The Right Way, The Wrong Way, and the Navy Way

The ConCarolinas controversy has now taken the form of rival petitions.

As reported in yesterday’s Scroll, at iPetitions signers are calling for the “Removal of Jada and Luis Diaz from ConCarolinas Committee”. (Jada Diaz is the convention chair, and Luis, her husband, is head of security.)

Please sign below if you have been a part of ConCarolinas but have decided not to return if Jada and Luis do not step down. Feel free to remain anonymous. This is NOT a forum to discuss issues, this is a platform to show the current impact to the continued survival of the Convention.

However, most of the signers are anonymous, and some of the comments left by signers are critical of the effort. The petition has 114 signatures – including the dissenters – at this writing.

At the end of the con last weekend, ConCarolinas chair Jada Diaz delivered a statement she negotiated with author David Weber (the video is here). Weber, creator of the Honor Harrington series, agreed to be the convention’s guest in 2019 provided the committee met his conditions, including a public statement repudiating those who had issues with John Ringo’s selection as a special guest, with an apology to Ringo, who had withdrawn as a guest after discussion with the chair.

Opponents of the removal petition started an iPetitions effort of their own to support the ConCarolinas chair, “Fight against discrimination in SF”.

Sign this petition to support Jada, Luis, Science Fiction,Authors and a true fan base

Petition is to counter the bigoted petition against Jada and Luis of Con Carolinas and Support Guests from being disinvited because of a vocal minority.

David Weber was among the very first signers, which now include Jon Del Arroz, Lou Antonelli, and Richard Paolinelli. It has gained 117 signatures so far.

David Weber liked the idea of a petition so much he started his own at Change.org: “Ensure Freedom of Speech & Assembly at ConCarolinas” which has gained over 1,600 signatures.

We’re here to support Jada Hope and Luis Diza’s stance on the demands to disinvite guests at ConCarolinas based on unfounded and unproven stories posted by Internet pressure groups.

Our goal is to obtain as many signatures as possible as a way of demonstrating who is truly in favor of diversity by raising our voices. We’d like to count them in the hundreds, but we’d really rather count them by the thousand.

This is not a petition to support inviting guests who the con committee believes would be problems for the con or who do not seem, to the con committee, to be a “good fit” for the people who attend ConCarolinas. We who sign this petition are saying only that once an invitation has been issued, the guest invited should not be subsequently disinvited simply because someone else planning to attend the con will be uncomfortable in that guest’s presence.

We believe that no one, left or right, should have an ex post facto veto right over who can and cannot be invited to a convention nor should the vocal minority, who do not work for the con in any capacity and are simply attending A PRIVATE EVENT of their OWN FREE WILL , be allowed to exert that kind of influence over a convention.

We believe that if ConCarolinas ejects Jada Hope and Luis Diza from the Convention Committee (the managing body of the convention) and reverses the position they have taken on the dis-invitation of guests, then no one who believes in freedom of expression should attend this convention ever again.

Some of us have attended ConCarolinas in the past, as either a ticket-buying attendee of the con or as an invited guest. Under the ‘I’m signing because…” section please indicated if you’ve attended in the past as a guest or attendee and if you will attend in the future if they are removed.

The video below shows the apology that Jada Hope made at the end of ConCarolinas 2018 on June 3rd to John Ringo and re-emphasized the con’s commitment to an inclusive atmosphere for all people….

Weber is heavily promoting the petition in his social media. On his own Facebook page he wrote —

So the counter attack has begun at ConCarolinas. We all knew it would, but I have to admit that I was at least a tiny bit surprised by the speed with which it’s been mounted.

Essentially, there is a move afoot to “disinvite” Jada and Luis from the con committee. There is a petition online seeking 600 signatures in support of that removal. The last time I was there, it had 63.

I believe that the most effective way that we can support Jada’s position at this time — and, people, she deserves all the support we can give her — is to buy supporting memberships for 2019 and post on the Carolinas Facebook page that we have done so — one by one — and why, and inform them that if, in fact Jada and Luis are evicted from the concom, they may have our money this year, but they will never get it again.

For myself, I will say only this. If, in fact, Jada and Luis are removed from the concom, then ConCarolinas is DEFINITELY going back on to my list of cons I will not attend, and I will be urging everyone that I know to never attend that convention again.

