of The Belgariad and Finnegan's Wake, but perhaps not. I mean, to do that, I'd have to look at Finnegan's Wake again.)

I'm also on as an emergency back up add her to the panel thing, so it's possible this might get extended. I will also probably be making some sort of appearance at one or all the following: the Friday night SFWA reception (given the nature of these sorts of things, the chances that I will be lingering at this event are slim, slim indeed); the Saturday morning 10 am 12 am Strange Horizons Brunch, Fan Village, Tent A; one or more of Strolling with the Stars, assuming accessibility isn't an issue (I'll be Rolling with the Stars, but I feel that counts); and the, or at least a bar during the Hugos, to place large imaginary bets on the Hugos.

Also, my hotel room, for multiple naps.
In a little less than a month I head off to the United Kingdom and Ireland for WorldCon and Shamrockon. Since people have asked, I will also be in sorta the general area for Nine Worlds as well - in fact, I realized that I might even run into people at Heathrow arriving for Nine Worlds - and if people want to meet me for dinner that weekend that's awesome, but I wasn't planning on attending. Not because I have anything against Nine Worlds, which actually seems like more my sorta thing than the other two cons, but because at a certain point you hit Con Overload, and three cons in three weeks is absolutely that point for me. And although I initially thought about doing Nine Worlds and WorldCon, well...Shamrockon is in Ireland, where I've never been.

And like others, I will be in London between Nine Worlds and Worldcon. Let the hijinks ensue.

But this isn't about my con schedule, but rather about making reservations.

This isn't my first trip to the UK, or my first time making reservations there (although on one trip I just showed up at the train station and was lucky enough to find a cheap space in a Westminster boarding house sorta thing, which was fun).

But this is my first trip traveling via wheelchair, not to mention my first attempt to navigate Grade I and Grade II buildings - which historically can't be altered - some of which are transportation points, and others of which are hotels.

And, that, as it turns out, makes things interesting well before boarding a plane.

For instance:

1. While in London pre-Worldcon, I won't be using the London Underground much - even post the Olympics, many of the Tube stations are not wheelchair accessible. Fortunately for my budget, the London buses ARE fully accessible, and the bus system has a very helpful website where you can type in where you are starting from and where you want to end up and it will list all the buses for you. As it turned out, the buses pretty much cover everywhere I want to go, which solved that problem. (There's also special tourist buses, even better.) That's great, and meant that one of my main criteria for choosing a hotel was "Near Bus Station."

2. London hotel websites, however, assume that tourists are all going to want to use the Tube - so although they usually announce proudly how close to they are to a Tube station, few of them mention the bus stations. And if you go to the bus system website, it doesn't always tell you how far the hotel is from the bus.

3. Enter Google Street Maps, which have been, bluntly, a livesaver - not just for this reason, either, but you can type in the hotel address and see where the bus station is, on street view, and note any potential problems.

4. Google Street Maps are a godsend in another way: you can click on the little person on street view, look around, and see if the entrance to the hotel is, in fact, wheelchair accessible, since by "wheelchair accessible" the hotel sometimes means "you can use a wheelchair on the ground floor in the public rooms," not necessarily "you can get in."

5. And speaking of hotels in Bath, not London - I was initially cheered to see just how many hotels in Bath popped up when I searched for disabled accommodations in Bath.

Not surprisingly - most Bath hotels are in historic buildings that can only be accessed by two to four stairs - that turned out to be an overly optimistic search. As it turned out, Bath actually only has four hotels I could stay at. One is an absolutely gorgeous luxury hotel that is seriously beyond my budget, but where I am immediately heading to the instant I win the lottery. A second had only one disabled room which was already booked.

Which means that I am staying in a hotel that has been pretty universally described as "overpriced" in all of its internet reviews, who urge visitors to head to other, better value hotels. Having looked at the hotel's website I am already inclined to agree with the internet reviews, but the reviews also say that the hotel has a good sandwich place nearby, which is a plus, so there's that.

The other option, of course, was to stay in cheaper, more modern Bristol - an option I used for most of my clients back when I worked in the travel industry. The issue with Bristol, however, was that its hotels with disabled accommodation were for the most part not near the train station I would be using to take to Bath. By the time I worked out the transportation costs, I realized that I was going to be spending almost as much in transportation as I would be saving in hotel costs, so although Bristol is really not that far away, it seemed easier to stick with Bath after all.

