Pixel Scroll 11/6/16 The Sound Of One Pixel Scrolling

(1) UNREALITY CHECK. Damien G. Walter loves the Doctor Strange movie but he believes it’s time to explain again that Buddhism wont give you magic powers.

But can we please clear something up here? BUDDHISM IS NOT THE GATEWAY TO SECRET MAGICAL POWERS. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of hours you spend in meditation, you’ll never be able to summon power from other dimensions, conjure cool looking glowing sigils with wavy hand movements, or indulge in the joys of astral projection. Got it?

“Oh Damo!” I hear one of you sigh, “You’re just taking this all too seriously! Nobody believes Buddhism can REALLY give them magical powers. Any more than they believe they can really upload their mind into a computer to achieve immortality! Oh, wait, loads of people do actually believe that…” As, in fact, do many people really genuinely believe Buddhism will give them magic powers. And much as I would like to blame this on Hollywood, it’s a much, much older problem.

While I’m lucky not to have had my hands crushed in an automobile accident, my own life took me into the Himalayan mountains, to study at the Buddhist temples in Dharamsala. I’ve been a student of Buddhism for eight years now. I stepped out of a successful, creative career that was killing me incrementally and Buddhism was part of what helped me transition to a different kind of life. Now I live in Thailand, a Buddhist nation, to study Theravada Buddhism. In 2015 I travelled across India, to the capital of the Tibetan government in exile, and home of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, to study Mahayana Buddhism.

(2) STRANGE THOUGHTS. Paul Weimer shares some thoughts about the Doctor Strange movie.

Tell me if you recognize this story from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A brilliant, snarky, assholish rich person with amazingly skills strides through life blandly, confident that he knows everything, and often can back up his reputation with cold hard skills and knowledge. He is an endless deadpan snarker, always with a cutting jape or a quip for friend and rival alike. He has a long-suffering quasi love interest who clearly deserves better. We get to see him in his glory before an accident brings him low and nearly kills it. Worse, it doesn’t kill him, but gives him a permanent debility, changing his future plans forever. Said asshole learns to be better slowly and painfully in a period of retrenchment and regrowth, becoming a superhero in the process, and defrosting the heart of his love interest a bit whilst in the middle of battling the big baddie.

I could be describing Iron Man, but I am also describing Doctor Strange, and that is the core of one of the problems I found with the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe story.

(3) QUIZZING BUJOLD. Lois McMaster Bujold, who published a new novella this week, Penric’s Mission, is interviewed about her writing process (just in time for the National Novel Writing Month) — “Lois McMaster Bujold Answers Three (Okay, Four) Questions about the Writing Process”.

MD: So, National Novel Writing Month is basically about creating a first draft of at least 50,000 words. What’s your favorite thing about writing the first draft?

LMB: Finishing it. (-:

Starting it runs a close second, true. Then, probably, those moments when a sticky knot gets suddenly undone by some neat idea or inspiration that I didn’t have — often couldn’t have had — earlier.

I do rolling revisions — correcting, rewriting, re-outlining, and dinking as I go — because if I don’t get my edits in pretty early, my prose sets up like concrete, and it takes a jackhammer to pry it open. Also, by the end I will be tired and frantic and in no state of mind for careful polishing, still less major surgery. Since I’m usually doing novels or novellas, there’s too much to face, not to mention wrangle and just find, if I save all that till the finish.

This is a shift from earlier decades, when my method was to complete each chapter, print it out, run it past my test readers, and then do little more than make notes on the pages till I circled around for the final run/s. (There’s never only one.) In the past few years I’ve finally gone paperless, so I do a lot more micro-editing along the way now.

(4) WORLDCON 75 NEWS. The Worldcon 75 International Film Festival is accepting entries.  

Worldcon 75 international film festival is now open for submissions! Please read the official rules and send in your entry form and film by email or snail mail by June 1st, 2017: WORLDCON 75 INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL PDF (633 kB).

(5) OPERATION GONDOR. The Angry Staff Officer says Tolkien exemplifies sound Army doctrine, in “Warfighter: Middle-Earth”.

When I think of the six warfighting functions I always think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

What, you don’t?

Let’s be honest, one does not immediately think of fantasy or science fiction when conversations turn to Army doctrine. Most vignettes that are used to make the subject understandable to the lowly minds of company grade officers are either historical or situational. And while there is nothing wrong with this technique, are we perhaps overlooking a missed opportunity for providing a broader understanding of our doctrine? …

Summary

Through utilizing the six warfighting functions, the Captains of the West were able to preserve their combat power, protect critical information nodes, deceive and confuse the enemy as to their true intentions, and finally mass key maneuver assets at critical points in the enemy lines. This led to an eventual tactical victory that reversed the course of ground operations in the War of the Ring.

Tolkien is assuredly cursing me profoundly in the afterlife.

(6) ON THE OTHER PAW. Rachel Neumeier decided that the B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog’s recent list of 25 cats in sf/f needed answering, so she listed the “Top ten dogs in SFF”.

  1. Barbara Hambly’s wonderful THE BRIDE OF THE RAT GOD actually made me fall a little bit in love with Pekingese, not ordinarily my favorite breed (sorry, Pekingese lovers; just a personal preference). Do NOT be misled by the title, which is deliberately B-movie campy. The story is delightful and the three Pekingese are real characters, real dogs, and also btw capable of hunting demons if any should turn up.

(7) SIGHTS SEEN AND UNSEEN. After being feted at Utopiales, Ann Leckie’s travels took her to Paris, as she tells in her latest post, “Utopiales”.

I did some very touristy things–the day I had to myself in Paris, the weather was clear and just chilly enough for a good walk, and the map told me the Louvre was only a few kilometers from my hotel, so I figured I’d go on foot. It was a nice walk! And the Louvre is just as full of looted antiquities as ever. Every now and then I’d see a familiar object–oh, hello Etruscan couple I’ve seen photos of you all over the place! Oh, that round hat looks familiar, could it be Gudea, King of Lagash? Why, yes, it is! The Dendera Zodiac I didn’t stumble across, though, I was actually looking for it. (And found it.)

I didn’t bother with the Mona Lisa. No doubt she was surrounded the way the Venus de Milo was. I found that kind of fascinating–there were dozens of other wonderful statues in the room, but everyone was just looking at her, taking pictures, and selfies.

A remark that brings to mind Art Buchwald’s famous column, “The Six-Minute Louvre” which begins:

Any sportsman will tell you that the only three things to see in the Louvre are the “Winged Victory of Samothrace,” the “Venus de Milo” and the “Mona Lisa.” The rest of the sculpture and paintings are just so much window dressing for the Big Three, and one hates to waste time in the Louvre when there is so much else to see in Paris….

(8) ANTIHARASSMENT ALLY PROJECT. Steven Saus has created #IWillBelieveYou, “An Ally Project To Support Those Affected by Sexual Harassment and Assault In Fandom and Elsewhere.”

As he explains in a post on his blog Ideatrash:

After the revelations last month (reference one, two), those of us with enough energy, privilege, and resources have to do something. Something that shows both that we will support those who have been harassed and that we do not accept harassment in the places we gather. So, building on the example of Take Back The Night, as well as #IllRideWithYou and #IllGoWithYou, I created #IWillBelieveYou.

(9) ROALD DAHL’S TV SHOW. Atlas Obscura remembers that “In 1961, Roald Dahl Hosted His Own Version of ‘The Twilight Zone’” called Way Out.

Under the gun, some enterprising producers at the network began dreaming up a creepy drama show to fill the time slot, and they went right to Dahl. While he is best remembered today for his timeless works of children’s literature like Matilda and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, for a good portion of his writing career, he was better known as an author of twisted, devilish fiction. As explained in an article originally published in Filmfax Magazine, Dahl jumped at the chance to develop the series, spurred on by the fact that the show’s time slot (9:30 p.m. on Fridays) fell right before another thematically similar little CBS show, The Twilight Zone.

The black-and-white show would begin with what became its signature image, a slow pan over a series of mist-shrouded, disembodied hands, before resting on one which would burst into flames at the title came onscreen. Then, flexing his dry British charm like a more cosmopolitan Vincent Price, Dahl would give a short intro to each episode. The bulk of the program consisted of the main tale, usually a short morality play with an ironic or surprising ending or element, which often dipped into the supernatural. Then Dahl would close out the show with another direct epilogue, much like the Cryptkeeper of the later Tales From the Crypt.

(10) HELLO, I LOVE YOU. A Vintage News story tells how “Abandoned in space in 1967, a US satellite has started transmitting again”.

In 2013 in North Cornwall, UK, an Amateur Radio Astronomer picked up a signal which he determined to be the LES1 that was built by MIT in 1965. The satellite never made it to its intended orbit and had been spinning out of control ever since.

Phil Williams, the amateur radio astronomer from near Bude, picked out the odd signal which was transmitting due to it tumbling end over end every four seconds as the solar panels became shadowed by the engine. “This gives the signal a particularly ghostly sound as the voltage from the solar panels fluctuates,” Williams said.

It’s more than likely the onboard batteries have disintegrated, and something else caused its 237Mhz transmission to resume when it was in sunlight.

The LES1 is about the size of a small automobile and should not cause any issues more than any other piece of space junk in orbit.

This proves electronics built around 50 years ago, 12 years before Voyager 1, and far before microprocessors and integrated circuits are still capable of working in the hostile environs of space. Phil refers to his hobby as “Radio-Archaeology”.

(11) TREACHEROUS HOME APPLIANCES. It’s great that Sixties electronics are still working in space, but look out for latest tech in your own home: the internet of things is a fertile environment for hackers, who can turn even the most innocuous thing to their purposes: “Why Light Bulbs May Be The Next Hacker Target” in the New York Times.

Now here’s the bad news: Putting a bunch of wirelessly connected devices in one area could prove irresistible to hackers. Researchers report in a paper made public on Thursday that they have uncovered a flaw in a wireless technology that is often included in smart home devices like lights, switches, locks, thermostats and many of the components of the much-ballyhooed “smart home” of the future.

The researchers focused on the Philips Hue smart light bulb and found that the wireless flaw could allow hackers to take control of the light bulbs, according to researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science near Tel Aviv and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. That may not sound like a big deal. But imagine thousands or even hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices in close proximity.

Malware created by hackers could be spread like a pathogen among the devices by compromising just one of them.

And they wouldn’t have to have direct access to the devices to infect them: The researchers were able to spread infection in a network inside a building by driving a car 229 feet away.

The new risk comes from a little-known radio protocol called ZigBee. Created in the 1990s, ZigBee is a wireless standard widely used in home consumer devices. While it is supposed to be secure, it hasn’t been held up to the scrutiny of other security methods used around the internet. The researchers found that the ZigBee standard can be used to create a so-called computer worm to spread malicious software among internet-connected devices.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michaeline Duskova, Camestros Felapton, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

More Publishers Cut Ties With Sunil Patel

Two more publishers have ended their connections with Sunil Patel in response to  accusations about his conduct toward women aired on Twitter and summarized in the Pixel Scroll for October 16.

Mothership Zeta made a “Staff Announcement” that Patel is no longer associated with the magazine:

Sunil Patel has resigned as Fiction Assistant Editor at Mothership Zeta, effective immediately. We thank him for all his hard work on the magazine’s first six issues.

Steven Saus, who does business as Alliteration, Ink, also made a public statement about how he will be adjusting the fulfillment of backer rewards for a Kickstarter-funded anthology he published that contains a Patel story, No Sh!t, There I Was, edited by Rachael Acks. Acks co-signed the statement, “The Complicated Mess When The Missing Stair Gets Noticed”.

Saus begins,

Me? When I choose not to publish someone because of their behavior, I’m saying that because I don’t want to be associated with sexist, racist, bigoted, assaulting jerks. It’s because I want the areas where I am, that I’m sponsoring, and that I’m representing to be safe and inclusive.

I believe the women who have come forward. I’m all too aware, as Natalie Luhrs put it, “[that] this is a problem that is endemic to our community, social and professional. There are people being abused right now who truly believe that no one will care if they speak up.”

And I do care.

Then he outlines what he will be doing:

I admire the example set by The Book Smugglers, but I can’t exactly follow their example.

The contracts have already been signed, and the money already paid. Review copies have already been sent out. I can’t undo those things. And undoing them would impact not just Mr. Patel, but all the other fine authors who are in No Shit, There I Was.

