Pixel Scroll 9/21/21 I Wish They All Could Be California Scrolls

(1) DATLOW Q&A. “Curating Horror: An Interview with Ellen Datlow” conducted by Sadie Hartmann at LitReactor.

Your anthologies are all invite-only, correct?

Generally yes, unless I’m co-editing and the other editor wants to screen slush for a week or two. Nick Mamatas wanted to have a two week open reading period for Haunted Legends and so we did—and he passed on about 20 stories to me. Interestingly, although we took a few stories from that period, only one—maybe—was from someone we’d never heard of.

And the HWA anthology Haunted Nights that I co-edited with Lisa Morton had several open slots for an open reading. We had a few volunteers from HWA reading what came in and they passed a few stories on to us. The reason is that I don’t have time to read hundreds of submissions, and for a theme anthology, I don’t want dozens of rejected stories on the same theme floating around.

(2) HEAR HIM. Neil Gaiman will have a cameo role in BBC 4’s production of Lud-in-the-Mist, which will air October 30. “Visit Lud-in-the-Mist for Halloween” at SciFi Bulletin.

Doctor Who writer Joy Wilkinson has adapted the groundbreaking fantasy novel Lud-in-the-Mist into a play for BBC Radio Drama, which airs in October.

The novel by Hope Mirrlees was published in 1926 and is considered a pioneer of the fantasy genre that is all too often overlooked. Wilkinson aims to put that right – with the help of one of the book’s greatest advocates, Neil Gaiman, who has a star cameo in the production.

…Gaiman has long championed Lud-in-the-Mist as “a little golden miracle of a book” that is among his top 10 favourite novels. Wilkinson was absolutely thrilled when he agreed to play a pivotal role in the cast, which is led by Richard Lumsden, Olivia Poulet and Lloyd Hutchinson, and includes Doctor Who audio drama alumni Ellie Darvill and Jane Slavin.

(3) WALT LOVED TRAINS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This video (which dropped two weeks ago) has Disney historian Don Hahn join with Bill Farmer, who has voiced Goofy and Pluto since 1987, to visit Walt Disney’s train barn, which is now in Griffith Park.  Hahn and Farmer learn that Walt Disney was a major rail fan, and discuss how Disney’s love of trains helped to shape Disneyland. “Exploring Walt Disney’s Railroad Barn With A Disney Legend”.

(4) DEADLY.  This animated marvel series on Hulu is about a monkey assassin. George Takei voices one of the characters – not the title character, however. Marvel’s Hit-Monkey.

After a Japanese snow monkey’s tribe is slaughtered, he joins forces with the ghost of an American assassin, and together, they begin killing their way through the Yakuza underworld. Marvel’s Hit Monkey Season 1 premieres on Hulu on November 17, 2021, with all ten episodes. The Voice cast includes George Takei, Jason Sudeikis, Olivia Munn, Ally Maki, Nobi Nakanishi, and Fred Tatasciore.

(5) WRANGLE OVER DRAGON CON MASK POLICY. Author Michael Z. Williamson, who doesn’t favor required mask-wearing, and anyway says his medical situation precludes it, has been exchanging accusations with the Dragon Con committee where he was going to be on the program and have his usual tables to sell knives: “DragonCon: Racism, Lies, and Borderline Fraud” at The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse.

About two weeks before event, DragonCon suddenly started posting on social media that everyone over age 2 would have to wear a mask, have proof of vaccine (except under 16 can’t get it?), or have a specific test 3 days before (and that last is ridiculous, when an attendee might stop at 12 truck stops on the way there).

Now, my political position on masks aside, I can’t wear one.  That’s literally why I was retired from the military.  Covering my face drops my blood oxygenation to COPD levels.  My wife hits every exemption there is, but good luck getting documentation that anyone considers “Acceptable.”

I inquired with both vendor relations and guest relations, and got told, “Ignore social media, we haven’t heard this and we don’t actually have a policy yet, that will be Thursday.”

