Christopher Rowe

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The entry title refers to the item number that the vast and mysterious database Wiscon uses to organize their programming has assigned to this little number:

Cybernetic Magnolias: Southern Women Writing Genre Fiction

That's a panel I'll be sitting on with Gwenda, Kelly and Richard. Richard and I worked up this description for the convention folks.

This summer, Tor Books will publish Crossroads: Tales of the Southern Literary Fantastic. As with American letters in general, genre fiction has a rich tradition of work with a Southern accent. Six of the contributors to Crossroads are women; are women more or less likely than men to use regional concerns in genre work? Women writing "Southern" outside the genre are easy to name--everyone from Flannery O'Connor to Lee Smith. But who are the women writing (or who have written) "Southern" science fiction and fantasy?

Now, the real reason for this panel (Saturday at 4:00 in the Caucus Room if you happen to find yourself in Madison, WI's Concourse Hotel over Memorial Day weekend) is, frankly, we don't know the answer to that last question. We're hoping that the audience members will be able to tell us. Or, here's a thought, how about if you tell us so we can stop combing the internet and flipping through our copies of 30 lb. books edited by John Clute hoping to find phrases like "b. Georgia, USA 1951" set in 6 point type.

This may turn out to be less a discussion of who the women writing (or having written) Southern accented sf and fantasy are than it will be a discussion of why there aren't more of them. So far we've got Kathy Goonan and Rebecca Ore. We've found plenty of women who are from the South, or who have Southern connections of another kind (usually residency), but very few who incorporate it into their genre fiction (the great Andre Norton being one example, though one I'm hesitant to use because her body of work is so vast it's probably foolish to make generalizations about it).

Who are we missing? Jump on the comments button, please, or send one or all of us e-mail (e-mail links are on all our sites) to let us know who else we should be reading (and which stories and books).

So, that's what I'm up to this morning, panel prep. After lunch we'll head off for a two day trek through Anneville and Greyhawk, then down to Barnett's Creek and Rowe Farms, 'cause y'all remember what tomorrow is, don't you?

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