What I can – and will – do is offer that all backer rewards that involved Mr. Patel may be fulfilled by me personally, or if we can work it out, another author.

I will also investigate how to update future contracts so that should this situation happen again with a different author, I will have more options.

I welcome your feedback about the actions I’m taking. I am not interested in discussing whether or not you believe the accusations.

Meanwhile, Heather A. at Around the World in 80 Books Blog said in “Hot Air: Fall From Grace” they have yanked a Patel interview from their site.

Over the weekend I found out about a problematic person in the SFF community. He seemed like a nice person in real life when we met to do an interview for this blog, but the accusations from women writers in the community left me stunned (the interview has now been removed).

I take their side….

And I just want to emphasize that I want to be here for support of the community and those who may have been victimized by this person. This blog will not be promoting his work in the future.

And Mary Robinette Kowal discussed a complicated situation — “On Being Friends with Someone Who Turns Out to Be an Asshole” — without commenting on anyone by name, in remarks posted October 17:

Sometimes, someone you’re fond of turns out to be an asshole. Holding them accountable is part of being a friend. It helps them be better. I have a colleague/student/friend who has been awful to other people. Not to me, and that isn’t a defense. Ever.

Their behavior is inexcusable.

Defending my asshole friend’s behavior would make me complicit in it, because then I would be condoning the problematic behavior. The question then becomes… do I remain their friend?

Update 10/19/16: Lightspeed announced Patel’s resignation today as well:

Pixel Scroll 5/18/16 Griefer Madness

(1) GENRE RECAPITULATES ONTOLOGY. Damien Walter divides the audience into “The 8 Tribes of Sci-Fi”.

Calling sci-fi a genre in 2016 is about as accurate as calling the United States one nation. In principle it’s true, but in practice things don’t work that way. While crime, romance and thrillers all remain as coherent genres of fiction, it’s been decades since sci-fi could be comfortably understood by any shared generic criteria. What do Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Seas trilogy, the fiction of Silva Moreno Garcia and the erotic sci-fi of Chuck Tingle actually have in common, beyond being nominated for major sci-fi book awards this year?

The answer is they all belong to one of the eight tribes of sci-fi…..

The Weirds Most writers at some point play around with the effects that can be induced by engineering stories with internal inconsistencies, mashing together disparate metaphors, or simply being weird for weirds sake. The weirds take this as an end in itself. With China Mieville as their reigning king they were riding high for a while. However, with newer voices like Molly Tanzer’s Vermillion coming through, the American ‘bizarro fiction’ movement, and with authors including Joe Hill and Josh Mallerman rejuvenating the traditional horror genre, the Weirds are still among the most creatively interesting of the eight tribes.

(2) SILENT THING. According to Digiday, “85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound”.

Facebook might be hosting upwards of 8 billion views per day on its platform, but a wide majority of that viewership is happening in silence.

As much as 85 percent of video views happen with the sound off, according to multiple publishers. Take, for instance, feel-good site LittleThings, which is averaging 150 million monthly views on Facebook so far this year. Eighty-five percent of its viewership is occurring without users turning the sound on. Similarly, millennial news site Mic, which is also averaging 150 million monthly Facebook views, said 85 percent of its 30-second views are without sound. PopSugar said its silent video views range between 50 and 80 percent.

(3) YAKKITY CAT. Steve Davidson says an interview with Timothy the Talking Cat will appear on Amazing Stories this Thursday. I’m running neck and neck with Steve in pursuit of interviews with the hottest new talents in the field — he won this round!

(4) JENCEVICE OBIT. SF Site News carries word that Chicago conrunner and club fan Mike Jencevice died May 16.

Chicago fan Mike Jencevice (b.1955) died on May 16. Jencevice entered fandom in 1978, publishing the fanzine Trilevel and serving as the long-time president of Queen to Queen’s Three, a media fan club. He ran the dealers room at Windycon for more than 30 years and served on the ISFiC Board for much of that time. He was one of two associate chairs for Chicon 2000.

(5) VR. BBC News explores “How will virtual reality change our lives?”

Four experts, including Mark Bolas – former tutor of Palmer Luckey, who recently hand-delivered the first VR handset made by his company Oculus Rift – talked to the BBC World Service Inquiry programme about the future of VR.

Mark Bolas: Out of the lab

Mark Bolas is a professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts and a researcher at the Institute for Creative Technologies. He has been working in virtual reality since 1988.

VR hits on so many levels. It’s a real out-of-body experience, and yet completely grounded in your body. …

To find a way to make it low cost and still retain that field of view, we harnessed the power of mobile phones – the screens, tracking and processing – and we figured out a lens design that was extremely inexpensive.

It’s been really fun playing all these years, but there’s something more important now, which is making it a space that allows us to harness our emotions, our desire to connect with people.

I’m worried by our current computer interfaces. I watch people walking around like zombies with cell phones in their hands, and I have to manoeuvre a mouse to fill out little boxes on web forms in a horribly frustrating way. I think VR will allow us to transcend this.

I don’t worry so much about where VR is going, I worry about where we currently are.

(6) SHEER WEIR. By the Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach: “Andy Weir, author of ‘The Martian,’ aims his pen at the moon”

Lots of people who are interested in going to Mars have been gathering this week at George Washington University for the annual Humans to Mars Summit, and the star attraction this morning was Andy Weir. He’s the author of the novel “The Martian,” which has sold 3 million copies, been translated into something like 45 languages and served as the basis of the blockbuster movie by the same name, directed by the legendary Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. So, yes, that book did well — remarkably so given that he originally published it in chapters on his website and later as an electronic book that could be downloaded for free.

Weir, whom I interviewed on stage in the summit’s opening session (you can probably find the video here), was scheduled to pop by The Post for today’s “Transformers” event and then visit Capitol Hill to testify before the House subcommittee on space. Busy day! He said he was going to talk about how an interplanetary spacecraft, such as one going from Earth to Mars, can be designed to spin to create artificial gravity. That’s a potential way to moderate the severe physical effects of weightlessness on the human body. Without artificial gravity, the first astronauts on Mars would likely spend many days just trying to recover from all those months in zero-g conditions.

But he’s also working on another novel, this one about a city on the Earth’s moon that features a female protagonist who is something of a criminal but still lovable, according to Weir.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born May 18, 1931 — Mad magazine cartoonist Don Martin
  • Born May 18, 1930 — Fred Saberhagen

(8) THE REAL-LIFE GRINGOTT’S. The BBC tells where the gold is kept.

The largest by far lies in the Bank of England. It holds three-quarters of the gold in London, or 5,134 tonnes. Most of the gold is stored as standard bars weighing 400 troy ounces (12.4 kg or 438.9 ounces) – there are about 500,000 of them, each worth in the region of £350,000.

But the official reserves of the UK Treasury account for less than a tenth of this.

“Just 310 tonnes of the gold in the Bank of England is from the UK Treasury, the rest is mostly commercial,” says Adrian Ash of BullionVault.com.

The gold is held in a system of eight vaults over two floors under Threadneedle Street in the City. This is to spread the weight and prevent the vaults from sinking into the London clay beneath the bank.

“So no maze of caves bored into rock,” says Chip Hitchcock, sounding a little disappointed.

(9) MARCON HARASSMENT, PART ONE. Steven Saus relays “Reports of Harassment at MarCon 2016, including ‘The Chainmail Guy’ who harassed people at CONTEXT” at Ideatrash. (To refresh your memory, see File 770’s post about Context.)

Sadly, I’m hearing from friends who attended MarCon this year that the stance about Chainmail Guy’s harassment – the one that some members of the board decided to destroy the con over rather than censure a buddy who was harassing people – was completely justified.

According to multiple accounts, he was very visible in the main corridor, apparently with a table displaying some chain mail. (Which is exactly the setup that spawned problems at Context.) Sure, he wasn’t a volunteer, but had a very prominent bit of real estate. And, much like the complaints at Context, kept inserting himself into private conversations, just as he did before.

Unlike Context, he was in the main hall – and therefore much harder to avoid.

As one person put it, “if you heard about the stuff about Context, you’d get the very clear opinion that MarCon was okay with all that.”

Sadly, this might just be the case.

There were reports (and these were forwarded to the con chair) of another guy suggesting he should “frisk” a young woman after earlier reaching out to touch her without consent.

A corset vendor walked the line between creepy and harassment by insisting their corset fit perfectly, and any impression otherwise was due to the person’s “body issues”. He told another person that “he needed to see me try on one of the corsets and not in a friendly way…in front of my kids.”

And this is just what’s managed to cross my awareness.

(10) MARCON HARASSMENT, PART TWO. Saus also published “A (Good) Response From One of the Security Team From MarCon about Harassment”. It is signed by JP Withers.

As a fan I really hate it when our community is damaged by harassing behavior. Inclusion is kind of the point of our thing to me.

Our security and operations folks need help making our space better for everyone, and that help is reporting stuff when it happens. I know there can be a lot of reasons someone might not report behavior, but if one of those reasons is a feeling we won’t take it seriously I can tell you that isn’t the case for anyone on my team….

(11) MARCON HARASSMENT, PART THREE. Ferrett Steinmetz, immediately after Marcon, published these generalized comments calling into question how some apply the principle that “A Person Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty By Law”.

…And all the complexity comes to a boil when we’re discussing how to handle missing stairs in a community – potentially dangerous people who have gossip swirling about them, but no definitive proof. (Because most consent violators are smart enough not to do terrible stuff in public with witnesses.) And what do you do to keep your parties free of dangerous players when the only proof you have is the equivalent of “She said Phil didn’t pay her back”? Do you ban people on someone’s word?

Maybe you think the court’s standards are worthy for any institution, which is a noble goal. There is a strong case to be made for “I will hold the people who would spread rumors to the highest of standards,” because yeah, the ugly truth is that there are corrupt cops and there are people who’ll trash folks they don’t like. Having standards for evidence is good, and though there’s no single True goal, having high standards when the penalty is “Banning someone from a party” is not necessarily a bad thing.

But stop extending that to the idiotic argument of “If something someone says has not been proven in a court of law, it is automatically untrue.” No. If that happens, you are adopting the court’s standard of, “We would rather have someone guilty attending our parties than risk ejecting an innocent person.”…

(12) MARCON HARASSMENT, PART FOUR. Reddit ran its own recap of the latest episode, the essence of which is —

But now a different Ohio convention, MarCon, has had a problem with a harasser… and it’s the SAME GUY:

It’s the same stuff different day syndrome at its worst. There is no way for cons in general to keep these people out since conventions don’t have any kind of shared governance… so even when “missing stairs” are dealt with at one con, they aren’t at another. 🙁

(13) UNPAID MINIONS. The Seattlish has screencaps of the legal papers — “Someone Is Suing Emerald City Comicon for Not paying Volunteers”.

A class action lawsuit has been filed by a former Emerald City Comicon volunteer—the organization calls them “minions”—alleging that the convention violates labor laws by treating their volunteers like employees, but failing to pay them.

The suit, filed in King County Superior Court on May 16 by plaintiff Jerry Brooks and naming ECCC and three members of the Demonakos family as defendants, alleges that as many as 250 people may be among the class.

According to the suit, the volunteers are expected to work essentially as paid workers would—performing functions necessary to the operation of the convention—but aren’t required to be paid for their labor or their overtime due to their volunteer status.

This suit could be hard to prove; the volunteers not only willingly enter into an agreement stating that they’ll work for free, but the culture of the convention fosters a competitiveness for the volunteer positions. A lot of people really like volunteering. In a blog post from 2013, a minion wrote that it “isn’t the  kind of thing you do for money.”

(14) STORYBUNDLE. The Story Collection StoryBundle is available for another 15 days. Readers can choose to donate part of each purchase to SFWA. Curator Lisa Mason tells how the bundle was assembled here.

As always at StoryBundle, you the reader name your price—whatever you feel the books are worth. You may designate a portion of the proceeds to go to a charity. For the Story Collection StoryBundle, that’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (“SFWA”). SFWA champions writers’ rights, sponsors the Nebula Award for excellence in science fiction, and promotes numerous literacy groups.

The initial titles in the Story Collection StoryBundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

  • The Green Leopard Plague by Walter Jon Williams. Two stories in this collection won the Nebula Award.
  • Collected Stories by Lewis Shiner. This extensive and multi-genre collection was prepared as an ebook for StoryBundle.
  • Errantry: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand.

