Pixel Scroll 9/1/19 I Have Pixeled The Scroll Less Tickboxed, And That Has Made All The DIfference

(1) TIPTREE BIOGRAPHER WEIGHS IN. Julie Phillips, author of James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, shared her research about the death of Tiptree and her husband. Thread starts here.

(2) STOKERCON UK ADDS GUEST. Mick Garris will be StokerCon UK’s media guest of honor in 2020.

STOKERCON UK—the Horror Writers Association’s fifth annual celebration of horror and dark fantasy in creative media and the first to be held outside of North America—is delighted to welcome award-winning American film-maker MICK GARRIS as its latest Guest of Honour.

Mick Garris began writing fiction at the age of twelve. By the time he was in high school, he was writing music and film journalism for various local and national publications, and during college, edited and published his own pop culture magazine. Steven Spielberg hired Mick as story editor on the AMAZING STORIES TV series for NBC, where he wrote or co-wrote ten of the forty-four episodes. Since then, he has written or co-scripted a number of feature films and teleplays (*BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED, THE FLY II, HOCUS POCUS, CRITTERS 2 and NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES, amongst many others).

As a director and producer, he has worked in a wide range of media, including feature films (CRITTERS 2, SLEEPWALKERS, RIDING THE BULLET, NIGHTMARE CINEMA); made-for-TV movies (QUICKSILVER HIGHWAY, VIRTUAL OBSESSION, DESPERATION); cable movies and series (PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and its spin-off RAVENSWOOD, WITCHES OF EAST END, SHADOWHUNTERS, DEAD OF SUMMER, ONCE UPON A TIME); network mini-series (THE STAND, THE SHINING, BAG OF BONES); series pilots (THE OTHERS, LOST IN OZ) and series (SHE-WOLF OF LONDON). He is also the creator and executive producer of Showtime’s MASTERS OF HORROR anthology series, as well as creator of the NBC series, FEAR ITSELF.

Mick is known for his highly-rated podcast, POST MORTEM WITH MICK GARRIS, where he sits down with some of the most revered film-makers in the horror and fantasy genre for one-on-one discussions, including the likes of Stephen King, John Carpenter, Roger Corman, Walter Hill, Neil Gaiman, and many others….

(3) COMPARE AND CONTRAST. John Coxon has posted his report: “Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon”. Lots of in-depth talk about facilities, parties and program.

Finally, let’s talk parties. These were so much better than Loncon 3 and Helsinki, and represent the first party scene outside a US Worldcon that I’ve thought really worked. The model of having programme rooms by day become party rooms by night worked well, and in general it was a fun time. There was a failure mode — the queue to get a drink in the Glasgow in 2024 party was as big as the room, making it difficult to actually enjoy the party after you’d got your drink through no fault of the organisers — but most parties were a good mixture of people, pleasant to spend time in, and had interesting drinks and snacks (although the expense of having to use conference centre catering meant these often ran out quite early). Having the bar just down one floor meant that if you got bored of the parties you could head back, and vice versa. This felt nicer than the fan village in Loncon 3 mostly because that space was one, gigantic space with no nooks or crannies, which to me fails to capture what’s nice about drinking at Eastercon, i.e. the ability to find a little niche and settle with friends, or go from niche to niche changing context. Dublin very much captured that feeling, and the nightlife felt much, much more like a giant Eastercon than it did at Loncon 3. I liked that the bar was named in honour of Martin Hoare, who died shortly before the convention.

(4) AUTOPSYING THE ART BOOK CATEGORY. 2019 Hugo Administrator Nicholas Whyte’s extensive analysis of “A Hugo Award for Best Art Book: the 2019 experiment”, on his blog From the Heart of Europe, includes this statistical summary:

So, we unleashed it along with the other Hugo and Retro Hugo categories in January, and tallied the results after nominations closed in May. Participation at nominations stage was frankly disappointing.

