Pixel Scroll 2/3/18 As God Is My Witness, I Thought Pixels Could Scroll!

(1) QUEEN OF PULP. Twitter’s Pulp Librarian today did a retrospective of illustrator Margaret Brundage, “the Queen of Pulp,” with lots of her Weird Tales covers from the 1930s. Jump on the thread here —

(2) ELLEN KLAGES DONATES CLARION WEST INSTRUCTORSHIP. Clarion West announced Karen Lord is the recipient of “The Sally Klages Memorial Instructorship 2018”.

The Sally Klages Memorial Instructorship will be awarded in 2018 in memory of Sally Klages, with love from her sister Ellen Klages….

Ellen Klages’ tribute begins —

Sally was a writer. I never heard her say that she wanted to be one; she simply proclaimed, proudly, that she was. She wrote every day in tiny, cramped cursive: working on her autobiography, lectures to her Invisible Friends, instructions about how life ought to be led.

Like many of us, she owned dozens of notebooks and countless pens, and was never without them. She once packed a gallon-sized Ziploc bag of pens and markers into her carry-on bag for a two-hour flight, “in case one runs out.” Writing was her joy, her recreation, her solace.

Sally was born with Down Syndrome. As far as she was concerned, that wasn’t a handicap — it was what made her special. And she was. She was Valedictorian of her class at Northeast Training Center, and an employee at Columbus State University for 17 years. She was one of the founding members of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO), she was on the board of the National Down Syndrome Conference, and was a featured speaker there in 1989. An active participant in the Special Olympics, she won more than three dozen medals in swimming, diving, track and field, bowling, and cross-country skiing….

[Via Locus Online.]

(3) PICACIO AT THE MIKE. In “Your 2018 Hugo Awards MC Is….” John Picacio tells why he is proud to be Worldcon 76’s choice.

Today, the 76th World Science Fiction Convention has announced me as the Master of Ceremonies for this year’s Hugo Awards in San Jose, CA, while also announcing that the Hugo Awards’ Nominations Period is now open! Having won two Hugos for Best Professional Artist, I know how much the Hugos mean to the sf/f field, and it’s a huge honor to serve this stage in front of my colleagues and heroes. Worldcon 76 asked me to be the 2018 Hugo MC last August so it’s been fun keeping that under wraps the last five months, even after being announced as this year’s Artist Guest of Honor.

There’s some history that comes along with this role.

  • I’m the first visual artist to ever be a Hugo Awards MC. I think this could perhaps be a harbinger of Hugo Ceremonies to come. Many of our best visual creators — such as Brom, Todd Lockwood, Ruth Sanderson, Gregory Manchess, and more — are becoming author / artist / storytellers, conjuring the words and pictures of their own bestselling books and media. Our next generation of illustrators are aspiring to tell their own stories, just as much as becoming hired guns. I suspect there will be more artists following through the Hugo MC door behind me, and they’ll likely come from this expanding universe of hybrid, contemporary artists.
  • I’m only the third Worldcon Guest of Honor to also serve as Hugo Awards MC at the same Worldcon. I believe Connie Willis and David Gerrold are the only others to do this in the con’s 76-year history. We must all be insane. ?.
  • I’m especially proud to be the first Mexicanx to ever serve as a Hugo Awards MC. I love being first, but the most important thing is that I’m not the last. With the daily assaults upon our DREAMers, villainizing of our culture by racists, and terroristic threats against our citizens, we’re living in an important moment for Mexicanx north and south of the border. I’m looking forward to sharing my spotlight with all of them.

(4) WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT. 2016 Clarke Award judge David Gullen discusses what the experience taught him about his own fiction writing: “Things I Learned Judging the Arthur C. Clarke Award” at Medium.

At some point during reading those 113 books it occurred to me what a difficult thing writers are trying to do and just how many different things each author is trying to get right. It’s not just character and plot and pace and tension, world-building, good dialogue, effective exposition, setting story questions and keeping story promises, it’s also trying to get that motivating vision in your head down onto the page. Even a pretty ordinary book takes a lot of effort. If you assume each of those books took 6 months to write?—?and many would have taken more?—?that is 57 years of effort, not far from the entire productive life of a single person.


