Pixel Scroll 5/1/21 This Scroll Is Infested With Killer Pixels

(1) HUGO VOTING AND PACKET UPDATE. DisCon III addressed Facebook readers’ questions about when online Hugo voting will be available.

Some of you have been asking about the Hugo voting links so, here’s what’s happening: Hugo voting links won’t appear on your DC3 membership page until voting opens. We’ll let our members and the public know when that happens via email, social media, website, press releases, etc. We’re also working hard to get the Hugo packet of nominated works Worldcon members have come to expect out later this spring.

(2) BEYOND AFROFUTURISM. Clarion West and the Seattle Public Library have two more Beyond Afrofuturism virtual panels happening in May. Register here.

Come talk publishers on Sunday, May 16th, 1 p.m. Pacific with Bill Campbell (Rosarium), Milton Davis (MVmedia), Zelda Knight (AURELIA LEO), and Nicole Givens Kurtz (Mocha Memoirs) for Power in Publishing: Publishers Roundtable

With major publishers stuck in a cycle of selling the same mainstream stories or tightening their belts when it comes to the work of marginalized communities, how are Black publishers shaping opportunities for BIPOC writers to have their voices heard?

Featuring: Bill Campbell (Rosarium), Zelda Knight (AURELIA LEO), Milton Davis (MVmedia), and Nicole Givens Kurtz (Mocha Memoirs)

Moderated by Clinton R. Fluker, Ph.D. Curator of African American collections at Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Library

The event is presented in partnership with the Seattle Public Library and is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.


And on Monday, May 17th, 7 p.m. Pacific, join editors Eboni Dunbar and Brent Lambert of FIYAH Magazine, Craig Laurance Gidney of Baffling Magazine, Chinelo Onwualu of Omenana and Anathema, and LaShawn Wanak of Giganotosaurus for Zines and Magazines: Expanding Worlds in Speculative Fiction.

(3) U.S. BOOK SHOW. The U.S. Book Show is a new book fair created by Publishers Weekly. The three-day show debuts virtually May 25 – 27. Publishers Weekly says they are focusing “on crafting a meeting place for publishing professionals and book buyers, with an emphasis on serving the interests of librarians and booksellers.”It’s a successor to BookExpo America/

…While at its height ABA and BookExpo America attendance never reached the draw of European book shows such as the Frankfurt Book Fair (286,000 attendees in 2017, according to Wikipedia), BookExpo saw global acceptance from the publishing community. In its 2002 iteration at the Javits Center in New York, BEA saw more than 30,000 attendees, including approximately 7,000 booksellers and librarians. By 2018, BookExpo in the same venue saw 7,800 total attendees.

The demise of the show provided an opening for Publishers Weekly to step in. The U.S. Book Show will be held virtually in 2021 and assessed after the fact for future possibilities.

(4) WHO’S FIRST. Radio Times interviews actor “David Bradley on returning as First Doctor for Time Fracture”.

David Bradley has praised original Doctor Who star William Hartnell as he returns to the role of the First Doctor in much anticipated live event Time Fracture.

The renowned actor first played the role in 2013’s An Adventure in Space and Time, which explored the creation of the long-running series, in which he portrayed both Hartnell and the late actor’s incarnation of the Doctor.

Bradley made such a strong impression on fans that he was invited back by writer Steven Moffat to play the First Doctor in two episodes of Doctor Who, both of which aired as part of Peter Capaldi’s stint on the show.

As he prepares to return to the role once again for Time Fracture, Bradley has hailed Hartnell’s “total dedication” to Doctor Who in an interview on the show’s official YouTube channel.

“He laid the template,” Bradley said. “All of the other subsequent doctors, they all owe a lot to William Hartnell. As it was, it started this phenomenon.”

…Bradley will co-star opposite John Barrowman in upcoming live event Time Fracture, billed as an “immersive experience”, which he believes could convert even non-believers.

(5) CHALLENGING ASSUMPTIONS. Clarion West tells what they’re doing about an “Evolving Workshop Culture to Inspire Equity, Empowerment, and Innovation in Writing Workshops”.

