(1) SANFORD BACK ON TWITTER. Jason Sanford has unlocked his Twitter account and written a 14-tweet update in a thread that starts here.
Sanford also updated an endnote to his Patreon article “Baen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence” with information provided by Mercedes Lackey.
[Note 7] According to the explanation in the list of banned Baen’s Bar topics, Mercedes Lackey posted a long rant on the forum about her distaste for Baen Books and Jim Baen personally, along with mentioning how she had been persecuted for being of a particular political bent. While it appears Lackey left the forum after that, Jim Baen “asked that the incident be stricken from discussion.”
Update: Mercedes Lackey reached out to me to say that the information shared on Baen’s Bar about why she left was simply not true. She says she left the forum after 9/11 when forum users were posting freely about murdering all Muslims. Lackey strongly attacked these posts in a long post on Baen’s Bar, but her post was heavily criticized by Tom Kratman and specifically John Ringo and Ringo’s followers. However, Lackey’s post and reasons for leaving said nothing about Jim Baen nor about Baen Books. She also says the note posted on the forum banning discussions around her leaving was written after Jim Baen passed, so he would have been unable to contradict it.
(2) RAMBO ON WHAT’S EXPECTED OF A GOH. Cat Rambo also has more comments on the controversy: “Opinion: More Fuel for the Recent Baenfire”.
In the couple of days since I first spoke about the furor evoked by Jason Sanford’s criticism of a specific subforum of Baen’s Bar, the discussion boards sponsored by Baen Books, for encouraging armed insurrection and white supremacy, a good bit has happened*.
One notable outcome is that DisCon has removed Toni Weisskopf as a Guest of Honor, making this statement…
… As I’ve talked about before, programming is an art. Who you pick as GoH is part of that. Often programming starts with the GoHs and fills in around them. And one of the (reasonable) expectations of a GoH is that they participate in a hearty chunk of programming. The GoHs are the literal faces of the convention, smiling out from the convention advertising and program books.
Bearing that in mind, DisCon had to ask was Is supporting a place where a bunch of people spend their time expressing their hatred of other members of the F&SF community something that makes a field more awesome? as well as What do we do, knowing that a choice to keep Weisskopf will be read as an endorsement of those words?
Words that support an armed coup. Words saying people with differing political beliefs should be killed. Words urging violence towards other people.
We talk about free speech, but with free speech comes responsibility for one’s words. Baen cannot disavow responsibility for those words, regardless of whether or not they happened because someone was asleep at the wheel….
(3) ADDRESSEE UNKNOWN. John Scalzi is sitting this one out. Or maybe a different one. He doesn’t actually say: “A Vague But Official Pronouncement About a Thing” at Whatever.
I know there is a thing! I know some of you want me to engage with the thing! I know this because you’ve sent me emails about the thing and I see the subject headers! I then delete the emails unread because I do not wish to engage with this thing! Engaging with this thing will not make me happy! I find myself looking at it and being glad it is not actually my problem!
So: Have fun with this thing without me!…
(4) NORMA K HEMMING AWARDS NEWS. The 2021 Norma K Hemming Awards will be held over until 2022, for a combined two-year consideration period.
This decision has been made due to several factors, including COVID-19, juror fatigue, and administrative changes. Please note that all 2020 and 2021 publications will be eligible when the Awards next run.
On a related note, Norma K Hemming Award Administrator Tehani Croft has resigned from this position.
Tehani would like to thank Rose Mitchell, outgoing Australian Science Fiction Foundation president, for her support, vision and efforts to ensure the Awards are relevant. This work could not have been achieved without her, and it has been very much appreciated by the community, particularly those creators whose work could be recognised, and by the audiences the Award reaches.
(5) SMELL THE ROSES. Tim Waggoner advises writers to enjoy their professional journey in “Writing in the Dark: So You’re Never Going to be Stephen King” at Writing in the Dark.