Thursday rolls around and the email is, “The policy remains…”

Wait, I thought you didn’t have one yet? “Remains” means that was your policy, but you tried to pretend it wasn’t.

I told them I’d need a rollover by preference or a refund.

“Unfortunately, per policy, it’s too late for a refund or rollover.”

Yet, they were able to change their COVID policy.

So my choice was find someone to cover the show, or forfeit several thousand dollars to the poor, starving, corporate owners of DragonCon.

I withdrew as a guest, and made a public announcement to that effect. I was the 100th.  That seemed notable. In fact, by the end they lost 203 of 641 guests and professionals, or over 30%.

Now, I’m sure a case could be made in court for this being classic bait and switch, and refusing refunds or rollovers to be fraud. But I can’t state that as a fact without a court case.  It certainly smells that way, though….

He got his daughter to run his tables instead. Since the con, Williamson says this is what he’s heard:

…After the show I was told they were so very unhappy that I publicly boasted of being the 100th cancellation. Well, sorry about your feelings, but what about the feelings of 203 guests and families you screwed over by waiting for the last moment? What about the public threats to harass “plague rats” (perfectly healthy people not wearing masks) on your social media, that remained for days before being taken down?  We’re supposed to worship you, but you don’t need to respect the professionals in the field?

Then they unleashed this whopper, claiming the statement was made about me:

” there was a vendor this year who is making an incredibly racist remarks trying to sell his wares. Including things like “buy a knife from someone who speaks American” and “this is made with real metal, not ‘Chineseium’.” Worse than all of that however, was singling out another person in the vendors hall who is also selling knives. It was an Indian couple, and apparently that was why he wanted to specify that he does speak “American”, letting anyone who passed by know another vendor had people who spoke English as a second language at their table “

I’m going to explain why this is complete, unmitigated bullshit…

His explanation follows at the link.

(6) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1969 – Fifty-two years ago this week, the pilot of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) premiered on two different British broadcasters though it ran on ITV, the producing network. In the pilot, Hopkirk is murdered during an investigation but returns as a white-suited ghost. It was created by Dennis Spooner who had previously scripted for The Avengers and Doctor Who.  He also created Department S with Marty Berman. It starred Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. It ran for one season of twenty-six episodes.  In the States, it was given the really awful title of My Partner the Ghost. The series was remade thirty years later and is notable as the Fourth Doctor actor had an important role in it. It’s currently available on Amazon Prime. 

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 21, 1866 — H.G. Wells. Writer of The Time Machine, a novella in 1895, being his first genre work. Way, way too many genre works to list here so I’ll single out The War of The WorldsThe Island of Doctor Moreau and The Invisible Man as works by him that influenced the genre in a very noticeable manner. He also wrote an impressive amount of short fiction and non-fiction as well. (Died 1946.)
  • Born September 21, 1912 — Chuck Jones. He wrote, produced and directed many Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons starring Bugs BunnyDaffy DuckWile E. Coyote and the Road Runner among many others. His work won three Oscars, and the Academy also gave him an honorary one in 1996. He’s responsible for television adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Horton Hears a Who!, and of course Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. Oh, and yes, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century. (Died 2002.)
  • Born September 21, 1947 — Stephen King, 74. I once saw him leaning up against a wall in Bangor outside his favorite breakfast spot nose deep in a paperback novel. I didn’t approach him to see what he was reading so intently. That’s how his native city treated him. Favorite by him? I’m not fond of his novels but I love his novellas and shorter fiction, so Different SeasonsFour past Midnight and Skeleton Crew are my picks. His only Hugo was a Best Related Non-Fiction Book one for Danse Macabre at Chicon IV though Carrie was nominated at Suncon, and his “Obits” novelette was nominated at MidAmeriCon II. 
  • Born September 21, 1947 — Nick Castle, 74. He  co-wrote with director John Carpenter the scripts for Escape from New York and Escape from L.A., but he’s best remembered for directing The Last Starfighter. He was Michael Myers in Halloween, a role he’d later reprise in, errr, Halloween.  His other interesting genre cred was performing the title song of Big Trouble in Little China as The Coup De Villes with Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace.
  • Born September 21, 1950 — Bill Murray, 71. Scrooged is my favorite film by him by a long shot followed by the first Ghostbusters film. I’m also fond of his voicing of Clive the Badger in Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Born September 21, 1961 — Mark Allen Shepherd, 60.  Morn, the bar patron on Deep Space Nine. Amazingly he was in Quark’s bar a total of ninety three episodes plus one episode each on Next Gen and Voyager. Technically he’s uncredited in almost all of those appearances. That’s pretty much his entire acting career. I’m trying to remember if he has any lines. He’s also an abstract painter whose work was used frequently on DS9 sets. For all practical purposes, this was his acting career. 
  • Born September 21, 1983 — Cassandra Rose Clark, 38. Her contributions to The Witch Who Came in from the Cold, a serial fiction piece coauthored with Max Gladstone, Lindsay Smith, Ian Tregillis, and Michael Swanwick, are  superb. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, and her YA novel, The Assassin’s Curse, was nominated for Young Adult Library Services Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. She was nominated for an Elgin Award by the Science Fiction Poetry Association for her Sacred Summer collection.
  • Born September 21, 1990 — Allison Scagliotti, 31. One of the primary cast of Warehouse 13, a show that I really, really loved. Her first first genre role was as Jayna, one of the Wonder Twins, on the Smallville series. And she showed up in a crossover episode of Eureka called appropriately “Crossing Over”.  Her last gig is as Camille Engelson on Stitchers. I’ve not seen it but it’s also gotten really great reviews. 