6. Buckingham Palace, which is open during July/August, and is wheelchair accessible.

Wheelchair accessible tickets, however, have to be booked separately - and can't, unlike regular tickets, be booked online. (Apparently there's only one elevator accessible for tourists, so this has to be scheduled. Also you go in via wheelchair accessible golf cart.) Instead, you have to make an international phone call - or alternatively, email, and have them call you, which was working great until Buckingham Palace's computer systems went down. You fail me, Windsors, you fail me.

(Technically I think this is a sorta independent group that "operates" tours of Buckingham Palace while the Windsors are out windsoring, but it's more fun to assume this, like so many other things, is all Prince Charles' fault.)

I may end up at Kensington Palace instead, also wheelchair accessible, which has tickets available at the door.

7. But at least it is wheelchair accessible: it's been mildly crushing to realize even things that sounded like they would be fully wheelchair accessible aren't. The Tower of London is one thing; the Cartoon Museum, though, was a bit of a surprise.

I find myself comparing previous trips, with the "what shall I do today?" the spontaneous wandering, the surety that I could find someplace in London where I could sleep - and reach - without worrying too much. Some of that remains: my London schedule, for instance, is fairly flexible up until Worldcon, though that's partly because some plans are still getting finalized. It's not all disabled issues, either - some of this is just meeting up with various people here and there in London (hilariously, mostly Americans from Florida so far - it says something that it seems easier to meet up with them in London than Winter Garden, but moving on.) But there's still a fundamental change from previous trips, and it has me a bit twitchy.

On the other hand, London! Also, Dublin! Castles! High tea! And getting to see many of you again! Awesomeness.
Wow. Hadn't realized just how much time had gone by since I blogged here. Partly this has been illness; partly the complete lack of a blogging bug. But, still, a few random things from here and there:

1. A biography/history that for once, I don't have any real complaints about: Superman: The High Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero. Definitely on the popular side, with sex! Murder! (Ok, to be fair, insinuations and discussions of murder.) Flying accidents! Lawsuits! Quotes from basketball players! Gossipy little tidbits! A failure to completely get all the decisions made with Smallville! (We all feel you there, Mr. Tye, we all feel you.) Interviews with all of the (not murdered) still alive people involved with Superman! Analysis of why the dude is so popular. The book stops short of reviewing Man of Steel, since it went to print before the movie, but otherwise does a pretty thorough job of following Superman through newspapers, comic books, radio, television and film. Nothing deep here, but a fun pop culture history with more Superman gossip than you probably ever needed to know.

2. I'm not against the general idea of leaving politics out of Hugo voting, but if you really want me to seriously consider, say, your novelette for a major literary award, it might help if you did not spend the day spreading false allegations about a professional writers group that I happen to be a member of.

Just saying.

3. Speaking of the Hugos, I seem to have most of my plans in place for my upcoming trip to World Con and Shamrockon in August. This is my first trip to the UK in awhile, and my first trip ever to Ireland, so this should be interesting. Also I will be crossing the Irish Sea in a boat, which should be very interesting, so this is a general warning to those I'm meeting in Dublin that I don't expect to be overly coherent at first, especially if Macnamman mac Lir chooses to be unkind. Let us hope.

4. On a World Cup note, I was very sad to hear that today's headlines about the Biter From Uraguay did not, in fact, mean that the World Cup is now featuring teams of vampires biting each other between ball kicks. World Cup, you disappoint me. On the other hand, VAMOS COLOMBIA!
Just wanted to note that the chair of Lone Star Con has apologized to me over at Rose Lemberg's blog. Since my comment responded to is one of the most minor points, I hope that the Chair also has read my two other comments there as well as the feedback from other users, and that future Worldcon chairs will take a look at well.

Otherwise, I want to thank Lone Star Con for the apology, and hope that future Worldcons will be better.
So, while I was at Worldcon and recovering, various things happened, like, publications!

1. First, over at Tor.com, the Heyer reread continued with Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle and the Chronicles of Prydain reread got going with The Book of Three. To answer the third most popular question that I was asked at Worldcon, yes, I will be covering the Westmark and Vesper Holly series, although there may be a small interruption midway through the reread for a different series (the timing, as always, is based on Tor stuff, not me.)

Sidenote: it was pretty gratifying to hear at Worldcon how many people are enjoying the Heyer posts, largely because those feel like complete indulgences on my part. But one of the first new people I met had been reading them and had Things to Say! We bonded over hating Bath Tangle. It's a good bond.

