Pixel Scroll 11/23/16 A Pixel On All Your Houses

(1) COVER GIRL. Maya Kaathryn Bonhoff continues her critique of the clothing (or lack of it) depicted on sff book covers in “There’s a Bimbo on the Cover, Verse 2: The Bimbo Wears Black Leather” at Book View Café.

I may be outvoted, but so far the winner of the award for Wardrobe Malfunction is the Dutch cover of Vonda McIntyre’s Dreamsnake (Droomslang in Dutch). Vonda assures me that she has no problem with full frontal nudity. She does, however, have a problem with full frontal nudity that is nowhere in the book.

(2) ELLISON KICKSTARTER. Jason Davis, needing to squeeze out another $17,000 to reach the Harlan Ellison Book Preservation Kickstarter’s $100,000 goal, sent an e-mail to his list reminding them about the donor perks. This one’s my favorite —

$300 — A Piece of the Puzzle, signed by Harlan: In the earliest days of HarlanEllisonBooks.com, Harlan entrusted to me an unusual item: a book of New York Times crossword puzzles. All the puzzles were completed between 2010 and 2011, and Harlan had signed and dated each page.

(3) HINES CONTINUES CHARITY AUCTION. Jim C. Hines fundraiser for Transgender Michigan is in its second day, auctioning a Tuckerization and Autographed ARC from A. M. (Alyx) Dellamonica.

Full details and bidding instructions at the site.

(4) BRANDON SANDERSON’S BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE. Tachyon Publications knows where you can find Brandon Sanderson on the road, from Seattle to Hoboken.

(5) THE SOUND AND THE FURY. The print edition is on the way for a novella that, unusually, was first offered as an audiobook: “Subterranean Press Announces Print Edition of John Scalzi’s The Dispatcher (Tor.com).

As promised, John Scalzi’s new novella The Dispatcheroriginally released as an audiobook from Audible, will also be available in print. Subterranean Press announced today that it will publish The Dispatcher in May 2017, in both trade hardcover edition as well as a limited signed hardcover edition.

Subterranean Press shared the cover, by Vincent Chong, who also handled interior illustrations. The trade edition is a fully cloth bound hardcover edition; 400 limited-edition versions are signed numbered hardcover copies, bound in leather.

(6) KOWAL’S LADY ASTRONAUT PROGRAM. Tor.com also brings word of a “New ‘Lady Astronaut of Mars’ Book Series Coming, Based on Hugo-Winning Novelette”.

Tor Books is happy to announce that author Mary Robinette Kowal will build on the universe of her Hugo Award-winning novelette “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” with two new books coming in 2018!

From Kowal: “I jokingly call the Lady Astronaut universe ‘punchcard punk’ because it’s rooted in the 1950s and 60s. It’s a chance to re-imagine the science-fiction of Ray Bradbury and Cordwainer Smith, where all of the science was very physical and practical.”

The novels will be prequels, greatly expanding upon the world that was first revealed in “Lady Astronaut”. The first novel, The Calculating Stars will present one perspective of the prequel story, followed closely by the second novel The Fated Sky, which will present an opposite perspective; one tightly woven into the first novel.

(7) THORNTON OBIT. From The Hollywood Reporter: “Ron Thornton, Emmy-Winning Visual Effects Guru on ‘Babylon 5,’ Dies at 59”:

Ron Thornton, an Emmy-winning visual effects designer, supervisor and producer who worked on such shows as Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Voyager, has died. He was 59.

