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. (7) has a pointer to “Mike’s rememberence post” for Brad Linaweaver. The correct spelling is “remembrance”.

  2. 7) To me, C.J. Cherryh has one of the highest quality-to-quantity ratios in SF/F. It’s just crazy how good she has been over time. And she runs a good Facebook page to boot.

  3. @7: Count me as another serious Cherryh fan pretty much from the beginning — I remember reading Hunter of Worlds when it was new. My particular favorite is Merchanter’s Luck, which I recommend to people who haven’t read her because it’s shorter and relatively self-contained, and has a terrific payoff — I’d love to see Sandor reclaiming his birthright on screen.

    edit: fifth!

  4. I have to stand up to defend Cyteen. I mean, yes, its Hugo and such should speak for themselves, but really, once you get past the rather depressing first part, it’s also an incredibly fun book! It’s not just a stunning piece of worldbuilding and plotting. Young Ari (as opposed to the extremely unpleasant Old Ari) is just a delight! And her bodyguards, young Florian and Catlin, are some of the most charming “logical” characters since the original Spock. It’s not just a book I respect and admire; it’s a book I genuinely love!

    I will agree with Cat about Downbelow Station vs. the “lighter” merchanter novels, but Cyteen is one that I think has it all! Even if the beginning is a bit of a slog. (And it is.)

  5. @7bis: Strauss is one of the people usually seen helping with setup and teardown at Boston conventions (at least until quite recently — he may not be getting to all of them due to advancing age). This is one of the many reasons he won the Big Heart Award in 2004.

  6. (6) I am impressed that so many people are so ardently taking part in the Andy Kaufmanesque performance art meant to point out our obsession with celebrity and how we insist others check their privilege while we refuse to examine our own.

  7. 6). If GRRM was as petty as I would be, he could make sure that those particular folks weren’t invited next time. Jesus-I followed along into some of the Twit’s accounts and talk about entitled. Telling someone how their party should be run in the future is just plain tacky. And I didn’t see anyone offering to help plan or pay either.

  8. 2) Turns out I’m going to StokerCon.

    4) I’m a bit confused by Whyte’s statement that Stålenhag’s The Electric State was published in 2017. Does that refer to the PDF from the Kickstarter campaign or something else?

    7) Ooooh, I loved Colan’s work on Dracula. He was one of those artists that was instantly recognizable. And then his Daredevil, his Nathaniel Dusk, Batman, Spectre, Jemm… He is one of my favourites.

    8) This is mine.

  9. (6) HUGO LOSERS PARTY.

    I find rather bizarre the continual complaints that File 770 should not post things which are genre newsworthy because they insult someone, as if Mike agrees with and endorses every item he covers (and I am well aware that he doesn’t — quite vehemently so, in some cases).

    I would rather that such things be posted on File 770 where I can read them and be well-informed, than in more remote corners of the internet where I won’t see them, and will thus remain uninformed.

    I think that combining the official post-Hugo finalist party and GRRM’s party was a mistake, and this year’s fiasco was pretty much an inevitable result. GRRM’s priority will always be on his friends and colleagues, and the priority of the post-Hugo party should be respect for, and recognition of, the Hugo finalists.

    I do really wish that GRRM had posted a genuine apology. The people left out in the cold deserved much better.

  10. Harold Osler: I followed along into some of the Twit’s accounts and talk about entitled. Telling someone how their party should be run in the future is just plain tacky. And I didn’t see anyone offering to help plan or pay either.

    The problem is that they had received official invitations, and this party was promoted as being about them. They had a right to be upset.

  11. (1) On the whole, I’m rather glad I don’t post on Twitter. (But also, what a horribly depressing story, and horribly depressing decades-delayed online post-mortem.)

    (6) On the whole, I’m rather glad I don’t post on Twitter or Facebook.

    @JJ wrote: They had a right to be upset.

    Without objection, I’ll just mention that I’ve often felt legitimately upset about specific things that happened (that adversely affected me), but didn’t conclude from that outcome that I was therefore owed an apology in those cases. The sets overlap, IMO, but aren’t identical.

