Sci-Fi Roundup for November 23

Compiled by Carl Slaughter. (1) From about 30 seconds to about 1 minute and 45 seconds is delicious verbal sparing between Aquaman and Batman that I haven’t seen in any other trailer.  And no battlefield screaming and grunting and no accent, so everything Aquaman says is easy to understand.

(2) Justice League cast interview.

(3) Aquaman story trimmed in Justice League. ScreenRant says “Justice League Reshoots Erased Aquaman’s Mythology”.

… Remember when Willem Dafoe was revealed as Vulko, the citizen of Atlantis who watches over Arthur in the comics, grooming him to one day take over the crown as the people’s king? Well, some predicted his role in Justice League was in serious jeopardy when his character was included on an official poster… crudely hidden behind Amber Heard’s Mera (no editing, that is the real poster above).

The early seeds of that lifelong link to Atlantis were expected before Dafoe joined the solo Aquaman movie, and according to Momoa, that’s exactly what Snyder originally filmed:

“What Zack and I did, we were kind of trying to establish that he was taken down there as a boy, and he was an outcast, he was a half-breed. And he was built up as a young boy because he was fed all these ideas by Vulko – that he was the rightful king. And he gets down there and he’s a half breed, he’s impure, and I’m just made to feel like I’m this disease. So after that, I was like, ‘F*** you, f*** you, I’m on my own.’

That’s not the only key piece of Aquaman’s original Justice League arc, but his emotional turn (thanks to Diana’s lasso) still arguably relies on this groundwork being laid beforehand. Now, let’s take a step into the real mythology….

(4) No Zack Snyder director’s cut for Justice League. ScreenRant tells why in “Don’t Expect a Zack Snyder Cut of Justice League”.

While it’s true that Snyder did all pre-production and principal photography, a close (or casual, in some cases) look at Justice League will show that his influence didn’t extend much farther. Thanks to some wonky green screen work, and awkward CGI upper lip on Henry Cavill, and alternate versions of scenes from the trailers, it’s fairly easy to pick apart the fingerprints on the final product, and Whedon’s imprint is clearly far more than advertised, with only a shot or two (and next to no dialogue) of Snyder’s Superman remaining. The leak of a few deleted scenes show even more that Snyder’s version included far more fleshed out backstories and a darker, higher contrast color grade. It makes sense that fans are petitioning for a Zack Snyder cut of the movie

(5) Justice League deleted scenes.

(6) Geez, how many Justice League clips are there?

(7) Brutal Punisher moments Netflix won’t show you.

(8) Marvel’s New Warriors Pulled Might Go to Other Networks

Beagle and Cochran Issue Statements About Authorship

Peter S. Beagle, now 78, sued his former manager Connor Cochran in 2015 for $52 million in damages, disgorgement of illegal gains and restitution, dissolution of two corporations he co-owns with Cochran, and other injunctive relief. Cochran’s cross-complaint was dismissed by the Superior Court of Alameda County on November 7. Beagle’s suit is scheduled for trial in January. Within the past month both litigants have made statements about the authorship of some of Beagle’s published work in recent years.

From the Support Peter S. Beagle blog on October 26: “AN Important Message from Peter S. Beagle”.

As many people are aware, Peter Beagle, beloved author of “The Last Unicorn”, “A Fine And Private Place”, and  “Summerlong”, is suing his former manager and business partner, Connor Cochran. Now Cochran is publicly claiming co-authorship of most, if not all, of Peter’s titles, from the point at which Peter and Cochran first worked together.

Here is Peter’s statement, in his own words, slapping down Cochran’s claims. As usual, Peter says it better than anyone else could. Please read and share.

I am 78 years old.  I have been publishing professionally for almost sixty years.  Telling stories, in one way or another, one medium or another, is what I do, and all I ever wanted to do.  From the beginning, starting with my first book, A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE, I have worked with various publishers and editors, most of them helpful, and a few truly excellent.  Connor Cochran, at his best, was for many years one of this latter group.  I have said this many times in public, particularly commending his sense of structure; he even suggested titles for several of my stories. I have been grateful over our long acquaintance for such things.

But he did not write my stories, as he is now claiming publicly.  They are my work, and no one else’s – as are all my other books, all the way back to that first one, published in 1960, when I was twenty-one.  They are my legacy.

To quote a remembered line from the classic movie All About Eve, “It is about time that the piano realized that it has not written the symphony.”