Thornton, often credited with bringing the power of CGI to television visual effects, died Monday at his home in Albuquerque, N.M., after a short battle with liver disease, his friend, veteran VFX supervisor Emile Smith, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Thornton received his Emmy for the 1993 telefilm Babylon 5: The Gathering (the pilot for the series) and also was nominated for his work on episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and on the 2002 telefilm Superfire.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOLT BOY

  • Born November 23, 1887 – Boris Karloff

(9) THANKSGIVING DAY TV MARATHONS. The Los Angeles Times says “’Mystery Science Theater 3000′ returns with new blood for the Turkey Day marathon”:

Twenty-eight years ago the little science fiction show that could, “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” premiered on Thanksgiving Day. It all started with one Earthling, series creator Joel Hodgson, and his gang of lovable robot puppets. Together they drifted through space in the “Satellite of Love,”…

In Los Angeles, we also have KTLA’s annual 18-episode marathon of Rod Serling’s classic anthology series “The Twilight Zone.” 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

RETRO MARATHON MAN. This will be the first Thanksgiving since File 770 contributor James H. Burns passed away. If he were still with us I know he’d have come up with a brand new way for me to point to his trilogy of articles at The Thunder Child about the era when a New York City TV station persuaded whole families to park in front of the set on Thanksgiving and watch King Kong for the zillionth time.

King Kong in the City: A Thanksgiving Tradition: Burns tells about his father’s affinity for the famous ape movie, and his personal memory of discovering the film on Saturday morning TV in the Sixties. The station was New York’s channel 9 (the former WOR-TV) and in the next decade it broadcast the movie every Thanksgiving, before long adding the sequel, Son of Kong, and 1949’s Mighty Joe Young, another stop-motion animation picture from Kong’s creators. The annual tradition lasted until 1985.

Chris Steinbrunner: A Renaissance of Fantasy: Chris Steinbrunner, an executive with WOR-TV, is according to Burns “one of the great unsung heroes of fandom, who helped run many of his era’s conventions, was an Edgar-award winning author, wrote one of the very first books on science fiction and fantasy movies, published many books (with Centaur Press)… and produced what may well be a lost 007 special!…”  Burns says, “My old pal was a pretty neat guy, and a while ago, I was stunned that save for a short Wikipedia entry, there was virtually none of Chris’ history on the web.” Articles like this surely will keep him from being forgotten.

One of the great times Chris and I were together came early one morning in 1983 when we ran into each other high atop the Empire State Building, gathered on the Observation Deck for a special press party commemorating King Kong’s fiftieth anniversary. With the men in suits and the ladies elegantly attired, champagne was poured as we looked towards the bi-planes in the distance, booked especially for the event, that buzzed as though in a dream, above the shores of Manhattan.

When someone asked Chris about Kong Thursdays, he replied, as he almost always did, with a quick pause, a sudden smile, and said:  “King Kong on Thanksgiving…? Whoever would have thought of such an odd idea?”

Meanwhile, At the Empire State Building: The third installment is about the Empire State Building and Fay Wray.

(10) BANG BANG. Jonathan McCalmont of Ruthless Culture delivers two cheap shots for the price of one tweet.

(11) A BEASTLY MOVIE. Book View Café’s Steven Harper Piziks has seen it – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them–An Extensive Review” (beware spoilers).

Is there good stuff?  Sure.  It’s fun to see the Harry Potter world in 1920s America.  The movie focuses on magical animals instead of spells and potions, a potentially fun new area to explore.  The effects are lovely.  Dan Fogler as Mr. Kowalski is a delight as the stand-in for the audience as he’s accidentally thrust into a wizardling world he can barely understand but gamely does his best to master.

But…

The movie has serious pacing problems.  Things take forever to get moving in the beginning. We  spend too much time dealing with unimportant issues, like the annoying niffler’s thieving and the preparation of food in a witch’s kitchen, and not enough time on actual plot points, like what the villain wants and how he intends to get it.  The latter is annoyingly muddled and confused.  Less time on special-effects creatures and more time on human character development would have been a better scripting choice.

(12) EVERYBODY NEEDS A HOBBY. “Mr. Night Has The Day Off,” on Vimeo, is a charming cartoon from Lithuania about what happens when Night wanders around during his day off and zaps things (cars, clothes) black.

(13) THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Is there anyplace where the grapes have more wrath than Westeros? Now you can buy Game of Thrones wine, albeit at Lannister prices.

Vintage Wine Estates announced that they’ve partnered with HBO to release three different officially licensed Game of Thrones wines—a Chardonnay (suggested retail $19.99), a Red Blend (suggested retail $19.99) and a Cabernet Sauvignon (suggested retail $39.99). We haven’t heard Tyrion mention a preferred varietal, but based on his wine habit it seems safe to assume he’d back all of these.