Those who pay more than the bonus price of $12 get all three regular titles, plus five more:

  • Women Up to No Good by Pat Murphy. Two stories in the collection were nominated for the Nebula Award.
  • Strange Ladies: 7 Stories by Lisa Mason Six Stories by Kathe Koja. The collection was created by the author for StoryBundle.
  • What I Didn’t See: Stories by Karen Fowler. The collection won the World Fantasy Award and the title story won the Nebula.
  • Wild Things by C.C. Finlay. The collection was prepared as an ebook for StoryBundle and has a brand-new Afterword. Finlay is the editor of F&SF.

(15) NEBULA CONFERENCE. SFWA President Cat Rambo has vivid memories of “Nebula Conference 2016, Chicago”.

For me, so much of the weekend was a reaffirmation of joy in our genre and the worlds that we love, worlds created by some of the best and brightest. Opportunity to talk with so many talented, kind, and outstanding members of the industry. A chance to stand by one of my heroes, someone whose work I’ve read most of my life and who has been one of my role models, and see her body of work recognized. A chance to be in a place where people treated each other with respect as peers and took pride in each other’s accomplishments, where there weren’t the sort of pettinesses that belong on the playground rather than among fellow professionals. A chance to tell people some of what SFWA’s been working hard at in the past year, and some of what’s coming down the pike.

And Liz Argall is still buzzing about Henry Lien’s Radio SFWA.

(16) CONVERT MADE. Say what you like about Seveneves, Bill Gates wrote on his website that it’s got him back reading sf.

“What Bill Gates says: “I hadn’t read any science fiction for a decade when a friend recommended this novel. I’m glad she did. The plot gets going in the first sentence, when the moon blows up. People figure out that in two years a cataclysmic meteor shower will wipe out all life on Earth, so the world unites on a plan to keep humanity going by launching as many spacecraft as possible into orbit.

“You might lose patience with all the information you’ll get about space flight—Stephenson, who lives in Seattle, has clearly done his research—but I loved the technical details. Seveneves inspired me to rekindle my sci-fi habit.””

(17) STAY INVESTED IN THE FUTURE. Helen Sharman speaks out — “First UK Astronaut calls for more Brits in space”.

Britain’s first astronaut has said the UK risks becoming a “backward nation” if the government does not pay to send more people into space.

Helen Sharman believes the country would lose many of the benefits of Tim Peake’s mission if a commitment to more flights is not made very soon.

Ms Sharman said that this was the UK’s “last chance” to be involved “in the future of the human race”.

She spoke to BBC News on the eve of the 25th anniversary of her spaceflight.

The government has effectively paid for one spaceflight, Tim Peake’s, according to Ms Sharman. After he returns to Earth in June, it is unlikely there will be more UK astronauts in space unless the nation makes a further commitment of funds at a ministerial meeting of European Space Agency (Esa) member states later this year.

(18) MR. ROBOT SEASON 2 TRAILER. The Hollywood Reporter summarized the preview video.

“This is what revolution looks like,” the text of the trailer reads. “Control is an illusion.”

Although they were successful in their hack, fsociety will face more obstacles in season two. “They need to know we haven’t given up,” Darlene (Carly Chaiken) says. “That we meant what we said about changing the world.”

However, the most worrisome image in the clip is Mr. Robot himself (Slater) as he puts a gun to Elliot’s head. “Our revolution needs a leader,” he tells Elliot.

 

(19) NEWS FOR HITCHHIKERS. “Towel Day” is coming on May 25, and Nerdist reports a candy store is readying its supply of babelfish.

The fandom of Douglas Adams and his writing is intense, to say the least, and has even resulted in a holiday to honor the late author. Every May 25th, fans around the world celebrate “Towel Day” which itself is a reference to what Adams thought to be the most important item you could have with you through your galactic travels.

As a way of showing their love of everything Hitchhiker’s, a candy shop in Florida that specializes in nerdy confections decided to celebrate by creating some Babel fish of their very own. Using an antique 19th-century drop candy roller, the folks at Public Displays Of Confection rolled out a serendipitous 42 bags of these fish shaped candies just in time for Towel Day, and we can only assume that they went with piña colada flavor because it’s just too hard to perfect the essence of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman, Cat Rambo, Chip Hitchcock, Steve Davidson, Tracy Benton, Darren Garrison, Steven Saus, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

Pixel Scroll 3/7/16 Burning Down the Scroll

(1) MILLION WORDS (IN) MARCH. Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell-Eligible Authors, curated by SL Huang and Kurt Hunt, is available as a free download at Bad Menagerie until March 31.

This anthology includes 120 authors—who contributed 230 works totaling approximately 1.1 MILLION words of fiction. These pieces all originally appeared in 2014, 2015, or 2016 from writers who are new professionals to the science fiction and fantasy field, and they represent a breathtaking range of work from the next generation of speculative storytelling.

All of these authors are eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2016. We hope you’ll use this anthology as a guide in nominating for that award as well as a way of exploring many vibrant new voices in the genre.

(2) MANLY SF. And then, if you run out of things to read, the North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation has announced the preliminary eligibility list of 116 titles for the 2016 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Or you could just look at all the pretty cover art in the “2016 Manly Wade Wellman Award cover gallery” at Bull Spec.

(3) ALPINE PARABLES. An overview of “The Swiss Science Fiction” at Europa SF.

„Swiss science fiction? Never heard of it !

Yet for a long time, the Swiss SF has engaged in speculative fiction game.”

(4) TOO SOON TO REGENERATE? Radio Times has the scoop — “Peter Capaldi: ‘I’ve been asked to stay on in Doctor Who after Steven Moffat leaves’”.

Now, RadioTimes.com can reveal that the BBC has asked Capaldi to stay on as the Doctor after Moffat’s departure — but the actor himself isn’t sure whether he’ll take up their offer.

“I’ve been asked to stay on,” Capaldi told RadioTimes.com, “but it’s such a long time before I have to make that decision.

“Steven’s been absolutely wonderful, so I love working with him. Chris is fantastic, and I think he’s a hugely talented guy.

“I don’t know where the show’s gonna go then. I don’t know. I have to make up my mind, and I haven’t yet.”

(5) ASTRONAUT SHRINKS. Scott Kelly had reportedly grown taller while at the International Space Station, but he’s back to normal now.

US astronaut Scott Kelly said Friday he is battling fatigue and super-sensitive skin, but is back to his normal height after nearly a year in space.

Kelly’s 340-day mission — spent testing the effects of long-term spaceflight ahead of a future mission to Mars, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko — wrapped up early Wednesday when they landed in frigid Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

One of the effects of spending such a long time in the absence of gravity was that Kelly’s spine expanded temporarily, making him grow 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters), only to shrink as he returned to Earth.

His twin brother, Mark Kelly, said they were the same height again by the time they hugged in Houston early Thursday.

According to John Charles, human research program associate manager for international science at NASA, any height gain “probably went away very quickly because it is a function of fluid accumulation in the discs between the bones in the spinal column.”

(6) AUTHOR’S PERSPECTIVE. Rose Lemberg provides “Notes on trans themes in ‘Cloth…’”

Grandmother-na-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” is a Nebula nominee. As such, it is getting a lot of attention.

I usually let my stories stand on their own. When this story came out, I had written brief story notes focusing on Kimi’s autism in the context of the Khana culture. Even that felt too much for me. I want readers to get what they need from my work, without my external authorial influence.

But as this story is getting more attention, I’d like to write some notes about the trans aspects of this story…..

Many of us are pressured by families. Especially trans people. Especially trans people (and queer people) who are from non-white and/or non-Anglo-Western cultural backgrounds, and/or who are immigrants. Many trans people I know have strained relationships with their families, and many had to cut ties with their families or were disowned.

This story came from that place, a place of deep hurt in me, and in many of my trans friends. It came from a place of wanting to imagine healing.

It also came from a place of wanting to center a trans character who comes out later in life. For many trans and queer people, coming out later in life is very fraught. Coming out is always fraught. Coming out later in life, when one’s identity is supposed to be firmly established, is terrifyingly difficult. This is my perspective. I am in my late thirties. There’s not enough trans representation in SFF; there’s never enough representation of queer and trans elders specifically. I write queer and trans elders and older people a lot.

(7) DEVIL IN THE DETAILS. The historianship of Camestros Felapton is on display in “Unpicking a Pupspiracy: Part 1”.

I’m currently near to finishing an update to the Puppy Kerfuffle timeline. The update includes Sp4 stuff as well as some extra bits around the 2013 SFWA controversies.

One issue I thought I hadn’t looked at what was a key piece of Puppy mythology: basically that their enemies are being tipped off by Hugo administrators to enable shenanigans of a vague and never entirely explained nature. A key proponent of this Pupspiracy theory is Mad Genius Dave Freer. In particular this piece from mid April 2015 http://madgeniusclub.com/2015/04/13/nostradumbass-and-madame-bugblatterfatski/

Freer’s piece has two pupspiracies in it; one from Sad Puppies 2 and one from Sad Puppies 3. I’m going to look at the first here and the second in Part 2. However, both use a particular odd kind of fallacious reasoning that we’ve seen Dave use before. It is a sort of a fallacy of significance testing mixed with a false dichotomy and not understanding how probability works.

(8) CLASS IN SESSION. “’You can teach craft but you can’t teach talent.’ The most useless creative writing cliché?” asks Juliet McKenna.

So let’s not get snobbish about the value of craft. Without a good carpenter’s skills, you’d be using splintery planks to board up that hole in your house instead of coming and going through a well-made and secure front door. Let’s definitely not accept any implication that writing craft is merely a toolkit of basic skills which a writer only needs to get to grips with once. I learn new twists and subtleties about different aspects of writing with every piece I write and frequently from what I read. Every writer I know says the same.

Now, about this notion that you cannot teach hopeful writers to have ideas, to have an imagination. The thing is, I’ve never, ever met an aspiring author who didn’t have an imagination. Surely that’s a prerequisite for being a keen reader, never mind for taking up a pen or keyboard to create original fiction? Would-be writers are never short on inspiration.

(9) DONE TWEETING. Joe Vasicek comes to bury, not praise, a social media platform in “#RIPTwitter”.

All of this probably sounds like a tempest in a teapot if you aren’t on Twitter. And yeah, it kind of is. In the last two weeks, I’ve learned that life is generally better without Twitter than it is with it. No more getting sucked into vapid tit-for-tat arguments in 140-character chunks. No more passive-aggressive blocking by people who are allergic to rational, intelligent debate. No more having to worry about being an obvious target for perpetually-offended SJW types who, in their constant efforts to outdo each other with their SJW virtue signaling, can spark an internet lynch mob faster than a California wildfire.

The one big thing that I miss about Twitter is the rapid way that news disseminates through the network. I can’t tell you how many major news stories I heard about through Twitter first—often while they were still unfolding. But if the #RIPTwitter controversy demonstrates anything, it’s that Twitter now has both the means and the motive to suppress major news stories that contradict the established political narrative. That puts them somewhere around Pravda as a current events platform.

Am I going to delete my account the same way that I deleted my Facebook account? Probably not. I deleted my Facebook account because of privacy concerns and Facebook’s data mining. With Twitter, it’s more of an issue with the platform itself. I don’t need to delete my account to sign off and stop using it.

(10) OR YOU CAN ENGAGE. When Steven A. Saus’ call for submissions to an anthology was criticized, here’s how he responded — “Just Wait Until Twitter Comes For You: Addressing and Fixing Unintended Privilege and Bigotry”

TL;DR: When a social justice criticism was brought to us, we acknowledged the mistake, engaged with those criticizing, and fixed the problem instead of doubling down or protesting that wasn’t what we meant. It worked to resolve the problem and helped us clarify the message we meant to send….

So why have I written a thousand words or so about it?

Partially to acknowledge the mistake honestly, and to note how it was fixed.

Partially to demonstrate that there are people in publishing that will listen to your concerns, and that voicing them honestly may effect real change.

Mostly it’s for those people who warned me about Twitter coming for me. It’s for those people who get angry or scared because they’re afraid they’ll use the “wrong” term. It’s for those people who think the right thing to do is to double-down about what they intended and just saw things get worse.

Because they told me that listening to and engaging others would not be useful.

And they were wrong. You can act like a bigot and never mean to. Privelege can be invisible to you – but still lead you to cause real, unintended harm.

