Went to FOGCon over the weekend and it was fantastic!
It’s a small con – maybe 200-300 people at most. So there were only 2 or 3 tracks of programming going at once but even then the sessions were wonderful and insightful. Probably my favorite session was “The Gaze”, about different kinds of gazes and how we view the world around us through the lenses of who we are. This of course involves many different kinds of privilege operating in those lenses. I consider myself a semi-enlightened hetero male, but there were things here that really opened my eyes and from which I learned.
But really every panel I attended was interesting:
“Writing Between Genres”, which started as a discussion of what’s happening in current fiction, both speculative and mainstream, and moved into novelty in fiction and how self-publishing enables more stories and what “genre-crossing” can bring to an author and a work.
“In Between the Pixie and Crone” talking about how middle-aged women are often invisible in science fiction and fantasy literature (but interestingly not as much in mystery, romance, or literary mainstream). There were examples of work with middle-aged female protagonists, discussion about what these characters can bring to a story, and many funny personal anecdotes about the panel’s experiences (the phrase “personal microclimates” is a great one).
“Medieval POC” about how medieval times, which we usually think of as “dark ages” and are usually envisioned as extremely all-white were actually much more varied between cultures and more multi-cultural than one would think. The MedievalPOC tumblr was a fantastic site mentioned during the talk.
“Outlining”. I’m a short story person so I don’t do too much with outlines beyond my “road trip” model of writing a story. But there were some great techniques discussed by the panel that would be very useful for helping strengthen short stories and novellas, and “retro-outlining” (doing an outline for an existing work) sounds like a great tool for studying story structure and confirming the form of one’s own stories.
I met many new fun and wonderful people throughout the con, at the noodle house dinner Friday night, at the Unaward Banquet Saturday lunch, at the Codex dinner Saturday night, just hanging out in the hallways, and in the bar. I had a total blast singing at the Karaoke session, staying to the very end. My writing workshop session went rather well (I brought the “Full Moon” story) and I got some good insight into the story that I think will help me crack it open and strengthen it.
Overall, a really marvelous con. Literary, writer-ly, social, insightful, very “woke” (as the kids say), and just overall great. I’ll definitely be back for FOGCon 2018!