Don Blyly, owner of Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s bookstores, which were burned by vandals on May 30 while protests were happening elsewhere in Minneapolis, has sent another update to his subscribers.
Blyly says he has succeeded in getting the city to issue a demolition permit. The water bill he had to pay as a prerequisite is still a source of confusion.
The city water bills continue to arrive and not make sense. The demolition contractor said that the water bill needed to be paid in full, whether it made sense or not, before a demolition permit will be issued, and he sent me a copy of the latest water bill. I authorized him to pay the water bill and add it to his bill to me. The demolition permit was finally issued, and about ten days after he paid the latest water bill from the city, a new water bill arrived in the mail at my home for a different amount than what the demolition contractor had paid, and the new bill did not show the payment made by the demolition contractor.
The demolition work has been agreed. Blyly has received an estimate to rebuild in line with the probable insurance payout.
…Nine days ago I met with the architect, the general contractor, and the demolition contractor at the ruins so that we would all be in agreement about what should be removed and what should be left behind. At that point I was given a very general estimate that the cost of the rebuild would be about $400,000 more than the figure the insurance company had come up with, and I told them that would be too much. They worked for another week and came up with another estimate that was almost exactly the same as what the insurance company had estimated. But I have a bunch of questions about their proposal which we will have to discuss next week. The demolition contractor will start removing debris in a few days.
Blyly has also looked over other commercial properties – none have sparked his enthusiasm.
I’ve looked at a few commercial properties that are for sale, both in Minneapolis and first ring surrounding locations, but haven’t yet seen anything I’m very excited about. I expect prices will go down as more businesses fail because of covid-19. A lot of companies will also be reducing the amount of space they need as “work-from-home” becomes standard procedure instead of an emergency coping procedure. A lot of other companies are looking to leave Minneapolis out of fear of more looting and rioting in the future, especially around the time of the trial of the four cops involved in the death of George Floyd. I have to admit that I’m not interested in opening up in time to be burnt out a second time, so I’m inclined to wait a bit before deciding what to do next.
Lynell George discusses her forthcoming book, A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler, and her experience in The Huntington archives, on August 26 from 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Free: register here. The Zoom link will be sent in a registration confirmation email.
George will join in conversation with William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute for California and the West and professor of history at USC, and Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington.
Based in San Marino, the Huntington is the home to Butler’s archives, including 386 boxes of drafts, notes, essays, letters and more.
George is a local journalist and essayist. She is the author of three books of nonfiction including After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame. She began working in the Octavia E. Butler archive at The Huntington soon after it opened for research.
[The book] offers a blueprint for a creative life from the perspective of the award-winning science-fiction writer and “MacArthur Genius” Octavia E. Butler. It is a collection of ideas about how to look, listen, breathe?how to be in the world. This book is about the creative process, but not on the page; its canvas is much larger. Author Lynell George not only engages the world that shaped Octavia E. Butler, she also explores the very specific processes through which Butler shaped herself?her unique process of self-making. It’s about creating a life with what little you have?hand-me-down books, repurposed diaries, journals, stealing time to write in the middle of the night, making a small check stretch?bit by bit by bit. Highly visual and packed with photographs of Butler’s ephemera, A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky draws the reader into Butler’s world, creating a sense of unmatched intimacy with the deeply private writer…. It offers a visual album of a creative life?a map that others can follow. Butler once wrote that science fiction was simply “a handful of earth, a handful of sky, and everything in between.” This book offers a slice of the in-between.
Lynell George taught journalism at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, in 2013 was named a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and in 2017 received the Huntington Library’s Alan Jutzi Fellowship for her studies of California writer Octavia E. Butler. Her liner notes for Otis Redding Live at the Whisky a Go Go earned a 2018 GRAMMY award.
Blyly’s predicament shows the Twin Cities are quite different in the way each applies a state law.