 

gotr-wine

(14) THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS GIFT PAST. A computer that can fit in your pocket – if you’re Captain Kangaroo – and at such a reasonable price! Of course, that’s back when $169.95 really was worth $169.95…

tra80

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mark-kitteh, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP.]

98 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/23/16 A Pixel On All Your Houses

  1. In Boardgames the Conan Boardgame caused a lot of stirr in its depiction of women (They arguably toned down the racism a bit). The controversy errupted when a former Asmodee (distributor of the game) wrote this article about her view of the game: She is disgusted
    (The Shutup Review she mentioned is here and they discuss the depiction of women starting from 13.00) .

  2. @Mark. I translate the tweet to anyone who doesnt bother clicking your link: “If you dont behave exactly as I say you should. it is my right to call you facscist-lover!”

    I dont know who he is, but I dont really care now.

  3. Oh wow, McCalmont’s claiming that Mike reports on the Rabid Puppies because he thinks that will get them to nominate him for Hugos?

    Clearly McCalmont is clueless and has not been paying attention.
    1) The Rabid Puppies nominated File770 for Best Fanzine because they mistakenly believed that fans were so stupid that they would not vote for File770 simply because the RPs had nominated it.
    2) The Rabid Puppies did not nominate Mike Glyer for Best Fan Writer.
    3) File770 would have made the ballot for Best Fanzine with the highest number of nominations even if it had not garnered a single Rabid Puppy nomination.
    4) Mike would not have been on the ballot for Best Fan Writer had one of the Rabid Puppies’ human shields not declined their nomination.

    The stupid, it burns. 🙄

  4. This included the TRS-80 Color Computer (later the Tandy Color Computer) which used a Motorola 6809. It also included the ‘Model 100’ which was an early ‘hip-top’, and the ‘Model 1000’,

    I used to have one of the “Color Computer 2” TRS-80s (new, when they were still being sold) and still have a Tandy 100 (bought for 50 bucks in the late-1990s-early-2000s because I always wanted one, dammit!)

  5. ‘We frequently have an intercession to pray for all deceased love ones and “everyone in the book of the dead” in my parish.’

    In Ireland every November Sunday after All-Souls there are prayers said at local graveyards, lead by the Parish Priest. We called it ‘visiting the graves,’ which would have been a great title for a spooky BBC children’s TV serial from the 1970s. I still go to the one at my grandparent’s graveyard if I get the chance.

  6. The controversy errupted when a former Asmodee (distributor of the game) wrote this article about her view of the game: She is disgusted.

    Summary:
    “Hey, I look at this picture, and I see that Conan is gonna rape her even though it never says Conan is going to rape her! I look at this group of fictional enemies, and I see Native Americans, even though they aren’t claimed to be Native Americans! I look at that group of fictional enemies, and I see Chinese, even though they aren’t claimed to be Chinese. Boy, other people sure are sexist and racist!”

  7. @JJ

    The stupid, it burns. ?

    I think I misunderstood the tweet that Mike originally quoted today because I didn’t think he could actually be claiming that. This later tweet makes clear that he’s indulging in the hottest, burniest stupid available

  8. The Pocket TRS-80 was a rebranding of the Sharp Pocket Computer – I had both that and one of the Casio equivalents; a very simple BASIC that worked quite well with scientific calculator extensions. Fun devices, if not game changers.

    Meanwhile for an equivalent dollar value I am having delivered tomorrow a device with a 6″ color screen, 3GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. It’ll fit in the same pocket, but will be a lot more like the pocket computers from The Mote In God’s Eye

  9. (1) Took me a while to remember that “Bimbo” means something completly different in english than in german (where its a bad racial slur, meaning “black slave”)…

  10. @Darren Garrison

    The Khitai are obviously Chinese in the original Conan. I don’t know if Howard ever declared an influence from Native Americans for the Picts, but it’s an obvious influence that plenty of people have noted. In fact, the makers of the game acknowledged that these were the common portrayals, because they said they had tried to move away from them. The point of the article you are disparaging is that their attempts to move away from those portrayals were a failure.
    I’m not sure how you can look at that cover art and not understand how the writer came to the interpretation that she did (and that she explicitly labels as her interpretation). You don’t have to agree with her, but it’s a valid reaction to a crappy piece of art.

