Pixel Scroll 4/10/18 The Third Little Pixel Had Scrolled Beef

(1) TOLKIEN’S GONDOLIN. Tor.com carries the official word: “J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin to Be Published as a Standalone for the First Time”. It will be published August 30.

HarperCollins UK announced today that it would publish The Fall of Gondolin, J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale documenting the rise of a great but hidden Elven kingdom and its terrible fall, for the first time as a standalone edition. Edited by Christopher Tolkien using the same “history in sequence” mode that he did for 2017’s standalone edition of Beren and Lúthien, and illustrated by Alan Lee, this edition will collect multiple versions of the story together for the first time.

Tolkien has called this story, which he first began writing in 1917, “the first real story of this imaginary world”; i.e., it was one of the first tales to be put to paper. The only complete version of The Fall of Gondolin was published posthumously in The Book of Lost Tales; however, different compressed versions appeared in both The Silmarillion and the collection Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth.

(2) POTTER ANNIVERSARY COVERS. Gwynne Watkins, in the Yahoo! Entertainment story “Accio ‘Harry Potter’ covers: See the dazzling new 20th anniversary artwork”, says the Harry Potter books are coming out with new covers by Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret (which was the basis for the movie Hugo). See all the covers at the link.

Do your well-worn Harry Potter books need a new look for spring? In honor of the 20th anniversary of  the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Scholastic is releasing new paperback editions of J.K. Rowling‘s entire series, featuring gorgeous cover art by Brian Selznick. When the seven books are placed side by side, the intricate black-and-white illustrations form a single piece of art chronicling Harry’s adventures. Scroll down to see the covers, which are full of tiny details for readers to discover. (Can you spot the Hogwarts Express? How about Harry’s Patronus?)

(3) ABOUT THE SIMPSONS’ APU. The Simpsons creators can’t figure out how something people laughed at in the past became “politically incorrect.” (And isn’t that term always a signal flare preceding a complete lack of empathy…) Entertainment Weekly’s Dana Schwartz discusses “Why The Simpsons’ response to the Apu controversy was so heartbreaking: Essay”.

…In 2017, comedian Hari Kondabolu wrote and starred in a documentary called The Problem with Apu in which he examined the cultural significance of The Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Kwik-E-Mart owner, who speaks with a heavy, stereotypical Indian accent and is voiced by Hank Azaria, a white man.

Last night, The Simpsons offered its tepid reply.

The scene began with Marge reading a bedtime story to Lisa that had been neutered with social justice buzzwords. “What am I supposed to do?” Marge asks when Lisa complains.

“It’s hard to say,” says Lisa, breaking the fourth wall and looking directly at the camera. A photo of Apu on the nightstand helped make it very clear they were no longer talking about the fictional bedtime story. “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”

“Some things will be dealt with at a later date,” says Marge, also to the camera.

“—If it all,” Lisa concludes.

There’s something about the response that came across as not only tasteless but viscerally unsatisfying. In his documentary, Kondabolu initiated the complex conversation about what it meant to have a white actor voicing an Indian character (with a heavy, caricatured accent) during a time when there was little or no Indian representation in the media.

The Simpsons on-air response reveals that the minds behind the long-running animated series either entirely failed to grasp Kondabolu’s point or (perhaps, unfortunately, more likely) they were completely indifferent to it.

(4) VAST GALLERY OF SFF ART. Enjoy TheVaultofRetroSciFi — Lots and lots of SF images, from all sorts of media.

(5) PARANORMAL ROMANCE. Mad Genius Club’s Amanda S. Green explains why it’s hard to “Know Your Genre – Paranormal Romance”. She disagrees with the definitions posted on some of the leading sites.

…So why the confusion about what a PNR is when checking the RITA nominees?

Simply put, that confusion rests solely with RWA. A quick check of their website shows this definition for paranormal romance: “Romance novels in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.” See, there it is. Science fiction elements.

This definition might have worked several years ago, before there was an increase in the number of science fiction romance titles. Now, it only confuses the issue and muddies the waters when it comes to readers and booksellers. “Paranormal” doesn’t send most readers into the realm of sf, no way and no how. Yet, for RWA’s purposes, science fiction romance mixes and melds with PNR.

