I honestly haven’t had much time to breathe this month, between the pre-release of Kaiju-A-Gogo, the Colloquium that I hosted at Simon Fraser University, and the volunteer workshops that I’ve been teaching once or twice a month since last summer.
That said, the month of April began with a really awesome experience at Norwescon, where I had a wonderful chance to attend and participate in fantastic panels, meet some very cool writers, artists and editors, and see crazy things.
Two of the best panels I had this year were about writing characters with unusual perspectives–Aliens and Outsiders.
“Writing the Other” was a fantastic panel, and it really was fun to join such an incredibly diverse group of writers. G. Willow Wilson, best known for her exemplary work on Ms. Marvel in recent years, turned out to be a great panelist as well. Luna Lindsey and Mir Plemmons were also really interesting, as they had incredibly different perspectives on what it means to be “Other”, both in fiction and in life.
“Giving Good Alien” was another great panel, as the focus was really heavily biological and science-oriented. Just about everyone on stage had a science background: Pat MacEwen had a career in forensic anthropology before she turned to writing genre fiction, Luna Lindsey has a strong focus on non-neurotypical perspectives, we had a career biologist contributing semi-anonymously as “Dr. Ricky”, and then of course there was Sar Surmick, who is a practicing psych professional, and little ol’ me.
It’s always difficult to summarize a discussion which ranges freely over many topics and examples, but having the chance to sit down with such a wide variety of speakers and dig deeply into what words like “Other” mean, and what makes a good, believable, and interesting alien in fiction…was a really satisfying and worthwhile exercise.
This was my first Norwescon in many years, but it was a fantastic experience. I sincerely hope to be invited back.