(1) CODES OF CONDUCT. Dave McCarty and Helen Montgomery share thoughts about administering Codes of Conduct (CoC) in “The Shield or the Weapon” at Copious Free Time. These excerpts encompass some of their more challenging points, but only a reading of the post can do justice to all the nuances they bring out.
DAVE McCARTY: …As another example, there was a time a few years ago where Bob(2) brought a new CoC for their convention to a fairly public convention runner forum (presumably for review and input). As with most CoCs, there was a lot there that was good but at least a few people had some push back on some of the policies. One of the pieces of feedback about one or two specific policies was that they were worded in a way that made them overly broad…almost everyone attending Bob(3)con would be in violation of these sections of the CoC.
In response to the feedback, Bob(2) stated that they didn’t believe these parts of the CoC were problematic since the organizers knew who they would enforce them against.
Selective enforcement is *absolutely* a weapon and it’s a heinous one. It’s one of the larger issues disenfranchised groups have in regular life…it’s one of the preferred tools of racism and sexism and I would *bet* almost any other “ism” folks can throw at me.
If we are going into something with the thought of “how do we safeguard our member’s enjoyment”, I find it exceedingly unlikely that we ever work our way to policies designed to be used against *specific* people or even *narrow* groups.
This is the soul of the issue on CoC issues for me. Are we trying to protect or are we trying to remove. Is this about preventing harm or seeking retribution?…
HELEN MONTGOMERY: …About 10 years ago I was involved in writing the CoC for Bob(6)con. The group decided early on that we didn’t want just an anti-harassment policy, because there were a lot of other behaviors that can make a convention less safe and less fun. So we went with the broader CoC. The intent is a shield – here’s how to act and not act so that everyone has a good time. It’s a much longer version of Wheaton’s Law – don’t be a dick. We went in with the assumption that most of our attendees didn’t want to violate Wheaton’s Law. We incorporated what attendees should do if there are problems, starting with “try talking to them if you feel comfortable doing so” and we listed that consequences of violating the CoC included but were not limited to X, Y, and Z. We recognized that behaviors and circumstances are made up of shades of gray, and we gave ourselves flexibility to work with that reality.
Fast forward to a recent Bob(6)con. There’s a guy, Bob(7), who has become well-known in the larger community as being someone who has sexually harassed women. At least one convention has banned him, albeit with much Sturm und Drang in the process. He then shows up on our membership list. He’s never been accused of causing any problems at Bob(6)con. What’s a con to do?
As luck would have it, I was Board President at the time. (Pardon me whilst I wipe away the sarcasm that just dripped from that sentence.) There was much internal discussion, and ultimately we stood by what has been our stance from the beginning with our CoC – we do not pre-emptively ban people from Bob(6)con….
(2) LIST KICKER. Looking over “The Ars Technica science fiction bucket list – 42 movies every geek must see” I came away convinced the list could have been a lot shorter – they may be good, but are Enemy Mine and WALL*E indispensable viewing? — and yet it does bring to people’s attention previously unsuspected gems:
Shot on the cheap in and around Austin, this 2004 film about a pair of engineers who accidentally discover time travel in their garage is not easy to follow the first time you see it. The characters mumble dialog into their chests just like how real humans talk, the narrators telling the story might be lying, and the same events are shown from multiple points of view—we’re never sure what’s really real. But the joy, they say, is in the journey, and trying to piece together exactly what the hell happens in this story of unexplained paradoxes is part of the fun. Primer is that rare kind of film that not only benefits from repeat viewings but also manages to show you something new every time you watch it.
(3) UNPLANNED OBSOLESCENCE. John Scalzi was spun off onto an alternate timeline last night. Did you notice? — “The Cubs, the 108-Year-Long Streak, and Old Man’s War”.
This year, as the Chicago Cubs came closer and closer to winning a World Series, people wondered what that might mean for the Old Man’s War series of books. After all, in several places I had people in the books discussing the Chicago Cubs and their inability to win a World Series, and in The Human Division, it’s actually a plot point. So what happens to those books, now that the Cubs, after 108 years, have won a World Series?….
Now the Old Man’s War books suffer from the same problem as all the science fiction stories before 1969 that named a first man on the moon, or the ones that imagined canals on Mars. The real world caught up to them and passed them by, waving as it did so.
And that’s okay. This is the risk you take when you put a plot point in your books that’s contingent on the real world….
(4) TRUNK STORIES. James Davis Nicoll at Young People Read Old SFF unleashed his test audience on Fritz Leiber’s “A Pail of Air” this time.
(…)”So right then and there,” Pa went on, (…) “I told myself that I was going on as if we had all eternity ahead of us. I’d have children and teach them all I could. I’d get them to read books. I’d plan for the future, try to enlarge and seal the Nest. I’d do what I could to keep everything beautiful and growing. I’d keep alive my feeling of wonder even at the cold and the dark and the distant stars.”