And to quote partially from the words of my lawyer, Kathleen Hunt, addressed to Connor Cochran’s  former lawyer, Richard Mooney:

“Your claims are plainly false and inconsistent with the letter and application of U.S. copyright law. The statements may also constitute libel or other injurious action towards Beagle…. You surely knew that there is no evidence of a joint authorship relationship between Cochran and Beagle, that  there  was  no  objective  manifestation  to  create  a  work  of  joint  authorship, that the parties’ conduct at the time the works were created suggests a clear intent not to create a work of joint  authorship, and  that  the  statute  of  limitations  had  long  expired.  Under  these  circumstances, there can be little doubt that the sole purpose of your Correspondence was to fraudulently obtain authorship credit in the 27 Works in order to acquire leverage over my client in pending litigation.”

For fifteen years, over the counsel of true and knowledgeable friends, I trusted Connor Cochran implicitly  with all that I believed to be of any real value: my work, and the future of my legacy.  I was certain beyond any question that he was a man of honor and creativity.  I will forever regret that I was wrong.

Peter S. Beagle

Connor Cochran made this public Facebook statement on November 17:

Earlier this year I wrote a letter to certain editors, and shared with my Facebook friends, the fact that some of the “Peter S. Beagle” works published in the last 15 years were actually written by me and Peter in collaboration. The decision to finally share the truth was driven in part because I wanted to set a proper example for my daughter Brigid’s future, and in part because after two years I have gotten pretty sick of being lied about by Peter and the people who are controlling his life.

When word of what I had done got to Peter and his enablers, they did not take it well. On October 25th Peter released a public statement completely denying that we had ever collaborated, and further impugning my integrity and motives.

I was going to ignore it, but two days ago the LOCUS newszine got in touch to tell me they were going to run Peter’s statement. The editor wanted to know if I had any comment about it, or about the current status of the lawsuit.

And you know…once again I found that I was really tired of Peter making public statements that just aren’t true.

So after discussions with my attorney I wrote up a response and sent it to LOCUS. I am posting it here as well. In fairness to Peter I have put his own statement first in the attached image, so everyone can understand the context.

The surrogate who originally posted Peter’s statement asked folks to share it around as they saw fit. I invite anyone reading this to do the same.

———————————————–

11/17/17 — CONNOR COCHRAN’S RESPONSE (AT THE REQUEST OF LOCUS MAGAZINE) TO PETER S. BEAGLE’S 10/25/17 PUBLIC STATEMENT

Just like the allegations in his lawsuit, Peter’s most recent public statement is not true. The only question is whether it is knowingly false, or another example of the memory problems Peter displayed that forced suspension of THE LAST UNICORN Screening Tour in 2015.

First, I have never claimed that I “wrote his stories,” as he asserts. What I *have* recently shared — with the editors who bought the pieces in question, with my friends on Facebook, and now with LOCUS readers — is the fact that between 2002 and 2015 I CO-wrote nine published “Peter S. Beagle” stories, plus one novel manuscript and several screen treatments; as well as making substantial creative contributions to another seventeen works of fiction published under Peter’s byline and several of the poems and song lyrics in our yearlong 52-50 PROJECT. On everything else we did together (which is at least another 70-100 items, if not more) I was indeed just his editor, albeit a highly demanding one.

I was never public about co-writing at the time because Peter and I both thought that keeping my contribution to certain stories under wraps was the best thing for the Beagle literary “brand.” But that does not mean my co-authorship was a strict secret – it was well-known to some of our mutual friends. And, of course, anyone who reviews our working drafts and emails will see the cited stories are collaborations. (For just one example, comparing all the drafts of the 1,888-word story “The Fable of the Octopus,” from Peter’s 2006 collection THE LINE BETWEEN, shows that he wrote only 62% of the final text. I wrote the other 38% of it, including the ending, the denouement, and the moral. More importantly, Peter did not alter a single word of my contribution, responding to my writing only with a short email that began “I think it works fine this way, Connor — thank you again!”)

As for the status of the lawsuit: the court recently dismissed my counter-suit when it proved physically impossible to process hundreds of thousands of pages of documents to determine which related to the broad discovery requests, let alone which might be private or privileged, in the allotted timeframe. That certainly doesn’t make me happy, but so it goes. I have nonetheless handed over to Peter and his attorney more than 50,000 pages of documents refuting the allegations in his lawsuit, with another 100,000 pages of documents currently being prepped to turn over. In contrast, Peter has never provided ANY documentation that supports the wild allegations in his complaint, or refutes my counter-suit. Further, Peter has twice filed for “injunctions” in this same matter, only to have them flatly rejected with stern lectures from the judge because his filings contained no evidence.

