Pixel Scroll 4/18/16 It’s Better To Pixel Out, Than To Scroll Away

(1) WHILE YOU WERE WAITING. Ann Leckie must be wondering if any of us are paying attention.

Quite frequently someone at a reading will ask me if I’ll ever explain about that icon Breq is carrying. And the answer is, I already have.

(2) JUST SAY THANKS. Joe Vasicek has some intriguing “Thoughts on series and perma-free”.

For the last five years, the conventional wisdom among most indie writers has been to write short books in sequential series and make the first book permanently free. It’s a strategy that works, to a certain extent. It’s what got me from making pizza money on my book sales to making a humble living at this gig. However, I’m starting to question that wisdom….

….Also, when you have a book that’s permanently free, it tends to accumulate a lot of negative reviews. It’s strange, but some people seem to feel more entitled to XYZ when they get it for free, as opposed to paying for it. Or maybe these are the people who try to go through life without actually paying for anything? Who hoard everything, even the stuff that they hate, so long as they can get it for free? I don’t know.

Certainly, that’s not true of everyone who reads free books. But when you have a perma-free book, it tends to accumulate more of the barely-coherent “dis buk sux” kinds of reviews from people who probably weren’t in the target audience to begin with. And over time, that tends to weigh the book’s overall rating down, which unfortunately can be a turn-off for people who are in the book’s audience.

(3) TIPTREE AUCTION. Here’s an advance look at an item in the Tiptree Auction at WisCon.

On Saturday, May 28, fans of the Tiptree Award will have the opportunity to bid on a genuine blaster that was once the sidearm of Space Babe, a legendary feminist superhero. (Blaster is modeled here by a Space Babe impersonator). This rare item will be part of the annual Tiptree Award Auction, to be held at at WisCon in Madison Wisconsin….


Blaster-wielding Jeanne Gomoll.

Blaster-wielding Jeanne Gomoll.

(4) MANCUNICON. Starburst brings you Ed Fortune’s 2016 Eastercon report.

Event highlights included interviews with the Guest of Honour John W. Campbell Award-winning novelist Aliette de Bodard, Hugo Award-winning author Ian McDonald, British Fantasy Award-winning creator Sarah Pinborough, and noted astrophysicist David L. Clement. Each drew a huge crowd, and coloured the event in their own unique way. Notably, Clement spearheaded a science-heavy approach to many of the panel items, and many of the talks centred on science and Manchester’s iconic research centre, Jodrell Bank. The iconic building, which has inspired many works of science fiction throughout its history, was thoroughly explored in many talks and lectures.

(5) NUMBER FIVE. Nina Munteanu, at Amazing Stories, continues the series — “The Writer-Editor Relationship, Part 2: Five Things Writers Wish Editors Knew – and Followed”.

  1. Edit to preserve the writer’s voice through open and respectful dialogue

Losing your voice to the “hackings of an editor” is perhaps a beginner writer’s greatest fear. This makes sense, given that a novice writer’s voice is still in its infancy; it is tentative, evolving, and striving for an identity. While a professional editor is not likely to “hack,” the fear may remain well-founded.

A novice’s voice is often tangled and enmeshed in a chaos of poor narrative style, grammatical errors, and a general misunderstanding of the English language. Editors trying to improve a novice writer’s narrative flow without interfering with voice are faced with a challenge. Teasing out the nuances of creative intent amid the turbulent flow of awkward and obscure expression requires finesse—and consideration. Good editors recognize that every writer has a voice, no matter how weak or ill-formed, and that voice is the culmination of a writer’s culture, beliefs, and experiences. Editing to preserve a writer’s voice—particularly when it is weak and not fully formed—needs a “soft touch” that invites more back-and-forth than usual, uses more coaching-style language, and relies on good feedback….

(6) KELLY LINK. Marion Deeds picked the right day to post a review of a Kelly Link story from Get in Trouble at Fantasy Literature.

“The Summer People” by Kelly Link (February 2016, free online at Wall Street Journal, also included in her anthology Get in Trouble)

“The Summer People” is the first story in Kelly Link’s new story collection Get in Trouble. Fran is a teenager living in a rural part of the American southeast. Her mother is gone, and she is neglected by her moonshiner father. While Fran is running a fever of 102 with the flu, her father informs her that he has to go “get right with God.” On his way out the door, he reminds her that one of the summer families is coming up early and she needs to get the house ready. However, that family isn’t the only group of summer people that Fran “does for,” and this is the point of Link’s exquisite, melancholy tale.

(7) HE’S FROM THE FUTURE. While Doctor Who can travel to anyplace and nearly any point in time, he invariably ends up in London. The Traveler at Galactic Journey seems likewise constrained always to arrive at the same opinion of John W. Campbell, although his fellow fans voted Analog a Hugo for this year’s work — “[April 18, 1961] Starting on the wrong foot”.

Gideon Marcus, age 42, lord of Galactic Journey, surveyed the proud column that was his creation.  Three years in the making, it represented the very best that old Terra had to offer.  He knew, with complete unironic sincerity, that the sublimity of his articles did much to keep the lesser writers in check, lest they develop sufficient confidence to challenge Gideon’s primacy.  This man, this noble-visaged, pale-skinned man, possibly Earth’s finest writer, knew without a doubt that this was the way to begin all of his stories…

…if he wants to be published in Analog, anyway.

