Pixel Scroll 4/19/17 I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Pixel Scroller

(1) VALENTINELLI CONSIDERS ANTIHARASSMENT PROJECTS. Monica Valentinelli has issued a “Tentative Plan for Con Safety Discussion and Call for Feedback”.

…I want to stress, however, that I am no expert on the subject of con safety. There are several people (4) who are already doing the work to make cons/events safer, and I feel that any forthcoming materials needs to emphasis those efforts and individuals. As I mentioned in the previous post, the discussion about con safety is far bigger than what happened at one con, and there can definitely be more than one solution (5) and multiple books.

What I Can Offer

Besides offering support, words of encouragement, or signal boosting where I can (6), I’ve had a few volunteers saying they’d be willing to help put together a book (7) on con safety. Doing so is complex, because a) it collates invaluable knowledge from existing volunteers b) people need to be paid fairly for their time c) it needs to be inclusive to address “what’s missing” from underrepresented groups d) it requires a publisher and ample distribution and e) possibly a Kickstarter….

(2) NERD CON SAYS GOODBYE. Nerd Con, an Escondido, CA event, sent its fans into mourning when they announced on March 31 that the con is kaput.

Nerd Con Announcement:

These past years have been so much fun and we’ve had such a blast meeting so many awesome people. Its been really exiting bringing people together through our events (Nerd Con, Nerdy New Year) and creating memories that will surely last a lifetime.

We would like to thank the multitude of really great people who spent countless hours of time and dedicated their energy into making Nerd Con and Nerdy New Year special events for everyone.

At this time we no longer have the necessary resources to continue producing these events. We realize that this may come as a shock to many of you and we would like to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding….

It may have been a touch overdramatic to say “These past years have been so much fun…” The con’s only been around for two years — the first was in 2015.

But that’s been long enough to energize a few critics. Some wag put up a webpage with the message “Nerd-Con 2017 in Escondido IS CANCELLED for non-payment for services” and filled it with complaints about his experiences at last year’s con.

(3) BACK TO KRYPTON. Might as well start covering this now, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about the series as time goes on — “Syfy’s Krypton: In Leaked Pilot Trailer, Grandpa Has a Message for Superman”.

The story of your family isn’t how we died, but how we lived.”

That’s the message being left by Kal-El’s grandfather in a leaked (and since-deleted, sorry!) trailer for Syfy’s upcoming Superman prequel pilot, Krypton.

Penned by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a Time), Krypton is set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet and follows the future Man of Steel’s forefather — Seg-El (played by The Halcyon‘s Cameron Cuffe), whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos.

The cast also includes Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch) as Lyta Zod, a military cadet and Seg-El’s romantic interest; Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones) as Seg-El’s own grandpa, a genius fascinated by space exploration; Rasmus Hardiker (Black Mirror) as Seg-El’s best friend; Elliot Cowen (Da Vinci’s Demons) as chief magistrate Daron Vex; and Wallis Day (The Royals) as Daron’s daughter Nyssa.

(4) MAJOR BLABBAGE. DenofGeek brings “Doctor Who: huge Christmas special rumors” – coverage that comes with a big fat warning sign —

Huge rumours could become huge spoilers, so only read this article about the Doctor Who Christmas special if you’re okay with that…

The Mirror is reporting that David Bradley will portray William Hartnell’s first Doctor in the 2017 Christmas special, (sort of) reprising his role from the 2013 making-of drama, An Adventure In Space And Time.

“In the plot, the 1st Doctor has to help the 12th [Peter Capaldi] play out his last mission in the TARDIS. The pair must work together to save [their] home planet Gallifrey by moving it to another dimension”, The Mirror claims.

The tabloid’s report continues: “Fans will discover the close-up shot of Capaldi’s eyes from the 50th [anniversary] special The Day Of The Doctor, was actually the start of his own regeneration.”

(5) VERSATILE AUTHOR LAUNCHES PATREON. Since we last heard from Malcolm Cross (“Malcolm Cross, MilSF, and Piracy”), the author of Dog Country, Dangerous Jade, and Extinction Biome:  Invasion, Dog Country has been nominated for the Ursa Major and Coyotl Awards, which are the equivalent of a Hugo and Nebula for furry writers.  Cross has started a Patreon to reignite his career.

(6) HAPPY NEW YEAR! Standback’s Short Story Squee & Snark online short story club is starting on stories from 2017.

With a whole Internet constantly supplying us with excellent short fiction, SSS&S is devoted to reading short stories often, and widely. Every week we read a story – hopping between magazines, authors, styles and subgenres. Then, we meet up back here and discuss – love it or loathe it, being able to talk stories over is often half the fun!

We’re kicking off discussing Sarah Pinsker’s “And Then There Were (N-One)” – the story of SarahCon, the exciting new convention for Sarah Pinskers from across the multiverse.

And, entering a new year of short fiction, we’re very eager for story recommendations – tell us what stories from 2017 you’d love to see discussed, because we’d love to discuss ’em!

(7) 70TH EASTERCON. Last weekend the bid for Ytterbium was chosen to host the 2019 British Eastercon over the Easter weekend, April 19-22 at the Park Inn, Heathrow.

The Guests of Honour will be Frances Hardinge, Sydney Padua, John Scalzi, and DC.

Follow them here on Facebook.

And if someone is willing to alleviate my ignorance of who DC is, please do!

(8) KAYMAR. Congratulations to long-time fan John Thiel on winning the N3F’s Kaymar Award for 2017.

