Pixel Scroll 1/26/18 The Pixel Scroll Shadow Jury

(1) HE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM. Marissa Lingen praises the ConFusion committee’s handling of her report about a highly contentious audience member who tried to commandeer more than one panel at the con — “It’s not your turn, sir.” Here are a few excerpts from her step-by-step summary of what happened and thorough analysis of the issues involved.

…So let’s talk about my second panel, Disaster Response in SFF. I was moderating. A gentleman in the audience had enough of the free-flowing discussion provided by the panelists, apparently. He did not wait for Q&A or even raise his hand. He just jumped right in, interrupting the panel to lecture us with a long, hostile, rambling comment on his own theories of where this panel should go and how wrong we all were for not going there….

…Okay. So. I talked to some friends, some of whom were involved with the concom/staff, and given what I was saying and what they were hearing about his behavior, they encouraged me to file an incident report. ConFusion’s ops team did everything right here. Everything. They made sure that I was seated comfortably, offered water, offered my choice of report formats (written or out loud), that I had a person with whom I was comfortable with me for the whole time, that I could discuss my statement rather than just turning it in and not knowing whether it was getting any attention. They asked after my safety and comfort and what would make me feel safe and comfortable going forward at the con.

Here’s what felt like a sea change to me. Here’s what makes me write about this: they did not minimize OR maximize response. They were proactively interested in an incident of someone being rude and disruptive. At that point I was hoping that just having the incident report on file would be enough, that not having further confrontation would allow this person to go on with his con and simmer down, focus on time with friends, other panels, etc….

… 2. This was not sexual harassment. But it was gendered.

The person he approached to complain about me on Sunday was, like me, wearing some of the trappings of traditional femininity. The people who laughed in his face Friday afternoon with no complaints, no consequences to themselves? All male. All male and all masculine. And yes, I was the moderator on my panel–but he didn’t say a word about Patrick cheerfully saying, “Bye!” to him as he departed, or about Patrick backing up my moderating. There was no complaint about Patrick. It was all me.

I’ll cope with it. That’s fine. But see it for what it is.

Dealing with sexual harassment in convention spaces is hugely important. It has been hugely important for me personally. But don’t for a moment make the mistake of thinking that it is the only gendered interaction that matters. And don’t think for a moment that the dynamic would be the same if he’d decided to turn up glaring with Patrick or treat a male concom member the way he did the person on Sunday. It’s no accident he didn’t try–and so conventions need to be equally deliberate in their handling of this sort of thing. ConFusion was, and I thank them for it.

(2) GROWING EFFORT. John Picacio announced other pros have joined him and John Scalzi to fund Worldcon 76 attending memberships for Mexicanx creators and fans.

Ty Franck — one-half of the blockbuster literary team James S. A. Corey — has kindly joined my effort to improve #Mexicanx representation in sf/f. He’s now sponsoring one attending membership to Worldcon 76 in San Jose, while ace photographer Ctein is sponsoring two more attending memberships.

(3) NO-LONGER-SECRET AGENT. Scott Edelman lets you sink your teeth into Sicilian with Barry Goldblatt in Episode 58 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Barry Goldblatt

At the suggestion of Barry Goldblatt, who founded the eponymous Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency in September 2000, we met at Bella Gioia, a Sicilian restaurant in Park Slope. A wonderful choice! But that’s to be expected when you get together with Barry, for he and I have eaten the fantastic many times before at such restaurants as Alinea in Chicago and Olo in Helsinki—though this is the first time you’re being invited to eavesdrop.

Barry’s clients including such writers as previous guest of the show Fran Wilde, Christopher Barzak, Libba Bray, Charles Vess, Nisi Shawl, and many others.

We discussed why he ended up as an agent rather than an astronaut, the happy accident that led to him being taught by the legendary science fiction writer James Gunn, the time Lloyd Alexander caused him to burst into squee-filled tears, J. K. Rowling’s first U.S. book signing and how she changed children’s publishing forever, what everyone thinks they know about agents that’s totally wrong, the sorts of things he’s told authors to help take their work to the next level, why it sometimes makes sense for him to submit a less than perfect book, whether the YA market is doing a better job with diversity than adult fiction, what he’s been looking for that he hasn’t been getting, and much more.