I’m here to tell you that if you’re willing to really listen, if you’re willing to put your ego to the side, to forget what you meant and focus on what was heard, if you’re willing to acknowledge the damage you did and willing to try to fix it…

…then you only have to fear making yourself a better person.

(11) ADVANCE NARRATIVE. io9’s Katherine Trendacosta gets a head start on disliking the next Potterverse offering in “JK Rowling Tackles the Magical History of America in New Harry Potter Stories”.

The idea that Salem cast a long shadow over American wizarding history is one that drives me crazy, by the way. First of all, there was a whole thing in the third Harry Potter book about witch burning being pointless because of the Flame-Freezing Charm. But thanks for showing people screaming in fire in the video anyway! Second of all, not to get all “America, fuck yeah!” on people, but please let’s not have the a whole story about the amazing British man saving America from its provincial extremists. Third of all, skin-walkers are a Native American myth, so let’s hope the white British lady approaches that with some delicacy.

 

(12) WORKING FOR A LIVING. Mindy Klasky adds to the alphabet for writers in “J is for Job” at Book View Café.

Other aspects of “job culture” bleed over into the life of a successful writer.

For example, writers maintain professional courtesy for other writers. They don’t savage other writers without good reason. (And even then, they make their attacks in the open, instead of lurking “backstage” in corners of the Internet where their victims can’t follow.) This doesn’t mean, of course, that all writers always must agree with all other writers at all times. Rather, disagreements should be handled with respect and professionalism.

Even more importantly, writers maintain professional courtesy for readers, especially reviewers. It’s impossible to publish a book and get 100% positive reviews. Some reviewers—brace yourself; this is shocking—get things wrong. They might not understand the fine points of the book an author wrote. They might mistake facts. They might have completely, 100% unreasonable opinions.

But the professional writer never engages reviewers. That interaction is never going to work in the author’s favor. The author might be considered a prima donna. He might attract much more negative attention than he ever would have received solely from the negative review. Even if the reviewer is completely absurd, engaging solely in ad hominem attacks, the writer is better off letting the absurdity speak for itself. The cost of interaction (especially including the time to engage) are just too high.

(13) RECURSIVE FILES. Camestros Felapton knows the thing fans are most interested in is…themselves.

I predict his graph of File 770 comment topics, “Trolling With Pie Charts”, will get about a zillion hits.

(14) THEY STUCK AROUND. The Washington Post’s “Speaking of Science” feature reports “Lizards trapped in amber for 100 million years may be some of the oldest of their kind”.

F2_large

Tree resin can be bad news for a tiny animal: The sticky tree sap can stop small creatures in their tracks, freezing them forever in time. But that’s good news for scientists. If you’ve ever seen “Jurassic Park,” you have some idea of how great tree resin is at preserving finicky soft tissues. The hardened amber can keep specimens remarkably intact for millions of years.

Now, scientists have examined a flight of lizards locked away in the stuff about 100 million years ago. Among the specimens is a tiny young lizard that could be the oldest chameleon ever found — a staggering 78 million years older than the previous record breaker. One of the geckos may be the most complete fossil of its kind and age. These and 10 other fossilized lizards are described in a paper published Friday in Science Advances.

(15) THE TATTOOINE BRASS. The Throne Room march from the original Star Wars movie as performed by a mariachi band!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Andrew Porter, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

Sanford Challenges WFC About Missing Safety Policies

The 2016 World Fantasy Con committee has been criticized by Jason Sanford because as of February 1 they still had not posted their antiharassment policy or accessibility policy.

As of February 1st, WFC2016 has yet to post either of these policies. Today’s date matters because on January 31 at 11:59 pm the price to register jumped from $150 to $225. I wanted to register at that lower price but without the policies I wouldn’t do so…

In his blog post “World Fantasy Con 2016 doesn’t care about your harassment and accessibility concerns”, Sanford explains that, even more than the price hike, what really made him lose patience is the dialog between committee leadership and others in a closed World Fantasy Con 2016 Facebook group.

Until today I was trying to be understanding. After all, managing a convention is difficult and relies extensively on volunteer assistance. Maybe no one had pointed out to the people running WFC 2016 how important these policies were to people. Maybe they were having trouble devising these policies.

But then I receive the following screengrabs and many others, which come from the private Facebook group of the people running WFC 2016. The screengrabs show that the people behind WFC 2016 were told repeatedly that they needed these policies, and that it is unfair to not have the policies up before the lower registration fee deadline passed.

But instead of listening to these concerns, which were raised with WFC 2016 since early December, the people agitating for these policies — along with the very need for such policies — were ignored and belittled.

The screencaps are posted at his blog.

Other writers and editors shared his concerns on Twitter.

Sigrid Ellis

Michael Damien Thomas

Marie Brennan

T. Frohock

Steven Saus

Andrea Phillips

Mari Ness

Jeff VanderMeer

However, the WFC committee was not without support.

And Morgan Feldstein wrote this comment on Sanford’s post:

You signed a pledge that prevents you from registering for conventions until certain policies are posted and those policies are deemed adequate by the organizers of the pledges you signed onto. You chose to sign the pledges and adhere to their terms. The organizers of the World Fantasy Convention did not require you sign the pledges. Nor did the World Fantasy Convention make related pricing commitments to the pledge organizers. If you choose to register late for the World Fantasy Convention in order to keep a promise to the pledge organizers, any associated financial burdens are yours to bear and yours alone. The World Fantasy Convention is under no obligation to financially accommodate you in this matter.

I’ve was at the World Fantasy Convention in 2014. I’ve never seen a more polite and well-mannered bunch of conventioneers in my life. If you feel you can’t attend in good conscience because they haven’t properly bent the knee to the pledge organizers, by all means stay home. I have the feeling the conference will manage perfectly well without the collection of Mrs. Grundys who are presently harassing the World Fantasy Convention for an anti-harrassment policy.

In contrast, Marie Brennan called it “World Fantasy’s Safety Surcharge” in a February 1 post.

Today the registration fee for the 2016 World Fantasy Convention went up by seventy-five dollars, from $150 to $225.

I registered during the previous WFC, as has been my habit for years. Unfortunately, now I realize that I need to rethink this policy. Because despite being prodded on these matters, WFC 2016 still has not posted either a harassment or an accessibility policy. The con-runner, going by her comments posted there, seems to think that “be nice to one another” and “the hotel is ADA compliant” are sufficient measures in that regard — and maybe there will be policies posted by the time the con begins, but apparently it’s totally unreasonable to ask for those things before the price of attendance gets jacked up.

This is not okay. It amounts to a safety surcharge, because if you want to attend WFC, you have two choices:

1) Buy your registration early, in the blind faith that the con will do its duty and put together an acceptable set of policies before you arrive.

2) Wait for the policies, and pay more money in exchange: seventy-five dollars more now, another fifty if they aren’t posted by mid-April, literally twice the membership price if you pick your membership up in the fall (y’know, around the time the harassment policy got posted last year). To say nothing of the difficulty in getting a hotel room if the block has sold out, which it often does — a situation that might put you in a different hotel entirely, and yeah, like that won’t cause you problems if your mobility is limited.

Oh, and let’s not forget: this is a con with a membership cap. Waiting to register might mean you can’t attend at all, because they’re sold out. So really it’s heads they win, tails you lose, because if these things matter to you, then you wind up paying more money to the con, or not showing up at all.

Pixel Scroll 10/17 The Fish Have Discovered Fire

(1) A Tokyo department store is offering a $91,000 solid gold figure of the alien Baltan, a villainous monster from Japan’s superhero Ultraman TV series. The perfect accessory to go with the 2007 Hugo base, except none of the winners I know can write the check!

(2) Stephen Fabian, among the most gifted illustrators ever, and whose professional career was capped by multiple Hugo nominations and a World Fantasy Life Achievement Award (2006), has put his gallery online. StephenFabian.com contains 500 drawings and paintings that he did for fan and professional publications beginning in 1965. Fabian includes autobiographical comments about each drawing or painting. For example, appended to his notes on the drawing “Born to Exile”:

And the greater wonder of it is, for me, that every once in a while I receive a surprise gift from a fan in appreciation of my artwork. In this case a fan sent me a beautiful copper etching that he made of my drawing that you see here, and that etching hangs on the wall in my drawing room. Other surprise tokens of appreciation that I’ve received from fans are; a miniature spun glass ship, a knitted sweater with an artist’s palette worked into the chest area, a neatly carved wooden figure of a “Running Bear,” that came from a missionary preacher in New Zealand, a fantasy belt buckle, and a miniature paper-mache sculptured “gnome” that keeps watch over me. I cherish them all, they give form and reality to that wonderful feeling of appreciation that comes from the heart.

Stephen E Fabian Collection

(3) Enter a selfie by tomorrow for a chance to win a box of “Marshmallow Only Lucky Charms”.

General Mills announced the “unicorn of the cereal world,” Marshmallow Only Lucky Charms, is finally a reality — but there are only 10 boxes.

The cereal maker said the 10 boxes of Marshmallow Only Lucky Charms will be given out as prizes in the “Lucky Charms Lucky Selfie” contest, which calls on participants to post pictures of themselves holding “imaginary boxes of Lucky Charms” on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag, “#Lucky10Sweepstakes.”

Entries must be posted by Oct. 18, the company said.

(4) The Gollancz Festival ‘s “One Star Reviews” features Anna Caltabiano, Simon Morden, Sarah Pinborough, Joanne Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Aliette de Bodard, Richard Morgan, Bradley Beaulieu, and Catriona Ward on camera reading their most savage reviews.

(5) Then, Game of Scones is a Gollancz Cake Off with Jammy Lannister and fantasy authors AK Benedict, Edward Cox and Sarah Pinborough competing for the Iron Scone.

(6) Oneiros wrote:

I dream of the day that I’m libelled quoted by Mike on File770. Of course first I guess I’ll have to start a blog of some description.

I notice there is a lot of competition in the comments for the honor of being Santa Claus, but how many others can fix this up for you? While saving the internet from another blog? Merry Christmas!

(7) Mark Kelly journals about his Jonny Quest rewatch – a show that was a big favorite of mine as a kid.

So: the show is about Jonny Quest, his father Dr. Benton Quest, a world-renowned scientist, Quest’s pilot and bodyguard “Race” Bannon, and their ‘adopted son’ Hadji, an Indian boy who saved Dr. Quest’s life while visiting Calcutta. The episodes involve various investigations by Dr. Quest, who seems to have a new scientific specialty each week (sonic waves one week, lasers another, sea fish another, a rare mineral to support the space program on another) or who is challenged by alerts from old friends (a colleague who is captured by jungle natives) or threats from comic-book character Dr. Zin (via a robot spy, etc.)

(8) Accepting submissions – No Shit, There I Was

Who We Are: Alliteration Ink is run by Steven Saus (member SFWA/HWA), focusing on anthologies and single-author collections, with over a dozen titles across two imprints.

Rachael Acks is a writer, geologist, and sharp-dressed sir. In addition to her steampunk novella series, she’s had short stories in Strange Horizons, Waylines, Daily Science Fiction, Penumbra, and more. She’s an active member of SFWA, the Northern Colorado Writer’s Workshop, and Codex.

Who: This will be an open call. All who read and follow the submission guidelines are welcome in the slush pile.

When: Rachael wants stories no later than 6 Jan 2016. No exceptions will be made. The Kickstarter will occur after the table of contents has been set.

What We Want From You:

Stories 2,000-7,500 words long. Query for anything shorter or longer.

All stories must begin with the line, No shit, there I was. It can be dialog or part of the regular prose.

(9) Childhood’s End starts December 14 on SyFy with a three-night event. Stars Charles Dance, recently of Game of Thrones.

John King Tarpinian says, “Hope they do not screw this up.”

I’m not completely reassured, because when I checked the SyFy Youtube channel today, this was the first video they were hyping —

(10) Today in History:

October 17, 1933: Physicist Albert Einstein arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Nazi Germany.

(11) Congratulations to frequent commenter Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on her award-winning photo in the Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

DSN reporter Laura Gjovaag came away with the Sunnyside newspaper’s only first-place award. She won the top award in the black and white sports photo action, or feature, category. The photo of Lady Knight softball player Jenna den Hoed appeared in the May 20, 2014 issue, and beat out all entries in the category submitted by all four circulation groups.

