Outrage Greets 2016 World Fantasy Con Program

Darrell Schweitzer released the program for the 2016 World Fantasy Convention and promptly came under a hail of criticism from writers.

Much of it was directed at a program title found to be offensive – “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories.” During the afternoon the item was renamed “Outrageous Aviation Stories, Flying Pulp Oddities.”

Other Twitter users complained that women are underrepresented in the overall count of writers mentioned by name in panel topics, as are fantasy works written less than 20 years ago.

Sarah Pinsker discussed her concerns in a series of tweets, now collected on Storify.

Here are some of the highlights of the conversation.

SARAH PINSKER

KEN LIU

https://twitter.com/kyliu99/status/760221655532732417

CARL ENGLE-LAIRD

LIZ BOURKE

HEATHER CLITHEROE

JAYM GATES

GREG VAN EEKHOUT

JOHN SCALZI

DAVE PROBERT

ANN LECKIE

DAVID MACK

DONGWON SONG

WESLEY CHU

KAMERON HURLEY

ANDREA PHILLIPS

And in the meantime Justin Landon has been tweeting suggested revisions to make the problematic items workable – or snarkier, depending on how they struck him….

JUSTIN LANDON

404 thoughts on “Outrage Greets 2016 World Fantasy Con Program

  1. @Lenora: Hmm, not sure how to fix that. The most critical element (among all the other doubling-down he has been doing) is that Schweitzer has been pointing to Fran Wilde’s agreement to return to doing panels (after withdrawing and saying she would not do them unless they agreed to fix a few things) means that she is in agreement with him that everything is now fine. This has not gone over well with Fran, who has said she only agreed to return in an effort to salvage something out of the mess.

  2. Aaron: In WFC programming news, Schweitzer seems to be traveling about social media throwing gasoline on the fire.

    Yegods. What a train wreck.

    He’s still claiming that now that the “Oriental” has been removed from the panel title, and the “Freaks” panel has been removed, that the rest of the programming is just dandy… while pointing out that he did mention a couple of women who are long-dead along with all the long-dead men who are mentioned — and reciting lists of men who are “real” experts on the genre.

    It seems pretty clear that Schweitzer should not be allowed to be in charge of programming again for any con, unless and until he gets some education and more than a few clues. 😐

  3. Camestros Felapton said:

    Lovecraft’s imitators are often much better than Lovecraft. Which is unusual I think.

    No, I think it’s quite common. Good stories build on earlier works. The first time an idea pops up, its novelty is part of what is admired about it. But also because it’s new, the first attempt is rarely going to make the best use of it. Lovecraft made a splash in his time with cosmic horror, but it is inevitable that later writers would refine it.

  4. Does WFC normally have such terrible PR and marketing or is it just a particularly bad year?

  5. I want to add that despite the howls by a few PC ignorami, the World Fantasy Convention isn’t like that, and is still worth attending. There are a lot of smart and friendly people there. If you encounter the outrage junkies, just ignore them. I hope you will attend. I am chair of programming and confident I have something good in store for you.

    🙄 🙄 🙄

    *rolls down the Fandom Naughty Steps*

    Oof. I think I’ve bruised my Asimov.

  6. Aaron: In WFC programming news, Schweitzer seems to be traveling about social media throwing gasoline on the fire.

    Major train wreck. Schweitzer is talking about crowdfunding an anthology Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories. He’s not just doubling down he’s tripled and quadrupled. Every comment he made was worse than the previous one.

    Part of the reason for only using old, dead authors: too many times fans won’t have read new or popular work. *headdesk*

    Get a clue WFS is a Pro Con – Authors, Editors, Agents are buying, writing, reading, and editing current works – they have to know what’s selling its their business.

  7. Andrew Porter is correct that because demand for WFC memberships exceeds supply, the motivational effect of people saying “I won’t attend unless X is improved” is blunted.

    Part of that is because WFC is unique– there’s no other fantasy-oriented convention out there that has chosen to center itself on catering to professionals. (The Nebula Awards event has been drifting toward being more convention-like, but the fact that it is specifically tied to SFWA limits its scope.)

    So here’s a potentially constructive exercise: Suppose you have the chance to help create an alternative to the WFC. Let’s call it the Ideal Professional Fantasy Conference. What would you envision the IPFC being like?

