Pixel Scroll 10/8/16 No Pixel Necessary, No Scroll Needed

(1) ALL IN. It’s a rule of thumb that most small businesses fail within five years. Do professional writers face the same odds? Kameron Hurley discusses the long haul, in “The Mission-Driven Writing Career” at Locus Online.

What drives you, then, when you have reached the goal of selling work, and perhaps making a little money doing it? What drives you when you have finally achieved the financial freedom afforded by your writing career?

(2) TOO YOUNG FOR BRADBURY? In the latest installment of Young People Read Old SF, James Davis Nicoll presented his charges with a Ray Bradbury story.

I considered choosing “The Veldt,” on the grounds it seemed to be the Bradbury most often adapted to radio—but I rejected that because it was not one of the few Bradbury stories that managed to burrow themselves into my brain: “The Foghorn,” “There Will Come Soft Rains,” “Frost and Fire,” and the story I actually chose, Bradbury’s tribute to children everywhere, “All Summer in Day.” But as has been established before in this series of reviews, just because a story resonated with me half a century ago does not mean younger readers will find it interesting. Or will they?

(3) MUDDLING. Carl Slaughter points out that No Zombies, Please, We Are British, Vol. 1 by Alex Laybourne came out in August.

The dead may rise, but the British spirit will always live on. Trapped in his apartment building, Jack knows that riding out the zombie apocalypse inside is not an option. Especially when his girlfriend is trapped in the city. Jack knows it is a fool’s errand, but he has to try. In a terrifying journey across London, Jack finds that the entire city has fallen. The dead are waiting around every corner, but even in the first days of the apocalypse, it is not only the dead that pose a threat. Deception, lies and heartache are a part of life, and Jack will soon realize that it is the people that stand beside you that matter most. Thrust into the position of leader, the rescue mission becomes a symbol of something much larger.

(4) LEVIN OBIT. Well-known antiquarian SF/fantasy bookseller Barry R. Levin, 70, owner of Barry R. Levin Books in Santa Monica, CA reportedly took his own life on September 14. According to Andrew Porter, “I was able to confirm this with the help of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) office in New York, and his nephew Joe Levin, who is his executor.”

Levin was born June 11, 1946 in Philadelphia, and after a brief career in the aerospace industry, opened his store in 1973. He wed Sally Ann Fudge in 1983; she predeceased him in 2006. There were no children; he is, however, survived by several relatives including an older brother, a niece and two nephews.

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • October 8, 1949Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Ghostbusters) is born in Manhattan.

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born October 8, 1920 — Frank Herbert
  • Born October 8, 1943 — R.L. Stine

(7) NETFLIX’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. New Statesman’s Anna Leszkiewicz asks, “What do we Learn about Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events from its new trailer?”

“The story of the Baudelaire orphans is so upsetting and so utterly unnerving, the entire crew is suffering from low morale, a phrase which here means, currently under medical observation for melancholia, ennui, and acute wistfulness.

“So please, don’t make the same mistake that Netflix has, and look away before this dire tale is even filmed, and avoid the cruel whimsy and whimsical cruelty of what’s to come.”

This seems like an unconventional way to introduce a new Netflix original series, but for fans of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books, it will make perfect, nostalgic sense.

(8) WORLDCON 75 EXPLAINS. The Helsinki Worldcon chairs wrote a post on Facebook to justify their decision to drop Dave Weingart from the committee, and have become embroiled in a comment exchange with his defenders, and other critics of the process. Their statement begins:

David Weingart was recently dismissed from Worldcon 75 Staff for failing to abide by an agreement he had made to not interact with another staff member who reported feeling stalked by him in the past. The agreement had allowed both valued staff members to work on Worldcon 75 for several months. Once broken, David refused to recommit to a course of action intended to prevent problematic interactions from happening again, and refused to accept responsibility for his actions or impact. The situation, unfortunately, was at an impasse.

The decision to dismiss David was not easy to make, but it was the decision that the co-chairs and Staff Services came to, after much discussion. Both staffers have every right to feel upset and hurt about this situation. Worldcon 75 is something both cared about and worked hard for. That does not excuse David’s behaviour or his actions, nor does it negate his impact; we stand by our decision to dismiss him. We wish David only the best in his future volunteering….

(9) FILKERDAVE ANSWERS. Dave Weingart published further responses in “Worldcon follow-up: e-mail chain”.