Is this the only definition? Far from it. One site defines PNR this way, “For a novel to be a Paranormal Romance, a simple thing must occur: love must begin between a human and a supernatural being (whether wholly supernatural or partially, just as long as there are supernatural elements present)”

Another site has this to say: “Most people hear the words ‘Paranormal Romance’ and visions of sparkly vamps and bare-chested wares seeking virginal human mates spring like crack-addicted leprechauns from the recesses of their minds. While these have certainly been the topic of many a novel **cough** Twilight **cough**, there are so many more topics joining the ranks of Paranormal Romance today.  Among them: Shapeshifters—half-human, half-animal beings with the ability to transmute between forms on cue, Angels, Demons, Nephilim, Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Ancient Greek mythology, and even the occasional Ghost or Alien thrown in for good measure. And I would be amiss in not mentioning the perennial time-traveling, kilt-wearing highlander with the rippling biceps and the heart of gold. His broadsword isn’t the only steely thing about him, if you know what I mean.” Where I have a dispute with the site and its definitions is when it say UF is a sub-genre of PNR. Nope, totally different.

(6) THE WASTELAND. The trailer for Future World has dropped:

In a post-apocalyptic world, where water and gasoline have long since dried-up, a prince from the oasis (one of the last known safe-havens) must venture out to find medicine for the ailing queen (Lucy Liu), but along the way he gets mixed up with the warlord (James Franco) and his robot Ash (Suki Waterhouse), which leads to a daring journey through the desolate wastelands.

 

(7) FOUNDATIONAL TELEVISION. From Deadline: “Apple Lands Isaac Asimov ‘Foundation’ TV Series From David Goyer & Josh Friedman”.

In a competitive situation, Apple has nabbed a TV series adaptation of Foundation, the seminal Isaac Asimov science fiction novel trilogy. The project, from Skydance Television, has been put in development for straight-to-series consideration. Deadline revealed last June that Skydance had made a deal with the Asimov estate and that David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman were cracking the code on a sprawling series based on the books that informed Star Wars and many other sci-fi films and TV series. Goyer and Friedman will be executive producers and showrunners. Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross also will executive produce….

The project shows a different level of ambition for Apple’s worldwide video programming team led by Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. In November, they set their first scripted series, a morning show drama executive produced by and starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, with a two-season, straight-to-series order. Apple also has given straight-to-series orders to Amazing Stories, a re-imagining of the anthology from Steven Spielberg, a Ronald D. Moore space drama, a Damien Chazelle series, a comedy starring Kristin Wiig, world-building drama See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, as well as an M. Night Shyamalan psychological thriller.

(8) TWO BUTLER FANS SEEK FUNDS TO ATTEND WORLDCON. Alex Jennings asks “Help Me and Amanda Emily Smith Get to Worldcon 76” via a YouCaring fundraiser. To date people have chipped in $285 of their $2,500 goal.

Last year, Amanda and I both submitted letters to be published in Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. Octavia was a huge influence on both of us, and Amanda and I had met her separately before her death.

Both our letters were accepted for publication, and we were so pleased to be a part of such a wonderful project. This event was even more of a milestone for Amanda as this was her first professional sale in the science fiction field.

On April 2, the official announcement came down that Letters to Octavia has been chosen as a finalist for the Hugo Award in the category of Related Work! We literally jumped for joy. Honoring one of our greatest influences had lifted us up, as well!

The Hugo Awards are basically the Oscars of Science Fiction. Both Amanda and I have dreamed of attending Worldcon and the Hugo Awards all our lives, but we’ve never been able to before. Now that a book we are both in is a finalist, we feel we must get to Worldcon 76 in San Jose by any means necessary.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 10, 1953 — Feature length, full color, 3-D movie premiered: House of Wax starring Vincent Price.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born April 10, 1953 – David Langford

(11) CANDLE TIME. Steven H Silver lights up Langford’s birthday cake at Black Gate with “Birthday Reviews: David Langford’s ‘Waiting for the Iron Age’”.

Langford may be best known as the holder of twenty-one Hugo Awards for Best Fan Writer, including an unprecedented nineteen year winning streak. During that time he also won six Hugo Awards for Best Fanzine for Ansible and a Best Short Story Hugo for “Different Kinds of Darkness.” In 2012, he won his 29th and most recent Hugo for Best Related Work for The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition, edited with John Clute, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight. Langford has tied with Charles N. Brown for the most Hugo Awards won.

(12) SOCIETY PAGES. Liz Bourke, Sleeping With Monsters columnist and 2018 Hugo nominee, announced the good news earlier this month:

(13) READY FOR HIS CLOSEUP. Neil Gaiman will appear on The Big Bang Theory this month. He’s guested on various TV series over the years, sometimes as an animated character, but this will be live action.

It’s kind of pathetic there are people tweeting responses that they never heard of him. Who cares?

(14) THIS DOCTOR IS NOW IN. ScienceFiction.com reveals that “Peter Cushing’s ‘Doctor Who’ Is Now Canon (Sort Of)”.