2. The fourth issue of Through the Gate went up, containing my tiny little poem Mountain. The issue also has a prose poem by Sonya Taaffe called Mari Mild which has nothing to do with me, but I loved the title so I am noting it here. Check out the rest of the issue while you're there (assuming the word "poetry" hasn't made you flee); it's really excellent.

3. And if you haven't subscribed to Daily Science Fiction yet, you still have a few days before my next little set of short stories for them (technically, one story subdivided into three separate flash stories), called "Gifts" pops up in your inbox later this month.
So, apart from the panels, the disability issues, getting sick, being woozy for much of the rest of Friday, and much of Saturday, needing long naps Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and having to ask far too many people for help, and now getting blamed for not asking for help and getting told that the lack of a ramp at a disability in science fiction panel was all my fault for not asking for one even though programming was aware that I was in a wheelchair, how was the rest of Worldcon, Mrs. Lincoln?

Not too bad, actually.

I had some wonderful dinners and lunches with various people, too many to list. I had a hilarious moment when SFWA didn't recognize me as a real member which led to an awesome conversation about how reality applies or doesn't apply to science fiction writers. I met, however briefly, a REAL ASTRONAUT (I think we scared her with our enthusiasm and I'm sorry about that, but ASTRONAUT. IN A BAR. WITH ME.) I got to drink with writers and editors during the Hugo awards (we were down at the bar, which I gotta tell you is the place to be during the Hugo awards) and yell in glee when Game of Thrones finally beat out Doctor Who. (That was hilarious.) I got to meet several writers I've never met before; I only wish that so many of those conversations had NOT been about disability issues, and I'm sorry about that. I got some signed books and a wooden puzzle of a cat and a dragon (I couldn't resist) and a fun T-shirt and resisted buying a lot of jewelry and touched the Iron Throne and forgot to take pictures of Daleks. I rolled with the stars (they strolled; I rolled). I attended a couple of parties (not too many this year because I was kinda dizzy and the noise was killing me); saw San Antonio at night from a 38th story window; wandered the Riverwalk with the help of people, took the little Rivertaxi around. I had dinner with an long term friend of mine (I promised us both I wouldn't type "old") who kindly drove down from Houston to see me, which was awesome. I saw some bats. I had wonderful conversations.

And finally, on Monday, with help, I made it to the Alamo. I didn't stay long, but I made it.

My original plan had been to go home Monday, but when I realized that I could save on airfare by going home Tuesday instead, I changed my plans, and I'm so glad I did. Monday turned out to be a decompression, relaxation day (it included a long nap and more time in the bar), where I met some more new friends. That evening was awesome.

So, yeah, good things, bad things. As I told people when I returned, definitely mixed, but I'm going to try to remember the good things.
1. Unlike everyone else, I have absolutely no cool pictures, mostly because I forgot my cell phone could take pictures until I got back to Orlando. Which in retrospect was not the best time to remember this.

2. First cab I got into, from the airport to the hotel, has a big sign plastered to the window about Your Rights As A Passenger, which includes Full Access to Wheelchair Accessible vehicles.

Naturally, the first cab did not have space for my wheelchair and I had to get into another one.

3. A convention of 3900 people (I think – I kept hearing different numbers all weekend) means that a lot of people have to show up early, and by a lot, I mean, the lobby is already filled up with geeks as you are checking in. The hotel helped me upstairs. I had a little conversation with myself.

"It's a NEW PLACE and it's FULL OF GEEKS and YOU SHOULD GO AND HAVE FUN!"

"ZONK."

Zonk won. But I did manage to drag myself back downstairs for a bit of dinner at the mall (which was attached to the hotel) and a first look at the San Antonio Riverwalk.

4. About the Riverwalk: it's a walking (and, outside the major downtown tourist area, bicycle) path which runs along both sides of the river (mostly) and has various little gardens and fake waterfalls and ducks and turtles and dining areas and Irish pubs and so on. A portion of it has been cut out to create a nice little circle so you can go round and round. It's extremely touristy with the usual overpriced touristy restaurants, but, hey, turtles and if you look you can find affordable food, or, because this is me, milkshakes. (I know, I know, diet, but hey. It was seriously hot.)

It's also well below street level and on its own goes up and down. This makes it rather interesting in a wheelchair. For instance, you can go down to the R level in the Rivercenter hotel (where the mall food court and some very boring shops were) and go through the mall and end up on one side of the river and then use an exciting sequence of elevators and street systems to get to the other side (and by "exciting" I mean "the elevators sometimes stop" or you can ROLL ROLL ROLL down a nice steep and bumpy ramp to the other side and then roll roll roll past the Riverboat tour and then pick a series of bridges to figure out which difficult to get to restaurants you would like to visit or PUSH PUSH PUSH up uneven pavements to a section of the convention center which was not on my map but which had an excellent bathroom, which is important.

