Pixel Scroll 9/14/19 We Are All In The Pixel, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Scrolls

(1) ONE STOP SHOPPING. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] SF2 Concatenation’s Autumn 2019 edition is up. Voluminous seasonal news and reviews page of both SF and science which includes the major UK SF/fantasy imprint book releases between now and New Year.  (Many of these will be available as imports in N. America and elsewhere.)

(2) LEM V. DICK. [Editor’s note: I apologize for what amounts to misspelling, but characters that WordPress would display as question marks have been changed to a letter of the alphabet without marks.]

[Item by Jan Vanek Jr.] Yesterday the English-language website of the Polish magazine Przekrój published (and started promoting on Facebook, hence my knowledge) the translation of a 2,700-word excerpt (not a self-contained “chapter” as they claim) from Wojciech Orlinski’s 2017 biography of Stanislaw Lem detailing what led to “the famous Lem-Dick imbroglio” with PKD’s “famous Lem report to the FBI”: “access to previously unpublished letters […] resulted in what is likely the first accurate description of the incident, as well as the ultimate explanation as to how the concept of ‘foreign royalties under communism’ is almost as much of a mess as ‘fine dining under communism’ (but not quite as fine a mess)”:

…It all began with Lem’s depiction of Dick – in the third of his great essay collections, Science Fiction and Futurology as little more than a talentless hack. Lem had a poor opinion of almost all American authors, and never thought much of the literary genre of which he himself was an exponent (think of his equally critical view of Pirx the Pilot, for example, or Return from the Stars)….

I found it a quite informative and interesting read, although “Lem’s unfortunate expulsion from the SFWA” that ensued is mentioned only briefly and I think misleadingly (I have checked the Polish book and there is nothing more about it, but it has been described in American sources, many of them online).

(3) ABOUT AO3’S HUGO AWARD. The Organization for Transformative Works has clarified to Archive of Our Own participants — “Hugo Award – What it Means”.

We’re as excited as you are about the AO3’s Hugo win, and we are shouting it to the rafters! We are grateful to the World Science Fiction Society for recognizing the AO3 with the award, as well as to the many OTW volunteers who build and maintain the site, and all of the amazing fans who post and enjoy works on it.

The World Science Fiction Society has asked us to help them get the word out about what the award represented—specifically, they want to make sure people know that the Hugo was awarded to the AO3, and not to any particular work(s) hosted on it. Therefore, while we can all be proud of the AO3’s Hugo win and we can all be proud of what we contributed to making it possible, the award does not make any individual fanwork or creator “Hugo winners”—the WSFS awarded that distinction to the AO3 as a whole. In particular, the WSFS asked us to convey this reminder so that no one mistakenly describes themselves as having personally won a Hugo Award.

Thanks for sharing our enthusiasm, and consider yourselves reminded! We appreciate every one of your contributions.

So far there are 80 comments, any number by Kevin Standlee making Absolutely Clear Everybody Must Understand Things Exactly The Way He Does. One reply says, “You aren’t doing a particularly good job of reading the room here.”

(4) ARISIA PERSISTED. Arisia 2020 has issued its first online Progress Report. Key points: (1) It’s happening! (2) It’s (back) at the Westin Boston Waterfront. (3) The headliners are Cadwell Turnbull, Author Guest of Honor, Kristina Carroll, Artist Guest of Honor, and Arthur Chu, Fan Guest of Honor.

(5) BOO!  LAist primes fans for Universal Studios’ Halloween mazes: “Halloween Horror Nights: A Photo Tour Of The New ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Us’ Mazes At Universal Studios”.

Halloween’s almost here… well, OK, it’s more than a month away, but that means it’s time for Halloween haunts — aka Halloween mazes, aka scary Halloween things at theme parks and the like, to start.

Halloween Horror Nights has been taking over Universal Studios Hollywood for 21 years, and we got the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour of two of the brand new mazes, Ghostbusters and Us. We were guided through by Creative Director John Murdy, the man in charge of creating the stories and the scares inside all of the mazes.

He works with an art director to design every moment, writing treatments for each attraction than can run up to 100 pages.

“It’s a narrative from the guest’s POV — everything I see, hear, smell, etcetera, as if I’m going through the maze,” Murdy said. “But it also has a very elaborate technical breakdown by scene, by discipline, down to the timecode of the audio cues.”

(6) DUBLIN 2019. Cora Buhlert’s report begins with — “WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Part 1: The Good…”. There’s also a shorter version for the Speculative Fiction Showcase: “Cora’s Adventures at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland”. Each has lots of photos.

…On Wednesday, the day before WorldCon officially started, I helped with move in and set-up at Point Square. This involved carrying boxes, assembling shelves for the staff lounge and crafting area, taping down table cloths and helping to set up the Raksura Colony Tree model. This was my first time volunteering at a WorldCon and it was a great experience. Not only do you get to help to make a great project like WorldCon happen, no, you also get to meet a lot of lovely people while volunteering. Especially if you’re new to WorldCon and don’t know anybody yet, I recommend volunteering as a way to meet people and make friends. What is more, I also got a handful of groats (which I used to buy a very pretty necklace in the dealers room) and a cool t-shirt.