The Kaymar Award is given in April every year, supposedly because the [National Fantasy Fan Federation] was organized in the month of April. The award, unlike other awards in fandom, can only be awarded once to a single person. It is not given for talent or for popularity, but for work — work for the benefit of the club and its members. The award is a memorial to K. Martin Carlson [1904-1986], who originated, maintained, and financed it for 25 years. Carlson was a long-time N3F member who held many positions in the club, including club historian. He went by the fan name of Kaymar

(9) LOST LOSS LEADER. For a mere $29,000 you can own a Lost In Space B-9 Robot 3rd Season Ultimate Prop Replica. (Though wouldn’t you think you could get the original for that much money?)

This B9 Robot was given the privilege to appear at the “50th Anniversary of Lost in Space” at the Hollywood show in Los Angeles. It also held a private exclusive photo shoot with the cast along with their signatures. Photo’s and video will be made available as part of this sale.

3rd season version (paint & finish as seen in the final season)

Functioning Components:

– Lots of Sound FX and Dialogue from the series!
– This Robot has a 6 channel remote control that works 5 motors.
– The Robot will come to life at your control and you can impress family and friends.
– It has dual arm & claw extensions that will open and close, move forward and back.
– The Robot has a rotating torso, entire functions may be used at same time to bring the Robot to life.

(10) TANGLED UP IN BLUE. Some say they were creeped out by the commercial for ”Pandora: The World of Avatar”, which opens May 27 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

To others, Avatar feels like a distant memory now, but according to Polygon

It may seem strange for an Avatar-themed park to be opening in 2017, but the Avatar franchise is far from over. Last April, Fox confirmed Cameron would direct Avatar 2, Avatar 3, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 over the course of the next six years, with the final movie expected to be released around Christmas 2023. Avatar 2, the sequel to Cameron’s box office-breaking 2009 film, will be released around Christmas 2018.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

The object in the water was not a form of marine life. It was a toy submarine outfitted with a sea-serpent head. This was revealed in 1994 when Christian Spurling, before his death at the age of 90, confessed to his involvement in a plot to create the famous Surgeon’s Photo, a plot that involved both Marmaduke Wetherell and Colonel Wilson.

  • April 19, 1987 — The first television appearance of The Simpsons — Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie — aired during the third episode of The Tracey Ullman Show.

(12) RESONANCE IMAGERY. Justira at Lady Business undertakes a deep. politically-based critique of two works in “Flawed Protagonists, Reader Discomfort, and the Semiotics of the Self: ‘Borderline’ & ‘White Tears’”.

…So let’s return to Millie before we move on to Seth and White Tears. One of Millie’s defining traits as a protagonist, when it comes to my reading experience, is that she made me uncomfortable, brought me discomfort. Sometimes this was the simple discomfort of a protagonist doing an obviously bad thing. That’s relatively was easy to deal with. But sometimes it was the book making a point. Let’s take Millie’s self-consciousness about her racism — that made me uncomfortable, too. Millie will form some negative impression of a character and then wonder, it’s not because he’s a POC, is it? Or, conversely, Millie will desire a POC in a pretty… shall we say, colour-coded way. This, she was less self-conscious about, but juxtaposed with the flip side of her racism, it seemed obvious to me. To me, Millie’s experience of this in her own head — am I thinking this because of X-ism? — ran perfectly parallel to my experience as a reader in regards to Millie: am I finding her unlikable in this moment because I’m ableist? This book uses reader discomfort as a tool to achieve a sociopolitical goal, to achieve a certain kind of consciousness, self-consciousness….

(13) SUBMISSION. Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s analysis and opinion, in “Drupal Developer Larry Garfield Ostracized Over Involvement in Sci-Fi Based Kink Community” on Reason’s “Hit and Run” blog, turns out to be about the consequences to an industry leader of being part of a community of “Goreans,” who are devotees of the novels of John Norman. (Amazing to find Gor novels in the news 40 years later.) A lot of the arguments about the interplay of personal rights and membership in communities are familiar from comments on various topics here.

Inc points out that “the deeper question about how much tolerance should be afforded to controversial views is one that has popped up multiple times in open-source communities” in recent years, from Brendan Eich’s removal as CEO of Mozilla over his opinion on same-sex marriage to the drama surrounding LambdaConf’s inclusion of programmer Curtis Yarvin (who runs a neoreactionary blog in his non-professional life).

Buytaert was at first quite explicit on his answer to this question. In a section of his blog post that’s now been deleted, the Drupal head opined that “someone’s belief system inherently influences their actions, in both explicit and subtle ways,” and wrote that he is “unwilling to take this risk going forward” with regard to Garfield’s potential beliefs about sex and gender potentially spilling over into his professional life. And here’s the real rub of it:

Larry’s continued representation of the Drupal project could harm the reputation of the project and cause harm to the Drupal ecosystem. Any further participation in a leadership role implies our community is complicit with and/or endorses these views, which we do not.

Whether Buytaert himself believes that Garfield is a sexist pervert is irrelevant—he’s clearly worried that other people will perceive Garfield as a sexist pervert, and afraid that this will create bad public-relations for Drupal. Rather than practice what he preaches about tolerance, respect, and creating “a culture of open-mindedness toward difference,” Buytaert offered up Garfield for social-justice sacrifice in order to appease prudes and busybodies. Here’s hoping the tech community continues to reject this sort of phony promise of diversity and attempts at inclusiveness through exclusion.

(14) FIRST NATIONS. Take Us to Your Chief and Other Stories: Classic Science Fiction with a Contemporary First Nations Outlook, edited by Drew Hayden Taylor, was released April 11.

A forgotten Haudenosaunee social song beams into the cosmos like a homing beacon for interstellar visitors. A computer learns to feel sadness and grief from the history of atrocities committed against First Nations. A young Native man discovers the secret to time travel in ancient petroglyphs.

Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective.