  • Best Art Book had the lowest participation at nominations stage of any 2019 category (248 voters compared to the next lowest two: 290 for Best Fan Artist and 297 for Best Fanzine).
  • It had the lowest number of nominees (78, compared to the next lowest two: 91 for Best Semiprozine and 102 for Best Fanzine).
  • The top finalist in the category had the lowest number of votes for a top finalist in any category (51, compared to the next lowest two: 70 for the top finalist in Best Fan Writer and 72 for the top finalist in Best Fancast).
  • The lowest-placed finalist had the second lowest number of votes for the lowest-placed finalist in any category (28, ahead of 25 for the lowest-placed finalist in Best Fan Artist but behind 33 for the lowest-placed finalist in Best Graphic Story).
  • The sixteenth-ranked nominee had the second lowest number of votes for any category (6, compared to 5 for Best Fan Artist and 8 for Best Fanzine).
  • The count for Best Fan Artist had the second lowest number of rounds of any category (36, ahead of 31 for Best Fanzine, behind 43 for Best Semiprozine).
  • The votes cast for the top 16 nominees were 51, 47, 47, 39, 30, 28, 25, 24, 24, 19, 15, 12, 12, 10, 8 and 6.

(5) WFC 2019 ROOMS. This year’s World Fantasy Con committee reminded everyone time is fleeting – click here for room reservations.

As a reminder, the World Fantasy Convention 2019 hotel discount block closes on September 30! You can reserve a hotel room at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel for $149 (plus taxes & fees) by visiting our Venue page below, and clicking on the “Book Your Room Now” rate.

(6) HUGO LOSERS PARTY. Beyond the File 770 comments section, there have been trenchant responses to George R.R. Martin’s post about the party.

Alex Acks writes, “I didn’t feel personally belittled until this moment: George’s Hugo Losers Party explanation”.

There are a few things in particular I’d like to respond to in George’s epic non-apology.

I do not know that anything I can say will appease those who did not get into the party… but I can at least explain what happened, and why.

We’re writers. Words and word choice matter, and we’re not going to pretend otherwise. I do not need to be appeased like a tantrummy child, and I don’t appreciate the implication. I wanted an apology for those of us left out in the cold.

I actually do appreciate the explanation of the communication issues, of how things got so messy. The party is a large undertaking. It’s also George’s party, and as I have stated before, he can invite who he bloody well pleases. I also do appreciate this:

We knew the capacity of the floor we were renting well in advance, and worried whether the 450 limit would be a problem for us.   The possibility was there, we all saw that.    But there was no easy answer, so in the end we decided to go ahead as planned in the hopes that things would work out.   The final decision was mine.   It was the wrong decision.

Which is then rather deflated by:

A number of the louder Twitterers have stated SOMETIMES IN SCREAMING CAPS that it is simplicity itself to calculate the number of attendees at a party.   That makes me suspect that none of them have ever organized one, at least not one as big as the Hugo Losers Party.

Feel free to name me if you have a problem with me. I certainly used screaming caps because I was, I would hope understandably, upset…

Renay, part of the team that creates Lady Business, this year’s Best Fanzine Hugo winner, took issue with the entire post, of course, especially objecting to this phrase:

Also, whereas in the past categories like fanzine and semiprozines only had one editor, and therefore one nominee (Andy Porter for ALGOL, DIck Geis for ALIEN CRITIC, Charlie Brown for LOCUS, Mike Glyer for FILE 770, etc.), now most of them seem to be edited by four, five, or seven people, all of whom expect rockets and nominee invitations.

Thread stars here.

Alexandra Erin makes extensive comments beginning here.

Kat Tanaka Okopnik, who experienced the inconvenience of waiting to get into the party, shared observations on Facebook.

We (waiting outside) had no idea the buses weren’t supplied by GRRM. It added to the consternation.

It was raining intermittently, the buses had left, and there as no shelter and no seating. Most of us were willing to stand, although it was cold and most of us were not prepared for standing outside — femme party clothes don’t prioritize weatherproofness. We asked for seats for people who needed not to be standing.

…I’m writing this account in hopes of adding to the aggregate narrative about the night, and with the expectation that having more facts and viewpoints available affects the way someone might think of the events and choices that lead to them. GRRM’s generosity is legendary, but it’s true that we shouldn’t expect it to be bottomless. I thank him for both his hospitality and for the accounting he has shared with us giving insight into his planning process.

Lastly, someone slipped a joke onto the internet!

