Pixel Scroll 2/13/17 Scroll Me The Pixel Of Alfredo Garcia

(1) DOG DOESN’T BITE MAN. Can you believe it? Someone is not getting sued. His name is Wil Wheaton: “The library for Storytime With Wil just got a little deeper…”

For a few weeks (months?) I’ve been doing this silly and fun thing on Monday nights. I pick a random Choose Your Own Adventure book from my collection, and I read it on my Twitch channel, letting the audience make the choices for me…

So it’s pretty much a regular thing, now, and I seem to have settled upon 6pm Pacific time every Monday, unless there’s a Kings game or I have some other pressing engagement.

Anyway, I always point out that I am not doing this for money, and I don’t mean to infringe on Choose Your Own Adventure’s IP rights or anything like that. I always point out that I’d rather beg forgiveness than ask permission, and I hope that if CYOA ever stumbles upon my thing, they’ll treat it as free marketing and not a thing to throw lawyers at.

So last week, someone from CYOA emailed me … and it turns out a lot of them at the publisher are fans of my work, including my Storytime with Wil thing!! Not only do they not want to sue me to death, she offered to send me a care package, and it arrived today.

See what good things happen when, for a random example, you don’t raise half-a-million dollars on Kickstarter to turn a fan thing into a moneymaker?

(2) FIRST TIME. Jodi Meadows has written an addendum to her post Before She Ignites cover reveal” responding to comments like those made by Justina Ireland (reported in yesterday’s Scroll.)

A few people have mentioned they see this as an important cover, because it has a Black girl in a dress. That’s what I want to talk about. I didn’t realize when the cover was being designed (that’s my privilege), but this is the first time a big publisher has this kind of cover.

It shouldn’t be the first time.

The first time a major publisher designed a YA cover with a Black model in a gown, it should have gone to a Black author.

Again, me not realizing that hadn’t happened yet: that was my white privilege at work.

The fact that mine came first is a symptom of the problems in publishing, and who publishing is designed to work for. By the time I knew what was at stake with this cover and the timing, the model had already been hired and her photos taken. At that point, changing the cover would have meant telling a Black model that she couldn’t be on my cover because she’s Black.

I hope it’s obvious why I wouldn’t do that.

Dhonielle Clayton told me I should say all this upfront, but I resisted because I couldn’t think of a way to do that without seeming preemptively defensive or like I wanted a pat on the back. So I just didn’t talk about it. Now I see that was the wrong decision, because this hurts people. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.

Meadows also discusses a soon-to-be-published YA novel by a black author that will feature such a cover.

Some of the names involved in the Meadows story are also sources for Everdeen Mason’s recent Washington Post article, “There’s a new way for novelists to sound authentic. But at what cost?”, which reports how publishers are hiring “sensitivity readers… who, for a nominal fee, will scan a book for racist, sexist, or other offensive content.”  From Mason’s article, it appears these readers are used most often for YA fantasy novels.

For authors looking for sensitivity readers beyond their fan base there is the Writing in the Margins database, a resource of about 125 readers created by Justina Ireland, author of the YA books “Vengeance Bound” and “Promise of Shadows.” Ireland started the directory last year after hearing other authors at a writing retreat discuss the difficulties in finding people of different backgrounds to read a manuscript and give feedback about such, well, sensitive matters.

One reader for hire in Ireland’s database is Dhonielle Clayton, a librarian and writer based in New York. Clayton reviews two manuscripts per month, going line by line to look at diction, dialogue and plot. Clayton says she analyzes the authenticity of the characters and scenes, then points writers to where they can do more research to improve their work.

Clayton, who is black, sees her role as a vital one. “Books for me are supposed to be vehicles for pleasure, they’re supposed to be escapist and fun,” she says. They’re not supposed to be a place where readers “encounter harmful versions” and stereotypes of people like them.