  11. Re McCalmont: I’m pretty sure plenty of pups have sneered at ogh about his numerous Hugo nominations in the past; indeed Mike has even linked to these derisive blog posts before. It’s as if he’s interested in covering the Hugos and fandom in general, in his fanzine and blog that have garnered many nominations for him on their own strengths for years before the Puppy shit started happening. I’m unsure Mike would need or even begin to request the help of a shitheel with marginal support in fandom to get more nominations. The idea that commenting on the dumbass and horrible things Ted is saying is somehow making him seem more credible is also, frankly, insane and stupid.

    Tl;dr McCalmont’s tweets are the stupidest things I’ve read today.

  12. Mark on November 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm said:

    I’m not sure how you can look at that cover art and not understand how the writer came to the interpretation that she did (and that she explicitly labels as her interpretation). You don’t have to agree with her, but it’s a valid reaction to a crappy piece of art.

    Having just looked at that cover art myself, agreed it’s crappy and objectifying but don’t follow her rape interpretation at all.

  13. @ Darren: Having looked at the pictures in question, I do side-eye a bit about the rape claim. First, because I’ve read the books and the far more likely scenario is that the rescued princess or whoever offers herself to Conan because he’s Just That Manly. (I don’t recall Conan ever actively raping anyone, but it’s been a LONG time since I read them, so I could be wrong. But usually the women threw themselves at him.) Second, because if the artwork is to be believed, it would be like an Irish Wolfhound trying to mate with a chihuahua!

    OTOH, there’s no denying that the “Picts” and the Khitai are drawn using heavily stereotypical visual markers for Native Americans and Chinese respectively. No matter what the words say, the pictures are right there in front of you. If that was the developers trying to “move away from” Howard’s depictions, they didn’t move anywhere near far enough.

  14. I’m still fond of Babylon 5, though JMS’s dialogue could be clunky at times. If dated/wonky effects bothered me watching Blakes 7/Who back in the early 80s cured me of it. Updating the effects in both Red Dwarf and TOS hasn’t improved them, IMHO.

  15. I don’t recall Conan ever actively raping anyone, but it’s been a LONG time since I read them, so I could be wrong.

    He tried to rape the Frost-Giant’s Daughter, but to be fair, the attempts were preceded by a fair amount of “if you can catch me you can have me” and senses-maddening magic to lure him into a trap.

    So while she eventually said “No,” and “Please teleport me out of here, Frost-Poppa,” she got the result she was actually aiming for, except for the bit about her frost-brothers getting hacked to bits instead of doing the hacking.

    And ultimately, the rape didn’t happen.

    But other than that, Howard’s Conan specifically says he’s never taken a woman “against her will,” and he’s got a fairly reasonable case for being magically drugged in that one instance. He does spend a lot of time macking on Valeria, who clearly wishes he’d stop, but he doesn’t go further than that without her cooperation.

    That’s the Robert E. Howard Conan, at least, which as far as I’m concerned is the Only One That Counts. If other writers portrayed him otherwise, they got it wrong.

  16. @Lee: I’m now reminded of a vet who used to give warnings to people who didn’t want their pets neutered, including the telling comment, “Have you ever seen a cross between an Alsatian and a Chihuahua? I have.” Love, as they say, will find a way.

    Regarding Conan… I don’t recall any non-consensual stuff in the stories, although it’s been a while… and, in fact, some of the female characters are allowed a tiny bit of agency for themselves. I’m not arguing that Robert Howard was any sort of proto-feminist, but he’s certainly better than some of his imitators in that department. For that matter, he was only sort of averagely racist for his day, not full-on Lovecraft-level racist.

