Pixel Scroll 11/4/18 The Scrolled Fan and the Spree

(1) EDELMAN GOH SPEECH AT WFC44. World Fantasy Con GoH Scott Edelman has posted a video of his speech, which is a call for inclusiveness in many dimensions of conrunning and the sff community. Scott hired the ASL interpreter seen in the video at his own expense, reports Andy Duncan.

(2) ARISIA 2019 NEWS. Arisia Inc. announced that Bjo and John Trimble will remain as GoHs, as will artist Elizabeth Leggett, but not Daniel Older and Malka Older.

It is with respect and regret that we are confirming what Daniel Older reported in his social media; he and his sister, Malka Older will not be participating in Arisia 2019. We asked each guest to make the choice they felt most comfortable with, and Malka and Daniel let us know they could not participate as things stood.

Our Fan Guests of Honor, Bjo and John Trimble, have confirmed that they would like to continue to be our guests. Lastly, as we shared from her social media post earlier, Elizabeth Leggett will continue to be our Artist Guest of Honor.

On top of Arisia 2019’s other problems, their venue is one of seven Boston area Marriott hotels where workers are on strike, and Arisia leadership are creating contingency plans because they won’t hold the con there if the strike is still going on. An unofficial Facebook page published the text of the staff email on the subect:

We cannot hold a convention in a hotel that is striking. If the strike continues, we see two possible options, and are looking for your help to determine which one is best. We can either move the convention to another property, or cancel Arisia 2019. We will need to work together to determine a timeline to make the go/no-go decision, as well as which of the two outcomes we should choose in the event the strike continues….

(3) PARDON THE INTERRUPTION. Some booksellers are retaliating against a new AbeBooks policy: “Booksellers Protest Amazon Site’s Move to Drop Stores From Certain Countries” – the New York Times has the story.

More than 250 antiquarian book dealers in 24 countries say they are pulling over a million books off an Amazon-owned site for a week, an impromptu protest after the site abruptly moved to ban sellers from several nations.

The flash strike against the site, AbeBooks, which is due to begin Monday, is a rare concerted action by vendors against any part of Amazon, which depends on third-party sellers for much of its merchandise and revenue. The protest arrives as increasing attention is being paid to the extensive power that Amazon wields as a retailer — a power that is greatest in books.

The stores are calling their action Banned Booksellers Week. The protest got its start after AbeBooks sent emails last month to booksellers in countries including South Korea, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia to say that it would no longer “support” them. “We apologize for this inconvenience,” the company said….

(4) MORE MEXICANX. Stephen C. Tobin covered the MexicanX Initiative for Latin American Literature Today: “The Long-Overdue Recognition of Mexicanx Science Fiction at This Year’s WorldCon76”.

The Initiative sprang forth from the seedling of an idea by one of this year’s WorldCon76 Guest of Honor, illustrator John Picacio. In the past he has twice won a Hugo Award –the crown jewel of science fiction awards– and was also invited to be this year’s Master of Ceremonies for the Hugos. His being Mexican-American led him to discover that no Guest of Honor or Hugo Award MC had ever been a brown person. “I thought it’s great to be the first,” he said, “but who cares if you’re the last? That’s the question I kept thinking about: who would come behind me? I break the door down, but then who’s coming through the door after me?” Initially, he thought he would sponsor one or two people (i.e., pay for their membership fees) out of his own pocket, but then his friend and novelist John Scalzi said he would do the same. Shortly after, more people agreed to sponsor, and before long, when the number reached 10 people, the whole process gained the momentum of a sizable snowball just picking up speed down a mountain. At that moment, Picacio decided to aim for sponsoring 50 people and gave the project its official title of The Mexicanx Initiative. By convention time, approximately 15 Mexicanx nationals along with 35 Mexicanx-Americans held sponsorships. (A similar origin story lies behind the bilingual anthology A Larger Reality: Speculative Fiction from the Bicultural Margins, which was published just for the Initiative at WorldCon76 and receives an in-depth treatment in the prologue to the dossier.) Ultimately, Picacio said, this was not just merely some brown people getting together but “this was a human endeavor, like George R.R. Martin said [at the Hugo Awards after party]. It was all cultures getting together to bring in another that wasn’t really being included.”

