Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Memberships for FOGcon 5 Available at Door

Pre-registration has closed -- a step that's needed so so we can print badges and assemble registration packets, but don't worry. You can still buy a day pass or a weekend membership at the door.

ADULTS:
Full weekend membership - $90
Friday day pass - $35
Saturday day pass - $40
Sunday day pass - $30
Banquet tickets - $25 (limited number)

YOUTH (11-17):
Full weekend membership - $30
Day pass - $10 per day
Banquet tickets - $20 (limited number)

KIDS: Free! (Must be attended by an adult)

 

Be a Unicorn! Volunteer at FOGcon

You've always wanted to be that magical creature, a unicorn. Now you can be. Just volunteer to help out at FOGcon, and you'll get a special unicorn sticker for your convention badge. Everyone will know you're a hero. (And a unicorn.)

FOGcon runs on volunteer work. Behind the scenes, many people come together to organize it, create programming ideas, work with the hotel, assemble goodies for the consuite, and deal with paperwork. But we also need volunteers for visible positions at the con itself.

Volunteer shifts may be an hour or longer. You can help out stuffing Registration packets on Thursday afternoon, set up the Consuite in the early morning, or shut it down late at night. You can help with takedown Sunday afternoon.

Want to meet people? Volunteer for Registration or Consuite.

Know the rules to every game ever invented? Volunteer for the gameroom.

Long to plaster signs all over the hotel's pristine walls? Volunteer for Logistics.

Not sure what you want to do? Just volunteer. We'll find something interesting for you to do.

How do you volunteer? Send an email to volunteers@fogcon.org. Mention your interests, schedule, and cell phone number. We'll get back to you soon.

 

The Room-Sharing Thread

Looking for a buddy to split the cost of a room at FOGcon? This is the place to post your preferences. We've also added extra rooms to our room block, because so many people had already made reservations. FOGcon really is more fun if you can stay at the hotel.

The FOGcon Angel Program

Plenty of people who would love FOGcon and contribute an interesting perspective cannot afford to come to an SF/F convention. But you can help bring them to the con by donating toward the Angel Fund, which helps pay for memberships, hotel rooms, and travel expenses. You can even buy a membership we'll allocate to someone who needs a little financial help to attend. All givers and recipients are anonymous.

Here's how to donate a FOGcon Angel Program Membership:

  1. Go to http://db.fogcon.org/account and either create an account or log in to your existing account.
  2. Click Register for FOGcon 5.
  3. In the Enter a Name to Search text box, type "Angel Membership".
  4. Under "Which one do you mean?" select Angel Membership, not shown above.
  5. Enter Angel Membership as the name and click Save New Person.
  6. Select the Adult Membership rate, and click Place Order.

If you are interested in helping, but don’t want to buy a full membership, you can also donate money to the FOGcon Angel Fund via the Donate button on FOGcon.org. Any amount you want to give will be appreciated and will help someone in need.

  1. Click the Donate button. You will be taken to a special PayPal sign-in page. The header says “Speculative Literature Foundation.”
  2. Fill in the amount you'd like to donate.
  3. Then fill in your email address (if it isn't already showing) and your PayPal password.
  4. Click the LOG IN button.
  5. A new page will open. It says “[Your Name], please review your donation.”
  6. Under “Purpose,” the page says “FOGcon Donation.” Just below that is a blue underlined hyperlink: Add special instructions to the seller. Click that link.
  7. A small window will appear. Type in “Angel fund.”
  8. Check all the other details. When you are satisfied that they are correct, click the Donate Now button.

If you'd like to be considered to receive an Angel Membership, please email angel@fogcon.org.

How to Donate to FOGcon

 

Or you can send us a check! Make the check payable to The Speculative Literature Foundation and mail it to us at:
FOGcon
PO Box 3764
Hayward, CA 94540.
Please note that it's for FOGcon on the memo line of the check and in the cover letter.

Introducing Our Honored Ghost: Joanna Russ

We at FOGcon don't limit our admiration to living authors. Every year we name one post-mortem Honored Guest whose work exemplifies our theme and our mission. We've recognized Fritz Leiber, Mary Shelley, Anthony Boucher, and James Tiptree, Jr.

This year's selection was difficult. So many authors have written compelling speculative fiction that deals with the Traveler. But one voice stood out. One writer's superlatively funny, incisive, and insightful fiction traversed worlds, time, gender, language, and the very difficult journey from inside the closet to out.

We are proud to announce that Joanna Russ (February 22, 1937 – April 29, 2011) is the Honored Ghost for FOGcon 5 in 2015.

Russ was the author of eight novels including the pioneering feminist classic The Female Man, as well as three story collections, a children's book, and an impressive number of books of literary criticism and feminist theory.