(3) WHO’S SECOND? The “America First, <yourcountry/etc here> Second” meme (explained in this CNN news segment) has inspired at least two fannish responses –

  • Mordor Second

  • Mars Second

(4) HE’S ON THE FRONT. Cool cover by Tom Gauld for the Guardian Review:

(5) ROUNDTABLE REMOVED. Apex Magazine has pulled the “Intersectional SFF Round Table” that Mia Sereno (Likhain) protested in an open letter to the editors quoted in yesterday’s Scroll. Jason Sizemore passed responsibility to those who packaged the roundtable, who also are “Likhain’s publisher” (bolded in the original as shown).

…One correction I need to make regarding Likhain’s email since this is a discussion she chose to take public rather than giving Apex a chance to respond. She says: “It is not your choice to publish RH that I find appalling, but your specific choice to ask her to contribute to a roundtable on, of all things, intersectionality.”

This is not true. Djibril and Rivqa, Likhain’s publisher, invited Benjanun to be on the round table. The round table contains four other people with greater wisdom on what is and is not appropriate when it comes to intersectionality than I will ever possess: Cassandra Khaw, Vajra Chandrasekera, Miguel Flores Uribe, and Rivqa Rafael. Since they participated in the discussion I could only assume they had no issue including Benjanun. Djibril had no issue with Benjanun. Therefore, I felt it was okay to move forward.

In consideration to the concerns expressed by Likhain’s public post, our readers, and the counsel of several friends in the genre community, I have decided to remove the round table from our website….

(6) WHAT WATCH? James Gleick asks Guardian readers “Do we still need Doctor Who? Time travel in the internet age?”

Two generations of TV watchers have been schooled in temporal paradox by Doctor Who, and when one Doctor gives way to the next, as will happen in the next series, the reincarnation generates almost as much speculation as the royal line of succession. Who will follow Peter Capaldi? She will be a Time Lord, after all.

Nor does time travel belong solely to popular culture. The time-travel meme is pervasive. Neuroscientists investigate “mental time travel”, more solemnly known as “chronesthesia”. Scholars can hardly broach the metaphysics of change and causality without discussing time travel and its paradoxes. Time travel forces its way into philosophy and influences modern physics.

How strange, then, to realise that the concept is barely a century old. The term first occurs in English in 1914 – a back-formation from HG Wells’s The Time Machine (1895). Somehow humanity got by for thousands of years without asking, what if I could travel into the future? What would the world be like? What if I could travel into the past – could I change history?

(7) REVISITING AN OLD FAVORITE. Cat Rambo walks the razor’s edge between a fisking and a fond reading of the Doc Savage novel Quest of Qui in her latest blog post.

Cassy, in the process of shedding a box of Doc Savage novels, found out I loved them and passed them along. I remember Doc and his men fondly; while at my grandparents for a Kansas summer when I was twelve or thirteen, I found my uncle’s old books, which included a pretty complete run of the Bantam reprints and reveled in them for years to come.

I’m going back and rereading while making notes because I loved and still love these books; my hope is that I’ll start to notice some patterns as I move through the books and that I’ll be able to talk about pulp tropes, gender assumptions, reading fiction aimed at a gender other than your own, and writerly techniques in an entertaining and (maybe) useful way….

You’d think Doc would train himself out of that tell, but even the Man of Bronze has limits. An alarm clock rings and a knife appears from nowhere and hits Doc in the back. At this point, we discover that he habitually wears a fine chainmail undergarment. The material of the undergarment isn’t specified. Neither Renny nor Doc can figure out where the knife came from; at least, Renny can’t. Doc’s a cagey dude and you’re never really sure what he knows and what he doesn’t. The knife is an ancient Viking relic.

The phone rings; it’s another of Doc’s men, Monk, aka Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett Mayfair (“Only a few inches over five feet tall and yet over 260 pounds. His brutish exterior concealed the mind of a great scientist,” the frontispiece helpfully informs us) What’s new, pussycat, he asks Doc, only not in those words. An alarm clock just rang in my office and then there was a knife out of nowhere, Doc retorts. Of course the phone goes dead at this point….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • February 13, 1923 – Chuck Yeager, the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound. Born in Myra, West Virginia.

