Pixel Scroll 7/10/20 Definitely Worried I Had Lost The Plot

(1) GET YOUR VIRTUAL SDCC HYPE HERE. The event starts July 23 but today San Diego Comic-Con started its day-by-day unveiling of the five-day schedule: “The Comic-Con@Home 2020 Programming Schedule”. (The Wednesday, July 23 schedule released today is summarized by Variety here.)

We’re two weeks away from the debut of Comic-Con@Home 2020! And even though this is a very different year, we’re happy to announce we’ll be sticking with the Comic-Con tradition of announcing our panel schedule two weeks in advance. Over the next five days, we’ll reveal our daily online programming line-up for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 22–26, with complete programming descriptions. The panels themselves will not be available until those dates, but you’ll be able to read all about them and build your own schedule of programs you want to watch during Comic-Con@Home 2020!

Comic-Con@Home 2020 will feature over 350 separate panels spread out over all five days of the event. There will be something for everyone! Here’s how it works:

…All the panels will also be available on the Comic-Con YouTube channel, so you can also access them there. Subscribe to us on YouTube.com at https://www.youtube.com/user/ComicCon

An SDCC executive gave an interview to The Wrap about how it all came together.

“Everybody is committed to trying to make something the fans can enjoy and can interact with and have that community feeling, even though it will be not in person,” Comic-Con International Chief Communications and Strategy Officer David Glanzer told TheWrap. That commitment extended to the con’s studio and network partners, as the likes of AMC, Amazon, FX, Disney, Syfy, Hulu and at least one film studio, Orion Pictures (which is bringing “Bill & Ted Face the Music”), have all jumped on board to bring their panels into viewers’ living rooms.

(2) WORLDBUILDERS FUNDRAISER. The annual Geeks Doing Good Showcase hosted by Worldbuilders, the nonprofit organization founded by Patrick Rothfuss of the Kingkiller Chronicle series, starts on July 13 and goes through July 20, 2020.

This week Worldbuilders will feature multiple live-streamed interviews, discussions, from authors, artists, and more. All of which will take place on the Worldbuilders Twitch Channel.

The first day’s schedule is –

Schedule for Monday, July 13, 2020

Patrick Rothfuss Livestreams Twitch

When: 12pm – 2pm CDT

Patrick will be streaming on his Twitch channel at 12pm. Come hang out with Patrick and chat away!

Meet the new Worldbuilders!

When: 2pm – 3pm CDT

Come join us as we get to know the new members of the Worldbuilders team!  

(3) IMAGINING WITHOUT VISUALS. “‘I have no mind’s eye’: what is it like being an author with aphantasia?” – Mark Lawrence explains his experience to The Guardian.

‘Picture this,” someone says. “A juicy green apple. Can you see it?”

Of course I can’t see it. My head is filled with all things apple; the central concept connects with myriad associated topics: orchards, trees, red apples, rotting apples, cider, blossom, an endless web that spreads along more and more tenuous connections. But of course I can’t see it. I usually say yes, though, because I assume it’s a figure of speech.

But 98% of people actually do see the thing they’re imagining, like a picture in their head. The other 2%, like me, are aphantasic. There’s a line I like in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. I found out I was aphantasic slowly, then all at once. Decades ago, my wife began visualisation for meditation. I couldn’t do it. Not only could I not see an imaginary orange, I couldn’t see a circle or the colour orange. But I understood visualisation to be a special skill that you worked on. Rather like juggling. And I was sure that with practice I could accomplish either one of those….

(4) THE BIG W. Camestros Felapton wraps up his advocacy series with “Hugo Fan Writer: Why you should vote for…Adam Whitehead”.

… If any genre deserves and encourages the spawning of Big Enormous Labour of Love Projects it is epic fantasy and Adam has taken that genre’s appendix-aesthetic into his own History of Epic Fantasy (https://thewertzone.blogspot.com/search/label/history%20of%20epic%20fantasy) and then went onto a major cartographic project mapping out the continents of George RR Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice (https://atlasoficeandfireblog.wordpress.com/). You don’t need to be a fan of either epic fantasy in general or Game of Thrones in particular to appreciate the time and effort put into either of those projects over several years….

(5) IT STINKS. Lili Loofbourow delivered a kind of “state of the internet” message. Thread starts here.

(6) #SFFPLEDGE. The #SFFpledge is circulating – today The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists boosted the signal.

One of the figures named in the pledge, Noah Bradley, wrote this in June:

The other person named, Samuel Flegal, artist and co-founder of the art camp One Fantastic Week, issued an apology on Facebook for unspecified acts against women he had contact with.  The Facebook post is no longer publicly available, but an analysis of his statement has been posted by M M Schill on her Patreon, here, and it contains a screencap of the post.

In public posts on the topic, this one links to the tweeted statement of Eunjoo Han who does not name the harasser being discussed, but he is alleged to be Flegal.

(7) BORDERLANDS FALLOUT CONTINUES. Quite a few writers have responded about the sexual assault charges leveled at Borderland Books owner Alan Beatts, including John Scalzi and Catherynne M. Valente.

… It’s the store I’ve held all my San Francisco events at, basically for as long as I’ve been doing events at all. I’ve supported Borderlands annually as a patron, and I lent the store money to purchase a new building, which it’s currently in the process of moving to.