(7) MEMORIAL. Jim C. Hines tweeted the link to his post about the Memorial held for his wife, Amy, on September 8, a touching and highly personal tribute.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 14, 2008The Hunger Games novel hit bookstores. (For some reason, the bookstores did not hit back.)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 14, 1915 Douglas Kennedy. No major SFF roles that I see but he’s been in a number of films of a genre nature: The Way of All Flesh, The Ghost Breakers, The Mars InvadersThe Land UnknownThe Lone Ranger and the Lost City of GoldThe Alligator People and The Amazing Transparent Man. Series wise, he had one-offs on Alcoa PresentsScience Fiction TheatreAlfred Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. (Died 1973.)
  • Born September 14, 1919 Claire P. Beck. Editor of the Science Fiction Critic, a fanzine which published in four issues Hammer and Tongs, the first work of criticism devoted to American SF. It was written by his brother Clyde F. Beck. Science Fiction Critic was published from 1935 to 1938. (Died 1999.)
  • Born September 14, 1927 Martin Caidin. His best-known novel is Cyborg which was the basis for The Six Million Dollar Man franchise. He wrote two novels in the Indiana Jones franchise and one in the Buck Rogers one as well. He wrote myriad other sf novels as well. (Died 1997.)
  • Born September 14, 1932 Joyce Taylor, 87. She first shows as Princess Antillia in Atlantis, the Lost Continent. Later genre appearances were The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the first English language Beauty and the Beast film, the horror film Twice-Told Tales and the Men into Space SF series. 
  • Born September 14, 1936 Walter Koenig, 83. Best-known for his roles as Pavel Chekov in the original Trek franchise and Alfred Bester on Babylon 5Moontrap, a SF film with him and Bruce Campbell, would garner a 28% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and InAlienable which he executive produced, wrote and acts in has no rating there. 
  • Born September 14, 1941 Bruce Hyde. Patterns emerge in doing these Birthdays. One of these patterns is that original Trek had a lot of secondary performers who had really short acting careers. He certainly did. He portrayed Lt. Kevin Riley in two episodes, “The Naked Time” and “The Conscience of the King” and the rest of his acting career consisted of eight appearances, four of them as Dr. Jeff Brenner.  He acted for less than two years in ‘65 and ‘66, before returning to acting thirty-four years later to be in The Confession of Lee Harvey Oswald which is his final role. (Died 2015.)
  • Born September 14, 1947 Sam Neill, 72. Best known for role of Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park which he reprised in Jurassic Park III. He was also in Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession, Memoirs of an Invisible ManSnow White: A Tale of TerrorBicentennial ManLegend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’HooleThe Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas BoxThor: Ragnarok and Peter Rabbit. 
  • Born September 14, 1961 Justin Richards, 58. Clute at ESF says “Richards is fast and competent.” Well I can certain say he’s fast as he’s turned out thirty-five Doctor Who novels which Clute thinks are for the YA market between 1994 and 2016. And he has other series going as well! Another nineteen novels written, and then there’s the Doctor Who non-fiction which runs to over a half dozen works.  

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Frank and Ernest ask deep questions about Pokémon.
  • A Tom Gauld cartoon about The Testaments launch in The Guardian.

(11) LUCAS MUSEUM. George Lucas, his wife Mellody Hobson, and the mayor dropped by the site yesterday to see how things are going: “Force Is With Them! Construction Of George Lucas Museum In Full Swing”.

Construction of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is in full swing.

On Friday, Lucas — along with his wife and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — watched as construction crews helped bring his vision to life.

And he thanked them for the tireless effort.

“You’re doing the impossible — thank you so much,” Lucas said.

“Millions of people will be inspired by this building. We were just in our board meeting for the museum and George said you are the artists so you’re the artists of this art museum,” says Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments and the museum’s co-founder.

(12) LISTEN TO LIEN. Henry Lien is the Special Guest Star on this week’s episode of  The Write Process podcast, hosted by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program — “Henry Lien on Worldbuilding, Puzzle Stories, Middle Grade, & Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions”

Henry Lien teaches law and creative writing at UCLA Extension. A private art dealer, he is the author of the Peasprout Chen middle grade fantasy series, which received New York Times acclaim and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.

(13) COSPLAY ID’S. SYFY Wire has collected all the tweeted photos — “Detroit high school encourages students to dress as pop culture icons for ID photos”.

High school can be a turbulent time for any budding teenager, but when you’re allowed to dress up as your favorite movie or television character, facing picture day isn’t the daunting challenge it once was. Per a report from The Huffington Post, North Farmington High School in the suburbs of Detroit allowed its senior pupils to assume the persona of their favorite pop culture icon for the sake of ID photographs. What followed was a parade of Woodys (Toy Story), Shuris (Black Panther) Fionas (Shrek), creepy twins (The Shining), and so many more!

(14) GUTS. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna profiles YA graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, whose autobiographical graphic novels have sold 13.5 million copies and  who attracted an audience of 4,000 to her talk at the National Book Festival. “Raina Telgemeier became a hero to millions of readers by showing how uncomfortable growing up can be”.

…Now, because her fans kept asking, she is getting more personal than ever. The Eisner Award-winning author who launched her publishing empire with 2010?s “Smile,” about her years-long dental adventures as a kid, is prepared to bare new parts of her interior world with “Guts,” available Tuesday, which centers on how fear affected her body.

 “This is the reality of my life,” Telgemeier told her fans. She quickly got to the heart and GI tract of the matter: “I was subject to panic attacks and [was] worrying that something was really wrong with me.”…

(15) SIGNAL BOOST. Naomi Kritzer offers an incentive for supporting a cause that needs a cash infusion.

(16) MARATHON SITTINGS. The Hollywood Reporter considers “The Long Game: Super-Sized Movies Are Testing the Patience of Audiences”.

And there may be a financial cost. Over the Sept. 6-8 weekend, New Line and director Andy Muschietti’s It: Chapter Two opened to $91 million domestically, a 26 percent decline from the first It, which debuted to $123.4 million on the same weekend in 2017. The sequel ran a hefty 169 minutes, 34 minutes longer than its predecessor.

“Andy had a lot of story to tell in concluding his adaptation of Stephen King’s book, which is more than 1,100 pages,” says Jeff Goldstein, chief of distribution for Warner Bros., New Line’s parent. “We strategically added more shows and locations to counterbalance losing a show on each screen.”

Adds a rival studio executive regarding It: Chapter Two, “look, $91 million is a great number. But anytime the second film in a hoped-for franchise goes down — and not up — that’s not what you wish for. And I do think the fact that it was so long didn’t help.”