(8) ON MILITARY SF. SFFWorld interviews Christopher Nuttall.

Christopher Nuttall’s Their Darkest Hour has just been released as part of the Empire at War collection where four British Science Fiction authors have joined forces to show the world that British Military Science Fiction is a force to be reckoned with….

So what is different with British Military SF? Obviously in Their Darkest Hour you have the UK setting that probably will be more familiar to a Europeans than Americans, but do you also think there are other aspects where British authors are able to bring something different and unique to military SF? 

I think that’s a hard question to answer.

There is, if you will, a cultural difference between American MIL-SF (and military in general) and British MIL-SF.  Many American military characters (in, say, John Ringo’s work) are very forward, very blunt … I’d go so far as to say that most of them are thoroughly bombastic.  Think a Drill Instructor screaming in your face.  While a great many British characters are often calm, competent and basically just get the job done.  We’re not as outwardly enthusiastic as the Americans; we’re more gritty endurance, stiff upper lip and just keep going until we win.

To some extent, I think that comes from our differing experiences.  The Americans are staggeringly rich and, even as early as their civil war, had little trouble keeping their troops supplied.  Britain, particularly in the years after 1919, had very real problems making ends meet, let alone keeping the troops supplied.  We operate on a shoestring and know it.  The Falklands was our most successful war in years, yet it was a very close run thing.  We simply cannot afford to be as blatant as the Americans.

I think that is reflected in our SF too.  Independence Day was followed by Invasion: Earth, a six-episode TV series set in Britain.  Independence Day is blatant; the enemy is clearly visible, merely overwhelmingly powerful.  Invasion: Earth has an enemy who hides in the shadows, at least up until the final episode.  They both represent, too, a very different set of fears.

(9) OVER THE EDGE OF HISTORY. Jeff Somers considers “6 Historical Fiction Novels That Are Almost Fantasy” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

Hild, by Nicola Griffith Set in the so-called “Dark Ages,” after Rome abandoned Britain but before the squabbling kingdoms and tribes were unified under one crown, Griffith’s novel tells the true story of the Christian saint Hild, who would become Saint Hilda of Whitby, patron saint of learning. In 7th century Britain, she is the 6-year old niece of King Edwin of Northumbria, and becomes his seer and mystic upon arrival at his court. The reality of otherworldly forces is taken for granted as real in this brutal, violent land, and Griffith plays with the concept expertly as Hild becomes increasingly masterful at sniffing out plots and advising her uncle in ways that often seem magical. Anyone who has been awed by a brilliant mind’s ability to perceive what most cannot will witness that superpower at work in Hild, one of the most complex and deeply-drawn characters to ever appear in a novel—historical, fantasy, or otherwise.

(10) AN OP-ED. David Dubrow, in “David A Riley and the HWA”, criticizes how Horror Writers of America handled the recent controversy. And he’s announced he’ll be publishing an interview with Riley about it.

At times it’s interesting to get under the hood of the writing business and see how the sausage is made, to mix cliched metaphors. This issue happens to concern horror writers, so it has particular meaning for me at this time.

In short, an English horror author named David A Riley was set to be on the jury for the anthology segment of the upcoming Bram Stoker Awards. As it turns out, Riley was once a member of a far-right, nationalist political party in the UK called the National Front. A Tumblr blog was created to curate some of Riley’s online commentary, titled David Andrew Riley Is a Fascist. Wikipedia’s entry on National Front can be found here.

When outraged members protested Riley’s appointment to the jury, Horror Writers Association President Lisa Morton issued a tepid statement on Facebook that satisfied nobody. As is so often the case, the most arresting thing wasn’t the statement, but the ensuing discussion. Three distinct elements stood out and are worth examination….

Second, the thread has really big buts. The biggest but is, of course, “I believe in free speech, but…” A clever reader always ignores everything before the but in any statement containing a but. Anyone who puts his big but into the free speech discussion is not on the side of free speech, but is actually in favor of criminalizing speech he finds offensive (see what I did there?). As someone who worked at the bleeding edge of First (and Second) Amendment issues in publishing for over thirteen years, I find the big buts disturbing, but they’re there, and they stink like hell….

(11) THE FIRST RULE OF CHICXULUB. According to the BBC, this is “What really happened when the ‘dino killer’ asteroid struck”.

Where armies of trees once stretched skywards, seemingly escaping from the thickets of ferns and shrubs that clawed at their roots, only scorched trunks remain. Instead of the incessant hum of insect chatter blotting out the sound of ponderous giant dinosaurs, only the occasional flurry of wind pierces the silence. Darkness rules: the rich blues and greens, and occasional yellows and reds that danced in the Sun’s rays have all been wiped out.

This is Earth after a six-mile-wide asteroid smashed into it 66 million years ago.

“In the course of minutes to hours it went from this lush, vibrant world to just absolute silence and nothing,” says Daniel Durda, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado. “Especially in the thousands of square miles around the impact site, the slate was just wiped clean.”

Much like putting in all the edge pieces of a jigsaw, scientists have outlined the lasting impacts of the meteor strike. It claimed the lives of more than three-quarters of the animal and plant species on Earth. The most famous casualties were the dinosaurs – although in fact many of them survived in the form of birds….