Not that I saw much of that on day one because ZONK was winning out and it was just not worth the fight. I made it back to my room and slept for 12 straight hours.

5. COFFEE. This became a rallying cry at the con. I went to the overpriced Starbucks in the hotel lobby (seriously overpriced; there was another Starbucks in the mall that had the regular Starbucks prices, but it was a bit too far for me to manage, so I grit my teeth and paid the extra amount), confirmed that I could get my daily banana there and then headed off to registration, with the kindly help of some people who pushed me in return for my studying the map.

TOTAL SIDENOTE: The hands down best prepurchase I made for this con was my Dragon Magnifying glass, because, see, map.

Anyway, we found Registration. This was very well organized and I was done much sooner than expected with my shiny new badge (I got my Rainbow Ribbon later) which I promptly stuffed into my bag as I hailed a taxi.

6. The taxi ride: So, this started with another convention dude and me. As we swung by the Alamo, I saw the outside (this is going to be a theme, so hold on). He jumped off and then the taxi driver took off. He was very excited to hear about incoming writers since this meant he could tell me about his great writing moment: taking Alex Haley in a cab and then later finding out that Haley had lost all of his money on women (I am quoting the taxi cab driver; I have no verification for this.)

Anyway he eventually got me to the San Antonio Museum of Art.

7. Getting into the San Antonio Museum of Art was one of those unintentionally hilarious disability moments. Here's how it works in the wheelchair. Bump bump bump BUMPBUMP bump over to a narrow, relatively steep ramp lined with bricks. I probably could have handled one or the other, but not both. Someone pushed me up BUMP BUMP and then – the door with the little disabled button so it could be opened automatically, which is great if you can get to the door. Anyway.

The actual museum is pretty awesome – not too large, not too small. I spent most of my time looking at Roman stuff because, well, sarcophagi (I don't think anyone expected me to miss those) but they also had some highly pornographic Greek stuff and some really lovely Chinese stuff and a painting by John Singer Sargent that held me enthralled. I don't know what it is about Sargent and rich society women, but it's something.

Not that I saw the entire museum. Getting to some sections was going to be Interesting and I didn't feel like Interesting, plus I was a bit concerned about the overall heat.

Plus.

RIVER TAXI.

BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP bump bump SHAKE bump bump bump then, WHEE down a long twisty ramp all the way to the river then a long long rest then boat.

This was great. The boat took me right up to the end of the boat trip – which included a lovely little waterfall and some ducks – and then we turned around and went back past the museum and very very slowly down the river, through the sound sculpture (under a bridge) and various other art projects (mostly under bridges) and through the boat lock. The slowly was mostly me because I kept seeing turtles, but also partly the boat: that's a very shallow river so the boats go slowly. Had I known that the water taxi stopped at the museum I would have taken that to the museum in the first place.

....ok, so I lied. The ACTUAL non-panel stuff is forthcoming!
Just before the Thursday morning Stroll With the Stars I heard a rumor that Programming was having some issues thanks to last minute cancellations and other things, with several panels having empty slots. Eyes rolled over in my direction.

Now, for various reasons, I haven't been on any panels at science fiction/genre conventions before (other types, yes). Partly this is because I still feel like more than a bit of an imposter at cons, but mostly, this is because I have a very unpredictable illness which may mean that I will have to cancel at the last minute – and may not be able to let anyone know that I am cancelling.

However. Thursday morning I was high on sugar and caffeine (thank you overpriced Starbucks) and trying to figure out how to cancel my ongoing guilt/imposter feeling. So after the Stroll With the Stars a very kind person took me to the convention center, where I met up with another very kind person who offered to take me to Programming.

Through no fault of WorldCon, Programming happened to be located in arguably the Most Difficult To Find Place in San Antonio. The volunteer and I went Round and Round and Round, and then, for a change, Round, and then more Round, before finally finding the place. There I met a clearly overworked woman desperately trying to work out con schedules. I gave her my brief bio and what I'm sorta known for (Oz, poetry, short fiction, children's literature.)

I was offered the Disability in Science Fiction panel.

I use a wheelchair.

I was also warned that the Disability in Science Fiction panel did not have a ramp to the stage but since I was now part of the panel she would try to find a solution. I was also put on the How to Publish Your Poetry panel, and then I took the little Water Taxi back to the hotel.