One of the biggest tasks an anniversary special has is to balance fan service with a story that can stand on its own merits. Among the many ways ‘The Day of the Doctor’ accomplished this rare feat was to feature appearances by multiple incarnations of the Doctor. Though only three were really sharing the spotlight, every version of the beloved Time Lord made at least a brief appearance, mostly through the use of archival footage. On top of this, Steven Moffat even took the opportunity to introduce a new incarnation in the form of the War Doctor, unforgettably brought to life by John Hurt.

And now he’s done it again.

In the newly released novelization of the fiftieth anniversary special, Steven Moffat has slyly worked Peter Cushing’s version of the Doctor into the series’ continuity

(15) OUTWARD BOUND. A new find pushes the date back: “Finger bone points to early human exodus”.

New research suggests that modern humans were living in Saudi Arabia about 85,000 years ago.

A recently discovered finger bone believed to be Homo sapiens was dated using radio isotope techniques.

This adds to mounting evidence from Israel, China and Australia, of a widespread dispersal beyond Africa as early as 180,000 years ago.

Previously, it was theorised that Homo sapiens did not live continuously outside Africa until 60,000 years ago.

(16) MODEST TRIBUTE. The BBC says “Belgrade’s ‘tiny head’ Gagarin statue causes dismay”.

The bust of Yuri Gagarin was ordered by the city council last year, and was put up on a street that bears his name, the Blic news website reports.

But its appearance – a tiny bust on top of a tall plinth – has been met by a hugely negative reaction, the paper says.

“The only way you can see it clearly is to launch yourself into the sky,” the Noizz website says. “While this is somewhat symbolic,” adds writer Ivana Stojanov, “there’s certainly no common sense on show”.

(17) IT’S NOT DEAD, JIM. Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn tries to figure out what happened: “Cherry City Comic Con Confusingly Cancelled and then Uncancelled?”.

…Of course, as a Facebook video, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will really end up watching this. Which really does beg the question: if you uncancel a show no one knows was cancelled, did anything really happen at all? Because right now, most people have no idea.

Update 4/10, 12:00pm: In a strange series of events, Cherry City Comic Con has now been uncancelled. The announcement was made, again, with a Facebook video…

Of course, as a Facebook video, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will really end up watching this. Which really does beg the question: if you uncancel a show no one knows was cancelled, did anything really happen at all?

(18) QUICK FLASH. Charles Payseur turns his eye to “Quick Sips – Flash Fiction Online April 2018”.

Continuing the newer tradition of coming out with fairly thematically linked issues, Flash Fiction Online presents an April full of fools. Or maybe fooling. Also aliens. Yup, all three stories feature alien beings, and in most of them there’s also a vein of something…well, of someone pulling one over on someone else. Maybe it’s an actress tricking an alien monster to spare Earth, or a group of alien agents trying to set up first contact on the sly, or even the own paranoid post-drunken-weekend-in-Vegas thoughts of a man who might have just married an extraterrestrial. In any case, the stories are largely bright and fun, even when they brush against planet eating and possible invasion. So without further delay, to the reviews!

(19) ALL KNOWN BRITISH SFF. At THEN, Rob Hansen’s British fanhistory site, you can find scans of a 1937 British SF Bibliography. Once upon a time, the literary universe was a smaller place.

Edited by Douglas W. F. Mayer for the Science Fiction Association and dated August 1937, this was one of the earliest bibliographies to be produced by fandom and contains many titles that would be unfamiliar to a modern reader. A mimeographed publication, it was printed in purple-blue ink, had a soft card wraparound cover, and was stitch-bound. The particular copy scanned for this site includes its unknown previous owner’s checkmarks against many entries.

This is a list of books, only. However, it’s still an interesting coincidence that Mayer himself edited Amateur Science Stories #2, where Arthur C. Clarke’s first published story appeared in December 1937.

(20) JAWS. Or at least part of a jaw: “Ancient sea reptile was one of the largest animals ever”.

Sea reptiles the size of whales swam off the English coast while dinosaurs walked the land, according to a new fossil discovery.

The jaw bone, found on a Somerset beach, is giving clues to the ”last of the giants” that roamed the oceans 205 million years ago.

The one-metre-long bone came from the mouth of a huge predatory ichthyosaur.

The creature would have been one of the largest ever known, behind only blue whales and dinosaurs, say scientists.

(21) SUMMER MUNCH. The Meg is slated for release on August 10, 2018.

In the film, a deep-sea submersible—part of an international undersea observation program—has been attacked by a massive creature, previously thought to be extinct, and now lies disabled at the bottom of the deepest trench in the Pacific…with its crew trapped inside. With time running out, expert deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is recruited by a visionary Chinese oceanographer (Winston Chao), against the wishes of his daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing), to save the crew—and the ocean itself—from this unstoppable threat: a pre-historic 75-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon. What no one could have imagined is that, years before, Taylor had encountered this same terrifying creature. Now, teamed with Suyin, he must confront his fears and risk his own life to save everyone trapped below…bringing him face to face once more with the greatest and largest predator of all time.