  • Born April 18, 1976 — Melissa Joan Hart. She’s not a teenaged witch anymore.

(13) THE STARLOST. Created then disowned by Harlan Ellison, the 1970s series The Starlost can be seen here on YouTube. The link takes you to the entire series for Starlost (16 episodes plus the “sales pitch.”)

Complaining about how the show was dumbed down from the original concept, Ellison took his name off the credits and substituted his Writers Guild alias Cordwainer Bird.

(14) DUTCH TREATS. Wim Crusio reminisces about conversations with writers at the 1990 Worldcon, in “Writing science, writing fiction (I)”.

Synopsis: Whether writing a good novel or a killer scientific article, the process is much the same: What scientists can learn from science fiction authors…

Many years ago, back in 1990, I attended my first Science Fiction Worldcon, called “ConFiction“, in The Hague. An interesting feature that year was the “Dutch Treat”. One could sign up with a group of about 10 people and invite a science fiction writer for lunch and talk with them in that small circle. To me, these “treats” were the highlights of that particular meeting. I did as many of them as I could and have fond memories of speaking with John Brunner, Harry Harrison (a Guest of Honor, accompanied by his charming wife, Joan), Fred Pohl, Brian Aldiss, and Bob Shaw (I think that’s all of them, but I am writing this from memory, so I may have forgotten one). Of course, these conversations spanned many topics and I was not the only participant, but at some point or another I managed to pose the same question to each of them, namely: how do you write a story (be it a short story or a novel in multiple parts). Do you just start, do you write some parts first and only continue when you’re completely done with revising them, or something else entirely?

(15) REJECTION. Editor Sigrid Ellis’ post “On handling publishing rejection” tells things that can’t really be said in rejection letters. Some of them would be encouraging to writers!

Speaking from my work as a short fiction editor, I can 100% genuinely assure you — sometimes your story is fantastic, it’s just not what that venue needs at that time.

I hated writing those rejections. I knew that the writers would take them as a sign that the story wasn’t any good, no matter how much I tried to say “I swear to GOD it’s not you, it’s us! We just need something lighter/darker/fantasy/sf this month I SWEAR!!!”

Of course authors take that hard. Because — and here’s the secret — the generic blow-off letter is very similar to a genuine, personal rejection. That similarity is on PURPOSE. It permits everyone to save face. It allows everyone to walk away, dignity intact. But, then, if you get a personal rejection, you understandably might wonder if this is just the blow-off.

I know. It’s hard, and I know.

But here’s what I always wanted every author to do when they received a rejection, whether standard or personalized…..

(16) STRICTLY ROMANCE. The first romance-only bookstore starts in LA. (Strictly speaking, The Ripped Bodice is in Culver City.)

Romance novels are a billion dollar industry, vastly outselling science fiction, mystery and literary books.

And there’s only one rule for writing a romance – it has to have a happy ending.

Yet the romance genre has long been dismissed as smut or trashy by many in, and out, of the publishing world – a fact that mystifies sisters Bea and Leah Koch, who last month opened the US’s first exclusively romantic fiction bookstore.

Their shop in Los Angeles is called The Ripped Bodice, and the store’s motto is “smart girls read romance”.

(17) DEFINING X. They say it’s the intersection of politics and Marvel comics: “A People’s History of the Marvel Universe, Week 9: The Mutant Metaphor (Part I)” at Lawyers, Guns & Money.

A lot of people have discussed the manifold ways in which the “mutant metaphor” is problematic, but what I’m going to argue in this issue is that a big part of the problem with the “mutant metaphor” is that it wasn’t clearly defined from the outset, in part because it wasn’t anywhere close to the dominant thread of X-Men comics.[i] While always an element of the original run, as much time was spent on fighting giant Kirby robots or stopping the likes of Count Nefaria from encasing Washington D.C in a giant crystal bubble. And this was always problematic, because in the shared Marvel Universe, you need to explain why it is that the X-Men are “feared and hated” and must hide beneath the façade of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester, whereas the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were treated as celebrities and could live openly on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, respectively.

So what did the “mutant” metaphor mean initially?

One of the best ways to understand how the “mutant metaphor” was originally understood is to look at depictions of anti-mutant prejudice. In the early Lee and Kirby run, anti-mutant prejudice is described almost entirely as a mass phenomenon, a collective hysteria that takes hold of large groups of people. You can see this especially in the way that crowds of humans descend into violence in contexts that you wouldn’t normally expect them. Like sports events:…

(18) SKYWALKERED BACK. J. J. Abrams made a little mistake…. CinemaBlend has the story: “Star Wars: J.J. Abrams Backtracks Statement About Rey’s Parents”.

Earlier, J.J. Abrams sat down with Chris Rock at the Tribeca Film Festival to talk about the director’s work in television and film. During the Q&A segment, a young fan asked the identity of Rey’s parents and Abrams said “they aren’t in Episode VII.” This implies that just about every fan theory is wrong, but Entertainment Weekly caught up with Abrams after the show and he was able to clarify his statement:

What I meant was that she doesn’t discover them in Episode VII. Not that they may not already be in her world.