Interestingly, when his wife, Sharon, put a link to his call for signatures on The Royal Manticoran Navy Facebook page, run by a large group of Honor Harrington series fans, her post reportedly was removed for violating the group’s rule about political posts, then restored at the request of David Weber.

Apparently this is the rule:

There has been quite a bit of discussion about the appropriateness of the Webers’ request, especially in comments on Dave Cleric’s post to the tRMN group (which is public) where Weber participated. Here is a brief excerpt.

Classics of S-F at Westercon 71

By John Hertz:  Westercon LXXI, combined with Myths & Legends Con VI, will be 4-8 July 2018 at Denver, Colorado: the Denver Tech Center Hyatt Regency Hotel.  We’ll discuss three Classics of Science Fiction, one discussion each.  Come to as many as you like.  You’ll be welcome to join in.

In fact Denver has hosted three Worldcons, but this is its first Westercon.  Partly by way of unbreaking the circle, Denvention 3 chair Kent Bloom, and his wife Mary Morman, will be Fan Guests of Honor at Westercon LXXI.  But I digress.

I’m still with “A classic is a work that survives its own time.  After the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself.”  If you have a better definition, bring it.

Each of our three may be more interesting now than when first published.

I thought it only right that each should have something to do with myths and legends.

Have you read them?  Have you re-read them?

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915)

Three men who discover a country peopled only by women find “daring….  broad sisterly affection … fair-minded intelligence…. health and vigor … calmness of temper” (ch. 7).  It’s neat, imaginative, warm-hearted.  How does she do it?

Robert A. Heinlein, Glory Road (1963)

Is it science fiction?  If not, where does fantasy belong?  Samuel R. Delany called it “endlessly fascinating” and said it “maintains a delicacy, a bravura, and a joy”.  Is he a dope?  Why does Heinlein’s preface quote Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra? What happened to Herr Doktor Professor Gordon?  Is this (gasp) a feminist tract?

Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, Hard to Be a God (1964)

Centuries after Communism has inevitably prevailed on Earth, students follow other planets – but if they interfere, they’ll ruin the progress of historical materialism and bring about catastrophe.  How’s that for a Prime Directive?

FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention Sharply Criticized for Handling of Anti-harassment Complaint

Best-selling author Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, Ever After High) received wide support today when she said on Twitter that FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention violated her privacy by posting a message she had sent them that included her email address.

Here is a screencap of the convention’s tweet (with the email address blacked out).

The Salt Lake Tribune has been following the original harassment complaint story for the past few weeks. They reported on May 6, “After complaint, Utah author Richard Paul Evans is among many reflecting on when and how to hug”. However, they soon learned Evans and unnamed others had been dropped as guests (May 8): “Utah author Richard Paul Evans among guests not invited back to FanX, as convention faces pressure to write anti-harassment policy”

Several celebrity guests, including Utah author Richard Paul Evans, won’t be invited back to FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention in September, as event organizers deal with accusations of sexual harassment at past conventions.

FanX officials sent an email Tuesday to members of an authors’ group, telling them the convention is updating its harassment polices and has decided “to not invite back at this time several guests,” The Salt Lake Tribune has learned. The writers have posted an online petition demanding a firm policy against harassment.

FanX co-founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg posted a modified version of the email on a private Facebook group for the event’s regular panelists. Once they have received input from panelists, the organizers said, they plan to post an updated harassment policy publicly. FanX has acknowledged its policy focuses on attendees, and not celebrities and panelists.

The Facebook message does not mention that anyone would not be invited back for panels, book signings or other convention events.

“Generally, there are some people who are not coming back, whether it was a mutual decision or whether we’ve decided not to have them back,” Farr said Tuesday. “We don’t maintain a blacklist, or anything like that.”

When asked if FanX is investigating accusations of harassment, Farr replied, “We’re always reviewing information as it comes in.”

The email sent to the authors said FanX is creating a committee to “further investigate any allegations,” and said it has been looking into “specific issues” since its last show.

Though FanX will not discuss specific cases, Farr said one person who has agreed to stay away this fall is Evans, known for such sentimental tales as “The Christmas Box” and the science-fiction “Michael Vey” series. Evans has been accused of inappropriate behavior after a panel at last September’s Salt Lake Comic Con (now called FanX). A woman complained to FanX officials, but has not made her name public.