I was really hoping not to have to do this. I’m not fond of publishing emails, which I’d normally hold in confidence I’m afraid that I don’t see much of a choice. The official Worldcon responses are…disheartening and I will flat-out accuse them of lying. There is, for example, one that says that I gave them an ultimatum. This is an unusual use of the term ultimatum, one which I hadn’t previously known, unless it’s an ultimatum by my responding to “quit or be fired” with “go ahead and fire me, then.” Or one that says “we gave him multiple opportunities to work within the rules set by the convention, which would have enabled him to do his job. He was only dismissed when he refused to follow them.” One is, I suppose, a multiple in some form of mathematics. I was given an unacceptable condition that I refused to accept and was fired 2 weeks later with no further communication between.

These are the three emails I received from Worldcon 75, along with my replies….

(10) THE FILK SIDE. Filker Gary McGath’s reaction is “Let’s not surrender fandom to bullies”.

The illiberal factions in fandom just want power. They don’t care much whom they go after, as long as they can flex their muscles. The Worldcon 75 committee has offered the latest sample of this, shoving Dave Weingart out as the filk head.

Dave discussed what happened here. In brief: Someone got the notion that Dave should never talk to her. He respected this. One day he inadvertently posted a Babylon 5 video link to a chat group which this other person was also in. For this, he was told he could continue to run filk only if he agreed to end all staff contact outside his division. Of course, it’s impossible to run a part of the program that way, so his only choice was to withdraw.

The concom’s action makes no sense of any kind. It grows out of the notion that “feeling offended” trumps every other consideration and entitles someone to claim any remedy. Well, listen, Helsinki gang. I’m offended. I hope every filker who was planning to go cancels out on you.

(11) POWER EQUATION. Alexandra Erin has posted “Public Statements: David Weingart and Worldcon 75” at Blue Author Prepares To Write.

I don’t know the other person’s side of things. I don’t want or need to know the other person’s side of things. But it seems like David Weingart knew his position was untenable, and he chose to continue hold onto it until someone else forced the issue.

I suspect the reason for this has something to do with the calculus of priority that we tend to make, in fannish and convention circles, which is: what I or this person has to offer in terms of experience, passion, and expertise is worth more than the comfort and safety of a few people. That’s how you look at a situation where you agree that a person has a right to be free of you and you realize that the position you accepted makes that impossible and you conclude that the solution is for everyone to just sort of power through anyway. You’ve made the decision that what you do for the con is more important than what you do to this individual.

I think no one would dispute to Mr. Weingart’s contributions to cons actually have been tremendously valuable. But as fannish circles and conventions embrace community standards and commitments to safety and work to be more welcoming to people from every walk of life, we really have to internalize the lesson that nobody is irreplaceable.

(12) SPECTACULAR COSPLAY. Business Insider’s headline is easy to believe: “This brilliant Mystique costume stunned everyone at New York Comic Con”.

The best Mystique cosplay I've ever seen. #NYCC

A post shared by Jody Houser (@mindeclipse) on

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bruce Baugh.]

156 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/8/16 No Pixel Necessary, No Scroll Needed

  1. @Dawn Incognito: both DW and W75 prioritized DWs contributions over another staffer’s comfort and safety

    Bingo. Their idea was completely unworkable, no matter how much they rules-lawyer it, and they should have chosen one or the other of them to start with, not done this half-ass thing that blew up in everyone’s faces. Dave’s embarrassed and angry, Ms. Redacted is catching all kinds of abuse, and the concom looks clueless.

    And no, the detail about the general public not being able to be in the on-site hotel was NEVER explained in the flyers I read or by staffers at ANY of the many parties I attended in the years leading up to the bid. Nobody ever mentioned the random tiny blocks of rooms at a many different hotels spread all over either, meaning you don’t get a critical mass of fen anywhere, which is where fun also happens. Reno’s two hotels were pretty far apart, but I made a completely informed choice to be at the farther one instead of the one attached to the convention center, there were always plenty of fen either place, and the con laid on shuttle buses. I think San Fran in 93 had 4 hotels, but they also had shuttle buses and a goodly number of fen in each, plus even the farthest were within walking distance (at least downhill. I bused uphill. None of them was attached to the center, though the pricey one was next door).

    This concom has been pretty bad with communications. I don’t think it’s the language barrier, since your average Nordic speaks better English than your average American, but they’re not covering non-NA/non-English speaking Worldcons with glory. And I still don’t think the allegedly “handicap accessible” rooms look like it, though of course I haven’t personally had a tape measure in there. Scooters won’t fit, and wheelchairs are going to be very tight. Hope I’m wrong. And that they get their A/C and plumbing fixed by then.