(8) MARVEL FIRES BENNETT. The Mary Sue reports “Marvel Fired Joe Bennett After Alleged Anti-Semitic Cartoons”.

Marvel Comics fired Brazilian artist Joe Bennett and vowed not to hire him for “any future Marvel projects,” following allegations of anti-Semitism and troubling imagery in his artwork. Bennett had previously worked for Marvel Comics for nearly thirty years, beginning in 1994.

… This isn’t the first time Bennett has seemingly attacked members of marginalized communities. He previously mocked the 2019 assault of gay journalist Glenn Greenwald by a far-right Bolsonaro supporter. And just last year, Bennett “liked” transphobic comments on his public Instagram page. He is also an outspoken supporter of Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, a fascist Trump-like leader currently overseeing the devastating spread of Covid-19 throughout his country.

SYFY Wire writer Mike Avila adds:

…But here’s the question I have: Why did it take so long? This isn’t the first time Bennett has been accused of drawing offensive material. It’s not even the first time this year it’s happened. 

Back in February, he was forced to apologize after readers of his and Al Ewing’s hit Immortal Hulk series noticed that Issue #43 had a panel with a jewelry store. In the background, the name of the store is written backward and reads “Cronemberg Jewery” with a Star of David below it. The reason why the lettering was insulting is obvious. But perhaps even more offensive was the Star of David on the jewelry store’s window. It had no bearing on the story at all and there was no indication it was a Jewish-owned business. For some, it was just the perpetuation of a Jewish stereotype in that situation….

(9) SHALKA DOCTOR. [Item by Ben Bird Person.] Based on the 2003 animated serial The Scream of the Shalka, artist Lophial did this piece on Richard E. Grant’s Shalka Doctor. Source: Commission of Shalka Doctor for @DrWho42 !

(10) A DECK OF CREDENTIALS. Daniel Dern brings to our attention these Cats Bicycle Playing Cards.

This is THE deck of cards for cat lovers! Cats from Bicycle Playing Cards features illustrated cards by the renowned artist Lisa Parker. This unique playing card deck includes custom cat illustrations on every Ace, Face Card, and Joker. This deck of cards is a must-have for anyone looking to spice up their card game game night and makes the perfect gift for the cat lover in your life!

(11) IRRESISTABLE TITLE. Mark Yon reviews “The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa” at SFFWorld.

…After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone . . .”