(4) FUN MUSEUM. The Interactive Museum of Gaming and Puzzlery near Portland, Oregon has these events coming soon:

  • 1-28 Sunday Noon – Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons
    Learn the basics of Role Playing with paper; how to create a character, roll dice, join an adventure, and more.
  • 2-1 Thursday 7 pm – Games Talk with Kyle Engen
    Our Steward of Research Kyle will be talking about graphic design in games, using selected items from the collection.

(5) STORIES OF FUTURE PAST. Rocket Stack Rank adds another way to find the good stuff – from 2016. Greg Hullender explains:

Not everyone uses Rocket Stack Rank to find things to nominate; some people just use it to find stories to read. Toward that end, we put together a look back at the best stories of 2016, combining results from all the different reviewers, anthologies, and awards that we follow to produce a comprehensive ranked list.

“2016 Best SF/F Short Fiction”

In the future, we’ll try to do this by August (so the 2017 version should be available in just six months). We’ll have a few follow-up pieces that play with the statistics in this data.ef

(6) MORE LE GUIN TRIBUTES. In the Paris Review

The thing about Ursula K. Le Guin was that she didn’t actually look like a rabble-rousing, bomb-throwing, dangerous woman. She had a gentle smile, as if she was either enjoying herself or enjoying what the people around her were doing. She was kind but firm. She was petite and gray haired, and she appeared, at least on first inspection, harmless.

The illusion of harmlessness ended the moment you began to read her words, or, if you were so lucky, the moment you listened to her speak.

She was opinionated, but the opinions were informed and educated. She did not suffer fools or knaves gladly, or, actually, at all. She knew what she liked and what she wanted, and she didn’t let that change. She was sharp until the end. She once reviewed a book of mine and was not altogether kind about all of it, and I discovered as I read her review that I would rather have been chided by Ursula K. Le Guin than effusively praised by any other living author.

  1. There is no reason a book of ideas can’t also be deeply moving, gorgeously written, and inhabited by people who take rooms in your heart and never move out.

(7) LE GUIN FAMILY NOTES A SUGGESTED CHARITY. Ursula Le Guin’s family has stated that the charity closest to her heart is the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

(8) REAL SPACE OPERA. Atlas Obscura lets you “Listen to Ursula K. Le Guin’s Little-Known Space Opera”, Rigel 9. Recording at the link.

If you’re an Ursula K. Le Guin fan, you’ve likely spent a lot of time in Earthsea, home to endless archipelagos and magical beings. You might have ventured to Gethen, with its glaciers and androgynes.

But you may not yet have made it to Rigel 9, a world that offers small red aliens, two-toned shadows from its double sun, and—depending on who you believe—a beautiful golden city. The planet is the setting of the little-known space opera, also called Rigel 9, released in 1985. The opera features music by avant-garde classical composer David Bedford, and a libretto written by Le Guin.

(9) JOHN CREASEY OBIT. Filker John Creasey died January 25. His wife, Mary, made the announcement on Facebook:

My husband, John Creasey, passed away this morning around 0915 or so. I hadn’t gotten there by then (he WOULD pick the day when I DIDN’T make my morning visit!). He was still on a ventilator until a doctor officially pronounces him. He had been going downhill for quite a while (multiple systemic infection organ failures), and hadn’t really recovered from the last septic shock crash. He had been non-verbal and non-communicative for at least the last two weeks. I will post later about funeral plans and such. I’m not going to collapse yet; he’s been effectively mostly out of our lives for over a year, and barely aware for much of the last six months, and that only occasionally, so this isn’t really much of a shock. I’m just glad he’s finally not hurting any more.

 

Joe Bethancourt (hat), Richard Creasey (young man in tie-dye) and John Creasey (larger adult man) perform Bethancourt’s filk song “Fishin’ for Chickens” at ConChord in 2005.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 26, 1964:  Hammer’s Kiss of the Vampire opens in its native United Kingdom
  • January 26, 1995:  Peter Weller stars in Philip K. Dick adaptation Screamers.