While the press developed the story about the complaint and the way it was being handled, the convention organizers announced a new “FanX® Salt Lake Comic Convention™ Anti-Harassment Policy”.

However, convention co-founder Bryan Brandenburg reacted to the pressure by making the unguarded remarks to author Hale quoted above.

The Salt Lake Tribune summarized the exchange — “A popular Utah author criticized how FanX has responded to harassment complaints. It invited her to ‘sit this one out’ and published her private email.”.

Best-selling author Shannon Hale and other writers, troubled by how FanX organizers have reacted to allegations that a recurring guest repeatedly touched a female author without her consent, have been considering whether to appear at the convention in September. On Monday, Hale wrote to co-founder Bryan Brandenburg about her continuing doubts.

Brandenburg responded in part: “Maybe it is best that you sit this one out and then wait to hear how it went. I don’t think there is anything we can say to convince you to come and quite frankly I’m not willing to try. I know in my heart that we take this seriously and I don’t think you get it. I have four daughters and I’ve been sensitive to these issues for decades, long before it became trendy with #metoo.”

Hale took a screenshot of the reply and posted it to Twitter, where it drew dozens of furious responses — further fueling debate over the convention’s attempts to develop and promote a new anti-harassment policy while defending what Brandenburg describes as a fun environment of touch.

“John Barrowman will gladly hold your buttocks in your Photo Op. … Stephen Amell will hug you tight at his signing booth,” he assured fans on Facebook last week, while sharing the new policy.

By changing the subject to touch explicitly requested by fans, Hale said, FanX organizers are blurring the conversation about consent and minimizing women’s experiences of harassment. FanX should work on building a culture that gives guests confidence that harassment is not tolerated — but it’s doing the opposite, she said.

On Monday, FanX’s official account tweeted an image of the email Hale had sent to them, including her private email address. It later deleted the post.

Another good resource for this story is Ally Condie’s Twitter thread, which includes analysis, screencaps, and links to articles. The thread starts here:

Her thread includes these comments:

Bryan Brandenburg has now posted an apology on Facebook (May 21):

Public Apology:

I made multiple mistakes in handling the report of harassment at our event. I was insensitive to people that were communicating to me about this issue. It was me and me alone that responded to one of the people involved and I handled it terribly. I am so sorry. I wish I could take it back but I can’t. I was wrong, I made more than one mistake, and it was a very painful lesson. I’m ashamed that I didn’t handle it better and I hope that I can be forgiven. I’m so sorry that I came across like I did. Please forgive me.

All day authors have been tweeting support for Shannon Hale. (Most of these are Twitter threads which can be accessed by clicking on the timestamp.)

Utah author Howard Tayler supports the grievances:

Justine Larbalestier empathized —

Author Brendan Reichs opined that the convention had failed to live up to the confidentiality promised by its new anti-harassment policy.

The section of the “FanX® Salt Lake Comic Convention™ Anti-Harassment Policy” Reichs has in mind says —

CONFIDENTIALITY

FanX® Salt Lake Comic Convention will make every reasonable effort to protect the confidentiality of all parties involved in investigations of alleged harassment, intimidation, or discrimination. However, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be informed. All parties in the investigation should treat the matter with discretion and respect for the reputations of all involved.

The FanX® Salt Lake Comic Convention Anti-Harassment policy prohibits retaliation against any member of the community for reporting harassment, intimidation, or discrimination. The sanctions for retaliation are the same as sanctions for any other form of harassment listed here.

And Reichs is among those who have cancelled their plans to appear at the con.

So is Gwenda Bond:

Dan Wells issued a warning:

Daniel Jose Older wrote:

As noted above, the convention has deleted the post containing Hale’s email address.

Update 05/21/2018: FanX has posted an expanded apology: “A Message from Bryan Brandenburg”.

I would like to apologize to Shannon Hale for the events that happened on Twitter today, and my overall handling of the reports of harassment from our last event. In an overly emotional state, I took to social media in response to a tweet that quoted an email exchange between the two of us. In doing so, I didn’t notice my screenshot still contained her personal email. This was overlooked and not meant maliciously.

I felt my comments were taken out of context from the original email exchange, and I responded hastily and inappropriately. I deeply regret sending the original email and the tweets that followed.