(12) Ultimately, Sarah A. Hoyt’s “Magical Thought” is about a particular anti-gun protest in Texas involving dildos, but on the way to that topic she writes —

The problem is that more and more — and unexpectedly — I run up against this type of thought in places I don’t expect.

We ran into it a lot over the puppy stuff.  No matter how many times we told them we were in it for the stories, and because our story taste was different from theirs, they kept thinking magically.  It went something like this “We’re good people, and we’re for minorities.  So if these people don’t like the same stories we do, they must be racist and sexist.”

This was part of the nonsense that started Gallo’s flareup.  She had some idea we’d get all upset at TOR publishing Kameron Hurley’s book.  Because you know, we have different tastes than those primarily on the left who controlled the Hugos so long, so we don’t want them to … get published?

This only makes sense if the person saying it is inhabiting a magical world, where objects/people of certain valences are played against each other like some kind of card game.

This is not real.  I mean sad puppy supporters might not — or might, I won’t because it’s not to my taste, but — read Hurley’s book, but we won’t recoil from it like a vampire from a cross.  A Hurley book doesn’t magically cancel out a Torgersen book.  Or vice versa.

On the good side, at least on that level, our side doesn’t act like that.  We don’t say “ooh” at a new Ringo book because “Oooh, that will upset those liberals”  we say “oooh,” because we’ll get to read it.  Books are books and people are people, not points in some bizarre game.

(13) Umair Haque says he can explain “Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)”.

Here’s my tiny theory, in a word. Abuse. And further, I’m going to suggest in this short essay that abuse?—?not making money?—?is the great problem tech and media have. The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today. It is greater than censorship, regulation, or (ugh) monetization. It is a problem of staggering magnitude and epic scale, and worse still, it is expensive: it is a problem that can’t be fixed with the cheap, simple fixes beloved by tech: patching up code, pushing out updates.

To explain, let me be clear what I mean by abuse. I don’t just mean the obvious: violent threats. I also mean the endless bickering, the predictable snark, the general atmosphere of little violences that permeate the social web…and the fact that the average person can’t do anything about it.

We once glorified Twitter as a great global town square, a shining agora where everyone could come together to converse. But I’ve never been to a town square where people can shove, push, taunt, bully, shout, harass, threaten, stalk, creep, and mob you…for eavesdropping on a conversation that they weren’t a part of…to alleviate their own existential rage…at their shattered dreams…and you can’t even call a cop. What does that particular social phenomenon sound like to you? Twitter could have been a town square. But now it’s more like a drunken, heaving mosh pit. And while there are people who love to dive into mosh pits, they’re probably not the audience you want to try to build a billion dollar publicly listed company that changes the world upon.

(14) “3+1” — A funny claymation short by Soline Fauconnier, Marie de Lapparent, and Alexandre Cluchet.

(15) “(Give Me That) Old-Time Socialist Utopia: How the Strugatsky brothers’ science fiction went from utopian to dystopian” by Ezra Glinter at The Paris Review.

Since they started writing in the mid-1950s, the brothers published at least twenty-six novels, in addition to stories, plays and a few works written individually. According to a 1967 poll, four of the top ten works of science fiction in the Soviet Union were by the Strugatskys, including Hard to Be a God in first place and Monday Begins on Saturday (1965) in second. For at least three decades they were the most popular science-fiction writers in Russia, and the most influential Russian science-fiction writers in the world.

Their popularity wasn’t without political implications, however. Later in their lives, the Strugatskys were characterized as dissidents—sly underminers of the Soviet regime. In its obituary for Boris, who died in 2012 (Arkady died in 1991), the New York Times called him a “prolific writer who used the genre of science fiction to voice criticisms of Soviet life that would have been unthinkable in other literary forms.” This is mostly true­—their work did become critical and subversive over time. But at the beginning of their career, the Strugatsky brothers were the best socialist utopians in the game.

(16) Todd Mason at Sweet Freedom discovered the 1963 LASFS Lovecraft panel:

Briefly, and in October it’s almost mandatory, particularly for a lifelong horrorist such as myself, to deal with something eldritch, but I’ve finally read the August Derleth-annotated transcript of a symposium recorded on 24 October 1963 at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, a discussion of Lovecraft and his influence featuring a panel including Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, writer Arthur Jean Cox, Sam Russell, and Riverside Quarterly editor Leland Sapiro, along with some comments and questions from the audience. Given that Bloch and Leiber were both helped and influenced by Lovecraft early in their careers and were the two most important exemplars of how to take his model for approaching the matter of horror fiction and improving upon it, it’s useful, if not as comprehensive here as one could hope, to see how they thought about that influence and their respective takes on Lovecraft’s work and legacy. Bloch unsurprisingly seems most taken by the interior aspects of what Lovecraft was getting at in his best work, the questions of identity and madness and usurpation from within; Leiber, also not too surprisingly, is at least as engaged by the larger implications, philosophically and otherwise, of humanity’s not terribly secure foothold in Lovecraft’s universe. The notion that such non-fans of Lovecraft as Avram Davidson and Edmund Wilson had more in common with him than their experience of his work led them to believe is briefly if amusingly explored. Not as significant as some of Leiber and Bloch’s other considerations of Lovecraft, but useful to read, and one’s suspicions of what August Derleth made of what he was transcribing and annotating, particularly when it touches on his own involvement with Lovecraft’s body of work, are mildly telling.

Click the link for a copy of the symposium transcript [PDF, 24 MB file]

(17) Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur is due in theaters November 25.

(18) If you click through the newly released archive of Apollo photos quickly enough you get something like stop motion animation.

[Thanks to Will R., Andrew Porter, Harry Bell, Karl Lembke, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peace Is My Middle Name.]

A Whippet of Earthflea 6/18

aka “The Brand and Bark Concerto”

In today’s roundup are Larry Correia, Cedar Sanderson, solarbird, Jim C. Hines, Stefan Raets, Patri Friedman, Allan Thomas, Steven Saus, Amanda S. Green, Sarah A. Hoyt, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Mike Flynn, Tim Atkinson, Lis Carey, Melina D, and Joe Sherry. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day JJ and RedWombat, and Anna Nimmhaus.)

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Sad Puppies are not calling for any boycotts” – June 18

I’m seeing this narrative pop up that Sad Puppies is calling for a boycott of Tor, but that is simply not true. Speaking as the guy who started the Sad Puppies campaign, I’m not calling for a boycott of anything. I’m not asking anyone to do anything. As far as I’m concerned this mess is between Tor and its customers. I’ve said very little about it so far, but I’ve been clear about that much.

The Sad Puppies Campaign is NOT calling for any boycotts.

[Continues with a discussion of recent history, and outlines Peter Grant’s background.]

After being a soldier, Peter hung up his guns and became a man of God. SJWs are saying that he’s a homophobe because he agreed with Sad Puppies, while in real life he volunteered at a colony for homosexuals who had been forsaken by African society, dying of AIDS. When I first met him, Peter was a prison chaplain, trying to help the fallen and broken, and victims of things you can’t even imagine. Basically, he’s an honorable man who puts his money where his mouth is, and now he’s offended.

Peter asked for a retraction from the Tor editor who flippantly dismissed thousands of fans as unrepentant racist neo-nazis. I don’t believe he’s calling for anything beyond that.

Again, this is between Tor and its readers who feel insulted, not the Sad Puppies campaign or the people who ran it. Yes, those Venn diagrams overlap, but sorry, you can’t blame this one on me. Many normal fans agreed with what Sad Puppies was trying to do, and shockingly enough, they eventually got sick and tired of employees of one of their favorite publishing houses calling them names. I’m not calling for anything, though I can certainly understand why some people are.

If any individual who felt insulted is satisfied with Tom Doherty’s statement saying that his employees don’t speak for his company, good for you. If any individual is unsatisfied and demands further action, that’s also up to you. I’m not going to tell anybody what to think.

For the other side who are saying that Gallo is the real victim here, and she was only speaking truth to power… Yeah, you guys run with that. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together can see she her comments were nonsense. The only thing she is a victim of is arrogance.

To the SJWs saying Tom Doherty is a hateful misogynist because he isn’t letting his employees libel people on the clock anymore? Double down. There might be some people left out there who haven’t realized I was right about you yet.

To the Tor authors I’m seeing post about this, the Sad Puppies campaign is not calling for a boycott. If you are upset why people are angry take it up with your art director about why she’s insulting your customers.

To the Sad Puppies supporters, do what you think is right. All I’m asking is that whatever you do, try to be as civil as possible in your disagreements. Stick with the facts. We’ve got the moral high ground, and the great moderate middle of this debate has seen we’ve been telling the truth all along.

 

Cedar Sanderson in a comment on Monster Hunter Nation – June 17

I have blogged extensively on this, in part because Peter Grant, who I am honored to call a friend, asked me to weigh in as a businesswoman. I have not been calling for a boycott or even a dismissal of Irene Gallo. It is simply a horrible example of unprofessional behavior, and an opportunity for Tor to show that they do respect their customers and vendors even though there is a lot of evidence that certain personnel do not.

 

solarbird on crime and the forces of evil

“this is just pathetic: puppy boycott, ahoy” – June 18

Anyway, the demands are ludicrous, but to summarise:

  • Tor must publicly apologize for writings by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, Irene Gallo, and John Scalzi that “demonize, denigrate, slander and lie about the ‘Puppies’ campaigns”
  • Tor must “publicly reprimand those individuals for stepping over the line”
  • Tor must “publicly indicate that it is putting in place policies to prevent any recurrence of such issues.”

See, this is exactly what you get when you hang one of your own out to dry for making personal comments on their own Facebook page like Tor did. You get escalation. So I’m honestly having a hard time feeling sorry for Tor Books here; it was as predictable a piece of politics as one can imagine. And I’m not just saying that in retrospect; I said so at the time.

Now mind you, this “boycott” is pretty must sad-trumpet amateur hour for several reasons, not the least is probable inability to make visible economic impact. As Vox himself admitted, he hasn’t bought anything from Tor in years, and I doubt all that many of the others who are going to sign on to this thing have either. A few, sure, absolutely – with the hilarious side-effect that means the writers they might be able to hurt are the ones on their side.

 

 

 

Patri Friedman

[Seasteader, son of David, grandson of Milton…]

“Being intolerant of people you don’t like because they’re intolerant” – June 18

So, there is some kerfluffle about Tor books, because one of their employees (Irene Gallo) said on her personal Facebook page that the sad puppies (conservatives fighting a culture war to make SF less SJW-influenced) were racist, homophobic, neo-nazis. Sad puppy supporters like SF author Peter Grant, who has literally exchanged gunfire with neo-nazis in South Africa were understandably outraged at this characterization. And (not so understandably, to me) calling for firing/resignation/public abasement of these employees. Which is where I have a problem. This sounds a lot like:

“Your business must publicly apologize for the hateful speech of your employee which has offended a small minority of listeners by publicly abasing yourselves, and promising not to do it again. This will show the world that hate cannot be tolerated; the strong cannot abuse the weak; and (incidentally) that our tribe is powerful and can grind your tribe under our boot if you dare offend us.”

Which is what anti-SJWers complain about the left doing. Sorry guys, but it’s bad when SJWs do it; and it’s bad when anti-SJWs do it, because, well, it’s bad. As I’ve previously posted, ideological diversity is important, and ideological intolerance is the enemy of ideological diversity and the progress that comes from having many opinions and beliefs working in parallel. Making people suffer professionally for their personal political opinions is stellar example of harmful ideological intolerance.

 

Allan Thomas on LewRockwell.com

“The High Church of Science Fiction and Tor” – June 19

I had heard, from several reliable sources, that it was next to impossible for a libertarian science fiction writer to break into the field.  I absolutely refused to pretend to be non-libertarian just to get published, and so I followed Larry Correia’s Sad Puppies campaign with interest.  Brad Torgerson and Vox Day were able to gather a core following of 360 voters and completely sweep the Hugo award nominations.  Yes, it only took 360 science fiction fans to completely overwhelm the existing system.

The fallout from that event still has not settled, and the awards won’t even be announced until August.  But the reaction makes it obvious that there is a sizable percentage of science fiction fandom that is “not satisfied with the products and services being offered.” Entrepreneurs have a name for this situation–”market opportunity.”

However, to date, it appears that only Castallia House is focused on providing science fiction for this segment of the market; they have even signed a new deal with legendary writer Jerry Pournelle.