So, Rey’s parents could be somewhere in The Force Awakens as opposed to not being in it at all. That’s a pretty serious backtrack, but it opens the floor back up for fans to come up with theories on the heroine’s lineage. This potentially limits the amount of suspects, but most theories were already focused on Force Awakens characters. There are a few contenders that have risen above the rest, each with there own amount of logic and speculation.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Alan Baumler, Chip Hitchcock, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]

291 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/18/16 It’s Better To Pixel Out, Than To Scroll Away

  1. Leftover 2015 Reading:

    Silver on the Road, by Laura Anne Gilman: A young woman, indentured to the Devil in his saloon/gameshouse since the age of 2, turns 16 and — given the chance at freedom — decides instead to serve as his Hand on The Road in his territory in the Old West (which is approximately the Louisiana Purchase territory). This involves being sent out under the tutelage of a non-practicing attorney who is more than he seems, facing mysterious dangers which include malign magicians, demons, and priests.

    Verdict: It’s well-written, with decent worldbuilding and character depth, enough that I never considered not finishing it — but I also did not find it remarkable or compelling enough that I feel particularly inclined to seek out its sequel (no doubt a result of which settings really do or don’t appeal to me). If the synopsis sounds interesting, you should go for it.

    A Red-Rose Chain, by Seanan McGuire: Another solid entry in her October Daye series. Toby, perhaps the least diplomatic character in all of faerie, is sent to negotiate a cessation of hostilities when an adjacent kingdom, spurred by a pretender to the throne, declares war.

    Verdict: Not recommended if you haven’t read the other books in the series. Totally recommended if you have. And if you haven’t, consider giving Rosemary and Rue (book 1) a try. I would have told you that I didn’t have the slightest interest in books involving classic legends of faerie. McGuire’s meticulous research, partnered with her inventiveness in taking those legends in new directions, makes every book in this series a brand-new, different, engrossing adventure.

    A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark, by Harry Connolly: Marley Jacobs put away her wooden stakes and silver bullets, after years of waging a secret war against the supernatural, then turned her back on violence. She declared Seattle, her city, a safe zone for everyone, living and undead. But waging peace can make as many enemies as waging war, and when Marley’s nephew turns up dead in circumstances suspiciously like a vampire feeding, she must look into it. Is there a new arrival in town? Is someone trying to destroy her fragile truce? Or was her nephew murdered because he was, quite frankly, a complete tool?

    Verdict: This book is the success mode of clever. Wry, humorous, occasionally snarky, and always interesting, the main mystery unspools with several others as the reader gradually gets clues to a lot of backstory. I’m not a huge fan of urban fantasy, and wouldn’t want a steady diet of books like this — but this book is sheer pleasure to read.

    Nova, by Margaret Fortune: Lia Johansen was created by the enemy for only one purpose: to slip onto the strategically placed New Sol Space Station as part of a group of released POWs and explode. But her mission goes to hell when her bomb clock malfunctions, freezing her countdown with just two minutes to go. With no Plan B, no memories of her past, and no identity besides a name stolen from a dead POW, Lia has no idea what to do next. Her life gets even more complicated when she meets the real Lia’s childhood best friend.

    Verdict: I love a good SF mystery, and I found this one particularly satisfying. The worldbuilding is vivid and detailed. I tend to have a lot of mystery novels figured out by the first third of the book, and this one kept me going with revelations until the end. I will definitely be seeking out the sequel.

  2. We have a lot of people having complaints on what I acknowledge is problems for them. High costs is a problem for many. What I see less of is proposals how to get these costs down without changing what WorldCon is.

    I mean, what makes WorldCon attractive for me as a European, is that it moves around. I would never travel to US to go to the same convention in the same place every year. It is too far away. But a WorldCon that travels? See new countries at the same time as I visit a nice convention? This is attractive for me. And this is more or less what Ault acknowledges when he says that it takes a vacation-level commitment. Well, what does he expect when a convention changes country and city every year?

    End of this month I’m going to buy attending membership for my brother and my father for Worldcon 75. This because it is close enough to us so we can afford it. My father is a long time SF-fan, it was his library that got me started. I think this will make him really happy to be there for the Hugos.

    So what Ault calls a “Just For Us League” is what I call a “For Me Also League”.

  3. Hampus Eckerman: So what Ault calls a “Just For Us League” is what I call a “For Me Also League”.

    I like that.

    It’s a “For Me Also League”, too. 🙂

  4. Caught up on this thread this morning. Didn’t mess a keyboard but I did laugh. Top level meetings indeed.

  5. re “huckster”: for several years Boskone offered vendors a choice of “Dealer” or “Filthy Huckster” on the ribbons they were given (for ID so they could get into the space before the public opening); IIRC the latter was more popular for quite a while.

    In The Enchanted Duplicator, Jophan sets off armed only with the Shield of Umor. IMO the ability to have a sense of humor about onesself is one of the most important things in a fan; unfortunately this can get perverted into “You have to laugh at anything nasty I say” by people who show no sense of humor about themselves.

  6. That remark of Burnside’s about gender is the same sort of oversimplification I see in play when people have a prescribed formula for apologies or redemptions. I don’t trust anything that squeezes out raw human experience into people juice. You seldom end up with nice nutritious refreshment, pulpy or not. Just Sunny D or Five Alive.