In response to my poorly chosen words about the #metoo movement being “trendy”, I came off insensitive to people’s pain, and I am sorry. After today’s events, I admit that I am not fully aware or educated about the importance of the #metoo movement, and this is something I am actively working to change. I need to improve on listening and making people feel validated.

Everyone working at FanX, including Dan and I, are still learning how to communicate about this serious and very important topic and to understand the sensitivity and different perspectives that come along with it. As a team, we want to learn how to do better.

Moving forward, our goal is to create a safe environment for everyone. Training for staff will happen within the next 90 days, so we are equipped to handle sexual harassment and assault reports. Our new harassment policy now includes instructions on how to report an incident anonymously or in person. It also clearly states the sanctions that will be taken when a report comes in.

The harassment policy also includes more defined behavior expectations for our attendees, guests, agents, cosplayers, panelists, moderators, staff, vendors, vendor models, and volunteers. Consent is key. These improvements would not have happened without your voice.

Origins Game Fair Drops Larry Correia as Guest

Larry Correia won’t be one of the guests when the Origins Game Fair takes place June 13-17 in Columbus, OH. Shortly after publicizing that Correia had been added to the lineup, John Ward, the event’s Executive Director, received so many negative social media comments (on Twitter, particularly) that he announced Correia’s invitation has been rescinded.

Ward wrote on Facebook:

I want to discuss our invitation to Larry Correia a guest at Origins. By all counts he is a very talented author.

Unfortunately, when he was recommended I was unaware of some personal views that are specifically unaligned with the philosophy of our show and the organization.

I want to thank those of you that brought this error to our attention. Origins is an inclusive and family friendly event. We focus on fun and gaming, not discourse and controversy.

I felt it necessary to recend [sic] his invitation to participate in the show. I apologize again to those of you that were looking forward to seeing him at Origins.

John Ward, Executive Director

Many of the critical tweets mentioned Correia’s history with Sad Puppies.

Correia subsequently responded on Facebook with a statement that begins:

So I’m no longer the writer guest of honor at origins. My invitation has been revoked. It was the usual nonsense. Right after I was announced as a guest some people started throwing a temper tantrum about my alleged racist/sexist/homophobic/whatever (of course, with zero proof or actual examples), and the guy in charge (John Ward) immediately folded. He didn’t even talk to me first. He just accepted the slander and gave me the boot in an email that talked about how “inclusive” they are….

His statement also says “none of these people can ever find any actual examples of me being sexist, racist, or homophobic.”


BEFORE AND AFTER:


Corflu 35 Report

By Taral Wayne: We live in an on-line world in which Corflu is no longer entirely for the enjoyment of a couple of score fans who have the means to travel. Now everyone can watch the proceedings live as they happen. For the first time in quite awhile I was able to witness a Corflu that was not merely virtual, but actually real … and it does still make a difference.

I was somewhat nervous when I set out, despite having done all this before, having planed it all ahead, and actually pretty confident that nothing ought to go wrong. And by George, it really didn’t seem to! I arrived on Friday afternoon after somewhat more than an hour on the road. Traveling Matt cam through beautifully, and at the first opportunity it was plugged in to top up the juice.

I have to say I had a pretty good time, and even recognized a number of people I had not laid eyes on for 20 or 30 years… In one case, I may have last seen one fan in the 70’s!

I collected an envelope of con pubs, fanzines and a badge at the front desk — despite a certain tardiness in preparations, Catherine and Colin seemed to have matters under control, and no-one seemed to think delays were anything unusual or to be excited about. With the last detail in place … I relaxed.

Saturday was pretty full, with most of day engaged in traditional talking heads. The amount of media evident would have done a White House press conference proud. I expected to be press-ganged into one panel on the use of fanart in comparison to photos, but I bowed out when it was found that the table was not really large enough for five. That was all right with me … I think I could have expressed my thoughts entirely in about three sentences, and more or less did exactly that from the audience.