For their part, Tor Books seems content to continue to ignore this dissatisfied segment of science fiction fandom.  And, in fact, Tor employees are content to insult them.

 

Steven Saus on ideatrash

“The Topical Changes In Science Fiction And Fantasy Has Nothing To Do WIth Sad Or Rabid Puppies” – June 18

The change in science fiction and fantasy over the last sixty years little to do with politics, and a lot more to do (ironically) with technology.

The current state of sf (science fiction) and f (fantasy) has a small vocal portion of its readership bemoaning the loss of “traditional” science fiction and fantasy. An oft-repeated quote is paraphrased as “Back in the day, when you bought a book with an astronaut on the cover, you knew what you were getting.”

The historical accuracy of this impression, like much nostalgia, is debatable. But more importantly, it is irrelevant.

To understand why, we must look to the Ferris Wheel….

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Time to take a deep breath, stop and think” – June 18

… I’m going to part with one last comment. When I was growing up, I loved SF/F because there was a place for everyone, at least that is the way it seemed. Looking at it now, it feels like a house divided where those on the inside are doing their best to bar the door to everyone else, including a large faction of the reading public. That has got to stop and now.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interviews Mike Flynn on Superversive SF

”Interview with Hugo Nominated Author: Mike Flynn!” – June 18

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

A supporting character in Up Jim River had a backstory in which he had journeyed across the face of his home world before making contact with an interstellar trade ship. That gave me the notion of telling his story. The idea is that as he travels east he encounters progressively more technologically advanced cultures. “In the Stone House” was the second of these stories and was originally was the first half of a longer story the second half of which (“Against the Green”) appeared in the succeeding issue of ANALOG.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Of Pigs, Fights and Life” – June 18

When I said that I couldn’t mention the letters “H-u-g- and o” in the same paragraph without getting linked, I was right.  Or I might not mention the Hugos at all, or only in passing on the last paragraph.  But if the post supports the narrative the puppy-kickers are building, sure as shooting it will get linked.  Like my post about a new Golden Age, which got linked because in their blinkered little minds we’re calling for pulp.  (Sometimes one wonders about the minds that build this narrative.  You are aware someone who grew up on pulp would be 100, right?  You are aware that Heinlein not only wasn’t pulp, but was in many ways the anti-pulp.  I mean, I read Burroughs, but mostly Tarzan, and it wasn’t my favorite.  I read him because grandad had him, so I read him by 5 or 6.  Books were expensive and we had those. But his technique was outdated by then.)

But it supported the narrative, so it got linked.  The same way that its subsequent “Oh, for the love of frack, no one wants pulp” follow up wasn’t.  The same way my friend Sanford’s post over at Otherwhere Gazette, exploding their nonsense wasn’t.  The same way my post pointing out that I felt they were linking me to homophobia and how stupid this was wasn’t.

Oh, it’s very carefully done.  There is an image being built, and he links to those posts that support it.  Then when caught it’s not his fault and he can’t control his commenters, and he can’t see everything.

And, as I said, I have been conversant with these techniques since dealing with the cobbler’s son next door, while growing up.  (Weirdly he didn’t become a communist politician, and has instead racked up several jail terms.)

So Mike Glyer is smarter than the average bear, and much better at Alinsky techniques, and I’m an idiot to fall for them and come out swinging, which meant I had a spanking coming.

 

Tim Atkinson on Magpie Moth

“Kevin J Anderson’s The Dark Between The Stars: control, not mastery” – June 18

I also hadn’t realised – according to Wikipedia – that KJA has written more than 50 best-sellers. It’s easy to be sniffy about writers who tend to work in already established universes, but you don’t keep getting those gigs unless you are good at what you do.

So, before I talk you through The Dark Between The Stars, it’s hats off to an author doing very well for himself at the commercial end of the market.

Dark is more of what Anderson does – space opera on an epic scale – only in a sandbox of his own devising to play in. And what an elaborate, detailed, techno-baroque sandbox it is too, taking in psychic empires, gas giant mining, insectoid robot, gestalt forests, plague collectors and colours from out of spaaaaaaaaaace.

This world-bling – to borrow a phrase from China Mieville – is one of two main admirable qualities the novel has, the other being the plotting. Anderson juggles a huge cast and multiple plot-lines without breaking a sweat, like the hugely experienced pro he is.

But I’m essentially praising Dark as a feat of literary engineering rather than as a novel. These are virtues of control rather than mastery. The array of characters I found unengaging and rather one-dimensional, the action curiously flat. And the sheer size of the book and number of stories spreads Anderson too thinly, so that no single thread truly breathes in its own right.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Deaths of Tao (The Lives of Tao #2), by Wesley Chu” – June 18

Wesley Chu is a nominee for the 2015 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

…All in all, I nearly bounced off this book.

And then, thirty or forty pages in, the characters started to matter to me, and their problems became interesting, and a bit further in, I stopped caring that this is a story type I normally find really dumb and annoying. What can you do? I kept reading. Best New Writer? That seems a fair conclusion, even with the slates this year having possibly kept other good candidates off the ballot….

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Novellas” – June 18

[Reviews all five nominated novellas.]

So today I got the Hugo Packet and decided I would start to read some of the fiction. I haven’t completely decided how I’m going to arrange my votes around the slate, but I was curious about why certain fiction was chosen to be part of the Sad/Rabid Puppy slate. I gave myself permission to give up on short fiction after at least 6 pages if I wanted to. But when I began reading the novellas, I started to get angry. Really bloody angry. So, of course, I decided to blog about them.

The novella category is one of those which was completely stacked by the puppies. I was expecting fiction which wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but still well written examples of fiction I might not usually choose to read. But, honestly, the writing was shit. I’m going to go into more detail on each of the novellas, but 4 out of the 5 of them shouldn’t have been published with such low quality of writing. The 5th was competent – which was a relief – but nowhere near award nomination quality….

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Novelette” – June 18

The best of the bunch here is Rajnar Vajra’s “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, though I’m really not sure what the “Golden Age” part of it is all about. Is it a suggestion that the story harkens back to the golden age of science fiction or is it part of a larger Golden Age milieu that Vajra is working in. If the second, I can’t find any other Golden Age tales. Regardless, “The Triple Sun” is a story with some space exploration, adventure, sass, and all in all good fun.

My Vote

1. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
2. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
3. Championship B’Tok
4. The Day the World Turned Upside Down
5. No Award
6. The Journeyman: In the Stone House

The Castalia of Fu Manchihuahua 6/11

aka At The Mountains Of Muttness

Galloping through today’s roundup are Adam Troy-Castero, Steven Saus, Jim C. Hines, Moshe Feder, Vox Day, Larry Correia, Greg Machlin, J. C. Carlton, Tom Knighton, K. Tempest Bradford, Brenna Clarke Gray, Saumya Arya Haas, Simon Bucher-Jones, Lela E. Buis, Sean Struck, Heather Allen and Tqwana Brown, Lou Antonelli, Eric Flint, Lis Carey, Ferrett Steinmetz, Martin Wisse, Peter Grant, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, James Schardt, Patrick May, Charlotte Ashley, and Kate Paulk. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Anthony and SocialInjusticeWorrier.)

Adam-Troy Castro

“The Art Of The Apology Is Broken Beyond Repair” – June 11

[Numbers 5 and 6 of 11.]

The I-Can-Demand-An-Apology-But-Will-Never-Give-One-And-Never-Accept-One Dynamic: This is a related phenomenon to the previous, in which the offended party cannot and will not accept any responsibility for a mutual dispute, saying, “I would be more than happy to apologize if I was wrong,” which somehow never ever happens. In such relationships, the offended party can last years without ever being once in error. Imagine that. The current controversy in the SF community is led by an individual who has actually come out and told his followers, in as many words, that they should never apologize at any point no matter how excessive their behavior might have been, because that’s surrender. He has also simultaneously demanded apology for one offense or another an almost daily basis. Here, apology is used primarily as a tool to back the other party further and further away from his previous position, gaining ground but never at any point acknowledging any point on which ground might be given. Apology is here a strategy, and it’s all about getting the other guy to issue one. One manifestation of this is insisting that everybody on the other side apologize for and disavow every regrettable thing ever said by any ally, no matter how tangential, while simultaneously saying, “I’m not responsible for everything everybody on my side does!” Apology is here a military strategy, not an attempt at understanding.

The I-Can-Demand-An-Apology-While-Indulging-In-Equivalent-Behavior-Apology: Otherwise known as the Torgersen, this is best summarized as “X needs to apologize for tarring everybody on my side with the same brush, which is the way those SJWs and CHORFS always behave.” This manifests without any self-awareness or sense of irony. Again, this is about gaining ground, not achieving understanding.

 

Steven Saus on ideatrash

“On His Flaming Phallus Substitute (or ‘Why Does It Burn When Vox Posts?’) and The Whole Tor Thing” – June 11

Vox (or Theodore Beale) revealed that he had held on to the screencap in question for weeks for maximum effect.  To quote what he told File770 (source):

I’ve held onto this since I had the screencap, which as you correctly note was made several weeks ago. As for the “sinister plotting”, I have long been in the habit of never using all of my ammunition at once, or pointing-and-shrieking for its own sake. I am a patient man and I didn’t strike back at TNH, PNH, or even John Scalzi right away either.

So here’s the thing. I think Beale got a case of the supervillain soliloquy when he made that comment on File770 – because it tips his hand.  It clearly shows that this isn’t real outrage.  He’s not really upset about what was said. Vox’s actions are a deliberate, orchestrated, premeditated attack on a person and group that he has a beef with.  This isn’t about beliefs or values.  It isn’t about anything in fiction. This looks like nothing more than sociopathic pique, spite, and bile.

 

Jim C. Hines

“The Tor Mess” – June 10

Today: The apology thread at Tor.com has almost 500 comments. People on all sides are expressing anger at Tor and Tom Doherty, and some folks are still talking about a boycott…

…which would seem to be exactly what Beale wanted when he posted that screenshot and released the rabid hounds.

I mean, come on. You don’t think the man who routinely calls John Scalzi a rapist gives a damn about “libel,” do you? Gallo’s comment was a weapon he could use to try to damage Tor Books. And right now, in the heat of anger and argument, it looks like he succeeded.

Realistically though, I can’t imagine this boycott will be any more successful than his last effort. And most of the internet will probably have moved on by the end of the week.

 

Moshe Feder on Facebook  – June 10

As far as I can tell, Irene didn’t start her personal blog page intending to malign any Puppies, either Sad or Rabid. Rather, she responded in a spontaneous, unpremeditated way to a request for an explanation about the Hugo controversy, in the process accurately describing Theodore Beale as a neo-Nazi. Since her answer to the query was so brief, the Sad Puppies were mentioned in close proximity to that description, which understandably left them very uncomfortable. (Eric Flint‘s analysis concluding that this was all a deliberate subtle ploy on Irene’s part to use guilt by association against them gives her too much credit. Like many visual artists, she is a spontaneous writer and not a calculating one.)

Irene has never been known for her diplomacy — I say that as someone who’s knocked heads with her more than once on work-related matters — but I think the reaction to her off-the-cuff statement is more extreme and over-the-top than the statement itself. After all, in the end, it was just one person’s opinion, readily ignorable by those who differ with it. (In fact, it actually _was_ ignored for weeks, until someone decided to weaponize it.) It’s _trivial_ compared to Brad and Larry’s premeditated, organized effort to violate a social compact of 60 years standing. If you want to express outrage, that’s where it should properly be applied.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Moshe Feder doubles down… twice” – June 11

The Associate Editor of Tor Books doubled-down on Facebook:

I’ll be happy to say right now, here on my _personal_ FB page, speaking for myself and not Tor, that I agree with Irene that Vox Day can be fairly described as a neo-Nazi. – Moshe Feder, Associate Editor, Tor Books

It’s a very strange to accuse a self-declared Zionist who edits and publishes Israeli authors of being a neo-Nazi, but then, these are the same people who insist that Brad Torgersen is racist despite his marriage to a black woman…..

In light of these additional provocations by a Tor Books employee, I sent an email to Tom Doherty, Publisher at Tor Books, requesting that he deal directly with the public misbehavior of his Associate Publisher and his Associate Editor. I trust that he will address the situation in a professional and decisive manner. It should be obvious, at this point, that I am far from the only individual being attacked by his employees and that the unpleasantries are not going to end until those employees are held fully accountable for their ludicrously unprofessional actions.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Yes, but…” – June 11

A File 770 SJW frets that we won’t be satisfied with Gallo’s resignation: ….