…For over 35 years, Clarion West has held strictly to the Milford peer workshop model, assuming it to be the superior workshop method for all writers. 

This belief was shaken a year ago, when we had to postpone the Summer Workshop for the first time in our history. In discussions with our instructors, we heard something new. A quiet criticism of the unchanging. A gentle push to consider that not every writer has been involved in the conversations around — and represented in — the design of our workshops. 

Over the course of the last year, Clarion West has begun the process of exploring where our assumptions about key components of the workshop, including critiquing methods and social interactions, have limited the experiences of writers from a broad range of underrepresented communities. Communities whose voices are still emerging in prominent speculative fiction outlets. 

And as we started looking for answers, we have found that a serious examination of traditional peer critique methods has been happening in the broader writing and workshopping field. See below for a recommended reading list. 

As a result of this self reflection, Clarion West recognizes that changes need to be made within the workshop model. Our staff, alumni, faculty, and participants will help evolve our workshop culture and create protocols towards equity, empowerment, and innovation. 

Clarion West seeks to make the structural changes needed to ensure that our workshops and classes are places where all participants will feel welcome and safe…. 

(6) HARRYHAUSEN EXHIBITION. The Ray Harryhausen, Titan of Cinema Exhibition just opened at National Galleries Scotland in Edinburgh and continues through February 2022. Quite a bit of material at the link — video, images, articles.

An online counterpart is also available:  Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema Virtual Exhibition Experience, “a carefully curated package which includes a series of films, never-seen-before interviews, exhibition footage, film clips and specially created animation sequences which demonstrate Harryhausen’s innovative processes. Book now.

Film special effects superstar Ray Harryhausen helped elevate stop motion animation to an art. His innovative and inspiring films, from the 1950s onwards, changed the face of modern movie making forever.?This is the largest and widest-ranging exhibition of Ray Harryhausen’s work ever seen, with newly restored and previously unseen material from his incredible archive.

Ray Harryhausen’s work included the films Jason and the Argonauts, the Sinbad films of the 1950s and 1970s, One Million Years B.C. and Mighty Joe Young.  He inspired a generation of filmmakers such as Peter Jackson, Aardman Animations, Tim Burton, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, and his influence on blockbuster cinema can be felt to this day.

Titan of Cinema traces Harryhausen’s career as a special effects guru, whose only limits was his boundless imagination. Titan of Cinema shows his creative processes: from embryonic preparatory sketches, through to model making and bringing characters to life who went onto terrorise and delight audiences in equal measure on the cinema screen.

(7) ALIENS AND EXPLOSIONS. This might look familiar. FirstShowing introduces a “Fresh US Trailer for Australian Sci-Fi Spectacle ‘Occupation: Rainfall’”.

Two years after aliens land on Earth, survivors from Sydney, Aus., fight in a desperate war as the number of casualties continue to grow. It’s described as “Avatar meets Star Wars meets Independence Day,”

(8) DUKAKIS OBIT. Actress Olympia Dukakis died May 1 reports NPR. She was 89. An Oscar-winner, she was famous for non-genre roles in Moonstruck and Steel Magnolias. Her claims to genre fame are a role in the TV movie The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines and, if movies with talking dogs count as genre, Look Who’s Talking and its sequels Look Who’s Talking Too and Look Who’s Talking Now.