I seem to recall a break after that, prompting me to locate the con suite where I hoped to find some grub. I found better than grub, and was never short of food. However, upon leaning that the con auction had begun, I met my first set-back at Corflu. The hotel was genuinely peculiar in that some of it was in one building, and the rest in another, connected by a glassed in bridge.  This was no problem for most people, since there were only four or five steps to mount one side and cross to the other.  It should not have been a problem for me, either, since there was a motorized lift.  It was rather flimsy looking, and as first I was nervous about sliding off the side and falling to the ground.  But my fears were groundless, so to speak.  I was given a key by the front desk and instructions on its use.  It worked exactly as it should have, and that was how things stood when I returned the way I came to raid the con suite.  However, that was not how it worked the second time!  I was able to mount the lift and drive to the other side and, but nothing would make the second half of the lift operate so that I could dismount on the other side!  We called for three increasingly more important employees to come and look at me – hanging precariously on the lift – but only pronounce in the end that is was “broken.”  At least I was able to dismount on the far side and re-mount on the near side, and wasn’t trapped until someone could repair the lift however many days later…

There was another route into the other half of the hotel, which would have allowed me go through the lobby there, enter the authorized only area to use the employee’s elevator to re-enter guest area on the other side, and finally join the Corflu auction in progress.  But I just plain thought it wasn’t worth the effort at that point.

All the same, that was exactly what I had to do on Sunday, to join the brunch.  It actually didn’t turn out to especially complicated once I had done it.  However, I didn’t know where everyone had gotten to, and stupidly waited in the program room for several minutes before someone wandered by to remind me where I was supposed to be!  So I was fortunate enough not to miss lunch.  As soon I as I had cleaned the plate,  of my last pound of bacon, the tables were cleared for announcements and the FAAn Awards.

Mike Glyer has already announced them on File770, so I won’t repeat then.  All the same, it must be admitted that there were a few unexpected surprises.  I don’t feel it is my place to comment on them, but I trust there will be quite a lot said in the next few days.  You have probably seen the obvious … that I was acclaimed as the new Past President of the Fanzine Writers of America.  What may seem even less likely was that I honestly had no idea – with other things on my mind over the last year — who the nominees were or anything else.  In fact, I was feeling rather drowsy while the nominees were read and the winners announced.  So when was told I had suddenly become the Past President, I was not entirely kidding when I said I had missed the whole thing.

By unlikely coincidence, Alan Rosenthal was chosen of Corflu 35’s Guest of Honour.  The only reason I had a place to stay at the hotel was because Alan offered me the fold-out couch in the other room.  As a result, the con had the new Past President asleep on a couch, while the Guest of Honour was asleep in the bedroom with Jeannie Bowman.

It was late afternoon by that time, and out-of-town guests began to drift away to taxis and airports.  What was left of the food and supplies were carried up to the Dead Dog Party.  There was quite a decent number of fans who were staying over to Sunday, and I might have stayed in the other for a third night if I chose.  It was a near thing, since the night was cool and had rained.  But I was fairly tired and would be grateful to sleep in my own bed instead.  I stayed while Traveling Matt was entirely re-charged once more, then said my goodbyes around 9 or 9:30

I have to admit that I really enjoyed seeing so many I hadn’t seen in years, for many reasons.  The odd thing was that I experienced it in a way that I hadn’t before.  Worldcons are too busy, and you often spend only a few minutes with people and then never encounter them for the rest of the con.  I’m forced to say, as well, that I was a late bloomer.  I was only really getting to know fandom  — and then me, I suspect – late in life.  But there had been almost no opportunity to genuinely relate to the names and printed words as real people.  I may not have another chance … but … well, who ever really knows?

George Slusser Conference

The George Slusser Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy, with the theme “Science Fiction: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, runs April 26 and 27. There is no conference fee, and everyone is welcome to attend. For full details and parking information click here.

This literary conference will pay tribute to the extraordinary career of the late George Slusser (1939-2014) by presenting papers and panel discussions that engage with and build upon his extensive scholarly works on science fiction and fantasy. The conference will be held at the University of California, Irvine.

Confirmed guests include: James P. Blaylock, Bradford Lyau, David Brin, Charles Platt, Sheila Finch, Tim Powers, Rob Latham and Gary K. Wolfe.