It actually and genuinely hurt to read these accusations, which I believe. I wrote yesterday on Twitter that I was in shock about it, and I still am. This one stirs up emotions for me in a way I’m not prepared to publicly quantify or express. Suffice to say it hits close to home on a number of levels.

  • Catherynne M. Valente tweeted —

(8) SLC SHIFTS TO 2021. Now it’s official – no FanX convention in Salt Lake City this year: “FanX 2020 Postponement”.

…After discussions with community leaders, health officials, and the surge of COVID-19 cases in Utah the past few weeks, we feel it’s in the best interest of our community to postpone.

During such a difficult and unprecedented time for everyone, we appreciate your support and the outpouring of love which has been shown to us. It’s because of this love and continued support from the FanX community that we’ve been able to bring you 12 events over the past seven years and make Salt Lake City, Utah a premier pop culture event. It’s also the reason we’ve already begun planning FanX 2021 and can take this opportunity to invite you to join us in celebrating together again on September 16-18, 2021!

(9) CURSES, FIELD AGAIN. A theory about a possible chain of influence linked to Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1932 article on “The name ‘Nodens’” published as an appendix to Report on the Excavation of the Prehistoric, Roman, and Post-Roman Site in Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, is a discussion of three inscriptions found at the excavations which he concluded is the name of an unrecorded deity. Did one of those inscriptions reference another ancient find, a gold ring? Thread starts here.

(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • July 10, 1981 Time Bandits has its U.K. premiere. It was co-written (with Michael Palin), produced, and directed by Terry Gilliam.  It starred Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson, Kenny Baker, Jack Purvis, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Peter Vaughan, and David Warner. Gilliam has said that the film was the first in his Trilogy of Imagination, followed by Brazil and ending with The Adventures of Baron MunchausenCriticsloved the film, the box office was excellent, and the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a 77% rating. 
  • July 10, 1981 John Carpenter’s Escape from New York premiered. (That was how it was shown on-screen.)  Starring Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, this film was written by John Carpenter and Nick Castle. It was directed by John  Carpenter, and produced by  Larry Franco and Debra Hill. Supporting cast was  Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau, and Harry Dean Stanton. The film received generally positive reviews with Russell in particular finding favor with the critics; it did very well at the box office earning far more than it cost to produce; and audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a 76% rating. 

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born July 10, 1875 – E.C. Bentley.  Invented the clerihew.

Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Wrote “Exactly As It Happened”.  He
Did not quite manage science fiction.
But he had very good diction.

(Died 1956) [JH]

  • Born July 10, 1903 John Wyndham. His best known works include The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos, both written in the Fifties. The latter novel was filmed twice as Village of the Damned. Both iBooks and Kindle have an impressive selection of his novels including these titles,  though little of his short fiction is available alas. (Died 1969.) (CE)
  • Born July 10, 1908 – Carl Jacobi.  Ten dozen short stories for us, in AmazingPlanetStartlingThrilling Wonder; also Weird Tales and Doc Savage; farther from our field, Maclean’sRailroadShort StoriesTop-Notch.  Known to have started a novel but if completed it has not appeared.  Translated into Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish. “Mive” (1928) won a U. Minn. contest judged by Margaret Banning; Lovecraft bought it for Weird Tales, saying “I was glad to see at least one story whose weirdness of incident was made convincing by adequate emotional preparation and suitably developed atmosphere.”  Attended Torcon II the 31st Worldcon.  (Died 1997) [JH]
  • Born July 10, 1911 – Jack Coggins.  Thirty book & magazine covers, a few interiors, for us; a thousand paintings; oils mainly on marine subjects; art classes; four dozen books, some reprinted by Dover.  With Fletcher Pratt, Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles & Space Ships and By Space Ship to the Moon.  Here is an early cover for Galaxy.  Here is one for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  Master Pastelist of Pastel Soc. America, Fellow of Am. Soc. Marine Artists.  Int’l Ass’n of Astronomical Artists Hall of Fame.  (Died 2006) [JH]
  • Born July 10, 1917 – Don Herbert.  In World War II, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three oak-leaf clusters.  Invented and won a Peabody for Watch Mr. Wizard (television 1951-1965, 1971-1972; later Mr. Wizard’s World 1983-1990, re-runs until 2000); he and a boy or girl did science experiments, many seeming impossible at first glance, most such as viewers could re-create.  “Eight hundred thousand viewers per episode….  over five thousand Mr. Wizard Science Clubs … total membership over a hundred thousand,” Science on the Air p. 227 (M. LaFollette, 2008).  A good neighbor.  (Died 2007) [JH]
  • Born July 10, 1931 Julian May. She‘s best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile (known as the Saga of the Exiles in the UK) and Galactic Milieu series: Jack the BodilessDiamond Mask and Magnificat. She was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame at Sasquan. John has a very nice look at her here. (Died 2017.) (CE)
  • Born July 10, 1941 David Hartwell. Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes him as “perhaps the single most influential book editor of the past forty years in the American science fiction publishing world”.  I certainly fondly remember The Space Opera Renaissance he co-edited with Kathryn Cramer. Not to mention that his Year’s Best Fantasy and Year’s Best SF anthologies are still quite excellent reading to dip into on whim. (Died 2016.) (CE)
  • Born July 10, 1941 Susan Seddon Boulet. If you’ve read the American edition of Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife (which won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature), you’ve seen her amazing work. Or perhaps you’ve got a copy of Pomegranate‘s edition of Ursula Le Guin’s Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight. If you’re keen on knowing more about this amazing artist, see the Green Man review of Susan Seddon Boulet: A Retrospective. (Died 1997.) (CE) 
  • Born July 10, 1945 Ron Glass. Probably best genre wise as Shepherd Book in the Firefly series and its sequel Serenity. His first genre role was as Jerry Merris in Jerry Merris, a SF horror film and he’d later show up voicing Philo D. Grenman in Strange Frame: Love & Sax (“slated as the world’s first animated lesbian-themed sci-fi film”; look it up as it as an impressive voice cast) and he showed up twice as J. Streiten, MD in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Oh, and he was on Voyager playing a character named Loken in the  “Nightingale” episode. (Died 2016.) (CE)
  • Born July 10, 1953 – Chôhei Kambayashi, 67.  A dozen novels, thirty shorter stories.  In “The Enemy Is the Pirate” a reluctant human hero is forced to co-operate with a wisecracking cat.  “Full of Kindnesses” is set in a Japan so riddled with bureaucracy that even thieves and gangsters must obtain a license.  In the world of “Prism” all human needs are met, but inhabitants are forbidden to ask why.  Eight Seiun Awards, Nihon SF Taishô Award.  [JH]
  • Born July 10, 1970 John Simm, 50. The second of the modern Masters on Doctor Who.  He appeared in the final three episodes of the Time of the Tenth Doctor: “Utopia”, “The Sound of Drums”, and “Last of the Time Lords”. He also played Sam Tyler in Life on Mars. (CE)
  • Born July 10, 1981 – Karen Russell, 38.  One novel, thirty shorter stories.  A short version of Swamplandia! appeared in The New Yorker (“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather”).  Collections, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, two more.  Interview in the May 2013 Lightspeed.  [JH]