Her writing won praise and awards including the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Locus Readers Poll Award.  Both her novel The Female Man and her short story "When It Changed" won retrospective James Tiptree Jr. Awards, given to only five works which were published before the award was established in 1990.

To give you a taste of her work, here is a quotation from her sly, hilarious story "Useful Phrases for the Tourist":

AT THE PARTY:
- Is that you?
- Is that all of you? How much (many) of you is (are) there?
- I am happy to meet your clone
- Are you edible? I am not edible.

Come celebrate the life and work of Joanna Russ at FOGcon. Member registration is open, and tickets to FOGcon make a wonderful holiday gift.

 

What Do Yellow Badges Mean?

The people who are wearing yellow badges are convention members who have volunteered to act as “Safe Responders” in the case of reported harassment.

You can report harassment to members of the concom (easily identifiable by our CONCOM badges), to the Safety volunteer on duty, or to others who identify as Safe Responders (bright yellow badges).

Ursula K. le Guin on Reading

“Reading is performance. The reader— the child under the blanket with a flashlight, the woman at the kitchen table, the man at the library desk— performs the work. The performance is silent. The readers hear the sounds of the words and the beat of the sentences only in their inner ear. Silent drummers on noiseless drums. An amazing performance in an amazing theater.”

—Ursula K. le Guin

FOGcon Schedule Apps Available for Android and iPhone!

Star Trek gave us communicators. Telzey Amberdon had a pocket law library. Arthur C. Clarke wrote of the newspad in 2001: A Space Odyssey and the minisec in Imperial Earth. Philip Jose Farmer offered the panrad in "Mother." Even Dick Tracy had a two-way wrist radio.

Plenty of science fictional stories feature astonishingly miniaturized devices that would tell you the time, alert you to news, show your calendar for days or years to come, communicate with others via voice and text, instantly find obscure information, guide you through unfamiliar streets, and provide entertainment in the form of books, music, and movies. In other words, a smartphone. Or a tablet.

FOGcon is glad to be living in the future, where these devices are readily available.

In addition to providing old-fashioned ink-and-paper schedules, we have apps for the FOGcon schedule. We have to thank the smart, kind, and skillful Ayizan Studios, who also do the WisCon apps, for their willingness to do the same for us. Also the tech team at Wiscon, who lent us their custom-made scheduling software, which has made the whole thing possible.

The FOG Guide is free. However, we do not provide the technology to use it. Bring your own device.

Android version of the FOG Guide.

iOS version of the FOG Guide.

Safety, Transparency, and Harassment: Alan Bostick’s Statement

As part of our process in dealing with the issues that have been raised around the Safety department, we promised to publish a statement from Alan Bostick. We've already posted the concom's statement and an explanation of how Safety works at FOGcon.

I am working on the committee for FOGcon 4, being held in Walnut Creek, California, on the weekend of March 7-9 of this year. As I have done since FOGcon's inception, I am running the department called Safety, whose volunteers are intended to be among the first responders to problems that arise for convention attendees. Among the potential problems I might have to deal with is an attendee experiencing unwanted attention or contact from someone else. Debbie Notkin and I together wrote the convention's harassment policy.

On February 9, the convention received an email that reported a statement I made at a panel at last year's WisCon, in which I said I been a harasser in the past. The email's author said that they thought that because I had disclosed this, it was inappropriate for me to run Safety at FOGcon, that harassment victims would be uncomfortable reporting an incident to me, and that I should step down or be removed from this job.

The facts detailed in the email are true. I did disclose my identification as someone who has harassed at conventions.

This is a challenging statement for me to write. As an able-bodied, white, college-educated cis man born to parents who were property-owning professionals, and as someone who has participated in SF fandom for four decades, I carry a lot of privilege, in many dimensions. It is hard for me to write about this while trying to avoid being defensive about my past bad behavior or inappropriately defending against attacks on my privilege.

My harassment behavior was more than thirty years ago, when I was eighteen years old or a little older. I made unwelcome passes at people, followed them around, and made lewd innuendoes in their presence.

I brought this up at the panel at last year's Wiscon to state my opposition to "zero-tolerance" harassment policies at conventions. I think there is a continuum of possible behaviors ranging from subtle microaggressions at one end to violent attack at the other without a bright line where we can agree that what is on one side is intolerable and on the other acceptable. I also personally believe that zero-tolerance policies are an obstacle to official reporting of troublesome behavior, because the social consequences of following through on a report are so high that the temptation is to sweep the issue under the rug or otherwise ignore it. I can elaborate on this, but that would be beyond the scope of this statement.