Tentative Program

Thursday, April 26

8:30-9:30 AM: Registration

9:30-10:40 AM: Session 1 (Coordinator: Jonathan Alexander)

  • Gary Westfahl, “The Homeostatic Culture Machine Revisited: The Contemporary Wordmills of Science Fiction”
  • Charles Platt, “You Can’t Get There From Here: Unrealistic Expectations among the Practitioners of Science Fiction”

10:50 AM-12 PM: Session 2 (Coordinator: Gary Westfahl)

  • Gregory Benford, “Economics Meets Reality: Space and Beyond”
  • Steven Postrel, Response

Noon-1:35 PM: Lunch

1:35-3:20 PM: Session 3 (Coordinator: Howard V. Hendrix)

  • Stephen W. Potts, “Soviet Utopianism and Post-Soviet Dystopias”
  • George Slusser (read by Gary Westfahl), “The Strugatskys Under Western Eyes: Science Fiction as Cognition”
  • Lisa Raphals, “The Several Faces of Chinese Science Fiction”

3:30-4:40 PM: Session 4 (Coordinator: Stephen W. Potts)

  • Joey Eschrich, “Complicating the Frankenstein Barrier: Science Fiction Futures and Social Transformation”
  • Ari Brin, “‘No Such Thing as Night’: Tracing the Origins of Science Fiction in Early California”

4:50-5:40 PM: First Keynote Speaker (Introduced by Gregory Benford)

  • Gary K. Wolfe, untitled (on genre-blending)

Friday, April 27

9:05-10:50 AM: Session 5 (Coordinator: Gregory Benford)

  • Bradford Lyau, “Robert A. Heinlein Revisited”
  • Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, “The Slusser Test for Generic Identity: Reflections on George Slusser’s ‘Reflections on Style in Science Fiction’”
  • Julia Ree, “Observations on the Early Life of the Eaton Collection and Dr. George Slusser’s Invaluable Contributions”

11 AM- Noon: Second Panel

Theme: Memories of George Slusser and the Eaton Conferences

Moderator: Gary Westfahl; Panelists: Celeste McConnell Barber, Gregory Benford, Sheila Finch, Howard V. Hendrix, Bradford Lyau

Noon-1:30 PM: Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Second Panel

Theme: Back to Jules Verne’s Future: Nineteenth-Century Science Fiction and Twenty-First Century Steampunk

Moderator: Gary K. Wolfe; Panelists: James P. Blaylock, Stephen W. Potts, Tim Powers, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

2:40 – 3:50 PM: Session 6 (Coordinator: Bradford Lyau)

  • Jonathan Alexander, “Utopia and Exhaustion”
  • Howard V. Hendrix, “Millions Seek The Egg: Reproductive Technofuturism in Ready Player One and Armada”

4-4:50 PM: Second Keynote Speaker (Introduced by Howard V. Hendrix)

  • David Brin, “The Emperor – and Heretic – of Point of View”

5-6 PM: Third Panel

Theme: Science Fiction Writers and Scholars: Bridging the Gap?

Moderator: Jonathan Alexander; Panelists: David Brin, Gregory Benford, Sheila Finch, Larry Niven

6:30 – 8:30 PM: Closing Reception (Hosted by Jonathan Alexander and Gregory Benford)

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Mythcon 49 Guests of Honor

Conference theme: On the Shoulders of Giants

Mythcon 49 will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, July 20-23. Congratulations to Filer Dr. Reid for being named one of the headliners —

Our Scholar Guest of Honor for 2018 is Dr. Robin Anne Reid. She is a Professor in the Department of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her teaching areas are creative writing, critical theory, and marginalized literatures. Please see her full bio on the Mythcon 49 site for publishing credits. Perhaps most notably for Mythies, she wrote an outstanding bibliographic essay on the history of scholarship surrounding female characters in Tolkien’s legendarium in Perilous and Fair, published by the Mythopoeic Press.

Our Artist Guest of Honor is Donato Giancola. He balances modern concepts with realism in his paintings to bridge the worlds of contemporary and historical figurative arts. He also teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, Massachusetts and online through the SmArt School, and appears at various institutions, seminars, and conventions, from San Diego to Rome to Moscow, where he performs demonstrations in oil paint and lectures on his aesthetics. Please see his full bio on his donatoart.com for influences, awards, and credits.

Visit www.mythcon.org for more information and to register for the con.

[Thanks to Lynn Maudlin for the story.]

ENMU Special Collections Update

By Craig W. Chrissinger: After a late-December flood damaged several books and periodicals in Eastern NM University’s temporary storage for its special collections, librarian Gene Bundy revealed during the Williamson Lectureship on April 6 that items are ready to come back from freeze-dried vacuum storage in Fort Worth, TX.