If that hasn’t grabbed your attention, this book is not for you. It involves bookshops and masses of books in piles and on shelves that appear to go on forever, the descriptions of which will make a bibliophile sigh in admiration. There’s also some lovely characterisation, especially of Rintaro the acutely shy bookish teenager referred to as a hikikomori here, but also of his wise friend Sayo Yuzuki and the cat named Tiger the tabby. And credit must go here to the sympathetic translation made by Louise Heal Kawai from the original Japanese novel, first published there in 2017.

(12) MARKET NOT OPENED YET. “‘Shang-Chi’ Wins a Warm Asia Greeting. Then There’s China.”  The New York Times

Marvel released “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” with China in mind. Simu Liu, the film’s Canadian lead actor, was born in China. Much of its dialogue is in Mandarin. The cast includes Tony Leung, one of the biggest Chinese-speaking movie stars in history.

The studio’s first Asian superhero movie is a hit, drawing praise and ticket sales in East Asia and other global markets. Perhaps the only place where the movie has not been well received — in fact, it has not been received there at all — is mainland China.

Disney, which owns Marvel, has yet to receive clearance from Beijing’s regulators to show the film in the vast but heavily censored movie market. While the reasons aren’t clear, “Shang-Chi” may be a victim of the low point in U.S.-China relations.

China is also pushing back against Western influence, with increasingly vocal nationalists denouncing foreign books and movies and the teaching of English. They have even criticized Mr. Liu for his previous comments about China, which he left in the mid-1990s, when he was a small child.

Lack of access to the world’s largest movie market could limit how much money the film makes. But in other parts of Asia, the movie has been greeted warmly by audiences for how it depicts a Chinese superhero burdened by a racist back story.

“I was really expecting the movie to be racist,” said David Shin, a Marvel fan in Seoul. “I was surprised at how well they touched upon Asian culture.”…

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the spoiler-filled “Honest Trailers:  Jungle Cruise” on YouTube, the Screen Junkies say that, like the ride it is based on, Jungle Cruise is “five percent colorful adventure and 95 percent corny jokes,” that this is the third movie (after Jumanji 2 and The Rundown) where Dwayne Johnson goes into the jungle to capture a bright, shiny object, that Emily Blunt has two Ph.D.’s–in botany and parkour, and that villain Jesse Plemons is “not exactly a Nazi, but not exactly not, see?”

[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Ben Bird Person, Rob Thornton, Chris Barkley, Cora Buhlert, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

60 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/21/21 I Wish They All Could Be California Scrolls

  1. I WAS briefly in California during my recent trip. I stayed in Crescent City, and also made a flying run to Lava Beds NM…which was half closed because of fire threats

  2. 1) One of the “don’t send us” in Clarkesworld’s guidelines is “stories originally intended for someone’s upcoming theme issue or anthology.”

    5) The mask stuff is very… extra. “A man being racist was attributed to us when there were no men working our booth” sounds like it could be objectively proven one way or the other, although the rest of the content on that blog does not make me want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  3. 5) I have issues wearing masks, particularly the surgical ones required here, for longer periods myself, but then it means I simply don’t attend events, which require extended mask wearing. Michael Z. Williamson is not going to die if he does not go to Dragon Con. I also seem to recall that they offered refunds, after they announced their covid policy, though I may have that mixed up with DisCon III.

    The rest is just Williamson being Williamson.

  4. Number five) “ I can’t wear one. That’s literally why I was retired from the military. Covering my face drops my blood oxygenation to COPD levels.” That’s absolute bullshit. Its been proven over and over that the masks do not drop your O2 levels at all, so there’s no way that he was retired from the military on those grounds. It’s likely that he was discharged for refusing to wear a mask when required to do so.

  5. (5) I’m sorry he can’t wear masks, but has he been vaccinated? Does he understand that tests are to find out if you’re contagious at that point, not whether you will be the next day or the next week? (I had one and was told to stay home for the next several days. But that was last year, and I could.)

  6. P J Evans says I’m sorry he can’t wear masks, but has he been vaccinated? Does he understand that tests are to find out if you’re contagious at that point, not whether you will be the next day or the next week? (I had one and was told to stay home for the next several days. But that was last year, and I could.)