    Mind you, looking at those illustrations… whoo, boy. Conan, I seem to remember, is usually sensibly dressed whenever he can manage it. As for the “Pict” and the gentleman from “Khitai”… words fail me. I’m sure this board game has its fans, but I think I’ll stick to Cluedo, myself.

    As for this McCalmont chap… has he realized that it’s possible to read something without actually agreeing with it? And that, if you’re planning to engage someone in debate, you need to find out how they’re thinking, so that you can debate with them effectively? I’m not overly impressed with his thinking, is what I’m saying.

  17. @Lee: I’m now reminded of a vet who used to give warnings to people who didn’t want their pets neutered

    I haven’t seen that combination of dogs, but I did see a cross between a German shepherd and a basset. It was not a great-looking dog. (It had the head and ears of the shepherd, and otherwise got the basset build.)

  18. I have returned from the Thanksgiving dinner, stuffed to bursting with turkey and stuffing and gravy and cranberry-habanero chutney and pumpkin pie and pecan pie.

    And before the Thanksgiving dinner I finished Spring Festival, a short (50-60 page) short story collection by Xia Jia, translated by Ken Liu, that was really quite good, and am now about to finish Pledged to the Dead by Seabury Quinn and then start maybe Dark is the Sun by Philip Jose Farmer.

  19. OTOH, there’s no denying that the “Picts” and the Khitai are drawn using heavily stereotypical visual markers for Native Americans and Chinese respectively. No matter what the words say, the pictures are right there in front of you. If that was the developers trying to “move away from” Howard’s depictions, they didn’t move anywhere near far enough.

    This is very true. Malthus, in the Howard prose, seems like a very heroic figure — at least, heroic for his side — not some mangled mutant in a headdress.

    I’d disagree with her claim that Conan is a white power fantasy, since Conan fights other white people as often and as readily as he fights non-whites. Conan is a “you can fight city hall” fantasy — he’s the uber-savage, primal and pure, who is better than any of the “soft, civilized men,” of any culture.

    In Hyboria, Khitans are creatures of the exotic East, but they’re not subhuman — Howard’s description of them mainly calls them intelligent but short. Their wizards are as evil as any other culture’s wizards, and we can probably assume that their governments are just as corrupt, since all governments are corrupt in the Hyborian Age. But that’s not a racial distinction, it’s a class distinction. [We don’t actually see their governments, because Conan doesn’t get any further East than Vendhya (India) in the REH stories.]

    The Khitans who live in the jungle are said to be kindly, in keeping with REH’s themes that the less civilized you are, the less corrupt you are. Khitan merchants are just like any other merchants.

    Vendhyans and the Central Asian analogues we meet follow the same pattern as the white civilizations, so it’s reasonable to assume that the Khitans do too — REH’s research materials were pretty racist, but he didn’t draw a lot of cultural distinctions about good races and evil races, or superior/inferior. Mostly that any civilization is corrupt and any primitive culture is not.

    The Picts are colored by the fact that they’re hereditary enemies to the Cimmerians, as a result of the Cimmerians (and Aquilonians) taking their land. Their pushback against that isn’t presented as wrong-headed, nor do they need to be civilized. They’re just fighting over land. When not being duped by evil sorcerers, they’re as reasonable as the next guy who isn’t being duped by an evil sorcerer.

    The two largest racist portrayals in the REH Conan stories are the Shemites (who represent Jews, and they’re portrayed as a greedy race; Conan doesn’t dislike them for this, but it’s still a whopping racial stereotype) and the Stygians (Egyptians) who are pretty universally evil. But the Stygians are also the oldest civilization around and thus, in Howard’s view, the most corrupt; it’s not racial, it’s social.

    Conan doesn’t seem to have anything against any of the Hyborian races, aside from historical enmities about territory, which Cimmerian has against the whiter-than-them races to the North, too. He gets along fine with the black tribes he meets, with the Arabs and the Slavs and so on.

    So I’d say Conan isn’t about white power crushing the foreigners, but much more about the outsiders standing firm against corruption civilization. Which you could certainly turn into a Trump story (although in that case, Trump becomes the evil civilized wizard duping the primitives, and Conan would end up killing him).