    People of goodwill honestly disagree about what calls for apology, in particular real-world cases. And I’m staying out of any argument about this specific case. (Mum didn’t raise her kids to borrow trouble.)

  12. 7) — Cherryh has been one of my favorite authors for, well, not quite 40 years, give or take. My favorite of hers (probably my favorite SF novel of all time) remains Downbelow Station, although the Chanur books are also right up there; and I think 40,000 in Gehenna is an underappreciated masterpiece.

    Another birthday boy (although he’s more associational than genre): Harold Lamb, who wrote great quantities of very high-quality adventure fiction for Adventure, Argosy and other similar magazines back in the day; he was an influence on Robert E. Howard.

  13. “The problem is that they had received official invitations, and this party was promoted as being about them. They had a right to be upset.”

    Oh, I agree that they had a right to be disappointed.
    That night.

    Anyone who’s been involved in planning and working large gatherings knows that Murphy’s Law is a given.
    I’m sure everyone involved had good intentions.
    And that no one deliberately set out to upset people.
    But when the fire people say ‘no more ‘ then it’s no more.

    To continue pouting and getting huffy after reasonable explanations is not a good look.

    Now, back to my movie. Rosie and Charlie are getting ready to ram and sink the Louisa.

  14. (1) Even if you accept these as an accurate accounting of the circumstances, and even if you view those circumstances in the most favorable light to Alice Sheldon, what she did was still murder.

  15. (11)

    –Charles Payseur getting fewer votes than No Award is indefensible.

    He didn’t really. He got fewer first preference votes than No Award but that’s a side effect of a strong field sucking up the 1’s. He easily beat No Award on preferences 431 to 116.

  16. bill on September 1, 2019 at 11:12 pm said:

    (1) Even if you accept these as an accurate accounting of the circumstances, and even if you view those circumstances in the most favorable light to Alice Sheldon, what she did was still murder.

    And as she is dead whether her act counts as murder in the law is neither here no there as she certainly isn’t going to be prosecuted for it.

  17. I take the view that if you invite more people t a party than you’ve room for then it’s not Murphy’s law it’s bad planning especially when Martin could have checked the number of expected invitees earlier this year

    If the teams involved had apologised to those left outside the next day then it may have helped but a lukewarm apology blaming the invitees for not knowing a) the Hugo Losers party isn’t for the actual losers on the night or b) the place the buses the con were sending them to was already full looks fairly weak

  18. Dear Bill,

    That is unquestionably correct, legally, as both suicide and assisted suicide were not legal anywhere in the US at that time (and still aren’t in that form).

    But, so what? The question that really matters is whether it was moral or ethical (not the same things). It is the same debate people have over assisted suicide today.

    We can recognize that whole conversation has been had, we need not repeat it. I hope.

    I will mention that I was friends with a couple**, Henry and Doris Marks Dreyfuss (famous industrial designers) who did much the same thing in the early 70’s. All of us who knew them were saddened, none of us felt it shouldn’t have been their choice to make.

    You may well feel differently.

    [** I was going to say elderly couple, but I checked and Henry was almost two years younger than I am now when they killed themselves.)

    pax / Ctein

  19. 7) I also have been a Cherryh fan for 40+ years. My favorite is Merchanter’s Luck, and this year’s Alliance Rising is very good.

    In a related story:

    6) At LoneStarCon in 1997 I was Cherryh’s plus one at the Hugo Losers Party. When we got to the door CJ pointed at me and said “He’s with us.”

  20. 7) Chiming in as yet another big Cherryh fan, and to agree with @Xtifr about Cyteen. (When I re-read it I generally skip the first section and start with Ari’s childhood, but that’s not going to work for a first-time reader.) I don’t get on with Downbelow Station – a bit slow and sprawling for my taste – but I re-read 40,000 in Gehnenna recently and found myself thinking it’s underrated.

    For places to start, I’d recommend Pride of Chanur or Cuckoo’s Egg… or take a look at Jo Walton’s various Cherryh reviews over at tor.com and see what appeals.