People are complicated and multidimensional. Nobody is any single thing; we wear multiple hats and play different roles in different contexts. I am not simply a harasser then, now, and forever. I am also (among many other things) a survivor of childhood trauma and sexual abuse. And I have myself been the target of unwanted sexual attention, at conventions. To deal with the long-term effects of my childhood experience I have worked a lot on myself, in therapy and elsewhere. It has been through that work that I have gained enough self-awareness that I can name my earlier behavior as harassment. Without that work, I don't think re-evaluating my behavior would ever have crossed my mind.

As a harassment target, I would personally much rather report a new incident to a person who had done similar work of self-examination and was open about whatever their history might be. But everyone is different. My triggers are not another survivor's triggers, my fears are not their fears, and my comfort zone isn't theirs.

I cannot tell you what you should be comfortable with: that is yours and yours alone to judge. If you aren't comfortable reporting a harassment incident to me in my capacity as Safety leader at FOGcon, I think I understand that, and I'm confident that you are likely to find someone you would be comfortable with.

And if you are sufficiently uncomfortable with me in the role of safety coordinator, I will understand that too. I will be sad if you choose to stay away from FOGcon as a result, but I respect your choice to find your comfort and safety zones.

We'd also like to point out that the head of Safety has never been the single point of contact for reporting harassment complaints. You can report harassment to members of the concom (easily identifiable by our CONCOM badges), to the Safety volunteer on duty, or to others who identify as Safe Responders (bright yellow badges).

Safety, Transparency, and Harassment

At last year's Wiscon, the FOGcon head of Safety, Alan Bostick, participated on a panel called "Exclusion and Inclusion, or Kicking People Out: A How-To Guide," about dealing with harassment at cons. He spoke about his hope that harassers can be rehabilitated, as he has been; yes, 25 years ago, he treated fellow con-goers in a way that he now recognizes as harassment.

A FOGcon member recently emailed us about this situation. The member said having Alan in charge of safety would make her reluctant to report harassment.

We view this as a serious issue. FOGcon was founded on a basis of being safer space. We've spent the past couple of weeks thrashing out all the implications. At first, it seemed that it might be necessary for Alan to resign or be asked to resign.

To be clear: nobody, including the letter-writer, is accusing Alan of harassing anyone now. Alan has done an excellent job in safety at a number of places, including Wiscon, FOGcon, and Pride parades. When Elise Matthesen was harassed at Wiscon, Alan was the safety staff member on shift, and Elise has publicly discussed her satisfaction with how WisCon handled the incident.

This is not a case of our accepting Alan's word over a victim's. This is a case where Alan's word is the only reason we know this happened. Alan's willingness to look at his own past behavior and honestly name it for what it was indicate a commitment to not minimizing or concealing harassment.

It might be useful to explain how Safety works at FOGcon. Safety carries out many activities in addition to responding to harassment. The chief duties of the head of Safety at FOGcon are to recruit, coordinate, schedule, and train Safety volunteers. The Safety volunteers respond to emergencies, help the confused, find the lost, and de-escalate difficult situations. Furthermore, members can report a harassment incident to a number of different people, depending on
who they are most comfortable with. The possibilities include the Safety volunteer on duty, the Con chair and vice-chair, and a number of Safe Responders, in addition to the head of Safety. Once the report has been made, the Concom as a whole and ultimately the Con chair are responsible for deciding how a harassment incident should be handled. It has never been left up to Safety.

Not everyone would be comfortable reporting to Alan, that's true. But it's also true that for a number of different reasons, someone may prefer to report to someone of a particular age, race, gender, orientation, or even emotional style. They might be more comfortable reporting to a friend than a stranger, or vice versa. It's impossible to have one person who feels safe to everyone.

We also understand that the idea of rehabilitation makes many people uncomfortable. We want to emphasize that while many of us involved in FOGcon do believe that harassers should be allowed the opportunity to come back into the community, we don't believe that this should be a consideration at the time of a harassment incident, at the convention
where an incident occurs, or in any way that adversely affects anyone who has been a target of the harasser in question. Our priority is always stopping the harassment, giving the person harassed what they need, and ensuring the safety and comfort of convention attendees.

We're working to create safer space. We hope this information better enables our members to make choices based on their values and their needs.

Signed,

The FOGcon 4 ConCom

  • Button: Con Anti-Harassment Project
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    For more information, email us at fogcon@fogcon.org

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    Donate to FOGcon

    Or you can send us a check! Make the check payable to The Speculative Literature Foundation and mail it to us at:
    FOGcon
    PO Box 3764
    Hayward, CA 94540.
    Please note that it's for FOGcon on the memo line of the check and in the cover letter.