April 21st, 2013

not happy

This won't do - all-male conferences

I chaired a session at a conference yesterday, and unfortunately had to add these remarks to the traditional thanks and compliments to the organisers with which I opened the discussion:
There are 22 panellists and moderators for today's conference, and we are all men. I see only one woman in this room out of more than thirty people. This isn't good enough; in fact it is unacceptable. We are all here because we are experts on today's topic; we all know women who are engaged as deeply as we are with this particular issue; as it is, we are now supposed to have an in-depth discussion in which half of the population will not be represented adequately. I hope that the organisers and the funders will ensure that this never happens again. I will not participate in any future event where this is allowed to happen, and I hope that the rest of you here will commit to do the same.
The only detail I want to give about the event is that, ironically, one of the funders was the government of an EU member country which has a female head of state. (There are four of them - can you name them all?)

The organisers did say that they had originally had two women panellists scheduled (and I think that they must have been on the draft programme for the event that I was originally sent) but that they both pulled out for family reasons. They also said that they accepted my point (which is why my remarks were directed at least as much to the other men in the room).

April Books 9) Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed

The Doctor loaded his plate with thick slices of meat stuffed with a rich green dressing. “Pale wine and pistachio lamb! Thanks to All-Providing God that not everything He sends my way is a maddening trial!”
The least-owned on Librarything of this year's Hugo nominees, Throne of the Crescent Moon is a sword-and-sorcery adventure set in an Arabian Nights-style environment, with an undercurrent of social revolution. It's not really my subgenre to be honest, and I felt that in the early chapters before the author found his pace it was occasionally reminiscent of reading someone's account of their D&D campaign , but I enjoyed it a lot more than The Blade Itself which I was reading at about the same time.

As with A Tale of Two Cities, I did consider mischievously posting judiciously chosen extracts to Doctor Who forums and asking people what novel they thought they might be from. (The central character is often referred to as "the Doctor".)

April Books 10) Tesseract, by Tony Lee

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Next in the sequence of Tenth Doctor comics that started with Fugitive. As with the previous volume, I wasn't wild about the first two issues collected here, where I felt that Al Davison's art didn't quite match Lee's script of aliens invading the Tardis. But then things really take a turn for the better, with a four-issue story gorgeously illustrated by Blair D. Shedd, which has Martha Jones, walking trees, Greenwich Observatory and John Dee, and another joke about Belgium.

There's a reference to Martha having married Mickey, and I thought at first that this might have been anticipating The End of Time as they go off to chase Sontarans at the end. But in fact the comic was published in mid-2010, after The End of Time was broadcast, so no surprise for the reader who had been paying attention.

I hope Shedd does more Who work; I was really impressed.