(5) A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE.

(6) SUB SANDWICH. Quartzy posits “Nine sci-fi subgenres to help you understand the future”. The fifth is —

5. Solarpunk

“What does ‘the good life’ look like in a steady-state, no-growth, totally sustainable society?”

According to “On The Need for New Futures,” a 2012 article on Solarpunk.net, that’s the question this movement—which melds speculative fiction, art, fashion and eco-activism—seeks to answer. In the same post, Solarpunk’s anonymous founders warn, “We are starved for visions of the future that will sustain us, and give us something to hope for.” Yet what if we dreamed differently? What if we tried to answer a separate question: What does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?

As Olivia Rosane puts it, what if we tried to “cancel the apocalypse?”

Solarpunk is the opposite of cyberpunk’s nihilism, offering stories, the founders say, about “ingenuity, positive creation, independence, and community.” These narratives are often framed around infrastructure as both a form of resistance and as the foundations for a new way of life—the eponymous solar panels feature heavily.

What to read

Kim Stanley Robinson, Mars trilogy (beginning with Red Mars,1992)

“I’ve always written utopian science fiction,” says Robinson. He’s one of the best world-builders in contemporary sci-fi, and these stories of terraforming Mars are super worked-through, both technically and sociopolitically. They describe a future in which humans just might be able to achieve ecosystem balance.

Cory Doctorow, Walkaway (2018)

This is far less utopian than Robinson’s work, but perhaps, quietly, just as hopeful. In a world wracked by climate change and fully captured by corporate power, most people live grinding lives of toil in “Default” cities. Yet 3-D printing has created post-scarcity, and so Doctorow’s trio of characters simply secede and walk away into the lands in between, and start to rebuild the world. “The point of Walkaway is the first days of a better nation,” one says.

Check out Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation (2017, eds. Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland), the first English-language collection of solarpunk fiction . For stories from Brazil and Portugal, there’s Solarpunk: Ecological and Fantastical Stories in a Sustainable World (2014 / English 2018, ed. Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro).

(7) BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME. James Davis Nicoll wonders if we missed the chance at a real-life Rendezvous with Rama: “Recent Interstellar Asteroid May Have Been Alien Artifact, Speculates New Paper”.

… “Just what is ‘Oumuamua?” you may ask. I am so glad you asked. It’s the first ever verified interstellar object traversing our solar system. It was discovered in late 2017. Unlike Rama, it was only spotted over a month after its first and only perihelion. Also unlike Rama, there weren’t any space probes conveniently located where they could be diverted to take a close look. And of course, unlike Rama, we have NO nuclear-powered crewed spacecraft bopping around the Solar System, let alone one in the right place at the right time to visit ‘Oumuamua….

(8) MARTENSSON OBIT. “[Swedish fan] Bertil Mårtensson died this morning, from the effects of inhaling smoke and soot during a fire in his apartment kitchen last Thursday – he was weakened from other illnesses, and unable to escape from the apartment,” John-Henri-Holmberg announced on Facebook.

