Pixel Scroll 5/28/17 No File For You Till You Scroll All Your Pixels

(1) THANKED AND EXCUSED. Mattie Brahan, in a non-public post, said her husband, Darrell Schweitzer, was told he won’t be needed as a Readercon 28 program participant –a piece of news Barry Longyear exaggerated in his public post as “banning”.

Readercon has been banning (“disinviting”) former guests from being guests, Darrell Schweitzer being the most recent about whom I’ve heard. I originally thought it was for political reasons (I was part of the Northern Maine Rebellion), but apparently the reason was age, experience, having been around for too long. It’s sort of like having an AA meeting and forbidding the attendance of anyone who has more than one year of sobriety….

Is it really because Schweitzer is too old? There are any number of men and women listed as part of the forthcoming Readercon program who are not young.

(2) THE FOREVER QUEUE. Io9 reports yesterday at Disneyland “Lines Snaked Through Entire Park for Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Ride Debut”.

Looks like the hype was real. Disney’s ride for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! opened at Disney’s California Adventure on Saturday… and the effects could literally be felt everywhere in the park.

The Pandora section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom also opened in Florida over the weekend. It took fans about two hours just to get into the Pandora park, and ride lines were averaging about three to four hours for rides. Hell, some people reporting three-hour lines to get into the damn gift shops. Insane amount of standing and slowly walking aside, fans seemed happy with both Mission: Breakout! and Pandora.

(3) OPEN CASTING. Yes, this needs to happen. Emily Asher-Perrin and Leah Schnelbach team up to answer “Who Could Play This Merry Fellow? Dreamcasting Tom Bombadil” at Tor.com.

Emily pointed out that there should have been a DVD extra of Bombadil material, and then, naturally, that led to a dreamcasting of Bombadil. We gave ourselves a few restrictions–these had to be people who would have fit the role in 1999-ish, when they would have been hired for The Fellowship of the Ring, and all of the actors have been cast on the assumption that supermodel Claudia Schiffer is playing Goldberry…

(4) NEGATORY, GOOD BUDDY. As for my own attempt to cast the next Doctor Who — “Would Hayley Atwell Take The Role Of Doctor Who? Here’s What She Says”.

Hayley Atwell is frequent on fan’s most wanted lists, and while Atwell would likely kill it in the role, what does she actually think of all this? She wants that particular role to go to someone else.

I don’t want to play it. No. It’s just not my thing, but I really respect it. I’m a big fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, though. She plays the lead in Fleabag. There were talks of her being the next Doctor, and she’s so funny and eccentric and unique; she’d be great. I can’t really see anyone other than her playing it.

Appearing at Heroes and Villains Fanfest in London (via Geekfeed), Hayley Atwell made it quite clear that she doesn’t want to be the next Doctor.

(5) WHAT YOU MISSED. Chaz Boston Baden reports on his party at this weekend’s BayCon:

“A Bear’s Picnic” closed at 3:30 am, when the last four people left. As far as I know, no noise complaints were received about out party, even when Diane Osborne started singing about her rooster being dead….

Curious as to what song that might be I Googled “lyrics dead rooster” –you’d be surprised how many songs feature them.

(6) BODY WORK. Camestros Felapton went to the movies. He has posted the autopsy —“Review: Alien Covenant”.

…Covenant and its predecessor Prometheus are both variations on the theme of the original Alien. The same elements have to appear (some of which are shared with Aliens films), the horseshoe ship and the undiscovered planet and the body horror. The tone is serious and visuals are striking.

Covenant’s cast is sufficiently good and the dialogue strong enough that while the characterisation is not deep there is at least a sense of these people having some depth of character –it’s just that we don’t get to see it before they variously die horribly. Looking back at the original film, I suppose the same could have been said of it –even Ripley….

(7) FAN FILM. The Verge says “This Harry Potter prequel fan film looks even better than Fantastic Beasts” –and they’re right, it’s pretty slick.

The story follows a witch named Grisha Mac Laggen (heir to Griffindor and original character to this film), who suspects trouble when Hepzibah Smith, a descendant of the Hufflepuff family, was found murdered. The case goes cold, but Laggen suspects that there’s some sort of dark magic at play, and she believes that former Hogwarts student and future dark wizard Tom Marvolo Riddle is involved somehow. Visually, the teaser looks stunning, with visual effects and production design that feel like they fit alongside that of the official Harry Potter films.

 

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

(9) A BIT OF FAME. Contributor Francis Hamit’s letter to the editors of TIME Magazine got a mention:

May 25, 2017

HACKING U.S. DEMOCRACY

Massimo Calabresi’s May 29 story about Russia’s use of social media to influence Americans was a reminder to be “wary of the source of that liked/upvoted social post,” wrote Sanjeev Verma of Sunnyvale, Calif. However, as Francis Hamit of Sherman Oaks, Calif., pointed out, foreign attempts to sway American politics aren’t necessarily new. “It’s just that we are finally paying attention,” he noted.