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • R. E. Parrish finds family talking about their “accomplishments” boring. 

(13) PIPERS AT THE GATES. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.] Filers may remember Miles Vorkosigan being trapped in the Thames Flood Barrier in Brothers in Arms. Now the story could move; the BBC reports “Venice test brings up floodgates for first time”.

For the first time a system of 78 mobile floodgates has been tested in Venice, after years beset by delays and corruption.

The 1.5km (one-mile) Mose system of yellow dams was a “powerful project that has taken years to complete”, said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Venice was hit by the worst floods in half a century in November 2019.

Environmental protesters took to the lagoon on Friday, saying the barriers would damage the area.

Critics argue the sluice-gate system is 10 years too late. Work on the Mose project started in 2003, even though it was designed in the 1980s. It has gone three times over its original budget and resulted in the arrest of dozens of officials, the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville reports from Rome.

(14) WATCHING THE DARK. The Litle Red Reviewer catches us up with “Recent Reads, Watchings, Craftings, Cookings, etc.”.

…Been binge re-watching the Netflix show Dark. The 3rd season just dropped, so hubby and I are rewatching the first two seasons as fast as we can.   this IS the show of the summer!  umm, how to explain?  Think Twin Peaks meets Stranger Things,  plus a metric ton of time travel.  And the soundtrack!  omg, so good!!

DO:  watch the show and take your own notes for a family tree.  Different story lines follow different generations, so you’ll want to keep track of who is married to who,  who is the parent and child of who, etc.

DON’T: use google to learn about this show.   the less you know about the show and the plot going in, the better.  the internet is solid spoilers.

not a spoiler: the first time I saw season one,  I though Jonas was a cool but annoying character. Why is he so quiet? Why doesn’t he seem to react to things? why does he seem so passive?  Yeah, he’s might be quiet, but he is NOT passive. the poor kid is a bundle of nerves and a total mess inside.

(15) HOLD THAT THOUGHT. “TikTok: Amazon says email asking staff to remove app ‘sent in error'”. (BBC’s report of the first email is here: “TikTok: Amazon tells employees to remove app from phones”.)

Amazon has said an email sent to employees asking them to remove the video-sharing app TikTok from any mobile device that can access their company email was sent in error.

An internal memo sent to staff earlier on Friday had said employees should delete the app over “security risks”.

The app, owned by a Chinese company, has come under scrutiny because of fears it could share data with China.

TikTok said it did not understand Amazon’s concerns.

“This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error. There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok”, a company spokesperson told the BBC.

But earlier on Friday, a memo sent to staff seen by multiple news outlets stated that the app must be removed from mobile devices.

(16) ONE STEP FORWARD. “Instagram to block LGBT ‘conversion therapy’ services”.

Instagram will block the promotion of “conversion therapy”, which tries to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity, the social media giant has told the BBC.

Campaigners are urging the government to act now on a two-year-old promise to make the practice illegal.

This year, 200,000 people have signed an online petition calling for action.

All major UK therapy professional bodies and the NHS oppose it on logical, ethical and moral grounds.

(17) SUNRISE. The reviewer “finally” gets around to “SOLARIS – Stanislaw Lem (1961)” at Weighing a pig doesn’t fatten it.