(6) READERCON PRUNES PROGRAM INVITE LIST. Several older, white male writers who have participated on Readercon’s program in previous years have posted to Facebook over the past month that they have been notified they won’t be on this year’s program, or simply haven’t received the expected invitation. There’s no reason they have to be happy about it, and understandable if it triggers a bit of insecurity and resentment. However, the whiff of controversy around this development is not completely unlike Jon Del Arroz’ certainty that politics were the real reason he was rotated off BayCon programming.

Allen Steele wrote on Facebook yesterday:

The other convention I’ve usually gone to in the past, but will no longer attend, is Readercon. I’ve been an invited guest since Readercon 2 (had to skip the first one because of a schedule conflict), and have attended most of the 36 previous conventions … and then last year, without any sort of notice or explanation, I wasn’t invited. I was recovering from last year’s pancreas operation, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to show up anyway, but I wondered why nonetheless.

This year, I have an explanation … just not a good one. It appears, in an effort to be fair to young new writers, Readercon has been sending out form email letters to older authors such as myself (everyone known to have received the letter is male and above age 50), telling them that they’ve been dropped from the program participant list and therefore will not be invited guests.

Oh, we’re still welcome to attend, if we pay the registration fee. In fact, because of our exalted former status, we’re entitled to a 25% discount … if we go to a private registration site and enter the password (get this) PASTPRO.

So not only have we been told that we’re not welcome to come as professionals, we’re also being told that we’re no longer professionals, period.

I haven’t received the letter … but neither have I been invited. As I said, I wasn’t invited last year either, nor was I ever offered a reason why. To their program chair, I sent a polite letter calmly explaining why the letter is demeaning, insulting, and for the convention disastrously short-sighted; the response I got was a “so sorry you feel that way” blow-off. This pretty much confirms that I’ve been cast into the outer darkness for being … well, let’s not go there. And even if I’m not on the “past pro” list, I won’t come to a convention that would treat my friends and colleagues this way.

I mention this because I usually see at Readercon quite a few people who follow this page. Sometimes they bring copies of my books so I can sign them, and they need to know in advance not to use valuable suitcase-space. Sorry, guys … this year, it’s Boskone and the Hong Kong SF Forum only. At least those conventions still have respect for senior authors.

A month ago Ian Randall Strock said he got the letter and named two others who’d received it:

It seems Readercon has begun their apparently new tradition of uninviting past guests. Last year, it was Darrell Schweitzer. Today, I got the letter, as did Warren Lapine.

Anyone else get the email (under the subject line “Thank you for your service to Readercon”) starting out “There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll be straightforward: you won’t be receiving an invitation to participate in programming for Readercon 29.”?

Another thought occurs: are they only doing this to folks who are also dealers, thinking we’ll be there anyway? I’ll have to run the numbers to see if it’s worth attending.

Readercon 29 takes place July 12-15 in Quincy, MA.


  • February 3, 1993 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered in television syndication.


  • Born February January 3, 1892 – J.R.R. Tolkien [never mind….]


  • Mike Kennedy sends Pearls Before Swine with an observation that sounds just like the kind of dismal thing Kurt Vonnegut would come up with. So you’ll love it, right? (?)
  • John King Tarpinian discovered a horrific satirical cereal box in Off the Mark. (Was that a description or a pleonasm?)
  • JJ admires Grant Snider’s The Specter of Failure at Incidental Comics.
  • Via RedWombat –

(10) ARE YOU SURPRISED? Mental Floss tempts readers with “16 Surprising Facts About Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451”. Some are no more surprising than this —


A popular apocryphal story is that Bradbury hammered out Fahrenheit 451 in just over a week. That story is wrong: It was the 25,000-word “The Fireman” that he wrote in that time period. The author would later refer to the short story as “the first version” of the eventual novel. But over the years, he would often speak about “The Fireman” and Fahrenheit 451 interchangeably, which has caused some confusion.


Bradbury and wife Marguerite McClure had two children in 1950 and 1951, and he was in need of a quiet place to write but had no money for renting an office. In a 2005 interview, Bradbury said:

“I was wandering around the UCLA library and discovered there was a typing room where you could rent a typewriter for 10 cents a half-hour. So I went and got a bag of dimes. The novel began that day, and nine days later it was finished. But my God, what a place to write that book! I ran up and down stairs and grabbed books off the shelf to find any kind of quote and ran back down and put it in the novel. The book wrote itself in nine days, because the library told me to do it.”


Bradbury’s nine days in the library cost him, by his own estimate, just under $10. That means he spent about 49 hours writing “The Fireman.”

