So I’ve been observing to friends at Loncon 3 that panel attendees don’t seem able to parse questions usefully for the panellists to answer. There’s a tendency to ramble for five minutes, sharing every stray thought the discussion so far has thrown up, then say “I wonder if you have any thoughts on that?”
Well, I won’t be making that criticism any more, having just shoved my foot right in my mouth in the Queerer War panel. I asked a question about the different stories / effects / queer representations it’s possible to create in mixed-gender militaries versus gender-segregated ones, and got taken solidly to task for it by Ann Leckie, who quite rightly pointed out that there’s never really been any such thing as a mono-gendered military force. The really stupid thing is, I’d got annoyed myself at someone in a panel the other day for asking a question that pre-assumed all military characters as default male. How are people still asking these questions in a post-We Have Always Fought world? I wondered. And now presumably everyone in the Queerer War panel is thinking pretty much the same about me.
In my defence: the non-existence of mono-gendered or default-male military forces in the real world doesn’t seem to have stopped people writing stories about them - otherwise Kameron Hurley would never have needed to write We Have Always Fought in the first place. And what I was aiming for was a point about the troublesome real-world assumption that people, especially men, in gender-segregated spaces - whether that’s an army, a school, a submarine, a prison, or what - will turn to each other to fulfil their sexual needs regardless of what sexuality they identify as; the idea that queer sex is something “straight” people do when straight sex is unavailable.
But that’s not the question I ended up asking, because I didn’t parse or examine it properly before asking, because there isn’t time to do that in that context. Which is why I won’t criticise people for asking badly-phrased or badly-thought-out questions in panels any more.
1. Your body is a missile launching platform. Obviously it’s not as stable or sturdy as the platforms people build to launch missiles, hence the focus on a strong T-shaped stance, with straight lines from floor to hips to shoulders to head, and from drawing elbow to arrow tip.
2. Pay attention to the instructor, for he is mischievous and WILL try to shift the bosses farther away while you’re talking among yourselves.
3. As well as limbs and a string (week 1) a bow has a back and a belly - important for stringing.
4. The full Olympic distance is THREE AND A HALF TIMES what we’ve been shooting.
5. Trying to get one in the red, one in the white and one in the blue before you’re fully confident your sights are set is basically a fool’s errand.
6. Beware of face-creep.
7. Arrows swim through the air like a piece of wet spaghetti.
8. Next week, there will be scoring.