…So why have I written what sounds like an extended brag about how awesome I am? So I could tell you this: I’ve pushed and pushed and pushed myself for almost four decades now, and sometimes I don’t feel like a success at all. I don’t think I’m a failure – there’s too much evidence that I’m not – but I feel as if true success is always just out of my reach. Sometimes it makes me feel like my career has been kind of a cruel cosmic joke, and that gets me down and makes it hard to keep working. Sometimes it feels as if I’m on the downhill slide of my career, and there’s nothing I can do to turn things around. Sometimes I toy with the idea of quitting writing. I’ve always thought about quitting. I’m prone to depression and, as an imaginative person, I’m prone to drama. I may not evince this in my everyday life, but it’s true. I’m as much a drama queen inside as any other creative person. And the reason I feel all these things is because I listen too much to what the world tells me a successful writer should be. I think of my writing accomplishments as achievements to slap in a bio or bibliography, quickly forgotten as I rush toward the next project or goal I want to achieve. I forget to enjoy the results of my efforts, to savor the experiences, to have fun, to feel joy. If I’m not first writing for myself, writing to spend my life in a way that feels fulfilling to me, if I don’t remember to appreciate these things, that’s when I most feel like a failure. My writing is supposed to sustain me, but if it was water, I’d get regular deliveries of it, throw the jugs in the basement, and never drink a drop of it. I’d be too focused on obtaining more water without taking the time to appreciate the water I’ve already got.
In his wonderful speech “Make Good Art,” Neil Gaiman shares a story about a time when he was doing a signing alongside Stephen King. It was during the height of Sandman’s success, and Neil had a ton of people show up to get their comics signed. Steve told him, “This is really great. You should enjoy it.” But Neil didn’t. He was too focused on the next project, the next hill to climb. He calls Steve’s words “the best advice I ever got but completely failed to follow.”…
(6) VARLEY MEDICAL UPDATE. [Item by Trey Palmer.] Just learned that John Varley, author of Steel Beach, The Golden Globe, Millennium, the Gaea trilogy and many others, is headed into bypass surgery Monday. ”Sending Prayers to the Cosmos”.
If you can, spare him a little positive thought or prayer.
Last week John began having chest pains. Then we got snowed in for a few days. So it wasn’t until last Thursday that he saw a cardiologist for a stress test. Blockages! The doctor told him to go to the emergency room immediately. They scheduled him for an angiogram next day hoping that a stent would fix the problem. It didn’t, so now he’s going to have coronary bypass surgery Monday morning. Any good thoughts, prayers, strong visualizations that you can send his way would be greatly appreciated.
(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
- February 21, 1958 — On this day in 1958, Day The World Ended premiered in West Germany. It was produced and directed by Roger Corman. It starred Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, Adele Jergens, and Mike Connors. This was the first SF film by Corman. The film was shot over 10 days on a budget of $96,234.49. Critics at the time considered it silly and fun. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a 42% rating. You can watch it here. (CE)
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born February 21, 1912 – P. Schuyler Miller. A novel (with Sprague de Camp), fifty shorter stories (“As Never Was” anthologized in the great Healy-McComas Adventures in Time and Space); fine book reviewer for Astounding and thus Analog, Special Committee Award from Discon I the 21st Worldcon. Treasurer of Pittcon the 18th. “Alicia in Blunderland” spoofing 1930s SF fans, pros, tales, appeared in the fanzine Science Fiction Digest; PSM was in FAPA. Amateur archeologist. Notable collector, left 3500 hardbacks, 4600 paper. His reviews await collection. (Died 1974) [JH]
- Born February 21, 1913 – Ross Rocklynne. Two novels, a hundred shorter stories; attended Nycon I the 1st Worldcon; considered a figure of the 1930s-1950s, but he’s in Again, Dangerous Visions, Carr’s Universe 3 anthology, Amazing and Fantastic under White. Co-founder of the Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n and the Cincinnati Fantasy Group. (Died 1988) [JH]
- Born February 21, 1933 – Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, age 88. Member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, she married a Norwegian and wrote The Trickster and the Troll about Iktomi and a nisse looking for the nisse’s family in the plains. “When Thunders Spoke” too is ours. A score of books. Spirit of Crazy Horse Award, Nat’l Humanities Medal. Historiographer of the Episcopal Church of South Dakota. More here. [JH]