The nine stories in this collection span all traditional topics of science fiction–from peaceful aliens to hostile invaders; from space travel to time travel; from government conspiracies to connections across generations. Yet Taylor’s First Nations perspective draws fresh parallels, likening the cultural implications of alien contact to those of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, or highlighting the impossibility of remaining a “good Native” in such an unnatural situation as a space mission.

Infused with Native stories and variously mysterious, magical and humorous, Take Us to Your Chief is the perfect mesh of nostalgically 1950s-esque science fiction with modern First Nations discourse.

(15) SENSE OF WONDER. John Joseph Adams’ Cosmic Powers anthology was released April 18 – cover by Chris Foss.

“Inspired by movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, this anthology features brand-new epic stories from some of science fiction’s best authors.  For fans who want a little less science and a lot more action.”

Table of Contents

A Temporary Embarrassment in Spacetime  —  Charlie Jane Anders
Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance  —  Tobias S. Buckell
The Deckhand, the Nova Blade, and the Thrice-Sung Texts  —  Becky Chambers
The Sighted Watchmaker  —  Vylar Kaftan
Infinite Love Engine  —  Joseph Allen Hill
Unfamiliar Gods  —  Adam-Troy Castro, with Judi B. Castro
Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World  —  Caroline M. Yoachim
Our Specialty is Xenogeology  —  Alan Dean Foster
Golden Ring  —  Karl Schroeder
Tomorrow When We See the Sun  —  A. Merc Rustad
Bring the Kids and Revisit the Past at the Traveling Retro Funfair  !—  Seanan McGuire
The Dragon that Flew Out of the Sun  —  Aliette De Bodard
Diamond and the World Breaker  —  Linda Nagata
The Chameleon’s Gloves  —  Yoon Ha Lee
The Universe, Sung in Stars  —  Kat Howard
Wakening Ouroboros  —  Jack Campbell
Warped Passages  —  Kameron Hurley
The Frost Giant’s Data  —  Dan Abnett

(16) VERNE DISCOVERY. Mysterious Universe says a Jules Verne time capsule has been found after researchers analyzed hints about its location on his tomb.

So far, the box has only been examined with X-rays and, unfortunately, it and the materials inside show deterioration from being buried since the late 1800s – Verne died on March 24, 1905. According to Paris Descartes University Field Archaeologist Elouan Beauséjour, the papers appear damp and crumbling and the engravings on the inside of the box are nearly illegible. Other things that can be identified include books and metal objects. Beauséjour says the examination has moved to a more detailed phase that may involve opening the box in a sterile and preservative environment. He plans to issue a statement as this progresses.

(17) CAPITAL INFUSION. Not quite another The Leaky Establishment reference, but some unexpected people are getting into nuclear power: “British reality star building a fusion reactor”.

Although it would be easy to dismiss Dinan as a dreamer, his startup Applied Fusion Systems is one of a growing number of firms investing in the promise of fusion. In the UK alone, there are at least two other companies trying to produce commercial nuclear fusion power stations. And as BBC Future reported last year, in the US, several projects have received the backing of wealthy technology billionaires including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel and former Google vice president Mike Cassidy.

(18) COOL BEANS. And a lab demo of “negative mass”.

Prof Peter Engels, from Washington State University (WSU), and colleagues cooled rubidium atoms to just above the temperature of absolute zero (close to -273C), creating what’s known as a Bose-Einstein condensate.

In this state, particles move extremely slowly, and following behaviour predicted by quantum mechanics, acting like waves.

They also synchronise and move together in what’s known as a superfluid, which flows without losing energy.

To create the conditions for negative mass, the researchers used lasers to trap the rubidium atoms and to kick them back and forth, changing the way they spin.

When the atoms were released from the laser trap, they expanded, with some displaying negative mass.

“With negative mass, if you push something, it accelerates toward you,” said co-author Michael Forbes, assistant professor of physics at WSU.

He added: “It looks like the rubidium hits an invisible wall.”

(19) SHIRLEY YOU JEST. When John Hertz cast his eye on the new Shirley Jackson bio Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (a Stoker nominee) this is what he discovered –

I turned to the index and found no entry for “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts”. Various other works of hers were listed.

I haven’t read the book so can’t say if the story is included in the text and merely omitted from the index, or left out entirely.

Opinions differ as to whether it’s a horror story. I don’t think it is, but I do think it wonderful.

(20) FIRST PAST THE POST. Camestros Felapton rates “Hugo 2017: Best Dramatic Presentation Short”. Did that nominee we have already read Camestros raving about come in number one on his ballot? Well, yes!

(21) FURTHER DELIBERATIONS. More reviews from the Shadow Clarke jury – the hardest-working critics on the planet! Superb writers, too.

Empire V is about vampires, which is probably guaranteed to turn away many readers who could happily go the rest of their lives without seeing another vampire. The figure of the vampire has by this point been made to stand in for so many disparate things—the sexual predator, the romantic outsider, the lonely immortal, the feral beast, whatever—that the image feels quite emptied of meaning in itself. Merely knowing that there are vampires in a story no longer tells us anything useful about it. At best, one might make two safe guesses: one, that the story is not going to be about vampirism as such; two, that the vampires will be in some way a fringe element to society.

