(1) ALSO #METOO. In a follow-on to Myke Cole’s mea culpa as reported in the February 15 Pixel Scroll (item #3) about a thread on industry harassment at School Library Journal, author Janci Patterson, in a post entitled “Sexual Harassment, Apologies, and Forgiveness” explains how Cole’s willingness to own, and apologize for, his past behavior has made a huge difference in her life:
That is what it was like being a woman in publishing who had been harassed. I watched people discrediting the women who spoke up on the basis of their comments being anonymous. If it was true, why would they need anonymity?
I knew why. After Zoe Quinn, women in my position all know. We are all one internet post away from being Zoe Quinn.
And then Myke apologized. If you haven’t yet, take a minute and read what he wrote. What he says describes my experience exactly. It’s a damn good apology. He admits to what he did, in specific terms. He expresses that he was unaware that he did it, but he doesn’t treat that as an excuse. He addresses his victims directly and says he’s sorry. He expresses additional sorrow. He talks about both what he’s going to do to make reparations and also how he’s going to address his behavior going forward.
Reading that changed the whole world for me. I had been watching the cultural shifts in our post-#metoo, post-Weinstein-scandal world, but for me, this was the final piece. In that moment, I went from a scared woman with a difficult secret to a woman who could speak authentically. Who could tell the truth. No one could jump on me in any kind of credible way anymore. It was true. It happened. Myke admitted it was true. He saw the hypocrisy in his feminism. He owned it.
He set me free.
Another SFF author who was mentioned in the comments on the SLJ thread, Dan Wells, also posted his thoughts on harassment and being willing to step up and do better:
I have always believed that you should believe a woman who says she’s been harassed, so I believe these women, too.
And then I was accused of being a harasser.
And then the same woman recanted her accusation.
I do not know who this woman is, as she posted anonymously both times, but I want to take this opportunity to pubicly accept her apology, and to thank her for coming forward.
But here’s the thing: I believed her. Obviously I didn’t believe that I had assaulted someone and then forgotten about it, or anything ridiculous like that. But I was – and am – willing to believe that without intending to and without noticing I had done something to make a woman feel uncomfortable or unwelcome or unsafe…
I could have raged against the injustice of this comment – and to be perfectly honest, a part of me did – but the more useful, more helpful response was to sit down and take a good hard look at myself and my actions. What have I been doing, and what can I do in the future, to make the conventions I attend and the spaces I inhabit safer for other people?
Recanted accusation or not, I found some stuff I need to work on. Not a long history of abusive behavior, but a tune-up on boundaries, and on thinking before I speak.
(2) THE LATTER IS NOT RECOMMENDED. SFF author Jeremiah Tolbert spent last Saturday at the Planet ComicCon Kansas City 2018, and he says, “ComicCons Are More Fun With Children. You Should Make Some, or Steal Somebody’s”.
So given that I’m not big on photos with famous people (but definitely not above walking past autograph alley to oogle them and say, without fail, “oh, they’re shorter than I expected”), and I am not really a collector of toys or comics, why would I ever attend these things? Two simple reasons: to meet up with professionals attending who are good friends and to watch my tiny human
Little Dude Tolbert (hereafter referred to LDT) will be four in June, and he’s developing into quite the little protogeek.
The hero of the ComicCon we spent the day at is the gentleman who modded his R2D2 to give hugs. We had to chase our son down multiple times throughout the day only to find this happening. pic.twitter.com/wW1NnbbTKh
— Jeremiah Tolbert (@jeremiahtolbert) February 18, 2018
(3) CONTRACTUALLY DEFICIENT. In a public post on Patreon, Jason Sanford reported:
Since the first of the year I’ve written a couple of times about Spectacle Magazine, a new quarterly speculative fiction publication (see here and here for previous articles). The magazine is published and edited by Kevin Hale and Danny Dumas and aims to be a high-end venue for thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction focused on SF/F themes.
Three days ago the Spectacle’s editors sent out a number of story acceptances. Normally you’d expect authors to be excited about acceptances, but news quickly spread that many of them were not happy with the contract terms being offered. I personally had multiple authors contact me about issues around the contracts they were offered…
There are several issues there, including with derivative rights. At worst this derivative rights grab could allow Spectacle to create films or video games or nearly anything else using the stories they purchased and the authors wouldn’t be able to object.