At the beginnings of my forays into science fiction, it quickly became clear Solaris was one of the key texts, and so a physical copy of the book has been on my shelves for years. There were two reasons I didn’t take it out sooner. The main thing was me having the wrong idea of what it was about. I’m not sure why, but I thought the story focused on a crew slowly growing mad, and I’d mentally labeled it something like ‘psychological horror in space’, a genre I’m not that interested in. The other reason was Steven Soderbergh’s adaption: I’d seen it in a movie theater when it came out back in 2002, and while I don’t remember any other thing about it, at the time my reaction was lukewarm at best.

It was only after a conversation in the comments to my review of Asimov’s The Gods Themselves that I realized I had the wrong idea about the book. That conversation was with Polish native Ola G, and it turns out she wrote two excellent pointers about Stanislaw Lem, here and here – do click on those if you want an accessible yet fairly thorough overview of Lem. On the strength of Solaris and Ola’s posts, I have added FiascoThe Invincible and The Cyberiad to my TBR….

(18) CROSS-TRAINING. The BBC knows “Why Hollywood needs computer games tech more than ever”.

Kim Libreri, an award-winning visual effects artist based in Northern California, has worked on movies including Artificial Intelligence and War of the Planet of the Apes.

For nine years he has been working with a piece of technology better known for computer games, in particular the smash-hit Fortnite.

The Unreal Engine, owned by Epic Games, provides the building blocks and tools that a computer game developer needs, but is increasingly an attractive technology for TV and film producers.

The latest version of technology, Unreal Engine 5, is coming out next year, and Epic has been heavily trailing its features.

It should allow visual effects artists like Mr Libreri to slot graphics and images straight into a scene, with little fuss.

“With traditional filmmaking, a director and cinematographer might shoot a scene on set -then down the line, hand footage and creative direction off to a team of virtual reality artists and designers, who enhance that material with visual effects and computer-generated imagery in a separate phase of production, says Mr Libreri, who is now chief technology officer at Epic Games.

With Unreal Engine collaboration between the director, cinematographer, production designer and virtual reality teams can occur simultaneously as an interactive process on set.

“Unreal Engine 5 promises to further free the artistic process by making it easier to take virtual worlds developed for feature film and television, and run them in the game engine in real time,” says Mr Libreri.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. This isn’t part of the new Disney+ package despite featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda and another signer of the Declaration. From 2015:

“Button,” Colbert’s (3-minute) counterpoint/companion to Hamilton, about another of the Dec of Ind signers, “Button Gwinnett,” here sung by Lin-Manuel and Stephen.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, Dann, Mike Kennedy, Lise Andreasen, Cat Eldridge, David Doering, StephenfromOttawa, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

100 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/10/20 Definitely Worried I Had Lost The Plot

  1. Chip says Cat Eldredge: +1 to the hope of de Bodard getting a contract. I don’t know that it’s likely — the Boston library seemed to think she drew so little that it didn’t buy a single hardcopy of the last of the Dominion of the Fallen trilogy — but we can hope.

    Someday you’ll actually spell my name right…

    The real problem with de Bodard is much of her Xuya Universe stories which is what I was interesting in were published in fairly obscure zines. I spent not an inconsiderable amount of cash getting those zines. I’d love to see them published in one collection with interstitial notes added as need be.

  2. @Cat Eldridge

    I supposed if you squinted just right, you might be able to squeeze a rape scene or or two out of Heinlein in some of his later novels even though there aren’t any. (Even Friday doesn’t have one though it has a distasteful bit of male on female torture.)

    It’s been a while, but doesn’t Friday open with a gang rape/torture/interrogation of the character Friday?

  3. bill says It’s been a while, but doesn’t Friday open with a gang rape/torture/interrogation of the character Friday?

    Everything but a rape: They hadn’t been all that much: lots of burns, four broken ribs, simple fractures left tibia and fibula, multiple compound fractures of the bones of my right foot and three toes of my left, a hairline skull fracture without complications, and (messy but least disabling) somebody had sawed off my right nipple.

  4. That quote from Friday appears to be from the beginning of Chap IV. From the 15th paragraph of Chap II:
    “Four of them (my estimate from touch and body odors) had me in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It may have been my own room but I could not be certain as I had been unconscious for a while and was now dressed (solely) in adhesive tape over my eyes. They had me on a mattress on the floor, a gang bang with minor sadism. . .” She pretends to enjoy it, to make it easier on herself and to psychologically mess with the rapists (see one para. previous, “the victim can treat rape as an opportunity to gain an edge over her captors”), but I see no reason to doubt that it is in fact a rape.
    Later on, in Chap III, she (and her boss) explicitly refer to it as such in an after-action report:
    “That about wraps it up, Boss. A gang rape next, followed by interrogation, direct, then under drugs, then under pain.”
    “I’m sorry about the rape, Friday. The usual bonuses.”