The first three books on my Sharke shortlist were an unabashed joy to me. Valente, Tidhar and Jemisin all delivered to my personal tastes in terms of prose, character and moral tone. I picked those books because I thought they would push my buttons and they did. I felt minimal friction while reading them or writing about them. Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee was and is a different animal altogether; a book that I found challenging, elusive, tantalising and frustratingly obtuse by turns. This is unsurprising. I’m a historian and a medievalist by training, so military SF predicated on advanced mathematics is always going to test my limits. After 30 pages of immersion in Lee’s world I found myself entirely at a loss for what the hell was going on. My paradigmatic understanding of how things work smacked into the world of the novel at high speed. Stuff exploded, characters were killed, geocide was committed and I was left feebly grasping at threads as they whipped past me. I might have given up on the book in discombobulated despair if not for the muscular grip of the writing:

Hunters & Collectors is a book about celebrity and the way that online celebrity interacts with social class. Tomahawk presents himself as this hedonistic and transgressive figure but as his destruction suggests, his ability to transgress the rules of polite society is constrained by a particular social contract: As a critic, he can express himself as honestly as he wants as long as that self-expression does not extend beyond the realms of consumer advice to a critique of existing power structures and social systems. Be as rude as you like about restaurant owners, but don’t you dare talk about the government. The social contract also has an – unwritten but understood – rule that your celebrity and popularity are entirely dependent upon your ability to face the right direction at all times. Be as rude as you like about the out-group, but don’t you dare talk about people we aspire to be lest we turn against you. There is also an understanding that making any statement in public (even anonymously) positions you in a world where everyone spends their time tearing each other to pieces. Face the wrong direction and your support will evaporate and once your support evaporates, you can be utterly destroyed even if you have not done or said anything wrong. This is a dog-eat-dog world but only for those without any real power.

What I know as the Ashmolean Museum is, in Kavenna’s Oxford, the Tradescantian Ark, reflecting the fact that the collection Elias Ashmole gave to Oxford University was in part composed of John Tradescant the Younger’s collection of artefacts, known as the Ark, which he gave to Ashmole (or, depending on who you listen to, which Ashmole swindled him out of). So, perhaps we are in an Oxford which is less a ‘home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties’, as Matthew Arnold memorably described it, and instead a place where potential wrongs have been righted even before they were committed, and Jeremiah Tradescant’s ownership of his family’s remarkable collection is justly celebrated. Perhaps, but rather as light is both particle and wave, so wrongs can be righted even as the lost causes and forsaken beliefs persist.

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

123 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/19/17 I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Pixel Scroller

  1. I see parts where they discuss when their children should be introduced into the gorean lifestyle, at what age it should happen and how.

    I think that’s a mischaracterization. There was a lot of talk about not exposing children to inappropriate adult aspects of that kink lifestyle.

    If a parent is living a master/slave relationship with a partner, children will see the model of a dominant male and submissive female in everyday situations. They talked about exposure to that, and at what age a child could get the talk about why his or her parents are acting that way.

    There are religions that heavily push the idea a wife is subservient to a husband. Their children will be taught this at an early age and nobody drums the parents out of organizations.

  2. Never quite got around to reading Gor, which, under the circumstances, doesn’t seem like too bad a thing.

    I do still enjoy revisiting Barsoom from time to time, though.

  3. In a 2001 letter to Locus expressing his outrage at being denied a chance to be in programming at that year’s Worldcon, John Norman declared himself the biggest author in the field:

    … the grounds for my exclusion could not plausibly be professional. Had I not sold enough millions of books? For example, I have had several million books published in the genre of science fiction, have a worldwide fandom, am available in several languages, and have had two movies made which were putatively based on my work. I think there are very few, if any, authors, much as we love them all, who had objectively made more of a contribution to the genre in the past 50 years.

  4. Rcade:

    “There are religions that heavily push the idea a wife is subservient to a husband. Their children will be taught this at an early age and nobody drums the parents out of organizations.”

    First, submission on a gorean level is a lot more than in your ordinary religion. Second, in Sweden, persons with that attitude, regardless of reason, would meet with a massive backlash and absolutely be cancelled as speaker or thrown off boards.

  5. @Hampus:

    I’m surprised you’ve come so far away from the position you originally expressed in this discussion, which strongly objected to Garfield being outed and called his Drupal ouster “discrimination against sexual minorities.”

    Now you’re seemingly OK with a person being thrown off a board over the ideas embodied in his private consensual relationship.

    I don’t want to be sharply critical because I just might not be understanding you. But as a regular Dan Savage reader I try to be respectful of the wide variety of ways in which consenting people seek their jollies.

  6. Hampus Eckerman said: “Here is the thing. Is it based in male supremacist ideology or is it based on taboo-play while roleplaying a male supremacist ideology? I have female friends who were into gorean play. It is not big in Sweden, so they did it using chat servers with americans. And believe me, these people who were into gorean play were NOT supporters of male supremacism. Anyone who tried that outside the play would have their heads bitten off.”

    The problem is, though, what differentiates “Gorean slavery” from any other consensual BDSM relationship is that Goreans explicitly believe that a woman in a Gorean relationship should, ideally, not be allowed to set boundaries for ‘outside the play’. A perfect Gorean relationship is one where the woman abrogates, for life, the ability to safeword or set boundaries to the D/s portion of the relationship.

    Now, 99% of Goreans aren’t able to ever get to that point, because it’s real life and an agreement like that isn’t binding if the woman changes her mind, but the whole point of Gorean slavery is that it is not simply taboo-play, it is a lifelong commitment. And while I’m certainly not going to tell two people they can’t get involved in D/s play or even ground their relationship in it, I’m never going to get behind the idea that a woman can’t change her mind and nopetopus out of the D/s stuff if she isn’t getting her needs met, and that’s explicitly what Gorean slavery is about. That’s its thing, as I am given to understand it. That’s what makes it Gorean slavery, and not just long-term submission.

    None of which is my main problem with the article, which is that somehow it’s exclusively “liberals” who have a problem with people who get outed as kinky and conservatives would be totally fine with this. But it should be noted nonetheless.

  7. The problem is, though, what differentiates “Gorean slavery” from any other consensual BDSM relationship is that Goreans explicitly believe that a woman in a Gorean relationship should, ideally, not be allowed to set boundaries for ‘outside the play’.