There are also other issues with the contract, such as not laying out when the work would be published or that the rights will revert to the author in the case the story is never published.
Shortly afterward, Spectacle Magazine published the following tweet:
Just a heads up that we’ve reached out to SFWA to figure out how to fix our contributor contract. We want to be good citizens and will make any changes retroactive for all authors. Thx @jasonsanford for making the intro. https://t.co/BvCDnKNw6A
— Spectacle Magazine (@specspecfic) February 19, 2018
Another author on Twitter noted, with astonishment:
It seems that you have all managed to have a conversation about possible errors without anybody slinging insults. As an added bonus, it seems to have ended on a positive note. This is downright heartwarming.
— Matencera Wolf (@matencerawolf) February 20, 2018
(4) DEADLINE EXTENDED. Worldcon 76 has announced that the deadline for submissions to their Academic Track have been extended to March 1, 2018:
Participants in the Academic Track will have a chance at winning a “Best Academic Track Paper” cash prize from The Heinlein Society. This $250 prize will be awarded based on the presentations as given at Worldcon 76. Given this new opportunity, we will extend the submission deadline to March 1st.
Details on submitting can be found at the Worldcon 76 website.
(5) THIS IS THE FUTURE THAT FILERS WANT. Via Foz Meadows:
(6) TAKING CREDIT. Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in her latest column “Business Musings: Editorial Encroachment”, comments on the recent trend she’s been seeing of editors requiring equal authorial credit on books:
Last week, as I was searching for a friend’s book on Amazon, I made a loathsome discovery. My friend’s book, which is up for preorder, lists her name and the name of someone else on the byline.
I had never heard of that someone else. So I clicked on the preorder, and what did I see? A cover, with just my friend’s name on it.
So I glanced up at the title. Beneath it was this byline:
My Friend (Author), Annoying Person (Editor)
I went through the roof. My friend wrote that book. She hired Annoying Person to edit the book.
I looked up Annoying Person and found her terms and conditions. She sounds like a fairly knowledgeable editor. She only handles copy editing and line editing (although it sounds like she would have a pretty heavy hand). She explicitly says she does not do developmental editing.
Which means she has done exactly nothing on this book. She didn’t come up with the concept. She didn’t brainstorm the characters. She didn’t improve the plot. She didn’t imagine the setting.
All she did was tweak the words.
So why the hell is she getting credit for this book?
Rusch explains in detail why she believes that going along with this is damaging to an author’s brand, and offers advice to authors who are faced with such contracts by their editors.
(7) CHESHIRE CATS. In a Twitter thread, lindsay beth explains how your SJW Credential always manages to magically appear, despite not having been in any of the places you’ve looked: (click the date/time stamp to read the whole thread)
When you're looking everywhere for your cat–in all the usual hiding places, underneath beds and in boxes, behind chairs and closet doors–and you can't find them only for the cat to appear out of nowhere a moment later you know the cat's been in Catspace
— ?Elle?Gritty S. Pumpkins?Gato?(they/them) (@ellle_em) February 20, 2018
(8) NEBULOSITY. Filer Cora Buhlert has posted “Some Thoughts on the 2017 Nebula Award Nominees”, and offers her thoughts on the shortlists of the various categories as well as some possible trends.
In general, what’s notable about the adult fiction categories is that Uncanny dominates the short fiction categories, followed by Tor.com and Clarkesworld. Tor.com absolutely dominates the novella category, while Orbit dominates best novel. The decline of the big three print magazines continues. F&SF and Asimov’s managed to garner one nomination each, while Analog didn’t get any at all. Only a single nominee in the fiction categories is self-published. Thematically, I don’t see a clear trend beyond a preferences for works with historical settings.
Buhlert’s piece contains more detailed analysis of individual entries, as well as of the levels of diversity reflected by the shortlist authors.
(9) DOCTOR WHEN. The Gallifrey Times says that during the February 21 BBC Worldwide Showcase Panel at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, it appeared to be confirmed that Doctor Who will be returning in October 2018.
In the background, we see a promotional photo of the Thirteenth Doctor with some text that reads:
Series 11 – 1×65 – 9×50 – delivers October 2018
You can view the Liverpool Echo’s photo gallery of the event here.
