Several weeks back I wrote up a review of Context, a local convention with an emphasis on speculative fiction writing. At the end of the post, I encouraged people to attend next year. I’m afraid I’m going to have to rescind that recommendation.
That’s not to say that Context 27 was not an incredible time, or that you shouldn’t jump at a chance to meet Chuck Wendig and Ellen Datlow. However, if you feel like I do in regards to harassment at conventions, then you may want to spend your money and time elsewhere.
Yesterday, writer, publisher, and all around good guy Steven Saus resigned as program director for Context. I fully understand and support his decision. He, and several others working for the con, lost faith that reports of harassment at the con would be treated seriously. If you wish to learn more about this situation, I recommend you read Jason Sanford’s post on it here, and Sarah Hans’s experiences from behind the scenes.
Having gotten to know both Steven and Sarah over the past few years, I trust their judgement. As such, I will not be attending Context 28. Unfortunately, I lost my mind when I saw that Ellen Datlow was attending next year, so they already got my money.
How is it that members of a fan base that roots for the likes of Katniss Everdeen and Luke Skywalker can have no spine when it comes to doing the right thing? Speculative fiction is the fiction of ideas. The community is supposed to look forward. The community should be safe for all people. When we allow abusers to go unpunished, we regress as a community.
While I had no official capacity with the convention, I loved attending it. The workshops were invaluable to me. I will genuinely miss it.