Hamit adds, “What TIME used was the tag line of a longer letter about Soviet €˜active measures’ during the Vietnam War.”

(10) SHAZAM. Adweek tells about a recent public service campaign: “Shazam Suddenly Started Forgetting Song Titles to Highlight a Little-Known Fact About Alzheimer’s”.

We’re naturally inclined to attribute human characteristics to the apps that continuously follow us around, which is part of why Siri is so amusing and Alexa so charmingly useful. But for Alzheimer’s Research U.K., agency Innocean Worldwide U.K. brought a horribly human attribute to Shazam–the ability to forget…

 

The purpose of the campaign was to tell young people that Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just concern seniors; it can affect people as young as 40 years old. Over 40,000 people under 65 are living with dementia in the U.K. alone.

The effort ran through the month of April in the U.K. In mere hours, the agency says, “The Day Shazam Forgot” yielded 2,018,206 impressions, with 5,096 visitors visiting the Alzheimer’s Research U.K. donation page. (Hopefully they remembered their credit card information.)

(11) HUGO SHORTS. Camestros Felapton continues sharing his ballot, and the reasons therefore: “Hugo 2017: Short Story”.

  1. “Seasons of Glass and Iron” Amal El-Mohtar It had a tough job against strong competition but I do think this one stood out. The story takes two elements from lesser-known fairy tales: a woman who has to live on top of a glass mountain and a woman who has to walk the earth in iron shoes until their soles are worn away. El-Mohtar captures the atmosphere of the stories but also turns them to her own purposes.

(12) HUGO LONGS. Ethan Anderton’s Twitter robots made me look, but it was later pointed out to me that the material had been thieved from Mark Kaedrin, so here’s the direct link to Mark — “Hugo Awards: The Dark Forest and Death’s End”.

Those ideas that evoke the fabled SF goal of Sense of Wonder are what make these books work. The more sociological and philosophical aspects of the story are a little less focused and successful, leading to some inconsistency in terms of characters and pacing that perhaps make the series too long and pull the books down a peg or two. I suspect some things are lost in translation here, but this is not meant as a slight on Ken Liu (who translated the first and third books in the series), just an acknowledgement that translations naturally produce, for example, awkward dialog and pacing. I’ll put this on me too, as reading a book from another culture always presents challenges that I’ll readily admit I’m not always equal to. However, most of my complaints are far outweighed by what this series gets right, and this will rank high on my Hugo ballot, though I don’t know that it will unseat my current frontrunner (which remains Ninefox Gambit).

(13) THE DAMN DOGS DON’T LIKE IT. WIRED ponders “Why Are Colleges So Hostile to Fantasy Writers?”

For decades aspiring fantasy writers have been subjected to dismissive behavior from college professors who disparage genre literature, even though such professors often admit they’ve never actually read any fantasy or science fiction. This sort of hostility is unfortunately alive and well today, as college freshman Alina Sichevaya can attest.

“I’d heard everyone else’s horror stories, because occasionally this comes up on Twitter, and people will talk about their college experience,” Sichevaya says in Episode 257 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “But I definitely wasn’t expecting such a strong response from my professor about genre fiction.”

Sichevaya says she attempted to defend fantasy, and to recommend high-quality examples to her professor, but she’s not optimistic it’ll do much good.

(14) HOW TO LOSE THE SALE. Stay away from these if you want to sell to Dave — “Dave Farland’s 10 Points to Avoid in Writing Short Fiction” at Writers of the Future.

…Seriously, though, I sometimes wish that I could explain to a young writer why I’m passing on a story. So I’m going to talk about it here.

Here are ten reasons why I reject stories quickly–usually within the first page:

  1. The story is unintelligible.Very often I’ll get submissions that just don’t make sense. Often, these seem to be non-English speakers who are way off in both the meaning of words, their context, or in their syntax, but more often it’s just clumsiness. I’ve seen college presidents who couldn’t write. But this lack of care is on a gradient scale, from “I can’t figure out what this is about” to “I don’t want to bother trying to figure this out” to “there are minor problems in this story.” For example, yesterday a promising story called a dungeon the “tombs.” Was it a mistake, or a metaphor? I don’t think it was a metaphor. The author had made too many other errors where the “almost correct” word was used.
  2. The story is unbelievable. “Johnny Verve was the smartest kid on earth, and he was only six. He was strongest one, and the most handsome, too. But the coolest part was when he found out he had magical powers!” At that point, I’m gone, and not just because there were four uses of “was” in three sentences…

(15) TROLLING. Squawks over women-only screenings of Wonder Woman in Texas.

Now unimpressed men are lambasting the idea on Facebook, claiming they are being discriminated against.