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 1, 1875 Edgar Rice Burroughs. Bradbury declared him “the most influential writer in the entire history of the world.” Now I’d not necessarily disagree or agree wth that statement but I would note that he has largely fallen out of public notice once again. (Died 1950.)
  • Born September 1, 1936 Gene Colan. He co-created with Stan Lee the Falcon, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics. He created Carol Danvers, who would become Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel, and was featured in Captain Marvel. With Marv Wolfman, he created Blade. (Died 2011.)
  • Born September 1, 1941 Elen Willard, 78. She’s best known for her portrayal of the character Ione Sykes in “The Grave” episode  of The Twilight Zone. You can rent it on iTunes or Amazon. She also shows up in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.‘s “The Jingle Bells Affair”. 
  • Born September 1, 1942 C. J. Cherryh, 77. I certainly think the Hugo Award winning Downbelow Station and Cyteen are amazing works but I think my favorite works by her are the Merchanter novels such as Rimrunners.
  • Born September 1, 1943 Erwin Strauss, 76. A noted member of the MITSFS, and filk musician who born in Washington, D.C. He frequently is known by the nickname Filthy Pierre. He’s is the creator of the Voodoo message board system once used at cons such as Worldcon, WisCon and Arisia. 
  • Born September 1, 1951 Donald G. Keller, 68. He co-edited The Horns of Elfland with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman which I highly recommend. He is a contributor to The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and he’s member of the editorial board of Slayage, the online Encyclopedia of Buffy Studies.
  • Born September 1, 1952 Brad Linaweaver. Mike’s remembrance post is here. (Died 2019.)
  • Born September 1, 1952 Timothy Zahn, 68. Apparently he’s known more these days for the Thrawn series of Star Wars novels.
  • Born September 1, 1964 Martha Wells, 55. She’s has won a Nebula Award, a Locus Award, and two Hugo Awards. Impressive. And she was toastmaster of the World Fantasy Convention in 2017 where she delivered a speech called “Unbury the Future”. Need I note the Muderbot Dairies are amazing reading? 
  • Born September 1, 1967 Steve Pemberton, 52. He’s on the Birthday List for being Strackman Lux in the Eleventh Doctor stories of “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” but he has other genre credits including being Drumknott in Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, Professor Mule in Gormenghast and Harmony in Good Omens.

(8) BIRTHDAY PARTY IN PROGRESS. [Item by Standback.] Cassandra Khaw’s “Birthday Microfiction” has been exploding all over Twitter and it’s fantastic. You can see lots and lots and LOTS of people throwing their hat into the ring here.

Lots of great ones, large and small. My favorite so far is Marissa Lingen’s “hardest experience in a magic ollege major” thread; they’re on-point and fantastic.

Some excellent ones that could use some more prompts:

* A continuing story, @fromankyra:

* Strange dubbed TV, Laura Blackwell:

* Imaginary TV shows, Evelyn Chirson:

…and, I’m doing one too, if you want to hear how your themed birthday party is going to pan out.

It’s a lot of fun

(9) SPOOKY HISTORY. ‘Tis the season to remember who made it up — “Have You Ever Heard of a Halloween Tree?”

It can be speculated that the Halloween tree got its start from the 1972 fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury. In the novel, eight boys are out trick-or-treating on Halloween night when they realize their friend Pipkin has been taken away. The trick-or-treaters find their way through time, wandering through Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Roman cultures, Celtic Druidism, the Notre Dame in Medieval Paris, and finally the Day of the Dead in Mexico. As the friends travel through time, they learn the origins of Halloween and in the end, the Halloween Tree, filled with jack-o-lanterns, serves as a spooky metaphor for all the different cultures and how they celebrate Halloween.

(10) HONK IF YOU LOVE GAMING. “A gaming company is releasing something called “Untitled Goose Game” and people are losing their honking minds”CNN has the story.

If you have ever wanted to be a “horrible goose” House House’s new video game Untitled Goose Game, may be for you.

The Australian gaming company released a honking new trailer for the game that has been in the works for three years and comes out on September 20.

And there are options. You can be a goose on your Nintendo Switch, Mac or PC and terrorize the citizens of a village.

(11) PRIORITIES. Alasdair Stuart’s The Full Lid for August 30, 2019 talks about what it’s like to not win a Hugo, and what’s worse than losing —

That is an amazing set of winners! Especially delighted to see Zen Cho, Jeanette Ng, Becky Chambers and Mary Robinette Kowal recognized. That being said. there are times when Hugo voters can, intentionally or not, be cruel. Two of them hit this year.