 

(22) AND DON’T FORGET THESE SHARKES. The Shadow Clarke jury’s Nick Hubble picked six books on the submissions list to review, and tells why in this post.

My criteria for the selection of these six titles this year – none of which I have read – was not what I think might be in contention or even necessarily what I think I will personally rate. Instead, I have chosen a range of books that I hope will enable some sort of literary critical discussion of the field as a whole in 2018 (although clearly this remains an entirely subjective choice on my behalf). Therefore, I have tried to mix first-time authors with established novelists, sequels with standalone works, and genre and mainstream literary texts; but I have married this with a practical policy of also choosing books that took my fancy for whatever reason.

I was also trying to pick a set of choices similar to the that offered by this year’s shortlist for the BSFA Award for best novel: Nina Allan’s The Rift, Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time,? Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, and Ann Leckie’s Provenance?. I thought this was a good list because there were different types of novels, all of which I enjoyed (and because I have read them, I have excluded them from my Clarke selection below even though all have been submitted). Despite large differences in approach, these novels share a focus on family relationships that perhaps tells us something about the preoccupations of our age. It would be trite to argue that they simply demonstrate a retreat from political and ideological uncertainty to take refuge in the personal sphere but perhaps they suggest different ways in which politics and relationships are both being reconfigured in an age of digital communication. It will be interesting to see what patterns emerge from the wider Clarke submissions list.

(23) ABOUT KRESS. Joe Sherry is not fully satisfied with the book, but it’s close: “Microreview [book]: Tomorrow’s Kin, by Nancy Kress”, at Nerds of a Feather.

Once we move past the conclusion of Yesterday’s Kin, the focus remains on Dr. Marianne Jenner as well as pushing in tighter on that of her grandchildren. This is character driven science fiction. Kress explores the impact of Earth’s interaction with a spore cloud that was initially described as a world killer, but she does so through the lens of characters who have become as familiar as family. To a reader not steeped in the nuance and minutiae of science, the unpinning science of Tomorrow’s Kin comes across as fully rigorous as anything in a more traditional “hard” science fiction novel. Kress does not engage in interminable info dumping. I read Tomorrow’s Kin not long after finishing the latest Charles Stross novel, Dark State (my review). There is no real point of comparison between the two novels, except that I generally love the ideas that Stross plays with and wish he did a better job at actually telling the story. That generally isn’t the case with Nancy Kress. She is a far more accomplished writer and is far smoother with her storytelling. Kress’s ideas are just as big and just as bold, but they are strongly integrated into the story.

(24) CATS STAR ON SFF. Moshe Feder has discovered the true identify of Number One!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Mark Hepworth, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Hampus Eckerman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

197 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/10/18 The Third Little Pixel Had Scrolled Beef

  1. @JJ —

    You’re like the little kid who keeps poking at their sibling, always stopping a millmeter away, who when finally called out on it, sneers, “I never touched him!”

    It’s pathetic.

    “You’re entitled to interpret it that way. My interpretation is just as valid.”

    😉

  2. Ha, ha, winky face. So cute. Excuses all of the repeated mocking and sneering which you’ve done at me in this thread, and the false accusations about my motivations.

    No, I don’t think so.

    This is the second time you’ve pulled this bullshit on me, and I’ve watched you do it to numerous other Filers over the last couple of years — people who’ve also attempted to engage in constructive discussion with you in good faith, and have been on the receiving end of what you probably mistake as cleverness.

    You’ve demonstrated repeatedly that the way you handle disagreements with others is by mocking, sneering, and derision; that you can’t engage in discussion like a decent adult human being — at least not on a consistent basis.

    My general impression of most Filers is that they are good, decent people, some of whom (including me) may occasionally behave like jerks. Your repeated pattern of behavior has convinced me that you are the reverse of that.

    You have forfeited the right for me to be willing to engage with you in construction discussion.

  3. @Lis (I think): I meant the English translation of the Vimalakirti Sutra, in a western context.

    @Nicole (I think): I don’t think “mosquitos” would be a problem for someone who respects all living beings. But it’s said, “what goes around comes around”.

    @JJ (I think): Not that I’ve heard.

  4. @Jeff Jones–

    @Lis (I think): I meant the English translation of the Vimalakirti Sutra, in a western context.

    Which changes exactly nothing. It’s still a religious text nearly 2000 years old, and from another culture. It isn’t a new work of fiction from our own culture, written about people changing gender, and describing it in terms that trans people today, living in an unfortunate confluence of visibility and vulnerability, find particularly hurtful.