The last two years have been a nightmare for me and my family. But come trial in January I am confident the jury will see who is telling the truth. And so, eventually, will everyone else.

Sci-Fi Roundup for November 17

Compiled by Carl Slaughter: (1) Animated DC.

(2) Batman:  Gotham by Gaslight

(3) Warner will micromanage DC films“Warner Bros. Is Making This Important Change to the DC Film Universe” at CheatSheet.

With an amazing line-up on The CW which includes Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, as well as Gotham slaying over on Fox, DC Entertainment is doing big things on television. With so many astounding and long-running shows, they even seem to be giving Marvel a run for their money on the small screen. However, when it comes to films, the DC Extended Universe is floundering a bit with both audiences and critics.

(4) Justice League runtime“The Relatively Short Runtime Of ‘Justice League’ Was Mandated By Warner Brothers’ CEO”.

Another element that Warner Brothers is looking to implement is a tighter runtime. Part of the problem with Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice was the bloated 151-minute runtime (and, to be fair, even Wonder Woman could have trimmed some of the fat of the third act), so Justice League will run at a relatively tidy 121 minutes instead and be the shortest DC film to date. According to the Wall Street Journal, this was a mandate from the Warner higher-ups, with CEO Kevin Tsujihara requesting that the film clock in at under two hours.

(5) TMNT video game.

(6) 15,000,000 Stranger viewers“Over 15 Million watched the ‘Stranger Things 2’ premiere by its third day on Netflix”.

Netflix definitely has a hit show on its hands with the recent release of Stranger Things 2. According to new data this week from Nielsen, which only recently began measuring subscription video on demand services, 361,000 viewers binged their way through the entire second season of Stranger Things 2 – that’s 9 straight episodes – within the first day it was available.

(7) Channel your Stranger appetite to this Netflix show “Already Missing Stranger Things? Your Next Netflix Obsession Is Coming”.

If you’re like us, you probably finished the second season of Stranger Things, which may mean you’re looking for other ways to pass the time. Luckily, Netflix has released a trailer for a new, spooky, sinister, and dark original series called, well, Dark.

 

(8) Go fishing 33 times.

(9) Netflix writes Marvel a Dear John letter “No more Marvel TV shows for Netflix”.

The era of TV shows on Netflix based on Marvel characters is over, following news that Disney is ramping up its plans for its own streaming service.

Netflix has produced a raft of shows in the Marvel universe, including ‘Daredevil’, ‘Luke Cage’, ‘Iron Fist’, ‘Jessica Jones’ and ‘The Defenders’, with a TV version of ‘The Punisher’ still to come.

But that looks set to change.

(10) Netflix:  Let there be comic book adaptations  –  and let us own the comic book company. “Netflix’s comic books are a preview of potential franchises”

Netflix recently announced its first-ever acquisition: Millarworld. The company was built by successful comics creator Mark Millar, known for works that easily translate to cinema. The movies Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman are all based on his graphic novels. Netflix said in its press release that it acquired Millar’s company to secure his current and future content to adapt into movies and shows for the streaming service. But it looks like Millar and his idea-generating company won’t just be pitching concepts from behind closed doors. Instead, he’ll be trying them out where he gained fame: In comics.

(11) Punisher actors by rank “Ranking ‘The Punisher’ Actors: From the Worst to the Best”.

The first film adaptation of The Punisher is also the worst depending on who you ask. Released in 1989, the film stars Dolph Lundgren as the Punisher and catches up with him five years into his crusade which has overseen the death of 125 criminals and weakened all of the mob families. But his work backfires when a brutal Japanese mafia threatens his plans by kidnapping the children of mobsters in an attempt to unite all the crime families.

Tears, Winks, and Laughs — Mostly Laughs

Compiled by Carl Slaughter: (1) Dark Voyage. ScreenRant divulges “15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets About Star Trek: Voyager”.

  1. Robert Beltran Blames Brannon Braga For Ruining Characters’ Potential

Robert Beltran has never shied away from criticizing how Chakotay was underutilized on the show, and he thought the problem with his and other neglected characters started when Brannon Braga took over running the show.