(17) COLBERT. Stephen Colbert’s “Meanwhile…” news roundup includes a furry joke related to the movie Cats, and a bit on “The 5D Porn Cinema No One Asked For.” These items start at 2.02 — here on YouTube.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Cinema verite of author Liz Hand on Vimeo. A 5-minute video of Hand at work and play

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]

747 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/14/19 We Are All In The Pixel, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Scrolls

  1. @RedWombat
    I’m with you. I really don’t get the tantrum over a relative few people claiming to be Hugo winners because they’re members of/have work at AO3. The ones actually trying to make money from it, sure – issue cease-and-desist letters to them, but why blame everyone else as well?

  2. rcade: There are a lot of people who like fanfic among the File 770 community.

    Is fanfiction by definition using other people’s characters and backgrounds, or does it encompass any fiction by fans? I don’t want any stolen valor, but I have been running a series of fan-oriented stories on this very site.

  3. @ RedWombat

    I think the Hugo is a little different than the Stanley Cup. The comparison is a rather large stretch. And I disagree with your image of “happy people having fun” versus the dull WSFS people being a drag. First of all, the participants are not stupid. The idea of diluting IP is not new and they know what it is. Some of the AO3 action is having fun, but some of them obviously take great relish in sticking it to the Hugos.

    Also, I would like to add that any Etsy problems are not the only part of this situation. It is authors declaring that they are Hugo winners when AO3 won the award. People are saying that they were awarded a Hugo when they were not and saying that they did. I am taking them seriously. Fun only goes so far, especially when they know that they are doing wrong.

    I’m not mad at AO3 and I have great respect for what they do. Fanfic is important to the genre. Also, I am absolutely certain that most of the AO3 crowd are fair-minded and know not to push this too hard. However, I believe that there is group that is harassing WSFS and the Hugos, and undermining the Hugo IP, under the cover of “fun” and “good times” in a 4chan style, and that is a problem.

    Your friendly sourpuss,

    Rob

  4. @ Mike Glyer:

    Oooh, that’s a difficult question. First, I am sure there would be an emergency grilled sythecheese. There might be some manly Brooding happening. Then, it would all turn out to be a ,massive misunderstanding.

    A misunderstanding of the hilarious sort, where everyone goes home crying, because in all the misunderstanding, a lot of mean things were said in pretty much every direction. And I am sure that Coraline would have Words to say, some of them merely sharp.

    Not sure what Barbara Dimatis would do. Maybe she would write a pointed letter-of-comment, with some statistics, and maybe a purple cat (or was that prose)?

    Of course, all of this is mere fannish speculation, we would have to wait for the author of Trigger Snowflake stories to weigh in. Hey, wait…

  5. My comparison was actually happy people having fun vs angry dudes yelling Tor bought the awards, not the WSFS. Please don’t assume my opinion of the WSFS, of which, y’know, also a member?

  6. I’ve read the AO3 news post several times, and while I think whoever wrote it is very clear that they’re just passing along the message they were given by WSFS, I see no mention of merch or advertising in it. The requested message seems to solely be: “specifically, they [the WSFS] want to make sure people know that the Hugo was awarded to the AO3, and not to any particular work(s) hosted on it” and “In particular, the WSFS asked us to convey this reminder so that no one mistakenly describes themselves as having personally won a Hugo Award.”

    I interpret that as meaning the WSFS’s request to AO3 was entirely about the kind of reputational damage JJ has been discussing, and did not mention monetary profit, merch, or advertising works for sale as Hugo winners. If indeed cracking down on profiting off of AO3’s win was WSFS’s goal, then I think they should have at least said so while telling people to stop saying that they were personally involved in the Hugo win.

    I would be very interested in seeing the actual request WSFS sent AO3 to know whether profiting off the Hugo win ever came up at all (although, of course, only if it were released with permission of the parties who were doing the communicating).

  7. @RedWombat

    I apologize for overdoing it in a vain attempt to achieve dramatic effect. Mea culpa.

  8. Red Wombat:

    “…and I haven’t seen anybody putting “Hugo Winner” on a Twitter bio that was any more serious than “Batman” or “sparkle unicorn” or “talking wombat.”

    I’ve seen 3-4 examples. But that was after the nomination phase and 1) I haven’t really got the spoons to search for them again 2) I have no idea if the profile would even still look the same. So it is mostly taking my word for it or not.

    Is it a huge problem? Most likely not, especially not compared to the enormous amount of members of AO3. But it has been an existing problem. And it leaves a bad taste in my mouth from what otherwise could have been seen as innocent banter. Because I can’t see it as such. Even less since the last rounds of abuse.

  9. Rivine:

    “I’ve read the AO3 news post several times, and while I think whoever wrote it is very clear that they’re just passing along the message they were given by WSFS, I see no mention of merch or advertising in it. “

    See Kevin’s clarification in the comment section:

    “People are making such merchandise. No, I’m not going to link to it. WSFS is going to ask them to stop doing so, because what they are doing undercuts the very award that AO3 won, although that may not be obvious to some people.”

    So I do not agree with your interpretation that the issue of cracking down on profiting off the AO3 win had no part.

  10. @Mike Glyer: Is fanfiction by definition using other people’s characters and backgrounds, or does it encompass any fiction by fans? I don’t want any stolen valor, but I have been running a series of fan-oriented stories on this very site.

    The definition as championed by the community the AO3 came out of is more or less articulatable as “a work based on an existing property created by others, intended to be commentary upon that original work in some way”. Various pieces of that definition are more or less discardable,and there has been a lot of debate about whether, for instance, original fiction belongs on AO3 even if it uses the tropes and aesthetic of transformative-works fanfic, because there are many other places original work can go while the Archive came out of a specific anticapitalist desire to “own the goddamn servers” after yet another attempt at commercializing fanfic by yet another media company. Nobody really draws the line in the same place; that’s part of the fun.

    (I, personally, do not count original work as fanfic unless it was written by someone specifically out of the same textual tradition, like midrash, but you probably wouldn’t find two fen who drew the line in the same place.)