“Great, let us know when you have guys-only screenings of Thor, Spider-Man, Star Wars, etc. Let’s see you walk the walk now that you set this precedence [sic],” one man wrote.

“Very sorry if you feel excluded,” came the reply on the [Alamo DraftHouse] cinema’s official account.

(16) ALL WOUND UP. Picture of cyclones on Jupiter’s south pole: “Juno Spacecraft Reveals Spectacular Cyclones At Jupiter’s Poles”.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has spotted giant cyclones swirling at Jupiter’s north and south poles.

That’s just one of the unexpected and puzzling findings being reported by the Juno science team.

Juno arrived at Jupiter last summer. It’s the first spacecraft to get a close-up look at the planet’s poles. It’s in an orbit that takes it skimming close to the cloud tops of the gas giant once every 53 days.

(17) HOW TO TALK TO FILM CRITICS AT MOVIES. The BBC trashes the movie of Gaiman’s “How to Talk to Girls at Parties”: “This is one of the worst films ever made”.

It may seem harsh to say that How to Talk to Girls at Parties is one of the worst films ever made, given that it isn’t a cynical studio blockbuster, but an indie passion project with a budget that wouldn’t pay for the Botox on most Hollywood productions. But this shambolic punks-meet-aliens rom-com is directed by John Cameron Mitchell, the acclaimed auteur behind Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It’s also adapted from a short story by Neil Gaiman, it has costumes by the triple-Oscar-winning Sandy Powell, and it features Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. If nothing else, then, it should seem vaguely professional. Instead, it’s like a shoddy school play put on by a drama teacher who thinks he’s cool for liking the Sex Pistols.

(18) MONSTROUS HIT. Carl Slaughter notes: “The Munsters wasn’t just a horror sitcom. It was a cultural phenomenon. After only 2 seasons and 70 episodes, it was buried by another cultural phenomenon: Batman.”

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, Mark Kaedrin, Chip Hitchcock, Francis Hamit, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

118 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/28/17 No File For You Till You Scroll All Your Pixels

  1. Oh and I said it before: In my field (Boardgames) there is no panel/Con were the same oanelists are always invited. I never even heard of this concept before Arroz complained about it and its pretty alien and nonsensical for me.

  2. POC? By the definitions Longyear and Del Arroz are using, Barack and Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou have been “banned” and/or “disinvited” from pretty much every SF con! (And for that matter, so have I, though I don’t count as a POC.) 🙂

    Thinking that not having your membership (and possibly other things) comped, and not having your name appear on promotional material, translates to “banned” or even “disinvited” (the general public has an open invitation to most SF cons) shows either a pathetic failure to grasp the basics of the English language (as we discussed before) or a truly astounding display of privilege!

    My brother was banned, briefly, from a local Con, for rambunctious teenaged behavior. (And he deserved it, and knew it.) It was a drag because we’d been sharing a room, and I couldn’t, in good conscience, ask him to pay for the days he wasn’t allowed to be there. But the point is, that’s what being banned is! Merely being offered the standard open invitation like any other member of the public is not!

  3. Bruce Arthurs on May 29, 2017 at 8:41 am said:

    14) “Johnny Verve was the smartest kid on earth, and he was only six. He was strongest one, and the most handsome, too. But the coolest part was when he found out he had magical powers!”

    Hmm. I am moved to try and come up with a better version of that:

    “At age six, Johnny Verve was already the smartest kid on earth, and the strongest, and the most handsome, and then he found out he had magical powers too, the rotten little shit.”

    Bruce, I think I’d very much like to read your story!
    Or at least ‘borrow’ the sentence to open a fanfic I could write!

  4. (1) It’s interesting for me to hear about such a different dynamic for conventions.

    In Israel, you’ve got a pretty consistent crowd, certainly among the organizers and the lecturers. And the scene is decidedly local, so while we might be able to fly in a GoH from elsewhere, there’s not a lot of flux or “importing” crowds and speakers from elsewhere.

    The dynamic’s very different. Very few pros (and those, mostly in the limited, local Israeli scene); whereas you’ve got a ton of fans, whose avenue to participation in conventions is through coming up with awesome topics to speak about. (Now that I think about it, that sets the norm so even the pros vary their topics from event to event.)

    So here, I’d definitely expect the same speakers at every event, and they’ll tend to aim for variety. I have a hard time imagining a con turning down an event proposal because “we want to give other people a spot,” unless there’s been negative feedback on that speaker or participant. New people usually have no trouble getting in; the competition for slots isn’t so stiff that a good proposal will be turned down.

    Long story short: In my particular neck of the woods, if somebody who’d been a regular for basically forever, one year submitted events as usual and was turned out — I’d definitely assume the con’s feelings towards him had changed.

    But I’m seeing that our format seems to be the unusual one. When the con invites the authors, the entire dynamic changes. When the focus is on panel discussions by personal areas of interest and expertise, rather than on building up individual presentations, then I can see how changing out the participants becomes much more important.