“I guess when Brannon Braga took over, when the Seven of Nine character made her entrance, the focus changed,” Beltran related. “That was fine with me, but I think writers have an obligation to fill out all the characters if they’re regular characters on a series. I think several of the characters were diminished – Chakotay and Tuvok and Kim and Neelix.”

He continued, “I think it was just easier for these new writers that came on to write stories about the captain and about characters that weren’t really human, like Seven of Nine and the Doctor.”

“Those three characters were kind of all-seeing, all-knowing, omnipotent, and I think a lot of the tension and drama that was available was lost because you have to really dig hard to find tension in all-knowing, all-seeing characters,” he said.

(2) Star Trek plot holes and mistakes. Next ScreenRant lists “15 Things About Star Trek That Make No Sense”.

  1. They Break The Prime Directive All The Time

The Prime Directive, also known as General Order 1, is the guiding principle of Starfleet, outlining that they will not interfere with the development of a pre-Warp species. To follow this rule, they have created methods of studying pre-Warp societies and a captain’s adherence to the rule has often created issues that required a workaround.

The Prime Directive is supposedly one of those rules that can never be broken– only, it is broken all the time. Captain Kirk violated Starfleet’s unbreakable rule on 11 occasions, while Picard violated it nine times. Benjamin Sisko, the Captain of DS9, didn’t generally go out to meet new species, but through his actions, he violated it a number of times. Captain Janeway went out of her way to not violate the PD such that she wouldn’t compromise it to help her crew get home faster than was normally possible.

It’s a nice idea, but despite the emphasis on it, it’s rarely followed when it seems to really matter.

(3) Game of Nonsense. CheatSheet says another show doesn’t make sense either — “Things About ‘Game of Thrones’ That Make No Sense, At All”.

  1. Why the Dothraki are helping Daenerys

It’s taken quite a long time for Daenerys Targaryen to gather an army willing to help her fight for the Iron Throne. But in the final moments of Game of Thrones Season 6, we saw her rally her troops and set sail for Westeros. In some ways, it was a triumphant moment — after all, we may finally get to see her in action. But when you really think about it, it’s kind-of confusing.

There’s no question as to why her advisors, the Greyjoys and the Unsullied would follow her into battle. But after Khal Drogo died in Season 1, the Dothraki owed no allegiance to Dany. Yes, she gave that really stirring speech while riding a dragon, which was admittedly very cool. But she didn’t offer them any real incentive to join her army. In other words, it’s hard to say exactly why the Dothraki are willing to cross the sea they fear so much and risk their lives for the Mother of Dragons

(4) The eyes have it:  Honest Trailer, original Blade Runner.

(5) Stranger Honesty.

(6) Justice League memes. More ScreenRant — “15 Hilarious Justice League Memes Only Die-Hard Fans Will Understand”.

  1. Daddy Issues

To be fair, you really don’t have to be that die-hard of a fan to get this one. It’s a pretty common fact that most superheroes come with some sort of package deal – trauma, disability, dead parents, and ostracization – or at least a combination of two or more. In a way, it’s what helps motivate them to be heroes, right?

The Justice League are no exception. You’ve got Batman’s parents shot right in front of him, Wonder Woman being the illegitimate daughter of the famously promiscuous Zeus, Flash’s father being framed for murder, and now the actor of Cyborg himself has stated that Victor Stone’s own daddy issues will play a prominent role in the upcoming Justice League film.

Yeesh. Still, at least none of the League had to deal with their dad being some murderous Celestial. The MCU still takes the cake on this one.

Mari Brighe: Statement on Windycon 2017 and the “Tutti Frutti” controversy

[Reblogged from the author’s site by permission.]

By Mari Brighe: As someone who writes about LGBTQ issues and feminism professionally, I’m fairly used to finding myself embroiled in controversy, whether in digital spaces or otherwise. Something I never expected, however, was to find myself in the center of a imbroglio as bizarre as the happenings at Windycon this past weekend. A whole lot of unclear wording has lead to a whole lot of over-the-top drama, and it would honestly have been my preference to not engage with any of this at all. However, the pitch of the conversation within certain circles of the fannish community has more or less forced my hand, and this is my accounting of my part in this whole hullabaloo.

Here’s the story, from my side.

Before the panel

I’m someone who has been in and around science-fiction conventions for almost a decade, primarily in the Detroit and Chicago areas. I’ve been doing panels at conventions for about four years now, and I’ve probably done 50+ panels at this point, primarily on diversity issues. I’ve been a panelist at Windycon in particular on a several prior occasions, and I submitted to be a panelist once again for Windycon 44 (held this past weekend).