    And please do consider what you’re really saying. Not that Jo has a right to write and publish what she wants without being forced to submit to the objections of others–but that she doesn’t. That there’s something wrong with her listening to comments and criticisms, and choosing to take those comments and criticisms to heart, and to not move ahead with it at this time.

  5. I am a bit surprised that there hasn’t been more attention paid to Walton’s withdrawal of her novel right before publication as it’s not the sort of thing that happens very often. Perhaps Walton will make some changes to what some are calling problematic passages in the novel and then publish it. Or not, if those changes would require rewriting much of the novel. I wish she’d just gone ahead and published it. Sexuality is always a fraught subject, but given how women are still unfairly treated because of their sex it seemed to me that Walton’s looking at it as a choice, but a choice that society will punish you for is something that SF could definitely do something interesting with.

  6. JJ, mind your own sexuality please. Ain’t none of your business if’n I am or not.

  7. You’ve missed my point. I know that you’re not transgender, because a transgender person wouldn’t confuse gender with sexuality.

    It would be a really good idea for you to go do an Internet 101 on the difference between the two before you opine any further.

  8. JJ, as Walton was talking about deliberate sex changes in her novel, maybe that’s something to consider here. It’s not all about me, really.

  9. Hmm. So you’re not really interested in having a discussion but just want to be dismissive. Got’cha.

  10. It’s difficult to have a discussion with someone who doesn’t understand the distinction between gender and sexuality, and isn’t interested in learning the difference.

    I’m not transgender, but I’ve worked really hard over the last few years to get my head out of my ass and try to understand, at least a little. It’s really frustrating to see people say clueless things and not be willing to educate themselves.

  11. I’m quite aware of the difference between gender and sexuality, actually. It’s what Walton is doing in her novel about forced/unforced sex changes that’s the issue. If you’re merely interested in being oh so concerned about poor little ol’ me, well, that’s up to you.

  12. I can see how Walton’s use of forced sex change in her novel would squick those who are transgender, as they have had to cope with those who would force them to conform their gender with their biological sex that others want them to conform to. But that’s rather a good science fictional premise to start from with respect to sex roles in a society. I can see it being handled badly of course, but I certainly don’t think of Walton as a writer that handles things badly! I hope that after listening to her critics that she reflects and reconsiders the publication of her novel. Maybe an afterword about the concerns her critics have would be a way to move forward.

  13. On the subject of deliberate choices being made about sex, here’s a story that has more than a touch of science fictional dystopia about it:

    Too Many Men

    In China and India, men outnumber women by 70 million. Both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation

  14. David W., I used to wonder about that. When we went over to receive our daughter, I kept looking for an unbalanced ratio of male to female, since those policies (the first child’s subsidized, the second one’s not, after that you could be penalized—and the male child is by tradition the one who would support you in your old age) were sending what seemed to be large numbers of girl babies out for adoption, and not just to the USA. I couldn’t discern any imbalance, but we weren’t in any rural areas on that trip either.

    I imagined that there would come a time when Chinese boys would want to go to college outside the country to find girls to marry, and that steps might be taken to be sure they weren’t marrying a close relative they never knew about (though statistically unlikely). China adoption has gone from a veritable industry to pretty much nil since we were there. The government agency we visited when we went back in 2011 is closed now, I believe. They still have the ‘orphans,’ but now they are raised by state agencies and taught life skills, so that they will remain in China. (I know zilch about the situation in India.)

    I can’t read the story at the link, though. Paywalled.

  15. David W. I’m quite aware of the difference between gender and sexuality, actually. It’s what Walton is doing in her novel about forced/unforced sex changes that’s the issue.

    Yes, that is the issue, and that is not “sexuality”. Seriously, please spend some time with Google. 🙁

  16. ” I can see it being handled badly of course, but I certainly don’t think of Walton as a writer that handles things badly! “

    If Walton herself thought she had good reason to withdraw the text, I do trust her judgement on this.

  17. Oddly enough JJ, biological sex is pertinent to sexuality. If you think otherwise, you may need to crack open a biology textbook. Your sex as well as gender is entirely grounded in your physical being, unless you’re a dualist that believes we have a separate soul from our bodies. I think SF might have some interesting approaches to dealing with the biology of sex and the expression of sexuality, and in fact has in the past, as I mentioned with my initial cite of Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War.

    It would be best for Walton to discuss this of course, if she’s interested in doing so. If not, oh well.

  18. @David W–

    Oddly enough JJ, biological sex is pertinent to sexuality. If you think otherwise, you may need to crack open a biology textbook. Your sex as well as gender is entirely grounded in your physical being, unless you’re a dualist that believes we have a separate soul from our bodies.