    Some discussion points off the top of my head:

    * Location: A true alternative to the WFC is going to need to travel worldwide. In the first year, you’ll probably want to hold it somewhere really convenient for a large number of people in the publishing industry to help generate that initial critical mass of members (i.e., probably somewhere in the Northeast Corridor). But after that, would you put any limitations on the geographical location? Would there be a strict rotation between continents? Limits on how many (or how few) times it could be in the US or North America in a given period of time?

    * Location part 2: Would you put other restrictions on the hotel location, like proximity to an airport with certain characteristics, or access to public transit?

    * Cost: It’s frequently noted that WFC costs more to attend than similarly-sized conventions. Some of that is due simply to the fact that it moves around, but some is due to choices in designing the con. What would you try to bring the membership cost down to, and what would you cut to do it? The art show? The banquet? Support for room parties?

    * Panels: So how do you come up with a list of panels that offends absolutely no one with a Twitter account? Just kidding. How do you at least come up with a range of programming that does justice to the full richness and history of the genre while alienating as little of your target audience as possible? How do you make sure you are making the best use of the members who are willing to be panelists? If you notice demographic problems with the pool of volunteers for panels, how do you address that?

    * Relations with con volunteers: Another category of WFC complaints is that the board is hard to work with. What degree of control would your governing board have over individual aspects of a specific convention? And in general, how would you get people interested in running an edition of your con in different places around the world?

    * Size: What would you cap it at? If there’s no cap, how do you guarantee professional attendees that there will be a high density of other professional attendees?

  8. rob_matic asked:

    Does WFC normally have such terrible PR and marketing or is it just a particularly bad year?

    This is mild (so far) compared to some recent years. That track record is part of why it’s blowing up quite so spectacularly this year.

  9. @Tasha Turner:

    Major train wreck. Schweitzer is talking about crowdfunding an anthology Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories.

    Well. Isn’t that special. I will probably feel comfortable putting anyone who contributes to that hypothetical anthology on my “do not buy” list.

  10. @Petréa Mitchell

    1. Location NY is expensive and I’m not sure moving the convention is the problem – possibly put it in the middle of the US and rotate to each of the continents on a bi-yearly basis so every other year it’d be in the US location and every other year it’d be traveling somewhere in the world with a set continental plan.

    2. Location 2 Needs to be accessible to public transportation and near an airport

    3. Cost not sure you need to make it cheaper – offer scholarships including travel to black authors and authors from outside US on years it’s in the US. Possibly make the cost rolling based on income with people simply selecting appropriate membership (should be anonymous).

    4. Panels/Tracks Committee should include a minimum of: 1 black, 1 other PoC, 1 women, 1 disabled, 1 author, 1 editor, 1 agent, 1 youngster, 1 longtermer (yes this means doing real outreach and giving a pretty free hand)
    A. Panels Fantasy themed – both old retrospectives and new topics and how they tie together
    B. Business oriented (see changes in SFWA bulletin for ideas)
    C. Readings

    Don’t limit Pros to a single track – don’t have ot have something from each track running at all times

    Reach out to Black, PoC, non-USians, and Women authors inviting them to suggest Panel and Business ideas, be on those they suggest, ask their input for others to join them

    5. Board vs ConCom Board needs to set a number of policies up-front and adjust as SFFH culture changes

    A. Mission Bring professionals in the literary fantasy field from around the world together for learning, networking, and fun

    B. Commitment to serve entire Fantasy community regardless of race, sex, gender, age, disability, religion, class (you know the drill)

    C. Commitment and baseline policies for harassment, accessibility, weapons, children – flexibility for various countries held in which may require stricter policies – policies are designed to make most people feel welcome and consider current and future safety of congoers not on punishment or rehabilitation – intent isn’t magic – predators depend on geek fallacies

    D. Responsible Has to be willing to step in when something blows up and take responsibility but should be mostly hands off

    E. Set dates Which various information must be released by

    6. Size cap 1,500 in US. 750-1,500 Internationally. Number to grow as appropriate. Can always require one to include pro credentials when signing up if the convention so decides

    Just the thoughts off the top of my head. O_o

  11. Major train wreck. Schweitzer is talking about crowdfunding an anthology Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories.