In Minneapolis, on a desolate lot where Don Blyly’s bookstore stood before being destroyed in the May riots, two men finish their cigarettes and then walk through a dangerous landscape filled with slippery debris and sharp objects. The city won’t let Blyly haul away his wreckage without a permit, and he can’t get a contractor to tell him how much it will cost to rebuild the store until that happens.
In St. Paul, where Jim Stage’s pharmacy burned down during the same disturbances, crews have already removed the bricks and scorched timbers. A steel fence keeps out trespassers. Stage expects construction of his new Lloyd’s Pharmacy to begin later this month.
The main reason for the different recoveries is simple: Minneapolis requires owners to prepay the second half of their 2020 property taxes in order to obtain a demolition permit. St. Paul does not….
…[Minneapolis] City officials say their hands are tied, pointing to a state law that prohibits the removal of any structures or standing timber until all of the taxes assessed against the building have been fully paid.
The law, however, leaves enforcement to the county, and Hennepin County officials said they made it clear to the city of Minneapolis this summer that they would not enforce the requirement for any riot-damaged properties.
Local business owners are appalled by the finger-pointing, noting that nearly 100 properties in Minneapolis were destroyed or severely damaged in the riots following the death of George Floyd. The vast majority of those properties are either still standing or have been turned into ugly and often dangerous piles of rubble. Owners say the lack of progress is discouraging reinvestment and sending customers to other parts of the metro.
Across the river, recovery is moving much faster:
In St. Paul, officials have been issuing demolition permits in as little as a week, records show.
Tommy Lasorda famously said, “There are three kinds of people in this world: people who make it happen, people who watch what happens, and people who wonder what happened.” And this year, some of the Dragon Awards’ most vocal supporters find themselves in the third category.
You know, I am fairly hooked into the book community. If I don’t read every book, I at least hear about a lot of them. Even if I take one look and decide I don’t want to read it, I at least check it out.
Sure, I’ve heard of a few. Margaret Atwood at least has a TV show. She’s an opportunistic parasite, but people have at least heard of her (though I haven’t heard of that book. I guess she came out with another). I’ve heard of Scalzi–don’t like him, but I can at least pick his name out of a phone book. Chuck Wendigo? The same.
But so many of these names are just … Who? What? Huh?
I’ve been assured by some people (randoms online, mostly) that these are Hugo authors. I guess I’ll take their word on it… but usually, I’ve at least HEARD about those authors. These folks? Nah.
… If only someone could have warned about this.
If only someone could have tried to lead discussions, hold conversations on what books came out. That way, we could have narrowed it down to a few.
WAIT! I know! I DID. I FUCKING WANTED PEOPLE TO DISCUSS BOOKS FOR THE DRAGONS. WHAT DID EVERYONE THINK I WAS DOING IN 2018 AND 2019? COMPILING EVERY ELIGIBLE BOOK BECAUSE IT WAS FUN? I DID IT FOR MY HEALTH? THAT WAS EXTRA WORK I DIDN’T NEED TO DO.
…It was especially fun this year when I had an author see that “I was talking about the Dragon again,” therefore, she asked if “I could put her book on the list.” IE: She didn’t even read the blog post to see what I was talking about. It was assumed I enjoyed killing myself so I could market their book for free.
No one wanted to play. That’s fine. I’m used to it.
But everyone can all stop bitching about it. They either didn’t vote, or didn’t want to talk about it. They didn’t want to invest even thirty minutes into presenting a selection of choices, or having a conversation.
Now this years ballot sucks….
Brian Niemeier in “The Dragon Sleeps” doesn’t think the reason is that they neglected Declan’s advice. After ranting about John Scalzi’s nomination, Niemeier says the pandemic is the reason that the award he’s spent years boosting, where EVERYONE can vote for FREE, has in 2020 generated a ballot bereft of work by him and his friends:
From the author of The Handmaid’s Tale to lesbian vampire stories to a writer so deranged even Disney fired him, this year’s Dragon ballot reads like the canon of Death Cult humiliation scripture….
Of course, the Death Cult witches lie constantly in the manner of their father below. Thus their previous attempt to take over the Dragons in 2017.