    You may need to do some reading on the subject more recent than your high school biology textbook, because no, science isn’t telling us gender is all about biological sex, or that gender is binary. Here’s a very basic intro on the more recent science: How Science Helps Us Understand Gender Identity

    It would be best for Walton to discuss this of course, if she’s interested in doing so. If not, oh well.

    Jo knows her book far better than anyone who hasn’t read it, and has also had more opportunity than you to seriously consider the criticisms offered.

    And she owes you exactly nothing, certainly not the publication of a book that she has decided is hurtful beyond any value she finds in it.

  19. This is where respectability politics has brought us: To the idea that fucking doesn’t have anything to do with your physical body, that sexuality is just a free-floating idea that you can bend and shape as you will. That’s self-evidently stupid, no matter what science says. I went through this in the seventies under another name. It’ll pass.

    And since none of this is a simple physical reduction, the idea will pass having done some good. It’s not that different from medical marijuana, the health benefits of which have been greatly exaggerated. And yet, that exaggeration, which turned out to be the first effective way to fight straight-up lying, has made this a somewhat freer world.

  20. John A Arkansawyer: This is where respectability politics has brought us: To the idea that fucking doesn’t have anything to do with your physical body, that sexuality is just a free-floating idea that you can bend and shape as you will.

    Where did you read this?

  21. John A Arkansawyer, To the idea that fucking doesn’t have anything to do with your physical body, that sexuality is just a free-floating idea that you can bend and shape as you will. That’s self-evidently stupid, no matter what science says.

    You’re right; that’s stupid. Which is why nobody, to my knowledge, has said that in this thread. Fucking does has to do with one’s physical body, but that physical body includes not just the genitals but also various parts of the brain, and hormones, and probably a bunch of other systems.

    Sexuality isn’t a “free-floating idea that you can bend and shape as you will”, it’s tied up with hormones, and brain structures, and epigenetics, and socialization, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff. If it could be bent and shaped as we willed, nobody would ever have gender dysphoria; they could just “will” themselves to be whatever gender they wished. But that’s not the world we live in (regardless of what some evangelical fundamentalists wish to believe).

    The science in this field is still young; much is being learned every year. And I’m certainly no expert, but even I can see the flaw in your declaration.

  22. “This is where respectability politics has brought us: To the idea that fucking doesn’t have anything to do with your physical body, that sexuality is just a free-floating idea that you can bend and shape as you will. “

    What on earth are you going on about? o.O To be honest, I thought this response had some connection to new US marijuana laws.

    Btw, my sexuality usually has very little to do with “fucking” at all.

  23. Where did you read this?

    He’s strawmannirg the left again. Easier to argue with cartoon people, especially when you get to declare what they think.

  24. I’m planning to write a post for my own blog on ancient scriptures originating in another culture, but haven’t been able to yet. I’ll provide a link when it’s up.

    As for “really saying”, one person writes with some particular intent and somebody else with a different POV infers something different. Where’s the reality?

  25. @Jeff Jones, I have no idea what that even means.

    Since you’re not going to look it up, sexuality is outwardly directed. It is about who you find attractive (men, women, both, all genders), what sort of relationship you might want to have at some point (sexual, romantic, friendship only, etc.), and how many people you might want to have relationships with (monogamous, mono with cheating, poly, serial monogamy, etc). It’s complicated, but it is not the same as gender or biological sex.

    Gender is internally directed – do you feel male, female, some of each, or does it change from time to time? Biological sex is what your physical body says – what your sex chromosomes are, or your hormones, or your physical genitalia. That can be complex, too, because those don’t always run together, in nature or otherwise. When biosex is not internally consistent, we may call that intersex.

    People whose gender and biosex are the same are often called cis. When gender and biosex don’t align, many of us call that trans. If we are cis we may have trouble understanding how it feels to be trans, so listening to trans people is important.

    You’ve been using sexuality to mean sex, I think.

  26. @Lenore Jones / jonesnori: Thanks for the lesson on terminology, but did you mean to address it to someone else? I don’t think I’ve been talking about sex or gender. And my own comment should have been addressed to Lis Carey.

  27. @JJ: “Where did you read this?”

    I didn’t read it anywhere at all. It’s a thought I’ve been struggling to articulate for some time now, based on how theory works in practice. It’s big and complicated and I don’t think I’ll ever fully express it, whether it’s from lack of time or from lack of mental ability or both. But there you have it, to kick around as you will.

  28. @Cassy B: What you say is pretty close to the current state of truth as I understand it. (I’m weasel-wording only because I read it quickly.–it looks sound to me).

    I’ve also been watching how things play out in practice, which is a lot messier and (to say the least) doesn’t always fit the vocabulary that’s been required to describe it.