    TBH, a lot of the reason I’m musing about this so much is because I’m looking forward to WorldCon, and I’m coming to realize I have zero idea what to expect from it! It seems like it’s going to be fundamentally different from the conventions I know. (If I find myself too lost, Filers are invited to join me in my comfort zone for nice RPG one-shot… 😛 )

  5. Peer said: Oh and I said it before: In my field (Boardgames) there is no panel/Con were the same oanelists are always invited. I never even heard of this concept before Arroz complained about it and its pretty alien and nonsensical for me.

    It’s pretty much the same in the folk and celtic music festivals I’ve had a hand in. There’ll be maybe a local beloved band that gets invited back but the performers from elsewhere rarely get two invites. It’s also worth noting that booking for a given festival, say this summer, will likely included bands booked at least a year ago if not longer.

    Finally I’ll note folks that come to a festival almost never, except diehard fans, come to see a particular act as they’re paying for a day pass that can be fairly costly. The ones I’ve been involved usually cost at least forty dollars per day.

  6. Oh and #7 does look nice imho! Yes, more interesting than fantastic beasts.
    But of course, the difficulty will be the storytelling. If thats on par with the teaser, then Im interested indeed!
    (Not a Potterfanatic, but I did enjoyed the later books. Manly was disappointed by the movies, except for one or two I think)

  7. @August: others are a recipe for making sure everything you publish is in the same style with no change or experimentation. Following these rules is a recipe for telling a clear story while learning the trade. There’s a cliche in art that every rule can be broken IFF the artist knows what they’re doing and chooses to break the rule for the effect — and even then, breaking a lot of rules or breaking the same rule often is likely to lose.

    @Milt Stevens: So howcome this only happens to old white guys and not members of any other group? If it does happen to people in other groups, name a couple. You’ve gotten much politer answers than I’d have given you. On top of those I’ll amplify my answer: everything they can say has probably been heard over and over again, probably in place of many other more-varied voices.

    @Standback: I suspect you’re tripping over the difference between a participatory game (where what happens is decided by the players) and a panel (where a few people discuss a topic in public, then take questions(*) brought up by the discussion). US SF convention panels are >>90% developed from scratch each year; I don’t go to gaming conventions, but I get the impression that popular games do come back. Also, SF conventions will occasionally poke someone who they can still use to find out whether that person is not coming or just hasn’t registered, but they invite only a small number of marquee guests (e.g., Readercon has two living authors and one featured dead author).

    (*) note “questions”, not speeches etc; sometimes people misinterpret “question” as “speech”, and sometimes the panel moderator lets them get away with it.

    @Cat: how much new material do the regulars bring? If they kept doing the same material each year, how long would they be invited back?

  8. Back from Baycon with jackalope art.

    Other than my nice dramatic speak-of-the-devil moment I wasn’t too sociable, and I thank Heather for restauranting with me. I went to a bunch of panels, I deployed some PR, and I think I may have found an editor that can actually put up with me, so overall win despite the amount of time I spent hiding in my room watching cartoons. I also sampled several varieties of Chaz’s cookies, I think I liked the Vesta Bars the best.

  9. Peer says Not a Potterfanatic, but I did enjoyed the later books. Manly was disappointed by the movies, except for one or two I think)

    Speaking of Potter, a local bookseller decided to do a Potter festival complete with mocking with up Diagonal Alley and using the nearby narrow gauge railed road for fans to experience more Potter stuff.

    Ahhh then she got a call from the lawyers at Disney just two days before it was to happen saying they’d seen her advertisements and did she know that they owned rights to all aspects of the Potterverse including by such festivals as hers. They let her off the hook by having her in writing to choose a charity that would get every penny left over after expenses.

    So she did one more year, much toned down, and lost money, so that was the end of those festivals.

  10. @Standback: afterthought: I expect there will also be gaming (board, RPG, etc.) at Helsinki, but (a) that wasn’t what Arroz and Schweitzer were talking about and (b) it will probably be a long time before you’ll be able to hear and question this many interesting people again (games can travel much more cheaply), so you should look at all of the program — I’d be amazed if there weren’t items that interested you, if you find this blog interesting.

  11. Speaking of Robert’s Rules of Orders, I think my most frustrating position was being a junior high parliamentarian trying to get the student council to abide by parliamentary procedure. Like herding SJW credentials.

    (18) Oddly, both The Munsters and Batman prominently featured the work of George Barris.

  12. Chip asks me how much new material do the regulars bring? If they kept doing the same material each year, how long would they be invited back?

    It’s their popularity not fresh material that gets them back. The idea is that they’ll entice folks who like them that them plus a couple acts that they won’t to see is enough to justify tickets, parking and food. Call it well over a hundred dollars for this hypothetical couple.