    And for Martha Wells… Murderbot is great, obviously, but I recommend Wheel of the Infinite as a less well-known work that’s worth a read. The second half’s weaker than the first, but it’s a nice fantasy novel with a non-European setting.

  21. Also a longtime Cherryh fan.

    (1) If friends and family say both of them said they had this pact and believed they were both serious about it, that relieves a lot of my concern.

  22. 7) I’ve enjoyed the Murderbot series, but the Books of the Raksura are my favorite Wells works. I love the wide array of species she came up with to populate the Three Worlds, and how they feel like they each have their own rich culture and history.

  23. An nostalgic list of birthdays for me.

    Born September 1, 1875 — Edgar Rice Burroughs.

    Some of the first fantasy I remember reading was the Barsoom series. I devoured them greedily. I was probably in middle school at the time? Don’t remember for sure.

    Born September 1, 1942 — C. J. Cherryh, 77.

    In high school English class…. hmmm, I think it was English class, maybe some other class…. I wrote a paper on Sapience and Sentience in Science Fiction and Fantasy. A centerpiece of my paper relied on Cherryh’s Faded Sun series. And I’ve been thinking about those books recently, because the trilogy was just released the end of last year in audio as a 30-hour omnibus — yay! I’ve recently been slowly working my way through her Foreigner books, which I’ve never read; I’ve never known an author who could make it so interesting to read about mostly nothing happening for whole books at a time. ;-D

  24. @Contrarius: nice! My freshman comp paper was a compare-and-contrast of Cyteen and Brave New World.

  25. I’m another who loved Cyteen but never got on that well with Downbelow Station. But I think I’d point a newcomer at Rimrunners

    The Pride of Chanur isn’t bad but I think it’s improved on by the trilogy that follows.

    And I also agree on Martha Wells’ Wheel of the Infinite as being well worth the read.

  26. Re Sheldon, I feel this is a tragic consequence of caretaker syndrome. Often the one being cared for does better than the caretaker. When my mother’s dementia grew bad enough that it was time to get help, we waited almost too long for my dad, and his own doctor had warned him. (We weren’t worried about murder/suicide but about Dad going into the hospital). Depression screening of the elderly was nonexistent then. Desperate suffering people who see only more years of the same with little in the way of safety net aren’t in a position to make wise choices. If you haven’t been there, it’s easy to pass judgment.

    Re Hugo Loser’s Party fallout, I would also have been hurt by being left out in the rain. If you know GRRM personally you could complain to him. If not, a public complaint was the only way to complain. I think that continuing to complain publicly after the initial complaint is not a good look. Publicly, they’ve given up the high ground. If they had been gracious, they would look better than GRRM does. They don’t. That said, they can complain privately to family and friends as long as they want. I would be smarting for a long time myself as what seems a mark of distiction “I was invited to a GRRM party!” instead becomes a slap in the face “My invitation meant so little that they left me outside in the rain!”

    I don’t think that GRRM remembers what its like being on the outside.

    I’ve been working crazy hours again so I’ve been lurking… I’m spending my Labor Day holiday looking for a better job.

  27. @World Weary: I don’t think that GRRM remembers what its like being on the outside. I don’t think any of us is in a position to know that.

  28. Chiming in as another fan of Cyteen, though I do also appreciate the manipulative behavior of Old Ari (in part an inspiration for my later creation of Sarah Stephens in the Netwalk series). But then, at the time I first read it, I was also fresh off of some rather manipulative experiences both in politics and as a complex securities litigation paralegal, so fictionalized manipulation was rather…refreshing to read and not experience, shall we say?

    (Ironically, the library where I first checked it out from no longer exists in that form, having moved to a new building. What’s there now is an Eckankar whatever-it-is-they-call-their-meeting-place.)

    Cherryh, however, in my opinion has written one of the best sfnal treatments of horses in her two-volume Riders series. They are appropriately alien while still being horses at their fundamental core. As a lifelong horsewoman I recognized and appreciated the wicked humor of the nighthorses, amongst other characteristics. And having had spent last winter around a young horse who was intensely, desperately, trying to convince me that he was my horse too (much to the disagreement of the mare who has owned me for fourteen years now), I recognize the bonding search between nighthorse and rider. Sometimes it really does work that way.