About an hour later, a poetry editor rejected a couple of my poems, kinda solidifying my thought that this whole paneling thing was really not a great idea, unless everyone wanted to learn How to Get Your Poems Rejected. That, I'm really really good at. I was also worried about the Disability in Science Fiction panel, largely because I mostly read biographies and mysteries, not science fiction, and I knew the other panelists knew more of the field than I did. A couple of very nice conrunners/SMOFs from another con assured me that even if I threw up on other con panelists worse things have happened. So, I stayed on.

Saturday morning Rachel Swirsky texted me to say that Nancy Hightower was moderating a Prose by Day/Poet by Night panel at 11 am which now only had two people on it and could I fill in? I said yes and got more coffee. Another very nice person pushed me over to the SFWA meeting which started at 10.

At 10:30 I left the SFWA meeting to make it to my poetry panel. I pulled out my little Helpful Map where my route had been marked out by a Worldcon volunteer. This meant going down carpet (check!) going up an elevator (check!) following my little map and going forward (check!) finding myself at another convention....

Uncheck.

After a short discussion with the People Magazine convention we agreed that I could cut through their convention IF I was escorted. I put my hands up and didn't look at anything (then) and made it to the other side. I decided to visit a bathroom, which went as those things do until I came out and someone accidentally spilled hot coffee over my right hand. Ouch. I headed over more carpet and looked at my watch and my little map and decided to ask for the most efficient route. Luckily at this point Juan Sanmiguel spotted me and took me to the panel, arriving at 10:59. Yes, it had taken me nearly a half hour to get from the SFWA meeting to the panel.

Where the three other panelists (L.E. Modesitt had joined at the last minute) were all up on a stage that did not have a ramp.

So they stayed on the stage and I stayed on the floor with a mike.

Otherwise I think that panel went well although I admit I was kinda sad when Locus came in to take a picture and missed me because they didn't realize I was part of the panel (it was when the others were talking). Oh well. Otherwise, it was a great discussion.

Sunday I headed over to the Disability in Science Fiction panel. There was no ramp to the stage. Instead, tables had been set up and we all sat in front of the stage to accommodate me. This was a relatively large room and people in the back apparently couldn't see me (some people later told me they couldn't figure out why we weren't on the stage until I mentioned that I was in a chair, but even then, they couldn't see that access to the stage was up steps, not a ramp. Also, the panel did not have an ASL interpreter. (I don't think any panels did, but for the Disability panel, that would have been a nice touch, especially since the subject of the Deaf community/writers did come up.)

I'm not going to rehash that panel here except to say that yes, I was upset, and no, honestly, I am not dealing with illness related stuff, including the wheelchair, right now all that well at all (in case it wasn't incredibly obvious.) Working on this. I also suspect that my disappointment about the Alamo (separate post) played a role.

Anyway.

A Florida friend not at the con told me to get away from the con for a bit, so I did, avoiding everyone. And took a nap. Then I came out and crept back over to the convention center for the How to Publish Your Poetry panel. This was me, Jo Walton, Rachel Swirsky and another older gentleman whose name I didn't catch. Jo asked us all to explain why we were on the panel. In answer to this, the gentleman noted that he'd been asked at the last minute to join the panel and be a warm body, and that he had last published poetry in the 1960s. Somewhat later he noted that he had written poetry to pick up girls, and that he had stopped writing poetry when it didn't get him any girls. Rachel Swirsky, who is awesome, instantly responded, "I don't know. I get plenty of girls."

I thought this panel was otherwise ok, although apparently some of my residual anger/emotional reactions were still around; the audience later said they found me intimidating. I don't feel particularly intimidating, so this is a hard word to wrap my mind around. I'm also not sure if I got my main point across, which is that we are currently in what I would call a miraculous, marvelous age for speculative poetry, with poets doing incredible work with traditional forms, experimental forms, fun forms, and just transforming words into beauty, so marvelous I want everyone to be a part of it.

It was an interesting experience overall, but I think I should probably stick to not being on panels for awhile.

Edited to add: To be clear, compared to a couple of past events, this was relatively accessible. The Marriott Rivercenter was mostly ok except for a few hiccups. The real problems happened outside the Marriott Rivercenter hotel, and were generally more associated with San Antonio/typical accessibility things.
I just got back from Worldcon which means that I am, to put it mildly, in a bit of a brain fog.

So for my own clarity, as much as anything else, I'm going to be separating out my con posts into various categories: Panels, Lingering Questions from Panels, Other Stuff, and More Other Stuff. As always, the chances that I will manage to remember the names of everyone I met and hung out with are pretty much nil, so if I do leave you out, HI! HUGS! and I'm sorry.