    Iit was Heinlein in Time Enough for Love that talked about selling a story several times by filing off the serial numbers. No need to do so here as the paying customer expect to hear their favorite band or solo performer.

    I’ve seen as many as four concerts by either a solo performer or a band over a week or so. The latter are much more likely to lean heavily on their back catalog. A solo performer almost always has a new album he or she wants to sell.

  13. @Chip: That’s definitely some of it. I tend to GM at conventions; it’s one way to make sure there’s events I’m super-enthusiastic about 😛 More seriously — it’s a fun way to invest in the event, and participating makes things fun for me.

    But actually, I wasn’t comparing WorldCon to gaming conventions; that difference is very clear to me. Our non-gaming conventions are also individual events, proposed by individuals. We have some panels, but the more popular format is the lecture. (I’m hoping to give my own first lecture at a convention this October — on navigating short fiction, surprise surprise 😛 )

    OTOH, looking at the ReaderCon program, there’s awesome stuff there. (I am not sure what deranged soul decided there needed to be a panel on Bees!, but I love them dearly.) Honestly if I just start out with “panels authors I like are on” and go from there, I’m sure I’ll be fine. It’s still a weird format for me, though.

  14. @Chip Hitchcock: I’m aware; as I said, I don’t edit fiction anymore, but I did, and I am still an editor (primarily academic now). The short story is really the best place to try your wildest ideas about form, structure, and so on, imo, primarily because you don’t really have to sustain it. You don’t have to take your wild idea beyond a few pages, or maybe a couple dozen at most, so you won’t have to worry about the reader collapsing from exhaustion after your weird language or structure gets overwhelming. You can do the new and the adventurous in a relatively low-risk environment.

    TBH I almost never read short SF/F fiction anymore because it feels too safe in its forms, which is starting to bore me. Last year I read and enjoyed Glenn Grant’s Burning Days and Maureen F. McHugh’s After the Apocalypse, both of which were more really, really exceptional executions of classic styles and structures than innovation, but otherwise have found myself just putting aside most of the SF/F short fiction I’ve been reading because almost all of it feels like something I’ve read before. Even this year’s Hugo shortlist is… just kind of okay. None of the stories are bad, but most aren’t particularly striking, either, and not one of them does something I haven’t seen before in one form or another. The closest was Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies, with its fun list formatting, but I still found myself skimming it because it didn’t seem to show any interest in putting the same kind of verve into, say, its diction, so it became just a matter of getting to the obvious conclusion, which is exactly where it went.

    I’m just really tired of being able to pick up one story from 1975 and another from 2017 and feeling like they could be contemporaries. And while, as I said, some of that advice is absolutely solid, some it is a part of that problem. (I recognize other people don’t see it as a problem, but what I’m looking for is an “I didn’t know you could do *that*” moment, and these days I’m mostly only seeing it in novels. This is not just an issue for SF/F short fiction, but the specific ruts other genres get stuck in are different.)

  15. (1) I emailed the Readercon program people and the answer I got was that it wasn’t age and that it was a very hard decision who to drop. I surmise that there was a miscommunication.

  16. Lis Carey on May 29, 2017 at 11:39 am said:
    It seems to be only guys we see complaining about it. Del Arroz is Latino, though. I don’t know what his age range is. Looks to me like some guys are just delicate snowflakes.

    Come off it. What happens if women don’t win half of all the awards? What happens if women aren’t half of every panel at every con? What happens if people of color don’t sell enough stories to prozines?

  17. Jeff Jones: I surmise that there was a miscommunication.

    I don’t think there was any “miscommunication”. I think it’s a case of Longyear deciding for himself what the motivations of the concom are, rather than actually taking what the concom says onboard.

    As one of the Filers (and I apologize, I don’t remember who it was) pointed out, people never want to believe that the reason they are not given an opportunity is due to their own performance (or lack thereof). So they come up with reasons which put the blame on someone other than themselves, and run with that in an outrage campaign.

  18. Cat:

    Ahhh then she got a call from the lawyers at Disney just two days before it was to happen saying they’d seen her advertisements and did she know that they owned rights to all aspects of the Potterverse including by such festivals as hers.

    Surely not Disney.

    Even Warner Bros. doesn’t own rights to all aspects of the Potterverse, but they might well have rights to live festivals.

    It’s their popularity not fresh material that gets them back. The idea is that they’ll entice folks who like them that them plus a couple acts that they won’t to see is enough to justify tickets, parking and food. Call it well over a hundred dollars for this hypothetical couple.

    Yes, but when you’ve got a lot of choices and a limited number of slots, you may find you want to rotate the guests some, because each of them entices different parts of the audience.

  19. @Milt Stevens

    Your ranting reminds me of something I’ve read several times, most recently about the ridiculous Wonder Woman screening whining.

    “To the privileged, equality feels like oppression.”

