Normal life is slowly (maybe) returning, for quite different grades of normal to those any of us expected. I may never be able to attend a big crowded event again. Fortunately, this means that it’s very easy to avoid me at events. You can go where I cannot. You can get a cuppa while attending virtually. You can train your computer system to obliterate me while listening and enjoying all other panellists, speakers. I admit, I have not worked out how to do this latter, but there must be an app for it, somewhere.
Worldcon is coming. In Chicago, where I cannot go, due to COVID. Also on our computers, where I am definitely going and where I am on the program and… you need to know how to avoid me.
I’ll do a new post when the final, final program is announced (this week sometime, I believe) but you need an interim post, because this coming week is not full of time for posts. I would like to return to warning people of my incipient presence somewhere. How can you know how to avoid me if you don’t know where I am?
This is most of my program. I think avoiding me will be fun this time round, a computer-assisted minuet.
- The Middle Ages Weren’t Actually Bad
- I agree with the title, but not with the reason for it. Of course you should avoid me. I will make waves. Grumpy waves. I’m a middle-aged Medievalist, so any waves I make are grumpy and my time to make that joke is almost over, which makes me grumpier. In the context, I might even make my toilet joke. I want to say “my notorious toilet joke” but that would be giving it too much credit. Find a gizmo that hides my face and reduces my voice to nothing, and enjoy the panel. The other panellists are definitely worth hearing.
- Virtual Jewish Fan Gathering
- I’m co-hosting a fan gathering. I don’t know if I’m the non-American Jew in this, or the Orthodox, or…
- I’m Modern Australian Orthodox, for those who wonder why I don’t act like a Chassid. I am not Chassidic, my childhood was religious, but also full of science.
- If you want to come to this gathering and make me invisible without even letting me know who you are, find someone who has read The Green Children Help Out or The Wizardry of Jewish Women or The Time of the Ghosts (the novels with the highest Jewish content). Ask them to chat with me (chat function FTW!) about my writing. I will immerse myself in the world of Jewish superheroes or the world of Jewish fairies and everyone else will have a fine time.
- Virtual Table Talk – Gillian Polack
- This is a simple “Avoid Gillian” one. Don’t come. I can talk to myself about fairy tale retellings, the Middle Ages (France and England especially), enthohistory, my fiction, Jewishness in fiction, my research, cultural brickwork, my fiction-to-appear-in-print-soon, my world developing, Australia, new kitchens and more.
- Reclaiming History Through Alternate Yesterdays
- My suggestion for this panel is that you reclaim it through Alternate Gillians. It’s too good to miss, otherwise. How does one create an Alternate Gillian? Whenever I say something, you, twist what I say until it makes you laugh aloud. For instance, if I say, “My background for this panel lies in historiography adulterated with ethnohistory” you replace the ‘historiography’; with ‘haemophilia’ and in your mind make that part of an explanation for our world where vampires died out through developing haemophilia more acutely than any human can.
- Your reward is the other panellists, and I become your fiction for the day.
- Australian Speculative Fiction
- Two perfectly excellent Australian writers (both award-winning, I believe)… and me. The approach I suggested for Reclaiming History would also work for this. Replace ‘Australian’ with ‘Aslanian’ and turn my comments into analysis of Narnia. If I talk about lost civilisations (I am prone to this) then invent your own. If I talk about German academics and their interest in Australian SFF, then take yourself to a university website and read the blog about Australian SFF whenever I speak.
- Virtual Reading – Gillian Polack
- This is another skip-by-not-attending one. I’m tossing up between reading from my Other Covenants story and my next novel. If you skip it, you don’t have to find out if my coin landed on heads, tails, or spun so strangely I had to read a bit from each.
- Fairy Tales and Folklore in Urban Fantasy
- You don’t want to miss this panel. One reason (just one, of the several) is Frances Hardinge. She’s one of the best fairytale/folklore using writers around, worldwide. I should know – this is one of my academic interests. And the other two panelists are also worth many detours to hear. Many. You’ll have to be creative then, in avoiding me. Stick a picture of a malevolent fairy over my bit of your computer screen. Hear my voice as the garbled sound heard through a mound, with no fairy door to provide clarity. You’ll be fine.
- The Culinary Delights of Speculative Fiction
- Use your avoidance of me in this panel to create the perfect dinner party. Invite all the best people (the remainder of the panel, for instance, because they’re worth meeting as well as listening to) and use all the foodstuffs I can’t eat. Fish and pork, seafood and nuts. If you feel vindictive, let me know the menu and invite me to enjoy it. That’ll help you get even with me for being on this otherwise-wonderful panel and making you miss some of it.
- Or you could ask me to describe the making of portable soup and use those minutes to take a refreshing nap.
2 thoughts on “How to avoid Gillian at Chicon – a guide to prevent perplexity”
All but one of those (I’m not Jewish) make me sad that I didn’t get a virtual membership after all. (I virtually attended one US Worldcon, and I had much more timezone dysphoria than when I flipped my life upside-down for New Zealand.)
The first time I attended something online I also had that timezone problem. These days I prepare for the different timezone the way I’d prepare for travel, *and* I don’t skip sleep ie I don’t do things after a certain hour or before. I get through that way. It’s worth it for me, because the programs get better and better as more organisers learn how to run online events and because travel is a bit difficult for me. There are so many things to take into account, so each decision for each convention for each of us is a unique one. (I’ve been writing non-fiction this week and… it shows. Sorry!)