That attempt failed, and the Dragons continued to be a direct democratic process as intended. Each subsequent years’ winners were pretty much what you’d expect from a readers’ choice award with a broad voter base. Baen and the bigger indies came to dominate, with cameos from the more mainstream Pop Cult fare like Corey Doctorow and The Expanse.
I and the other cultural commentators who predicted this course of events based our forecasts on the key difference between the Dragons and the other literary awards. Anyone can vote in the former, while the latter lock voting rights behind a paywall or professional organization membership.
Put simply, the Death Cult can monopolize the Hugos because World Con’s voter base is quite small, relatively speaking. The number of CHORFs isn’t growing. In fact, they’re rapidly graying. It stands to reason that an award with an open, large, and growing voter base would be immune to manipulation by an insular Cult.
And for three years, that reasoning held true. But as is its wont, 2020 threw the con scene a curve ball: Corona-chan.
Niemeier tries to spin that the pandemic has caused these aberrant results because people won’t be able to attend an in-person Dragon Con this year. (Never mind that Brian is always telling readers one of the Dragon’s virtues is that you don’t have to buy a con membership to vote.)
…There’s your explanation for what happened with the Dragons. The virus shut down the con, normal people tuned out, and the small but relentless Cult faction took advantage of the drastically reduced voter base to pack the ballot.
Then, the following Twitter conversation was devoted to asking “What happened?”
In contrast, Larry Correia, inventor of Sad Puppies, hailed the 2020 ballot: “Fantastic! There are a bunch of really good authors nominated this year.”
And Brad R. Torgersen, who ran the last Sad Puppies slate, found the pandemic didn’t stop his friends from getting nominated: “Nice to see some friends getting some well-deserved recognition on the Dragons final ballot. Even though there is no DragonCon being held in Atlanta due to Covid-19 panic, the Dragons roar onward. Good luck to Nick and Jason, Marko, Dave, and Chris!”
It’s a field where I would be happy with any one of these writers/titles winning, so that’s really the best of all possible worlds. And it’s nice to see The Last Emperox getting some early recognition, award-wise. That would be lovely to have continue.
Fonda Lee is especially happy:
(She’s been up for a Nebula and won a World Fantasy Award (2018), neither of which, it’s true, would you call “fan awards,” however, she’s won three Aurora Awards, which I thought are run by fans; I’ll have to defer to her knowledge on that score.)
Meanwhile, even experienced sff news reporters like Ansible’s David Langford are still coming to grips with the Dragon Awards’ turnaround. He told Camestros Felapton:
I am of course utterly stupended. But this is a condition that comes easily to me.
You and me both, Dave. And count on you to know the best word for it.
Editor Robert Price set off a rebellion among the contributors to his revival of a classic fantasy anthology series, Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords #6, when they got a look at the political diatribe in his Introduction to the book.
Cliff Biggers, a longtime friend and one of those authors, broadcast his decision to pull his story “Godkiller” in protest:
It has come to my attention that in the introduction to the book Flashing Swords #6, Editor Robert M. Price has made several statements that I cannot and do not agree with. I have requested that my name and story be removed from the anthology, and I cannot recommend that anyone buy the book. I’ll make sure that my story “Godkiller” is available in another form at a later date. I apologize to anyone who may have already purchased the book at my earlier recommendation. If you cannot cancel your order from Amazon, contact me and I will personally reimburse you for the cost of this book. None of us who contributed to the book saw the introduction prior to publication. This introduction does not reflect my beliefs, my feelings, or my philosophy of tolerance, understanding, and acceptance. I still believe that sword and sorcery is a fine genre that has room for people of all races, genders, lifestyles, and beliefs, as it has from the early days when women like C.L. Moore and Margaret Brundage played a vital role in developing and popularizing the genre. I am not the only author who has expressed these concerns to Robert M. Price, but I will let those other authors speak for themselves.
Price’s Introduction talks about “the feminization of American culture.” He seems to see himself as protesting overreactions to injustices that deserve to be called out, where society’s response “smacks of an ideology of man-hating.”