    I’d give you a very good chance that he’s an anti-vaxxer as well. His stance on masks strongly suggests that stance.

  7. Let’s all use our mighty brain things. Instead of just pronouncing some assumption, why not hold your peace til you’ve read his blog to find support for your opinion?

  8. 5) Whatever his reason for not wearing a mask, Dragoncon should have offered vendors a chance for a refund or rollover after announcing the policy. I can’t blame the con for deciding the policy at the last minute, given how good things were looking in July and then they quickly got bad in August. But given they were making changes so close to the con, they should also have understood that others would be making changes in the last two weeks. It isn’t just MZW, a large number of people canceled – some I imagine didn’t want to travel or be in crowds with the situation as it was. Some may have decided it wasn’t worth it considering the reduced admission numbers without day tickets. And some didn’t want to wear masks. They should all have been given a chance for a refund.

  9. Mike Glyer says Let’s all use our mighty brain things. Instead of just pronouncing some assumption, why not hold your peace til you’ve read his blog to find support for your opinion?

    Mike, I did read his blog post after we talked off blog. The first two paragraphs leave no doubt in my mind that not only is he anti-mask, but that also he’s also firmly into the anti-vaxx camp as well when he says that one must “have a specific test 3 days before (and that last is ridiculous, when an attendee might stop at 12 truck stops on the way there).”

  10. Happy birthday, Herbert George. When I was in 6th and 7th grades, I kept going to the library and checking out Seven Science Fiction Novels of H.G. Wells. My favorite was The Island of Dr. Moreau. Second tier was The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds. I read those four the most, but I read all seven many, many times. A few years ago I decided to buy a copy of the book, though it promptly got boxed up and made unavailable.

    I unearthed it the other day, and have just started reading it. I have almost finished The Time Machine. Still enjoying the hell out of it.

  11. (5) it’s strange that Williamson assumes that a complaint is about his stand when the description doesn’t fit (as he points out – at length). Even stranger it does match his description of a competitor. Hmmmm.

  12. (5) I know nothing about cons in the US, but what I find shocking about this story is that it seems perfectly normal to have a stall selling lethal weapons at an event that is about reading and watching SF. And I thought we had a problem with knife crime in the UK.

  13. (7) For a moment, I confused Mark Allen Shepherd with Mark Sheppard who has had a much more varied career.

  14. Andrew (not Werdna) says For a moment, I confused Mark Allen Shepherd with Mark Sheppard who has had a much more varied career.

    Yeah me too. I had to double check that I hadn’t confused which was which.

    So what’s the novel you’re anticipating experiencing? I’m very much looking forward to Alasdair Reynold’s Inhibitor Phase which is out on Audible shortly.

  15. @ Allan Lloyd: I don’t particularly see an issue with “fantasy weapons” being available for purchase, within whatever laws cover the venue, at a SF & F fan con. Even f they happen to be made of steel and capable of being sharpened (or, indeed, already sharpened). I do, somewhat, object to them being carried around on said con, in a fashion where they’re easily deployed in manner likely to cause injury, though. When sold, they get put in a sheath/scabbard, then in a box or bag, and they stay there until the purchaser gets home.

  16. (4) seems bizarre, at least as far as the hosting goes. Why have a dedicated streaming streaming and put shows on other platforms?

  17. NickPheas says Also, nothing since Wisdom from my Internet has forced me to re-evaluate my view of MZW.

    If you want to know how disgusting a human being MZW is, just read the rest of the blog posts on Covid-19 that he’s done.

  18. If you want to know how disgusting a human being MZW is, just read the rest of the blog posts on Covid-19 that he’s done.

    It’s cool. I remember his Twitter profile featuring dick picks, and unless there’s something to go into the plus column, I don’t need more reason to think he’s an arse.

  19. Here’s an article from European Respiratory Journall about mask wearing for respiratory patients. This is a peer-reviewed journal.