    But I agree with her fully about those designs — they’re dehumanizing, not de-culturing. They don’t look less like Native Americans and Asians, they just look less like human beings, turning them into monster Native Americans and monster Asians.

    That cover, more than anything else, looks like a scene from “Vale of Lost Women,” the worst of the REH Conan stories. In that one, though, he does save the virginal white woman from the altar where the Ickies from Beyond are going to get her, and he doesn’t rape her. [Earlier in the story, she tries to win him over by offering him sex, but then when he actually rescues her from the guy who’s got her captive, she doesn’t want to make good on the deal, and he doesn’t push it.]

    I think at the end of the story, they’re headed back to her home country, where she’s going to get him paid for rescuing her, but I don’t remember if that was in the story or merely how Roy Thomas continued the plot in the comics adaptation.

    Howard works from the stereotypes on his time, but unlike Lovecraft, he’s not scared of the “other.” He identifies with the other, and is scared of political power.

  20. Regarding Conan… I don’t recall any non-consensual stuff in the stories, although it’s been a while… and, in fact, some of the female characters are allowed a tiny bit of agency for themselves. I’m not arguing that Robert Howard was any sort of proto-feminist, but he’s certainly better than some of his imitators in that department.

    They’re not Conan stories, but Red Sonya of Rogatino and Dark Agnes had plenty of independence and agency.

    Howard also wrote boxing stories with black leads that were practically indistinguishable from the boxing stories with white leads.

    He seems to have been very, very much a man of his time and place, but probably less racist and sexist than his neighbors. And while he had generalized prejudice, and it shows up in his correspondence, it didn’t seem to go much beyond the general, or apply to individuals in his stories — Belit’s a Shemite, and he tells us Shemites are racially greedy, and Belit certainly is, but she’s also one of the heroes of the story she’s in and the greatest love of Conan’s life. So Howard’s racial assumptions are idiotic, but he’s not despising Belit for being proto-Jewish; he’s just misinformed, and treats her as a hero anyway. Or at least as much of a hero as a bloody-handed pirate can be.

  21. Cora: Just borrowed someone’s smartphone to check out McCalmont’s tweets. Still an idiot ten years later.

    Just a note for future: you can see the tweets of someone who’s blocked you by signing out of Twitter and looking at their account.

  22. Hi!

    Leaving aside all arguments, discussions, and puzzling over odd viewpoints, I just want to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone for whom that is relevant, and hope it was also a great day for all Filers for whom this is not Thanksgiving.

    I’m reading The Mystic Marriage, and listening to Between Two Thorns these days. Mostly not simultaneously.

  23. McCalmont says: Me today. Ian Sales a few weeks ago. Who next? Who gets dragged next while F770 posts uncritical libks to VD fundraising?

    Wow, this is really Puppy-level evasion of personal responsibility.

    Mike linked to an essay of Sales’ criticizing a whole swath of Science Fiction for not meeting the standards he thinks it should. Filers pointed out the fallacies in his essay. Sales threw a big tantrum on Twitter about his essay being critiqued (but interestingly, was apparently able to offer no countering argument to the points made by the critiques).

    McCalmont throws a tanty about Mike covering genre-applicable news, claiming that all the criticism posted on File770 of VD “legitimized” him, and then throws an even bigger tanty and claims to be a victim when people very correctly point out why he is wrong.

    Jonathan, File770 got 1,027 nominations for Best Fanzine. The Rabid Puppy slate choice with the next highest amount got 461 nominations. In other words, File770 got 566 nominations which were not from Rabid Puppies. Why should Mike have declined that nomination? Why should Mike have declined his Best Fan Writer nomination, when he wasn’t on the Rabid Puppy slate and wouldn’t even have made the ballot if a Rabid Puppy human shield hadn’t withdrawn?

    Why don’t you stop whining and start taking personal responsibility for your own actions — which include conflating criticism of VD with endorsement of him?