    That doesn’t appear to be Garfield’s view. He stated on his blog that “such relationships must always be based on informed, active consent” and made this observation: “If anything, the D/s and Gorean community in general places a heavy emphasis on explicit, active, informed consent and constant communication precisely to help avoid abusive situations.”

  8. ULTRAGOTHA: Mike and I REALLY like it! Or we both have short memories. Or both of these might be true.

    Both of those are true, and a third thing that’s true is when I ran a search for “I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Pixel Scroller” it (obviously) didn’t return any instances of “I Am The Very Pixel Of A Modern Scrolling General.”

    My response to some really good suggestions is “That’s so good, how have we not used it already?” Sometimes we haven’t (that occurred within the past week) or sometimes we used a sound-alike, which is harder to catch, though hardly tragic if one slips by because those titles are, after all, some of the most clever.

  9. John Seavey:

    “The problem is, though, what differentiates “Gorean slavery” from any other consensual BDSM relationship is that Goreans explicitly believe that a woman in a Gorean relationship should, ideally, not be allowed to set boundaries for ‘outside the play’.”

    That exists in ordinary consensual BDSM too. It is called TPE, Total Power Exchange. And not all goreans are into TPE. Larry Garfield seems not to have been.

    Oh, for fun I checked out how many goreans there are in Sweden. There is one group for it on out main discussion board. It had 14 members, a total of six comments and the last one was written three years ago. 🙂

  10. There are religions that heavily push the idea a wife is subservient to a husband.

    For Christians this is a misreading of scripture. The Bible says a woman should obey her husband. This passage is immediately followed by a husband should love his wife as Christ loved his Church. Since Christ accepted torture and a horrifying death for mankind, that is a sobering example for husbands to follow.

    Nobody mentioned this in regards to Christianity here. But a handful of very fundamentalist/ignorant sects stress the former and not the latter. My Priest gave a very powerful sermon on this passage from scripture a while back.

  11. I still remember a comment from Lorna Toolis, the librarian at the Judith Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy here in Toronto, where she said that one of the most annoying things about running an SF research collection was not only being pretty much required to have the Gor books on hand for research purposes, but also having to occasionally re-order Gor books because somebody had walked off with them.

  12. Regarding kink, consent, TPE, and outside intervention…

    In general, I’m in favor of people getting their kink on however they please, so long as all involved consent to it. I know that several kinks look from the outside like things that nobody “in their right mind” would agree to, but I also know that some people do freely consent to them.

    The big question for me is that there are some real-life factors that can cause false “consent.” Some are easy to spot, but humans have all kinds of levers that can be pulled to generate the appearance of consent, even to something they’d rather not do – and sometimes we don’t even realize it, on either end of the lever. I had a rough time in a past relationship when I couldn’t tell whether my girlfriend was doing some things because she genuinely wanted to, or because she was insecure and thought she might lose me if she didn’t. (For the record, no, she didn’t and she wouldn’t have. But we had a talk about it.) We’ve all seen people in abusive relationships make excuses for their partners’ behavior, and for all kinds of reasons.

    So my concern boils down to telling the difference between a fully consenting submissive, a dubiously consenting partner, or a victim. All three have reasons to say they’re fine – even happy – with what’s going on, and to be persuasive about it. All three could show up one day with bruises or marks that they don’t want to discuss. Most importantly, the same person who consented last week may not have consented last night, or may be having second thoughts about it in the light of day. Relationships do change, after all.

    All of which is to say that strangers are generally the least well-equipped people to determine whether a relationship is abusive or not. The best practice I know of is for friends to make themselves available – without passing judgment, YKINMKBYKIOK – so that if the relationship is or becomes abusive, the victim has a way out. In addition, if such friends find themselves getting “frozen out” of interactions, that could be a bad sign; cutting off support structures is a classic abuser’s move.

    tl;dr – Looks can be deceiving in more ways than one, and people do things for reasons others may find utterly alien. This makes life difficult.

  13. Tom Galloway: It was changed from the pre-Crisis Jor-El I (making Superman’s father Jor-El II) to honor Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel.

    I didn’t know that before. It’s an inspired idea.

  14. Jenora Feuer: …but also having to occasionally re-order Gor books because somebody had walked off with them.

    When I was in high school the local library had an sf discussion group. A librarian mentioned to us that the most frequently stolen book was Mein Kampf. Later, out of her hearing, one of the group’s members said that’s how he’d acquired his copy….

  15. Rev. Bob:’

    You have good points, but they aren’t really locked to BDSM or kinks. They should be for everyone. Do we investigate all other people at boards or panels to see how their relationships with their partners are? I’d say not.

    But I agree otherwise, being available is the shit.

  16. (13) RE: the quote from Buytaert saying, “someone’s belief system inherently influences their actions, in both explicit and subtle ways,”

    I read that as saying that someone who participates in performing (however fictionally) a belief that women should be subservient to men is likely to have the effects of that performance spill over into their everyday interactions with people, perhaps in ways they aren’t aware of.

    Given the amount of ingrained sexism, both “explicit and subtle” that is demonstrated to exist in the field of open-source software, it sounded more like Buytaert was concerned about the potential for damage to the Drupal community from both the reality and perception that someone who performs Gorean life philosophy will also perform sexism and misogyny in professional life. It doesn’t even require malice or intent. Lots of people behave in sexist and misogynistic ways without believing themselves to have malice or intent to do so.

  17. @Hampus: “You have good points, but they aren’t really locked to BDSM or kinks.”

    Not exclusively, but I think we can both agree that it’s frighteningly easy to mistake BDSM in general and D/s in particular for abuse, in a way that just doesn’t happen with other kinks. Take another look at my first paragraph in that light; someone sporting a bruise from D/s play is indistinguishable by sight from that same person sporting that same bruise as a result of abuse. There are plenty of kinks that simply don’t lend themselves to that sort of misinterpretation.