Charles Payseur getting fewer votes than No Award is indefensible. Charles is a dynamo who, along with colleagues like Maria Haskins, has made short fiction reviewing viable and vital and in doing so has aided the entire field. The industry needs him, it doesn’t need to insult him. I hope next year that’s rectified.

Didi Chanoch‘s thread here covers the ground concerning Gardner Dozois’ posthumous Hugo brilliantly. All I’ll add is this: the voters didn’t recognize the 13 years E Catherine Tobler and Shimmer put into making the industry better. That’s a massive shame.

(12) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. According to Vox: “Brain-reading tech is coming. The law is not ready to protect us.”

Over the past few weeks, Facebook and Elon Musk’s Neuralink have announced that they’re building tech to read your mind — literally.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company is funding research on brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that can pick up thoughts directly from your neurons and translate them into words. The researchers say they’ve already built an algorithm that can decode words from brain activity in real time.

And Musk’s company has created flexible “threads” that can be implanted into a brain and could one day allow you to control your smartphone or computer with just your thoughts. Musk wants to start testing in humans by the end of next year.

Other companies such as Kernel, Emotiv, and Neurosky are also working on brain tech. They say they’re building it for ethical purposes, like helping people with paralysis control their devices.

This might sound like science fiction, but it’s already begun to change people’s lives. Over the past dozen years, a number of paralyzed patients have received brain implants that allow them to move a computer cursor or control robotic arms. Implants that can read thoughts are still years away from commercial availability, but research in the field is moving faster than most people realize.

Your brain, the final privacy frontier, may not be private much longer.

(13) TODAY’S OTHER THING TO WORRY ABOUT. Ars Technica: “How the NFL—not the NSA—is impacting data gathering well beyond the gridiron”.

As guards were going so far as to check inside NFL fans’ wallets as part of routine security measures before a recent preseason game at Levi’s Stadium, a different form of surveillance was taking place on the inside of the San Francisco 49ers’ one-year-old, $1.3 billion home here in Silicon Valley.

We’re not talking about facial recognition devices, police body cams, or other security measures likely zeroing in on fans. Instead, employees from San Jose-based Zebra Technologies had recently finished scanning the NFL uniforms of the 49ers and of their opponents—the Dallas Cowboys. All of a sudden, an on-the-field de facto surveillance society was instantly created when Zebra techies activated nickel-sized Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) chips that were fastened inside players’ shoulder pads. Every movement of every player now could be monitored within an accuracy level of all but a few inches…

(14) THREE YEARS BEFORE 1984. Andrew Strombeck looks back at “The Year of the Werewolf” at LA Review of Books and asks what it tells us about our current moment.

Why all the lycanthropy? The werewolf was an apt figure for 1981, a moment when prominent commentators worried that many Americans had become too self-focused. Tom Wolfe had first advanced the argument in 1976, dubbing the 1970s the “me” decade, wherein Americans, under the lingering influence of the counterculture, were spending way too much time cultivating their bodies and minds. Christopher Lasch’s 1979 The Culture of Narcissism was so popular that Lasch was invited to the White House, where his ideas would influence Jimmy Carter’s 1979 “crisis of confidence” speech. Linking the OPEC embargo, Watergate, and a declining economy, Carter told Americans “too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption,” turning away from the broad project of American productivity that characterized the postwar years. By “self-indulgence,” Carter was referring to the human potential movement, a combination of therapeutic techniques, meditation, swinging, and yoga. Lasch blamed these cultures for the baffling emotional, economic, and social violence that seemed everywhere: in rising divorce rates, widespread unemployment, and the destruction of the inner city.

(15) EAST OF JAVA. BBC looks back at the “Game of Thrones makers on that coffee cup blunder and season eight”.

The Game of Thrones creators said they would be “very far from the internet” when the final episode of the show aired, and it seems they were true to their word.

It’s been more than three months and David Benioff and DB Weiss have just given their first interview addressing Game of Thrones’ controversial eighth season.

While Japan’s Star Channel didn’t ask about the nearly 2 million people that have signed a petition calling for the final season to be re-made, they did bring up that coffee cup – the one left in a scene in front of Daenerys Targaryen.

David Benioff called it their “Persian rug”.

(16) DRAGON AWARDS TRIVIA. The ceremony ran opposite Doctor Who companion Catherine Tate’s appearance and 58 other items starting at 5:30 p.m. per the list in the online schedule.