  7. @JJ, lurkertype…

    One explanation for the phenomena is that many, many people who think they are “fans”, because they go to comiccons & etc., have grown up believing that their experience is THE fan experience.
    Then, suddenly, they’re exposed to the real fan experience (a traditional convention, particularly Worldcon) in some fashion or other and discover –
    it is not what they have come to know as a convention and
    those people attending have the gall to express the belief that they are traditionally THE fans attending THE real convention. Their majority perspective is wrong, but they are encouraged to believe otherwise because 9 out of 10 people they talk to agree with them.

    It’s not surprising at all they feel trufandom is elitist: their background is entirely different AND they can turn around and see that their experience is by far the more common one. And they’ve got plenty of so-called authority figures re-assuring them that their experience is the real and true one.

    I “transitioned” from media cons to traditional cons when media cons were just getting started. My ‘attitude’ was “at last I’ve reached the tower, soon I’ll have my hands on the enchanted duplicator”. But these days, the attitude is “what makes them think that dinky little pile of rocks is anything special? All they’ve got in there is some kind of hand-cranked printing press that puts out smeary, unreadable drivel. THIS is Asgard? THAT’s the Holy Grail? They must be deluding themselves. No lines for autographs, no endless rows of artists selling prints, no big studio reveals. Damn. Its so empty I got into the first elevator that arrived!”

    Now, with the puppies & the allied, not only are we (traditional/trufandom) demonstrably at odds with the majority “fan” experience, we’ve gone from being a curiosity to an elitist gang of bullies that is trying to force some kind of revisionist history down their throats.


    I got yelled at during my first Arisia convention (my second to last) for using the word Huckster. I ran into the same revisionist history BS from “fans” who did not know any history (this still greatly mystifies me; we live in the greatest era of information retrieval, yet no one seems to care to use it).

    I explained the history of the word, along with “Filthy Pro”, SMoF, SF Ghetto and was basically told that none of that history stuff matters because they use “Dealer”.

    The common thread in dis-use of those words these days is the loss of the concept that conventions, and fandom in general, is a non-commercial enterprise. They were gentle reminders that while there were certain commercial aspects we tolerated (fans selling fan-stuff to fans; authors being paid to write), there WERE limits.

    But then, in some larger sense, this whole culture war is a fight between those who recognize limits and those who think that if your numbers are big enough, butting in line must be ok….


    Although we didn’t win, I thought Orlando in 2015’s idea to make the HUCKSTER’S room accessible to the general public was an excellent concept that – with the proper marketing behind it – would go a long way towards easing Huckster concerns.

  8. A long haired guy like myself, with the beard and dark glasses? Gets called a dealer? Yeah, I got asked by people who were not fans if I was dealing that other stuff. I never minded the word huckster.

  9. “One explanation for the phenomena is that many, many people who think they are “fans”, because they go to comiccons & etc., have grown up believing that their experience is THE fan experience.
    Then, suddenly, they’re exposed to the real fan experience (a traditional convention, particularly Worldcon) in some fashion or other and discover –
    it is not what they have come to know as a convention and
    those people attending have the gall to express the belief that they are traditionally THE fans attending THE real convention. Their majority perspective is wrong, but they are encouraged to believe otherwise because 9 out of 10 people they talk to agree with them.”


    …that is bullshit. This stupidity with calling people fake geek girls, fake fans or whatever. Every bloody convention that doesn’t only exist in someones fantasy is as real as another. And people who go to conventions to mingle with others are all fans, regardless of there is small group sitting in a corner screaming that they are the only REAL fans.

    This is not a puppy thing. This is telling the insular crowd to grow up and see that the world is larger than them.

    I’ve had enough with this saying that others aren’t real from so many movements. When I was young, you weren’t a real hardrocker if you hadn’t long hair. Then it wasn’t the real punks because they were good enough to earn money. The not real sumissives or dominants in the BDSM crowd. The fake geek girls.

    I’ve had enough of it. Stop screaming at others that they aren’t real. You are not allowed to judge them in that way.

  10. @steve davidson
    Well, if it is a dealer who objects to being called a huckster, wouldn’t it be appropriate to use the term they want? Sure, it’s fine to say “I meant no harm; in my corner of fandom it carries no disrespect” but isn’t it also polite to say “but if you don’t like it I will try to remember to use the term you prefer.”?

    Also if they like SFF stuff, they’re fans; they can call themselves that. I definitely think WorldCon attending fans are fans–you wouldn’t spend all that money and time on something that bored and irritated you–but they’re (we’re?) not realer than other fans, if that’s what you’re implying.

    You seem to have a bit of the attitude that “OMG someone else loves what I love but they’re not doing it right; this is awfull.”
    I really liked A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark also. I would be happy to read more like that.

  11. I used to watch Starlost when I was about 5 years old, and at that age enjoyed it.

    In my 20s I could remember parts of the show but not the title. So I started asking around to see if other people I knew remembered it. It was like I’d created the whole thing from my imagination. Only one person said they remembered something similar, but they thought it was called StarCrossed. Which got me nowhere.

    Finally about a decade ago, I was searching Science Fiction shows in the 70s and finally figured out it was call Starlost!

    It was horribly cheesy, but at least I refreshed my childhood memories.

  12. @steve davidson

    (Sorry–timer ran down on correction opportunity) What I mean is, you’re coming across to me as believing this–if it’s not what you mean you might rethink what you are writing.