  20. “Northern Maine Rebellion”?
    All Google is finding is references to file770 (not even Longyear’s facebook).

  21. What happens if women don’t win half of all the awards? What happens if women aren’t half of every panel at every con? What happens if people of color don’t sell enough stories to prozines?

    Those are discussed in a general, statistical way.

    The issue at hand here, though, seems to be that some people are hearing “Sorry, we filled our panel schedule for this year and we didn’t have room for you this time” and deciding “I have been BLACKBALLED from this convention and BARRED from entry!”

    The people doing that don’t all seem to be old or lily white, but they do seem to be men.

    Should there be more women on panels at conventions? In general, sure. Has Vonda N. McIntyre* been snubbed and blackballed from a convention if she’s not on panels? Not so much. Do people flip out if her books aren’t given all the awards? Not so much. Does anyone demand that all of Saladin Ahmed’s** short fiction sell to its first market of submission or he’s been BLACKBALLED? Not so much.

    These would seem to be better analogies than trying to equate “Is there systematic inequality in the SF field?” with “Did Jon del Arroz get banned from a convention he’s free to attend, merely because he wasn’t invited to be on panels this year?”

    *name picked at random
    **ditto

  22. Bonnie McDaniel on May 29, 2017 at 3:49 pm said:

    “To the privileged, equality feels like oppression.”

    “Political correctness is hating the right people.”

  23. Milt Stevens: “Political correctness is hating the right people.”

    I presume that when you comment here, you are hoping that your comments will be taken seriously.

    When you use phrases like “Political Correctness”, you send the message that you regard attempts to discuss important issues as a threat, and want to shut down discussion so that the status quo (aka only white men are important and should be in charge of everything) will be maintained.

    You also send the message that your words are not to be taken seriously.

  24. Kurt Busiek on May 29, 2017 at 4:11 pm said:
    The issue at hand here, though, seems to be that some people are hearing “Sorry, we filled our panel schedule for this year and we didn’t have room for you this time” and deciding “I have been BLACKBALLED from this convention and BARRED from entry!”

    Do you really think I’m going to give money to people who have stated their primary objective is to have a younger membership and not have people like me around at all?

  25. Milt Stevens: Do you really think I’m going to give money to people who have stated their primary objective is to have a younger membership and not have people like me around at all?

    Can you provide a link to that verbiage? Because I’ve searched the Readercon site and can’t find it.

  26. What happens if women don’t win half of all the awards? What happens if women aren’t half of every panel at every con? What happens if people of color don’t sell enough stories to prozines?
    Ahh–the very popular “what happens if”? AKA the infamous “What if?”
    A formerly close friend of mine used to use that technique–pushing the boundaries of the conversations until he got his currently right-wing opinions validated. I find that it’s usually wielded as a derailment weapon.
    I came across this somewhere and used it when I’d finally had enough.

    What happens if. . . . . pigs grew wings?

    Would that make them pigeons?

  27. @JJ Well, failure to correctly read and understand what’s written is a form of miscommunication, isn’t it? Otherwise, I’m afraid you’re right, for both Longyear and Schweitzer. It’s too bad.

  28. JJ
    Who said anything about Readedrcon? I was talking about my own experiences at a couple of other cons where I was eliminated from the program after 10 or 15 years.

    The story about Darrell Schweitzer being purged from the program and Readercon made me angry. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have posted anything here at all. Taken seriously? Fat chance. That still won’t stop me from saying something if I think it.

  29. Milt Stevens: Who said anything about Readedrcon? I was talking about my own experiences at a couple of other cons where I was eliminated from the program after 10 or 15 years.

    Okay, then the questions become
    1) what programming were you serving on?
    2) is it possible that that programming subject(s) where you provided expertise was judged to no longer be of substantial interest?
    3) is it possible that that programming subject(s) where you provided expertise was judged to be offering the same material year after year?
    4) Is it possible that it was felt your contribution did not add substantively to the programming?

    It’s far more likely to have been a combination of 2, 3, and 4, than it was because they decided you personally were too old. But if you insist that it was because of your age, then you get to blame everyone else.

     
    Milt Stevens: The story about Darrell Schweitzer being purged from the program and Readercon made me angry.

    Except that that didn’t happen. Schweitzer wasn’t on the Programme; therefore, it is impossible to claim that he was “purged”, “banned”, or “disinvited” from it.

    Unless, of course, there is an assumption that Schweitzer is entitled to be on the Readercon Programming every year as long as he wants.

    In which case, the problem is Schweitzer’s — and those who are upset about it — unjustified sense of entitlement, isn’t it?

  30. Do you really think I’m going to give money to people who have stated their primary objective is to have a younger membership and not have people like me around at all?

    I don’t recall having suggested that you give anyone money.

    But if your criteria for this is to have the same older SF folk on the panel program every year and not subject to the same kind of rotation the younger folk are, I suspect you’ll wind up saving a lot of money over time.