(9) AVOID THE KISS OF DEATH. Leading up to Valentine’s Day, the Horror Writers Association blog presents Mac Child’s latest piece of writing advice, “Love is a Disease: Prevent the Romantic Storyline from Strangling the Scary”.

First, a caveat: There’s nothing wrong with paranormal romance; it’s simply a different genre from horror (and the two genres frequently have a substantial overlap in readers). A romantic storyline, in and of itself, is not a terrible thing at all. This argument is by no means a condemnation of love and the readers who love it.

Romantic fiction uses a different kind of tension—will the protagonist suffer heartbreak? Will the couple get together? End up together?—than the frequently external threats and emphasis on surviving found in horror. In a horror, too much ink spilled about love ends up replacing one tension with another, pulling focus away from whatever monster, human or not, is menacing your hapless heroes.

(10) NEXT CONRUNNER PLEASE. Steve Cooper discussed the latest Conrunner on Facebook and announced he and Alice Lawson will be organizing Conrunner 5.

…We even have a provisional theme – “new con-runners” and with that in mind Conrunner 5 will have a Y.A membership category for those who will be under 40. And we hope to provide bursaries to help members who are relatively new to con-running. We’ve already spoken with the chair of INNOMINATE who will try to find some money for this after pass-along to follow on from the generous donation by Satellite 4 to Conrunner 4. We’ll also be following this up with Follycon and the 2019 Eastercon. There will also be a 2nd Pete Weston memorial scholarship – but how that will be targeted has not yet been fixed.

But Alice and I don’t “Run” Conrunner – we provide the back-bone for others to put on a con-running programme. Claire [Brialey] & Mark [Plummer] did a stirling job this year. Now it could be your turn.

…But let me end by thanking the 70 con-runners who came to Nottingham, and participated in the convention especially the two thirds of members we managed to get on panels. (Next time join earlier and we’ll try and get that closer to 100%). We hope you had an enjoyable and instructive weekend and look forward to seeing you all and many others at Conrunner 5

(11) SELECTIVE EXCERPTS. That’s what Dave Freer always calls these representative quotes, but today I’m really doing it. Plucked from his typical stew of complaints against Puppy-kickers, Scalzi, Tor, and David Gerrold (as well as a big plug for Jon Del Arroz based on taking his story at face value) comes this spot-on statement about the movie Starship Troopers – “Truth in Advertising” at Mad Genius Club.

The other relevant aspect is you shouldn’t be just selling once. The key to success as an author is building a customer base, building a name. Now over on Tor.com they were busy displaying how not to understand this. You see –according to the genius on Tor.com (I hope he runs marketing for the company) – Paul Verhoeven’s STARSHIP TROOPERS was a work of genius satirically parodying that nasty evil Robert A Heinlein that the modern literati of sf love to hate.

(shrug) I don’t care if you agree, or disagree, adore the movie or hate it… the problem is one the writer of the article seems blind to, and yet, when you think about it, is behind almost all the adverse reaction the movie received.

…If Paul Verhoeven had called the movie I HATE HEINLEIN, or HUMAN FASCISTS KILL INNOCENT BUGS the same people now calling it ‘brilliant satire’ would still have loved it… (possibly less, because they enjoyed watching the Heinlein fans get furious), but it would have engendered almost no disparagement. It would also have lost a huge volume of sales to the suckers who believed the advertised name.

(12) LIFE INTERRUPTED. Is it dead or not? There’s a thematically appropriate question for a magazine about ghoulish movies, Fangoria, especially now with there being disputed claims that the magazine has produced its last print issue. Former editor-in-chief Ken W. Hanley announced on Twitter –

Today Fangoria officialdom issued a statement admitting that print publication has been “interrupted” but they hope to make a comeback –

These words are in no way excuses, more the bitter truth about the current circumstances involving our print publication and interruption of production. With time and continued patience from our fans, writers, artists and subscribers we will be working endlessly to make good on any funds owed for magazines and/or articles written. In the meantime, we’ll continue trying to conquer the uphill battle to restore our print issues that our fans urgently long for.