  5. To follow up (because my point was almost completely missed) Scalzi is shaking his head over actions that he includes in his book, and, no, the character that takes advantage of her crew isn’t a villain, per se. She’s a capitalist (at least in the collapsing empire, I havn’t read the others). If Scalzi doesn’t condone taking sexual advantage of someone based on one’s station, then including it in his books is odd. This character never gets her comeuppance. There’s no moral here or poetic justice. Rather, it reads as an adolescent fantasy, losing control of one’s body to a nymphomaniac captain of a spaceship. So, yes, writers can and should have their villains do villainous things–otherwise their downfall doesn’t carry any freight. But that doesn’t happen here. I agree that the book isn’t erotica in total but these scenes read so, pornograpic material for the sake of pornography rather than storytelling. BUT, I read Scalzi because it’s beach read material. It’s easy and generally fun. I dont love the rapy or orgiastic scenes but I know why he includes them, he recycles material. He’s recycling philip Jose farmer and Heinlein and Haldeman and Stephenson and others who incorporate sex and orgys into their books in complex ways, tying it onto larger themes. Scalzi drops it in because he’s working off the old formulas and it always comes off a little off key, like the suddenly 25 year old octogenarians in old mans war. All that said, Scalzi’s stuff clearly has a place. People like it, it makes money, whatever. But I raised an eyebrow at how he glorifies a reprehensible act in his book and then condemns it when people actually do it. That’s hypocritical, and, for all we know, that bookstore owner might have read The Collapsing Empire, and thought, “Hey, now there’s an idea.” Ok, flame on, flamers.

  6. Joseph Hurtgen: I agree that the book isn’t erotica in total but these scenes read so, pornograpic material for the sake of pornography rather than storytelling.

    I can only presume that you’re a fundamentalist Christian or deeply puritanical, because I’ve just re-read the scene in question, and it does not even remotely resemble “pornography”.

    I would suggest that if your sensibilities are so delicate that even the mere mention that two people have had sex is “pornographic” to you, that you restrict your reading to works which explicitly say that they have no mention of sex at all.

  7. @Joseph —

    To follow up (because my point was almost completely missed) Scalzi is shaking his head over actions that he includes in his book, and, no, the character that takes advantage of her crew isn’t a villain, per se.

    I’ll repeat: this character is not supposed to be a nice person. She does morally questionable things at multiple points.

    Also, I’m really flummoxed by your implication that authors can not include any actions in their books which they would decry in real life. Do you seriously not appreciate the absurdity of such a position?

    And third — I strongly suspect that a large part of your objection to this particular scene is the fact that it’s gender-swapped. Scalzi is making a particular point about sexual harassment/inequalities here; you probably would have given the scene a wink and a nudge if it had been a powerful male character helming the scene instead of a powerful female one.

  8. “This character never gets her comeuppance. There’s no moral here or poetic justice.” Seriously, why should there be? That seems more that we could expect from a fairytale than a modern piece of adult literature. (Eg, I’m pretty sure Brett Easton Ellis doesn’t advocate serial killing.)

  9. not fundamentalist. not puritanical. just noticing an oddity that we, as a consuming public, don’t bat an eye at questionable manipulative sex acts as entertainment–but even the writers of these sex acts castigate people that carry them out irl. That double standard is problematic, wouldn’t you say? We can entertain ourselves with murder, prohibitive sex, and whatever else but we can’t carry them out. I’m glad we can’t carry them out, certainly, but perhaps our society would be a better place if the literature we read wasn’t all informed by nietzsche’s will to power and freud’s death drive blended with adolescent fantasies. I say this pointing the finger at myself as well. I’ve written two novels loaded with violence, albeit not sexual violence.

  10. Oh, but I might add one other thing. As a writer, I do a lot of responding to violence with my writing. My latest book, Sherman, intentionally deals with gun violence in America. The gun violence that occurs in my book is a reflection of gun violence in America intended to horrify. It is supposed to engender a feeling that we’ve had enough violence and that change is required. I’m not interested in a celebration of gun violence or a theater of death for the sake of death qua entertainment.

  11. @Joseph – I took a quick peak at your website and enjoyed your essay on Do The Right Thing. I also saw you have a Phd in Eng Lit. I’ve not read the Scalzi book myself – would you be able and willing to provide a quote that backs up your argument that demonstrates the text is salacious?

  12. @cliff

    I’m glad you like the Do the Right Thing essay. That movie is incredibly powerful, a good narrative to revisit in 2020.

    I found one instance. You can see that Kiva, the captain, takes advantage of her authority to force her underlings to have sex with her.

    “Kiva Lagos was busily f***ing the brains out of the assistant purser she’d been after for the last six weeks of the Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby’s trip from Lankaran to End when Second Officer Waylov Brennir entered her stateroom, unannounced.”

    “The assistant purser seemed a little concerned, but Kiva applied a little pressure to make it clear festivities were to continue.”

    Excerpt From: John Scalzi. “The Collapsing Empire.” Apple Books. (p. 50)

    “So perhaps you might like to join Captain Blinnikka in talking with this customs official right now to see if you can resolve this problem. Or you can just go on f***ing that junior crew member, ma’am.” (p. 51)

    Excerpt From: John Scalzi. “The Collapsing Empire.” Apple Books.

  13. @Cat Eldridge

    bill, you asked if Friday opened with a rape. Quoting from chapter IV proves that it did not open with such a vile act.