When I was provided with the programming list to indicate what I might be interested in talking about, I noted a fair number of programming items that were of interest to me, including one called “Tutti Frutti Literature” that contained a short description about discussing the effects of shifting social norms and “lifestyles” on SFF literature. “Shifting social norms” quite often refers to the increasing visibility of queer and trans folk in my experience, and so I submitted for that panel since there were few other panels connected to gender and sexual minority experiences. When I received my panel schedule later on, I noted that I was assigned to this panel and would be moderating it. Not having any objections to either item, I gave the situation little further consideration, other than to do my usual prep for moderating such a panel.

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 12.53.05 AM

Shortly after I arrived at Windycon, a friend contacted me to let me know that there was some buzz objecting to the language of the panel title and description. I read through the threads on Twitter of people who were upset by the “Tutti Frutti” terminology, given the history of “fruity” being a colloquial slur against gay men. These folks, like me, interpreted the panel description as at least somewhat applying to queer and trans issues. They repeated tweeted at the convention, and did not receive a response. I initially decided not to wade into the social media conversation, but once I started to get tagged by people in the conversation, and receiving pretty hard (and quite undeserved, IMO) criticisms for being involved in the panel, I clarified as much as I could at that moment.

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 1.00.19 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 1.00.49 AM

My general assumption with this panel is that it had been proposed by a queer and/or trans person who was couching their language to make the panel sound more widely applicable, and that the panel title was something of an attempt to reclaim some previously hurtful language. Reclaiming language is a frequent occurrence among marginalized people, and I’ve sat on panels with titles using reclaimed slurs (including terms like Queer, Tranny, Dyke, Crip, etc). I also generally give cons the benefit of the doubt in such situations because I’ve had mostly positive experiences with programming staff. But, I also didn’t write the panel title or description, and I shared all of these facts with those commenting on social media. I planned to make similar commentary at the opening of the panel, and then continue on to moderate what I had hoped would still be an interesting and valuable discussion.

At the panel

When I arrived at the panel, I was initially struck by the number of folks who seemed interested in what we (as panelists) had to say about the social media controversy, as well as the fact that I was the only woman sitting on the panel (something fairly unusual for sexual and gender diversity panels). One of my fellow panelists, Mr Chris Barkley, indicated that he had a statement he wanted to read about the social media response that would later be posted to the digital fanzine File 770. The Head of Programming Ops, Louisa Feimster, also arrived and indicated she would also be addressing the social media criticisms.

When we started the panel, I indicated that I would let Louisa and Mr Barkley speak their minds before I said what I needed to say, and moved onto the actual discussion. Louisa went first, and explained that when she envisioned the panel and wrote the description and title, she had intended it to refer to kink. This caught me completely off guard. I had imagined that kink, poly, sex work, and other forms of sexuality outside the charmed circle could be part of our discussion, but I had not for a second imagined that the primary focus of the panel was intended to be kink in SFF literature. Louisa went on to explain that she used the term “tutti frutti” in contrast to the term “vanilla”, which is common in-community slang for non-kinky folks.

For what it’s worth, I absolutely believe that Louisa had exactly that intention in mind when she wrote the panel, and simply wasn’t aware that it could be a loaded term for queer folk. That said, given the ways in which queer and trans people have been kept at the margins and frequently experienced harassment and erasure within the fannish community, I also absolutely understand why people were upset and concerned about the panel title. One only need look at the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies movement to know how real and current backlash on diversity topics in SFF culture is. The fact that Louisa offered no concession or even slight apology that the title had upset people was concerning.

After Louisa’s comments, I immediately began reformulating my approach to moderating the panel in my head, but I still fully intended to remain and participate. I then turned things over to Mr Barkley to give his statement. I was not prepared for the angry, vitriolic response that Mr Barkley gave. It caught me even more off-guard than Louisa’s clarification. There was NOTHING but absolute denigration and belittlement for those who objected to the panel title, including language like “Someone was offended…TOO BAD!” and “save your outrage” that has LONG existed as the discourse of the so-called anti-PC movement that routinely attacks and harasses people like me for our work towards shifting language and culture towards inclusivity and multiculturalism. He accused the critics of unwarranted attacks on “fandom as a whole”, and definitely seemed to imply that fandom/fannish culture (and Windycon by extension) were saintly entities beyond reproach, the proverbial good guys.

