WorldCon and gender

(Mostly written while sitting in the lobby Thursday afternoon, but got interrupted several times and didn't end up posting 'til eight or nine hours later.)

Kam dropped me at the airport this morning; Diana S picked me up after an uneventful flight. Immediately on arrival, I ran into two people who said that WorldCon was much more sparsely attended by people they knew than WisCon, which I found amusing because within ten minutes after being told that, I ran into about twenty different people I knew.

As we tried to put together a lunch contingent, Ben looked around at the gathered people and said something like, "Look, it's nine men and one woman! Jed's going to do a statistical analysis of that." I laughed a lot.

Ben and Diana and Shannon and AndyHat and I wandered off to find lunch; we walked quite a ways to find the nearby Thai restaurant, only to be told it was out of business. So we had Mexican food instead.

Hung out with Ben and Diana and (later) Lori, with the usual 500-topics-an-hour style of conversation that tends to happen around Ben; then Ben read to us out of his work-in-progress, which I'm not sure I'm allowed to describe publicly so I'll leave it mysterious for now.

Went to Scalzi's reading, then hung out here in the lobby waiting for the Hilton to tell me my room was ready, and Sheila W. stopped by to talk about author-gender stuff. So before I go find my room, I wanted to post a quick retraction of my in-passing comment about the percentages of stories Sheila's buying by men and by women, from my last gender-bias-in-sf entry. It turns out that the first issue containing entirely stories chosen by Sheila was much more recent than I thought, so the statistics I thought I knew about the stories she's chosen were completely invalid. She told me the actual percentage, but I'm so scatterbrained today that I've forgotten the number; I'll try and remember to ask her for it again. (Another example of me being scatterbrained today: I keep doing things like pulling the dining guide out of my bag, looking at it blankly, putting it back, and then realizing that I had pulled it out to look something up in it.) I'll also try and remember to annotate my earlier entry later when I get a minute.

Also, it turns out Sheila did count author gender in submissions for a couple of months last year, and found that she was getting roughly 30% stories by women (give or take a couple percent). So I also apologize for saying that nobody's counted recently at any of the print prozines. If any other editors have done such counts, I would love to hear about those too. But I know that counting is a big pain; it just so happens that SH's submission-tracking system makes it really easy (within a margin of error, and assuming not many people are using gender-opposite pseudonyms without telling us). So I don't mean to be self-congratulatory about the fact that we do count.

(Quick aside about our submission counts: I always report them as percent-by-women, percent-by-men, and percent-unknown. I'm beginning to think I should instead incorporate the unknowns into the others, so I could say (for example, for our 2005 numbers) "33%-41% by women, 59%-67% by men"; that might give the probably-more-accurate impression that the actual numbers are in the middles of those ranges, rather than at the bottoms of those ranges.)

While I'm here, on a vaguely related topic, I may as well mention that tomorrow morning Stanley Schmidt is running a panel called "The Analog Story: What Is It?" I think he'd like to debunk the notion that Analog stories have to be certain kinds of stories or do certain kinds of things. Those who, like me, tend to be too intimidated to submit to Analog might well find it interesting to hear more about that.

. . . So I wrote all that several hours ago, and then chatted with at least three more people, and found my room, and had an editorial meeting by phone, and then was starving so ate at the hotel restaurant, and then did some SH administrative stuff, and then got too antsy to spend the rest of the evening reading subs as I'd planned, so went and hung out with various people some more. If I start listing names at this point I would leave out too many people, so I'll just leave it at saying there are bunches of cool people here, as I should have expected.

. . . I was feeling a couple of weeks ago like there weren't likely to be many people I knew at WorldCon; in retrospect, I think that was largely due to my having been out of the loop wrt online socializing for some time now--which is to say, I haven't been keeping up with LJ or other blogs except on the most desultory basis for the past couple months at least, and I haven't stopped in at the Rumor Mill or other forums in a similar period. So if people have been posting about coming to WorldCon, I haven't seen it, but it turns out that didn't mean they weren't coming. I'll post more about my lack of keeping up with friends' blogs at some point, but much too tired now.

(The short form is that I'm feeling a little overwhelmed these days--lots of real-life social stuff lately, and lots of disruption-of-personal-space at home for things like repairs and soundproof windows being installed and thinking about yard changes, and I'm still way behind on magazine stuff. And with past online-forum obsessions, such as Usenet and MUDs, I could just quit cold turkey to avoid spending all of my time on them; but blogs are harder to give up, because they're one of my main ways to keep up with friends' lives. And yet, as more and more of my friends start blogging, it gets harder and harder for me to keep up with them all. I haven't yet figured out a solution to this. And I know some of you are about to recommend RSS, but actually RSS is part of the problem for me; having all those entries on one page makes them feel even more overwhelming.)

Okay, enough. Must sleep. Knowing me and cons, you may not hear from me for the duration of the con.

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2 Responses to “WorldCon and gender”

  1. David Moles

    Rereading Analog’s guidelines, I find myself tempted to write a version of Frankenstein without the science. I don’t think it would actually be that hard.

  2. Jed

    Well, you could leave out the specific science (and/or replace it with magic), but I don’t know if you could leave out the idea of scientific inquiry into the workings of nature; isn’t that kind of one of the main themes of the book?


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