(13) JOCULARITY. Adam Rakunas and Patrick S. Tomlinson have a plan for boosting author revenue – let’s see if this starts trending.

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Lex Berman, Daniel Dern, Paul Weimer, John King Tarpinian, and an untipped hat for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

Photos From Day 1 of Loncon 3

Scenes at the 2014 Worldcon, shot by Francis Hamit:

Loncon 3 Guests of Honor Bryan Talbot, Jeanne Gomoll, Robin Hobb, with co-chair Steve Cooper at the press briefing.

Loncon 3 Guests of Honor Bryan Talbot, Jeanne Gomoll, Robin Hobb, with co-chair Steve Cooper at the press briefing.

Loncon 3 co-chairs Steve Cooper and Alice Lawson at left. Guests of Honor John Clute and Malcolm Edwards at right, during press briefing.

Loncon 3 co-chairs Steve Cooper and Alice Lawson with Guests of Honor John Clute and Malcolm Edwards.

Inside the ExCel at Loncon 3.

Inside the ExCel at Loncon 3.

Sales tables at Loncon 3.

Sales tables at Loncon 3.

Millennium Falcon exhibit at Loncon 3 -- .

Millennium Falcon exhibit at Loncon 3 — <http://www.loncon3.org/exhibits.php#70>.

Robbie Bourget, co-chair Anticipation, 2009 Worldcon.

Robbie Bourget, co-chair Anticipation, 2009 Worldcon.

Gay and Joe Haldeman at Loncon 3.

Gay and Joe Haldeman at Loncon 3.

Statement by Chris Barkley

By Chris Barkley: I am pleased to announce that the misunderstanding regarding the YA Hugo and Loncon 3 has been resolved.

The strongly worded statement issued by the YA Hugo Discussion Page [on Facebook] on Thursday was made because our group was not informed of the decision by the Loncon 3 Committee was not going to use a provision in the WSFS  Constitution to try a YA Hugo Award category next year’s Worldcon.

I have been in contact with Steve Cooper, the Co-Chair of Loncon 3 over this past weekend. He stated that he regretted that the group was not informed and that  previous emails sent to the Committee about his this issue did not reach them directly.

In light of this revelation, the YA Page has  issued an apology to the Loncon 3 Committee about the statement and has  pledged to work with YA Hugo Study Group formed at LoneStarCon 3 to  present an informed report at next year’s Business Meeting.

Loncon 3 Nixes Experimental YA Hugo

Steve Cooper, Co-Chair of the 2014 Worldcon, Loncon 3, said in a message to the Smofs list that a meeting of the full committee decided against introducing a YA special Hugo or YA award despite requests to use its one-time authority under the WSFS Constitution to do so.

Reasoning – As there is currently a business meeting sub-committee in place to bring forward proposals for a YA Hugo / Award to the WSFS business meeting at Loncon 3, we believe it would be wrong for Loncon 3 to pre-empt the workings of this committee, especially as they do not have a draft proposal we could test. So any such move would be seen as Loncon 3 giving an opinion that we believe X is the solution to the YA award, and as the administrating convention for the business meeting where the proposals will be tabled this would be inconsistent with the due impartiality the WSFS membership would expect of us.

Cooper added, “We do not plan to issue a press release on this as it is not our policy to announce things we are not doing, but many of the individuals who have lobbied us to run and not-run a YA Special Hugo have been informed of our decision. People on this list are free to pass on our decision to others not on-here, but we would ask that the decision in full – including the reasoning – is quoted.”

Advocates for a YA Hugo category Chris M. Barkley and Juli Marr responded on Facebook expressing “profound disappointment” about the decision and criticizing the way it was communicated. They also rebutted the reasons given for the decision.