Mr Barkley’s egregious tone-policing of queer concerns made me feel quite unwelcome. As a young queer trans woman on panel of unfamiliar older men who clearly had some anger at my community and were predisposed to thinking we were overly-sensitive, I did not feel especially safe. I’ve been in similar panel situations before (including one at Windycon several years ago), and the usual result is me being shouted down by men until I’m nearly in tears. Given that I already had one clearly angry, hostile panelist harboring very negative beliefs about someone like me, I made the decision that I would recuse myself from the panel for my own safety and emotional well-being, and in protest of the kinds of over-the-top tone-policing and complete dismissal (and denigration) of the concerns of queer folks that Mr Barkley had engaged in.

I introduced myself. I gave my name, my credentials as a writer, critic, educator, activist and fan. I identified myself as a queer trans woman (that’s TRANSGENDER, not TRANGENDERED), and offered my deep concerns about the kinds of tone-policing and categorical dismissal that Mr Barkley was engaging in. I explained that my own experiences at Windycon and in fandom in general, as well as the well-documented experiences of other queer and trans folks, showed that SFF convention culture is far from saintly and stainless with regards to its treatment of LGBTQ people. I then stated that I was not interested in engaging further with a situation that was so dismissive of the concerns of people like me, and I did not believe that the panel was a place for me, and walked out of the room.

Further Considerations

I’ve endured men on panels shouting me down and cutting me off until I was in tears. I’ve endured audience members engaging in such egregious disruption and offensive commentary that I’ve had to ask them to leave and report them to Con Ops. I’ve endured levels of mansplaining, ableism, and acephobia so severe that they left another panelist shaking and traumatized. I’ve endured an author derailing an entire panel to deride me as “what was wrong with media” and accuse me of “destroying her livelihood” because I’m a professional critic. But this is the first time I have ever walked out of a panel that I was sitting on, and I do not regret that decision. Mr Barkley’s behavior was downright hostile to the point of hyperbole. He made it clear that criticism of fandom were not welcome to his mind. Given my own experiences with the ways in which men will defends each other’s toxic hostility, I did not feel safe as a highly marginalized woman in that space, and I did what I felt was necessary for my own well-being.

For those who are still insisting that the original critics of the panel title and description were being overly sensitive, I charge that perhaps it is you who are hypersensitive to even modest amounts of criticisms of either yourself or fannish culture. Fandom is not perfect, stainless, or utopian. The same biases and marginalization that exist in the mundane world exist at conventions and in other corners of fannish life, and marginalized people have absolutely every right to make their criticisms. Marginalized people do not owe you benefit of the doubt.  If you don’t want people to be looking so critically at such things, then do better and make fandom not just a tolerant place, but a place were differences and diverse experiences are embraced, valued, and supported. When mistakes are made (and mistakes DO HAPPEN) then consider following the three simple steps to addressing a fuck-up in a restorative manner:

  1. Offer an genuine, contrite apology.
  2. Make amends, and promise to do better in the future.
  3. Actually do better.

Whether you intended the slight or not is only somewhat relevant. Intent is not magic, and it does not completely absolve your mistake automatically. It only provides a basis for why you actually deserve forgiveness. To respond by claiming the parties objecting to your actions have no right to object only makes things worse, and quite quickly marks you as someone with little concern for them. It is not the behavior of any ally.

Finals Thoughts

I regret that this minor misunderstanding has now exploded into days long ordeal of fannish drama. I am concerned that Windycon was clearly aware of the social media uproar at least a day before, but took no action to address it until the actual panel, either on social media or with the panelists.

I find it DEEPLY hypocritical that Mr Barkley finds the space to justify his own “outrage and anger” (his words) over a criticism that wasn’t even directed at him personally, while denigrating the fairly tame and measured concerns raised by people on Twitter about the panel’s title and description as a “witch hunt”  and “angry, unwarranted attack”.

Criticism is not malice. At no point did any person attempt to demean the entirety of Windycon or fandom as anti-LGBTQ, and Mr Barkley would have you believe. Someone pointed out a concerning panel item that could be interpreted as problematic, and stated their concern, which was echoed by others. Those concerns were reasonable, given the historic context of the general air of dismissiveness much of fandom has had towards the concerns and interests of LGBTQ fans.  An unwillingness to accept criticism speaks to worrying degree fragility, especially when it also leads to lashing out angrily rather than engaging with the criticism. If Mr Barkley responds to impersonal criticisms this way, then I can only imagine how extreme his response to a criticism of his own actions or words might be. Given that information, I will think twice before agreeing to appear on a panel with him, and perhaps other women and LGBTQ folks should do the same.