    [For what it’s worth, I figure that there are lots of organizations aiming at getting younger customers than me; if they’re offering me something I find entertaining, I don’t mind that they want to get a younger audience; after all, they don’t want to die out when I do. If they’re not offering something entertaining, I don’t care if they’re aiming it directly at me; if it’s not what I want I don’t want it.]

  31. @Milt Stevens said:
    So how come this only happens to old white guys and not members of any other group? If it does happen to people in other groups, name a couple.

    I had a friend who was removed from program at a con–or rather, not invited back one year–who is female and middle-aged.

    I have run a lot of vendor rooms at conventions, and in any initial mailing, always state that the ‘usual’ vendors do not have a sacred, reserved spot: you want to make some room for turnover. Also, in our experience, having someone take a year off means they do much better business when they return. The idea is to keep things from getting stale: novelty is a good thing. And just waiting for people to drop off on their own doesn’t afford enough turnover. I’m sure program works the same way.

  32. I was talking about my own experiences at a couple of other cons where I was eliminated from the program after 10 or 15 years.

    As a former FAPA member I’d enjoy seeing you on a panel, but I question your conclusions about this.

    Cons have a finite number of invites for their programming. When you had a spot for 10-15 years, presumably a lot of other people were rejected.

    Unless you were told the rejection was because you’re an older white male, I don’t think it’s fair to latch onto that as the reason.

  33. Do you really think I’m going to give money to people who have stated their primary objective is to have a younger membership and not have people like me around at all?

    Oh, wait. Maybe what you’re trying to say is that it does actually constitute being banned or blackballed, because if they don’t put you on the program you’re not interested in attending.

    That’s a perfectly fine decision to make, if that’s how you want to approach things — but that’s not being banned or blackballed, that’s deciding not to go.

    Insisting that someone has been “purged” from programming that they weren’t actually scheduled for in the first place is at minimum misusing the language, and probably more like outright dishonesty.

  34. Seconding Stewart’s request for more info on the alleged “Northern Maine Rebellion.” Most searches led back here. A couple led to discussions of the KKK in Maine. I assume that was not the reference.

    @Milt – out of context, your complaints sound extremely petulant and whiny. I’d recommend giving some specific context if you are trying to convince people and not just venting somewhere you hope will provide you with some justification for your bitterness.

  35. Do you really think I’m going to give money to people who have stated their primary objective is to have a younger membership and not have people like me around at all?

    I’m going to guess that their reaction is similar to that given by Scalzi when people angrily tell him they will no longer be reading his books, which is basically “So?” If they are really marketing to a different demographic than you, why would they care that you got your nose out of joint and stalked off?

  36. So, instead of being glad that he was given free stuff (at least, presumably, a membership) for 10-15 years straight, the only thing Milt can think of to do is whine because the supply of free stuff ended.

    I think I’ve got a video to cover that: Playing a Sad Song on a Tiny Violin. 😀

  37. (18) MONSTROUS HIT. I usually have enough attention span for a 2-minutes video, but I watched the whole thing. Thanks for putting it in the Pixel Scroll, @Mike Glyer! It was interesting, and yeah, I have a soft spot for “The Munsters.” I have an even greater soft spot for “The Addams Family”; they were family favorites growing up. Anyway, interesting video and I learned something! I hadn’t known about the various attempts to bring “The Munsters” back, the movie, etc.

    (11) HUGO SHORTS. Or as we say over here, “Hugo underpants.” 😉 Ahem. Anyway, I liked three of the stories a lot, but the other two (“Seasons” and “Talons”) were just okay-to-pretty good and didn’t do much for me. I’ll probably put “City” first, but I’m not sure which will go second – “Fist” and “Game.”

  38. @rcade: “The old pro who doesn’t get the convention invite he expected used to be a young pro taking a spot that could have gone to an old pro.” – Excellent point!

    @Beth in MA: Congrats – and hooray for organization and space-savings.

    @Peer: Three’s Godstalk. 😛

    @stfg: Thanks for posting your thoughts! Uh-oh, I need to read the Best Related Work finalists. Eek!

    @Xtifr: Heh, that video reminds me of what we used to do, “This is the smallest violin in the world [miming playing a tiny violin with our fingers] playing ‘My Heart Cries for You.'” (For some reason, we said it with a Southern accent.)

  39. 1)@Cat Eldridge:

    Finally I’ll note folks that come to a festival almost never, except diehard fans, come to see a particular act as they’re paying for a day pass that can be fairly costly. The ones I’ve been involved usually cost at least forty dollars per day.

    I recently counted the number of Drive-By Truckers shows I’ve been to in nine years. Fifty-two. I last saw them in November, twice, and am deeply jonesing for another show. I skipped the one in easy driving distance, the Memphis in May festival, because it wasn’t worth it for a short set and no other band I needed to hear.