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

87 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/1/19 I Have Pixeled The Scroll Less Tickboxed, And That Has Made All The DIfference

  1. I don’t know when DNRs became available, but I hadn’t heard of them in the 1970s. The world was a lot different then.

  2. One of my favorite things about the Cherryh Riders books was the horse-struck woman who was SURE she was going to bond with a horse and was horribly, horribly wrong. I have heard the rumor that the Riders books were a response to the whole soul-bonding thing that was big at the time (Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey, for two.)

  3. @Martin Easterbrook:

    Hypothetical as it was, my reactions was something like, In that hypothetical, how many of the invited guests who had been turned away would have gone up to GRRM in the bar and said something like “I’m so-and-so. Why did you invite me to your party if you weren’t going to let me in?” That’s not something many people would be comfortable doing, but suppose even half of them did:

    Would GRRM have been prepared to take the time to talk to each of those people, most of whom he didn’t know? Even if he was prepared to have that conversation with one person, I suspect he would have gotten (understandably) fed up after a few iterations and said something like “Come on already, I just answered that question.”

    In that pre-Twitter hypothetical where the excluded guests had approached GRRM in the Eastercon bar, someone would have written a fanzine article, or a Usenet or blog post, saying that the problem with fandom nowadays is that a writer can’t even drink in the hotel bar in peace, without being interrupted by strangers who think they have the right to his time and attention.

    I don’t think everyone has the right to GRRM’s time and attention. I don’t think I have the right to his time and attention. I do think people who have been invited to a party, nominally in their honor, have a claim on the host’s time and attention.

  4. But is law not the ultimate expression of society’s statement that “these actions are not moral or ethical?

    A full-grown politically aware adult said this? In the year of our fnord two thousand nineteen? Seriously?

    I am slowly compiling a list of things a person can say that function as permission to dismiss out of hand anything they may say going forward, or at least until they one day demonstrate evidence they have regained the ability to see beyond their own nose. “But is law not the ultimate expression of society’s statement that “these actions are not moral or ethical?” is going on that list.

    #

    (8) The Twitter microfiction birthday bash has been bringing me joy. Thank you for highlighting it.

  5. P J Evans says I don’t know when DNRs became available, but I hadn’t heard of them in the 1970s. The world was a lot different then.

    In 1991, Congress passed into law the Patient Self-Determination Act that legally required hospitals honor an individual’s decision in their healthcare. It’d take sometime before they became widespread.

  6. @Cat
    Yeah, a lot of the legal stuff we have now wasn’t around then. (I have a directive, and a medical power of attorney. It’s “just in case” at this point. My sister has a DNR, and has had for several years.)

  7. @Bill and @Nicole Yes, ideally, law would reflect our moral and ethical principles. However, I don’t think there are many people who think that ideal has been achieved.

    That’s part of why I have been spending so much time calling and emailing my legislators in the last few years: it’s not just about how much money to spend on mass transit or weather satellites. A lot of things look like “this is sufficiently wrong that it should be illegal” to some people, and like “this is a reasonable choice, so it should be legal” to others.

  8. @Vicki Rosenzweig
    I accept it was a clumsy hypothetical example but my basic question remains would this have been better or worse without Twitter? Is Twitter making the fan community better or worse in general?

  9. Twitter (like other social media platforms) is an amplifier.

    For me, though it amplifies bad stuff (cf. instant outrage, dogpile, flamewar), I think it makes the fan community better overall. It makes communication instantaneous. Distance is much less of a barrier. It allows online communities to cohere.

    For me (and YMMV) Twitter’s positives outweigh its considerable negatives.

  10. BAH: So far, two weeks out, we have zero apologies from any of the three organizations involved. Silence from the con organizers is not a good look, nor is GRRM punching down at parts of the community.

    Dublin and CoNZealand both said on Twitter that they were sorry about what happened. They aren’t going to apologize for things which weren’t under their control. And they’re certainly not going to post “GRRM’s people chose the venue, and GRRM gave out too many invitations.” So I don’t know what it is that you are expecting them to post.

  11. Martin, I’m not a fan of Twitter, but in the pre-twitter era it would have happened on LiveJournal, Usenet, or fanzine. It would be just as vicious and maybe more.