But will this resonate with younger people? Let’s find out!
The responses as a whole are some of the best Nicoll has received to date.
(5) RODDENBERRY. Gene Roddenberry will be inducted into the New Mexico Museum of Space History’s International Space Hall of Fame on November 12.
“Mr. Roddenberry was chosen because of his vision of what space exploration could, be his commitment to promoting the future of space exploration and his work that inspired people worldwide to believe in the reality of the “final frontier”,” said museum executive director Christopher Orwoll, adding that, “Roddenberry’s leadership brought to the forefront social, political and cultural issues that impacted the world then and continue to do so now.”
The Museum’s new exhibit will showcase Roddenberry’s vision.
The introductory panels for the exhibit highlight Roddenberry himself, his history as a filmmaker and the legacy of his Star Trek series, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Exhibit cases throughout the gallery document just how widespread the Star Trek phenomenon has become. Collectibles of just about every kind are represented, from Barbies to stuffed bears to pizza cutters, and everything in between. The series, although relatively short-lived in the beginning, touched on many social and moral issues particularly how women were viewed. One exhibit case is dedicated to “The Women of Star Trek”. Another pays homage to the various “Starships of Star Trek” and a third features photos, videos and other images from the series.
But the smallest exhibit cases may be the ones that hold the real treasures, straight from the vault of the Smithsonian. The Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles, written by David Gerrold who will be a special guest on opening night, revolves around furry little critters that multiply at an incredible rate and who also have a serious dislike for Klingons. Although the Starship Enterprise was overrun by tribbles at the time, only a very few remain in existence today. The tribble visitors will admire inside its eight inch case was actually used in that episode and is on loan to the museum from the Smithsonian.
The champion of the original Star Trek postage stamp will attend the induction.
In 1985, Kraft started and led a thirteen year campaign to have Star Trek emblazoned on a stamp. His efforts, and those of his Star Trek Stamp Committee, paid off in 1999 when the stamp was created as part of the Post Office’s “Celebrate the Century” series of commemorative stamps.
This year, the U.S. Postal Service issued four commemorative Star Trek stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous television show which first aired on September 8, 1966. It didn’t take an act of Congress or over a dozen years of letter writing and campaigning, or, as Kraft might say, even a letter from God. The original 1999 stamp campaign and the amazing effort that went into it, is documented by Kraft in his book, Maybe We Need A Letter From God.
(6) MY BAD. Ken Liu noticed more people are buying his anthology than The Complete Works of Confucius.
Never thought I’d be able to claim that an anthology of Chinese SF I edited and translated outsells Confucius. Sorry, Great Sage! ?? pic.twitter.com/8FmAYSpv1S
— Ken Liu (@kyliu99) November 1, 2016
(7) WHO REY! Amanda Hess’ “How Female Fans Made Star Wars Their Own” in the New York Times talks about how lots of female Star Wars fans are excited by Rogue One because it’s about a woman leading a bunch of men around and that there are now more women in Star Wars than “Leia, Leia, Leia and Rey, Rey, Rey.”
The dominant cultural image of a “Star Wars” fan may be a lightsaber-wielding fanboy, but women have always been essential creators in the fan universe. They started early fan clubs and mailed out fanzines like Skywalker and Moonbeam, packed with fiction, essays and art. In 1982, Pat Nussman published an essay in the zine Alderaan that described a female fandom so rich and vast that she was prompted to ask, “Where are the men?” She continued, “Male names are rare in columns or fanzine order lists, male faces scarce at media conventions, and the number of men writing or drawing or editing in media fandom so minimal as to be practically nonexistent.”
(8) IN PLAIN SIGHT. Via Galleycat and Leah Schnelbach at Tor.com I learned —
Emma Watson has been participating in the Books On The Underground movement. According to The Telegraph, the actress and founder of the Our Shared Shelf book club, dropped off copies of Dr. Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom all around the London Tube.
Here’s more from the BBC:
“The star left the novels as part of the Books On The Underground movement which sees ‘book fairies’ leave their favourite reads for people to enjoy. Watson left about 100 books with some including a hand-written note….Books on the Underground started in 2012 and leave about 150 books in stations across London each week.”
(9) BENEDICTION. Doctor Strange extended movie clip.
(10) NOTHING FAZES NEW YORKERS. The PrankvsPrank YouTube crew sent a man dressed as Marvel’s Silver Surfer on a motorized surfboard through the streets of New York City.
[The video] showed Jesse Wellens donning the elaborate costume, featuring comic book-style paint and metallic silver shoes, as he glided about Manhattan.
Wellens turned several heads and received audible cheers as he rode his motorized silver surfboard through traffic and down a nearby boardwalk.
He even drew attention from police officers and a hot dog vendor who stopped to pose for a picture with him.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster,. and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Aziz Poonawalla.]