  24. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! (A pleasant Thursday to those who do not!) My aunt-in-law sent me home with most of a ham.

    I’m not saying I will be found in the kitchen, hunched and glibbering like a Lovecraftian ghoul, gnawing on the ham by the eldritch glow of the refrigerator bulb–but I’m not saying I won’t be, either.

    I’ve never heard of this McCalmont fellow, but that probably says more about me than him. What’s he written?

  25. He’s a freelance critic in the UK who writes a blog of reviews and criticism of books, games, and movies; ISFDB says that he writes a regular column for Interzone, and that he’s written numerous essays and reviews which have been published in various magazines.

  26. @red Wombat McCalmont is a genre critic, so all of his work has been essays and reviews and critiques of S, particularly in Interzone and the NYRSF. He’s popped up in places like the Coode Street Podcast a number of times.

  27. Today I give thanks for Filers everywhere, for the book recommendations and debate and snark and companionship which I have enjoyed in this community for the last year and a half. I send you my best wishes for the upcoming holiday season, for you to be safe and well, and for much joy and laughter with the people you love.

  28. Well, since I’m the one who’s been talking with Mr. McCalmont (which you probably saw, JJ–and thanks for the four points from one of the comments of yours here I shared with him, with credit), let me share a couple of his replies to me:

    My politics are simple: You don’t give fascists a platform. Giving them a platform only normalises and spreads their ideas.

    I think accepting slate nominations legitimised them. I also think that F770 sneering is harmful to broader discourse.

    And choosing to accept nomination [speaking both of Mike, Neil Gaiman, and Alastair Reynolds] helped to normalise fascist slate-voters. Made them look respectable.

    Apparently he thinks you can’t report on something and condemn it at the same time. (Which, granted, our own “fourth estate” is shamefully failing to do, in the case of President-elect Drumpfus.) He also thinks if Mike hadn’t reported and linked to the Puppies last year, the movement would simply have withered away, which is…remarkable, I guess is the word. My pointing out that I would much rather have the fascists out in the open (using the example of the American Nazi Party marching in Skokie, Illinois) where we can see them and fight them didn’t make a dent.

    (He’ll probably be angry with me for copying and pasting his Tweets, but I made no promises to keep them secret, and my account is public. I also invited him to come here and talk to us, which he declined to do.)

  29. Thanks, Bonnie, for the tweets and also for arguing with McCalmont who can be very tiresome indeed.

    Also Happy Thanksgiving to everybody who celebrates.

  30. McCalmont: My politics are simple: You don’t give fascists a platform. Giving them a platform only normalises and spreads their ideas.

    This is suspiciously close to the “You don’t talk about sex or contraception with kids or teens. It just gives them the idea to have sex.” philosophy which has been demonstrated far and wide as working so well at stopping underage children from having sex and getting pregnant.

    I’m with Bonnie. The best thing we can do is turn over the rocks that the fascists and white supremacists hide under, and let the light (and the criticism) fall fully on them.

  31. @JJ: File 770 got at least 566 non-Puppy nominations. If I recall correctly, Greg Hullender (analyzing based on the EPH numbers) concluded that very few of the Rabid Puppies nominated it for Best Fanzine, despite Beale’s endorsement.

  32. David Goldfarb: File 770 got at least 566 non-Puppy nominations. If I recall correctly, Greg Hullender (analyzing based on the EPH numbers) concluded that very few of the Rabid Puppies nominated it for Best Fanzine, despite Beale’s endorsement.

    I’m well aware of that, but including that information would have obfuscated the point I was making to McCalmont.

  33. Ah, a reviewer! I am all for reviewers but since I can’t keep up with my TBR pile as it is, I tend not to seek them out. (Y’all keep me busy enough…) So that explains that. Carry on, and thank you.

  34. ‘Howard also wrote boxing stories with black leads that were practically indistinguishable from the boxing stories with white leads.’

    I remember some the jungle scenes with the natives dancing being… shocking. Maybe not unusual in terms of contemporary attitudes, but eesh.