(11) TWO DAYS AGO’S BIRTHDAY BOY (SORRY WE MISSED IT!)

  • Born January 24, 1944 – David Gerrold

(12) THE SECONDS BLEED AWAY. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says it’s 2018 and time is running out:

IT IS 2 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

2018: The failure of world leaders to address the largest threats to humanity’s future is lamentable—but that failure can be reversed. It is two minutes to midnight, but the Doomsday Clock has ticked away from midnight in the past, and during the next year, the world can again move it further from apocalypse. The warning the Science and Security Board now sends is clear, the danger obvious and imminent. The opportunity to reduce the danger is equally clear. The world has seen the threat posed by the misuse of information technology and witnessed the vulnerability of democracies to disinformation. But there is a flip side to the abuse of social media. Leaders react when citizens insist they do so, and citizens around the world can use the power of the internet to improve the long-term prospects of their children and grandchildren. They can insist on facts, and discount nonsense. They can demand action to reduce the existential threat of nuclear war and unchecked climate change. They can seize the opportunity to make a safer and saner world.

(13) FREE COMIC ONLINE. Marvel is giving you the chance to dive into THANOS from rising stars Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, the series that IGN is calling “one of Marvel’s most exciting titles” – for free.  THANOS #13, the first Marvel Legacy issue and the kick-off to Thanos Wins, is available now as a free digital comic for a limited time.

Head to www.marvel.com/redeem, enter the code THANOSWINS by Tuesday 1/30, and start reading now! Don’t miss the series that Comic Watch has raved is “the Mad Titan in all his power hungry glory.”

(14) WINTER WONDERS. Heavy Tokyo snowfall leads to snow-minions, snow-Jabba: “Japan’s amazing snowmen will blow your mind”. Photos at the link.

(15) INDIE PUBLISHER FOLDING. When Evil Girlfriend Media closes, it’s taking JDA’s Dragon Award-nominated novel with it  [link to Internet Archive]. Says JDA, “[it] will most likely not be available 30 days from now.” The publisher announced on Facebook they are ending the business:

Dear Readers,

I have notified our authors and editors that I am pulling their books from distribution. Their books will begin to drop from Kindle Select over the next 90 days with some as early as January 31. You can no longer purchase their books as an ebook but may borrow until the end of the 90 day period.

EGM went on hiatus last year for many reasons including that I took a new position with my employer. The commitments of this position make it impossible for me to continue in the publishing business. I hope you all support other indie publishers out there. It takes a lot of money, time, and dedication to create great books.

It has been a fast-paced and enjoyable couple of years. I look forward to the future and enjoying the great works the authors and editors I’ve worked with create.

Respectfully,

Katie Cord

(16) AN INDIE PUBLISHER STILL WITH US. The Kraken Collective is celebrating its anniversary this week — #KrakenFriends2018 Is Here!

The Kraken Collective is an alliance of indie authors of LGBTQIAP+ speculative fiction,  committed to building a publishing space that is inclusive, positive, and brings fascinating stories to readers.

 

(17) SHARKE REFLECTIONS. Shadow Clarke juror Nina Allan’s “Afterwards: thinking about the Sharke”, posted last September, may not have been mentioned here before:

The Sharke has changed me in multiple ways, most obviously as a critic and as a reader. Looking back on the self that first conceived the project, I now believe I had become as entrenched within a certain comfort zone as any hardcore space opera fan, accustomed to looking in the same places for what I deemed noteworthy, places that accorded comfortably with my expectations, which in their turn had mostly to do with style. How much more interesting to strip away one’s assumptions and see what happens. To come at things from a different angle. To stop feeling the need to fight a particular corner in terms of what is good and what is best. Personally, I’m still not a fan of The Underground Railroad. To my mind, it is possibly the most ‘commercial’ novel on the Clarke Award shortlist and its bland surface texture renders it ultimately forgettable to me as a reading experience. I find some of the sentence structure, not to mention the use of science fiction in Tricia Sullivan’s Occupy Me to be far more interesting. I have found the abstruse weirdness and raw vitality of Ninefox Gambit hanging around in my mind far longer than, for example, the sensitively rendered but ultimately predictable dystopian role-playing of Clare Morrall’s When the Floods Came. Viewed from this new perspective, the landscape of science fiction looks much more exciting to me than it did even before the Sharke was launched.