  13. Here is a thing:

    A lot of us here came because we got pissed of at the puppies last year. We weren’t part of Fandom before that. We have become in some way now, but for several of us it might be the first WorldCon.

    We don’t want some old guys coming pissing at us. Because Steve, that is what you are doing. You are pissing at us, saying that before now we have never been REAL fans. We have never gone to a REAL convention. It is only because we now are coming to WorldCon we will, if you choose to approve, be deemed acceptable as fans.

    That is elitist. It was elitist in the Metal-movement. It was elitist in the Punk-movement. In the BDSM-movement. And in almost all other movements. People who very much try to define who does not belong instead of trying to get more people to feel belonging, to make more people feel part of the community.

    It is not puppykicking. It is kicking every newcomer.

  14. did you all not see the quotes around those words?


    I do not hold elitist attitudes: a fan’s experience is a fan’s experience. TruFan has (fairly recently) come to mean those fans who do engage with the traditional side of things. Anyone can be one.

    But the preceding was an explanation of one way in which the split has evolved.

    Hampus – take a breath.

  15. Cat – it wasn’t a “dealer”. It was someone who ought to have been familiar with the history (obviously wasn’t) and someone who chose to argue with me that the history didn’t matter. The history was offered as explanation for why I used the word Huckster (which was the go-to word for me at the time; I was totally unaware of the change at the time).
    I wasn’t arguing that everyone ought to use Huckster because – history. I was explaining why I’ d used the word in the first place (ummm, because that’s what they’re called…)
    I was told that none of that mattered and that I ought to have known better. (How?)

  16. “Hampus – take a breath.”

    My recommendation would be for you to actually think before you write. If you don’t want to sound as if you have elitist attitudes, don’t write as if you have elitist attitudes. But well, as the swedish saying goes:

    “To think before you speak is liking wiping your ass before you shit.”


  17. Fen are fen. I’m not young; I remember when it was fashionable to divide fandom into “trufen” and (with a sidelong look and maybe a Vulcan salute) “media fen”. I’ve grown up since then, and now I know that’s bullshit.

    I don’t care if your fandom is books (hey, that’s my fandom, too!) or movies, or anime (about which I know next to nothing, but, hey, something to learn, right?) , or comics, or cosplay, or gaming (I’ve been playing D&D since the Little Brown Books; I still have mine), or ….

    You do you. Make me one of the Lucky 10,000; tell me why you love it. Maybe I’ll love it too. But we’re ALL fans. Full stop. Whether our convention of choice is a tiny little 50 member meet-and-greet or a megacon like DragonCon or GenCon or SDCC.

    When I started in fandom, it was always “the huckster room”. Now it’s “the dealer room”. Same place; same people. Sometimes I still refer to it as the huckster room out of old old habit; if I were corrected, I’d apologize and explain it was an antique outdated term and move on.

    (edited to add: Crossposted with steve davidson’s explanation of what he meant. Sorry to pile on. But I do think that the term “trufan” has to die, as much as I’ve been one for nigh-on forty years. It implies that others are NOT true fen, and that’s just wrong.)

  18. steve davidson on April 20, 2016 at 6:03 am said:

    did you all not see the quotes around those words?


    I do not hold elitist attitudes: a fan’s experience is a fan’s experience. TruFan has (fairly recently) come to mean those fans who do engage with the traditional side of things. Anyone can be one.

    That’s not at all how you came across. You came across as a grumpy gatekeeper keeping those newfangled media kids off your “real” fannish lawn.

    Gatekeeping sucks. The only thing one needs to do to be a Real Fan ™ is state that one is a Fan of X.

  19. Who is a fan? I think it’s more complicated than some people are seeing, because ‘fan’ can cover so many things. Everyone who calls themselves a fan has a perfect right to call themselves a fan. But there is not one thing, ‘a fan’, which all those people are.

    There are people who use the word ‘fan’ in ways according to which Worldcon regulars aren’t fans. For lots of people, a fan is a producer or consumer of transformative works; they are seriously puzzled by people of whom that’s not true calling themselves fans. Within that community there are people who use it in more specific ways; for some, to be a fan is to be a fan of a character; for some, it implies a kind of opposition between fans and creators (‘the emotional owners’ and ‘the legal owners’).

    I think it’s difficult to include everybody under one heading of ‘fan’, because – where do you draw the line? Clearly when we say ‘everyone is a fan’, we don’t mean to include everyone who is actively fannish about anything – baseball, say, or Hillary Clinton. (Bear in mind that in the great wide world, the most common use of the word ‘fan’ actually relates to sports.) There are certain interests we see as naturally belonging together, and we want ‘fandom’ to include all of them – but which are they? Is there a clear borderline?

    One complicating factor is that while in adult written fiction there is a clear line between SFF and everything else (there are edge cases, of course, but no one doubts there is an edge), this is not so true in comics, in games, in young people’s fiction, or indeed in transformative fiction. There are people there who would identify as fans, and whose fannish interests cover lots of stuff which is in fact SFF, but who would not identify as fans of SFF.

    There are also, of course, the people who aren’t actively fannish at all, but just read the stuff. In plain English, if you read a lot of science fiction, not under compulsion, you are a fan. But active fannish communities of all kinds often lose sight of this.