    That’s… not only has he missed the point, he’s responded to advice on how to correct his aim by screaming that nobody tells him what to do and then jamming the rifle into his boot.

  12. rob_matic on August 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm said:
    Does WFC normally have such terrible PR and marketing or is it just a particularly bad year

    It’s not the first year it’s been this bad. Nor the second. Nor the third.

  13. A convention can be economically viable and still irrelevant. That thread was full of people, as pro as pros come, who were saying they are not going, or have never gone, or have stopped going.

    Also, several people have made the very good point that for a con that makes such hay of being “for pros” WFC is one of the less professional convention out there.

  14. I decided at the last one that “for pros” meant “We don’t want your icky costumes or filking or movie suites or gaming.” Which, yes, I appreciate having a focus on literary and publishing and art programming and the like, but I still felt a lack on a couple of those fronts. If it were as awesome on the areas it did focus on as it can be (and has been) then it wouldn’t matter so much, but with programming this lacklustre, it matters.

    (One of the two I went to had music; because some members of a band in town were at the con and wanted to borrow rehearsal space for their concert. Then mostly passed use of the same space on to the likes of Charles de Lint, IE other professional musicians. Not quite the same as open filking.)

  15. I had such a good time, as an aspiring pro, at the WFC in Tempe some 10 or so years ago.

    I wish I could say whether that was because it was because LepreCon did a much better job running it, or because I was privilege-blind, or because I was so new at going to cons that I wasn’t a good judge of cons. (It is very likely that all three were the case.)

    One day I hope that I might have a similarly good time at a WFC. That day is not this year. Still, I hope.

    (I had a pretty good time at the one in San Diego, but I am conscious of having put a lot of effort into making sure I had a good time–being a somewhat more experienced congoer by then–and also that I was extremely lucky not to be anywhere near Certain Things Happening that made other people have a less than good time.)

    I do not know Schweitzer personally, and have only crossed paths with him once or twice and very superficially. My impression of him is that of someone who is terribly invested in being *right.* It’s as common a place as any for tone-deaf doubling-down to come from.

  16. Re Lovecraft:

    I recently read him for the first time as part of a Fantasy Bingo challenge (for the “pre-Tolkien” square). While I found his later stories like Call of Cthulhu to be overly wordy and cumbersome, I have to say I was very much drawn to some of his earlier, more subtle (and shorter!) work like The Music of Erich Zann, The Cats of Ulthar and Dagon. Erich Zann in particular was quite eerie and haunting.

    I’ve noticed that some (many?) Lovecraft fans consider these early stories such as Dagon to be his inferior work, and if you google ‘Lovecraft entry points’ you generally get rec’d one of his later, more wordy stories. Sigh. Tastes range all over the place I guess.

  17. There’s definitely fans who prefer the earlier stories but they feature less of the signature concepts.
    I don’t find him too wordy at all, if anything he relies too heavily on certain overfamiliar words

  18. Pingback: Sunk Costs and the 2016 WFC | Notes from the Teleidoplex

  19. @Petréa Mitchell
    No comments huh? Ask a big question, get an answer, ignore it? See if I ever take you seriously again. Pfft. 😉 LOL *back to your regularly scheduled programming*

  20. @Petréa Mitchell On a similar note, Guerilla WFC is trying to construct a better list of panel ideas.

    Their panels look great. Interesting, relevant, diverse, professional, challenging. I want to be at the convention using those panel suggestions.

  21. I thought I’d give everyone else time to mull over what they want in an alternate WFC, but I guess it wasn’t as interesting a topic as I thought. 🙂

    Tasha Turner said:

    1. Location NY is expensive and I’m not sure moving the convention is the problem –

    Yeah, I don’t think in NYC itself would be an option. But there are a lot of less-expensive options in the NE corridor which can be reached without much difficulty by car or rail by a large mass of publishing professionals, and I do think that would matter for first-year attendance. Once you’re asking people to get on a plane, it doesn’t really matter where in the US it is.

    Committee should include a minimum of: 1 black, 1 other PoC

    Would you adjust these requirements depending on where the con is held? Like, if it’s in India, do you still require a committee member who fits the US definition of “black”? (Actually, that’s a really hard question, because international travelling cons tend to wind up with committee members spread across multiple countries.)