    Tweetable abstract:
    “Exemptions of respiratory patients on the compulsory use of face masks for COVID-19 pandemic are not evidence-based.”

    I can’t speak for COPD. But I have asthma, and I wore a mask throughout PulpFest. (More than one as I brought several to show off various designs.) The worst I felt was sweaty at times.

    Kudos to the PulpFest couple who both came dressed as the Shadow with matching costumes, including red masks. They showed that masks can fit the theme of the event!

  20. Anne Marble says Here’s an article from European Respiratory Journall about mask wearing for respiratory patients. This is a peer-reviewed journal.

    Tweetable abstract:
    “Exemptions of respiratory patients on the compulsory use of face masks for COVID-19 pandemic are not evidence-based.”

    Thank you for that. It backs up what I read elsewhere. When I spent fifty days in-hospital the summer of ‘20 being treated for a staphylococcus infection, the medical staff told me repeatedly of their battles to get patients to wear masks just for the time that they were in contact with medical staff.

    I can’t speak for COPD. But I have asthma, and I wore a mask throughout PulpFest. (More than one as I brought several to show off various designs.) The worst I felt was sweaty at times.

    Good to hear that.

    I’m worn mine for hours at times with no problems. I can’t say that I like wearing a mask but I fully accept that I’ll be wearing a mask in social setting for quite a while yet..

    Kudos to the PulpFest couple who both came dressed as the Shadow with matching costumes, including red masks. They showed that masks can fit the theme of the event!

    Oh tell that you got photos! I want very much to see that!

  21. Panic attacks can drop O2 sat a little. So if wearing masks gives him panic attacks, he COULD say that masks cause his O2 to drop. But panic attacks, however unpleasant, are not life threatening and IMO shouldn’t be a medical exemption for behavior (going around unmasked) that IS potentially life threatening.

  22. Meredith moment. The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut 3) is currently 99p on Kindle (Amazon UK)

  23. Meredith moment: Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine. It was nominated for a Retro Hugo at Noreascon 4.

  24. Anne Marble says
    Thanks to a false alarm at the hotel, I got a good picture of them posing together.

    Let’s hope the Flickr link works…
    https://flic.kr/ps/2iQrkJ

    I did and they’re very, very cute.

    Most of my PulpFest pictures look like people on a panel talking to people.

    That’s not unusual.

  25. (5) for most people, mask wearing does not pose a medical problem. But I have a chronic lung condition and my pulmonologist has confirmed that prolonged masking while doing physical labor (ie not sitting and manning a booth) exacerbates my condition. So I avoid such situations. For someone who does physical labor for a living, then there’s a real problem vis a vis requiring masking. I know a guy who lifts packages all day (FedEx) and the mask requirement causes him significant health problems. This is a real problem without an obvious solution that deserves careful consideration, not a curt dismissal. And the con definitely should have refunded MZW’s money.

    (7) Morn had no lines at all on DS9. It was actually a running joke that while Morn had no actual dialogue at all, other characters kept complaining that he never shut up.

  26. Looks like when DragonCon announced their COVID policy on 8/1/21, it stated that there would be no refunds or rollovers for anyone (outside of International travelers), and that all of this information was pretty clearly posted on the same date.

    I’m not sure where MZW thought that he’d get an exemption, or that there was no “official” policy, or why emailing would get a different answer from the official policy that was announced and posted on 8/1.

    His “About 2 weeks before the event…” may be when he saw the updated policy, but they announced it a month before the event, and didn’t exactly hide it, from anyone.

    This sounds more like someone who wanted to gin up business by appealing to the RWNJ crowd and play the “I’m a poor, persecuted, freedom-loving American” card.

  27. 5.) My husband, a former dairy farmer, is incredibly allergic to hay (which is one of several reasons why he’s a former dairy farmer). However, since he ran the family’s small dairy back in the ’70s, he had to haul and stack 40-some tons of hay without the benefit of today’s high-end hay hauling and stacking methods.