    So I think that rather than say there is one big thing, fandom, and everyone is part of it, it would be better to say there are many, though of course overlapping, fandoms (not just in the sense of many subject-matters, but many ways of being fannish), and literary convention fandom is just one of them. The idea that fandom is one big thing often leads to the idea that Worldcon and the Hugos have to represent all of it (an idea exploited by the Puppy campaigns, but by no means confined to them) – and that’s not possible; one convention, or one awards process, can’t represent all ways of being fannish about SFF or related matters. I prefer to see fandom as lots of little things, and Worldcon fandom as one of them.

    (Sherwood Smith had a piece at her blog recently about ‘fans and fan language’, which, to my initial confusion, had nothing to do with SFF enthusiasts, but was about folded paper devices for cooling oneself.)

  20. If you want to add qualifiers, then “WorldCon Fan” “Media Fan” “Literary Fan” “Cosplay Fan” “Gaming Fan” “Conrunning Fan”.

    But it really is simple. If you call yourself a Fan, you’re a Fan.

  21. As someone in Minneapolis who’s always been a CONvergence go-er and not Minicon go-er, I’m quite comfortable with the fact that I’ll never be a true-fan. I also got to a convention that could be called “everything the Puppies hate for four days.” Messy things, categories. But then, when your at a con whose modus operandi, is “how do we make it safer/more accessible”, then trufandom just might not be for all of us.

    Or for those who are quite aware of the history of the “real” fans – they were the ones telling them to take all of their mess issues with sexism and the rest elsewhere. Puppies before the puppies, as it were. The one’s who’s “history” of fandom provides us with a lot of material as to why the Puppies have a past of “back when it was just white guys” to idealize?

  22. Then you don’t know about fake fans or fanupmanship.

    Ugh, fake fans. Always going on about the Donation of Constantine and Piltdown Man.

  23. @ JJ: books!

    I totally agree with your _Silver on the Road_ verdict and even moar on McGuire.

    I like reworkings of Faerie, and urban fantasy, and paranormal romance, and McGuire’s work hits ALL the sweet spots in every way, and yes, just keeps getting better and better and better, both I think in terms of craft but also in terms of the metanarratives and explorations of this world. (I also love the Mira Grant novels by the way–thinking of some other comments elsewhere–which surprised me because I don’t read ZOMBIE stuff.)

    I like McGuire’s other work as well (thought “Every Heart a Doorway” AMAZING, especially the ending which was a lovely twist on conventional ending of that genre).

    But Toby? My favorite.

  24. *reads the threads about fandom, definitions of fandom, and sighs*

    There are reasons I left the StarTrek/Con fandom (yeah, the “book” fans were grumpy about “those girls and Kirk” back in the day, but media con fandom had its own little boundary policing and sexism and hierarchies problems) back in the day.

    But of course every group does (why I tend to avoid organized groups–the decentralizing of fandoms via the internet suits me fine).

    I remember the conflicts in LiveJournal groups back in the day where the TRUE TOLKIEN fans were snooting the FILM fen, and where the fans of thirty plus years were lecturing the HP fandom (arguably the first to be born and grow up and come of age solely on the internet) on doing it rong, and referring to them as “feral fans” (because they hadn’t been initiated into the TRUE way of fan and the history and the language), and oh fer crying out loud. And the Star Trek fan who said that nobody who say the reboot should write any Trek fic UNTIL they had seen all the episodes of all the shows and all the films and read ALL the important fanfic from the past fifty or so years…..ack.

    I keep telling myself that only a minority of people try to pull that shit–it’s just that they’re so freaking loud about it.

  25. Nancy Lebovitz: I don’t have a way to output the comments collectively. I wonder if any of the feed/readers can display them hat way?? Maybe someone will know.

  26. There are reasons I left the StarTrek/Con fandom (yeah, the “book” fans were grumpy about “those girls and Kirk” back in the day, but media con fandom had its own little boundary policing and sexism and hierarchies problems) back in the day.

    The diversity of fans is why I think that having a variety of styles of convention is important. The kind of convention I enjoy is not necessarily the kind of convention someone else will enjoy. There is room in the fannish world for conventions that are structured like San Diego Comic Con, and conventions structured like Worldcon, and conventions structures like the World Fantasy Convention, and conventions structured like Ravencon, Balticon, and CapClave. Trying to ram all of them into a single box is a mistake.

  27. I feel like it’s important to draw a distinction between encouraging knowing history (which I think is wonderful, especially if you’re interested in it) and gatekeeping (which is both frustrating and, when particularly egregious, makes my skin crawl).

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being enthusiastic about the history of conventions and how they used to be. Nor is there anything bad about some conventions continuing to follow some of the traditions – I don’t see why anyone would want people to apologize for calling dealers “hucksters.” It isn’t an ethnic slur. It would be like apologizing for calling computer programmers “hackers.” Using a new word isn’t wrong, but using an old one isn’t wrong either.

    I do see why “trufans” isn’t a useful term because of the apparent implication of “wrongfans” which we all know is … O.o But history. History is full of prejudice. Being in favor of people knowing history can be good, as in, learning from history! Rather than being doomed to repeat it 🙂 Knowing that was a term doesn’t mean necessarily approving of it. Knowing the history of fandom can lead to harrassment handling policies and ramps to panel stages and new trophies that aren’t busts of racist authors. If we know what went wrong in the past, we can be prepared to work on problems that might come up in the future.