(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • May 1, 1981 –On this day in 1981 in Canada, Outland premiered. Directed by Peter Hyams and produced by Richard A. Roth and Stanley O’Toole, it starred Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James B. Sikking and Kika Markham. It made the final list of nominees for a Hugo at Chicon IV the next year. Most critics liked its high noon in space plot but the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes gave it a mediocre fifty percent rating. The box office barely beat out the cost of making the film. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born May 1, 1905 – E. Mayne Hull.  One novel, a dozen shorter stories.  Some when re-issued also bore the name of her husband A.E. Van Vogt; for attempts to give credit where due, see here.  (Died 1975) [JH]
  • Born May 1, 1924 Terry Southern. Screenwriter and author of greatest interest for the screenplay from Peter George’s original novel, Two Hours to Doom (as by Peter Bryant) of Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb directed (and in part written) by Stanley Kubrick. He was also involved in scripting Barbarella. Though uncredited, he did work on the script of Casino Royale as well. (Died 1995.) (CE) 
  • Born May 1, 1937 – Suzanne Vick.  Two fanzines credited to both her and her husband Shelby Vick, one of our greats; much activity names him, careful fanhistory may discover her part more explicitly.  Three daughters, of whom I have learned little.  (Died 2002) [JH]
  • Born May 1, 1946 Joanna Lumley, 75. No, she was no Emma Peel, but she was definitely more than a bit appealing (pun fully intended) in the New Avengers as Purdey. All twenty-six episodes are out on DVD. Her next genre outing was In Sapphire & Steel which starred David McCallum as Steel and her as Sapphire. If you skip forward nearly near twenty years, you’ll find her playing The Thirteenth Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death in a Comic Relief special. Yes, she played the first version of a female Thirteenth Doctor. 
  • Born May 1, 1952 Andy Sawyer, 69. Member of fandom who managed the Science Fiction Foundation library in Liverpool for 25 years up to last year. For his work and commitment to the SF community, the Science Fiction Research Association awarded him their Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service. The  paper he wrote that I want to get and read is “The Shadows out of Time: H. P. Lovecraftian Echoes in Babylon 5” as I’ve always thought The Shadows were Lovecraftian!  And his fanpublication list is impressive, editing some or all issues of &Another Earth Matrix, Paperback Inferno and  Acnestis. (CE)
  • Born May 1, 1954 – Joel Rosenberg.  A score of novels, as many shorter stories.  Correspondent of Asimov’s, the Patchin ReviewSF ChronicleSF Review.  Interviewed in Thrust.  Early author of gamers-transported-into-the-gameworld-which-may-not-be-what-they-thought fiction.  (Died 2011) [JH]
  • Born May 1, 1956 – Phil Foglio, age 65.  Colorful, comical graphic artist.  Illustrated R. Asprin’s MythAdventures, drew comic books from them, worked for DC, Marvel.  Magic: the Gathering cards.  Some of this, and more particularly Buck Godot and Agatha Heterodyne, Girl Genius, with wife Kaja Foglio (who coined gaslamp fantasy: “we have no punk, and we have more than just steam”).  Two Hugos for P as Best Fanartist; three for K & P with Girl Genius as Best Graphic Story.  Website. [JH]
  • Born May 1, 1955 J. R. Pournelle, 66. Some years ago, I got an email from a J. R. Pournelle about some SF novel they wanted Green Man to review. I of course thought it was that Pournelle. No, it was his daughter, Jennifer. And that’s how I came to find out there was a third Motie novel called Outies. It’s much better than The Gripping Hand. (CE)
  • Born May 1, 1957 Steve Meretzky, 64. He co-designed the early Eighties version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video game with the full participation of Douglas Adams. ESF also says that he did also a space opera themed game, Planetfall and its sequel A Mind Forever Voyaging in the Eighties as well. He also did the definitely more erotic Leather Goddesses of Phobos as well. CE)
  • Born May 1, 1984 – Lindsay Smith, age 37. Six novels, a dozen shorter stories; also comics, serials.  She & Max Gladstone created, and she is showrunner & lead writer for, The Witch Who Came in From the Cold.  [JH]
  • Born May 1, 1985 – Catherine Cheek, age 36. Three novels, as many shorter stories. Interviewed in Fantasy.  Clarion San Diego graduate.  Brown belts in two martial arts.  Taught English two years in Japan.  Throws pots, binds books, plays with molten glass. Has read Moby-DickLolitaThe Grand SophyWatership Down.  [JH]

(11) NEW ZEALAND AWARD NEWS. Interested parties can get the Sir Julius Vogel Awards Voter Packet and vote on the Awards (through May 31) for a $10 NZD (~$7.15 USD) annual membership in SFFANZ. See “Voting is open for the SJV awards (plus Voters Pack)”. Click here for the list of Sir Julius Vogel award finalists.