Amazon’s listing for the paperback remains live at the moment, here, with the “Look Inside” feature still working and the complete Introduction available to read there. And if that goes away, two screencaps of excerpts are here and here.
Earlier today I recommended and spoke of how proud I was in seeing my first published Sword and Sorcery story in the returning anthology series, Flashing Swords. I apologize for those words.
A short time ago I learned of Robert Price’s introduction and felt sick to my stomach. I wrote and requested my name and story be removed from the book as well as the book that followed.
I’m grateful to Charles R Rutledge for bringing this to my attention. If you purchased the book on my recommendation, I hope you will forgive me for this situation. I had not received a proof copy and would not have allowed my name connected to such statements.
It has come to my attention that in the introduction to the book FLASHING SWORDS! #6, Editor Robert M. Price has made several political/socio-cultural statements. I was not aware of this introduction until the book went live for purchase, and I read it via the Amazon preview feature.
Whether I agree or disagree, I do not believe in political screeds prefacing my story. If I want politics in my story, I will put them there myself. I did not sign up for a crusade. I signed up to tell a fun story with other stories of sword-&-sorcery.
A request to remove the introduction was refused. I have requested that my name and story be removed from the anthology. At this time, it is not clear this will be done. It is certainly not worth going to court over.
I have always prided myself on my professionalism in this little area of the world of writing that is mine. So, I will say no further but know that certain typical steps were *not* followed and therefore it is well within my rights to pull the story.
I am disappointed the editor has chosen a screed over a quality story.
I apologize to anyone who may have already purchased the book at my earlier recommendation.
Personally, obviously, I cannot recommend the anthology in its current state.
(I am not the only author who has expressed these concerns to Robert M. Price, but I will let those other authors speak for themselves.)
Cliff Biggers subsequently reports, “Pulp Hero Press publisher Bob McClain has reached out to those of us who removed our stories from Flashing Swords #6. He has removed the book from Amazon and has been very understanding of our concerns.”
When Bob Price sent me the manuscript, I assumed that he had shared his introduction with the authors, given the controversial content. I don’t agree with much of anything in that introduction, but I also don’t like to censor other viewpoints – so, on the assumption that all the authors were on board, I published the book. The problem, of course, is that the authors didn’t know what Bob had written in the introduction. Surprise! And of course they don’t want to be seen as implicitly accepting or endorsing Bob’s opinions by having their work appear in his book.
I read FLASHING SWORDS as a kid in the 1970s and it’s a shame that the brand has taken such a hit so soon after its reappearance. I’m speaking with most of the contributors about including their stories in a new anthology series – no politics, no drama, just sword-and-sorcery! – that I’d like to release later this year.
[Thanks to Cliff Biggers and James Davis Nicoll for the story.]
A new collection of links and clippings as part of File 770’s commitment to be “All Bradbury all the time.”
(1) BRADBURY MATERIAL IN THE GREAT AMERICAN BROADCAST. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Leonard Maltin interviewed Ray Bradbury for his 1997 book The Great American Broadcast: A Celebration of Radio’s Golden Age. This summarizes what Bradbury said.
Bradbury told Maltin that his first encounter with radio came in 1934, when Bradbury was 14, and saw George Burns “in front of the Figueroa Street Playhouse….and I asked
George if he’d take me into the broadcast with a friend of mine.” Bradbury and his friend got a private performance of a Burns and Allen radio show.
Bradbury then began writing spec scripts for Burns and Allen. “Every Wednesday night, I’d turn in a new script to them. I would type them in the typing class at Berendo Junior School behind my teacher’s back, so she wouldn’t know what I was doing. And of course they were lousy, but George pretended they were okay. He was very kind.” One of Bradbury’s sketches was used by Burns in February 1935.
In 1982 Bradbury was at the Cocoanut Grove to give an award to Steven Spielberg. George Burns was in the audience, and Bradbury told the crowd how he and George Burns met when Bradbury was a teenager. ‘When it was all over, George came to me and said, ‘Was that you? Was that you? I remember you!”