(10) ACHIEVEMENT GATEKEPT. Experienced gamer and blogger Mysty Vander describes how she conquered her social anxiety to attend a gaming convention in 2017, only to be confronted with outrageous sexism, in “Honey, Let the Real Gamers Play”:
We reached a point where my Gunslinger passed a search check nobody else did. I had found a letter. My character was quiet, stoic, and kept to herself – she likely would only divulge the necessary information. When the GM took the letter out, he handed it to the man playing Freya instead of myself. Okay…that’s fine, not a big deal, as long as I get to read it in the end (being partially deaf at a convention, I truly needed to read it with my own eyes to understand all of it).
That didn’t quite happen. Freya’s player read it, passed it along to the older man beside him, and then the note went no further. “Oh, so we need to find the South Gate?” Freya inquired.
The player beside him responded, “Seems like it,” and handed the note back to the GM.
“May I see the note?” I asked.
Without hesitation, the player playing Freya responded, “No need, we know what it meant, sweetie,” he said with a smile.
(11) JUMPING ON THE MAPWAGON. The February 19 Pixel Scroll (item #9), mentions an artist who has done Lord of the Rings-style maps of UK and US National Parks. Kim Huett points out that an Australian artist has done a map of Canberra in the style of Game of Thrones.
- Born February 25, 1966 – Alexis Denisof (The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Born February 25, 1966 – Téa Leoni (Deep Impact, Jurassic Park III)
- Born February 25, 1971 – Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things)
- Born February 25, 1986 – Jameela Jamil (The Good Place)
(13) BUG REPORTS. In xkcd’s 2018 CVE List, Randall Munroe details the most recently-discovered Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures of software, of which we must all be wary. Be sure to mouseover the image for a special Security Disclosure.
(14) DEBUNKING THE MYTHS. In “Hugo Myth Season Again”, Cheryl Morgan dispels the idea that nominators must have read exhaustively in order to be legitimate nominators:
Voting is open for this year’s Hugo Awards, and consequently I need to get back to dispelling the strange ideas about the Hugos that seem to proliferate at this time of the year.
This post has been inspired in particular by the latest episode of the Coode Street Podcast where Gary and Jonathan do their usual fine job, but don’t quite get everything right.
Something that they do get right is the “I haven’t read enough” myth. Every year people trot out the idea that if you haven’t read “everything” then you are not eligible to nominate. This is nonsense.
However, Morgan says that there is another persistent myth to which even the Coode Street Regulars have fallen, which must be corrected:
Finally we come to the bit where the podcast goes totally off the rails. Jonathan resurrects one of the best known zombies of Hugo lore, the idea that the Hugos were once for science fiction only and were later changed to include fantasy. This is not entirely Jonathan’s fault. He got the story from Justin Ackroyd. I have had this discussion with Justin before. He was wrong then and he is still wrong now.
(15) I GOT YOUR EXHIBIT RIGHT HERE. Filer von Dimpleheimer, after seeing the announcement in the February 18 Pixel Scroll (item #21) that the exhibit “A Conversation Larger Than the Universe: Science Fiction and the Literature of the Fantastic from the Collection of Henry Wessells” would be taking place at The Grolier Club, stopped by when he was in the neighborhood. You can see his photos of the exhibit here.
– photo by von Dimpleheimer
(16) INADVERTENT DOXXING. In an article entitled “Furry Website Leaks Real Identities”, Medium contributor Sky raises some issues for concern regarding the registration software system used by a number of fannish conventions.
A “feature” in the popular convention registration system ‘Convention Master’ lets anyone find out your fursona name just by typing your real name.
The software is used widely by many conventions, especially in the furry scene. Civet Solutions, the maker of the software, boast “over one hundred and fifty thousand registrations processed.” If you’ve ever attended a furry convention, there’s decent odds they have your data on file… and are now leaking it with no plans to ever stop.
During online pre-registration, you enter your first and last name to see if you have an account at that convention. Unfortunately, anyone can do this. If you’ve ever pre-registered for that convention, or registered on site in a previous year, you have an account. And everyone can see you’ve attended that con with just your first and last name.
Even worse, your fursona name is also displayed.