(12) INGENUITY BACK IN THE AIR. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Ingenuity aces flight 4 after a day delay; gets overall program extended from 5 flights to 7. Yahoo! has the story: “Mars helicopter aces 4th flight, gets extra month of flying”.

…Officials announced the flight extension Friday, following three short flights in under two weeks for the $85 million tech demo. Soon afterward, there was more good news: Ingenuity — the first powered aircraft to soar at another planet — had aced its fourth flight at Mars.

For Friday’s trip, Ingenuity traveled 872 feet (266 meters) at a height of 16 feet (5 meters) for two minutes — considerably farther and longer than before. An attempt Thursday had failed because of a known software error.

On its fifth flight in another week or so, the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) chopper will move to a new airfield on Mars, allowing the rover to finally start focusing on its own rock-sampling mission. The rover is seeking signs of ancient life at Jezero Crater, home to a lush lakebed and river delta billions of years ago….

(13) NORTHERN EXPOSURE. Barry Hertz, in “With new dystopian thriller Hummingbird Salamander, Jeff VanderMeer is set to become a household, or weird household, name” at The Globe and Mail, interviews VanderMeer about the Canadian edition of Hummingbird Salamander.

What are your thoughts about current art that directly addresses the pandemic? Is it too soon?

It’s a balancing act that has to do with the individual person’s talents. I happened to have this already in place, and have the right layering to find something useful. Other writers are different in finding their way in. I’m always trying to write something that hopefully applies to the current moment, but if you read it down the line, it has something that’s meaningful, too.

In the press notes, you said this novel was the result of realizing that “we were living in a dystopia for some time.” Are you a pessimist? Are we getting out of this dystopia any time soon?

The pessimism/optimism thing boils down to me being pessimistic when we’re not dealing with the full issue and full facts in front of us. When we try to deflect. In Florida, we have these solar farms coming in, but which are destroying natural habitats. Green tech is being delinked from environmental issues in distressing ways. That’s the kind of thing that worries me more than, say, a climate-change denier, who isn’t going to help in the first place.

(14) YOU DON’T SAY. Jason Sanford, in “Genre Grapevine for 4/30/2021” (a free Patreon article), starts his comments about a post here with these words:

He later continues, “The Worldcon code of conduct should not be used to shut down a legitimate critique of a genre issue,” leaving untouched the issue actually raised here of whether the Worldcon should adhere to its own Code of Conduct and not broadcast the insulting title. A title Sanford himself is strangely reluctant to repeat, changing the “u” in “Fuck” to an asterisk.

(15) VIVO. Netflix dropped a trailer for Vivo, an animated musical with Lin-Manuel Miranda.

An animated musical adventure that follows VIVO, a one-of-kind kinkajou (aka a rainforest “honey bear,” voiced by Miranda), who must find his way from Havana to Miami in order to deliver a song on behalf of his beloved owner and mentor Andres (Buena Vista Social Club’s Juan de Marcos Gonzáles). The film features original songs by Miranda, a score by Alex Lacamoire, and a screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes and director Kirk DeMicco (The Croods)….

Voice talent includes three-time Grammy-winning Latin pop legend Gloria Estefan as Marta, the love of Andres’ life, newcomer Ynairaly Simo as Gabi, Andres’ grand-niece, Zoe Saldana as Rosa, Gabi’s mother, Michael Rooker as Lutador, a villainous Everglades python, Brian Tyree Henry and Nicole Byer as a pair of star-crossed spoonbills, Leslie David Baker as a Florida bus driver, and Katie Lowes, Olivia Trujillo, and Lidya Jewett as a trio of well-meaning but overzealous scout troopers. VIVO is an exhilarating story about gathering your courage, finding family in unlikely friends, and the belief that music can open you to new worlds.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “The Bizarre World of Fan Edits and Restorations” on YouTube, the Royal Ocean Film Society begins with fan edits we’ve all heard about (the mostly Jar Jar Binks-free version of The Phantom Menace) goes on to very strange edits (Planet Of The Apes reduced to a Twilight Zone episode, or Star Wars turned into silent films) and the historically important, such as a fan edit that presents a version of Richard Williams’s unfinished masterpiece The Thief And The Cobbler. As a bonus, you can find out which fan edit of a Brian De Palma film was so good that De Palma turned it into the director’s cut!