  18. “It doesn’t even require malice or intent. Lots of people behave in sexist and misogynistic ways without believing themselves to have malice or intent to do so.”

    And this is of course true also for everyone that does not participate in gorean activities or in BDSM. Perhaps we should judge everyone for what they might do instead of what we have seen them do?

  19. Rev. Bob:

    “Not exclusively, but I think we can both agree that it’s frighteningly easy to mistake BDSM in general and D/s in particular for abuse, in a way that just doesn’t happen with other kinks.”

    During sessions, yes. Outside of sessions, not really. I had a cousin that was constantly beaten during one of her relationships. We had absolutely no idea that this was happening, she brought her partner with her to several gatherings and we laughed and had fun together. Not until he had started to attack the kids and she left did we understand what had taken place.

    So I think vanilla relationships have the same problems, only that they take different forms.

  20. I read the some of the Gor books when I was in high school. I don’t really remember which I read because it was dependent on what the library had available. I remember the thing that first annoyed me was that some of the characters in the book knew about the book series. (Their sudden realization that it wasn’t fiction!) That and something about the gods turning out to be giant, intelligent bugs.

    I don’t really remember the whole bondage theme until maybe Slave Girl of Gor which is the 11th book in the series. Probably the last one that I tried to read. Then again I was pretty good at missing things while reading when I was in high school.

  21. I read the first Gor-book and mostly remember it as bad Barsoom-copy. So I skipped out on the rest. Oh, and I saw the movie first.

    Thankfully I don´t remember anything from neither the book nor the movie.

  22. rcade: I can’t speak for Hampus, but for me the fragment of the conversations linked that put it past discrimination against kink and right into creepy grooming were comments like the cheerful suggestion that the children would look for men in the model of their father, and that this is okay. And things of that sort.

    I have no problem with BDSM (I have some experience with the community.) I have a lot of problem with teaching children by example that this level of permanent immersion is a universal and not a rare personal choice. Because if that child doesn’t naturally have a genuine Gorean level kink *and* a clear eye towards discerning a Dom from an abuser? Then they are being groomed for abusive, painful, and unfulfilling relationships to a degree even religious extremists (who ALSO creep me out with what they teach their kids) rarely achieve.

  23. John A. Arkansawyer: Their example is terrible, since United seems to be at the bottom of over half of the airline misconduct stories I have ever heard, long before this. (The most pointed comparison: Air Canada, which I have actually flown, where I have not knowingly flown United, and which is much more on my radar as it has been exceptionally awful to my own mother in law, only gets about a third of the horror stories.) Which puts this into the realm of “ongoing behaviour”.

    The general concept of the article also strikes me as effectively similar to that which was roundly mocked when the puppies said “We’re boycotting Tor! Well, except authors X, Y and Z.”

  24. @Hampus: “I had a cousin that was constantly beaten during one of her relationships. We had absolutely no idea that this was happening, she brought her partner with her to several gatherings and we laughed and had fun together. Not until he had started to attack the kids and she left did we understand what had taken place.”

    We’re talking about the same coin, but looking at opposite sides. Your example is one where abuse is successfully hidden and the relationship is mistaken for consensual; mine is one where consensual activity is mistaken for abuse.

    In both cases, the “coin” is the problem of misinterpretation by concerned outsiders, aggravated by a lack of communication and/or knowledge. By its nature, BDSM play lends itself to misinterpretation as abusive in a way that, say, pegging and crossdressing do not. We are conditioned to think of causing pain as bad.

    Just as I would never pretend that abuse doesn’t happen in vanilla relationships – my aunt was a battered wife – I ask you not to pretend that BDSM sessions never ever leave bruises that can be seen and mistaken for physical abuse.

  25. Rev. Bob:

    Ah, ok, then I misunderstood your point. I fully agree with you. I know several occasions where people I know have been subject of misunderstandings. The police that were called out when people thought a kidnapping was going on. A mother that got suspicious when her daughter listened and cared too much about what her new boyfriend said. A massageist who saw a blue and back rump. And so on.

    And every time they start to ask questions, not just choosing to remain silent, I get happy. Because it means that society is working, that people are caring. Sometimes at parties I react to something and want to step in to save someone – until I remember that I myself like being subject to exactly the same thing. And that also makes me happy, because it means I haven’t become too comfortable with what we are doing.

  26. Rev Bob:

    All of which is to say that strangers are generally the least well-equipped people to determine whether a relationship is abusive or not.

    But on the other hand, you yourself make a persuasive argument for people INSIDE a relationship not being able to judge whether it’s abusive or not. I know of at least two examples, three counting one involving myself which I cannot be sure about, where people saw themselves as abused when they weren’t, and did not see abuse where there was, and in spades. Only one of these examples, btw, involved D/s. In that case, I think the D/s masked the abuse, rather than precipitated it or constituted.

    (As one of my friends said, sometimes abuse is when they don’t beat you.)

  27. And every time they start to ask questions, not just choosing to remain silent, I get happy. Because it means that society is working, that people are caring. Sometimes at parties I react to something and want to step in to save someone – until I remember that I myself like being subject to exactly the same thing. And that also makes me happy, because it means I haven’t become too comfortable with what we are doing.

    This. Of course it helps to be in a country where checking if things are ok does not end with a trigger happy guardian of public order making sure than things are not. I.e. it’s easier in Sweden than the US.

  28. ” Of course it helps to be in a country where checking if things are ok does not end with a trigger happy guardian of public order making sure than things are not. ”

    Speaking as someone who has had to more than once weigh whether it is worth calling the police over the PoC arguing in the parking lot in front of my apartment, I concur completely.

    (Oakland resident.)