    My statement about Chap. IV was in reference to the quote you provided, not the one I gave.
    If you want to gig me because an event that starts at the end of Chap I (in a book with 33 chapters) doesn’t meet your definition of “opens”, then I’ll take the hit. Like I said, it had “been a while” since I had read the book. But then I went to the source.
    All this is in response to your statement that Friday has no rape. Can we agree now that it does?

  14. @Joseph Hurtgen–There’s nothing at all titilating or salacious about that scene, to any normal person. It’s Kiva Lagos behaving badly, abusing her power, in a social structure where she can get away with that, with no consequences other than a slightly snarky comment from someone who observes it.

    And as the story continues in this and the next two books, under the stress of the complete collapse of the existing system, people like her either learn better, or they very much do get their comeuppance.

    I won’t go into greater detail, because I really have no interest in spoling two more books and the entire trilogy for anyone who might read this, to try to make clear how much you’ve misread that book.

  15. @liscarey I wouldn’t say it’s a misreading, as much as just not plodding forward with two more books in a series. Knowing that poetic justice is on the way gives me more interest in reading further.

    All the same “abusing her power, in a social structure where she can get away with that” is exactly what I’m talking about. In the era of Trump, we’ve had enough of power abusers getting away with it forever, whether the power being abused is purely political, sexual, economic, whatever. Clearly, we’re all in agreement that crimes should be punished, so why celebrate entertainment that glorifies it or, at the very least, turns a blind eye?

  16. @Joseph Hurtgen–

    All the same “abusing her power, in a social structure where she can get away with that” is exactly what I’m talking about. In the era of Trump, we’ve had enough of power abusers getting away with it forever, whether the power being abused is purely political, sexual, economic, whatever. Clearly, we’re all in agreement that crimes should be punished, so why celebrate entertainment that glorifies it or, at the very least, turns a blind eye?

    In this case, while the society lets her get away with it, the book certainly doesn’t either glorify it or turn a blind eye to it. Scalzi just isn’t as immediately heavy-handed as you seem to prefer, and trusts his readers to see that some characters doing bad things without immediate consequences doesn’t mean those characters will neither grow nor get their comeuppance. There are quite impressive examples of both, over the course of the trilogy.

    And yeah, you are misreading the book, if you think Kiva Lagos’s sexual conduct is being in any way glorified or celebrated. You are supposed to notice it and make your judgment without the author spoonfeeding the judgment to you, and be watching for future developments.

    By the way, I took a look at your book, Sherman. Goodreads, your website, Amazon–where I used the “look inside” feature, and confirmed that yes, you really did call that Native American tribe the “Seminals.”

    Leading me to conclude that your research did not extend even to googling the name of the tribe.

    The bits I read did seem rather heavy-handed, with little to no trust in the reader, but admittedly, I didn’t read enough of it to make that a judgment based on solid evidence.

  17. bill says All this is in response to your statement that Friday has no rape. Can we agree now that it does?

    Indeed it does. Offstage so to speak, but still there. And very much not necessary to the story in my opinion. I’ll admit that I hadn’t re-read Friday in nearly a decade in large part because of such scenes but obviously I’d blanked them out of my mind.

  18. @Cat, wishing inspiration to your medical team that they may find what’s needed for your fast and permanent healing.

  19. @Joseph – thanks! Looks like me and my wife are going to re-watch Do The Right Thing tonight on the strength of your essay, so thanks for that.

    As for the Scalzi quote you provided, I see some sort of attempt at what I’d describe as ‘distant snark’ from Scalzi – certainly no attempt at condoning or praising the captain’s behaviour, but neither outright condemnation. Maybe that snarky tone doesn’t agree with you, but I really do think we shouldn’t expect actions described in a novel to be representative of an author’s views, and I think it’s a reach to therefore conclude Scalzi is being a hypocrite by calling out real-life sexual harassment.

  20. World Weary to me wishing inspiration to your medical team that they may find what’s needed for your fast and permanent healing.

    Thanks much. Il admit that I am very concerned that this staphylococcus infection is not responding as well as the first one did that followed the treatment plan perfectly. This one just ain’t responding to the antibiotics.

  21. Good points, all.

    Seminals was intentional. The tribe gave themself a new name, one that carries the idea that they were here first. Seminal is from a word meaning seed. It’s meant to sound similar to Seminole.

  22. @Joseph Hurtgen–What an…interesting…idea. You might want to give some thought to how you frame that on the back cover or inside flap.

    Yes, I did assume you meant the Seminoles, and I’m really serious about you needing to give more thought to how this reads, rather than just to what’s inside your head.

    Scalzi gives us some context, and doesn’t expect us to approve of Kiva Lagos.

  23. Joseph Hurtgen says Seminals was intentional. The tribe gave themself a new name, one that carries the idea that they were here first. Seminal is from a word meaning seed. It’s meant to sound similar to Seminole.

    The official name of that Florida tribe is the Seminoles. They didn’t change their name. You really like making things up.

  24. @cat eldridge

    I hope your leg gets better! Very sorry you’re going through that.

    I should have framed the Seminal name better to prevent misunderstanding. So, let me try to clarify. I’m not talking about any real Native American tribe historically or presently. I know that the Seminoles didn’t change their name. For what it’s worth, I studied American History in college. Doesn’t make me an expert, but I’m not daft about history.