    I think in general that you’ve summarized what a lot of people are looking for in an improved WFC. The hard part is actually defining things like “youngster”, “longtermer”, “airport”, “near”, “accessible”, and so forth. You can bring together the most reasonable, low-conflict, well-meaning group of people and I guarantee they will disagree unless you hand them quantifiable definitions.

  22. @Petréa Mitchell I thought I’d give everyone else time to mull over what they want in an alternate WFC, but I guess it wasn’t as interesting a topic as I thought.

    It’s easier to critique what exists than build from scratch. Much of Guerilla WFC is reworking the problematic panels – both titles and content and building from there.

    Would you adjust these requirements depending on where the con is held?

    I’m not sure. Could instead make the requirement Programming committee should match diversity of population of country being held in + include one member with less than 10 years experience (youngester) in field & one over 30 years experience (longtermer)

    Major hub and/or international airport

    Within an hour of airport

    Accessible guidelines – at minimum meets SWFA accessibility checklist (or other suggestion from accessible FB group)

    Harassment – see good examples of policies and procedures for Arisia, wiki I can’t think of at moment, etc.

    I’m not sure getting people to agree is impossible if they want to work together and have a similar goal. I’ve been part of a number of online discussions where we’ve come to consensus on minimums although voices were missing from the discussion. Maybe the work needs to be done online with all voices participating. No, you won’t get everyone to buy in. But I believe we could get a great starting point which is respectful of most voices. The biggest problem would be disrupters – keeping them from derailing conversations.

  23. I’ve never seen it as “Oriental” Chicken Salad. It was “Chinese” for the first many years I ever ate it, and nowadays it runs about 60/40 “Asian”, with the rare “Chinese/Asian-style Chicken Salad”, which seem pretty descriptive and not offensive. I’m kinda not surprised that Applebee’s goes with the offensive/older term, since I find the food fairly offensive :), and despite all their perky adverts, all I ever see in there is really old white people. Also not surprised that they’d bread the chicken, which is something I’ve never seen with any version of this dish. Bleh.

    Probably throwing Schweitzer off the concom, or at least not letting him set programming all by himself, would keep WFC from having the annual WTF fest. Might be keen to get the program topics up to maybe 25% women, 25% books written in this millennium, and 99% less-offensively titled and described.

    Petrea:
    I’d say set up a rotation like the old WorldCon 3-area division of North America, so that people could have a chance at driving once in a while, plus the foreign bids can’t always be scheduled to screw over one area.
    Needs to be in a city that has easy airport connections.
    Cut the banquet — nobody wants to pay extra money for rubber chicken hotel food and hear silverware clanking during speeches.
    Get some people born after 1990 on the board, and shoot for 50/50 male/female representation, although just getting the number of women’s works mentioned up to 20% would be an improvement — even more so for PoC, LGBT, disabled.
    Don’t let one person do all the programming and titling.
    Don’t let Schweitzer have anything to do with programming, or speak on behalf of the con — give him a gold watch and emeritus status and don’t let him have the password to any of the social media accounts (Current WFC should do this).

  24. lurkertype said:

    Needs to be in a city that has easy airport connections.

    Same challenge to you as Tasha Turner– define “easy”.

    Cut the banquet — nobody wants to pay extra money for rubber chicken hotel food and hear silverware clanking during speeches.

    Every con function has some people who like it, though you’re probably safe in guessing that dropping the banquet would be a deal-breaker to many people. But better to just say, “We will not have a food event, so that we can keep membership prices more affordable.”

    Get some people born after 1990 on the board

    How large do you see the board being, and how many people 25 or under would you include? Having done so, how do you assure the sf publishing industry that your major international professional event will be managed well when your requirements mean that a certain percentage of the board overseeing it will have minimal experience with such events?

    (I am totally in favor of keeping the pipeline open for young adults with an interest in running cons to gain experience by getting onto con staffs. But installing them directly at the top level of oversight is going to be a really tough sell.)

    Don’t let one person do all the programming and titling.

    Amen. I can’t even.

  25. @Aaron In WFC programming news, Schweitzer seems to be traveling about social media throwing gasoline on the fire.

