I’m excited that I finally registered for FOGCon at the end of March; it’s a speculative fiction convention not too far from home and I am a fan of both Honored Guest Shelley Jackson and Honored Ghost Mary Shelley (I am not familiar with the books of Nalo Hopkinson, the other living Honored Guest, but I’m going to read some of her books before the con).
What really pulled me in was this year’s theme: The Body. I am thinking about bodies in general, and my own body in particular, pretty much constantly and I am excited by the theme description as listed on the website; it seems like the discussions that will be happening at the convention will be extremely relevant to my interests:
“Throughout the history of SF/F, authors have wondered about the differences between human and alien bodies. What clue does the biology offer to the mind and emotions? If an alien has a thinking brain and a feeling heart, how important is the number of arms or eyes? Are alien bodies automatically monsters? And do monsters have to be repulsive?
The great space-exploration stories of the Golden Age considered the effect on human bodies of braving the dangers of the universe. The rise of writers who were women, people of color, queer, transgendered—people whose bodies and minds had historically been othered—brought exciting new points of view in novels like The Left Hand of Darkness, The Female Man, Kindred, Triton.These works stand among the greatest of their century, not just in speculative fiction but as purely literary creations.”
Doesn’t that sound promising?
My relationship with my body has always been complicated, to say the least. I know it’s something I’ve mentioned here before, and it’s always been a subject I want to discuss in greater detail, but it’s such a thorny topic for me that it’s always easier to put it off, sadly. Lately I’ve been feeling very trapped and weighed down by my body and am spending a lot of mental energy thinking about why that is and how I can change things. It’s not easy; even though I have more of an understanding of the underlying issues than I did twenty or so years ago, the process of accepting and lovingly living in my body isn’t much easier now.
I’m always trying to find things that make me feel present in my body in a positive way. This has only been my second winter in San Francisco, but where last year we had near-constant rain for about three months, this winter has been mild and fairly dry. I’ve been trying to get out on my bike when I can; I work from home and feel like I’m sitting in one place more than I’d like and every time I set out on my bike I re-remember how good it feels. Biking is one of the best ways I’ve found to feel good about my body; it makes me feel energized and strong (I have huge muscular legs and I think they’re fantastic) and is a great way to push myself.
Depressing body issues aside, I’m really excited to be a part of a larger conversation about SF/F literature at this convention (if anyone local is planning on attending, please let me know because at the moment I’m going alone), and hopefully I’ll have something interesting to say about the experience afterwards.
Also, I really hope someone at FOGCon will want to have a discussion with me about the missed opportunity for queering “heterosexual” human-alien relationships in the Mass Effect series. I have so much to say about this but very few people to discuss it with.