    When I talk about the Seminals, I’m speaking completely of my book Sherman. The Native Americans there are a mix of tribes that have a common goal, taking back Turtle Island (North America). They are from mixed tribes, so they create a collective name that describes their political and cultural aims. They become the Seminals or the Seminal Tribe. In the book, there’s not ever mention of the Seminoles. I suppose some of the Seminals might have Seminole origin, but that’s not really the point.

    It’s all fiction. It didn’t really happen. And, yes, I like making things up. I’ve come up with worlds of ideas in my books.

  25. @Joseph Hurtgen: I am reminded of a Dorothy Sayers character arguing that detective fiction is the most moral genre of literature (in the UK somewhere in the Thirties) because it’s the genre where evil-doers are caught and punished.

    That’s an over-simplification, at best, but it makes as much sense as deciding that we should stop entertaining ourselves with fiction about things we wouldn’t do, for ethical reasons, in real life.

    Go ahead, point the finger at yourself. That doesn’t absolve you or wipe the slate clean. By the standards you seem to be holding Scalzi to, you have no business criticizing anyone else for the contents of their books. If you’re prepared to hold other people to that standard, you should apply it to your own writing first.

  26. @Vicki Rosenzweig

    I pointed the finger at myself and I discovered that I didn’t have characters in compromising sexual situations, nor am I calling out people in real life for doing so.

  27. Joseph Hurtgen: not puritanical

    You called the passage that you yourself quoted above “pornographic”. It’s not even remotely pornographic. Either you’re extremely puritanical, or you don’t understand what English words mean.

     
    Joseph Hurtgen: just noticing an oddity that we, as a consuming public, don’t bat an eye at questionable manipulative sex acts as entertainment…

    There is no “we” here. You only get to speak for yourself, not for anyone else. And you certainly don’t speak for me.

     
    Joseph Hurtgen: perhaps our society would be a better place if the literature we read wasn’t all informed by nietzsche’s will to power and freud’s death drive blended with adolescent fantasies.

    I’m sure that you think that you sound impressive with this, but actually you just sound pretentious and silly.

     
    Joseph Hurtgen: I’ve written two novels… Oh, but I might add one other thing. As a writer… I’ve come up with worlds of ideas in my books.

    Aaaaaand… now we come to the real reason you’re here, to dunk on another author and promote your own work.

     
    Joseph Hurtgen: Seminals was intentional. The tribe gave themself a new name

    The Native Americans in your book “gave themselves a new name”… based on an English word. Because of course Native Americans would ignore their own heritage and language and adopt the superior English language instead. This gives me a good idea of the level of credibility of your writing. 🙄

  28. The Native Americans in your book “gave themselves a new name”… based on an English word. Because of course Native Americans would ignore their own heritage and language and adopt the superior English language instead.

    I’ve got no dog in this hunt, haven’t read Hurtgen’s book, and the smart thing would be for me to stay out of this. But if Wikipedia is any guide, there are ~5000 Seminoles who can speak a native Seminole language, and ~13000 who can’t (so they presumably speak English). So maybe using an English word would make sense.

  29. @bill
    “Seminole” is their own name. The Florida State teams now have permission to use it.

  30. bill: if Wikipedia is any guide, there are ~5000 Seminoles who can speak a native Seminole language, and ~13000 who can’t (so they presumably speak English)

    … in 2020. Hurtgen’s book is set in the mid-1800s (at least prior to the time-traveling).

    If it’s supposed to be Alternate History, it needs to at least be plausible. A fantasy where a bunch of different tribes of Elves who all speak different languages decide to team up and go with English as a common language is a lot more plausible than a bunch of mid-1800’s Native Americans teaming up and going with English.

    But then, having a wizard serve as time-traveling spokesperson for those elves is also a lot more plausible than Sherman being willing to serve as a spokesperson for the Native Americans, who he thought should be exterminated.

  31. @JJ —

    But then, having a wizard serve as time-traveling spokesperson for those elves is also a lot more plausible than Sherman being willing to serve as a spokesperson for the Native Americans, who he thought should be exterminated.

    In one of those really weird coincidences, I’ve been talking to someone about Sherman over the last couple of days — and not ten minutes ago I was reading various articles about him around the net.

    I was focused on his activities during the Civil War — but from what I was reading, he didn’t think that all natives should be exterminated. At most, he thought that all the natives who refused to stay on their reservations should be treated as hostile. He did plenty of horrific things in relation to Native Americans, but I don’t think that planning on actual genocide was one of them.

  32. Contrarius: Sheridan was the one who advocated complete genocide, however, Sherman did at least once argue for the extermination of an entire tribe while he was commanding the army in the post-Civil-War frontier.

  33. Contrarius: from what I was reading, he didn’t think that all natives should be exterminated.

    That’s not really a hair I’m interested in splitting.

    Sherman wrote in a letter to Grant that “we must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children.” He advocated for “the final solution of the Indian problem,” which was “killing hostile Indians and segregating their pauperized survivors in remote places.”

  34. @Mike —

    Contrarius: Sheridan was the one who advocated complete genocide, however, Sherman did at least once argue for the extermination of an entire tribe while he was commanding the army in the post-Civil-War frontier.