    Its continued today and it’s getting worse. His wife has jumped in to defend and just *headdesk*

    In Worldcon pertinent news anyone with an interest/will be attending WFC – they are trying to put together an informal meeting to discuss next WFC with one of the co-chairs. If you can access the thread you can find the people involved.

  26. @Petréa Mitchell
    Not Lurkertype but we are partners in a world domination plan so…

    I’m sure Lurkertype will find the following acceptable for airport (if not she’ll correct me)
    1. Major hub and/or international airport
    2. Hotels and Convention center within an hour of airport accessible by public transportation

    Lurkertype: Get some people born after 1990 on the board

    Petréa Mitchell: How large do you see the board being, and how many people 25 or under would you include? Convince Publishing industry members are capable (paraphrased)

    Tasha:
    15-25 members
    Ages: 2 under 25, 3+ 25-35, 4+ 35-50, 3+ 50-65, 3 65+
    I’d want the following diversity added to Lurkertype’s ages:
    Geographical: 7 international 8+ USAins/Canada/Mexico
    Sex/gender: 20/40/40 non-binary/F/M
    Misc: 1+ black, 1+ other PoC, 1+ disabled, 1+ LGBTQ, 1 Trad Publishing representative, 1+ Author, 1+ Editor, 1+ artist, 1 agent – yes, yes, I know some of these might be hard to define but I’m not writing a 30 page business plan in comments

    Rotating turnover 2 members change every 2 years

    thank goodness for web conferencing and Skype it will cut down on physical violence 😉

    I knew all those years writing up possible business plans and thinking about representation would be useful someday

  27. Are there sufficient #s of PoC, people born after 1990, disabled, non-hetero, etc. with professional con-running experience that you can fill a board of 15+ members and have a competent committee? These tend to be groups that haven’t been as represented on con committees, and so won’t have the depth of experience.

    Yes, you want representation, but you also want well-negotiated contracts with hotels, adequate logistics, schedules that work, etc.

  28. @Bill

    Apparently you didn’t read the ages which has a whopping 2 members born after 1990. Many PoC have experience running large events, if not SFF conventions, in their business, academic, social activist lives.

  29. Bill: some people with professional conrunning experience are terrible at it. (how many conventions seem to have nobody with any web-site savvy in the concom?) Some people without might be good at it, especially if one looks at their professional resume. If there are experienced members on the concom, and members without experience are properly mentored and/or supported, I don’t see an issue. (And no, the newbies don’t do the contract negotiations, but one experienced contract manager can show the newbie what the pitfalls and loopholes are).

    I might disagree with Tasha’s exact percentages, (and a lot of places have airports farther than 1 hour away but with very good transit between, and I don’t think that’s a dealbreaker) – but we’re talking the ideal to aspire to.

    LGBT and women have been running cons longer than I’ve been going to them, and as fandom ages, several previously able people have become disabled and might apply their new knowledge to their old conrunning experience. (We have one guy like that here in Winnipeg). Non-binary might be harder, but one local artist who’s been involved in the con for over 20 years has decided that while she will continue to pronoun she, this “newfangled” genderqueer idea actually fits better with how she’s always felt about herself — and surely others like her can be found in other cities.

    I would tweak Tasha’s requirements for PoC or First Nations* to be more like “minimum 2 people who are not white AND considered a minority in the host country” (since in some host countries white might be a minority, and we don’t want that requirement to be trampled on by white people saying “I’m a minority now” and elbowing in until there’s no PoC left. If the host country is a country where a non-white group is a majority, we want that group AND minorities represented, not either-or, or neither. And there are locales where, if circumstances only allow room for the minimum # of PoC/FN on concom, requiring one to be black is less ideal than representing other demographics.)

    *Someone commented the other day that First Nations and other native people often dislike being lumped in as “People of Colour”, since they see the latter as being about diaspora populations.

  30. @Lenora Rose
    Good tweaks – I like them. Thanks for info on indigenous people/First Nation. I believe my Americancentric White biases are showing. This is why these conversations need to be international and multi-cultural – so no single bias reigns.