    And you know, James Bacon apologising unreservedly and sincerely for the, hm, unintended hilarity of the automatic captioning did show how a real apology sounds like and how effective it is at defusing tempers. I wish somebody had had the guts the following morning to say: this is on us, we screwed up, we are really sorry. So far, although not IMHO very well, GRRM is the only one who did.

  12. Re: agency. Because at best, at some time in the past, Mr. Sheldon had expressed the idea “please do this”. But between that moment and the moment Alice pulled the trigger, all the decisions and agency belonged to Alice. Huntington may have changed his mind and been too disabled to convey that to Alice; may have originally said “yes” and not really meant it, thinking that Alice would never follow through; may have been so mentally out of it that he wasn’t able to responsibly say “yes”. All we know is that Alice shot him — the action was hers, not his. Even if he wanted it at the moment it happened, it only happened because she wanted it also; he didn’t do it to himself. He had no agency, and she had all the agency. (or else you and I have different understandings of the meaning of “agency”)

    Even Kevorkian, for the most part, didn’t actively “pull the trigger” himself. He would set things up where the ultimate act was taken by the patient.

    Re: ethics/morals and legality. Obviously, there isn’t 100% congruency between the two. I didn’t say there was. (and I certainly didn’t say that all legal activities, society believes to be ethical/moral). But for the most part, the things that are illegal, most of society judges to be “wrong”. And as the law stood in 1987, what she did was illegal. I contend that the bulk of society would have then (and still would, for that matter) believed it to have been unethical and immoral to have done it, which is why it was illegal.

  13. Having experienced fanzines, Usenet (and its predecessor), and LJ, I would say that none of them had the inflammatory capacity of Twitter, whose compact format encourages frequent consultation (making remarks spread faster) and discourages measured thought. I won’t argue that it’s qualitatively different, but the quantitative difference seems massive to me. Admittedly this is from the outside — but I look at how many items hit a thread in a day and what’s in them.

  14. @Bill, at this point I think you are genuinely denying Huntington’s agency. “He might have changed his mind. He might have been incompetent to decide. He might have thought she wouldn’t go through with it.” We can’t know. We weren’t there. However, he repeatedly (according to Alice Sheldon’s biographer) expressed his desire to die with Sheldon. Lacking additional evidence, there’s no reason to deal in “maybe he didn’t really mean it.” He disliked his disability. He disliked his living situation. He had explicitly placed the decision on when to go in Alice’s hands, not his own.

    There is a lot of complicated stuff here. There is the difference between attitudes toward disability in 1987 and today. There’s the difference in understanding and treatment of mental illness between 1987 and today. There’s the question of whether it is ever ethical for a caregiver to kill a dependent person with disability. There’s the question of whether a suicide pact is ever ethical. All of these bear talking about.

    I’m not pulling the “man of his time” bullshit. I am saying that the specific relationship and needs of one couple, in the 1980s, is not necessarily the same relationship and needs they might have in 2019. Alice Sheldon didn’t have access to modern (ish) medical treatment for mental illness. Ting Sheldon didn’t have access to any sort of facilitated communication. They were a closely enmeshed couple.

    This is a hard question, and I don’t think there’s room for easy answers either pro or con. People murder disabled dependents all the time, and society excuses them because caretaking is hard. This is wrong. Is that what happened in the Sheldons’ case? I don’t know.

  15. BAH:

    “So far, two weeks out, we have zero apologies from any of the three organizations involved. Silence from the con organizers is not a good look, nor is GRRM punching down at parts of the community.

    GRRM gave a long explanation for why the blame lies with him, so I’m not sure why you expect an apology from the cons that were not to blame.

  16. bill:

    “Because at best, at some time in the past, Mr. Sheldon had expressed the idea “please do this”. But between that moment and the moment Alice pulled the trigger, all the decisions and agency belonged to Alice.”

    How can you be so sure of that? Is there a recording of all their conversations somewhere? Do you have access to it?

  17. To get away from the attempt to place the blame somewhere, anywhere (have we tried blaming video games yet? %) other than the people running the party, I think the major issue with the George Martin’s Friends party is its associated with and using a trademarked term. If, as Martin has made it clear, it is not actually a party to honor current runner-ups to the Hugo Awards, then it really shouldn’t be using the Hugo name.