    Right. He did plenty of terrible things, and did think that any Natives who refused to stay on their reservations should be treated as hostile — and treating them as hostile often meant wiping them out. OTOH, he was also instrumental in setting up the reservation system, which obviously wouldn’t have been of any use if he had planned on genocide.

  35. @JJ —

    Sherman wrote in a letter to Grant that “we must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children.”

    He wrote that after a battle in which 80 US soldiers had been killed. He was, not surprisingly, out for some vengeance.

    Remember, even George Washington himself told his generals to do this to the Iroquois: “lay waste all the settlements…that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed,” and not to “listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected.”

    And Jefferson said their “ferocious barbarities justified extermination” and “if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, we shall never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi….In war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them.”

    So there is more than enough blame to go around when it comes to our treatment of native tribes over the years!

  36. Mike, ISTR that Sherman was the one who, when stationed here in CA, finding that the gold was real, decided that the natives didn’t have any right to the land it was found on.

  37. Contrarius: So there is more than enough blame to go around when it comes to our treatment of native tribes over the years!

    I don’t see how that mitigates Sherman’s words in any way.

    It’s still not a hair I’m interested in splitting.

  38. No amount of quibbling about which 18th or 19th century American military figure advocated the worst actions against Native Americans makes it any more likely that Native Americans in the first half of the 19th century would want to recruit one of them as their emissary through time, or that any one of them would agree.

  39. @Lis —

    No amount of quibbling about which 18th or 19th century American military figure advocated the worst actions against Native Americans makes it any more likely that Native Americans in the first half of the 19th century would want to recruit one of them as their emissary through time, or that any one of them would agree.

    Very true!

    And even if we ignored Sherman’s history with natives completely, that premise does rather smack of the white savior trope, doesn’t it?

  40. @Contrarius–

    And even if we ignored Sherman’s history with natives completely, that premise does rather smack of the white savior trope, doesn’t it?

    Yes indeed. He seems to have no idea what the problems are with any of this.

  41. Liz Carey says Yes indeed. He seems to have no idea what the problems are with any of this.

    He seems as bereft of SJW creds as the usual Puppy. And with the usual results.

  42. @Cat —

    He seems as bereft of SJW creds as the usual Puppy.

    In Joseph’s defense, the Trump stand-in in the book’s blurb is described as being a racist fascist. So there’s that. But on the face of it, Joseph does seem to be rather oblivious in some important areas.

  43. @Vicki Rosenzweig: “I am reminded of a Dorothy Sayers character arguing that detective fiction is the most moral genre of literature (in the UK somewhere in the Thirties) because it’s the genre where evil-doers are caught and punished.”

    Heh. “I like that show, where they solve all the murders–a heroic point of view–it’s got justice and vengeance too, at least so the story goes…” (Rush, “Bravest Face”)

    Funny thing is, there are a lot of books in which women are casually raped in order for the author to show us just how evil the villain is, or how unjust the world. From y’all’s description, it sounds like Scalzi kind of did a gender-swapped version of that.

    (I’m still shaking my head over “She’s not a villain. She’s a capitalist.”)

  44. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: I’m still shaking my head over “She’s not a villain. She’s a capitalist.”

    A Hot Take from the Department of Redundancy Department. 😀

  45. @Nicole —

    Funny thing is, there are a lot of books in which women are casually raped in order for the author to show us just how evil the villain is, or how unjust the world. From y’all’s description, it sounds like Scalzi kind of did a gender-swapped version of that.

    It wasn’t a rape as in non-con; but it was definitely dub-con. It was a gender-swap of a powerful male figure — CEO, Captain, studio head, whatever — using the power of his position to make it implicit but clear that it would be in the best interest of his subordinate to sleep with him.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I suspect Joseph wouldn’t even have noticed this scene if it had not been gender-swapped. And it’s ridiculous to rail against that scene, because the character involved was never supposed to be a nice/moral person in the first place.

  46. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: It’s actually not at all clear to me that it was rape. She’d been after him for six weeks! A straight-forward abuse of power wouldn’t normally take that long.

    It’s actually pretty ambiguous–there’s an obvious discrepancy of power, and the scene did make me uncomfortable for just that reason–but there’s no real indication whether he’s a willing partner or not. It does mention that he’s uncomfortable after someone barges in and starts holding a conversation with the person he’s having sex with. But I’d be uncomfortable in that situation too, no matter how firm my initial consent might have been.

    The puppies want it to have been rape because they think that makes Scalzi a hypocrite, but I’m just not sure myself (and I don’t think it makes Scalzi a hypocrite either way, for reasons that have been discussed at length here). What the scene does make fairly clear is that Kiva is self-centered and doesn’t care much about the feelings of people around her.

  47. Xtifr said:

    The puppies want it to have been rape because they think that makes Scalzi a hypocrite, but I’m just not sure myself (and I don’t think it makes Scalzi a hypocrite either way, for reasons that have been discussed at length here). What the scene does make fairly clear is that Kiva is self-centered and doesn’t care much about the feelings of people around her.

    And Kiva Lagos’s gradual realization, over the course of the trilogy, that other people do matter, and her consequent change in behavior, is an important thread in the trilogy, and in how things work out.

  48. Pingback: Artists Corroborate Flegal Harassment Allegations | File 770

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