(11) NOT YOUR TYPICAL FLORIDA MAN STORY. From Futurism, “Florida Man Becomes First Person to Live With Advanced Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm”.

Prosthetics have advanced drastically in recent years. The technology’s potential has even inspired many, like Elon Musk, to ask whether we may be living as “cyborgs” in the not-too-far future. For Johnny Matheny of Port Richey, Florida, that future is now. Matheny, who lost his arm to cancer in 2005, has recently become the first person to live with an advanced mind-controlled robotic arm. He received the arm in December and will be spending the next year testing it out.

The arm was developed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab as part of their program Revolutionizing Prosthetics. The aim of the program, which is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is to create prosthetics that are controlled by neural activity in the brain to restore motor function to where it feels entirely natural. The program is specifically working on prosthetics for upper-arm amputee patients. While this particular arm has been demoed before, Matheny will be the first person to actually live with the prosthesis. The program does hope to have more patients take the tech for a longterm test run, though.

(12) FROM SOMEWHERE BESIDES LAKE WOEBEGONE. Since the firing of Garrison Keillor A Prairie Home Companion has a new host and a new name – Cat Eldridge reviews “Live from Here, the show formerly known as APHC, hosted by Chris Thile” at Green Man Review.

… Where Kellior was the sedate, downbeat host who wanted you to be part of the Lake Woebegon community, Thile is more than a bit manic, bouncing around in delight apparently as he gets to interact with musicians and other folk who he obviously admires a lot. APHC put me to sleep, LFH is definitely designed to keep me actively listening.

Shovel & Rope, a really good Americana couple, is dok good a bluesy travel song as I listen this moment. (By now I’d usually have decided to turn Kellior off.) Some minutes later, Gabby Moreno is playing a very lively (I think) a Tex-Mex song. Need I say Thile is really excited like her being on Live from Here?

… I’m an hour in and still not even close to tuning out though the comedy riff just now was meh but I’m not a fan of most such comedy anyways. That segued into a very nice and quite tasty bit of jazzy music by Snarky Puppy which is enhanced by the production team cleverly positioning mics in the audience which is more than a bit raucous all show long which they really demonstrate when Chris musically deconstructs  ‘I’ll Be There’ in words and music….

(13) FAR SIDE OF THE KERFUFFLE. Most of the post is more abuse, so won’t be excerpted here, but Vox Day hastened to say Foz Meadows won’t be getting an apology from him: “I’ll take ‘things that will never happen’”. He adds —

Third, Dave Freer didn’t sic me on anyone about anything. I don’t recall having any communication with him in years. I just checked my email and I haven’t received even a single email from him since I set up my current machine in April 2016. Nor have I spoken to him.

(I’m not creating an Internet Archive page for this one so people can somehow feel okay about insisting on reading the insults.)

(14) COUGH IT UP. Add this contraption to the list of things science fiction never predicted: “When The Flu Hits Campus, The Gesundheit Machine Will Be Ready”.

Those sick enough will get sent around the corner to a room with a crazy-looking, Rube-Goldberg-like contraption known as the Gesundheit machine.

For half an hour, the student sits in the machine. As the student breathes, the machine collects whatever virus they’ve got from the droplets in their breath.

The researchers will then use the student’s contacts to try to figure out how infections spread from person to person: “roommates, study buddies, girlfriends and boyfriends,” Milton says. “We’re going to swab them every day for a week to see if they get infected.”

If the student’s contacts get infected, researchers will try to pin down whether they got the bug from the original subject or someone else.

“We’re going to deep sequence the genetic code of the agent to see if it was really exactly the same thing,” Milton explains. He’s aware that confirming that your roommate gave you a horrible flu could ruin some perfectly nice relationships, but it’s for science.

(15) MELTING, MELTING. BBC tells how “Space lasers to track Earth’s ice”.

Ice is the “climate canary”. The loss, and the rate of that loss, tell us something about how global warming is progressing.

In the Arctic, the most visible sign is the decline of sea-ice, which, measured at its minimum extent over the ocean in September, is reducing by about 14% per decade.

At the other pole, the marine floes look much the same as they did in the earliest satellite imagery from the 1960s, but land ice is in a negative phase.

Something on the order of 160 billion tonnes are being lost annually, with most of that mass going from the west of the White Continent.