    By renaming it the George Martin and Pals Party, we can have a name that’s both more accurate, and will avoid any confusion on the part of Hugo runner ups who don’t get invited or admitted.

  18. I don’t think I missed someone shouting out to Cherryh’s Thieves’ World stories. If someone did, I apologize. But I think it’s crucial that someone point out how bad-ass those stories were. They prey on my mind 30 years later.

  19. Rose Embolism: You can certainly argue that the name should be changed, but you can’t argue that he’s using a trademarked term. “Hugo Award” is service marked. Not “Hugo Loser” or “Hugo Loser Party.”

  20. Rose Embolism: To get away from the attempt to place the blame somewhere, anywhere (have we tried blaming video games yet? %) other than the people running the party, I think the major issue with the George Martin’s Friends party is its associated with and using a trademarked term. If, as Martin has made it clear, it is not actually a party to honor current runner-ups to the Hugo Awards, then it really shouldn’t be using the Hugo name.

    “Worldcon” and “Hugo Award” are trademarked by WSFS, but “Hugo Loser” and “Hugo Losers Party” are not. I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that WSFS could successfully argue a trademark infringement on that — and even if they could, they wouldn’t, as 1) it would require a significant chunk of money for attorneys to do so, 2) this is GRRM, one of their own, and given that he started the party some 40+ years ago, they would not do something like that, and 3) the money required to defend his use of it would be a rounding error for GRRM’s finances.

    If the party splits again, the official party will likely be called the “Post-Hugo Awards Nominee Party” or somesuch, which will distinguish the two, though effective communications on that going forward will also be a necessity.

  21. @kathodus: agreed, and also I am quite fond of the Merovingen Nights anthologies, by which it is seen that the Dirty Harry films take place in the Union/Alliance/Compact ‘verse. (Caelus Alpha ‘Black Cal’ Halloran, the only honest cop in Merovingen, is Harry Callahan, reincarnated on Merovin for his sins. Oh yes, and in the Union/Alliance ‘verse, humans get reincarnated, and with the right drugs can recall past lives.) One of the Merovingen Nights songs is part of my regular filk repertoire.

    Cherryh was also, if I recall, a player in the Heroes in Hell shared world.

    I miss shared worlds.

  22. Ha! You guys think you’re Cherryh fans? I still have a copy of her Lois and Clark (the TV show) novelization. I’ll bet most of you didn’t know such a thing existed! :p 😀

  23. Xtifr: I bought two copies when it was new, I had Cherryh autograph one for my sister who was a fan of the show.

  24. @Russell Letson: That almost seems like cheating, but…what the heck. I’ll allow it. 🙂
    @BGrandrath: Cool! By any chance, did it turn your sister into a Cherryh fan too?

  25. BAH: GRRM has handlers to prevent random people from walking up to him to chat.

    Well no, not really. One of my friends bumped into him randomly during the con and had a chat.

    But I disagree with Martin (Easterbrook). If it was one or two people then yes it could be handled in the bar (or wherever people bump into GRRM). However we are talking about dozens of people of which a minority spoke up on Twitter.

  26. 1) IIRC, on the night Sheldon killed herself and her husband, she told their lawyer what she planned. He sent the police, who spoke to both her and her husband and decided there was nothing to worry about. Her husband IIRC didn’t have his mental faculties impaired, and did not ask for help. This may indicate full acquiescence with her plan. Or it may mean she had browbeaten him into resignation to it when he didn’t really want to go. We just don’t know.

  27. Problem with twitter isn’t the person complaining about a bad situation. Problem is everybody uninvolved that jumps on the trail and starts to escalate.

    The only reason Twitter is worse than any comment section is because there are more people that jumps in and the format doesn’t reward those that are more thoughtful about it

  28. @Xtifr: I’ve read the L&C novel, although I couldn’t swear I’d have found it if the library hadn’t bought it. (Possibly I would have seen it on Larry Smith’s table, but my book-buying habits have long been irregular.) I liked it, but I wondered whether the balance of power was shifted toward the female characters compared to the TV show. She did a Liavek story, “Of Law and Magic”, that wasn’t in the Liavek books, possibly for a similar reason.