The Science Fiction Encyclopedia has an entry about his writing career here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • November 4, 1920 – Sydney Bounds, Writer, Editor, and Fan from England who was a prolific author of short fiction, and novels — not just science fiction, but also horror, Westerns, mysteries, and juvenile fiction — from 1946 until his death in 2006. He was an early fan who joined Britain’s Science Fiction Association in 1937 and was active in fandom there. He worked as an electrician on the Enigma machine during World War II, and while in the service, he started publishing the fanzine Cosmic Cuts. The film The Last Days on Mars (an adaptation of “The Animators”) and the Tales of the Darkside episode “The Circus” are based on stories by him. In 2005, two collections of his fiction were released under the title The Best of Sydney J. Bounds: Strange Portrait and Other Stories, and The Wayward Ship and other Stories. In 2007, the British Fantasy Society honored him by renaming their award for best new writer after him.
  • November 4, 1934 – Gregg Calkins, Writer, Editor, and Fan. Mike Glyer’s tribute to him reads: “Longtime fan Gregg Calkins died July 31, 2017 after suffering a fall. He was 82. Gregg got active in fandom in the Fifties and his fanzine Oopsla (1952-1961) is fondly remembered. He was living in the Bay Area and serving as the Official Editor of FAPA when I applied to join its waitlist in the Seventies. He was Fan GoH at the 1976 Westercon. Calkins later moved to Costa Rica. In contrast to most of his generation, he was highly active in social media, frequently posting on Facebook where it was his pleasure to carry the conservative side of debates. He is survived by his wife, Carol.”
  • November 4, 1950 – John Vickery, 68, Actor of Stage and Screen. Wearing making makeup and prosthetics is something this performer did very well, as he appeared as a Cardassian military officer in Deep Space Nine’s “The Changing Face of Evil”, a Betazoid in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Night Terrors”, and a Klingon in Star Trek: Enterprise‘s “Judgment”. In Babylon 5 and its spinoff Crusade, he had dual roles, as Neroon and Mr. Welles, and he had guest parts in episodes of Medium and The Others. A veteran stage actor, he originated the role of Scar in The Lion King on Broadway.
  • November 4, 1955 – Lani Tupu, 63, Actor and Director from New Zealand. He’d be on the Birthday scroll just for being Crais on the Farscape series, but he’s actually been in several other genre undertakings, including the 1989 Punisher, Robotropolis, and Finders Keepers. He also had guest parts in episodes of Tales of the South Seas, Time TraxArthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, and the Australian remake of the Mission: Impossible series (which if you haven’t seen it, is quite excellent; I just found it in DVD format sometime in the past month).
  • November 4, 1953 – Kara Dalkey, 65, Writer and Musician. Author of YA fiction and historical fantasy. She is a member of the Pre-Joycean Fellowship (which, if memory serves me right, includes both Emma Bull and Stephen Brust) and the Scribblies. Her works include The Sword of Sagamore, Steel Rose, Little Sister, and The Nightingale; her Water Trilogy blends together Atlantean and Arthurian mythologies. She’s been nominated for Mythopoeic and Tiptree Awards.
  • November 4, 1953 – Stephen Jones, 65, Editor from England. He is a prolific Anthologist — and that is putting quite mildly, as he went well over the century mark in edited anthologies quite some time ago. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror accounts for seventeen volumes by itself, and his editions of The Mammoth Book of (Pick A Title) run for at least another for another dozen. He has also authored a number of horror reference works, such as The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History, Basil Copper: A Life in Books, and H. P. Lovecraft in Britain. He chaired the World Fantasy Conventions in 1988 and 2013, and has himself been a Guest of Honor at a World Fantasy Convention. His work has won a whopping 22 British Fantasy Awards, 5 Stoker Awards, and 3 World Fantasy Awards. In 2006, the British Fantasy Society recognized him with the Karl Edward Wagner Award for outstanding contribution to the genre.
  • November 4, 1965 – Kiersten Warren, 53, Actor who has had roles in Bicentennial Man, Independence Day, 13 Going on 30, The Astronaut Farmer, The Thinning, and The Invisible Mother, and guest roles on episodes of Night Man, Wolf Lake, and Fringe.
  • November 4, 1970 – Anthony Ruivivar, 48, Actor whose genre appearances include Starsthip Troopers and The Adjustment Bureau, along with a plethora of recurring roles in TV series Frequency, The Haunting of Hill House, American Horror Story, Scream, Revolution, and the new Beauty and the Beast, and recurring voice roles in Beware the Batman and Avengers Assemble.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brevity turns to Auric Goldfinger for a laugh.

(11) CHUCK TINGLE’S HALLOWEEN COSTUME. This has probably never been done before.

(12) HELP NEEDED BY LONGTIME ASFA, SFWA, WHC VOLUNTEER MAURINE DORRIS. “Medical for Maurine Dorris” is a fundraiser on Facebook started by Joann Cavitt Parsons. To date they’ve raied $1,000 of the $10,000 goal. Latest update is that her cancer is Stage 4, with widespread metastases.

