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Well, hey, more good news--I'm going to be on a panel at Wiscon after all: "The Role of the Witch", Friday night from 8:45 to 10. It'll be an intense night, as my reading comes straight afterwards (10:15 to 11:30), but I'm excited! Should be a fun discussion. Here's the description:

The Role of the Witch
Politics, Religion, and Money•Conference Room 4• Friday, 8:45–10:00 p.m.
The historical versus the SF portrayal. Is the witch still a misunderstood figure, even in SF? Are male magicians allowed a greater range and complexity in fiction than the witch? Why are good witches (and good warlocks, too, for that matter) so often devoid of sexuality?

(You can also see more scheduling details online at the Program Schedule.)

I think there are some basic flaws with the question that's being asked in that panel--certainly all the novels I've read about witches in the past ten years have been near-stereotypical in the opposite direction from the negative stereotype mentioned there (always GOOD witches oppressed by evil inquisitorial men)--but that should just lead to a good lively debate, I hope. And if anyone can think of good examples for me to mention (on either side of the issue), that would be great. So far I've thought of Kelley Armstrong's Dime Store Magic, Anne Bishop's high-fantasy witch series (don't remember the name! must look up! or does anyone know which one I'm talking about?), and of course Willow/Tara/Amy in Buffy. Any other ideas for witches in recent literature and media?

It's been a really good couple of days in Michigan, apart from a hellish mall trip yesterday. I went on my own to search for an interview top and had Absolutely No Luck. Nada. I had no idea how hard it could be to find a nicely-fitting professional long-sleeved white blouse! I gave up after 2 hours and headed to the bookstore instead. (Schuler Books, one of my favorite independent bookstores in the world.) I browsed through lots of American fantasy novels I hadn't seen before, and felt much better. (Patrick's promised me to help find a good top back in England at Debenhams, my stand-by department store, before the interview next Friday.)

We're leaving for Wiscon in just about an hour, and I just can't wait! Woohoo! Wiscon ho!

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