(16) STAR WARS MEETS PETER RABBIT. Daisy Ridley is still a rebel. And a rabbit.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Bill, JJ, John King Tarpinian, John Picacio, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Mark Hepworth, Chris Garcia, Will R., Vox Day, StephenfromOttawa, Christopher Rowe, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jamoche.]

97 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/3/18 As God Is My Witness, I Thought Pixels Could Scroll!

  1. Doctor Science on February 4, 2018 at 8:48 am said:
    Desert – it looks like diving I10 from Indio to Blythe, minus the flora.
    (It makes me wish my father were around – he’d be entranced.)

  2. Is it just me, or does the description of the early years of PHC (with the dense world building etc.) sound just a bit like Welcome to Night Vale?

  3. David W.: I still listen to Car Talk, just not on the radio. The Best of Car Talk is available here, on the Interwebby:


    I stopped listening to A Prairie Home Companion maybe 5 years ago. Before that, listened to it every Saturday evening. I think getting more than basic cable did it in for me. Also, when they did rebroadcasts, Keillor used snippets of different shows, rather than rebroadcasting an entire old show. This totally ruined the continuity you find in listening to a previous show.

    Having said all that, I’ve still got my Bill Rotsler handmade Honorary Important Person badge, signed by Keillor.

  4. Sigh. I grew up on APHC and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t inform a lot of my own writing. The word about Keillor’s behavior was a bit gutting for me. (I know a lot of people were not fans, and that’s ok! But there were times when his grasp of human nature was laser-guided. I listened to those shows when I was ten. There are words in my head from there. Dammit, this one hurt.) Hell, my podcast “The Hidden Almanac” started as kind of a response to the Writer’s Almanac.

    All that said, I really quite like Chris Thile and I am glad they went in that direction. Trying to keep the format of APHC without Keillor’s writing would have been a sad imitation, and that was true even before the awful word came out. Thile is a very versatile musician and they play to his strengths. (I’m still giggling over his version of Green Day’s Basket Case) And their ads for “Breathy Acoustic Covers” leave me howling.

    I still listen, anyhow.

  5. I suspect Allen Steele not getting a letter is just a mistake, not an intentional snub. Unfortunately, none of this was handled in a way that shows any awareness of how this basically reasonable, and in my opinion long overdue, step would feel to those on the receiving end of it. And thus nothing was done to clarify intentions or mitigate the potential offense.

  6. Brendon Towle: However, the internets seem to think that Tolkien was born on January 3rd, not February 3rd.

    Oops! Thanks for catching that. As hero proofreader of the day I invite you to appertain your favorite beverage — make it a double!

  7. In my experience (as well as publicly released information) it’s been pretty clear for a while that at least some staff at Readercon have interpersonal relationship issues.

    Laura Resnick’s remarks regarding entitlement are correct – no one should feel that they are entitled to a spot at any con – but in at least this case, we’re not just dealing with entitlement issues, we’re also dealing with shared history issues.

    Someone who has been a regularly scheduled feature at a convention over multiple years may not have been expressly told by staff that they are a valued member of that con’s community, but they’re certainly in a position to think that’s the case (and I’m sure that most have been told by various and sundry that their participation is valued, desired, helpful, supportive, etc, etc).

    That’s not entitlement, that’s a relationship.

    The right and proper thing to do, if convention plans/focus change this dramatically, was to draft and send a letter/email to all of those long-time, valued participants explaining the change, explaining how this affects them, thanking them for their past support and making sure that they are still welcome.

    Otherwise, I can easily see how it would be interpreted as “I helped your convention become what it is today and now you’re throwing me under the bus.”

    And I think most conventions should probably, at this point, add a paragraph or two to their invitations to panelists and guests explaining that change is inevitable and that an invite this year is no guarantee of one in the future.

  8. @Joe H.
    I haven’t read many interviews with the gentlemen who do WtNV, but I would be shocked if APHC were not a major influence on the world of Night Vale.

  9. For participants who have been attending the same event for such a long time, the gracious thing to do probably would have been to set aside a dedicated time and hold a reception or meet-and-greet in their honor. Invite all of them to that specific event, thank them, recognize their collective contribution, have a place where people can find them etc. Maybe there is still time to set up something like that. Seems like it would be a decent thing to do, the equivalent of a gold watch for long service.

  10. Filers who like RPG-ish things, or Austen-ish things, may enjoy this Jane Austen RPG currently taking Kickstarter by storm.