    We have 2 different groups being discussed here:
    1. Board for brand new Fantasy dream organization based on questions asked by Petréa Mitchell and answered by me – isn’t usually the same as a ConCom – they usually oversee the ConCom and are the institutional memory

    2. Programming committee for a given year – is a subset of a ConCom

    It’s confusing because I’ve included similar representation for both while others are discussing one or the other without necessarily clarifying which one they are commenting on and I may have gotten confused myself.

  31. Is Schweitzer only speaking about this on facebook? I haven’t seen any of it.

  32. Major train wreck. Schweitzer is talking about crowdfunding an anthology Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories.

    Well. Isn’t that special. I will probably feel comfortable putting anyone who contributes to that hypothetical anthology on my “do not buy” list.

    I don’t know–if you gave it a twist, it could turn out as fun as the “Chicks in Chainmail” series.

  33. Tasha Turner said:

    In Worldcon pertinent news anyone with an interest/will be attending WFC – they are trying to put together an informal meeting to discuss next WFC with one of the co-chairs. If you can access the thread you can find the people involved.

    If one can’t access the thread, does it sound like the plan is to make an announcement somewhere publicly visible if the meeting can be put together? I can’t make it to Worldcon, but there are people who can who I’d like to let know about this, if the meeting will be open to any interested parties who want to contribute.

  34. Harold Osler: If it were being suggested and edited by Alyssa Wong or Wesley Chu or Ken Liu, maybe. As it is, NOPE.

    Chicks in Chainmail was suggested and edited by a woman with a personal stake in feminism and comic fantasy. It makes a huge difference in the chances of it being something that those it called chicks would read. A Chicks in Chainmail anthology edited by (Name any of a list of conservative white men of which Schweitzer is the latest) would have kept me away in droves.

    _________
    On another topic, while Aaron’s link still doesn’t work, Andy Duncan’s thread does seem to be open to viewing by anyone signed in to facebook. I got to it via Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

  35. Frankly I’m a bit baffled, a couple of dozen upset people does not constitute outrage meriting this much attention. But once again, a handful of shrill voices dictates the course for all, it was ever thus.

    Best,
    Luke

    P.S. Who is Sarah Pinsker, you’ll have to forgive me, but I’ve never heard of her.

  36. Bill on August 17, 2016 at 6:13 am said:
    Are there sufficient #s of PoC, people born after 1990, disabled, non-hetero, etc. with professional con-running experience that you can fill a board of 15+ members and have a competent committee?

    Yes. I know many of them personally.

  37. Data point: I’m currently serving on a concom for a moderately large convention which has people of color, people born after 1990, disabled people, and non-hetero people serving on the concom… and a whole lot of people with professional con-running experience, some of whom fit into one or more of the above capacities, and some of whom do not. We’d love to have more 20-somethings on the concom, but it’s a sad fact of life that 20-somethings are often too busy establishing their Real Lives (school lives, professional lives, family lives, etc.) to have time to get into con-running in any major capacity. This has been true since… well, forever, and thus we have the perennial handwringing about the Graying of Fandom.

    It’s important to note that not every box has to be checked for every concom member. We also have, and value, our Older White Males. <grin> I think that what’s being stressed in this thread is that it’s important to have some representation other than Older White Males, so that we don’t keep making the same well-meaning mistakes over and over again.

  38. @LenoraRose
    Harold Osler: If it were being suggested and edited by Alyssa Wong or Wesley Chu or Ken Liu, maybe. As it is, NOPE.

    Chicks in Chainmail was suggested and edited by a woman with a personal stake in feminism and comic fantasy. It makes a huge difference in the chances of it being something that those it called chicks would read. A Chicks in Chainmail anthology edited by (Name any of a list of conservative white men of which Schweitzer is the latest) would have kept me away in droves.

    Well, that was actually part of the inner mind rambling while I was thinking about it–an anthology with that name done as a–what would you call it? A parody? An in-your-face!! anthology?
    The first time I saw the Chicks in Chainmail book, my thought was “Seriously?” But just reading the blurbs and cover was enough for me to grab it up.
    I wonder if someone like Wesley Chu or Alyssa Wong could claim the title while they figured out if it was something they’d like to be involved in?

  39. I’m most amused by the commenters here who talk about the idea of ‘bludgeoning people with political correctness’ and compare it to Trump. Ah, yes, because he’s known for his political correctness, obviously.