Yep, that’s right. Anyone can find your fursona name if they know your real name.
Known affected furry cons:
- Alamo City Furry Invasion
- Pacific Anthropomorphics Weekend
- Wild Prairie Fur Con
Known affected non-furry cons:
The article’s author discusses potential personal and professional implications of the public accessibility of members’ information, as well as possible avenues for remediation. They have also added a follow-up:
UPDATE NOTE: This article was updated with a section of feedback from Civet Solutions at the end of the article. Although the real name look-up feature in question will unfortunately not be removed from the software in future, I encourage you to read the update over to better understand their point of view and their future development plans.
(17) OLD PEOPLE READ YOUR SFF. In the past, James Davis Nicoll took requests on a commission basis only. However, he has now opened a Suggestion Box. There’s no guarantee that the work you suggest will be reviewed; however, submissions are welcome.
(18) YOU SHOULD SEE THIS. At Skiffy and Fanty, Stephen Geigen-Miller offers his “Best Graphic Story Hugo Recommendations”:
One of my biggest personal goals with these reviews – I mention this in the introduction to every column, and unpacked it a bit in my Month of Joy post – is to bring more, and different, deserving SFFnal comics, webcomics and graphic novels to the attention of SF&F readers.
That’s especially important when when it gets to be Hugo nomination season; I want to see a diverse, inclusive, smart Best Graphic Story category that reflects the breadth of the material that’s out there, and I want other genre readers to have the chance to find and fall in love with those comics, like I have.
(19) WHY SETI IS CONTRAINDICATED.
— Geoffrey Miller (@primalpoly) February 20, 2018
(20) ANNIHILATED. At The Verge, Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland talks about using sci-fi to explore self-destruction:
I think the main thematic preoccupation probably belongs primarily to the film, which is really about self-destruction. It’s about the nature of self-destruction in a literal sense: cells have life cycles and stars have life cycles and plants and the universe and us. You, me, everyone. But also psychological forms of self-destruction.
It was born out of a funny kind of preoccupation I started to have, that everybody is self-destructive, which is a strange thing to notice. I think a lot of self-destruction is very obvious. [Gestures to cigarettes on the table.] That’s an obvious self-destruction, right? And if a friend of yours is a heroin addict or an alcoholic, that’s an obvious kind of self-destruction. But there are also… You’ve also got friends, or people you encounter, who are super comfortable in their own skin, and very self-possessed, and feel like they have understood some sort of secret to existence that you’re not party to. And then you start to see, no, that’s not quite right. It’s more complicated than that. And fissures and fault lines appear, and between the fissures and the fault lines, you see bits of behavior that doesn’t really make sense – like they’re dismantling things in their lives for no good reason.
In “People Have Accused Annihilation of Whitewashing. Here’s How Its Director and Stars Responded” TIME Magazine reports:
Anticipation for the movie has been high since the release of the first trailer last fall. But recently, some, including the advocacy group Media Action Network for Asian Americans, have accused the film of whitewashing the roles played by Portman’s and Leigh’s characters, saying the characters on which they are based are of Asian descent and Native American descent, respectively, in the trilogy. In a statement, Alieesa Badreshia, an MANAA board member, said that writer-director Alex Garland “exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character.”
Others have pointed out that revelations of the two characters’ ethnic backgrounds are not made until subsequent books in the series.
In response to the criticism, Garland provided the following statement to TIME:
This is an awkward problem for me, because I think whitewashing is a serious and real issue, and I fully support the groups drawing attention to it.
But the characters in the novel I read and adapted were not given names or ethnicities. I cast the film reacting only to the actors I met in the casting process, or actors I had worked with before. There was no studio pressure to cast white. The casting choices were entirely mine.
As a middle-aged white man, I can believe I might at times be guilty of unconscious racism, in the way that potentially we all are. But there was nothing cynical or conspiratorial about the way I cast this movie.
While Portman, Leigh and Novotny are white, co-stars Thompson and Rodriguez are women of color. Oscar Isaac, who plays Portman’s character’s husband in the film, is of Guatemalan and Cuban descent.
[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, James Davis Nicoll, Jason Sanford, Kim Huett, RedWombat, ULTRAGOTHA, and von Dimpleheimer for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 Contributing Editor of the Day JJ.]