  29. @Contrarius
    We had to pass a writing test to get out of college, including an essay on a topic you were given during the test. Mine was “Why I believe [blank]” – so I wrote on why I believe reading science fiction is good.
    I passed the test.

  30. Yeah, I also thought Cyteen was pretty amazing; although when I did my Cherryh reread at the beginning of the year, I also read Regenesis for the first time and it wasn’t … bad?, but it was just … more.

    Other favorites: The Morgaine books, fantasy standalone The Paladin, and her short story “A Thief in Korianth”, which first appeared in, of all places, one of Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords! anthologies.

  31. @Camestros Felaptron

    And as she is dead whether her act counts as murder in the law is neither here no there as she certainly isn’t going to be prosecuted for it.

    It is “here or there” in the context of a broad discussion of the extent to which people’s past bad actions or attitudes or expressions justifies the contemporary renaming of awards which have been named for them. Racism and/or sexism is bad enough; is murder?

    @Ctein

    The question that really matters is whether [“suicide and assisted suicide”] was moral or ethical (not the same things). It is the same debate people have over assisted suicide today.

    What Sheldon did was not “assisted suicide”. She didn’t obtain a quantity of sleeping pills for her husband, or set up a situation where “if you open this valve the mask on your face will fill with carbon monoxide and you will peacefully pass on” (see Kevorkian). She shot him to death. He had, in the moment she did it, no agency.

    Morals and ethics are personal choices. Mine guide me one way, yours may guide you a different (or the same) way. But is law not the ultimate expression of society’s statement that “these actions are not moral or ethical”?

  32. @Chip Hitchcock – Fair enough.

    Also adding my love for Cyteen. One of my go-to books when I am stressed out.

  33. Would y’all believe that I’ve never read Cyteen? I obviously need to fix that!

    As for current reading, I just started Ancestral Night. I’m not thrilled with the narrator’s accent, but her delivery is WONDERFUL. Making me giggle. The narrative voice reminds me of Murderbot, oddly enough.

  34. bill on September 2, 2019 at 10:09 am said:

    @Camestros Felaptron

    And as she is dead whether her act counts as murder in the law is neither here no there as she certainly isn’t going to be prosecuted for it.

    It is “here or there” in the context of a broad discussion of the extent to which people’s past bad actions or attitudes or expressions justifies the contemporary renaming of awards which have been named for them. Racism and/or sexism is bad enough; is murder?

    That it was legally murder? As I said, that is neither here nor there. The question is about the ethics of her actions and the nature of her character not whether she broke the law. Hence my point.

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

    A moments inspection of the nature of laws and the nature of social morals shows the answer to your question is “no”. There is overlap but laws don’t work the way morals do and morals don’t work the way laws do. That’s a pretty basic starting point is we are going to discuss morality.

    To return to Sheldon, the question is not whether she broke the law: she manifestly did. The question is what kind of person was she?

  35. bill:

    I have a very hard time understanding why the method would make a difference and how you can make such a conclusive statement about there being no agency.

  36. Dear Bill,

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

    Hahahahaha! Really? So morals and ethics are defined jurisdictionally? If I assist someone in California or Oregon with their suicide it’s ethical/moral, but if I do so in Idaho it is not? How about temporally? If I had assisted someone in California five years ago that would have been immoral/unethical, but it’s not today?

    I very much believe that ethics/morality change with time and circumstances, but that seems like a bit much.

    The means by which it was done are irrelevant. I, an avowed gun hater and “anti-gun nut”, could make a very strong case (I do believe it, in fact) that a gun was the best choice in that circumstance. But it is irrelevant, so let’s not go there. The issue is not the means by which a killing occurred, but whether it was appropriate for it to happen. You are arguing no and I am arguing yes.