The Full-Length Banner

By Bill Higgins: This item is five years old, or in another sense, twenty-six, but I’ve just learned of it.

Isaac Asimov loved “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Fandom’s music maven Matthew B. Tepper writes: “In March, 1991, Isaac Asimov published an essay in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction entitled ‘All Four Stanzas.’ In it, he gave the background of Francis Scott Key’s ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ (as it has come to be called), and perhaps just as remarkably, speaks of his own love of the anthem, and his habit of singing it with all four stanzas, not just the first one which is generally heard.”

In 2012, Mr. Tepper contributed to YouTube a 1991 audio recording of Asimov, aged 71, singing all four stanzas. Though Asimov’s wit was renowned, he performs here in perfect seriousness.

Asimov’s memorable essay on the song has been rewritten, and appears in garbled form on many sites around the Internet.  Tepper also points out that in 2010,  Eric Scheie made an effort to rescue “All Four Stanzas” from mutilation.  Scheie tracked down the original essay, posted scans of the F&SF pages on which it appeared, and presented an HTML version:

In this moment, while Americans are focusing new attention on “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the meanings with which we invest it, it may be interesting to hear it sung by one who, while granting that his nation had its flaws, greatly loved its anthem– all four stanzas of it.

A Good Day For Remembering Robert Bloch

Robert Bloch and Steve Vertlieb

On Halloween, Steve Vertlieb invites readers to visit his tribute to a Grandmaster of Horror — “Robert Bloch: The ‘Clown’ at Midnight” at The Thunderchild.

By Steve Vertlieb: Robert Bloch was one of the founding fathers of classic horror, and science fiction during much of the twentieth century. An early member of “The Lovecraft Circle,” a group of both aspiring and established writers of “Weird Fiction” assembled by Howard Phillips Lovecraft during the early 1930’s, Bloch became one of the most celebrated authors of that popular literary genre during the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s, culminating in the publication of his controversial novel concerning a boy, a motel, and his mother. When Alfred Hitchcock purchased his novel and released Psycho with Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh in 1960, Bloch became one of the most sought after authors and screen writers in Hollywood. His numerous contributions to the acclaimed television anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents are among the best of the director’s classic suspense series, while his legendary scripts, adaptations and teleplays for Boris Karloff’s Thriller series for NBC are some of the most bone chilling, frightening, and horrifying screen presentations in television history. He also famously penned several classic episodes of NBC’s original Star Trek series for producer Gene Roddenberry. Both Stephen King and Richard Matheson have written lovingly and profusely of their own literary debt to Robert Bloch. Bob was also a mentor and cherished personal friend for a quarter century. This is the story of that unforgettable relationship.

Register for Odyssey Online Writing Workshops

The Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust is offering three live, intensive online classes this winter. While Odyssey’s nonprofit mission is to help writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, however, writers of all genres are welcome to apply. Full information can be found at their website or by emailing jcavelos@odysseyworkshop.org.

The three classes are:

Standing Out: Creating Short Stories with That Crucial Spark
Course Meets:  January 11- February 8, 2018
Instructor:  Scott H. Andrews
Level:  Intermediate to Advanced
Application Deadline:  December 15, 2017

One major struggle for writers is having their work stand out from the hundreds of submissions editors and agents receive. Every day, writers submit well-crafted, engaging stories and novels only to have them rejected. Scott H. Andrews, editor-in-chief and publisher of the fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a five-time Hugo Award finalist, discussed this at the Odyssey workshop last summer, and his insights were so fascinating that we asked him to teach an online course. Scott receives far too many well-crafted, engaging stories each month to publish. For him to publish a story, it needs to be special; it needs to have that crucial spark. What exactly is a “spark”? In Standing Out: Creating Short Stories with That Crucial Spark, Scott will describe various ways to create a spark–with a fascinating concept or thematic impact or emotional resonance or potent voice. Students will study examples and then work to add a spark to their own work. For intermediate to advanced authors, having that spark can make the difference between personalized rejections and sales. If you want to write works that are more than competent, that captivate or enthrall or delight, this course is for you.