    And with regards to the Ideal Fantasy Con, I’d throw in a couple of non-literary SFF people to the miscs. Despite what WFC seems to believe, there’s a HUGE difference between, say, DragonCon levels of media con/costuming/filking/etc etc and a con that understands that there are different ways of accessing the same fantasy background, including video games, movies, anime, comic books, etc etc, and that many more recent works cross boundaries or draw from the non-trad sources.
    (also, if you don’t want people whining about not being able to wear costumes, maybe you should pick a non-Halloween weekend?)

  40. Maybe it’s sundown for WFC. I had sort of thought that maybe the death of David Hartwell would have been a good time to end this convention, whose time has come and long gone. As someone who attended the very first one, in Providence, I can speak to its origins. I haven’t attended one since 1999 (the last time it was in Providence, and a great con all around!), but I’ve read and heard the accounts. Each year does seem to be getting worse. I remember when World Horror Con began as a spin-off; even then, I wondered what the purpose of WFC was.
    What’s wrong with folding it back into World SF Con? The latter was–once upon a time–thought to be inimical to fantasy and horror. That’s no longer the case. Also, when WFC was founded, there were more big-time publishers with travel budgets, who had no trouble underwriting parties at both cons, not to mention sending freebies and all their editors. Those days are done.
    As others have said, the Nebula weekend is for networking, though they’ve begun adding programs. Why not enrich the talent pool for WorldCon?

  41. Much of the outrage here is directed at the “offensive” title “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories”.

    This puzzled me, so I did some googling and some guessing and found that some people consider the word “Oriental” offensive. This is the first I’ve heard of it.

    Maybe it should be considered offensive… but the shock people here are exhibiting at its use shows they live within the echo chamber. Campaign against it if you must, but the avant-garde trick of proclaiming something a few times on Twitter and then pretending the whole nation’s agreed to it is cheap and growing old.

  42. Pete H: I did some googling and some guessing and found that some people consider the word “Oriental” offensive. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Maybe it should be considered offensive… but the shock people here are exhibiting at its use shows they live within the echo chamber. Campaign against it if you must, but the avant-garde trick of proclaiming something a few times on Twitter and then pretending the whole nation’s agreed to it is cheap and growing old.

    If you are an American, those people aren’t the ones who’ve been living in an echo chamber — you are. The term “Oriental” began to be considered offensive in the U.S. in the 1970s (46 years ago), and today it is resoundingly considered an offensive term in the U.S. — such that it was officially stricken from all federal legislation this year.

    Your assumption that considering it offensive stems from “a few mentions on Twitter” shows your ignorance. Perhaps you need to work on improving your Googling skills.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orient#American_English

  43. JJ- No, it isn’t resoundingly considered offensive in the US. There are still Oriental restaurants called “Oriental Restaurant” all around the US. Maybe not if you live in Berkeley, but, gee, actually there is one in Berkeley.

    That you feel free to self-righteously call my life and my experience invalid and irrelevant, and label me evil and stupid, and would presumably feel free (had I been on a con committee) to sabotage my career, for reasons completely unpredictable to me, is a worse act of intolerance than any usage of the word “Oriental”.

    The justification given for considering “Oriental” offensive is that it was the term in use when many Westerners (gee, I guess that term ought to go too) had ideas about people from the Far East that are no longer acceptable.

    That is not a worthy reason. If it were, we would also have to do away with “woman”, “man”, “Christian”, “wife”, “husband”, and a good portion of the language. Though in fact I expect there are people who’d like to do that as well.

    This focus on eliminating words from the language originates in the post-modernist belief that culture is nothing but a collection of linguistic terms–that there is no actual reality out there in the world of practice–and so fighting discrimination should be done by redefining or eliminating terms.

    Every author should fight against this attempt to renovate culture by destroying the language. Fight racism, not words. We need our words.

  44. Pete H: That you feel free to self-righteously call my life and my experience invalid and irrelevant, and label me evil and stupid, and would presumably feel free (had I been on a con committee) to sabotage my career, for reasons completely unpredictable to me, is a worse act of intolerance than any usage of the word “Oriental”.

    Oh, FFS. I haven’t done any of that. Clearly you’re a troll, and there’s no point for me to continue engaging with you. Get over yourself. 🙄

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