 [Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

77 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/1/21 This Scroll Is Infested With Killer Pixels

  1. Y’know, it seems obvious to me that one might have different levels of comfort with

    how other people use cuss words, including in their titles
    how one uses cuss words oneself, when speaking privately,
    or when speaking publicly,
    or when publishing a newsletter.

    (On another topic entirely: When did numbered lists become impossible in this interface? Weird!)

    It is possible that Sanford wishes to keep his personal newsletter f-bomb free (which is his right) while declining to police other people’s use of f-bombs in their speech or publications (which is common sense). Of all the bones one could pick with Sanford, this one seems remarkably silly.

  2. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I don’t really care what he chooses to do in his own newsletter, but I do think it weakens your argument when you’re arguing something should be left as-is in another context while altering it yourself with no explanation. At the very least, it’s quite funny!

    I’ve been having some very serious talks with myself about priorities and have yet to decide whether I want to stick to my original position or not. (My sticking point is always: It still seems cruel to me, and I’m loath to approve of cruelty – or having DisCon participate in it – simply because it’s tied to legitimate criticism. My feeling is: We can, and should, be better than cruel – and I don’t think that’s just about being civil. But I’m listening to and considering the arguments re: prioritising what and when and the perception thereof.)

    (But mainly I’m just very excited at the idea of being able to forward all swearing enquiries elsewhere.)

    @Cliff

    We all head down the wrong rhetorical avenue sometimes!

  3. Video of the Day: I suspect there’s a typo in the phrase “a fan edit that resents a version of Richard Williams’s unfinished masterpiece The Thief And The Cobbler.” I’ll bet the edit “presents” a version. (I am NOT going to ask for follow-up comments by email, in case remarks about the GRRM rant go into overdrive again.)

  4. @Chet Desmond,

    Just because a person is right about one thing, doesn’t mean they’re right about everything.

    I read Sanford’s article about Baen’s Bar, looked into it & found enough substantiating evidence to accept it. Equally, I looked at Sanford’s article about the Hugo finalist title, but in the second example, found it to be a selective take of the discussion that went on at File770.

  5. Jerry Kaufman: I bet you’re right about “presents.” I’ll make it so. See you on the other side!

  6. I find it interesting that someone is calling me dishonest b/c I have discomfort in using curse words in my newsletter while also defending the right for others to use them in their own critical writings. If you want to be amused about this personal bit of hypocrisy, that’s fine with me. But it’s hardly dishonest.

    That said, my take on applying the Worldcon code of conduct to one of the Hugo finalists is obviously that, my take on the issue. In fact, I specifically said “I don’t agree with this take” in my newsletter when referring to the discussions on File770 about the essay’s title possibly violating the code of conduct. But that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to people who have differing views on this issue, or use my disagreement as a reason to personally attack them.

    I hope the genre can find a way to make this year’s Worldcon a civil and enjoyable affair for everyone.

  7. And now that I’m settling in to watch Outland, it’s a Warner Brothers picture, so I don’t think it was ever assimilated into the Disney Collective, so they wouldn’t have had anything to do with residuals on the novelizations regardless. Which is kind of a shame because Frances Sternhagen’s character would’ve made a fine Disney princess.

    (And this was also one of those movies/novelizations that gave me a VERY exaggerated idea of what explosive decompression would look like.)

  8. Jerry Kaufman: The typo about “resents” vs/ “presents” in the Royal Ocean Film Society clip was mine, and I apologize for making it.