    @everyone: The key to understanding the anger here is that we have been queering texts, interrogating implicit and explicit imperialism, dissecting the male gaze and constructing alternate readings, and pointing out the racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, etc, in our culture’s media (and specifically, in genre media) for coming up on 60 years now, and the SFF community has widely been patting us on the head and telling us we’ll graduate to writing real fiction any day now when they’re not calling us vile plaigiarists and screaming about how we’re getting our icky fanfic cooties on everything. It’s only been in the last dozen years or so that this has changed even slightly.

    People crashing into a culture they don’t understand, one that’s full of marginalized people who are so sick of not seeing themselves in media that they literally rewrite the text to include them, to lecture us about how we’re vile trademark infringers getting our evil fanfic cooties on everything is an argument straight from 1972. It is not new, it is not justified in the slightest, and the bollocking Kevin and the other gatekeeping apologists in the comments to the AO3 news post are not, God help me, us treating it like 4chan as one commenter suggested. It is us doing what we have always done: pointing out that the people who are voluntarily reenforcing existing social hegemonic structures and trying to silence marginalized voices may win everywhere else, but by God if they do it in our backyard we’ll vigorously mock them. Often with porn.

    Scolding an entire community of millions of users because one person ran a kickstarter that may have infringed upon your trademark is the literal definition of “old man yells at cloud”.

  11. I think the issue is not that illegal merch had no part, but that the press release as handed down for release did not mention the illegal merch. If the release had said “Don’t sell stuff with the trademark, obviously” then I bet we wouldn’t see any backlash. But, like @Rivine, I went and re-read it, and not one word of illegal merch came up until Standlee brought it up in the comments.

    Did it have a part? Quite possibly! But apparently someone decided that the real problem was not merch but People Mistakenly Believing They Had Won A Hugo, because the press release did not ONCE mention merch, and therefore came across as really talking down to the intended audience, and stomped a boot squarely into the aforementioned You Are Not Real Writers sore spot.

    Also, Standlee starting in about how he had been published in a magazine and therefore was arguing from authority was a pretty significant faux pas in that context, but like I said, severe cultural mismatch.

  12. @Hampus Eckerman

    I’ve been trying to keep up with the comments on the AO3 post, but I may have missed something. Has Kevin said that he was the one who communicated with AO3 to get them to make the post, and that AO3 did not pass it along fully? That would be a major problem.

    If he has not, my point is that, based on AO3’s OP, the only thing WSFS asked for is to remind people that they, personally, did not win a Hugo. And that is the message that came across loud and clear to me, and I believe to many of the people responding to it. I understand the problem with profiting off of other people’s IP (Hi, fanfic writer here, from a fan culture where taking money for fanfic is treated with shock and horror), and I think the vast majority of the AO3 user base does as well. But merch was not what was presented as the problem in the OP. The problem we were told about is that AO3 users are claiming too much of the win.

    If WSFS’s main problem is actually the merch, and the rest is a more minor issue, then the merch part should have been front and center in the reminder post, not buried in a comment (made by someone who may or may not be speaking in a professional capacity rather than a personal one).

  13. Keileya:

    “The key to understanding the anger here is that we have been queering texts, interrogating implicit and explicit imperialism, dissecting the male gaze and constructing alternate readings, and pointing out the racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia…”

    This might be true, but what I see in practice is a toxic community determined to “stick it to the volunteers who work for free in fandom”. Perhaps they also should care a bit about others culture before they start to throw abuse on them? Perhaps you should go there and explain the impression they are giving?

    I mean, you come here to puke on Kevin, just because he cares about an award and all the work that has gone into caring for its reputation. You heap abuse on him, calling him a gatekeeper, after he has congratulated AO3 on the win and made clear that all fan fic are also eligible for Hugo’s.

    You are not covering yourself in glory.

  14. RedWombat: But apparently someone decided that the real problem was not merch but People Mistakenly Believing They Had Won A Hugo, because the press release did not ONCE mention merch, and therefore came across as really talking down to the intended audience,

    Unfortunately, whichever WSFS committee (Mark Protection? Hugo Marketing?) is involved is acting like it’s their mission to earn the ill-will of as many AO3 participants as possible.

  15. Hampus Eckerman: what I see in practice is a toxic community determined to “stick it to the volunteers who work for free in fandom”.

    I’d like to see those volunteers showing the accumulated wisdom of experience in how to persuade other fans to respect your views. Shaming people? Doesn’t work. Imputing to them rights violations they haven’t done? Doesn’t work. Bashing people who make jokes on Twitter? Doesn’t work.

  16. Red Wombat:

    “Also, Standlee starting in about how he had been published in a magazine and therefore was arguing from authority was a pretty significant faux pas in that context, but like I said, severe cultural mismatch.”

    I absolutely agree that Kevin mishandled the situation and made it worse. I think it was good of him to bring up the information about the merchandise, but I think it should have stayed there. And a “please” would not have been missed.

    Rivine:

    I personally do not see this “joking” as a minor issue, albeit not the most important one. I am one of those who sees it as diluting the honour of the award. But I agree with that the lead should have been with the merchandise.

    For that matter, I have also written fan fiction, but that was long before AO3 existed.

  17. Mike Glyer:

    “I’d like to see those volunteers showing the accumulated wisdom of experience in how to persuade other fans to respect your views. “

    I’m in full agreement. I think Kevin made a mistake in writing as if he was on his home turf (i.e here where people know him).

  18. @Hampus Eckerman

    That’s what you took from my comment?

    “Toxic community”? Don’t be ridiculous. EVEN IF you value performative civility over cultural competency, Kevin’s comments on that thread were, literally, telling people that they weren’t real Hugo award winners. AKA, gatekeeping.

    Gosh, maybe if you’re upset about what you think is me denigrating Kevin’s contribution to fandom, you could stop and realize that feeling you’re having right now because someone was mean to someone who contributes heavily to a community you value highly is precisely what Kevin did and why his comments were extremely fucked up of him to make.

    I swear to the zombie hand of Rob Lowe that this bullshit is why I ask myself every year if WSFS membership is worth the cost and the emotional labor. The past few years have been awfully close. The ballot results this year looked like such a promising sign, but this continued bullshit is once again making a strong argument against.