    So he hauled and stacked hay in the heat of summer, with the help of his then-wife and one hired hand. He wore a mask through all of that, plus milked cows before and after. Needless to say, he’s not wildly sympathetic to claims that mask wearing significantly impairs breathing for the majority of those claiming it’s a problem.

    As for MZW, welp, edgelords and puppies gotta edgelord, pup, and whine. I’m asthmatic and have hay fever. Despite all the claims that I’m not high risk, I’m suspicious. I wore a mask outside during our trip to Yellowstone last spring as there were just too damned many people not observing social distancing and, given the mostly Texan and Midwestern license plates, unlikely to be vaxxed (I had just become fully vaxxed). Other than discovering that I saturated paper masks easily after a long hike, I didn’t suffer any impact. Arthritis was more of an issue.

    Given that we’re dealing with an airborne virus in this pandemic, anyone who has legitimate masking problems should be a.) cautious, b.) vaccinated, and c.) creating alternative plans for any in-person events even before signing up. It’s not like Covid just descended upon us. IOW, I smell a rat in these claims (and no, Mike, I’m not gonna give the man some clicks just to read a tirade when the excerpts are clear to me that he’s anti-vax. I live in a red area. He’s hitting a lot of the red flags).

    (ETA–deleted and reposted because I forgot to hit the follow up comments button, darn it)

  28. #5. Went to his website. Not a nice person. Just because you can say anything you like on your own site doesn’t mean you should. Previous posts there also not a strong inducement to read anything he’s ever written.

    If anyone has anger issues, they should be treated, professionally. Not with a knife or other sharp words.

  29. @Joyce
    Yeah, if masks did what MZW claims, it would have been noticed when surgeons passed out in ORs during multi-hour procedures.

  30. P J Evans says Yeah, if masks did what MZW claims, it would have been noticed when surgeons passed out in ORs during multi-hour procedures.

    Yeah given that I’ve had several operations in the last few years lasting well over four hours, I’d have surgeons passing out all over the place on me. And of course all of my surgical practices has all of its staff wearing masks all day long when seeing patients for follow-up consults.

    And course of all of the hospital staff during my in-hospital stay the summer before wore masks for an entire eight or more hour shift without any problem. I once wore one for over four hours when a PICC line insertion proved to be unusually difficult.

  31. @ingvar These aren’t “fantasy weapons” though. Take a look at his website. “fine kitchen knives, basic pocketknives, high-end folders, military tactical blades, historical reproductions of swords, antiques or custom pieces”.

  32. Meredith moment: Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel Is available from the usual suspects for two dollars and ninety nine cents. Please note that there are cartoons here that are offensive in their stereotypes.

  33. @Cat Eldridge

    Number five) “ I can’t wear one. That’s literally why I was retired from the military. Covering my face drops my blood oxygenation to COPD levels.” That’s absolute bullshit. Its been proven over and over that the masks do not drop your O2 levels at all, so there’s no way that he was retired from the military on those grounds. It’s likely that he was discharged for refusing to wear a mask when required to do so.

    I actually know someone who was discharged from the military for being unable to wear a gas mask. However, that had nothing to do with oxygen levels, but with panic attacks and claustrophobia. Besides, the problem was discovered during basic training (and twenty years ago). A lengthy military career and then he suddenly realises he cannot wear a mask is extremely unlikely.

    In general, the dealers room at a big con during a covid surge is one place where wearing a mask absolutely makes sense. If Williamson can’t wear one (and even if he can), that dealers room is a risky environment. Personally, I would not have gone to a big con like Dragon Con right now, mask or not.

  34. Cora Bulhert says I actually know someone who was discharged from the military for being unable to wear a gas mask. However, that had nothing to do with oxygen levels, but with panic attacks and claustrophobia. Besides, the problem was discovered during basic training (and twenty years ago). A lengthy military career and then he suddenly realises he cannot wear a mask is extremely unlikely.

    Precisely. He making up his whole story and there’s no way he got discharged from the military for this.

