(1) FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK. A teaser trailer has been released for the Leonard Nimoy documentary.
(2) KEENE LEAVING HWA. Brian Keene cites over a dozen major organizational failures by Horror Writers of America in “Why and When I Will Begin Boycotting the HWA”, a list that ends —
*And most recently (as of today) allowing an avowed white supremacist and fascist who has previously demonstrated a bias against others based on their race, religion, etc. to participate as a Bram Stoker Award Jury member — an award which will include candidates of various races and religions…..
…Effective 1/1/17 (when the new year’s memberships become active) I will no longer work with anyone who is a then-Current member of the HWA, including writers, publishers, editors, etc. I will not give cover blurbs, introductions, or anything else. If I am asked to be in an anthology, and the anthology is being edited by a then-current HWA member, I will decline. If I am asked to submit a novel, and the publisher is a then-current HWA member, I will decline.
So… if you’d like to work with me in 2017, or you’d like my help with something going forward, I’m very happy to — provided you are not a member of the HWA as of January 1, 2017. Consider this an eight-month notice, which I think is more than fair.
I realize that this decision will put me at odds with both dear friends and fellow mutually-respected peers. That’s okay. It won’t be the first time that has happened. But this is my decision. I am not a Conservative or a Progressive, and I hold the extremists in both camps with contempt. But I am a human being, and a father, and I know what is right and what is wrong. Discrimination of someone based on their race, religion, creed, etc. is wrong.
We endorse things by our participation in them. This current debacle — and previous debacles — are not things I endorse, and I will not, in good conscience, contribute my name, my money, my talent, my draw, or my platform to them.
(3) BE MY GUEST. This is not a problem File 770 has, however, Melanie R. Meadors’ advice to prospective guest bloggers makes a lot of sense — “How to Write a Publicity Query Email That Won’t get You Blacklisted by Bloggers” at Bookworm Blues.
8. Offer them content that will draw readers to their blog. Bloggers are not your bitches. They aren’t working for you. They have a blog because they want people to read them. The harsh reality is that book spotlights get skimmed or skipped. No one cares. Anything that is easy for you, the author, is usually the least effective. Bloggers want content. They want an author’s unique view of things, they want to offer their readers something to entertain and inform them. They want something that will be shared on social media. And really, that’s what YOU want, too. You are doing a publicity tour so that you can actually reach readers. Not just so you can check off a box that says “stuck crap up on the internet.” Spotlights don’t reach readers in a memorable way. Posts that make them laugh, let them hear your voice, and show them who you are hit readers in a positive way that will make them click on the link to your work so they can learn more. That type of content is good for bloggers and is good for you. Tell them what type of post you are interested in, and if possible, even offer them a topic.
(4) STANDING UP. Randall at Catalyst Game Labs wrote his “I’m Standing Up” post before Ken Burnside’s appeared, but he subsequently linked to Burnside which is how I came across it:
I’ve certainly not been perfect. I can look back across a lifetime of con attendance and gaming and cringe now and then at stupid comments I’ve made. And for that, I publicly apologize to any woman who ever felt as though I didn’t respected her, or made her feel as though she is less valuable as she is to our hobby, community, and industry.
And perhaps for that very same sense, there are men who feel ashamed to stand up. Well shake it off. Do the right thing. Stand up. This will only change if we shine a bright enough light down into those repugnant currents. If we get enough people saying this is not okay we just might push those currents down where they’re too afraid to come out any more.
Now let me be absolutely clear, here: Harassment or bullying of any sort against anyone for any reason—be it gender, race, religion, you name it—is not okay. And if I hear anyone around me gatekeeping with that tired old mantra “you’re not a real gamer,” I’m gonna slap that down. Catalyst employees know this and swiftly take care of any such situations. (If anyone has ever had any issues that were not treated appropriately by one of our employees or Catalyst agents, feel free to email me email@example.com and I’ll immediately follow up). So this filth laps onto far too many. But it seems pretty clear to me over the research I’ve done that women, by a large margin, take the brunt of this hurt.
For anyone that feels even a moment’s regret over any of this, or experiences they’ve had, please spread this post. Plenty of others are doing the same and doing it well. But we need to do it more. I’m adding my voice to theirs to swell the chorus and shine a light on those currents.
And for all those amazing gamers that make the hobby brilliant for millions of people all over the world, thank you!
I’m a white, male gamer. And I’m standing up.
(5) ASIMOV DEBATE. The 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate topic “Is the Universe a Simulation?” was discussed by panelists on April 5 at The American Museum of Natural History.
What may have started as a science fiction speculation—that perhaps the universe as we know it is a computer simulation—has become a serious line of theoretical and experimental investigation among physicists, astrophysicists, and philosophers.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, moderated a panel composed of David Chalmers, Professor of philosophy, New York University; Zohreh Davoudi, Theoretical physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; James Gates, Theoretical physicist, University of Maryland; Lisa Randall, Theoretical physicist, Harvard University; and Max Tegmark Cosmologist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
(6) BILLIONS BEYOND FANDOM. Martin Morse Wooster passed along two fannish points from a profile of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman by Nicholas Lemann in the October 16 issue of New Yorker.
1. In middle school in the mid-1980s, Hofmann was a game tester for Chaosium, located near Hofmann’s home in Emeryville.
“Hoffman got himself into one of the groups, and then returned to Chaosium, offering to correct errors he had found in a set of role-playing scripts for Dungeons & Dragons that the company had published. He wrote a detailed memo and took it to Steve Perrin, a major game developer (All the World’s Monsters, RuneQuest, Elfquest) who was working at Choasium at the time. ‘He looked at it and said, ‘This is good feedback,’ Hofmann says. So they gave me another scenario pack to review. He also began writing reviews for Different Worlds, a gaming magazine that Chaosium published, and getting modestly paid for his work.”
2. Peter Thiel, a friend and college classmate of Hofmann’s, said that Hofmann “was entranced by Snow Crash, a science-fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 1992, which takes place in a twenty-first century California where government has collapsed and people create avatars and try to find a new way to live through a technology-based virtual society called the Metaverse….
….Hofmann was playing with a set of ingredients that he had first explored at Stanford, with Thiel and others–fantasy gaming, computer technology, philosophy–and thinking about whether there was a big idea that could enable him to have a major effect on the world, first through a business and then through the creation of an entire social system.”
“So sf and fandom is responsible for LinkedIn!” says Wooster, and he asks, “Can we collect royalties?”
(7) FIRST LINES. Rachel Swirsky studied her first lines and other authors’, now the third installment in her series answers the question “First Lines Part III: What Can They Do?”. Here are two of her seven points:
After giving close reading to a dozen first sentences, half mine and half others, I’m ready to make a list of things that a first line can do (although probably no first line should try to do all of them).
- Include a mystery the reader wants to solve by reading the next sentence.
- Set a fast reading pace.
(8) FINNISH WORLDCON’S FIRST PR. Worldcon 75, to be held in Helsinki in 2017, has issued its first Progress Report. Download it or read it online here. The contents include:
- Tips on small talk with the guests of honour
- Finland: An assortment of notes and information
- The word for Worldcon is Maailmankongressi
- Finnish fandom: Some unique characteristics
You can go directly the online magazine (done in a format where you digitally flip pages) by clicking here.
(9) TOHO BRINGS BACK GODZILLA. Kotaku says “Japan’s New Godzilla Movie Looks Awesome”.
For the first time in over a decade, there’s a new Godzilla movie coming from Japan’s Toho Studios. This one’s being directed by none other than Neon Genesis’ Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Terhi Törmänen, David K.M. Klaus, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]