- Born February 21, 1935 — Richard A. Lupoff. His career started off with Xero, a Hugo winning fanzine he edited with his wife Pat and Bhob Stewart. A veritable who’s who of writers were published there. He also was a reviewer for Algol. To say he was prolific as a professional writer is an understatement as he’s known to have written at least fifty works of fiction, plus short fiction, and some non-fiction as well. I’m fond of Sacred Locomotive Files and The Universal Holmes but your tolerance for his humor may vary. The usual digital suspects stock him deeply at quite reasonable prices. (Died 2020.) (CE)
- Born February 21, 1937 — Ingrid Pitt. Performer from Poland who emigrated to the UK who is best known as Hammer Films’ most sexy female vampire of the early Seventies. Would I kid you? Her first genre roles were in the Spanish movie Sound of Horror and the science-fictional The Omegans, followed by the Hammer productions The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, and The House That Dripped Blood. She appeared in the true version of The Wicker Man and had parts in Octopussy, Clive Barker’s Underworld, Dominator, and Minotaur. She had two different roles twenty years apart in Doctor Who – somewhat of a rarity – as Dr. Solow in the “Warriors of the Deep” episode and as Galleia in “The Time Monster” episode. (Died 2010.) (CE)
- Born February 21, 1953 — Lisa Goldstein, 68. Writer, Fan, and Filer whose debut novel, The Red Magician, was so strong that she was a finalist for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer two years in a row. Her short fiction has garnered an array of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominations, as well as a Sidewise Award. The short story “Cassandra’s Photographs” was a Hugo and Nebula finalist and “Alfred” was a World Fantasy and Nebula finalist; both can be found in her collection Travellers in Magic. The quite excellent Uncertain Places won a Mythopoeic Award. You can read about her work in progress, her reviews of others’ stories, and other thoughts at her blog which is one of the better ones I’ve read. (CE)
- Born February 21, 1959 – Debi Gliori, Litt.D., age 62. A dozen novels, six dozen picture books. Red House Children’s Book Award. Doctorate of Letters from Strathclyde Univ. Here is an interior from The Trouble with Dragons. Here is What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf? Here is Polar Bolero – you knew I’d get a dance in somehow. [JH]
- Born February 21, 1961 – David Levine, age 60. First-rate fanziner with his wife the first-rate Kate Yule while she was alive; she saw him blossom also as a pro: “Tk’tk’tk” won a Hugo, DL’s acceptance was epic. By then he had won the James White, a few years later the Endeavour; later Arabella of Mars won the Andre Norton. Two weeks at a simulated Mars base in the Utah desert. Two more novels about Arabella; five dozen shorter stories; tried his hand at defining science fiction last March in Asimov’s. More of David (and Kate) here. [JH]
- Born February 21, 1974 – Gideon Marcus, age 47. A novel, a short story, introduction to SF by Women 1958-1963. There are – I can’t say I know, but there must be – many journeys in this galaxy; GM founded (as he puts it) one of them, and won a Serling Award. Duty calls me to observe that his museum reviews the KLH 20 but not the wonderful KLH 11, the Antiochian’s Friend – I had one, I think we all did. [JH]
- Born February 21, 1977 — Owen King. 44. There are not quite legions of Kings though sometimes it seems like it. Owen, son of Stephen and Tabitha, is early in his writing career. His first novel, Double Feature, was not genre and got mixed reviews. His second, Sleeping Beauties, written with his father is genre and got much better reviews. I’m rather fond of his short story collection, We’re All in This Together, but then I like his fathers short stories much better than I like his novels too. He has also got a graphic novel, Intro to Alien Invasion, but I’ve not seen it anywhere yet. (CE)
(9) VINTAGE 1953. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Isaac Asimov, in his autobiography In Memory Yet Green, discusses a radio interview he gave during the 1953 Worldcon in Philadelphia. (John D. Clark was an author and fan active in the 1940s and 1950s.)
Sprague (de Camp), John Clark, and I went out to a local radio station where a local talk-show host interviewed us. We were made to order for him, because he thought it was the funniest thing in the world that science-fiction people were having a convention. (‘What do you people do? Wear beanies?’)
Sprague answered very patiently, because he is the soul of dignity and forbearance, but I chafed a bit. Finally, when it was my turn again, the host said to me, “Say, I have a question for you: Suppose you’re on Pluto and wearing those funny space helmets. How do you kiss?’
‘You don’t,’ I said, glowering at him. ‘You carry on a Plutonic love affair.’
The studio audience broke up and it was the host’s turn to glower. Apparently guests are not supposed to take the play away from the host. He didn’t speak to me again.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Trey Palmer, Michael Toman, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, and John Hertz for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill Higgins.]