  35. And choosing to accept nomination [speaking both of Mike, Neil Gaiman, and Alastair Reynolds] helped to normalise fascist slate-voters. Made them look respectable.

    Huh. As if allowing them to ‘block’ nominations when they put people or works on their slates who then feel obliged to decline isn’t empowering them in a far more substantive way – granting them a puppy’s veto.

    I think these tweets are a sign of attitudes hardening in the wake of Trump’s election. I expect there will be a lot more attacks of this sort from the other side of the spectrum, assuming there is further puppying (a safe assumption – no doubt they feel thoroughly emboldened post-Trump, post-Brexit) and Mike continues to report on them. It really won’t matter if the procedural measures work. In the end this was always about generating noise more than it was about winning awards, though stoked by resentments over not winning awards, and they’re going to be LOUD this year. The Hugos will be a minor flash-point in a wider culture war, and people who care more about the Hugos than about the war are going to be treated with contempt by both sides.

  36. Re. McCalmont.

    Let’s not forget that he initially started talking about fascists due to our gracious host linking to Mad Genius Club. Personally I’m not a big fan of the way that the bloggers at MGC conduct themselves, but tarring them as fascists is absolutely ridiculous.

  37. ‘Giving fascists a platform’ would normally mean inviting them to post on your site, not just reporting their activities, wouldn’t it?

    Agreed that, in any case, the MGC aren’t fascists. But if you believe, as some people do tenaciously, that there is no difference between the SP and the RP, then as VD is a fascist, they must be as well. Though it seems to me that as VD’s fascism has become more noticeable, the estrangement between them has increased. (And the reactions of some Sad people to the Hugo results don’t disprove that. They were complaining about the fate of specific works or people – actually mostly people, in line with their usual way of thinking – which VD had chosen to appeal to the Sad constituency.)

  38. @ Kurt: Conan is a “you can fight city hall” fantasy — he’s the uber-savage, primal and pure, who is better than any of the “soft, civilized men,” of any culture.

    Which, in the current political climate, means he’s also a conservative-variety “REAL Americans” fantasy, which in turn is all mixed up with white-power fantasy. (City people can fight City Hall too, but they do it differently.) I’m not claiming that this is all there is to it, but it’s going to be a factor.

    In any case, thanks for the detailed breakdown on the Conanverse. It’s been 20 years or more since I picked up one of the books, so it’s good to hear from someone with more recent knowledge.

    @ Chip: Heh. I was thinking about that too, but it goes in the opposite direction from that Conan cover.

    Re “giving fascists a platform” — this is actually a legitimate point, but he’s misapplying it. The problem is that “shining a light on the roaches” is in constant tension with “moving the Overton window” (which is a fancier way of saying “normalizing Topic X in the discourse”); both are valid arguments, but they apply to different kinds of things. Creationism is the sort of thing that should be denied a platform. Active fascism needs to be dragged into the light and stomped on. The problem with the mass media right now is that it’s doing the dragging but not the stomping. That’s what “normalizes” fascism in the discourse, not the mere exposure of it. Around here, Mike does the dragging and then we all do the stomping. 🙂

  39. Which, in the current political climate, means he’s also a conservative-variety “REAL Americans” fantasy, which in turn is all mixed up with white-power fantasy.

    Saying CONAN fits into the fantasies of a particular modern sort of racist does not make the stories white-power fantasy. It means that those who like to indulge in white-power fantasy and you-can-fight-city-hall fantasy have a substantial overlap, but that’s not the same thing.

    Among other things, Conan’s an immigrant. He’d be an illegal immigrant except there don’t seem to be any immigration laws in the the Hyborean Age. You show up, you kill a big snake, you escape the law, you’re in.

    (City people can fight City Hall too, but they do it differently.)

    Country folk don’t fight city hall the way Conan did either. One hopes.

  40. To oppose your enemy’s motions, to see them driven before committees, and to hear the lamentations of their councilmen.

  41. I don’t think linking to MGC will lead to fascism. Boredom, annoyance with bad grammar and lack of research, and amazement at how much cognitive dissonance people can support, sure — but not fascism.

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