    I’m sorry the existence of something that isn’t about you makes you so mad. I certainly hope you’ve never lamented the “greying of fandom”. Because you use the word “fandom” to define what you’re doing, but to everyone under 50, that word means us, not you.

  19. Hampus Eckerman on September 17, 2019 at 9:48 am said:

    … You heap abuse on him, calling him a gatekeeper, after he has congratulated AO3 on the win and made clear that all fan fic are also eligible for Hugos.

    You are not covering yourself in glory.

    I agree with Hampus very strongly here.

    I think it might be interesting to note that any and all awards systems are exercises in gatekeeping. You might think Hans C. Andersen’s achievements in chemistry might warrant the highest recognition, but if the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences doesn’t agree, then he doesn’t get to add “Nobel Prize Winner” to his CV.

    In essence, The RSAS is a gatekeeper — Dudley Hershbach is let through the gate for Nobel Prize in Chemistry, while others are not.

    Either there’s gatekeeping, or there’s no awards system at all. So you know what? Yes Kevin Standlee is acting as a gatekeeper here, and you either have to accept that there’s value in that gatekeeping, or you have to decide that awards in general have no value at all.

    If it’s the former, stop trying to troll Kevin over the work he’s trying to accomplish. If it’s the latter, then why do you care about the Hugo at all?

  20. Keileya: Because you use the word “fandom” to define what you’re doing, but to everyone under 50, that word means us, not you.

    You were doing pretty well til you pulled out the equivalent of “you’re not real fans, we are”. Add that to the list of arguments that don’t work.

  21. Keileya:

    “Don’t be ridiculous. EVEN IF you value performative civility over cultural competency, Kevin’s comments on that thread were, literally, telling people that they weren’t real Hugo award winners. AKA, gatekeeping.”

    No. Because they weren’t winners. It is not gatekeeping to say that a non-winner isn’t a winner.
    The entity AO3 won, but that didn’t make every contributor a winner.

    What the comments were instead was, as you say, lacking in cultural competency. They were stupid and came of as condescending and arrogant. In the same way as the comment section on AO3 comes of as toxic and your comments the same.

    You might think of insults as arguments, but I do not. Btw, I’m below 50 years of age. And when I use the word fandom, I include myself.

  22. @Hampus: This might be true, but what I see in practice is a toxic community determined to “stick it to the volunteers who work for free in fandom”.

    We are the volunteers who work for free in fandom. We just aren’t (mostly, there’s overlap) working for free in convention fandom. You call us a “toxic community” when in fact we’re a distinct community, objecting to Kevin’s intrusion into and claiming oversight over our space just as Kevin objects to ours into his.

    Which is the point. Saying “Hey, guys, you’re awesome, but please don’t make merch about being a Hugo winner. That’s copyrighted, just as AO3 is. And, from the Hugos’ point of view, the award belongs to the community, not to any individual member. If you use it on a resume or in a cover letter it will look silly.”

    A lot fewer angry comments, I’ll guarantee you.

  23. Unfortunately, whichever WSFS committee (Mark Protection? Hugo Marketing?) is involved is acting like it’s their mission to earn the ill-will of as many AO3 participants as possible.

    Genuinely curious as to who wrote the initial press release and whether anyone involved had any previous exposure to AO3.

    @John A Arkensawyer – That would be shocking! Deeply shocking! I, personally, would be deeply shocked!

  24. Also, Standlee starting in about how he had been published in a magazine and therefore was arguing from authority was a pretty significant faux pas in that context, but like I said, severe cultural mismatch.

    I feel like there’s a deliberate hostile read of what Kevin said. Kevin was talking about how being published in a Hugo-winning journal doesn’t qualify him to claim “Hugo Winner”, and people are acting like he said, “I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED FOR REAL, FUCKERS”. Not exactly a good faith read.

    (Also, to clarify: earlier posts by “MRM” were not me.)

  25. Madame Hardy:

    I agree with you 100% that it would have worked much better doing it that way. And I should have been clearer in saying that the comment section of that specific post makes the community come of as toxic.

  26. @LS —

    Riiiight, this is doing so much to convince us that this isn’t about misogyny and gatekeeping the silly little fangirls and their silly little porn stories.

    Shows you what assumptions will get ya.

    First, I’m a woman.

    Second, I already mentioned that I’ve been reading AO3 stories for years.

    Third, I was a staff editor for several years at a small, exclusively mm-romance press, and many of the authors we published started out at AO3.

    But thanks for showing us all just how much you’re (not) interested in actually listening to what people are trying to tell you.

  27. @Mike Glyer: You were doing pretty well til you pulled out the equivalent of “you’re not real fans, we are”. Add that to the list of arguments that don’t work.

    Yeah, I see how what I said could be interpreted like that, because I am very angry and very exhausted and not at my most articulate. Please allow me to rephrase: that was not intended as a category argument around the specific word “fandom”, but rather an attempt to call out that the “greying of SFF con fandom” conversation has been happening since I started attending them in 1997. People have been pointing out that younger fans are just as interested, engaged, and connected to genre media as the SFF con-attending generation is, just in extremely different manifestations, for about as long. The dismissive attitude towards the form of fandom that younger fans speak fluently and natively is a wasted opportunity for those who do talk about the need to engage with younger fans and try to show them that older forms of fandom still have their merits. I mean, I’m in my 40s and the form of fandom that 20 year olds engage in today is completely alien to me, but I don’t go into their Discords and the like and yell at them. Because that would only make them laugh at me.

  28. @Hampus, wow, is that principle difficult to live by. Should I declare the Washington Post a toxic community because their comments are a cesspool? Nah. The people who are engaging in a particular comment thread are just that. (I haven’t read the comment thread; I have another tab open on the fic.)

    (back after reading some of the latest comments) I find them funny, passionate, and insightful. I can’t speak to every one of those (gulp) 306 comments, but there are a lot of people explaining the context of the fic community’s complex and often unhappy relationship to con fandom.