(18) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. Lela E. Buis shares her “Review of Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff”.

The year is 1954, and African American war veteran Atticus Turner is traveling north to Chicago. His dad Montrose has disappeared somewhere in New England, and with his Uncle George and his friend Letitia, Atticus sets out to find him…..

This is an entertaining read, as the characters are all resourceful and end up accomplishing what they need to do through the application of determination and common sense. Regardless of the Jim Crow setting, the characters feel contemporary, as if Ruff has set characters with modern sensibilities into the Lovecraft milieu.

I’ve read some other reviews that promote this book by saying racism is the real horror in the story. I didn’t really see that. If you’re unfamiliar with the facts of Jim Crow segregation and the kind of discrimination African Americans faced in the 1950s, then I suppose this could be a surprise. Presumably Ruff set his story in this period at least partly to display the racial issues, but actually he skims over it as fairly matter-of-fact. Everybody deals and nobody gets lynched.

What really stood out for me instead was the message that these black characters read and treasure the SFF classics of the day by Lovecraft, Burroughs, Bradbury, Asimov, etc., without any disconnect because of their race. Is that so? Currently these writers are all considered to be both racist and sexist because they reflect the attitudes of their era….

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Rambo, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Jay Byrd, Michael Toman, ULTRAGOTHA, Karl-Johan Norén and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]

106 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/26/18 The Pixel Scroll Shadow Jury

  1. (15) you mean to say that we wicked SJWs have forced JdA’s otherwise profitable publisher out of business, despite all the SJWs who were also published by then? Will our evil know no bounds?

  2. Third first!

    And I hope that publisher isn’t going out of business because JdA is such a jerk.

    Thanks for the comic code, on my way to read it.

  3. (6) thanks for continuing to link to these tributes. Plainly Le Guin was a great teacher, too.

    (7) Malheur can probably use the money, as that was the refuge taken over and trashed by the Bundy family and their heavily armed little friends.

    (15) sorry for all the professionals concerned.

  4. Scrolls to the left of me, Pixels to the right
    Here I am, Fifth on the file at last

    It’s a baking January night in Melbourne. Good time to attack Mt TBR.
    Reading Tim Pratt’s enjoyable ‘The Wrong Stars’, with a suite of unreliable aliens and an engaging Chambereseque crew,
    ‘Six Wakes’ is next in the queue.
    In the car, the listen to Foreigner continues, I’m up to ‘Defender’ with the Phoenix about to depart for Reunion.

  5. And I hope that publisher isn’t going out of business because JdA is such a jerk.

    Oh, publishers go out of business all the time–especially small/new ones. It’s not unusual, and there are all sorts of standard reasons for it.

    And although a writer can certainly damage or wreck his own career by being a jerk, no one writer can damage or destroy a publishing venture by being a jerk.

  6. Ken Richards: In the car, the listen to Foreigner continues, I’m up to…

    For a moment there, I thought you were going to say “Juke Box Hero”. 😉

    I loved Six Wakes, it’s a great interstellar murder mystery. It’s on my Hugo shortlist.

    I’m first on the list for The Wrong Stars as soon as my library gets its copies in; thanks for confirming that I’ll probably enjoy it.

  7. @Ken Richards

    I recently read The Wrong Stars and I also got a strong flavour of Chambers from it, which is probably unfair to Pratt who has been going for much longer, but this was the first novel of his I’d read.
    Avoiding spoilers, I enjoyed it for the fun and light tone, but found it a little odd that it kept to that tone even when things were rather tense. Definitely an enjoyable read though.