  35. 5) for most people, mask wearing does not pose a medical problem. But I have a chronic lung condition and my pulmonologist has confirmed that prolonged masking while doing physical labor (ie not sitting and manning a booth) exacerbates my condition. So I avoid such situations. For someone who does physical labor for a living, then there’s a real problem vis a vis requiring masking. I know a guy who lifts packages all day (FedEx) and the mask requirement causes him significant health problems. This is a real problem without an obvious solution that deserves careful consideration, not a curt dismissal. And the con definitely should have refunded MZW’s money.

    Yes, this. People who have issues wearing masks for a prolonged period of time usually tend to avoid situations where they have to or try to find alternative solutions, e.g. waiting outside for an appointment in order to minimise the time they have to wear a mask.

    Also, people with mask issues tend to be more careful about social distancing, etc… I know that for me personally, Dragon Con with its big crowds plus the prospect of going through Atlanta airport would have triggered, “Hell, no, that’s way too risky” reaction.

    That said, I do think Dragon Con should have refunded memberships or at least refunded the difference to a virtual membership. Though considering that they probably got a lot of cancellations, both because of travel concerns and covid policies, may well have gotten them into financial trouble.

  36. The DragonCon website says “Dragon Con memberships are non-refundable and non-transferable.” That’s the entire policy. I wouldn’t call the best thought out policy and I’m not sure it’s even a legal policy under federal law covering the period in which refunds are required.

  37. @Allan Lloyd

    (5) I know nothing about cons in the US, but what I find shocking about this story is that it seems perfectly normal to have a stall selling lethal weapons at an event that is about reading and watching SF. And I thought we had a problem with knife crime in the UK.

    What’s the big deal? Knives are widely available for what, the last 4000 years? Every house I’ve ever been in has butcher knives. Everyone I know lives in a household with multiple knives. Every Walmart, grocery store, Dollar Tree/Dollar Store/Dollar General in America sells them. I’m 59 and I’ve carried a knife daily since I was 10. Knives are so ubiquitous that if a con attendee wanted to do something bad with a knife, the presence or absence of a seller at Dragon Con would make absolutely no difference at all.

  38. I think they went bust a few years ago but a purveyor of tv&film replica weaponry used to be a regular at the more commercial geek events here in the UK. Everything they sold was totally blunt and also had to be left with them at their stall until you were ready to leave the event and go home – you couldn’t carry a hunk of metal around the floor, even if it was a blunt hunk of metal. If you brought a cosplay prop with you that resembled a weapon (even if it was made of foam) it had to be checked in with the masquerade peeps and picked up when you left.

    Metal detectors and bag checks are also increasingly common at some venues.

    Outside of event-specific rules: A knife that doesn’t fold or is longer than three inches will get you into trouble unless you have a good reason to be carrying it outside the home – and “good reasons” are pretty limited in scope.

  39. @rochrist: Indeed. I would possibly stretch “fantasy weapons” to replicas of historical weapons, FWIW. But, the whole “pack it up, keep it safely stored” isn’t really optional.

  40. 7) This is also Richard Bachman’s birthday. His story “The Long Walk” is a personal favorite. His book “The Running Man” served as the basis for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the same name. He died in 1985. A bright talent, gone too soon. Had he lived, I think his career might have eclipsed even Stephen King.

    5) MZW’s personality and political perspectives aside, it certainly seems like the con treated him (and others) poorly.

    Regards,
    Dann
    One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present. – Golda Meir

  41. Dann665 says This is also Richard Bachman’s birthday. His story “The Long Walk” is a personal favorite. His book “The Running Man” served as the basis for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the same name. He died in 1985. A bright talent, gone too soon. Had he lived, I think his career might have eclipsed even Stephen King.

    If you’re counting the “birthday” of Richard Bachman from the publication of the novel Rage be advised that King has disowned that work as it depicts a school shooting. (He’s written an essay condemning the wring of it.) He’s allowed it go out of publication, the only one of his works that he’s so done that to. And even King admits that those works are far inferior to the ones that he published under his own name.

    I remember seeing the original editions of the Bachman books being stocked at the University of Maine at Orono in the early eighties. He was teaching English classes there at the time.

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