  29. Olav Rokne: Either there’s gatekeeping, or there’s no awards system at all

    This seems a misconception of the word, to me. Gatekeeping is the attempt to exercise verbal and cultural pressure to exclude people from an identification to which they may well be entitled. (The whole “fake geek girls” thing, for example.)

    Carrying out the administrative activities of an award is not that kind of gatekeeping.

    There’s also the not-at-all-small problem that Kevin Standlee is not the Hugo Awards administrator. His role on the Mark Protection Committee has to do with service mark violations. And at this point a great deal of his effort is directed at telling people how they ought to think about the Hugo, quite a different thing than contacting people who have violated WSFS’ service marks.

  30. Madame Hardy:

    “@Hampus, wow, is that principle difficult to live by. Should I declare the Washington Post a toxic community because their comments are a cesspool?”

    You are very welcome to declare whatever you want about Washington Post, but this is the first time I’ve heard them being mentioned as a community. Also unsure of what principle you are talking.

  31. I’ve been reading through the comments here and thought it worth it to throw in my $.02, it’s worth what it cost you.

    I’ve been a participant in transformative fandom (the “fanficcers”) for 20+ years. When we originally built AO3-by ourselves, for ourselves-it was considered a drastic and maybe inadvisable way to go about things. Granted, we had seen our communities obliterated off the face of the internet several times through either legal or moral panic, and many people lost works to the ephemeral nature of the internet, but a lot of us thought it would be “too mainstream,” i.e., it would attract too much attention.

    Whyever would we be concerned with that? Well, perhaps because for decades fanfic had been sneered at, denigrated, and excluded from fandom by default. We were told, sometimes in as many words, that there was no place for us among fellow fen and we needed to go away to our dark hole and not bother anyone with our existence or the existence of our stories. This creates a culture of outcasts; much in the same way old school SFF fen were pushed away from “literary tradition” and told their books and stories weren’t serious enough to be literature, fanfic writers were told (repeatedly) that our way of doing fandom was wrong and bad, had no merit, and didn’t belong.

    So we made a place for ourselves. And this Worldcon, when that place we made for ourselves was recognized onstage as worthy of a Hugo, it felt like the fanfic community was finally being recognized as, at the very least, a valid way of Doing Fandom. That maybe our way was different, but still important in the broader shape of SFF fandom, and that this cultural phenomenon of an open archive built and maintained entirely by fans was something worthy of doing and worthy of being proud of.

    And we were proud, my goodness were we proud. We yelled it from the rooftops how proud we were! Some of us had helped code the archive in the beginning. Some of us had come in after the fact and helped untangle the well-meaning mess of all those original volunteers. Some of us scaffolded new features atop the foundation. Some of us moderated, some of us wrangled tags, some of us worked the social media side, some of us donated to the archive or purchased a membership to OTW so we could vote on board happenings. But all of us, every one, wrote or read fanfic. And all of us loved it, or else we wouldn’t have given our time like this on a volunteer basis.

    The volunteers who built and run AO3 are one and the same with the fanfic writers. And so when Naomi told us that the award was for all of us who had helped build and shape AO3 into what it is today, we delighted in that. We celebrated it. We were loud, and proud, and I think a large part of that was finally feeling like broader fandom had accepted that we had a seat at the table and did, in fact, belong there.

    You talk about a slap in the face? It certainly felt like a slap in the face to read that members of WSFS essentially wanted us to shut up, sit down, stop having fun, and go back in our holes where they don’t have to look at us or acknowledge that we are also a part of fandom. It was just another sign that no, the broader fandom community doesn’t think we deserve a seat at the table and doesn’t think our way of doing fandom is okay. They wish we’d go away. At least, that’s what it feels like.

    When the Puppies were trying to cram the slate, the call to action went out to fanfic spaces, where a dim view is taken of those who want to limit what “real” art is, and we did our best to help. We signal boosted, and people who would never ever get a chance to attend Worldcon in person purchased memberships just to vote for works they felt were more deserving. We tried our best to stop what we saw as an unfair exercise of privilege and power, which is something the fanfic community can be very conscious of. And a lot of us stuck around and purchased memberships in subsequent years, because representation is important to us (in general). And then we were recognized for the work we had built, we took that home to have a big party about it. Then, essentially, some people came into our house and told us the way we were having fun wasn’t okay and we needed to cut it out. That’s uncool.

    I don’t want to feel like the broader fandom community still looks at fanfic as something ugly stuck to the bottom of their shoes. It felt like recognizing AO3 with a Hugo meant that fanfic, as a whole, was being tacitly acknowledged as being worthy fannish content. Didn’t “A Study in Emerald” (Gaiman) win a Hugo? That’s fanfic. But I guess it’s different when it’s someone with clout as opposed to a group of passionate volunteers. I can see we still have a lot of work to do.

  32. Hampus

    You’re saying that the fic community is bad because the non-representative people who both saw and chose to comment on the post offended you. That’s as silly as saying that the Washington Post is represented not only by its content but by the content of its comment sections. The comment section is not the thing.

    In any case, reading the comments section as a whole, that is the cleanest darn cesspool I’ve ever seen. People are being funny, and passionate, and informed, and calling out a history of official fandom’s distaste for fic fandom, a history that informs fic fandom’s reaction to gatekeeping.

    Fic is a long-established community, dating back to the 1970s. That’s not as old as convention fandom (I really need a better phrase), but it’s old. When you’re sending an ambassador from community A into community B, you should behave like an an ambassador. Show respect to the new community. Speak softly when making demands.

    That’s not what happened. And what did happen tracks, as the AO3 commenters have said, with the disrespect with which the official convention fandom community has treated the fic community over decades.

    e: Or I could just have typed “What Farasha said.”

  33. @Red Wombat:

    Now I’ve only seen one thread, so maybe there’s a few dozen others, but I haven’t seen anybody say “How dare you enforce trademark!?” I’ve mostly seen a lot of “Holy wow, tell people not to sell Hugo pins, fine, but telling people not to joke about being a fractional percentage of a winner is incredibly humorless, and also sheesh, this whole “You realize you’re not REALLY a winner, PERSONALLY” bit is coming across as really damn condescending.”