Older fans, especially in the South, will remember Maurine Dorris as a force to be reckoned with. She and JoAnn Parsons ran more ASFA suites and SFWA suites than I can remember.  They started World Horror Convention, and ran the first two, in Nashville, TN.

Maurine fell at home last week and broke her hip. Happens to lots of us these days. Sadly, while in the ER for that, it came out that she has metastatic cancer in multiple sites.

Maurine has never been well blessed with money. The only insurance she has is Medicare Part A, because she felt that she couldn’t even afford Part B. She was widowed at an early age, and has only one son. She lives by herself, in a trailer on the property of her best friend JoAnn Parsons and her husband.

Maurine has decided not to treat the cancer, and to return home as soon as possible. Clearly, she will need help. JoAnn has started a GoFundMe account for her, which I hope that you will be kind enough to share.

(13) POWERFUL LINEUP. Joe Sherry recalls an influential 1975 Pamela Sargent anthology in “Feminist Futures: Women of Wonder” at Nerds of a Feather.

…How familiar readers are with the twelve writers of Women of Wonder likely depends on how well and broadly read they are with the overall field of science fiction. For many, Vonda McIntyre may only be known as the writer of one Star Wars novel (The Crystal Star) and five Star Trek novels. Other readers will know McIntyre from her three Hugo Awards and one Nebula Award.

Pamela Sargent put together a powerful lineup of writers (and stories), some of which have become absolute giants of the field. Anne McCaffrey. Ursula K. Le Guin. Joanna Russ. Marion Zimmer Bradley (more on her later)….

(14) FILE TYPE. Paul Weimer adds an entry to Ursula K. Le Guin’s dossier for Nerds of a Feather — “Feminist Futures: The Word for World is Forest”.

…Finally, there is our Athshean protagonist, Selver. It is from his semi-omniscient point of view that we get the major worldbuilding of the novel as regards to how the Athesheans see themselves, and how their societies actually work. Davidson and even Lyubov, for his sympathies for the native inhabitants, simply doesn’t see or know about….

Legacy: The novella’s polemic, strong, unyielding tone meant that it had an immediate impact on readers, especially since it was in the high profile Again, Dangerous Visions anthology edited by Harlan Ellison. It deservedly was nominated for and won a Hugo award. It’s anti-colonial and ecological themes were likely the greater focus of readers at the time, given the Vietnam War, and the realization and maturation of the work into recognition for its gender and feminist ideals is something that has become a function of seeing it placed within the Hain-verse. …

(15) BOOK LIFE. This time the author of The Traitor Baru Cormorant supplies the titles for Nerds of a Feather’s recurring feature — “6 Books with Seth Dickinson”.

  1. How about a book you’ve changed your mind about over time–either positively or negatively? Guns, Germs, and Steel. When I read it in high school I thought it was the smartest thing ever written. Now it’s pretty obviously reductionist. (I’m not, like, clever for figuring this out, there’s a bot on the history reddit whose only job is to post disclaimers about GG&S.)I used to think Pale Fire was a clever postmodern novel with a ‘true’ story hidden behind the one we’re given. Now I know that Zembla is real and John Shade failed its people.God, I can never remember enough books.

(16) AQUAMAN. They call this trailer “Aquaman – Attitude.”

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Marcia Kelly Illingworth, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/4/18 The Scrolled Fan and the Spree

  1. (15) The parts of Guns, Germs, and Steel that hold up are basically popularizing and to some degree updating Plagues and Peoples, by William H. MacNeil. You don’t lose anything essential by just reading Plagues and Peoples, and MacNeil is an excellent writer and historian, with a bunch more for you to read and enjoy.

    In 4345, he is still required and even popular reading.

  2. 4)

    His being Mexican-American led him to discover that no Guest of Honor or Hugo Award MC had ever been a brown person.

    I don’t recall about guests of honor, but, at a minimum, both Sasquan and Worldcon 75 had brown people as Hugo hosts (Tananarive Due and Karen Lord, respectively). Unless they are excluding African-descended people from “brown people”?

    Also, fifth!