    People don’t -have- to know history. They aren’t less welcome because they don’t know it. But just as much, there isn’t anything wrong with people knowing history or wanting to know it – it’s good – it just isn’t, in any sense, a requirement. Like, say, liking Star Trek. It’s great if you like Star Trek! It’s fine if you don’t like it. It’s fine if you’re interested in knowing more about it. Why isn’t that true of ‘fan history’ too? You can be a fan history fan.

    Being a fan of Star Trek can, sometimes, come off as being against anyone who hates Star Trek. But it isn’t really that – it’s enthusiasm about Star Trek – maybe disappointment that someone else can’t enjoy this thing you enjoy – maybe regret that you can’t share this enthusiasm with that person – but it isn’t criticism for not liking it, it isn’t saying you’re WRONG not to like Star Trek. Or wrong to like it. We just don’t all like the same things, and that’s fine. We can find other common ground.

    Being a fan of fannish history can be like that too. It isn’t necessary to take it as criticism or gatekeeping. It’s just another thing some people really, really like.

  28. Mike, I’m hoping that an app is possible– download the comment pages and stitch them together as a single page.

    For what it’s worth, Slatestarcodex and Making Light both have the comments in One Great Big Page.

    Back to huckstering, I asked Russ about the attendee/table ratio, and he said he thought the Worldcon oversold its dealers room by a factor of three.

    If you’ve got hours when the dealers outnumber the customers, you have too many dealers.

    I’ve never run a dealers room, but I’ve told a couple of new committees that they may not use the dealers as a cash cow. I can see the temptation to sell more tables– it looks like free (nearly free?) money– but it’s not fair to the dealers.

    I recognize that dealers are somewhat marginal to the traditional fannish gift economy, but most dealers are still fans, dealing is a good bit of work, and they deserve to have a chance to get paid for it.

    The situation is made more complicated by a fairly bad economy. I think there are people who go to conventions but don’t go into the dealers room (or go in with a tight budget) because they don’t want to be tempted.

  29. @JJ

    Oh gods, I’m laughing so hard at that Buis post. It contains the same almost-nonexistent level of accuracy as the majority of her other posts.

    Personal attacks are a standard weapon for silencing minority voices.

  30. The idea that a wrongfan is opposite from a trufan kinda indicates to me there’s not a terribly high level of literacy in whoever termed and popularized wrongfan.

  31. @Steve Davidson,
    For what it’s worth, your comment did come across to me as if people who go to media cons weren’t real fans. I’m glad you clarified.

    There are nine and sixty ways to be a fan,
    And every single one of them is right!

  32. Personal attacks are a standard weapon for silencing minority voices.

    You really don’t seem to know what a personal attack is. Criticizing the accuracy of your commentary is not a “personal attack”.

  33. What Aaron said. You have made a public statement on the internet. People are permitted to disagree with your assertions. Attacks on the words you say are very different than attacks on you personally.

  34. “Personal attacks are a standard weapon for silencing minority voices.”

    There was absolutely nothing personal in that comment. It was a conclusion based on the post you wrote. If you don’t want people to think your posts are inaccurate, try to base your posts on what people actually have written. Everyone who read the original conversation will notice how little your summary had to do with what was said.

  35. You really don’t seem to know what a personal attack is. Criticizing the accuracy of your commentary is not a “personal attack”.

    Personal attack on your post: Ha, ha, that’s stupid and inaccurate.

    Example of a criticism: It’s a personal attack because it ridicules the posts without providing supporting arguments.

  36. “Personal attack on your post: Ha, ha, that’s stupid and inaccurate.”

    Personal attack on your post?? Since when is the post a person? This is ridiculous.

  37. @Hampus: Some Americans fervently believe that human life begins with conception.

    @Lela: “You said something stupid in this thread” is not a personal attack. “You flunked out of college” is a personal attack.

    At least, that is how “personal attack” is defined in most of the English-speaking Internet. You are of course free to define the phrase differently. You’re also free to define a dog as a “fish”, but if your lease forbids you from keeping dogs in your apartment, don’t expect your landlord to say “oh, yes, you can have that four-legged furry fish.”

  38. Personal attack on your post:

    If anyone had doubts whether you didn’t know what “personal attack” means, you just dispelled them. You don’t. To be a “personal attack” it must be directed at the person. Not what they wrote. That’s why it is called a personal attack.

    The “still laughing” part is the key. It’s ridicule without supporting arguments.

    The support is the reference to the lack of accuracy in your post. He’s speaking to an audience that includes many people who participated in that thread, and who are familiar with your lackadaisical attitude towards accuracy. You’ve made yourself into a laughingstock with your lack of care towards facts.

  39. @Lela Buis

    Your post was unrelated to objective reality, and shows a distinct lack of knowledge about the experience of minority communities, the definition of the word “totalitarian”, and seems to unintentionally mock many communities by equating white people like the puppies having to “suffer” from enjoying less privilege with actually oppression.

    It is not a personal attack to say that while you may have a right to your own opinions, you do not have a right to your own facts, nor are you such a special snowflake that you are immune from criticism.

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