Once the damaged items are returned to Portales, Bundy and his staff will be able to evaluate whether they are salvageable or not. The freeze drying process is supposed to draw moisture out of the paper, and leave the printed materials flat (with no warping) if done properly.

At the same time, the heavily renovated Golden “Student Success Center” is not finished for the public, but librarians are starting to move archives and library books back into the building. Space for special collections is much smaller than before, and there are no glass cases to safely store rare books and Jack Williamson’s many awards.

Sadly, book shelving installed into the main space for special collections are four inches wider than standard, thus eliminating a whole row of shelving in the room to meet ADA requirements. There also is no room for glass cases, even if they were saved from the original library space.

Bundy and staff will be spending the next month moving everything back, and figuring out how to make all the special collections items fit into the revised, smaller space.

“We’ll make it work, but it’s going to be a real challenge,” he said.

BSFS/Balticon Offer to Universal FanCon Attendees

[Press release]

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society, sponsors of Balticon, the Maryland Regional Science Fiction Convention is saddened to hear of the postponement of Universal FanCon as we had hoped to meet many fans at the fan table we had arranged at the convention. Because fandom is family we have decided to offer the following assistance to registered Universal FanCon attendees.

On Friday, April 27, 2018 we will host an impromptu social for Universal Fan Con registrants from 6:00pm till 9:00pm (or when folks want to leave) at the BSFS Building. Further Universal Fan Con registrants in Baltimore for the weekend are also invited to our Anime Social, Book Discussion and general Social Meeting on Saturday, April 28th and the Tabletop Role-Playing Game Event on April 29th all at the BSFS Building. Check our website at www.bsfs.org for details and directions.

In addition, this one time, we are breaking with our traditional policy of never offering discounts on Balticon membership. (Balticon will be held May 25-28, 2018) We can not change the online registration program at this late date, but anyone showing up at Balticon and buying a membership at the door will receive a 30% discount off the membership if they show printed proof they were registered at Universal Fan Con. Proof can be a receipt from Universal Fan Con, or a credit card statement showing payment etc…

Further, although we have the same number of dealers tables already sold as last year’s Balticon the dealers room manager will reduce the isle width back to the width used every year except last year to allow a few more tables. Any dealer not already in at Balticon, with printed proof of paying for a table at Universal Fan Con, will receive a 30% discount on our normal dealers table rate if space is available. For Universal Fan Con artists (with printed proof) wanting to exhibit at our art show, if they are not already exhibiting at Balticon, they will receive a 30% discount off art show hanging fees. (space available) Program participants can also ask to be on program and we will try, but time is getting short to fit more onto the schedule. To learn about participating in Balticon, Universal Fan Con registrants should check our website at www.balticon.org We hope these actions will help until Universal Fan Con can reschedule their event.

[This statement from the BSFS Board of Directors was submitted by BSFS President Dale Arnold.]

John Ringo Out As ConCarolinas Special Guest

A week after ConCarolinas announced John Ringo as a special guest, a choice hailed by his fans but protested by a number of writers on the con program in an extended social media controversy, the con committee has announced he won’t be coming.

Their official statement reads:

ConCarolinas and John Ringo have mutually agreed he will not attend the 2018 event. ConCarolinas wants to provide a positive environment for everyone who attends our events from our guests, attendees, vendors, and staff.

We represent a diverse range of opinions and support that.

We will not tolerate harassment or bullying as stated in our policy.

Any comments regarding this may be sent to concarolinas@concarolinas.org

ConCarolinas ConCom: Jada Diaz, ConChair; Dawson Kriska, Vice Chair; Sue Lambert, Secretary and Treasurer; Luis Diaz, Director of Security

While the official statement focuses on a desire to “provide a positive environment for everyone,” both Ringo and the con chair are spinning a different story.

John Ringo wrote on Facebook:

I just got disinvited from a con due to threats to my personal safety. This is more dangerous to me than the five fatwahs I’ve had over the years from various friendly and peaceful lovers of The Most Holy Prophet. Peace be upon his beard. Allahu Akhbar.

And ConCarolinas chair Jada Hope, responding to questions from Jim C. Hines, said:

Ringo has also unspooled a long commentary on his Facebook page [Internet Archive link] seeking to turn the “safety” complaint back against the protesters who raised it about the author and his fans in the first place. (The excerpt is about half the wordage, see the rest at the link.)