Bradbury also recalled sending one of his Weird Tales stories to William Spear for Suspense. Producer-director Spear invited Bradbury to his house, where he would talk with Spear and Spear’s wife, Kay Thompson, about fiction. Celebrities often stopped by when Bradbury was visiting.
“It was glorious, because these were dream times,” Bradbury recalled. “I’d have cocktails with Orson Welles and Ava Gardner—they were going together at the time—and Agnes Moorehead. So it was the first time I really felt accepted around Hollywood.”
(2) LISTEN IN. “RadioWest Book Club: ‘Dandelion Wine'” — on June 29 the RadioWest Book Club met via Zoom with Dr. Jonathan Eller to discuss Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. A recording of the podcast is at the link.
Dr. Jonathan Eller is a Chancellor’s Professor of English and director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University. He first met Ray Bradbury in the late 1980s and developed a friendship that lasted until Bradbury’s passing in 2012. Dr. Eller’s most recent books include Becoming Ray Bradbury, Ray Bradbury Unbound and the forthcoming Bradbury Beyond Apollo.
(3) BRADBURY CENTENARY PODCAST STARTS SOON. Bradbury 100 is Phil Nichols’ new podcast, “a celebration of the centenary year of Ray Bradbury. This will be a limited-run series, with about ten episodes, where I aim to bring together fans, friends and scholars of Bradbury.” The first episode will be released on July 25th 2020.
The interviews will include novelist and author of Searching for Ray Bradbury, Steven Paul Leiva; and the managing director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Jason Aukerman.
You can now subscribe to Bradbury 100 via iTunes/Apple Podcasts.
Science fiction fans will not need reminding that this year – August 22nd, to be exact – marks the centenary of Ray Bradbury’s birth. Nor will they, and many others, need to be told that Bradbury is one of the most celebrated exponents of the genre, a key figure in ushering in the golden age science fiction enjoyed during the cold war.
… One part of the Bradbury story that may be less well known, however, is his Irish connection. This had its origins when in 1953 director John Huston recruited him to write the screenplay for his film of Moby Dick. Though the two men had expressed a wish to work together, Huston’s offer came to Bradbury as a bit of a shock, possibly because at the time he had yet to read Melville’s novel.
But, of course, this was an offer he couldn’t refuse. So, the night of Huston’s proposal, Bradbury – by his own account – stayed up till dawn making good his omission, a feat that smacks of Ahab’s whale-tussling or some such epic fiction. And, by morning, the account continues, Bradbury had knocked enough skelps off the thing to believe he was the man for the screenwriting job. It turned out that he’d signed up for a stormy voyage – but the money was good: $12,500 for the script, plus another $200 a week living expenses.
A frequent visitor to South Pasadena, Ray Bradbury, a famed American author and screenwriter, will be further memorialized and respected with the installation of stained glass windows featuring the beloved figure inside the local library.
Tim Carey, a painter turned glass artist who currently runs Tim Carey Studio in South Pasadena, has teamed with his former company, Judson Studios, in bringing the project to life. The design has been donated by Carey and the fabrication will take place at Judson Studios this summer or early fall.
The window project looks out the library’s conference room, named after Bradbury, leaving some outside to wonder as they sit and play on a giant Morton fig tree, a landmark destination in town. “To honor him at the South Pasadena Public Library with an artwork of this caliber would be remarkable,” said Cathy Billings, the city’s library director, continuing to raise funds for it. “I love to imagine all the kids playing on the Library Tree looking up at the beautiful work shining from the conference room windows, and being inspired to learn, imagine and read.”
… Carey drew inspiration to take on the stained glass project after meeting former South Pasadena Librarian Steve Fjeldsted, who was also an active member of Rotary in the city. “During a tour of the library, he showed me the Ray Bradbury Conference Room,” explained Carey. “I was immediately drawn to the windows, and the idea was born. Because I knew it was a long shot, I offered to do the design as a donation to the library back in 2018. Steve championed the idea through many meetings and we were able to create some momentum.”