    Currently I’m dipping my toe into audiobooks with The Strange Case of The Alchemists Daughter by Theodora Goss. I’m not very good at listening to stories if there’s anything to distract me so it’s a bit of a odd experience, especially with the slower pace of audio vs reading.

  8. First fifth? Fifth first? [edit: NOPE]

    I hope EGM do the right thing and return the rights to the authors in a timely fashion. But they do seem to have a plan for an orderly shutdown, so here’s hoping it will be as smooth and painless as possible.

  9. @Mark re ‘The Wrong Stars’ and tone. I got the same feel that there should be more sense of tension where thing got tight. Pratt is not so much into stressing out his characters and readers a la CJ Cherryh for instance! Those characters are nothing if not determined and audacious! After a time I just enjoyed it for what it brought to the table. There are intimations of more complexity and twists to come, so i’m looking forward to ;The Dreaming Stars’ when it arrives.

    @JJ, I’m recalling being stuck on a long drive with a fan of the band ‘Foreigner’, and it left me scarred. There was a cartoon referenced a few days ago on the topic. Can’t find it…

  10. (8) I used to have a cassette copy of Rigel 9. It’s very of it’s time, in terms of the composition style. Bedford was strongly influenced by the early minimalist composers, as well as European modernists. Worth a listen.

  11. 1) This is worth reading in full. I’m glad Lingen had such a supportive experience from friends and con staff alike, though a massive sigh to the continuing existence of this sort of male entitlement.

    6) Thanks for continuing to link to these, although on a purely selfish note I’m glad scrolls are being published at a time which isn’t night for me – I’ve spent too much time this week crying over breakfast from all the beautiful tributes being written. I can’t think of anything more to an author’s credit than having inspired so many other talented people to write.

    Book question: I found the first Foreigner novel OK, but super slow after the first two setup sections – and I’ve enjoyed other Cherryh but with the same complaint. BUT I have a track record of getting really invested in series around the second or third book. Should I stick it out with more Foreigner books? Do they change much? I understand they are sort of grouped into trilogies, so does that mean I can read on to Invader and the one after and get a reasonable resolution even if I decide not to continue?
    (I’m also bracing for Foreigner to turn up on the Best Series list if the 2018 committee decides 2017 finalists aren’t eligible, as it came high up the longlist last year IIRC – but there’s already 17 more books, that’s even worse than Vorkosigan, aaarghhh…)

  12. NickPheas says (15) you mean to say that we wicked SJWs have forced JdA’s otherwise profitable publisher out of business, despite all the SJWs who were also published by then? Will our evil know no bounds?

    Looked at her site. Despite her saying she got out of it because of her paid work, it’s far more likely that none of the books were making money as it’s a very obscure group of authors for the most part. Other JDA, I only recognised two writers of which Seanan MacGuire was the only one I’d actually read.

    Even in the age of digital books, you still need to heavily promote small press offerings they’re going to sell at all. That JDA was on this press suggests that no publisher with more influence wanted his work.

  13. 1) I haven’t been to a convention in probably more than 20 years, but I remember there always having been jerks who stand up and spout off. This would last until some other loudmouth (usually me) would say something like, “Hey, fatass, sit down and STFU. I didn’t come here to listen to your BS.” The guy would get all huffy but eventually sit down or leave. On occasion it would be a woman, but those were the nutty ones who start talking about some “goddess” or other magical-mystical crap that has nothing to do with anything. Times seem to have changed a lot. I never saw those fat f*cks as anything but annoying clowns who have a few opinions too many. I didn’t see them as dangerous.

  14. Mark:I’m not very good at listening to stories if there’s anything to distract me so it’s a bit of a odd experience, especially with the slower pace of audio vs reading.

    I’ve become a big fan of recorded books while on walks and have found that playing at 1.5 normal speed helps with this without overly affecting the sound.

  15. Laura Resnick: And although a writer can certainly damage or wreck his own career by being a jerk, no one writer can damage or destroy a publishing venture by being a jerk.

    I hope there’s no one out there who will take this as a challenge!