  3. (3) What’s bizarre here is that Amazon has a major office centre in Prague, a huge distribution centre in the Czech Republic, and they recently launched a Czech-language interface on the Amazon.de website. Their recruitment posters for new staff are all over the Prague public transport system, so the Czech Republic is clearly one of the markets they are actively cultivating. And then they ban Czech-based outside sellers. Logic escapes me.

  4. (8) Ah, dang.I have fond recollections both of his fiction, as well as a book on logic that he wrote (yes, it was course material).

  5. @Lenore
    And Nalo Hopkinson was a full blown GOH at Worldcon 75.

    I guess JP is regarding ‘Brown’ and ‘Black’ as different things, while a pallid pink person like me sees paler and deeper brown people as more alike than they are different.

  6. 4) I guess Boris Vallejo (2011) should be counted too. And he was guest of honour at the same time as another “brown person” – Charles N Brown.

  7. 4) Thinks. If we have therefore disproved the never before had a brown (Latin American) GoH at a Worldcon, has there ever been a brown (south Asian) GoH?

    I see people of Chinese and Japanese ancestry, and have next to no idea how healthy SF is in India.

  8. 8) He will be missed. His fantasy trilogy completely blew my mind when I first read it, and I enjoyed everything I’ve read by him.

  9. Meredith Moment:

    84K by Claire North, The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis and The Asylum of Dr. Caligari by James Morrow are all part of the KDD at Amazon US. All are $1.99.

    Not genre, but of possible interest to any word nerds here (like me) is The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg is also part of the KDD. Also $1.99.

    Here in 7115, English is a dead language, of interest only to scholars. Everyone speaks Feline.

  10. 1) Yeah for Edelman hiring his own ASL interpretor, I guess. But like those “inspirational” stories of kids selling lemonade so members of their family don’t die from being underinsured, this seems the opposite of “inspiring” to me. Shouldn’t WFC provide CART and ASL interpretors for its major events as a matter of course?

    2) I’d like to know what Boskone’s contingency plans are. Their con is in the same hotel in February. This strike, alas, does not look like it’s going away soon. Come on Starwood, get it together! You’re employees are worth the investment!

    4) I suspect “Brown” in this case means Hispanic, not Black.

    9) I wonder if it would read better if the birthday list put the person’s name in bold instead of the date? It would be easier for me, at least, to pick out the person. It’s fun reading through them and I appreciate the effort put into this section of the scroll.

  11. (3) Andrew: I was also surprised. Not that I have any particular problems with Amazon per se, in fact as a book nerd I love some of the features, like having all my purchases since account inception at my fingertips, but I do like to know who I’m dealing with when pondering my book-buying options. Along those lines it seems another one of my go-to sources, Bookfinder, is also owned by Amazon, although Alibris and Biblio are still ‘independants’. For now.

  12. The only problem I ever have with the birthdays is strictly “my” problem. I look at them and right away start thinking “Oh no! These people have just died!”

    It only lasts for a moment, though, and I mention it now because I find it mildly amusing afterward.

  13. 3) My mom buys a LOT of used books, and checks both alibris (her preference) and abebooks. Alibris is frequently cheaper, but shipping is often slower.

    Alibris is her preference because it’s not Amazon.

    Here in 1477 book prices are plummeting due to new-fangled technology.

  14. @NickPheas/ULTRAGOTHA, re: (4): “Brown” in this context generally means subcontinental Indian, middle eastern/certain North African ethnic groups, southeast Asian ethnic groups who tend to be darker skinned (Filipino especially), and hispanic peoples. Black and Indigenous peoples are usually explicitly excluded because, in North America at least, their history/relationship with race and their experiences as racialized citizens are highly specific to them in a way that’s not always true for other groups (that the rationale, anyway). An acquaintance of mine, journalist/professor Kamal al-Solaylee, wrote an excellent book called “Brown: What Being Brown In The World Today Means (To Everyone)” that not only does a good job breaking down how (and why) the word is used the way it is in different contexts, but also discusses how these groups have surprisingly similar relationships to race despite often living in wildly different cultural contexts. Really excellent read.