That being said, we would like to reiterate several points; the call for this Special award would have served a dual purpose; to see if the idea a of YA award had any traction with the Hugo Award electorate and for the Hugo Award administrators to provide the YA Committee (and the Business Meeting) any indications of problems that may have occurred during the nomination or voting process.

While we acknowledge the Committee’s reasoning for not presenting the award, we maintain that such an award can be administered this year, without the appearance of prejudice or impropriety by the Committee towards the YA study group. Language from previous proposals could have been used for the expressed purpose of administering the award for this occasion.

However, In light of this decision, we can only look forward to the upcoming discussions of the YA study group over the winter. It is our fervent hope that we will present a viable YA Hugo Award proposal for passage at the Loncon 3 Business Meeting.

Banks Has Terminal Cancer

IainBanks2009

Iain M. Banks in 2009.

Iain M. Banks revealed on April 3 that he is suffering from cancer and has only a short time to live. He shared his diagnosis in a post at Orbit Books:

The bottom line, now, I’m afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year.  So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.

He has cancelled all future public engagements. A website has been set up where people can check his progress and sign a guest book — friends.banksophilia.com.

Banks is a guest of honor at next year’s Worldcon, LonCon 3. The committee extended their wishes and assured he will be celebrated whatever may happen —

Loncon 3 co-chair Alice Lawson said: “We asked Iain to be one of the Guests of Honour at this Worldcon because we wanted to acknowledge the huge contribution he makes to science fiction. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Iain at this time.”

Co-chair Steve Cooper added: “Iain is part of the Worldcon family as well as one of our Guests of Honour. His award-winning work will be celebrated in Loncon 3’s programme, publication and exhibits in 2014.”

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

London in 2014 Bid Files

The London bid to host the 2014 Worldcon, co-chaired by Steve Cooper and Mike Scott, was the sole bid to file by the deadline for appearing on the mail ballot reports Chicon 7.

The London in 2014 official bid filing documentation can be found on Chicon 7’s site selection information page. The official website of the London in 2014 bid can be found here.

The full press release follows the jump.

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London 2014 Video Online

Matt Bowles has posted the London Calling 2014 Worldcon bid launch video. Steve Cooper, a bid co-chair, said he expects it will get taken down before long so enjoy it while you can. It was still available when I posted.

The video is a montage of London being destroyed in sf movies and tv shows. The choice of visual references and the manner in which they have been edited is touched with genius. I especially liked how The Prisoner’s Patrick McGoohan and Angelo Muscat appeared to be fleeing across a London boulevard to escape the alien army shown in the preceding clip.

London Bids for 2014 Worldcon

A bid to bring the 2014 Worldcon to London was officially announced on April 2 at the British Eastercon by spokesman Chris Priest.

The committee proposes to hold the con August 14-18, 2014 in the new International Convention Centre, part of the ExCeL exhibition centre complex in London’s Docklands. 

Leading the bid are co-chairs Steve Cooper and Mike Scott. Steve headed the Publications division for the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon, and is the deputy Facilities division head for 2011 Worldcon in Reno. Mike has extensive Worldcon experience, and co-edits the Hugo award-winning fanzine Plokta.

There are two Deputy Chairs. James Bacon, a former TAFF winner, also co-chaired the 2009 Eastercon. Alice Lawson was the Member Services division head at Interaction and chaired the 2001 Eastercon.

Other members are Claire Brialey, Secretary, co-editor of Banana Wings; John Dowd, Treasurer; Rita Medany, Membership, who is chairing the 2010 Eastercon; and two Advisers, past Worldcon chairs Vince Docherty and Colin Harris.

The bid, and the convention itself, will be non-profit-making organisations run entirely by unpaid volunteers. The bid will be primarily financed by the sale of “pre-supporting” and “friend” memberships, costing £12 and £60 respectively and giving discounts on membership of the convention itself. See the bid website for more details.

The full press release follows the jump.

[Thanks to Mike Scott for the story.]

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