(6) RAY BRADBURY ON THE APOLLO 11 MOON LANDING. “Science fiction legend Ray Bradbury reacts to the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969. At the time of the Apollo 11 landing, Bradbury was in London. He was interviewed by Mike Wallace, and the interview beamed by satellite to CBS in New York.”
(7) WOULD YOU BUY IT FOR A NICKLEBY? Here is a short story film “Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby is a Friend of Mine” written by Ray Bradbury. From 1981.
The other person named, Sam Flegal, artist and co-founder of the art camp One Fantastic Week, issued an apology on Facebook for unspecified acts against women he had contact with. That Facebook post is no longer publicly available, but a screencap of Flegal’s statement has been posted by M M Schill on her Patreon, here, with a detailed response.
Another public post on the topic links to the tweeted statement of Eunjoo Han (in screencaps attached to the link) who does not name the harasser being discussed, but he is alleged to be Flegal.
Here are links to the three other accounts of Sam Flegal’s activities posted so far:
Because abuse thrives in darkness, I am going public with my experiences. The damage done to our fantasy art and illustration community is too great to be mended by silence. Silence about social issues never solves anything anyway– it’s only the loud that provoke social change. And our community, our community and convention culture, BADLY need change.
Nen Chang (former faculty at the One Fantastic Workshop run by Sam Flegal and Peter Mohrbacher) also posted a statement in a series of screencaps on Twitter. Thread starts here.
Kelly McKernan made a statement about Flegal’s apology. Thread starts here.
One Fantastic Week, the mentoring group founded and led by Sam Flegal and Peter Mohrbacher has also been deactivated. An initial post indicated a hiatus, which was then disputed by former mod Melissa Gay on Facebook on June 30. This post came prior to her full account above. Shortly after all this, Mohrbacher posted an official closing of One Fantastic Week.
Lastly, a group of events and educational resources issued a joint statement indirectly referencing to the actions of Sam Flegal and Noah Bradley, posted on the IX Arts Facebook page:
We have been quiet but we see what is happening and we are actively listening and available. We do not condone any behavior in this community that makes it unsafe or unwelcoming. We love this community, as we all do. And we are working on solutions based on feedback from the whole community.
– IX, Spectrum, IMC, Drawn and Drafted
IX is a convention called Illuxcon. IMC is the Illustrators Masters Class. Spectrum is a printed art annual and sometimes live convention event. Drawn and Drafted is an educational/mentorship company run by Marc Scheff and Lauren Panepinto. Eunjoo’s account specifically talks about Sam Flegal approaching her at Spectrum Live and Illuxcon. All these events had Sam Flegal as a participant and/or teacher and Lauren Panepinto (Drawn & Drafted) promoted the One Fantastic Workshop – the event run by Sam Flegal and Pete Mohrbacher, where Flegal is also accused of sexually harassing women.
Alexandra Duncan, noted on her website as a writer of “science fiction, fantasy, feminism,” decided to kill her forthcoming novel Ember Days because a Twitter critic convinced her it was “insensitive toward the Gullah culture.” She explained the decision in a tweet.
Publishers Weekly now has also yanked its June 26 article reporting the book’s cancellation, evidently because the internet critic – named in the original version of the post – has become the subject of criticism and harassment. See “‘REMOVED: ‘Upcoming YA Novel “Ember Days” Cancelled By Author’” on the Publishers Weekly site.
After review, Publishers Weekly has determined that this story about a book cancellation failed to meet our editorial standards. We have removed the story for two reasons: the failure to meet our standards of reporting, and our unintentional promotion of online abuse directed toward an individual named in the story as a result of our not more thoroughly investigating the events leading to the cancellation of the book. We regret the damage the publication of this story has caused this individual, as well as any other instances of violence enacted upon Black, Indigenous, and other people of color as a result of PW‘s past reporting on similar matters.
The Internet Archive capture of PW’s original article is here.