Saying the Unsayable:  Building Meaning and Resonance Through Subtext
Course Meets:  January 4 – February 1, 2018
Instructor:  Donna Glee Williams
Level:  Intermediate to Advanced
Application Deadline:  December 8, 2017

The most common request made by Odyssey Online students has been for a course on subtext. One of the most insightful approaches to subtext has been developed by author Donna Glee Williams.  Donna Glee has been teaching highly praised writing seminars for years, so Odyssey is honored to have her as an instructor for Saying the Unsayable: Building Meaning and Resonance Through Subtext. Writers spend most of their time focused on the text, the words on the page. But often the part of the story that most engages readers is the subtext, the layer of meaning below the surface of the words. Readers respond strongly to what is not on the page, elements that are implied, evoked, suggested, but unsaid. For a story to engage and move readers, whether they are adults, young adults, or middle-grade readers, the author must create both text and subtext. Donna Glee will explain how subtext can be generated in almost any part of a story using three key strategies, and students will study these strategies and work to incorporate them into their own work. For intermediate to advanced writers, this course will offer invaluable techniques to engage readers in the line-by-line flow of the story and make them deeply invested in the characters and outcomes.

One Brick at a Time:  Crafting Compelling Scenes
Course Meets:  January 3-January 31, 2018
Instructor:  Barbara Ashford
Level:  Intermediate
Application Deadline:  December 7, 2017

One of Odyssey’s most highly rated instructors, award-winning novelist Barbara Ashford, has agreed to bring back her course One Brick at a Time: Crafting Compelling Scenes. Stories and novels are made up of scenes, so if your scenes are weak, your story has little chance of success. Writers often have strong ideas, fresh worlds, and interesting characters, but their scenes do not do justice to these elements. A compelling scene engages readers intellectually and emotionally, changes something of significance to the story, and leaves readers eager to turn the page to find out what happens next. Barbara will explain how to design your scenes, how to track and develop the emotional beats in a scene to create strong impact, and how to diagnose and fix problems in scenes. Students will study effective scenes and weak scenes, discover the special needs of opening and ending scenes, and learn how to make sure all the scenes work together to create a powerful story or novel. These skills are invaluable for intermediate students seeking to take their work to the next level, so Odyssey is offering it again for those who were unable to take the course in 2015. Students of Barbara’s classes regularly praise her insightful lectures, her effective instruction, and her incredible, in-depth critiques. This course will help you shape each scene into a powerful, memorable experience for the reader.

[Based on a press release.]

Fan Theories About Star Trek Discovery

Compiled by Carl Slaughter:

BEWARE SPOILERS

(1) Is Ash Tyler a Klingon spy? ScreenRant has the story: “Star Trek: Discovery: Is [SPOILER] a Klingon Spy?”.

The fifth episode of Star Trek: Discovery, titled “Choose Your Pain,” at last debuted a new member of the main cast whose name has been in the opening credits since the very beginning but fans had yet to meet: Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif). But the new crew member of the U.S.S. Discovery arrives surrounded by controversy and suspicion: is Lt. Ash Tyler who he says he is or is he someone else entirely?

(2) Is Paul Stamets from the mirror universe? ScreenRant again: “Star Trek: Discovery: Does Stamets’ Mirror Image Hint at the Mirror Universe?”

While some fans complain that Star Trek: Discovery is a poor reflection of the Star Trek they know and love, as the new series progresses, it has taken on more and more pleasingly familiar elements of Star Trek. The fifth episode of Discovery, “Choose Your Pain,” introduced one of the Original Series’ fan favorite baddies, Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson), who encounters Discovery’s Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) when they are captured and imprisoned by the Klingons. By the end of “Choose Your Pain”, Discovery dropped a major hint as to another classic aspect of Star Trek to which the crew of the Discovery are poised to boldly go

(3) Is Captain Lorca secretly clinically insane? “Star Trek: Discovery: What Does The Final Shot in ‘Lethe’ Mean?”

Star Trek has had its share of controversy among its starship captains, from James T. Kirk’s (William Shatner) penchant for risk-taking and disobeying orders to Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) tricking the Romulans into entering the Dominion War. With ‘Lethe’, the sixth episode of Star Trek: Discovery, we’ve entered a new frontier: a captain who is psychologically unfit for command and is discovered by his superior officer, but has grown adept at hiding his condition from his crew and fostering their loyalty. By the last shot of ‘Lethe’, with Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) brooding alone in his quarters facing his own reflection in a window, we’re unsure what exactly to make of Discovery’s commander, but it spells bad tidings for Starfleet and the Federation’s war against the Klingons. Just how bad is the question.