March 18th, 2010


Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jnr

A month or two ago I met jonathanstrahan in Planet Books for coffee - we catch up for coffee and usually meet in Planet first, for browsing purposes. He found me perplexed because I was hunting for feminist books in the SF section because robinpen had told me that he'd ordered in a bunch of that kind of stock. J was there two seconds before he started pulling books out that were invisible to me (damn this genre cover art, I am blind to it - it is so not being directed at me). And the first two he pulled out was the biography of Alice Sheldon and the collected works of James Tiptree Jnr. I swear I'd been there 10 minutes looking for them!!!

Anyway, I've been really enjoying reading about Alice Sheldon, who actually has this really fascinating life totally aside from being James Tiptree Jnr. And I'm sure we'll talk more at length about that stuff on a Galactic Suburbia podcast coming soon. But the bit that really tickled my fancy was how Tiptree Jnr's cover was blown. Basically, similar to someone else we love to speculate about the identity of, it was known that "Tiptree" was a pseudonym but Tiptree's gender was permitted to be assumed - most thought male but some people thought female due to the portrayal of female characters. Tiptree never made public appearances and noone had ever met him/her though she/he did correspond with fans and other writers.

After Alice Sheldon's mother died, Tiptree mentioned the death of his/her mother, in Chicago, and that information was enough for a couple of fans to go hunting out the obituaries to discover and reveal the true identity of James Tiptree Jnr as Alice Sheldon.

I LOVE that - doesn't that totally sound exactly like the specfic community we still exist in today :)

And I'm awfully excited and proud to congratulate Paul Haines for his shortlisting of "Wives" in the Tiptree Award this year and also to Jonathan Strahan for the two stories in Eclipse 3 -Caitlin R. Kiernan's “Galapagos” and Maureen McHugh's "Useless Things" which both also made the shortlist!


WASFF: Statement of Values

At the last AGM, we resolved to develop a set of core values for WASFF as a whole. We put a draft out for community consultation, included feedback, and have now adopted by unanimous resolution of the board these values:

Fandom: WASFF exists to promote speculative fiction (encompassing science fiction, fantasy, horror and related genres and sub-genres across all media) in Western Australia. We seek to provide a friendly community environment for fans of speculative fiction to share their ideas and passions with one another.

Diversity: We value diversity and will work to provide an inclusive and welcoming community for fans of speculative fiction.

Respect: We aspire to make WASFF events safe for all members and visitors to celebrate speculative fiction in all its forms. We believe in engaging with one another in the spirit of respect, creativity and the open exchange of ideas.

Fairness: We believe that you should know why we make the decisions we make, and will work to make our decision-making process as fair and open as we can.

We wish for these words not to be empty, and it is our intent to back them up. Come to the Safe Spaces panel, or talk to someone with a friendly badge, or ask a board member a question.

If you see or experience something inappropriate, please tell us: either a board member or a SwanCon committee member. If you see someone else appearing uncomfortable, but feeling like they can't say anything about it, please offer them support.

The only way we can ensure our conventions are safe, diverse, respectful and fair is if we all care about it and let other people know that we care. At the business meeting it is your contribution that makes us fair and open. Encourage an underappreciated corner of fandom to help keep us diverse.

Just as the WASFF Board and SwanCon committees volunteer their time to promote and support fandom, we also encourage all of our members to consider volunteering at the con. Every contribution, even the smallest and most sincere, helps.