    I haven’t delved into details yet, but the people involved look like they’re having fun 🙂

  11. The Andorian Godstalkers pixelled the game with a long scroll into the Deathzone, winning their fifth title.

    Sorry, nothing to add at this point, my daughter fell asleep on my right arm.

  12. Steve Davidson @10:22,

    I have seen that dynamic play out more than once in orchid grower’s clubs (because I am more than one kind of geek). The leadership tries to encourage more involvement by newer members, which is vital in the long run, but in the process they sideline someone who has been at the center of things for a long time AND who may have spent many years working very hard to keep things going, Often the newbies don’t really know what they owe to the old guard, and the old guard may feel that new directions are a repudiation of them personally. Unless handled with great delicacy, the situation can get quite ugly.

  13. RedWombat says All that said, I really quite like Chris Thile and I am glad they went in that direction. Trying to keep the format of APHC without Keillor’s writing would have been a sad imitation, and that was true even before the awful word came out. Thile is a very versatile musician and they play to his strengths. (I’m still giggling over his version of Green Day’s Basket Case) And their ads for “Breathy Acoustic Covers” leave me howling.

    I still listen, anyhow.

    I’ve listened to it from the beginning turning sixty in less than a fortnight. Stopped listening altogether maybe a decade ago when even with my severe pattern recognition difficulties could easily anticipate what was next. I love the metanarritive as it rang true for someone who grew in a small coastal Maine village. Unfortunately it eventually sounded one dimesional as if the characters and setting were preserved in Amber never to change, never to surprise.

    Thile at least surprises. That’s good.

  14. My impression from reading the thread on Allen Steele’s page yesterday was the issue wasn’t money. Nor was it a matter of expecting to be put on a panel.

    It was about respect and appreciation for experienced authors. One person indicated that the letters were being issued in advance of the con’s regular questionnaire process for prospective panelists. He inferred that the con had no interest in hearing from experienced authors for this year’s con or at any other point in the future. It sounds like this wasn’t an effort provide a broader mix of new and old authors but was instead an initiative to remove the more experienced authors from their database of prospective future panelists on a wholesale basis.

    One comment indicated that the form-letter suggested that the group being trimmed was comprised of “frequent panelists”. That commenter indicated that they had only been a panelist once in the last 10 years. They had declined invitations to be a panelist in other years due to other pending commitments to the publishing house that would naturally take precedence. That commenter indicated that they would rather decline an invitation out of respect for a con rather than have those other commitments for them to withdraw and thereby force the con to jump through hoops to get a replacement.

    The con’s whole effort is bereft of tact and thoughtfulness. It could have been easily defused by simply stating that they are recruiting some newer authors to add to their database of potential panelists. That would let the older authors still participate in the questionnaire process in case one or two people with their experience would offer a perspective that contrasts with those of a newer/younger author.

    Mixing up the panelist lineup is a good idea to keep things from getting stale. Communicating a message to authors that they are no longer relevant professional authors is an easily avoidable error.


  15. Based on your comments, Dann, it’s obvious that you’ve seen the entire text of Readercon’s e-mail to former panelists. Can you post a link to that? I’d like to read it for myself.


    Well, this time, we have multiple people complaining, rather than just one lone attention whore/professional troll. So I’m a little more inclined to be sympathetic. It does sound like Readercon handled things really poorly.

    That said, I’d want to see some actual numbers before I’d accept the theory that anyone was disproportionately targeting what was almost certainly the overwhelming majority in the long-time-guest list.


    I’m not entirely sure, but somehow, I get the impression they may be taking some liberties with the original story. Yet for some reason, I kinda want to see it anyway. 🙂

  17. (6) READERCON PRUNES PROGRAM INVITE LIST. I winced as I read this earlier today. I’m late returning here, so I have nothing useful to add to @various comments (particularly @steve davidson’s).

  18. Schrodinger’s checkbox – can’t tell if I checked it. Let’s do the thing again. Look at the box. LOOK AT IT!

  19. David W.: What was “Wits With John Moe?”

    Cat Eldridge: There was a profile of Chris Thile in the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE late in 2016 that I think would answer many of your questions.

  20. #1: Did you know the Philadelphia Eagles are named after the NRA Eagle that is on the Brundage cover?