  29. That transcript was definitely into the creepy grooming (“keeping an eye on” a 15 year old girl, hoping she’ll be slave material?) and expecting the kids to have the exact same kink preferences. That’s wrong no matter what your philosophy of life or sex is. Oh, and note that a married woman with teenage children is called “girl”.

    I have friends who are into BDSM or poly or open or whatever, and their kids are fine. Because the grownups don’t push that lifestyle on the kids. Some of them naturally grow up to have an “alternate” style and some of them grow up to have vanilla monogamy.

    This guy, though, doesn’t seem to have any boundaries. Slave is slave all of the time, and there aren’t any “sessions”. Mom can’t do anything without Master’s permission. It’s just as creepy as the fundies, only based on worse-written books with no alternate reading or redeeming social value (I mean, that Jesus guy? Really, really cool even if not the Son of God).

    @Heather: that’s how I read it too. In a society that’s male-dominated, and in a field that’s explicitly and subtly sexist, the company doesn’t need a man who spends his entire life as “Man Rules, Girl Is Slave”. I don’t know if you can just turn it off when it runs that deep. Plus, the grooming. Nobody likes grooming of children.

    If he was fired for run of the mill BDSM, that’d be bad — but in this case I agree.

    ———————————————————–

    Heh. I remember that high dudgeon John Norman complaint. How we all laughed and laughed. If he’d had a chance at being invited before, that killed it forever. He was like the perv version of JCW.

  30. @Anna: “But on the other hand, you yourself make a persuasive argument for people INSIDE a relationship not being able to judge whether it’s abusive or not.”

    As I said at the end of the post, “This makes life difficult.” The D/s “masking” you mention is only one of the forms that difficulty can take.

    Stockholm Syndrome exists, subspace (the BDSM type, not the SF type) exists, and I’ve personally experienced (light) brainwashing on multiple occasions*. I’ve done things in the heat of passion that I never would have imagined doing before, and I’ve gone from “god, yes” to “hell, no” in the space of a few critical moments.

    Humans are weird and complicated; there is no simple answer. All we can do is stay alert, trust no one, and keep our lasers handy.

    No, wait. That’s Alpha Complex. 😉

    * Possibly the most valuable hour of my high school education was a session of an elective called “Christ and the Cults.” In general, the course amounted to “this is a minor religion, which some call a cult, and here’s where it disagrees with Christianity and is therefore WRONG.” (It was, after all, a private Christian school – which is why a year of religious classes was required.) Each “cult” got a week of study, but one week the teacher did something different: he turned the spotlight on Christianity itself. In this particular class, he drew parallels between what happened at Christian retreats and camps and what cults did to convert new people. Having been to several Christian summer camps by then, to the tune of about three weeks a year, I’d personally experienced a lot of the specific things he mentioned. It was a really eye-opening hour, and I haven’t looked at religion the same way since.

  31. @lurkertype: “Oh, and note that a married woman with teenage children is called “girl”. […] Slave is slave all of the time, and there aren’t any “sessions”. Mom can’t do anything without Master’s permission.”

    In other words, it’s specifically Gorean rather than generic BDSM. The “girl” thing is straight out of the novels, and the TPE/24-7 lifestyle – while not unique to Gorean relationships – has been described as one of their distinguishing features. If that’s what consenting adults are into, well, it ain’t my kink, but I won’t begrudge ’em theirs. Unless it affects their job(s), in which case, that’s stupid on their part.

    And now, to lighten the mood – take a moment and consider the potential for comic misunderstanding should some of the above paragraph be read aloud, out of context, by someone whose hard Gs sounded a lot like Ks. “Koreans do what?!

  32. lurkertype:

    ” Slave is slave all of the time, and there aren’t any “sessions”. Mom can’t do anything without Master’s permission.”

    Please, don’t go into kinkshaming. I have also lived in a 24/7 relationship where there were no real end to the sessions. Where the other person had the right to order me at any time. That doesn’t mean that it means that it happens, only that the dynamic is there. And of course they can and will do a lot without “Master’s permission”.

    And I see no problem with a woman being called girl if she likes it. One of my good friends is 20 years older than me and she still likes it when I call her girl.

  33. @Lenora Rose:

    Their example is terrible, since United seems to be at the bottom of over half of the airline misconduct stories I have ever heard, long before this.

    That’s a fair point. United has long been thought of as being lousy. I sure think of them like that, even though I’ve personally never had issues with them.

    The general concept of the article also strikes me as effectively similar to that which was roundly mocked when the puppies said “We’re boycotting Tor! Well, except authors X, Y and Z.”

    Here I disagree. Boycotting a business selectively by product is different from boycotting a business for a period of time or a number of purchases. The first is trying to have it both ways; the second is applying a limited sanction. I think that’s different both pragmatically and ethically.

  34. I don’t care and would actually rather not know about the sex lives of others. I don’t approve of the concept of firing anyone for something that they might do based on someone else’s sketchy ideas of what they believe. By Butyart’s stated standard, not only are fetishists out, but so are traditional Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Many of them have incredibly sexist ideas about the place of women.

    People are complicated and can behave one way at work and another in private. Let someone do wrong before being punished for thinking wrongly.

  35. … for me the fragment of the conversations linked that put it past discrimination against kink and right into creepy grooming were comments like the cheerful suggestion that the children would look for men in the model of their father, and that this is okay.

    I can’t speak for these people, but that just seemed like an acknowledgement of a reality inside or outside of kink: How parents treat each other forms a model that children learn from.

    I assume that some parents who are into Gorean kind of stuff are extremely vigilant about the kids not being exposed to prurient aspects of the lifestyle. But if they have a relationship where the man is the boss of the woman, that’s going to be something the kids pick up on. It might lead to a daughter looking for a relationship where she’s subservient or a son dominant. That’s the life they knew growing up.