  29. John A Arkansawyer: I didn’t read it anywhere at all. It’s a thought I’ve been struggling to articulate for some time now, based on how theory works in practice.

    Sorry, John, I think it’s pure confabulation. As I said, I’ve been paying a lot of attention the last few years, and nowhere have I seen anything remotely resembling what you’ve claimed:
    (“fucking doesn’t have anything to do with your physical body, that sexuality is just a free-floating idea that you can bend and shape as you will.”)

    I would encourage paying more attention to what people in the LGBTQ community are actually saying, and less time and effort inventing what you imagine they’re thinking.

  30. @JJ: “I would encourage paying more attention to what people in the LGBTQ community are actually saying, and less time and effort inventing what you imagine they’re thinking.”

    That’s not bad advice. It’s very good advice for some situations. What I’m doing instead is watching what people do and listening to what people tell me they themselves do. If I’m interested in how things work out in practice, that’s where the action is. So it’s not the best advice for me right now.

  31. Sexuality isn’t a “free-floating idea that you can bend and shape as you will”, it’s tied up with hormones, and brain structures, and epigenetics, and socialization, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff. If it could be bent and shaped as we willed, nobody would ever have gender dysphoria; they could just “will” themselves to be whatever gender they wished.

    I think part of the premise of Walton’s now-unpublished novel is to ask ‘what if’ it could be willed, in the form of easy sex-change surgery. Some think this premise is harmful, yet such surgery and other physical interventions are currently being practiced. One of the things SF does do is let a writer explore such matters in what amounts to a thought experiment. Of course some thoughts can be quite controversial, as we’re seeing here.

  32. Since this thread is still live…

    Jeff Jones: @Nicole (I think): I don’t think “mosquitos” would be a problem for someone who respects all living beings. But it’s said, “what goes around comes around”.

    This is disingenuous and, moreover, victim-blaming: If, conversely, someone does object to being dehumanized, that’s only because they don’t respect non-humans enough?

    Let’s get away from the mosquitoes and take an example from a real-world playbook: When bigots compare, for example, Black people to monkeys, we shouldn’t call out the racist slur but rather encourage Black people to respect monkeys enough to feel the comparison as harmless? And Black people should just be enlightened to shrug off such rhetoric, rather than take it as an active signal that white bigots are still treating them as subhuman, a treatment which has historically included slavery, rape, and murder?

    When you are defending dehumanization, denying the actual lived harm that it does to marginalized people, and tasking marginalized people with “respecting all life” enough to not take offense rather than rightly calling out the bigotry … then it really is time to put down that shovel.

  33. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Speaking out has its place. However, it’s always a good idea to deal with things as they are, not just as they look from a limited POV. There are a number of Buddhist principles. One of them is the inseparability of living beings and their environment (which includes other living beings). Another is the mutual possession of the “10 worlds” (which have been translated as hell, hunger, animality, anger, humanity, heaven, learning, realization, bodhisattva, and buddha). These principles provide a “back door” to the “operating system” of everything. I hope this clarifies my intent.

  34. Jeff Jones, perhaps not! If not, I apologize (though I am still not understanding your point above).

    David W, my terminology lesson above is definitely aimed at you, and I am pretty sure st least one other here. Just above this comment you said that surgery would change sexuality. It would not. It would change sex, but not gender or sexuality. Now, there’s a confusion here, because it could change the label – if a man were attracted only to men before surgery, he would still be attracted only to men after. But the label would change from gay to straight. That might make you think the sexuality had changed, but it would not have – he would still be attracted to the same people. It would likely change who was attracted to him, and leave him with a drastic case of gender dismorphia, but it wouldn’t change his underlying gender or sexuality.

  35. @ David W:

    If you think otherwise, you may need to crack open a biology textbook. Your sex as well as gender is entirely grounded in your physical being, unless you’re a dualist that believes we have a separate soul from our bodies.

    OR, unless you know something about the current research in biology!

    Science Teacher Grace Pokela’s Viral Facebook Post Explains Exactly Why This Transphobic Meme Is Wrong On So Many Levels

    When she spotted a meme claiming that “there are two sexes,” “being one sex but thinking you’re the other is a psychological disorder,” not having an XX or XY chromosome was a “mutation,” and “enabling” trans people is “sociopathy,” Grace Pokela couldn’t stay silent — not just because she’s a lesbian but also because she’s a science teacher. In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, she explains exactly why this transphobic meme is wrong.

    Link to Grace Pokela’s Facebook Post

    Text of FB post for those not on RB:

    I just commented this on a transphobic post that was all like, “In a sexual species, females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y, I’m not a bigot it’s just science.” I’m a science teacher so I responded with this.