    Hopefully they’ll get their act together soonest.

  2. ” Nobody ever mentioned the random tiny blocks of rooms at…”

    Nobody mentioned the absolutly ordinary situation of how hotels look and are placed in Europe. Maybe because it is the default setting here. Is the solution to only have american conventions?

    That the hotels were spread out, together with distance was in the FAQ as was mentioned last time this came up.

    Are we going to rehash everything from the beginning? With the same commenters saying the same thing?

  3. My first and only Worldcon experience was with the very North American Worldcon 74, where it seems one of the hotels they booked did not technically exist and another did not exist in advertised quantities.

    I was shocked and dismayed to find, mere weeks before, that I had been relegated to a hotel more than a mile away from the convention center and with a decent uphill hike from the public transportation to the center, in Missouri, in August.

    Honestly, there was a point early on after the revelation where if not for sunk costs and firm commitments to others, I would have cancelled. I was amazed and astonished at what seemed to me like supreme incompetence. But I went anyway, and while the slog of the commute did wear me down and actually contributed to an injury that had me hobbling around for the last day and on my back for much of the week following, I learned from more experienced congoers that hotel or other logistical snafus like that are surprisingly common, just due to the nature of trying to coordinate housing for an undertaking of that size.

    I’d ask if there’s ever been a Worldcon that didn’t have unadvertised or under-communicated hotel problems, but I suspect all that exercise would prove is that the difference between the Worldcon That Got It Absolutely Right and the Worldcon That Is A Bunch Of Incompetent Crooks is merely whether one was affected by the issue of the year or not.

    For instance, as a disabled woman who was shunted a mile out of bounds in Kansas City, I deplore how MidAmeriCon II handled their hotels, but I applaud the progressive and inclusive decision of Worldcon 75 regarding allocation of on-site rooms.

    ETA: Oh., I should add that, despite the issues the commute caused, I absolutely my hotel and the fact that I was staying there added delights to my trip that I wouldn’t have had, staying in the originally booked one. All of which is to say that there are trade-offs in life, always, and you can’t know what you’re getting until you have it, and you’ll never know what you actually missed.

  4. Nobody mentioned the absolutly ordinary situation of how hotels look and are placed in Europe. Maybe because it is the default setting here. Is the solution to only have american conventions?

    No, the solution is to explain it to the Americans when you’re talking to them in their own country! In their big conveniently located American hotels, which you’ve noticed aren’t like Europe’s! That’s negligence.

    Europeans always talk about how provincial and stupid Americans are — wouldn’t they have thought it prudent to explain the difference in small words? Nope, they just blithely went “Everything’s fine! There’s a hotel right there! We have lots of hotel space! Have another drink! Yay Europe!”

    Did you attend any of their events in the US? I did. A lot of them. Maybe they didn’t brief their party hosts appropriately? Because I asked specifically about the hotel situation and they told me basically what I said above. Nothing about the on-site hotel being strictly for the disabled (which is indeed a very fine idea), or any of the other things people were surprised about.

    I’ve taught Europeans about American and Canadian cash. I’ve explained to them about our quaint custom of tipping and how it is NOT optional. I’ve not laughed in their faces when they assume they can stay in San Francisco and pop down to Disneyland on a spare afternoon just because they’re in the same state (it’s 650 km, and yes, they say this ALL THE TIME). And so on.

    It’s all part and parcel of this convention’s terrible communication problems.

    (Honestly, Hampus, you do seem awfully extra-cranky in this thread.)

    @Alex Erin: That happened to me at 1983 Baltimore Worldcon. They closed the hotel we had reservations at shortly before the con. We ended up 6 in a room at a grody one-star motel that demanded our payment every morning in cash. Of course, those old enough to remember that con will remember what a budget CF it was and how fandom had to bail them out of thousands of dollars of debt, which was only settled over a year later when the record-setting LACon 84 kindly passed their giant surplus backwards instead of forwards. Took a LONG time for Baltimore to get a Worldcon again, though not as long as it took KC.

    If it was up to me, I’d want it in Chicago every year or every 2-3 years, but I can hear the screams of Chitown fen from here at the thought. 🙂

  5. Helsinki isnt a big city and the public transport is awesome and easy to use. The food and drinks are not particularly cheap, especially alcohol, but the food is of a very high standard. So if you are scattered across the city, dont panic as its very easy to get around=even the tram drivers speak good English

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