    I highly doubt the intent was to make AO3 feel bad, but boy howdy, that stepped hard into the middle of a long, ongoing sore spot. Is it any wonder that some people felt it as yet another Know Your Place, Mere Fanfic Writers by a mainstream that’s been doing that to them for years?

    It’s not WSFS’s fault for being so ignorant of the culture of AO3 that they put their foot in it. But I also don’t think it’s anybody’s fault for being pained at being kicked in that sore spot, for the Nth time, in what really did come across as exactly the same You’re Not A Real Writer schtick as ever.

    All good points.

    I’m so glad to see you in this conversation. It makes my teeth ache when different fandom groups I’m sympathetic to conflict with each other. I appreciate your perspective and yeah, your sense of humor too.

  34. @Marshall Ryan Maresca — See, this is what I mean by a cultural disconnect. HERE, that would be a harsh read. In fic, there is a MASSIVE history, going back years, of fic writers behaving badly by saying “Oh yeah? Well I’m published so I know better.” As a result, if you are sensible, if you mention you are published, you do so with humility (I’m so sorry this is late, guys, I had to hand in a book in the day job and I am out of words) or you squeal with joy (OMG YOU GUYS BOOK DEAL), but you never ever ever even breathe so much as an implication that because you are published you are Better or a Real Writer or know How Things Really Work, because that is a MINEFIELD and brings up approximately eleven million tons of hurt feeling about being dumped on by the mainstream and past fic authors who got a deal and turned into epic snots that made everything around them toxic, etc etc etc.

    This is a cultural minefield that Standlee was ignorant of. His citing of his publication credit, in the context he uttered it, absolutely came off as bragging about being a Real Author Who Knew Better, because that’s what it would be if somebody else in that context did it like that. Therefore, it pissed people off. The very best benefit of the doubt he could be given was that he was lecturing a community whose culture he was ignorant of and committed a faux pas.

    SFF lit fandom has its own minefields. We would and have reacted just as harshly to someone kicking us in our collective shins.

    (Insert all relevant caveats about how there are a lot of subcultures in a group of two million, others might interpret this differently and not be mistaken, nor am I a speaker for anyone but myself.)

  35. @Olav Rokne: If it’s the latter, then why do you care about the Hugo at all?

    Because when a group of people who should be your community in nerding out about cool stuff denigrate and dismiss you for 60 years and then vote for you to win an award, it is twice as upsetting when a major person involved in the process of said awards comes around to yours to continue yelling NOT LIKE THAT in the exact same key.

  36. @RedWombat –

    Agree on all points.

    I would also like to add:

    People seem to forget that different communities have different etiquettes, different languages, and different social conventions. It’s never wise to stride into a new community and assume that the way you do things and the language you use and your in-jokes and metaphors will be understood exactly as they are in your own personal community.

  37. @Keileya–

    Yeah, I see how what I said could be interpreted like that, because I am very angry and very exhausted and not at my most articulate. Please allow me to rephrase: that was not intended as a category argument around the specific word “fandom”, but rather an attempt to call out that the “greying of SFF con fandom” conversation has been happening since I started attending them in 1997. People have been pointing out that younger fans are just as interested, engaged, and connected to genre media as the SFF con-attending generation is, just in extremely different manifestations, for about as long.

    Nah.

    Much longer. It was old when I got into fandom in the late 60s/early 70s. It will still be going on when you are old and gray.

    And it will still be true that, no matter how annoying, and blind to the good new stuff the Youngs are doing the Olds are, they will still also have stuff they’ve learned that’s worth listening to, and good stuff they’ve done that they deserve some respect for, and fannish activities they love that they move more want dissed and denigrated than the Youngs will want their stuff dissed and denigrated.

    And right now, some vocal people posting on AO3 are acting as if only one side is deserving of courtesy or respect, and as if only malice and contempt can explain The Other Side not saying what they mean in an ideal manner.

    What I’ve observed in my years in fandom.is that no matter how good the work done or the openness to new forms of fandom and younger fans, when there’s disagreement and the potential for conflict, few things are rarer than getting the tone right.; No, the norm is that everyone gets the tone wrong.

    Maybe everyone, on both sides, needs to step back and ask why they’re being misheard by the other side. That needs to happen on the WSFS side, yes, but also on the AO3 side, too.

    Try entertaining the idea that maybe people who have been in fandom since we had to hide our sf books from the teachers, and not just adults but other kids demanded to know why we were reading this stupid stuff, might indeed have their own insecurities about their activities being mocked, ridiculed, and insulted, and reacted badly to perceived disrespect for exactly the same reasons you do, even though the specific activities and insulting terms used may be different.

  38. “You’re saying that the fic community is bad because the non-representative people who both saw and chose to comment on the post offended you. “

    No. I have not said that in any way. I have said that the comment section of one thread “come of as toxic”. By which I mean appear as toxic.

    Saying how something appear from the outside is not the same as judging how it works on the inside. And I have not in any way called any fic community “bad”.

  39. God, I hope I’ve phrased this the way I mean it.

    JJ I don’t think you or Kevin are actually helping at this point. Please don’t turn off folks who would otherwise be allies.

    If someone associated with AO3 is claiming to be a Hugo Award winning author on their actual for-sale works, that’s bad. The pins and other merch using WSFS trademarks are bad, too. And it’s a damned shame that the WSFS Mark Protection Committee has to spend their precious resources of money and people points whack-a-moleing that.

    Has the Mark Protection Committee spoken with a trademark lawyer (more money and people points!) and been told that those claiming to be 0.000000000000000000000001% of a Hugo Award Winner is actually, legally harming the trademark? Will the trademark offices in the US and Europe look askance at our (lack of) defending the trademark if we ignore the joy of that amongst AO3ers claiming that fraction of a percent?