  36. I don’t think religion is any get-out-of-21st-century-free card. If and when religion causes someone not to be able to deal with little things like women being people, yeah, I’m totally fine with them being less employable as a result. I wish to heck people would apply that standard to, say, Mike Pence.

  37. Nuts. This is part of an earlier conversation about character traits and how they relate to the story (“Why say someone is trans if it doesn’t affect the plot?”), so sorry if it’s out of date by now. Just wanted to add that in my blog of urban fantasy mysteries, The Jurgen Report, which everyone should read (flagrant self-promotion over now), one of my characters is a vegetarian, which has no impact on any storyline at all. It’s just part of who she is. I just wish I’d thought to make this comment earlier.

  38. (13) SUBMISSION
    I find the idea of a family with kids in it having a full-time Gorean lifestyle going on between the father and mother as awful as the concept of a family with kids in it having a full-time fundamentalist/orthodox lifestyle going on. Except with the religious folk it tends to be worse, as there is unfortunately no age of consent for inducting your children into that particular master/slave relationship. I grew up around a lot of the latter, and it’s suffocating and gross.

    Adults sexually grooming 15 year olds is utterly and completely not okay, though. I don’t know if that was the case, and I haven’t read through those archives (yet?), just saying, in general, just so people don’t think I equate the milder form of child abuse that is forcing them into a fundamentalist religion with preying sexually on teenagers.

    (6) HAPPY NEW YEAR! Standback’s Short Story Squee & Snark online short story club is starting on stories from 2017.

    This looks like a good time. The first story sounds very fun.

    Hugo reading update…

    I’ve finished the first in the Craft Sequence. Immensely enjoyable and very predictable in a lot of ways. Not an unfamiliar story to any genre reader (or television watcher), but an interesting world with some likable characters and an extremely unlikable bad guy. Sometimes that’s a good thing. I look forward to continuing on with it.

    But first… I started the Temeraire series. It is exactly what I expected. I figured it’d be a sort of Regency-ish* setting that on paper I would find unappealing or just sort of tough to get into, but that if I did pick it up there’d be something about it that I found compelling. Yep. I finished my previous book in bed, very tired, and loaded up the first of Kovik’s to start the next day and ended up reading the first 15 or 20 pages before I just had to go to sleep. Given the time I have to read and the hectic pace of this past week, I am tearing through it. So much fun. Wow.

    * I hope I’m not entirely wrong about the setting – I have a vague understanding of Regency that is greatly hindered by my vague understanding of History.

  39. rcade: I’m not seeing advocacy of grooming in that chat transcript, aside from the line where Crell (Garfield) talks about keeping an eye on a 15-year-old girl who might be interested in the books. I don’t know how old he was in 2003.

    They are using code words. When they talk about introducing children to “Gorean Philosophy” in that chat transcript, this is what they are talking about:
    totally NSFW Not Safe for Work, do not click
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorean_subculture

    Teenagers and adolescents are incredibly impressionable, frequently eager to please adults and to be seen as adults themselves, and not at all emotionally in a position to make the sort of reasoned judgments that adults may be able to make about dominant/submissive and slave roleplay and lifestyle.

    What these adults are doing is talking about grooming children who are not psychologically — or experientially — equipped to process such “philosophy” in a rational manner, to accept it as the natural order of human interaction.

    (In 2003, when the “girl” with whom he was having a relationship was 19, he was 43.)

  40. FWIW, and continuing the current topic, I read the first three or four Gor books as an early teen and thought they were awesome as Barsoomian pastches. Lost track of them, and then in my 20s I learned that they’d gotten . . . weird. Still, Tarl Cabot was sort of a hero for a while.

  41. (In 2003, when the “girl” with whom he was having a relationship was 19, he was 43.)

    JJ: I thought Garfield said he was 23 in 2003?

  42. He graduated from college in 2002 and went straight into grad school. So basically he was a grad student dating an undergraduate, or someone of undergraduate age. Not in itself that weird.

  43. When they talk about introducing children to “Gorean Philosophy” in that chat transcript, this is what they are talking about …

    I understood they were into master/slave kink. There’s no code words necessary to interpret the chat. They were also into the Gor books in general.

    Garfield appears to have been discreet enough in his interests that it took 14 years for anyone to make an issue out of a 2003 chat transcript.

    If someone targeted a leading SF/F author or fan and joined a private kink site for the purpose of sharing that person’s messages with the world, I think we’d have big concerns about it. That’s what happened here.

  44. Info I found says he’s 57 now.

    I don’t think that’s correct. He got his bachelor’s in 2002 and his master’s in 2005. His work history on LinkedIn begins in 2000.

  45. rcade: it’s a spectrum, is the problem. Any parent into kink might at some point have to explain that to their kids (if not about themselves, then in general). Anyone with a philosophy which declares men naturally superior and women naturally submissive is probably raising their kids to that. And we can all disapprove, but the very idea of free thought allows it.

    But there remains a point past which it is actively unhealthy and dangerous and very much in the mold of sexual grooming, and even the small fragment of one transcript of that chat that I read started ringing alarm bells for me. I can’t point to exact phrases because it was couched in language that isn’t much different from the norm, but there really was a sense that they want their daughters safely tied into the system.

    I know people who are regulars in the Winnipeg BDSM community I consider to be excellent parents. And one even brought her now-adult daughter once, so clearly at some point she explained the concept of kink. So this isn’t a knee-jerk “ew, the kinks are bad” reaction.

    (I am also a little bit poisoned by the way Jian Ghomeshi painted his firing from CBC as “Just because I live a BDSM lifestyle” before it came out that he was sexually harassing women, and was accused of both attempting to choke and of punching a woman he was dating without ascertaining her consent.)

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