  9. Have we done this one: “No Scroll I” (from “Pixel in the Dark”)

  10. 1) I can confirm that Hugo finalists were given a dealine until May 22 to get their voter packet contributions ready, so voting will probably open fairly shortly thereafter.

  11. @Cat Eldridge:

    Not sure I believe in forty year old ebooks.

    Not that this has anything to do with your point, but it got me to wondering… Project Gutenberg was founded in 1971, so there have been ebooks in some form for at least fifty years now. Longer than I realized.

  12. Hilarious to see so many people accusing Sanford of dishonesty and misrepresentation, considering how many took his accusations against Baen’s Bar completely at face value.

    Nobody had to take Sanford’s Baen report at face value. He provided links to the comments advocating violence.

    My problem with Sanford referring to the title with “F*ck” on his Patreon post is that he called it a “bad-faith argument” on Twitter to object to the title and then showed he had his own concerns about it.

    We didn’t object in bad faith. It’s a reasonable position for a DisCon member to want the con to refer to the rant by its alternate title instead of repeatedly voicing profane abusive language directed at a con member. DisCon’s refusal to do this is a terrible decision and encourages best-related-work nomination stunts in the future. If DisCon called it “The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (RageBlog Edition” it would still clearly identify the work and might even get more voters to consider it on the merits.

  13. Jason Sanford: But there is a big difference between one person putting an asterisk in a single word in the essay’s title and Worldcon as an organization using its code of conduct to do the same.

    I haven’t seen anywhere where someone says that Worldcon should put an asterisk in the title. In fact, with the exception of maybe one or two comments in that thread, I don’t see people objecting to the use of the word “fuck”. And I think it’s a strawman for you and others to pretend that that is where the objection lies.

    Your immediately follow your mention of the File 770 thread with this so-called “debunking” of it:

    “I don’t agree with this take. First, the essay is legitimate criticism of GRRM’s horrible MCing during last year’s Hugo ceremony. Very strongly worded criticism, yes, but sometimes that is needed.

    As a reminder, during last year’s Hugo ceremony GRRM didn’t focus on the amazing authors nominated for the awards. Instead he focused on John W. Campbell, whose racist and fascist beliefs (not hyperbole, look it up) caused his name to be removed from the Astounding Award.

    GRRM also didn’t bother to learn to pronounce the names of the finalists and winners. And when “honoring” the current Hugo winners, he kept going on about past winners like Heinlein and Silverberg, as if to imply the current winners would never measure up to the past.

    So Natalie Luhrs responded, as did many others. Her essay is raw and pointed and yes, that title sticks with you. And now some people are complaining the essay, by being a Hugo finalist, constitutes harassment of GRRM and violates the Worldcon code of conduct. Seriously?

    The Worldcon code of conduct should not be used to shut down a legitimate critique of a genre issue. As Courtney Milan says, “I am trying to understand the argument that a blog post written outside a convention violates the code of conduct for a convention and…failing.”

    GRRM is one of the most famous, powerful, and highest paid authors in the SF/F genre. Luhrs rightly critiqued his words and actions in a powerful essay.

    Is it possible GRRM’s feelings are hurt by the title. Possibly, although only he can say. But I’m certain far more people were hurt by GRRM’s words at last year’s Hugo ceremony.”

    The problem is that this is not what commenters in the File 770 thread are saying. While your statement is valid, it has nothing to do with the the comment thread at File 770.

    Which made me (and undoubtedly a lot of other people) wonder: Why isn’t Sanford addressing what the comments actually said? Is it because he doesn’t actually have a valid argument against the real concerns, so he has to pretend that they’re about something else?

  14. Honesty is my least favourite debate. Even aside from the ~massive honking trigger~ I’m carrying around with me for it which doesn’t care one bit if it’s aimed at me or someone else, there’s always half a dozen other reasonable explanations for why someone might misunderstand or focus on something else or pull out a minor detail for discussion or… whatever. And it makes the argument about what might truly lie in someone’s heart rather than the topic.