    As for lacking agency, then you can’t believe DNR directives are moral/ethical. The evidence is unequivocal — Alice and her husband set up a pact precisely because of such a possibility, that when It became clear that it was the obviously right time (by their judgments, when they were competent), one or the other of them would be unable to give consent. They gave themselves prior consent.

    If you wish to discuss this from your personal beliefs, I would be willing to entertain them, but when you flat out assert as a universal absolute and objective statement that it is murder and that it is illegal/immoral because murder is against the law, pretty much the general reaction will be:

    So don’t care.

    If you insist upon that, then I can’t help but respond with, “You talk about murder as if it’s a BAD thing.” [grin]

    I consider what Alice did a humane and responsible thing. Therefore I have no problem with her name on the award. I do not consider bigotry humane and responsible.

    pax / Ctein

    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com

  37. I agree with those complaining about being left outside after being invited to a party advertised as being in their honor. I am croggled to hear George claim that it was not. I don’t think the conventions nominally co-hosting would agree. And clearly more people were invited than could possibly fit in the space rented. George cops to that in his essay, which I respect, but the apology over-all is half-hearted and includes digs at the very people already hurting. Not cool.

  38. (6) Since we apparently have to find a villain for the problems at the Hugo Losers’ party may I nominate Twitter. Does anyone not believe that this would have all been handled much more amicably if the people who, very regrettably, got stopped outside had met up with George in the con bar and been able to tell him in person what happened to them.

    As someone who grew up in a small village I’m more likely than most to be addicted to gossip and feud but perhaps we need to stop Twitter making all our dramas far worse.

    (7) C. J. Cherryh – Wooot!!

  39. Martin – the whole issue is not twitter it’s Martin; the con organisers and the people involved who couldn’t be bothered to seek people out and apologise the next day in the convention who have made this a mess. Happily though perhaps time the con took responsibility away from him and let him organise his own private parties for his friends as that’s pretty much what this is now

  40. Martin Easterbrook:

    ” Does anyone not believe that this would have all been handled much more amicably if the people who, very regrettably, got stopped outside had met up with George in the con bar and been able to tell him in person what happened to them.”

    This was one of the weirdest proposals I’ve heard yet. Do people assume that everyone has access to GRRM nowadays and can just phone him up and ask him to meet them in the bar?

  41. Contrarius: “I’ve never known an author [C.J. Cherryh] who could make it so interesting to read about mostly nothing happening for whole books at a time.”

    I agree. I love the Foreigner books, although I almost bounced off the most recent—Emergence?—because long stretches just had little going on besides discussions of events in past books, interspersed with the occasional plot development. Too occasional.

    I’ve described the books to friends as “‘The West Wing,’ with aliens,” which is very often the case. Lots of fascinating discussions, not an emphasis on action (which is mostly off-screen) and interesting characters in complex dilemmas. Looking forward to the next in the series.

  42. Favorite Cherryh: The Pride of Chanur, Merchanter’s Luck

    Second-favorite Cherryh: The rest of the Chanur series, Downbelow Station, The Morgaine Saga, The Paladin

    Somehow never read Cyteen.

  43. @Hampus Eckerman
    This wasn’t a proposal. It was a hypothetical situation purely intended to illustrate that Twitter almost invariably makes things worse.

  44. Ctein says As for lacking agency, then you can’t believe DNR directives are moral/ethical. The evidence is unequivocal — Alice and her husband set up a pact precisely because of such a possibility, that when It became clear that it was the obviously right time (by their judgments, when they were competent), one or the other of them would be unable to give consent. They gave themselves prior consent.

    Let’s note something here. DNR detectives may not moral/ethical, but the presence or the non-presence of them is legally binding. I did not have one so the hospital was legally obligated to try resuscitate me when I died as I did ten times before I stabilised in cardiac critical care.

    They did call my PCP’s office around the first week of doing this noting that they weren’t sure that they could keep doing this as the level of my head traum made it difficult to do so. That didn’t go down well there.

  45. Martin Easterbrook:

    “Does anyone not believe that this would have all been handled much more amicably if the people who, very regrettably, got stopped outside had met up with George in the con bar and been able to tell him in person what happened to them.”

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

    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.

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