  16. @Arifel
    Yes, yes, yes, persist with Foreigner books. They really take off in books 2 and 3. If you don’t like Invader & Inheritor, the series may not be for you. But I hope it is.

  17. Laura Resnick says And although a writer can certainly damage or wreck his own career by being a jerk, no one writer can damage or destroy a publishing venture by being a jerk.

    My contention is that almost all readers of fiction save those like us who are inside the game don’t actually notice or indeed care who the publisher is so long as long as they consider the price they’re reasonable.

    Very few publishers have distinctive enough art that most readers can use that as a way to identify a specific publisher, Baen being a notable exception. So an author can a jerk and generally readers won’t know.

    Now I strongly submit that JDA claiming he’s the leading Hispanic sf writer does make him a first class jerk…

  18. I have a dumb question: Is there a reason that a small publisher like Evil Girlfriend Media can’t keep the existing books available in ebook formats while it halts all other business activities? That would let these authors continue to derive some benefit from their work while they seek a new home for them.

  19. @Paul_A: You never saw them as dangerous. I’m guessing from your username that you’re male. If you read Mrissa’s post, she says

    The people who laughed in his face Friday afternoon with no complaints, no consequences to themselves? All male. All male and all masculine. And yes, I was the moderator on my panel–but he didn’t say a word about Patrick cheerfully saying, “Bye!” to him as he departed, or about Patrick backing up my moderating. There was no complaint about Patrick. It was all me.

    I’ll cope with it. That’s fine. But see it for what it is.

    When a woman gets hassled, repeatedly, by someone who doesn’t hassle the older men, I don’t think “times have changed” in terms of how obnoxious men harass women.

    What has changed is that the women being harassed are more likely to talk about it in public, and that people who they talk to listen and say “this is a problem” rather than “are you sure he wasn’t just enthusiastic?” and “don’t make a fuss, you might embarrass him” and all the other things that are used to silence victims and let the rest of the world think harassment is both rare and unimportant.

  20. rcade wiselyasks I have a dumb question: Is there a reason that a small publisher like Evil Girlfriend Media can’t keep the existing books available in ebook formats while it halts all other business activities? That would let these authors continue to derive some benefit from their work while they seek a new home for them.

    IIRC none of the three major ebook sellers (Amazon, Apple and BN) have a stocking fee though what percentage they keep from a sales differs. She refers to having KindleSelect drop her which means she was only on that platform as they require exclusive rights which means no sales elsewhere. And you give them the right to lend your books which generates no revenues.

  21. @Paul_A: I’m pretty sure that being an obnoxious interrupter is not a behavior limited to fat people, and I’m not sure why you brought up weight at all.

  22. @Leslie C: Well, when trying to get the attention of some schmuck, it’s incumbent upon a person to do so in the quickest way possible and to let them know they are being disrespected in no uncertain terms. Doesn’t mean that person even has to be overweight, the slap in the face of that word or any other insult is to shock them out of their nonsense and make them pay attention to me instead of the person they are annoying.
    Don’t people know how to do this anymore?

  23. Don’t people know how to do this anymore?

    Oh, people definitively still know how to insult fat people. (Sometimes out the window of passing cars when I go out to buy milk!)

  24. @Paul_A: People still know how to do that, but many of us try not to disrespect people other than the one we intend. Disrespecting someone by calling them fat may insult the person you address but it also insults anybody who is fat.

  25. @Paul_A: Yes, people do routinely insult fat people. Frequently while we are walking down the street minding our own business.

    And thank you for reminding me that because of my weight I have no human worth. I forget sometimes.

  26. @Paul_A I suggest you read Vicki’s response to you if you haven’t already, which highlights the gendered aspects of the kind of callout you envision.

    Aside from that… You’re responding to a story in which a woman expressed satisfaction with the mechanisms in place for her to deal with a difficult person at a con. Is your takeaway from that seriously “well in MY day we knew how to be RUDE to people properly, don’t you kids know how to fling an insult”? You seem to be missing the part where, at least at this con, there were significantly better options available than relying on some selectively rude ally.