    I don’t like that my sense of Sanford’s post is that he picked one, maybe two comments, stirred in his own hangups about swearing and then painted the whole thread with it – I really don’t like that the standard practice for how File770 threads are described elsewhere is frustratingly like “comment that person hated the most treated as representative of entire thread” – but I’m pretty sure that for the most part, it’s because the comments that annoy people the most and that speak to their own particular brain the most are the ones that stand out to them the most.

    I find it obnoxious to constantly have to declare that I’m not some File770 Hivemind Representative, but I generally don’t know why a particular person gets to that point and I can’t know why.

    (Which doesn’t make it less annoying, to be clear. It’s really, really annoying and someday I am going to fulfil my threat to do “File770 still isn’t a hivemind” in interpretative dance.)

    (I do make assumptions about intent, I am not a paragon of oh-well-I’m-sure-everyone-means-well – but I try not to, because it’s one heck of a thing to prove or disprove, I could be wrong, and really, I’d rather hinge my arguments on something else.)

  15. Meredith: there’s always half a dozen other reasonable explanations for why someone might misunderstand or focus on something else or pull out a minor detail for discussion or… whatever

    Yes, there are a number of possible explanations for that sort of mischaracterization:

    • Poor reading comprehension and an inability to understand what was said in the comment thread.
    • Didn’t bother actually reading the comment thread and just assumed they knew what was in it.
    • Psychological blindness which prevents one from understanding the comments as having any meaning other than the one the reader is projecting on them.
    • Using a comment thread about something else as an excuse to make an unrelated point one wishes to make, without actually addressing what’s in the comment thread.
    • Unable to rationally counter what’s in the comment thread, so pretending that it’s about something else which one is able to rationally debunk.

    Pick any one of these; none of them reflect well on the person making the mischaracterization.

  16. @JJ

    And some of the other reasons are even slightly more generous. 🙂

  17. @JJ

    Although, speaking of missing points, the aimed-for main thrust of my comment, in between the grouching, was that intent and thought process are inherently unknowable, however many possible versions of it you can come up with – there was a reason I didn’t put any time towards listing them, it was irrelevant – but the argument is right there in the text. If I’m going to debate the topic we’re theoretically discussing, the latter is usually far more valuable than the former.

    I can think all the bad things about someone that I like, but if I structure my primary criticisms around that then their actual argument slips under the radar. It becomes about the person instead. Sometimes that’s appropriate – but rarely, and usually only for known longterm bad actors.

    Sanford isn’t one.

  18. Meredith: I can think all the bad things about someone that I like, but if I structure my primary criticisms around that then their actual argument slips under the radar.

    For me, it’s not “thinking bad things of someone”. It’s trying to figure out why they’ve said or done what they’ve said or done. And to me, there is value in that as well as in the actual argument. Because finding out someone’s reasons for doing things often gives insights into what else is going on that isn’t readily apparent (as well as, hopefully, providing a reason for being willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt).

    The question here for me isn’t whether Sanford is a “bad actor”. I know that he’s not. What I’d like to understand is why he did what he did; perhaps there is some thinking going on there which would shed light on the situation.

    Unfortunately, it does not help any that he came here and posted a comment which does not engage with the actual criticism of the mischaracterization made in his post.

  19. @JJ

    The trouble is that writing up and posting a list of unflattering possible thought processes or calling someone’s writing dishonest isn’t going to get us any closer to figuring that out. I can make guesses about motivations, intentions, etc, and they’ll inform how I respond to people, but they’re just that: guesses. Speculation. An interesting thought exercise.

    But I’m unconvinced that shifting the focus of the comment thread to someone’s character rather than their argument is particularly productive.

    (Note that Sanford’s last comment is primarily defending himself rather than engaging with the criticism of his argument, even the paragraph that’s ostensibly otherwise. Focus: shifted.)