Well, that all depends on how many SJWs Mr. Doherty and/or Macmillan have the good sense to stop inflicting on science fiction. But (and this is the relevant point), thousands of current customers attacked by Ms Gallo won’t stop buying their books. If Gallo was a fry cook or a sales clerk, she’d be gone already. You don’t show that kind of disrespect and hatred for your customers and keep your job. You simply don’t. I am under no illusion that anyone at Tor or Macmillan like me or wish to do me any favors. But I do assume that they are capable of doing basic math and grasping the lesson of Fox News. Of course, if they instead decide that they want to play the role of CNN and sell only to the left one-third of the population, well, that is certainly their prerogative.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“The latest Sad Puppies related stuff” – June 11

You might have noticed that I’ve not posted much about this topic lately. My original points, that there is political bias in the system, which would result in slander and sabotage, has been pretty well proven. I don’t have much else to add.

Recently a Tor editor said something false and asinine. This is kind of a tradition, but for a bunch of fans this was the final straw. People got really mad (it turns out regular fans don’t like being called neo-nazis) and this time the comments came to the attention of Tor management.

I’ve personally stayed out of this one. I’m used to being lied about by these people. However, it turns out regular fans aren’t. Go figure.

As far as I’m concerned, this is between Tor and its customers. A bunch of folks have come out to condemn Tom Doherty as a misogynist for trying to protect his company, and more #standwithGallo to double down on her comments about how everybody who disagrees with them politically is a racist, sexist, homophobe. That’s awesome. You guys do far more to prove my original contention than anything I could have ever done on my own.

 

J. C. Carlton

“Is It Smart To Piss Off Your Customers And Vendors?” – June 10

Most of the puppies had been giving Tor a break.  It was assumed that the extreme language that we had been seeing was the production of a very small group of individuals, not the entire Tor office.  The call was “not to punish Tor” for the actions of those few.  Ms. Gallo’s comment, and her actions represent  behavior far outside the normal course of business.  For that matter, so do those of the Neilson Haydon’s  and others at Tor.  The obvious intent was, from even before the nominations were announced to essentially destroy any credibility the puppies might have using the usual methods of the typical leftist power elite. Which is to cast anybody who has even a small argument against whatever the leftist agenda as “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.”

Well we have Mr. Doherty’s answer.

http://www.tor.com/2015/06/08/a-message-from-tom-doherty-to-our-readers-and-authors/#comment-526375

Apparently, using words like, “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.” as blanket statements under promotional posts for Tor’s is Ok as long as it’s not on Tor’s website.  I think that the problem at Tor isn’t that Gallo made the statements as libelous and disgusting as they were, but the fact that Tor is the kind of place where statement like that are even thought of as something you would say as part of the regular part of business.  the statement was made in response to an honest and easily answered question.  instead of doing what any of we puppies would do and point the questioner to a bunch of websites or saying google it, Gallo resorted to the worst kind destructive and hateful language. Is this what it’s like in the Tor office?  Apparently so.

 

Tom Knighton

“Where the differences lie” – June 11

From our perspective, the sin wasn’t that she [Irene Gallo] hated us.  While her choice of words was upsetting to say the least, that wouldn’t have been enough to “rally the troops”, so to speak.  The issue was that it was while she was promoting a Tor book.  The perception, for right or wrong, was that she was operating in a professional capacity within that post.

No one thinks her personal Facebook page is an extension of her professional life as a general rule.  The difference was what the post was.

Had her post simply been Puppy-bashing like Feder, both Neilsen Haydens, John Scalzi, David Gerrold, or a number of other people, nothing really would have been said.

The truth is, had it been any of those people, the apology wouldn’t have been enough for even me to call for folks to let it go.  Some critics of the Doherty statement are absolutely correct.  Those folks have said far, far more than Gallo ever did.  They owe us far more in the way of an apology than Gallo ever did.  They’ve said as much, if not worse, and said it far more often.  The simple fact is that they haven’t said it on the same posts that they used to promote books by their employer.

For me, the difference simply lies in what they were doing.

Here’s something for folks to remember about me personally.  The situation with Gallo is a historical note in Sad Puppies 3.  It’s over and done with.  But Patrick Neilsen Hayden and Moshe Feder?  No, they’re ongoing and they are the reason I’m still considering whether I really want to buy any Tor books down the road.  I’d rather not contribute to the level of hate I’ve seen come from them.

 

K. Tempest Bradford on Facebook – June 9

With the current situation, you have the big boss publicly shaming one female employee and sending a message to others that only certain behaviors are tolerated, and have you crossed the line? Watch out! (The line being: saying true things about a Tor author. The line not being: sexually harassing Tor authors, contractors, and employees.)

How the fuck are the other Tor editors supposed to feel about this? (This is not a call for said editors to tell us publicly. There’s a whole lot of reasons why they probably don’t want to do that. I don’t blame them.)

Then there’s the whole thing where Doherty just let Jim Frenkel do his thing for years and years, through multiple complaints from authors who weren’t signed with Tor, authors who were signed with Tor, independent contractors working with Tor, and Tor employees. I don’t remember a public statement about that. I don’t remember a Tor.com post shaming Frenkel. What I do remember is that we found out he was no longer employed at Tor from PNH’s Twitter account. I also remember that he wasn’t fired, he was allowed to resign.

I don’t remember Doherty apologizing to anyone for that.

 

Brenna Clarke Gray on Book Riot

“Reflecting on the Tor Letter as a Lady-Geek” – June 11

I am going to state three givens vis-à-vis this post: if you disagree with them, that’s cool, but maybe you shouldn’t bother reading this post because it will just make you want to say angry things on the internet that I don’t care to read.

  1. I think it’s pretty clear that Vox Day intentionally sat on Gallo’s weeks-old comments until Nebula Awards weekend when, presumably, it would have the greatest impact to trot them out and rally up an angry mob.
  2. I agree in spirit if not in language with Gallo’s critique of SP/RP.
  3. I’m a feminist. This post is categorized as “Feminism.” If the concept of feminism enrages you, feel free to go about your business elsewhere.

So. The Tor letter was a major disappointment for me as a female SFF fan. I was at NorWesCon when the Hugo Award nominees were announced and, having spent most of my weekend in well-attended panels dominated by female pros and openly discussing issues from Gamergate to Women in Refrigerators, hearing the success of Sad Puppies was a punch to the gut. Sometimes female fandom can feel like a game of one step forward, two steps back: every single time we make major representative strides, someone decides that our mere presence at the table — our mere desire to be seen — is political correctness run amok and we must be silenced.

 

Saumya Arya Haas on The The

“Infoxicated Corner: ALL THESE THINGS ARE TRUE: Saumya Arya Haas” – June 11

It is true. As in many SF/F tales, a world is at risk. The world of “tradition,” the world where straight, cis, white guys are the inheritors of the throne, the world where women and minorities have their identities dictated and blunted by a dominant narrative: that world is gravely at risk. It is slow erosion, but it’s real. The Puppies, caught up in the echo chamber of their own fantasies, see themselves as valiant heroes who must save this dying world. They want to control the narrative of the real world by symbolically controlling the narratives of a literary tradition. The world is being remade: by people living their lives out loud, by books, by outrage. We won’t be stuffed back into narrow margins. It must be terrifying to own the whole damn world and then feel it begin to slip away. No wonder they’re sad, and rabid.

We are not outraged about who wins a genre literary award; we are fighting over the world. We are outraged when our meaning comes in conflict with someone else’s meaning and there is a fight to subsume our perspective. We’re outraged because, for many of us, this is not a story about stories. This is the story of our lives. My sympathy with the other side evaporates because there is, very clearly, room for them in the new world we are building. There is room for everyone to have their own place and share their own stories and preserve their own traditions (there is not, however, room for them to impose their narrative on anyone else). Their world, the old world they are struggling to preserve, would grind me down into a minor character written by someone else.

 

Simon Bucher-Jones on SBJ’s pantechnicon extravaganza

“A helpful graphic comparing Vox Day with Nazis” – June 11

The rabid puppies are lead by one Vox Day (Theodore Beale) who believes (or chooses to post as if he believes – and lets give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not lying) a lot of very right wing things.  These have lead to the sad puppies and the rabid puppies being called “extreme right wing to neo-nazi respectively”, and the woman who said that – the art director for Tor books has been upbraided by people who don’t understand the ‘to’ and ‘respectively’ in that description, and seemingly have read nothing by Vox Day.

So to help clarify matters here’s a simple diagram with footnotes:….

 

Bestertester on SFF World

“Sad Puppies Draw Blood” – June 10

Trolls just want attention. So does everybody else, especially authors. To have influence when you’re not rich and connected, you have to get the public’s attention somehow. The most effective way to get the public’s attention is to make people angry. The angry hubbub draws a crowd, and you’ve got name recognition and a following. Outrage goes viral better than anything else. Persecution bestows relevance. The more you harsh on the heretic, the more you fuel his movement. But when the heretic harshes on the establishment, he undermines them. If it’s not a level playing field then the warfare is asymmetric. What works for the underdog works only if you’re the underdog. Vox Day is crazy like a fox,

 

Lela E. Buis

“Cracks in the façade” – June 11

I like Tor books. I don’t care much for traditional, white male SF. I tend to be a flaming liberal, but like the Puppies, I am personally affronted by SJWs (from either side) and publications that assume I don’t really understand the issues and translate the power plays. Plus, I don’t want my submissions to any editor to be evaluated on hidden social justice assumptions.

Over the Nebula Weekend, Vox Day attacked Irene Gallo, who is an editor at Tor, for comments she made on her personal Facebook page. I support Gallo’s right to express her opinions, but this was ill advised. It looks like Gallo fell for the Puppies’ baiting and made a provocative statement that could be construed to represent Tor. Founder Tom Doherty responded with a post distancing himself and Tor from Gallo’s comments and suggesting that he could be forced into asking her to resign. This provoked an immediate chortle from the Puppy supporters, who then fired the opening salvo of an attack on Moshe Feder, another editor at Tor. There were also calls for a boycott of Tor books.

 

Shawn Struck on The Code

“How Tor Books Threw Its Women Employees Under The Bus” – June 11

What’s odd is that Editor at Tor Books Patrick Neilsen Hayden called the Sad Puppies evil. Best aelling author John Scalzi– yes the same John Scalzi that signed a 10 year deal with Tor Books for 3.4 million— has publicly feuded with Vox Day (the white supremacist behind the Rabid Puppies slate) and called him a bigot. Neither of these high profile men had these actions or statements repudiated in public statements from Tom Doherty. In fact,Tom Doherty’s been quiet about a lot of things done by men at Tor.

 

Heather Allen and Tqwana Brown on Around The World In 80 Books

“Tor Books: Mismanagement of PR” – June 11

I always imagine SFF as pushing the envelope, but, in fact, the actions of Tom Doherty takes women a few years back. He represents Tor just as much as Irene does, he just put himself and Tor in the public sphere. I don’t see any positivity coming from this post. Did you really think we would all be on your side? That there would be no consequences to calling out a female employee for something that is affecting the industry she works in? There was a better way to handle this situation which did not include seceding to pressure from a group of Sad Puppies, and which did not include publicly shaming an employee.

 

Lou Antonelli on Facebook – June 11

By the way, I want to take a minute to thank the many people who have been supportive and encouraging to me in the wake of the controversy engendered by this year’s Hugo nominations.

I am proud of my work. No, I am not the greatest s-f writer on the planet. I am not in the Top Ten. Heck, I don’t know if I am in the Top 100. But there are many people who enjoy my work, and they’re the reason I write. I certainly don’t do it for the money. I write for the fans and the enjoyment it brings both them and myself.

 

 

Eric Flint

“NO, AWARDS AREN’T “FAIR.” NEVER HAVE BEEN, NEVER WILL BE. SO WHAT?” – June 11

So, to those of you reading this who are writers yourselves and may have a story eligible to be considered for a Hugo award, have at it. But approach it like an author.

Don’t get worked up because a lot of what happens with awards isn’t “fair.” No, it’s not. It wasn’t “fair” a generation ago—consult the ghosts of Hal Clement, Andre Norton, Richard Matheson and James H. Schmitz—it’s not “fair” now and it’s not going to be “fair” after you’re dead and have joined those ghosts. Accept that now or you will just sink into stupid and pointless resentment.