  27. Well, when trying to get the attention of some schmuck, it’s incumbent upon a person to do so in the quickest way possible and to let them know they are being disrespected in no uncertain terms.

    I know you don’t go to cons any more, so this is hypothetical.

    But if a person is disrupting a con panel and you think the best solution is to disrupt it further by coming up with a cutting personal insult to redirect their attention, you aren’t solving anything. You’re just turning one problem into two.

  28. So having finished reading Ken MacLeod’s The Corporation Wars books back-to-back I have thoughts: first, this is a powerful exploration of algorithmic capitalism, from the viewpoint of the machines that drive it.

    Secondly: there’s a depth here in exploring the role of consciousness in intelligence. I am reminded of the essays in Hofstadter and Dennett’s The Mind’s I, only recast from thirty more years of work on AI and on philosophy.

    Thirdly Ken puts himself firmly in a camp that that’s opposed to the two main geek religions, the transhumanists and the neo-reactionaries. There is no libertarian utopia to be had; our machines have no need of us.

    This is actually a profoundly optimistic point of view. Where algorithmic economics and governance become back boxes that optimise for giving us a nice life, we end up in a permanent retirement village as a species. That’s an interesting take on the Fermi Paradox.

    And yet there’s more, because as Carlos says at the end, death is our bargain with the future. Evolution is not written.

    Possibly the best SF of the last four or five years. So much in there, so much dialog with the world we live in. Highly recommended

  29. when trying to get the attention of some schmuck, it’s incumbent upon a person to do so in the quickest way possible

    Please try being polite – it works so much better, and YOU won’t be “some schmuck” to the rest of the room.

  30. (1) what Arifel said. This is a very good piece of writing about an important topic. Good on Lingen for reporting the incident and blogging on it without personally identifying the offensive person.

  31. @Paul_A:

    Well, when trying to get the attention of some schmuck, it’s incumbent upon a person to do so in the quickest way possible and to let them know they are being disrespected in no uncertain terms. Doesn’t mean that person even has to be overweight, the slap in the face of that word or any other insult is to shock them out of their nonsense and make them pay attention to me instead of the person they are annoying.
    Don’t people know how to do this anymore?

    Oh, I see. And when you continue in your comment:

    I never saw those fat f*cks as anything but annoying clowns who have a few opinions too many

    Who is it that you’re trying to slap in the face then?

  32. In addition to the other points people have made in response to Paul A’s first comment — he writes that he “didn’t see” people who make a habit of disrupting panels like this “as dangerous,” but as Lingen writes, this guy’s behaviour wasn’t limited to that isolated incident. The parts of this story that make me nervous for people’s safety aren’t so much the part at the panel as later, when he showed up at another of her panels and followed her out, and then when he accosted a con volunteer who he felt wasn’t taking his complaint about the panel seriously enough.

  33. @Simon Bisson: Thanks for that; as a big fan of MacLeod’s work I picked up all three but haven’t gotten to them yet (I was waiting for the 3rd book to come out so I could binge). Also, The Mind’s Eye is a fascinating book! I read that back when I was in grad school.
    (18) @Shao Ping @C.A. Collins: Yeah, that’s a remarkable exercise in completely missing the point.

    ETA: @Paul_A: Don’t people know how to do this anymore? Do what? Be astonishingly rude?

  34. (1) What strikes me most about this incident is how it plays against the sometimes expressed idea that disruptive audience members can’t help themselves, or don’t understand social interactions. It’s clear this fellow can and will behave; he just didn’t chose to/see reason to/believe he had to, when Marissa Lingen was moderating.

  35. @Simon Bisson & PhilRM, I read Cassini Division many years ago and loved it, but for some reason never quite got back to Ken McLeod. Any recs for a place to start?

    Currently reading both A Wizard of Earthsea and Winter Rose by McKillip, which is an interesting combination. Just finished The Bear and The Nightingale, which I found deeply tiresome.

  36. Muccamukk: Newton’s Wake and Learning the World are standalone McLeod books that I enjoyed.

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