Next up, the panels!
1. Apparently, I did forget to make an official announcement about this, so here goes the official announcement: I will be at Lone Star Con in San Antonio, August 29-September 2, 2013. Apart from definitely owing Cat Rambo and a few others some drinks, I have no official schedule, so if you are there, feel free to come by and wave; I'll be the small blonde woman rolling around in a wheelchair.

2. Some time ago, a few people said some very evil words on Twitter: "Superhero" and "limerick."

Most of you know me well enough by now to know that I can't resist that sort of evil. So, after multiple assurances that this was supposed to be for an anthology of bad superhero poetry, emphasis on bad, I wrote a very very bad limerick and shot it over.

To my joy, the limerick was pretty much immediately accepted for the anthology. To my horror, when I got a copy of anthology a few weeks later, I realized that several poets had entirely forgotten the word "bad" and instead gone for "excellent."

What this means is that my terrible, terrible little limerick is surrounded by some very good and when not very good, hilariously bad superhero poems in Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry, available in multiple formats for free over at Smashwords.

In fact my limerick is so terrible that I was halfway tempted not to link to this at all, but some of the other poems in here are hilarious and will completely make your day: check out Alex Bledsoe's O Captain, America's Captain; Amy McNally's little untitled haiku; A.C. Wise's little limerick which unlike my contribution is actually funny; Matthew Kuchka's The Wolverine; and...oh, just go read it already. There's even a villanelle.

My advice is, go get the book, and when you reach my poem, for the sake of your own brain, skip it, and go on to the better stuff. And if my limerick harms your eyeballs by accident, I can only say, I was told that these were supposed to be BAD poems, not good ones!

3. And the latest Tor.com post, about Mary Norton's Are All the Giants Dead just popped up, which means that we are only a couple posts off from a reread you've all been waiting for.
For the record, my actual plan, before tonight, was to write a nice quick "Congrats to all the Hugo winners!" and leave it there. (Although, you know, and even though the Hugos are still getting awarded as I type, congrats to all the Hugo winners, especially Betsy Wolheim who won for a very, very long overdue award for Best Editor, Long Form. Like 25 years overdue. That was great. Onwards.)

Then, first Worldcon failed to provide a ramp to the stage. Then, Worldcon decided to do a live broadcast through UStream, which was going great until the Best Dramatic Presentation, short form. Among the nominees was a small show that you might have heard of, called Community, owned by a little company you also might have heard of called NBC Universal. Do we remember my recent ranting about NBC? Yes, yes we do. Also nominated were some episodes from Doctor Who, owned by the BBC, U.S. broadcast rights owned by BBC America, and an acceptance speech from last year's Hugos, whose copyright status no one cares about. To the surprise of no one, Neil Gaiman won for his Doctor Who episode, climbed up the stairs (I did mention I'd be ranting) and right in the middle of his speech those of us watching saw this little cheery message:

"Worldcon was removed due to violation of terms of service.
Click here to discover related content on Ustream!"

The violation was a copyright violation, either for the Doctor Who or (more likely) Community clips.

As I type, Worldcon is still banned from UStream.

So that was fun. Or, you know, not.

(Worldcon/Chicon 7 says that the clips were pre-approved. I suspect we'll all be hearing a LOT more about this. My favorite Tweet so far:

"RT @DanielSolis: Best Short Dramatic Presentation (2013) goes to the raging reaction of everyone watching the #Hugos @ustream."

#

The ramp, part two:

I'm still upset about this.

I'm hardly the only writer, much less the only member, of the science fiction community who uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter or other device. It's common.

And I am serious: the last thing I want is to have a ramp brought out especially for me or any other wheelchair user. I want it there already, so that no one has to make a fuss, nothing special has to be done, and so I and everyone can be fully part of the community.

I'm repeating myself, I know, but maybe I have to, in order to be heard. And I suspect this year the only thing that will get heard is the UStream irritation.

Hugos post

Sep. 2nd, 2012 09:44 pm
I noted this already on Twitter, but I'll just repeat this here.

As I type, the Hugo and related Awards are being awarded, on a stage in a Chicago hotel. To reach the stage, you have to climb three steps.

No ramp.

Same as last year.

#

As I also mentioned on Twitter, in the unlikely event that I'm ever nominated for a Hugo, I don't want to have to have a ramp put there for me.

I want one already there. For everybody.

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