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WisCon will stream the auction — including comedy, stunts, and special guest stars — via YouTube, and you’ll be able to bid and converse using a live Discord chat. And the entire auction will be hosted by auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara and live-captioned by a CART (“Communication Access Realtime Transcription”) transcriptionist.
Since this year’s auction is transcending the material plane, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re taking this opportunity to play with the auction format in a few ways.
First: the Otherwise Motherboard has decided to use pass-the-hat challenges this year to raise money for the Carl Brandon Society and WisCon’s general fund, instead of raising money for Otherwise. (We’re fortunate enough to be able to keep the award going this year without the auction’s income. And celebration, community, and fun have always been key to the auction, besides the fundraising, and those things are more important than ever this year.)
Second: to reduce the risk and difficulty of mailing things, and receiving mail, most of the auction items are electronic.
And third: for the items below, instead of bidding in money, you’ll try to one-up each other with recommendations, colors, and poems in the Discord chat. Enjoy using the gestures of “bidding” while prefiguring how auctions might work in postscarcity societies!
The auction items will be:
- The Fortress by S.A. Jones. Donated by Erewhon Books. Publishers Weekly’s review calls this 2020 novel a “radical, detailed vision of what extremes it might take to unlearn misogyny”. Choose electronic or paper format!
- The new Tor Essentials edition of China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh (the 1992 winner of the Tiptree Award), with a new introduction by Jo Walton (also a past winner). Donated by Tor Books. Paperback format.
- A “Dodo Code” to visit Sumana Harihareswara’s island in the Nintendo video game Animal Crossing. (You’ll be able to pick apples, grab spare DIY recipes and hybrid flowers, and see a virtual children’s museum.)
- An original blessing or affirmation, created for almost any person, place, or thing of your choice (subject to conditions of the writer’s conscience), by Alexandra Erin, to be delivered in written text after the auction. Buyer may specify their preferred level of agnosticism.
- A Small Beer Press electronic book discount coupon. Donated by Small Beer Press. A one-time coupon (with no expiration date) giving the winner a 50% on any and all Small Beer Press ebooks — including their Big Mouth House books for readers of all ages, books in Laurie J. Marks’s Elemental Logic series (which was on the most recent Otherwise Award Honor List), and their twice-yearly zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (LCRW).
Want to win one of those? Want to see the surprise guest who’ll sing if we reach a donation challenge? Want to support science fiction that explores and expands gender (with the Otherwise Award)? Want to help increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction (with the Carl Brandon Society)? Want to roar with laughter?
There are dozens of possible reasons to visit this year’s auction. Hope to meet you there! Please register by May 20th.
Here’s a trailer!