    First of all, in a sexual species, you can have females be XX and males be X (insects), you can have females be ZW and males be ZZ (birds), you can have females be females because they developed in a warm environment and males be males because they developed in a cool environment (reptiles), you can have females be females because they lost a penis sword fighting contest (some flatworms), you can have males be males because they were born female, but changed sexes because the only male in their group died (parrotfish and clownfish), you can have males look and act like females because they are trying to get close enough to actual females to mate with them (cuttlefish, bluegills, others), or you can be one of thousands of sexes (slime mold, some mushrooms.)

    Oh, did you mean humans? Oh ok then. You can be male because you were born female, but you have 5-alphareductase deficiency and so you grew a penis at age 12. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but you are insensitive to androgens, and so you have a female body. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but your Y is missing the SRY gene, and so you have a female body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but one of your X’s HAS an SRY gene, and so you have a male body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes- but also a Y. You can be female because you have only one X chromosome at all. And you can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but your heart and brain are male. And vice – effing – versa. Don’t use science to justify your bigotry. The world is way too weird for that shit.

    I don’t expect to change David’s mind because as recent studies have shown, providing actual evidence just makes those emotionally committed to their position double down and cling to it, but these are two good links that I have that I post whenever the stupid “there are only two sexes XX and XY” comes up, along with NATURE! (And these days, I sideeye anybody talking about lobsters, thanks, Jordan!)

  36. Just above this comment you said that surgery would change sexuality. It would not. It would change sex, but not gender or sexuality.

    Well, surgery would certainly change how sexuality is physically expressed, and there is a plasticity to human sexuality that the essentialist model of gender isn’t addressing. Consider how in some societies there’s a phase in male adolesence where same-sex acts like fellatio are fostered, and then disapproved of later. What’s involved in that kind of switch? It appears to be related to pederastry, which is something Greek men of the classic ages practiced. Or consider the history of many male homosexuals back years ago who were in the closet but would marry and even have children with their spouses. So how much do preferences matter?

    Science fiction has routinely dealt with topics involving sexuality, oftimes in controversial ways, but it’s the nature of SF to explore aspects of humanity as it is affected by technology. Whether or not something should be explored is another consideration of course.

  37. robinareid, that’s all well and good as far as the biology goes for a fairly small number of people. But how does your scientific model explain cross-dressing? Hmm. Closed-minded people would like to know, honest!

  38. David W.: that’s all well and good as far as the biology goes for a fairly small number of people. But how does your scientific model explain cross-dressing?

    At this point, you would be well advised to avail yourself the wisdom of The First Law of Holes. The ignorance which you have repeatedly displayed in this thread is shocking, and your doubling- and tripling down on it is just making you look like an incredibly bigoted jerk.

  39. @David W: I am assuming malice as well as ignorance on your part — as I said, I don’t expect to change your bigoted essentialist little mind. However, as a teacher, a queer woman, and someone who, had I been born forty years earlier, would probably have identified as nonbinary or genderqueer and LOVE how much things have changed in my lifetime (not enough but more than I would have dreamed of) despite the crap spewed by people like you, here are some links that explain some of the basics. If you can’t be arsed to read them, fine, but I’m not doing the work of summarizing them for you.

    Cross-dressing has nothing to do with so-called “biological” sex but with gender identity and sexual orientation.

    http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/understanding-cross-dressing

    http://www.differencebetween.info/difference-between-transgender-and-transvestite

    https://bodiesmadeofclay.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/transgender-vs-transsexual-vs-transvestite-a-laymans-guide/

  40. robinareid on April 19, 2018 at 1:20 pm said:
    Thanks, Robin! That’s a fine summary of the variations on a theme that many people would prefer ignoring. (I think of gender and sexuality as spectra (spectrums?): one size doesn’t fit much of anyone well, so there’s just all kinds of them.)

  41. “Well, surgery would certainly change how sexuality is physically expressed…”

    No. Not all sexuality cares about genitals in their expression. If someone is into BDSM, how would expressing their sexuality by flogging someone be affected by a surgery?

    Jeezus, all this lack in imagination and knowledge about the wide spectra of sexualities and their expression.

  42. Due to car problems and computer problems and just ongoing problems, was not able to post this info immediately!

    Thinking of sexual orientations and genders on a spectra is certain better than the binary, but a grid or matrix can be even better.

    Example:

    The Klein sexuality grid

    Number of variables: sexual attraction, sexual behavior, sexual fantasies, emotional preference, social preference, heterosexual/homosexual lifestyle, self identification.

    Allows for change over time (yes it happens for some people): past and present, plus ideal.

  43. @Robinareid, I’m weirded out by the use of “lifestyle” in that grid. It brings up too many memories of people assuming that sexuality was a choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *