Pixel Scroll 2/21/21 He Was Born With A Gift For Pixels, And A Sense That The World Was Scrolled

(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 LoversCountess 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 UnderworldDominator, 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.]

83 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/21/21 He Was Born With A Gift For Pixels, And A Sense That The World Was Scrolled

  1. 8)
    Minor tyop, but it’s Debi Gliori, not Gilori, as you currently have it! Nice to see a Scot represented, though no mention of Pure Dead Magic, which is surprising.

  2. 3) I saw that and I was like “I can think of at least three different Things that could be.”

    5) I was just listening to the Make Good Art speech! I really love it. And I have been thinking about the “enjoy it”, as I am in the process of having a good thing happen that I’m pleased about and it’s been a bit harder than it should be to enjoy it, as I’ve also set myself a rather ambitious goal to which I am nowhere near. (The other thing from the Make Good Art speech I appreciate is the bit about the three skills of the freelancer being good, being pleasant to work with, and meeting your deadlines, and how you really only need two of these.)

  3. Meredith moment. Paul McAuley’s The War of the Maps is 99p in the UK Kindle store.

    (8) King is one if the more common surnames. (I’m not related to Clive King as far as I know)

  4. (2) Cat Rambo wrote:

    We talk about free speech, but with free speech comes responsibility for one’s words.

    This is where so many free speech “arguments” and so many so-called “free speech absolutists” drums their heels, wail, beat their chests, have hysterics, shriek about “censorship,” and (metaphorically) hold their hands over their ears singing “la-la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you-la-la-la!”

    The part where saying whatever you want without interference from the government includes being fully responsible for what you say.

    The part where you can’t be arrested or imprisoned or denied your right to vote because of your speech (with very few specific exceptions, anyhow), but you can certainly be shunned, ridiculed, ostracized, criticized, mocked, fired, loathed, and/or denied access to numerous privileges because of your speech.

    In fact, responsibility and consequences for what we say is such a common, regular, ordinary part of life… I’m always baffled and bemused by all these people who are SHOCKED, ENRAGED, self-righteous, and even vengeful upon discovering or experiencing consequences for speech. What narrowly confined bubble have they been living in, I always wonder?

  5. @Laura Resnick:

    A bubble full of samethink, a weird interpretation of a few US consitutional amendments, and a few bucketfuls of privilege. Or maybe they constitute “not abridged by congress” to mean “completely free of consequences”.

    I don’t know. It has gotten to the point that I hear “free speech!” and immediately think “authoritarian right-wing nutter, who wants multiple people I hold in high regard dead”. I almost expect the next few sentences to mention “men in black”, “mind-control lasers” and “communists”.

  6. 1) Feel like Mercedes Lackey’s statement shows where the roots of this problem first got traction. Good reporting by Jason Sanford, even when he’s footnoting his own work.

    And,

    2) Cat Rambo really has the skill and experience to have an insightful opinion on these issues. Glad to see her speaking out on all this.

  7. So if mention of Mercedes Lackey is banned because she stood up against what sounds like some very similar posts (except “kill all the Muslims” instead of “kill all the liberals”) after 9/11, that implies this problem has been going on for something like two decades. I’ve seen forums develop abscesses that no one realized were as deep and nasty as they were for a few years, and had to be rather violently purged when the site admin finally took a look at it, but two decades? After one of the big names in the field got up there and said “this is wrong”? When people were actually suggesting that mass murder would be a good thing, so this wasn’t something you could miss if you didn’t know the subcultural buttons being pushed?

    If they didn’t know there was a problem, they should have known. Two decades is too long to just miss things like that.

    Also, proof that it’s not just “we allow any legal speech” right there. Discussion of Mercedes Lackey is entirely legal, and yet banned. Not that anyone was thinking it was actually about “free speech” any more, I’m sure, but the hypocrisy is interesting to point out.

  8. Apropos of nothing, and continuing my Star Trek re-watch,
    “For the World is Pixels, and I Have Scrolled the File”

  9. Re 8), Dick Lupoff’s book was Sacred Locomotive Flies, not Files :-).

    Having not left the house for over a week due to you-know-what, I now need to go out and shop for some more appertainment material.

  10. Sacred Locomotive Files would be a great title, though the credit should go to whoever made the typo.

  11. @Laura Resnick yes. That is what has irritated and annoyed me all along about this mess. I knew that there were consequences for one’s speech early on in life because shoot, I was coming of age in the ’70s. I saw it in action, as an outspoken young woman at a Christian college of the mid-’70s era.

    It was easy enough for me to observe the consequences for others during that era, and as a political activist in the ’80s and ’90s to know that yeah, free speech, but free speech in the workplace defending co-workers against bullying management behavior brought consequences.

    I just shake my head at those who think they can say what they damned well please without consequence. I’d sure like to see what world they’re living in, because it ain’t the one I’m in.

  12. I think the Mercedes Lackey discussion conflates two things: one why she left Baen’s Bar, and one why she left Baen as a publisher. I believe discussion about Lackey on the Bar came out of the latter, and also why such discussion was banned.

    As I understand it (and I’m utterly confident in my source here), Jim Baen and Baen Books ran into a huge cash flow problem circa 2002–2004. Basically, he was used to a certain income, set aside a bunch of it for taxes and for royalties, and used the rest himself. But with the success of Webscriptions, he suddenly got a much higher gross income, at which point he set aside the normal amount for royalties, and used the rest himself.

    So when royalties came due, as they do twice a year, he suddenly had a huge cash crunch. Lackey was apparently among the hardest hit here, and also suffered from a bad case of poor communications between Lackey, her agent, and Jim Baen.

  13. Earthbreaker on February 22, 2021 at 3:05 am said:

    I’ve seen forums develop abscesses that no one realized were as deep and nasty as they were for a few years, and had to be rather violently purged when the site admin finally took a look at it, but two decades?

    I think 1/6 was the changing point. It made it very clear that a lot of people talking like that would in fact overthrow the government and kill as many non-rightwingers as they could, and that in fact they had recruited people with that talk for their attempts. And whether or not any Baen regulars were actually in on the coup attempt, the reaction there was to double down.

    Occasionally on twitter people will post reaction gifs of guillotines to a particular hideous corporate or billionaire actions. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve liked or retweeted one myself. But I’m pretty sure that if people actually tried to drag rightwing legislators out of Congress and guillotine them, and killed people in the process, the reaction of the vast majority of the left would not to fantasize about trying again on a bigger scale. And places where such was plotted would get the horrified treatment.

    (Though let’s be real, if it had been even vaguely left actors doing the same stuff, they’d have been machine-gunned on the Capitol steps, none of this giving them directions to legislator’s offices and holding their hand to help them down the steps when leaving.)

  14. (6) Seen elsewhere that Varley went through quadruple bypass today, expects to be in the hospital for a few days (as is routine with such), and that there’s every expectation of a good recovery.

  15. 6) Me too.
    Still gonna go by a new copy of the Golden Globe as soon as I can. Maybe the Gaea trilogy as well.

  16. tavella says Though let’s be real, if it had been even vaguely left actors doing the same stuff, they’d have been machine-gunned on the Capitol steps, none of this giving them directions to legislator’s offices and holding their hand to help them down the steps when leaving.)

    Don’t be stupid. First leftists wouldn’t have done this, period. Second, security forces guarding the Capitol don’t carry machine guns. Never have, never will.

  17. Also, I can’t believe I didn’t notice the Scaramouche parody for today’s title.
    Compliments to Bill for that.

  18. Who says irony is dead?

    Amidst all this howling about “free speech” (i.e. speech without consequences) among “conservatives,” the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which takes places this week, released a statement a couple of hours ago:

    We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that have no home with our conference or our organization. The individual will not be participating at our conference.

  19. sez ingvar:

    I don’t know. It has gotten to the point that I hear “free speech!” and immediately think “authoritarian right-wing nutter, who wants multiple people I hold in high regard dead”. I almost expect the next few sentences to mention “men in black”, “mind-control lasers” and “communists”.

    In my experience, whenever anyone says someone has been silenced/cancelled for their alternative views, and they do not mention anything about the content of the “alternative views” which are allegedly responsible for the subsequent silencing, they’re talking about someone who is firmly on the alt-Reich-to-outright-Nazi spectrum.

  20. Completely off topic but of interest to Filers:

    Available for pre-order now is Katherine Addison’s The Witness For The Dead, a sequel to The Goblin Emperor. As you might guess from the title, it follows Celehar after he leaves the court. The novel drops June 22.

    I am now spoiler-proof for Murderbot, as my husband finished reading me Network Effect Saturday night. I have Fugitive Telemetry on preorder. In the meantime, after he finished reading the ebook and gave me back my laptop, I pulled up Gideon the Ninth, read him the first sentence of Act I Chapter 1, and told him, “That’s what you’re getting next. No arguments.” He conceded without a fuss. I think the bit about Gideon’s dirty magazines helped. It certainly hooked me.

    (Of course we could just listen to the audiobooks together. But why should Moira Quirk–amazing as she is–have all the fun?)

  21. @Andrew (not Werdna): “It was Burritos All Along!”

    The true burritos were the friends we ate along the way. (Sorry, sorry, I blame my twisted brain.)

    @Laura Resnick in re. irony & CPAC: I read that earlier today and immediately thought of the “OMG HOW DARE YOU DROP WEISSKOPF AS GoH!!!!1!!!one!!!” idiocy, and LOL’d. If you or someone else hadn’t mentioned it here, I was going to. 😉

  22. “Actually, this is more of a comment than an Ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything”

  23. @Nicole, oh, what good news!

    I have been re-binging Murderbot the last couple of days. I remain delighted that a writer who has been producing good books for years finally made the New York Times bestseller list, thanks to a Kindle Single that blew everybody’s socks off.

  24. @bill

    As a vet, I’d like to point out that none of those pictures contained machine guns.

  25. Oh bill, as Schnookums Von Fancypants noted, there’s no machine guns shown here. None of the security forces involved use them. They’re an absolutely lousy tool to use in controlling crowds.

  26. @Schnookums

    As a vet, I’d like to point out that none of those pictures contained machine guns.

    The ATF would disagree with you — they regulate M-4s and M-16s as machine guns.

    In the interest of precision sufficient for even the most anal-retentive, though, the caption to this picture (from the Concord NH Monitor) is “Troops, one with a machine gun, stand guard on the steps of the U.S. Senate wing of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 1968.” The weapon appears to be an M249, a Squad Automatic Weapon.

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