    THAT is a real concern of WSFS. And that’s what the message from the Organization of Transformative Works to the AO3 community was meant to convey. I’m sorry it was taken wrong by a very few. And I’m sorry replies on behalf of WSFS weren’t better phrased. (‘Cause, I’ll tell you that I ground my teeth at them myself, despite agreeing that profiting on WSFS’s trademarks is a valid concern that needed to be addressed.)

    The whooping and hollering and sheer joy the AO3 folks are feeling at their win is not, IMO, otherwise our concern. Knock yourselves out, folks! You’ve built an archive and community to be celebrated. Of course there are those amongst such a huge community that misbehave. Let’s not blame the whole community, here. Let us please be pleased at their win and whack only individual infringers.

    .

    ETA: Nothing in this message should be taken to imply I am a member of the Mark Protection Committee. I AM a member of WSFS and do attend the Business Meeting and I care, but I do NOT speak for the MPC or any other WSFS committee.

  40. The best comment I’ve seen on twitter is that AO3:ers should write fan fics about winning Hugo Awards. That seems like a very fitting continuation.

  41. @Lis Carey:

    Maybe everyone, on both sides, needs to step back and ask why they’re being misheard by the other side. That needs to happen on the WSFS side, yes, but also on the AO3 side, too.

    I think that’s exactly right. I have my doubts it’ll happen, but it’d sure be great!

  42. @Farasha —

    And this Worldcon, when that place we made for ourselves was recognized onstage as worthy of a Hugo, it felt like the fanfic community was finally being recognized as, at the very least, a valid way of Doing Fandom. That maybe our way was different, but still important in the broader shape of SFF fandom, and that this cultural phenomenon of an open archive built and maintained entirely by fans was something worthy of doing and worthy of being proud of.

    I think this is pretty much exactly what happened.

    And then a bunch of AO3 community members started crapping all over that recognition.

    It certainly felt like a slap in the face to read that members of WSFS essentially wanted us to shut up, sit down, stop having fun, and go back in our holes where they don’t have to look at us or acknowledge that we are also a part of fandom.

    Yeah, no.

    “Please respect our intellectual property” and “please respect our institution” do not mean “shut up, sit down, stop having fun”.

    The right to have fun stops when that “fun” starts hurting someone else.

    It felt like recognizing AO3 with a Hugo meant that fanfic, as a whole, was being tacitly acknowledged as being worthy fannish content. Didn’t “A Study in Emerald” (Gaiman) win a Hugo? That’s fanfic. But I guess it’s different when it’s someone with clout as opposed to a group of passionate volunteers.

    And now you’re just indulging in a nice bout of self-pity.

    Go read “Fandom for Robots” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad. Nominated for the 2017 Nebula and the 2018 Hugo for short story. And then try to tell us that the sff awards community of today rejects the fanfic community. Yes, I’m rolling my eyes at you.

  43. @lis (and hi, waves)
    “Try entertaining the idea that maybe people who have been in fandom since we had to hide our sf books from the teachers, and not just adults but other kids demanded to know why we were reading this stupid stuff, might indeed have their own insecurities about their activities being mocked, ridiculed, and insulted, and reacted badly to perceived disrespect for exactly the same reasons you do, even though the specific activities and insulting terms used may be different.:

    But this is us, too. We’re fic writers and SF readers and romance readers and in general passionate about reading and media. I’m 60 and remember when new Heinlein novels were still coming out (and I was happy about that?!?!). Oppressed SF readers and oppressed fic writers should not be enemies, nor should we be playing the Oppression Olympics, a game where everybody loses. And we have a mutual problem when fic writers are making jokes about ourselves (1 x 10^10^10 Hugo) and it’s taken as an attack on the Hugos, rather than as delight and self-mockery.

    @Hampus, I have now read all the comments. Could you call out a couple you find toxic? I’m wondering if there’s a difference in community language and standards here.

  44. You know how a Greek tragedy goes, where the characters hurtle headlong to doom because everyone is acting exactly according to their nature?

    Like that, except the chorus is rolling their eyes a lot more.

    Good to see you, too, Peace.

  45. @Contrarian

    I think that was a needlessly hostile and condescending reply to my comment.

    “Please respect our intellectual property” and “please respect our institution” do not mean “shut up, sit down, stop having fun”.

    Except intellectual property was never brought up in the official release. If the AO3 post had been “hey guys, we know you’re excited but you can’t produce Hugo-branded merch for profit, that’s a violation of intellectual property and you should stop doing that,” I think people would have found that a reasonable request. But that’s not what happened. What happened was “hey guys, you need to remember you’re not REALLY winners and you didn’t ACTUALLY get an award, because saying that you did (even tongue in cheek, or in a silly way) is making people mad.”

    And now you’re just indulging in a nice bout of self-pity.

    I was attempting to share the perspective of how we-the-AO3-contributors, or at least a great deal of us, feel that this comes off as. I find this in particular to be egregiously dismissive of a comment I made entirely in good faith.

  46. I’ll piggyback on Farasha’s comment to say that unless I’ve missed something, producing merch for profit has STILL never been officially brought up to AO3, unless Standlee has stated somewhere that his comments were speaking officially on behalf of the committee.

  47. This entire discussion is one of those circumstances where I have been persuaded to change my position, not by arguments against my original position, but by the arguments mustered in favor of it.

  48. @ Farasha

    But that’s not what happened. What happened was “hey guys, you need to remember you’re not REALLY winners and you didn’t ACTUALLY get an award, because saying that you did (even tongue in cheek, or in a silly way) is making people mad.”

    I think that is your interpretation. I have not seen anyone say that. Here is my take on this issue:

    Since fanfic fandom is sensitive to sleights (for obvious reasons), they took it ill when what I will call “old-school fandom” took actions to protect the Hugo copyright. To old-school fandom, the Hugo tradition is the most sacred thing (for obvious reasons). Fanfic fandom thought they were being insulted and believed that the Hugo was being taken away from them (which was not true), while old-school fandom felt threatened by what they deemed were attempts to degrade the Hugo legacy.

    Most of the people here had no bad motives, they were just acting as they felt appropriate.

    P.S. Beg pardon if I did not interpret this correctly, of course I am open to corrections.

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