Yes, there are some steps that could be taken that would improve the situation. I’ll get into those in my next essay. But there is no way to get around the objective reality that only a tiny percentage of eligible authors will ever or can ever receive a Hugo award—or even be nominated for one—and the odds that you will be in that select group are tiny. You will certainly improve your odds if you can write really well, but that’s all you can do—improve them.

If you can’t accept that—accept it ungrudgingly; better yet, cheerfully—then you’re not thinking like an author. You’re thinking like a damn fool.

 

Ferrett Steinmetz

“How Much Of The Sad Puppy Divide Is Just An Approach To Novelty?” – June 11

And I think a lot of the Sad Puppy divide comes down to those who value comfort reading – they want mostly what they’ve read before, with a few twists to keep it fresh – and those of us who only get off on things we haven’t seen before.

There’s nothing wrong with either side, of course – I don’t disdain those who want to read their Laurel K. Hamilton and Harry Potter books a hundred times over, even as I don’t understand it.  Reading is reading. Love what you like.

But I think at some point, people like Brad and company have metastatized their tastes to go “Everyone really wants to hear the same basic stories, deep down” – and from that perspective, of course we’re only adding these weird-ass characters because we’re pandering.  Why would you want to write a gay character when what you’ve read before are straight characters, and the only thing that really scratches your itch is stuff similar to what you’ve read before?

 

Kyle on The Blogdom

“Ugh” – June 11

I love science fiction and fantasy novels. I love the movies. I love comics. The characters, the stories, they make my imagination soar. I also love reading new things. I like it when people write in these genres from perspectives I’ve never thought about.

But right now, a certain subset of the fandom just makes me sick. I feel like we’ve just realized that Hydra has been within our ranks all along. I mean, I always knew there was a certain type of nerd out there. We’ve all run into these dudes. They’re white, afraid of anything not white, and usually very antagonistic towards women. Probably they smell. These shits are out there. Now they’re constantly trying to ruin science fiction and fantasy. The Hugo awards, this controversy, and the entire Sad/Rabid Puppy movement (how absurd is my world at this point? I just typed Sad/Rabid Puppy movement), not to mention the GamerGate shitvalanche, just proves that people still suck. In case you’ve been asleep for a while and maybe thought it was getting better. Nah, they’re still awful.

 

Headmisstress on The Common Room

“Well, hoity toity” – June 11

In a frontal attack, employees at Tor have been going on record attacking  sci-fi authors who , one Tor editor went so far as calling some of Tor’s own authors ((and the readers who read their books) neo-nazis, reprehensible, racist, misogynist, and homophobic (and amazingly, she still has a job). More here.  And here.

Progressives in general have little use or admiration for free speech, for initiative, for lone wolves, for individualism, and especially for entrepreneurs, so niche publishing, the explosion in self-publishing, the ability to say what you want to say without passing the approval of  a left side publisher and its Social Justice Warrior editors is, to them, a downside, not something they see as a benefit.  Niche marketing is not a good thing unless it’s their niche.

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[e]e Words

“Puppy baiting for fun, not profit” – June 11

Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens gets it right when they say we’re wasting time, energy and attention by engaging the Puppies: …

They miss one thing though: for all the outrage and anger it generates, it can also be fun to blogivate about how awful those people are. At least for those of us not the victim of harassement campaigns. It’s whack-a-mole, but it doesn’t have to cost too much energy as long as you manage to restrict yourself.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“The conundrum of wider horizons and narrower systems” – June 11

This is why one side can categorize Sad or Rabid Puppies as ‘neo-Nazi’ or ‘racist’ or ‘bigoted’ or whatever.  Those words are defined on their own terms, not in relation to reality.  Anyone with a couple of brain cells to rub together and an interest in history can define what actually made a Nazi a Nazi.  However, most people don’t bother to do that research.  They merely parrot the ‘Nazi’ label as it’s spoon-fed to them, and in time come to believe it, even though it’s factually false.  On the Puppy side of the fence, I’ve seen far too many people categorize all SJW’s as liars, communists, socialists, deluded, whatever.  I’ve no doubt some of them are, but not all of them – and if we refuse to look at our opponents as individuals, lumping them instead into categories or groups or races or ethnicities, aren’t we doing the same as both Communists and Nazis did?  They demonized “the bourgeoisie” or “the kulaks” or “the Jews” or “the Communists”, and treated them as subhuman, disposable groups.  (There was precious little to choose between Hitler and Stalin, between the Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet gulags.)  Both sides disposed of those they demonized without consideration for their individual humanity.  Aren’t we at risk of doing the same to our opponents, at least in our minds?

I already know that the extremists on both sides will scoff at me for saying that.  “You can’t compromise with evil!”  “It’s no good talking to bigots!”  “If you’re not for us, you’re against us!”  “If you’re not against them, you’re for them!”  Trouble is, who defines evil?  Who defines what is or is not a bigot?  What gives anyone the right to define my beliefs or attitudes or opinions on my behalf?  The answer, of course, is “Nothing and no-one” . . . but that won’t stop them trying.

 

Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag

“The ongoing Hugo mess comes to haunt me again…” – June 11

In short, VD manipulated the puppies, all of them. He whistled and they all trotted up panting, he fed them a piece of month-old meat and they gleefully ripped it apart and started barking on cue. He completely owned them. All of them. And they totally fell for it. They are his dogs and he knows it. Any puppy who responded to that without saying, “why didn’t you bring this up a month ago when it was first posted, instead of on the night the Nebula’s were awarded?” is totally in VD’s control. Their souls belong to him.

As for the comment by Gallo? Well, I don’t know if all the sads are extreme rightwing, but I’m relatively certain that anyone who follows and supports VD fits the other category. I’m also not really sure if all the works on the slates are bad, though I suspect some fit the category of reprehensible. She probably shouldn’t have posted it, but a lot of us post things we later regret. Most of us are lucky enough to not be monitored by a sociopathic misogynistic sicko who has managed to manipulate a bunch of fans into fighting his battles for him, who wants to hurt us just for spits and giggles.

 

James Schardt on The Otherwhere Gazette

“In Defense of Irene Gallo” – June 11

This is another Hugo Award/ Sad Puppy post. I wish it were not true but there is something that needs to be said. The title of this piece says I am defending Irene Gallo regarding the remarks she made on her Facebook page. I am, to a point. And by the end of this article I know she will be angry at me for doing so. The gaffe was ugly and nothing I have to say will make it look any better. I am serious about what I am saying here. I say this because it can be difficult to deal with the fact that someone hates you and actually believes you hate them and their beliefs in return.

 

TPI’s Reading Diary

“My Hugo award votes 2015 part 2 – Short stories” – June 11

All nominees in this category originate from the “puppy lists”. And it shows. I wonder why selected these stories to their slates. There are mostly a celebration of mediocre writing and extreme stupid plotting. The only decent story was Totaled by Kary English. As the nomination was manipulated (and stories were mostly bad) I will vote “no award” for the first place and put the only decent story to the second place.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Skin Game (The Dresden Files #15), by Jim Butcher” – June 11

The writing here is nothing really exceptional, but it’s perfectly competent and smooth. The problem is that because this is a Hugo Best Novel nominee, I’m coming into the series at book number fifteen. At this point, the book relies on the fact that everyone reading it knows the major recurring characters and the world they live in–and I don’t. And sadly, without the backstory, I don’t care.

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Related Work Category” – June 10

[Preceded by comments on all nominees.]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Letters from Gardner
  2. The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF
  3. No Award
  4. Wisdom from My Internet
  5. Why Science is Never Settled
  6. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth.

Yes, “Transhuman and Subhuman” is bad enough to rank below two pieces that aren’t even appropriate for the category.

 

Charlotte Ashley in Apex Magazine

“Clavis Aurea #30: 2015 Hugo Awards Edition (Short Fiction)”

[Includes comments on all nominated short fiction.]

None of these stories challenged or delighted me the way a story meant to represent the best of the year should. They range from poorly executed to merely dull, a great disappointment, given some of the truly excellent work that was published last year.

 

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“Attack of the Infinite Stupid” – June 11

For starters, the Evil Legion of Evil is not Nazi, neo or otherwise. As if we’d associate ourselves with those losers. Seriously, how can an Evil organization expect to be taken seriously if it models itself after a political ideology that started by kicking out some of the most competent people in the country, and went on to our world’s version of “Never start a land war in Asia”, invading Russia.

We are most certainly not racist, misogynist, or homophobic. How could we be when half the ELOE’s founders are female, when the International Lord of HATE (Hi, Larry!) is Hispanic, right alongside Her Draconic Majesty, The Beautiful But Evil Space Princess, Sarah Hoyt. We even have a Brain in a Jar, and a Powder Blue Care Bear with a Bleeding Heart And a Flamethrower, two Redheads of Doom (no one really knows which one is The Redhead of Doom and which is the Other Redhead of Doom). I’m not entirely sure how one classifies the sexuality of a brain in a jar (presumably sapiosexual) but I’m not going to be the one to ask.

Is that not a truly diverse group of people? I haven’t even started on the Vile Faceless Minions or the Mini-Onions in the Tower, or… Oh, nevermind. These twits will never believe a word of it anyway.

 

 

 

SF Writers Create Book To Aid Navy Vet After A Fire

Life After Ashes cover COMPOver 50 sf authors, including Nisi Shawl, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Tobias Buckell, and Laura Resnick, are providing stories for Life After Ashes, an anthology created to help raise money for the family of a Navy veteran and fellow author who lost his home in a fire.

Writer, Navy vet and single father Greg Campbell and his children, Isaac and Scarlett, lost everything when the house burned down this month, including childhood mementos, keepsakes and photos of his late wife, and family pets. Tia Fix Rumbaugh, Isaac’s stepmother, started a crowdfunding campaign to help the family get back on their feet.

The idea for the anthology came up after Steven Saus offered digital copies of his own books as rewards for backers. “I’d just met Isaac, one of the children who lost their home. Not only is his father an author, but Isaac is an aspiring writer himself and an avid reader. It just seemed natural. Then when other authors asked if they could contribute stories as backer rewards, I knew we had the start of something special.” (The full press release about the book is here.)

Life After Ashes will be available in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats to anyone who contributes $25 or more to the crowdfunding campaign raising money for the family. Access the donation site here.

Rumbaugh says the book is having a great impact on the family. “This anthology isn’t just about raising funds to help the Campbells and give people an amazing read from award-winning authors – it’s a cause, it’s a quest, it’s an idea turned into physical hope; hope for Greg, hope for Isaac, hope for Scarlett. Life isn’t all about loss. Life can rise up from the ashes.”

[Thanks to Steven Saus for the story.]

Ohio’s Context: Mostly Dead?

Harassment complaints made by several attendees at Context 27 in September resulted in a publicly-announced 5-year ban of the accused staffer. However, two committee members – Steven Saus and Lucy Snyder – resigned anyway, citing the resistance of several board members of the con’s parent corporation to taking public action on the harassment reports.

The combination of internal dissent and public scrutiny caused the board of Context’s parent corporation FANACO to dissolve itself at the end of November (see Official Statement Regarding the Dissolution of Fanaco’s Board of Directors).

A new president, Mark Freeman, and the six other successors to the FANACO board thought the former leadership intended to assist in a transfer of power that would save the convention. Freeman tried to arrange for signing the state form to name another agent of record, and changing the signers on the convention bank account. But according to Freeman’s detailed statement,  published by Steven Saus, former president Jan Province has not cooperated. Last week Freeman e-mailed her this warning:

“If you fail to sign on Friday [December 26] as you previously agreed in our meeting on December 19th and on the phone with me after you stood me up on December 22nd, I will recommend to the new Board that we all walk away and make public the documentation of the events that led up to the failure to authorize a new Board.”

And how did that work out? Says Freeman —

Instead, on the day of the scheduled meeting, she had a lawyer send a rather over-the-top email to me saying that she would not sign the form and threatening me with police action if I went to her house, among other things. The new Board is, of course, now walking away.

Steven Saus, who made his own observations in a separate post, believes the convention now has no future:

…All the new people who wanted to be part of the new board, who wanted to see Context survive and thrive, realized that they couldn’t fight a (frivolous) lawsuit and simultaneously prepare a convention. Context is dead.