Samuel Deinard Blasdell

Readercon 2005

Img_0005I've just posted a Readercon 2005 photo album. (Left: Farah Mendlesohn & me.)

There are a couple of blogs that have detailed Readercon writeups: The Mumpismus (Day 1 & Day 2) where Matt Cheney drove himself nuts trying to write down everything that was said on some very fast-moving panels; and Sybil's Garage, which also has some photos.

Readercon is perhaps the best sf con in North America, and it's great to be here. But this year, they decided to break something that has worked fairly well for us at previous cons: ReaderKids is gone. The convention is not completely without childcare (thanks to relentless effort on the par of convention co-chair Diane Martin; thanks Diane!). But I think I'm the only one not on the concom to have navigated the secret handshakes necessary to get some onsite babysitting, so I have been able to attend the program on both Friday and Saturday. (I managed this only thanks to a quickthinking reader of my blog who saw the notice on the con website about what you have to do to get childcare here, and emailed me the instructions.) Unfortunately, it's not looking good for today. I'm resigned to missing the entire Sunday program for lack of childcare, though we may be able to improvise some kind of mother's coop. Though just how I can pack up our room, help pack up our dealers' table, do my time taking care of other people's kids to earn some childcare time for my self, AND attend program items is not at present clear to me. So it looks like no Sunday panels for me. Sigh.

The sf field just can't get past treating moms as second-class citizen, and it's a real shame. Readercon can't say they they dind't know kids were coming, because they devote half a page to "Children at Readercon" detailing what will happen if you leave you child unattended. (No, they will not be imponded and sold at auction, but close.) There are a lot of kids here.

(I should say that this is the second weekend in a row where I am the sole non-concom attendee of a convention to receive childcare arraged for by the convention. Last weekend we were at Westercon in Calgary, Alberta, where the convention graciously arranged for a group of teenaged babysitters to take care of Peter and Elizabeth; it was one of David's terms for accepting as Editor Guest of Honor. But there were others at the con who needed childcare. I specifically remember a mother with an infant who had to walk out of our Space Opera panel ten minutes in because her baby had decided to talk back to the panelists.)