    I read all of the Merovingen Nights books, but have let them go since they’re mostly other people’s work and quite variable; I only read one of Heroes in Hell before deciding it wasn’t my thing. wrt other shared-worlds: I read several of the Wild Cards anthologies, but went off them a few years ago as the books seemed to focus on how much the authors could hurt the characters. Have shared-world fans noticed that there was a new Bordertown anthology in this decade, or that John M. Ford did an adjacent novel?

  29. I never read any of the Merovingen Nights shared-world stuff, but I did enjoy Angel With the Sword (which I believe was kind of loosely based on the short story I mentioned earlier, “A Thief in Korianth”, but ported from fantasy to a relatively low-tech Alliance/Union world).

    I’ll have to revisit it at some point — my A/U reread ended with the Chanur books, so I have plenty more from further down the timeline waiting for me. (Including Serpent’s Reach, another favorite, and Brothers of Earth & Hunter of Worlds.)

  30. Andy Leighton on September 3, 2019 at 1:44 am said:
    BAH: GRRM has handlers to prevent random people from walking up to him to chat.

    Well no, not really. One of my friends bumped into him randomly during the con and had a chat.

    I have attended more than one convention where I have observed the handlers intercepting and deflecting people who wanted to approach GRRM and chat. Both experiences are valid, as he doesn’t have his handlers with him constantly. He has also talked about how much he dislikes some of these random shallow interactions.

    http://georgerrmartin.com/notablog/2019/09/01/back-home-again/
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/16/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-interview

  31. JJ on September 2, 2019 at 7:00 pm said:
    BAH: So far, two weeks out, we have zero apologies from any of the three organizations involved. Silence from the con organizers is not a good look, nor is GRRM punching down at parts of the community.

    Dublin and CoNZealand both said on Twitter that they were sorry about what happened. They aren’t going to apologize for things which weren’t under their control. And they’re certainly not going to post “GRRM’s people chose the venue, and GRRM gave out too many invitations.” So I don’t know what it is that you are expecting them to post.

    So Dublin said this:

    “We’re sorry for the confusion and the overcrowding with Hugo’s Losers party, we will be passing on your feedback and complaints along to the organisers of the party.”

    Dublin had the unfortunate job of distributing the printed invitations in the Hugo packets to all the nominees. But that above is not an apology, that’s a dodge that doesn’t acknowledge that they took part in identifying the numbers of participants involved. At least it’s the most professional and concise of all the “apologies” issued.

    CoNZealand said this:

    “Very sorry to those who had a chilly wait for the Hugo Loser’s party. The tickets were very popular and we reached capacity for the venue. For health and safety, we could not let more people in at the time. We hope that on admittance a good time was had by all.”

    They had the unfortunate job of Door Dragon, but wow that second sentence. It implies that more tickets were given out than the venue capacity allowed, and this situation was something beyond their control. It blame shifts to whoever distributed tickets. It implies that they checked those tickets before granting admission, which allegedly they did not. This is as much an apology as GRRM’s.

    If we want a relevant example of how a quick and straightforward apology can defuse a situation, look at the apology for the Hugo ceremony speech-to-text flub.

  32. BAH: You’ve completely missed my point.

    Apart from saying that they were sorry about what happened to people shut out of the party, Dublin 2019 and CoNZealand have not apologized because the overcrowding was not their fault. GRRM’s people chose the venue and knew its capacity. They knew how many finalists there were 9 months ahead of time. They printed too many invitations, and GRRM gave too many invitations out.

    BAH: [CoNZealand] had the unfortunate job of Door Dragon, but wow that second sentence. It implies that more tickets were given out than the venue capacity allowed, and this situation was something beyond their control. It blame shifts to whoever distributed tickets. It implies that they checked those tickets before granting admission, which allegedly they did not. This is as much an apology as GRRM’s.

    That’s because CoNZealand has nothing to apologize for. They rigorously checked and enforced invites and +1s at the door. Apart from that, the situation was completely out of their control.

  33. Vicki Rosenzweig on September 2, 2019 at 4:57 pm said:

    @Bill and @Nicole Yes, ideally, law would reflect our moral and ethical principles. However, I don’t think there are many people who think that ideal has been achieved.

    I am, in fact, one of those people, which is why I found bill’s statement to be so ludicrous. I hope that your namechecking myself and bill in the same sentence doesn’t indicate that you thought I was agreeing with him? If so, if I was that unclear, please accept my apology, and let this post clarify that now.

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