  20. Meredith: Note that Sanford’s last comment is primarily defending himself rather than engaging with the criticism of his argument, even the paragraph that’s ostensibly otherwise. Focus: shifted.

    Yes, and that was the choice he had already made, before any of the subsequent comments here. If he had genuinely intended to actually address the criticism of his mischaracterization, or to engage with the actual substance of the File 770 thread he mischaracterized, surely he would have done so.

  21. @JJ

    In my experience most people will prioritise responding to personal criticism over argument criticism. That won’t tell you anything useful or actionable about intentions, it just tells you they’re a human.

    Or at least a being with human-type responses. One should never assume in a science fiction and fantasy community.

  22. In much the same way that anyone talking about the Filer Hivemind gets a bunch of us grouching about that before we get around to responding to the argument they’re making, come to think of it.

  23. @rcade: You are correct, I shouldn’t have used the term “bad faith argument” in my original Twitter post on all this. When I later wrote about all this in my newsletter I dropped those words b/c I don’t think anyone here is doing this. My apology for saying that.

    @JJ: Obviously it’s not correct that the File770 comments were simply saying that Worldcon should put an asterisk in the title. I wasn’t summing up the comments here like that, I was merely responding to people going after me for using an asterisk in my newsletter by saying an individual altering a curse word is very different than Worldcon doing the same. But I was alluding to larger calls for Worldcon to change the title to something else, not to simply drop an asterisk in it.

    In my newsletter I wrote the following: “the Best Related Work finalist ‘George R.R. Martin Can F*ck Off Into the Sun’ by Natalie Luhrs generated a ton of comments from people in the genre because of the title. You can read some of these comments in this article on File770, where people ask if the essay’s title violates the code of conduct of this year’s Worldcon.” I then linked directly to the entry so people could read the comments and followed that with my take on everything.

    Look, I read all the comments on File770 and disagree that the Worldcon code of conduct should be applied in this situation. I get that people disagree with my take on things and that’s fine. Reading the comments here has made me realize some issues I hadn’t previously considered and I appreciate people for sharing their thoughts.

  24. Mike – On your bio for Steve Meretzky, here’s my comments:

    First, thanks for remembering him, he’s one of the most important figures in commercial interactive science fiction.

    Second, the sequel to Planetfall was Stationfall, not A Mind Forever Voyaging.

    Third, A Mind Forever Voyaging is indeed Meretzky’s work as well, and deserves to be remembered. Planetfall and Stationfall were puzzle-oriented campy sci-fi games full of humor and hijinx, but A Mind Forever Voyaging was a serious attempt to address Reaganism and Thatcherism in a speculative fiction way. The player took on the role of an artificial intelligence which could enter simulations of the future if a set of highly conservative laws were passed. Your “job” was to record events in those future simulations. And then, in the finale, once you had shown what a disaster they would be, you had to prevent yourself from being turned off and silenced…. It’s time the country knew the FACTS about joybooths. More on AMFV here: http://infocom.elsewhere.org/gallery/amfv/amfv.html

  25. You are correct, I shouldn’t have used the term “bad faith argument” in my original Twitter post on all this. When I later wrote about all this in my newsletter I dropped those words b/c I don’t think anyone here is doing this. My apology for saying that.

    Thanks. I appreciate that you’re willing to acknowledge a mistake, which isn’t easy to do. I don’t always do that myself.

    Your explanation for why you nominated the Luhrs rant is a big reason I stopped making the argument that it was obviously a bad-faith stunt to choose it. I respect the reasoning even if I don’t share your opinion of the work.

  26. Jason Sanford: I shouldn’t have used the term “bad faith argument” in my original Twitter post on all this. When I later wrote about all this in my newsletter I dropped those words b/c I don’t think anyone here is doing this. My apology for saying that.

    I appreciate you saying this.

    But it’s essentially a partial apology made in private for things said in public. Your Genre Grapevine post mischaracterizing the File 770 discussion is still out there, and your tweet claiming that commenters objecting to having a title which is an abusive personal insult on the Hugo ballot are acting in bad faith is still out there.

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