  21. Dann:

    “He inferred that the con had no interest in hearing from experienced authors for this year’s con or at any other point in the future. It sounds like this wasn’t an effort provide a broader mix of new and old authors but was instead an initiative to remove the more experienced authors from their database of prospective future panelists on a wholesale basis.”

    And you believe this is true?

  22. Mike Glyer: It’s in the Wikipedia

    Can you be more specific? I couldn’t find any references to Brundage or NRA.

  23. Just to clarify Martin’s comment, the eagle has nothing to do with Brundage. It’s in a corner of the cover indicating that the publisher was a member of the NRA — which, again to clarify, was FDR’s National Recovery Administration, not the National Rifle Association.

  24. Hampus

    It could well be true that he inferred it, but that doesn’t mean there’s any base for this inference. People will infer what they will.

  25. Martin Wooster says to that There was a profile of Chris Thile in the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE late in 2016 that I think would answer many of your questions.

    Have you got a date for this? A Google search didn’t turn it and I’d very much like to read it. Thanks kindly!

  26. @Hampus

    I believe that this individual did infer that perspective. While it is always better to read the source material, in this case the original formletter, the discussion of various elements suggests to me that at the very least the committee achieved a rarified state of cluelessness and tactless in their otherwise legitimate attempt to broaden the range of authors for their panels.

    There is a different between “let’s make the table bigger” and “your perspective is no longer welcome”. Most adults can deal with the former with minimal fuss. The latter frequently ends poorly for everyone.


  27. Dann:

    There’s also a very large difference between writing a clumsy formletter and to set out on an evil mission to never again let an experienced author speak at a convention.

  28. @Hampus:

    Yes, but it is also easy to infer that a clumsily-written form letter is ACTUALLY a mission to stomp out previously prominent authors, especially as hot as the debate has been running these last 4-5 years.

    That said, I can both believe that Allen Steele inferred nefarious purposes, as well as ReaderCon simply being clumsy in formulation (and password choice) are both true, at the same time.

  29. @Dann–

    I believe that this individual did infer that perspective. While it is always better to read the source material, in this case the original formletter, the discussion of various elements suggests to me that at the very least the committee achieved a rarified state of cluelessness and tactless in their otherwise legitimate attempt to broaden the range of authors for their panels.

    That “this individual,” i.e. Allen Steele, inferred it, is not evidence of what was inside the heads of the Readercon committee. Sadly, “A rarified state of cluelessness and tactlessness,” has been an excellent description of the Readercon for a long time, possibly its entire history, despite turnover in the committee.

    Attempting to shove this into the Puppies’ conspiracy theories doesn’t make it so, but JDA’s behavior demonstrates that even had the Readercon committee done a much better job on this, it might not have been Allen Steele, but it almost certainly would have been someone.

  30. @Lis Carey

    I went with “this individual” because Facebook is the worst place in the world to have a conversation where the exchange is properly threaded. Comments get buried and/or mis-stacked with regularity. And of course, comments get deleted.

    While Allen’s original comments certainly led in that direction, there were further exchanges when I read the post on Saturday. When I looked back on the post and comments yesterday, I didn’t immediately find what inspired my response and didn’t want to attribute too much to Allen when there were a couple of authors in the conversation that had received the letters.



    FWIW, keep in mind that ReaderCon has historically by design had a comparatively smaller # of concurrent tracks… and nothing opposite GoH interviews. That reduces the total possible participant slots.

    I was a member of ReaderCon ProgComm for a few (3 or 4) years ago (up until the relatively recent changes in the main players). While I was never involved in participant selections or panel assignments, just on panel title/topic brainstorming, it was clear from some of the byplay comments that there were always more eager potential participants than available slots, so even getting put on one panel/session/item was a win. (Yes, some people aside from the GoH did get put on a bunch of panels.)

    I.e., unlike the Wonderland Mad Tea Party, there was never Enough Room For Everybody. And ReaderCon’s efforts to widen its topic and genre turfs added more new prospective names to the mix.

    (But) of course one doesn’t have to be on panel(s) to have a fun, “successful” con (or for it to qualify as a legitimate business expense). Having no panel commitments means more time to go to panels and readings, look for Things To Buy, schmooze with friends/colleagues/etc. Yes, as an Alumnus Participant (“pastpro”), I’ll cheerfully accept a discount on my membership, if offered one.

    And if offered a “PastPro” alumni ribbon, I’d cheerfully put it on my badge.

  32. “David W.: What was “Wits With John Moe?”