And again with the ‘we do not tolerate harassment or bullying’ without pointing out who that is pointed at.

From my last email with the conchair:

“as ConChair I know this will be an extremely hostile environment and I am concerned for your personal safety. ”

It was mutual, more on that in a moment. But they very much rescinded because they were concerned for my safety.

That was how bad it was getting.

They weren’t concerned I’d grab and axe and start killing all the POCs, women, transgenders, what have you.

They were (justifiably from the comments) concerned for MY safety. And the ‘bullying’ they were commenting on was the bullying by the SJW twitter mobsters.

Why it was phrased as ‘mutual.’

‘Oh, no, John Ringo, no! You’re giving in to the Social Justice Bullies!’

You can phrase it that way. Or you can phrase it this way.

I’m a New York Times best selling author with over 7 million books in print. By far and away I was the largest ‘print’ guest on the list with the largest fan following and thus the biggest draw.

For someone like myself, cons are NOT about marketing. There is very little additional market to be picked up at any litcon, including WorldCon. Cons are places to go to talk with people who enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy and are generally smart and interesting people. To meet new people (one of the reasons I agreed to attend ConCarolinas was ‘new people’), to pick up new characters, to have a good time.

There is very little fiscal reason for someone like myself to attend. Ergo: The best reason is to have fun.

Not for any particular ‘political’ reason, prior to my being invited the guest list for the ‘lit’ side was HEAVILY weighted to the Left. Basically, the entire guest list is ‘between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ with the late add of a ‘token Nazi.’

I’ve been to those cons. I know what happens. Every single panel turns into a continuous shitfest. I’m constantly stopped in the hallways to be asked when did I join the Nazi party and how long have I been a Nazi. Forget intentional ‘disruptions’ that are the hallmark of the modern fascists called ‘progressives.’ It would be just another shitfest like WindyCon or (christ, can’t even remember the name of that one, I’ve deleted the memory…) Hell, I dropped my attendance at LosCon over much less furor than this.

The panels consist of someone with no background and no real professional CV spouting some idiocy they learned in a bad writer’s workshop followed by me trying to politely tell them they’re as full of shit as a Christmas turkey and pointing out the reality of writing and publishing. Then I get told ‘That’s not true!’ or ‘You’re wrong!’ with no logical follow-up and it just goes downhill from there. If I sit there mute it turns into a Communist Party Religious Meeting of people speaking Truth to Power and being told how great they are until the next person speaks Truth To Power and so on and so forth. And pretty much every truth to power boils down to ‘The Sun Rises in the West and Revolves Around Moscow Center and Bernie/Obama/Whoever is Jesus and We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia!’

Yeah. No.

…To be clear: This isn’t any loss to me. It is a loss to the con and the attendees who were looking forward to John Ringo attending. It’s even a loss to the Social Justice Bullies since some of my fans might accidentally have bought some of their books.

To me, there is NO downside.

YES! I caved to the social justice bullies and now I DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH TSA! WOOOOT!

And con chair Jada Hope added this response:

Caveat – I am commenting as Jada Hope – individual human being. Even though I am going to post somewhat as ConChair, this is not endorsed by the ConCarolinas ConCom.

This decision sucks. To be concerned for John’s safety to the point of looking at having security guards (possibly armed – an off duty police officer is present at the con during “high traffic hours”) – what fun would that be for John?

Like John, I hate traveling and I’d rather stay in my chair (I’m in it now as I post). And yes, we could have marched to the top of the hill and planted the flag of “Nobody tells us what to do”.

Again, what fun would this have been for John? He doesn’t need the marketing exposure.

I apologize, again personally as Jada the individually member of the human race, to everyone who was looking forward to John attending.

One thing I will address is the rumor that John and I were in collusion to pull a “Gotcha” by delaying the announcement. Very late in February John signed an agreement to be a guest. That Friday I was in a car accident and sustained a concussion aka traumatic brain injury and was under doctor’s orders to not be on the computer or phone. I posted very little from 3/2 until a week and a half ago and a week ago Thursday I ended up with the concussion symptoms coming back full force.

There was no collusion.

I can only apologize to John and his fans for this getting so out of hand.

As my dear friend Sue has said:

“Public stoning is no longer done in the town square. It is executed via social media.”