  40. Milt Stevens on May 29, 2017 at 5:50 pm said:
    Aren’t you a little young yet for “you kids get off my lawn” and the cane-waving?

  41. In the context of nothing at all in particular, one of the more popular badge ribbons being handed out promiscuously at BayCon was “Prominent Local Author”.

    Thanks again to Charon for helping me out of my con funk on Saturday. And great to see lurkertype again.

  42. I watched the whole Munsters documentary, and with the same earnest scrutiny I give the Three Stooges. Fascinating, in a way that doesn’t have much to do with humor (though I laughed when Herman dragged in Batman and Car 54 in a line from the movie).

    I heard something that interested me. I had thought for years, even decades, that The Munsters had been in production first, and that ABC had quickly countered with The Addams Family (which I always vastly preferred as a show), but this indicates the contrary. Interesting, if true. We used to have a paperback of The Munsters, of which I remember a line or two. I still have a paperback of The Addams Family, penned by Jack Sharkey in original vignettes that were pretty good, and sometimes more satirical (and even literary!) than the show. My radar perked up when I ran across a collection of short pastiches of famous horror classics in Playboy that he had done. It wasn’t all up to the level of the book.

  43. @Milt Stevens: maybe you should put a prison-class fence around your lawn, instead of complaining about the kids on it?

    The story about Darrell Schweitzer being purged from the program and Readercon made me angry.

    So you get angry over your misreading of inflammatory stories? (Even Longyear doesn’t say Schweitzer was purged/banned/… from the convention, just from the program.) It must hurt being you.

    Do you really think I’m going to give money to people who have stated their primary objective is to have a younger membership and not have people like me around at all?

    Now you’re sounding like Ankh-Morpork’s King Ludwig the Tree, who couldn’t make contact with reality even with the help of a long stick and a lot of shouting. Find me a convention anywhere near the mainstream that has actually said it doesn’t want old people around. (I can guarantee you that Readercon isn’t it; go look up “Boskone from Hell”.) And Longyear talking about how panels need experienced people is especially laughable, considering how quickly he flamed out.

    @Kendall: and if you can do that (or the world’s smallest record player) one-handed, you can play it in stereo!

  44. Wasn’t it only yesterday that the big concern was “the graying of fandom” — the idea that faithful congoing fans were growing older while younger fans were not attending in sufficient numbers to replace them, and therefore cons might be dying out?

    Seems to me if cons are actively wooing the next generation of fans, that’s a good thing, right?

    Anyway, even if it were correct to say that older white male celebs were being deliberately weeded out as a class, I’d have a hard time not seeing that as a natural effect of cons specifically inviting guests from outside that demographic overlap simply because their point of view has been disproportionately muffled for more than half a century and it would be nice to hear more from them. There’s a finite amount of con guest slots, so more people of color by necessity means fewer white people. But, hey, if you’re used to getting seven-eighths of the pie while your little sister only ever got one, and this year your parents make sure each of you get half, it’s not this year that saw injustice perpetrated, even though your share got smaller.

  45. I’ve seen getting-fewer-invitations happen to LOTS and LOTS of women, particularly as soon as they hit the dreaded middle age, when they become effectively invisible. Also elderly women unless they’re A Legend of some sort. But they don’t overdramatically whine about it in public like triggered little snowflakes. ^^^

    I’ve been in fandom for a long time and I’m always glad to find new authors. There are only so many times you can see the same people saying the same things before you tire of it and go to some other programming — and that extends to cons as well. (The only thing I want to see every time it’s possible is the Connie and Bob Show at the Hugos.) I found a few new authors this past weekend who had some books I’m very interested in, and I don’t believe they’ve been on panels in the area before. If their spot had been given to longtime regulars, I’d never have known.

    Charon and I waved at each other in a panel we both attended after Heather introduced us, that’s socializing, right? And we hugged when we met. I was sad I didn’t get to meet Charon’s giant kitty, but only service critters were allowed in the hotel. I went to at least one of Heather’s panels and got an Alpennia ribbon. And of course I was sporting the Prominent Local Author ribbon, white with gold Papyrus font and shiny holographic stripe.

    As far as Prominent Non-Local Authors, both halves of James SA Corey are very entertaining, were on lots of panels, and socialized. I liked ’em.

  46. @Milt Stevens

    The story about Darrell Schweitzer being purged from the program and Readercon made me angry. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have posted anything here at all. Taken seriously? Fat chance. That still won’t stop me from saying something if I think it.

    I believe I took your comment serious and answer twice. You chose not to engage. Instead you nitpick from other comments. That tells me you just want to vent, not discuss.

  47. @Kurt: I know! Won’t it be wonderful?! New stuff all the time, a variety of different authors, looking to the future — why, it’ll be positively science-fictional.

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