    A live hybrid comedy/music/conversation program that ran for a few years that was hosted by Minnesota Public Radio’s John Moe. It was quite good sometimes, as this episode shows:

    Neil Gaiman with Josh Ritter, Adam Savage and Wil Wheaton

  33. Cat Eldredge: Sorry, I read this profile of Thile sometime ago, but it appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE in about October 2016 when the changeover took place.

  34. Re Wits: My all time favorite cover of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” was on that show, sung by Neil Gaiman!
    (It was also the first time I heard him sing “The Problem with Saints”)

  35. JJ: Can you be more specific? I couldn’t find any references to Brundage or NRA.

    What Jeff Smith said. Martin was being clever, and it depends on realizing the National Recovery Act eagle was on the magazine but not part of the original art.

  36. Dann: When I looked back on the post and comments yesterday, I didn’t immediately find what inspired my response and didn’t want to attribute too much to Allen when there were a couple of authors in the conversation that had received the letters.

    I looked at Steele’s page almost immediately after your first post was made, and most of what you included in your post was not on Allen’s page. Given that he says he did not receive the letter, and you admit that you have not read it, I find your claims of Readercon’s malicious intent to be — once again, quelle suprise — outrageously one-sided and utterly unsupported, and, Steele’s, frankly, sound like the resentful mutterings of someone who perceives himself to be one of a few really famous authors, when in fact, he is one of many really famous authors (and note that I really enjoy Steele’s books, and would be very likely to go to a panel with him on it).

    Would these authors have whined any less at the notification, if it arrived after the programming ideas solicitation process? I highly doubt it.

    All authors, especially those who are famous and have won awards, but also those who had a moment in the sun and now mistakenly believe that they are still famous, want to feel that they are indispensible. I am sure that it is devastating when they discover that they are not. But a convention has a duty to try to provide fresh and relevant programming to their attendees.

    It’s really regrettable that Readercon handled this in what appears to be (again, not having read the actual letter) a ham-fisted way. But to ascribe sinister motivations to it, with zero evidence of that, is ridiculous.

  37. @JohnAA: “You don’t see many proposals for remakes of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, either. What would that even look like today?”

    They’d probably put someone like Nicholas Cage in the starring role and change the title to something along the lines of The Family Man. Just guessing, of course. 😉

    @nobody in particular: (ReaderCon and Allen Steele)

    I have met Mr. Steele on one occasion – as the literary guest at a Southern convention that has had a conservative bent for as long as I can remember and has since become known as a haven for the Puppy segment of fandom. I don’t know Steele well enough to speculate as to whether he identifies with that group, but his post certainly echoes a few of their talking points.

  38. I’ve met Allen Steele at Readercon, Arisia, and Boskone, and he has always struck me as a genuinely nice guy. Of a conservative bent, yes, but I can’t imagine him approving of the Puppy antics.

    Readercon, which has always treated being put on their guest list as permanent, really needed to make this change long ago. However, I think it’s undeniable that their actual execution of it was ham-handed in ways that make it all too easy to fit into the Puppy conspiracy theories. That’s really unfortunate.

    Edited to add: I think Steele is also at an age where it’s easy for many of us to get paranoid about not being wanted anymore, and why.

  39. @Lis: “I can’t imagine him approving of the Puppy antics.”

    If you had asked me ahead of time, I would have said the same thing about most – maybe even all, depending on exactly when I was asked – of the people I know who have since rallied to the Puppy cause. One in particular comes to mind – an author whom I got along with rather well at a convention, to the point that he sent me a galley of the first book in his new series because he wanted my opinion on its suitability as the basis for a role-playing game. I read and reviewed the book (quite favorably) and gave him the requested feedback.

    Some time later, I committed the unforgivable sin of disagreeing with him online, and his reaction made me realize that he wasn’t as nice as his con persona had led me to believe.

    Some time after that, he founded the Sad Puppies.

  40. Fred Kiesche on February 23, 2018 at 3:49 am said:

    The Readercon disinvite has spread to Jeffrey A. Carver.

    “Disinvite” does not seem like the right word for “we won’t actually pay you to come”. JdA was disinvited from Worldcon. Steele, Carver, et al., can, as far as I know, still come to Readercon as regular guests, just as you or I might be.

    I imagine they might have some reluctance to come, given the lousy way the whole thing was managed, but I haven’t seen anything suggesting they wouldn’t be welcome if they did.

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