    6) There are things about this that I like (a lot of the recommended reading looks fantastic), but some of these categories have enough in common with cyberpunk that rolling them into it makes more sense to me than splitting them off by nitpicking over superficial elements. (And as Jay and I discussed over Twitter, I also think that “kitchen sink dystopia”, which is probably my favourite of these, is basically just design fiction, something else that could probably be folded back into cyberpunk without any real problems.)

  15. 4) ULTRAGOTHA, either that, or the reporter misquoted him. With all of those recent examples as well as the older ones, it’s hard to believe JP didn’t know.

  16. (13) I have all five of the Women of Wonder anthologies Pamela Sargent has edited over the years. I hope to see another one in the near future…

  17. 3) This whole “You’re not allowed to use our platform/buy our product, because you’re a citizen of country X and don’t matter” attitude is utterly infuriating.

    I’ve run into variations of this all my life, starting at the age of approx. 12 when my attempt to order a product from a US company based in Cincinannati (I’ve forgotten the name of the company, but I remember the city, because I had problems spelling it) was answered with a rude form letter “We don’t ship to Europe.”

    And I still run into it today, whenever I try to open a website that informs me that EU citizens aren’t allowed to view their hallowed content, because the website operators can’t be bothered with GDPR compliance and/or are terrified of the high penalties, which aren’t even aimed at random recipe websites, small town newspapers or the Canadian crime writers association. It’s not just small sites, too, the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune websites as well as foodnetwork and its associated sites are inacessible to anybody in the EU.

    Therefore, it’s great that the used book sellers are fighting back and supporting the ones kicked off AbeBooks because of their location.

  18. @Jonathan K. Stephens: I started using Abebooks many years ago (before Amazon started selling used books, if I recall correctly). I like the Abebooks interface; I haven’t bought books from outside the US, UK and Canada, though.

  19. My email service is down right now, which is keeping me from finishing the Scroll. Or really beginning it, to be honest, because I’ve been working on drafts of two other posts before now! So spare a kind thought for AOL if you can…

  20. No I don’t.

    There is a way you could get me material, but it probably doesn’t matter unless I can put together the rest of the Scroll….!

  21. We can wait for the Scroll. I know that it’s futile to say this, but please don’t stress about it, we’ll be happy to get it whenever it arrives. 😀

  22. Today’s Meredith Moment:

    World Fantasy Award winner Jade City by Fonda Lee is $2.99 at Amazon US and the other usual suspects (not sure about UK).

    Also, I received an e-mail saying that I could order a copy of the new deluxe 50th anniversary hardcover collection of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea stories, illustrated by Charles Vess, for 25% off plus free shipping, if I ordered directly from Simon & Schuster (apologies, but this is US-only). However, I checked Amazon, and while S&S wants to charge me $44.99, Amazon is selling it for $37.42 — also with free shipping in the U.S.

  23. @ Doctor Science — Thanks for the tip about Alibris. I’d lost hope that there were any more online used book dealers that hadn’t been assimilated by the Big A. I regularly hunt down used copies of originally-expensive academic books. I check Powell’s first, but they only have about a 30% hit rate.

  24. @Cora Buhlert – David Goldfarb beat me to correcting your spelling of that city downstream from me, but I will note that I have to think twice whenever I write its name, and I lived there for about half of 1986. Still live in Ohio, only a little over 100 miles from there.

    It’s 4813, and recreated trilobites once again roam the shallow sea where fabled Porkopolis once stood.

  25. @Ultragotha

    Is ASL the right choice for all world conventions though? Where the convention is in the US and it can be assumed that most deaf audience members speak ASL then yes.

    But outside the US then it becomes a more tricky proposition. Should BSL be used when the convention is hosted in the UK? DGS (Deutsche Gebärdensprache) in Germany and so on? Even though that will leave many ASL speakers pretty much lost at times?

  26. Andyl, it’s a problem, yes. Ideally one would have multiple interpreters working with individuals who need it, and match the languages. Practically speaking, one might lean harder on live captioning, which seems less preferred by sign language speakers, but will also help hard of hearing people who don’t know sign, and avoids the multiple sign language problem.

    Accessibility is very complicated.

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