Pixel Scroll 9/25/16 Keep Your Scrolls Close, But Keep Your Pixels Closer

(1) SFWA IN A TENT. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America had a tent at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival. Here’s some highlights.

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The SFWA line up #bmorebookfest

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(2) OVERTIME. William Patrick Maynard tells how “Phileas Fogg Finds Immortality” at Black Gate.

When Jules Verne created gentleman adventurer Phileas Fogg in his 1873 novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, he had no way of imagining the bizarre turn his character’s chronicles would take a century later. When Philip Jose Farmer added The Other Log of Phileas Fogg to his Wold Newton Family series in 1973, he had no way of imagining that four decades later there would exist a Wold Newton specialty publisher to continue the esoteric literary exploits of some of the last two centuries’ most fantastic characters.

(3) HOW THIS YEAR’S HUGO BASES WERE MADE. Read artist Sara Felix’s Facebook post about creating the bases. And there’s an Instagram from the company that did the fabrication.

(4) HUGO LOSER DIFFERENT FROM JUST PLAIN LOSER. The Vancouver Sun ran an article on Sebastian de Castell, with a Puppyish spin on events, “The time George R.R. Martin called Vancouver writer Sebastien de Castell a loser”.

It was nothing personal, though. In fact, it had little to do with de Castell at all. De Castell was at the annual celebration of science fiction and fantasy writing/fandom because he had made the Hugo shortlist for best new writer. De Castell figured he would lose to Andy Weir of The Martian fame — he was correct in this prediction — and he assumed Martin believed the same thing.

But Martin was also reacting to the fact that de Castell had been nominated in part because of the efforts of two fan voting blocs: the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies. The Puppies groups have caused chaos in the Hugo Awards and the broader sci-fi and fantasy communities lately by trying to fight what they see as the takeover of the awards by “social justice warriors” who vote for politically correct works at the expense of good writing and storytelling. Both the Sad Puppies, created by bestselling author Larry Correia, and the Rabid Puppies, launched by right-wing writer Vox Day, have put forward slates of suggested writers and works to vote for, and de Castell wound up on just such a list much to his surprise.

Sebastien de Castell elaborated in this Reddit thread: As Peter [reporter Peter Darbyshire] noted in the article, George R.R. Martin wasn’t being hurtful towards me at all–he was simply calling it as he saw it and, of course, was completely correct in his assessment. My mature, adult self understood that there was nothing ungracious on his part in our very brief encounter. My eight year-old inner self, of course, had quite reasonably been expecting his first words to me to be, “What? Sebastien de Castell? By Jove, chap, I’ve been looking all over for you in order to praise your works as the finest in a generation. Also, because I’d love your thoughts on the final books in A Song of Ice & Fire…I happen to have some early pages here if you’d like to read them?”

That’s what Peter and I were discussing in that portion of the interview–the gap for me between feeling like a “big time author” and coming face-to-face with the reality of being a guy who’s really still very much in the early stages of his career.

The most interesting thing about WorldCon (MidAmericon II) for me was how kind people were to me overall. I was very cognizant that my presence on the Campbell shortlist was controversial and likely painful to a lot of people within that community. They had every reason to suspicious and even dismissive of me, but in fact folks were generous and welcoming. David Gerrold gave me some excellent advice on completing the final book in the Greatcoats series, Alyssa Wong was terrific and fun to hang out with (we were the only two Campbell nominees in attendance so our official photos got pretty silly), and I got to spend some time chatting with the brilliant Michael Swanwick.

(5) DC EXPLORING 2024 WORLDCON BID. Their polished website suggests a group that is doing more than just thinking about it, however, they say DC in 2024 is still in the exploratory stage.

We are members of the Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc. (BWAWA). In 2013, we launched DC17, a bid to host the 2017 Worldcon in Washington, DC at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel… but we lost to Worldcon 75.

We’re back to explore the possibility of hosting the 82nd Worldcon in 2024. Washington, DC is still a super location for a World Science Fiction Convention and we believe it’s time Worldcon returned to DC for the third time. The year 2024 will be the 50th anniversary of Discon II, the last DC Worldcon.

We are still very early in the planning stage. Please check back for information on supporting our bid and our future activities. Our social media links are also still under construction.

They’re exploring right now – but I expect they’ll find they’re bidding if they keeping looking.

(6) WEINBERG OBIT.  SF Site News reports Robert Weinberg (1946-2016) passed away today.

Author Robert Weinberg (b.1946) died on September 25. Weinberg began publishing fiction in 1967 and from 1970 to 1981 edited the fanzine Pulp about pulp magazines. He wrote for Marvel Comics and was known for his art collection. Weinberg also ran a mail order book business until 1997. Weinberg received a special committee award at Chicon 7, the 2012 Worldcon.

Here is the citation that was read at Chicon 7 when Weinberg was presented with his Special Committee Award.

Each year, the Worldcon committee is entitled to recognize someone who has made a difference in our community.  Someone who has made science fiction fandom a better place.  This can be a fan, an author, a bookseller, a collector, a con-runner, or someone who fits into all those and more.  This year, Chicon 7 is pleased to recognize someone who fits into all of those categories.

Robert Weinberg attended his first meeting of the Eastern SF Association in 1963, discovered the club offered something he liked, and became active, eventually becoming the club’s president in 1968.  Maintaining an interest in the pulp magazines which formed so much of the basis for what we read today, Bob published fourteen issues of the fanzine, Pulp, from 1974 through 1980.

In 1968, Bob began publishing readers guides to the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, eventually expanding both to book length and publishing additional guides and books about the pulp magazines and the authors who wrote for them.  1973 saw his publication of WT50, an anniversary tribute to Weird Tales, a magazine to which Bob would acquire the rights in 1979 and help revive.

Bob is a collector of science fiction and fantasy art from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, working to preserve art which otherwise might have been lost. His interest in art collection also led to him writing A Biographical Dictionary of SF & Fantasy Artists, which served as a basis for Chicon 7’s Guest of Honor Jane Frank’s own A Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

Beginning in 1976, Bob began serving as the co-chairman of the Chicago Comicon, then the second largest comic book convention in the United States.  He continued in that position for twenty years before it was sold to Wizard Entertainment.  During that time, Bob also chaired the World Fantasy Convention when it came to Chicago on two different occasions and in 1978 he co-chaired the first major Doctor Who convention in the United States.

Bob has also written his own books, both non-fiction and fiction.. His first novel, The Devil’s Auction, was published in 1988 with more than a dozen novels and collections to follow.  He worked with Martin H. Greenberg to edit and publish numerous anthologies beginning in the 1980s.

Not content to write his own books and monographs, run conventions, and collect art, Bob also, for several years, ran the mail-order Weinberg Books.  Bob offered advice to Alice Bentley when she was setting up The Stars Our Destination, a science fiction specialty bookstore in Chicago from 1988 through 2003.  In 1997, Bob sold his mail order business to Alice.

Bob’s long career as a fan, author, bookseller, collector, and con-runner has helped make science fiction the genre, and the community, it is today.  Chicon 7 would like to recognize Robert Weinberg for his years of service and devotion given to advancing the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

(7) PETERSON OBIT. First Fandom member Robert C. Peterson (1921-2016) died August 15. John Coker III wrote the following appreciation:

Robert C. Peterson (May 30, 1921 – August 15, 2016)

Robert Constant Peterson passed away on August 15 after a brief illness.  He is survived by his four sons, John, James, Alan, and Douglas, and his grandchildren, Katherine, Eric, Diana, and Jay.

Robert was preceded in death by his wife of over 50 years, Winifred.

Robert graduated in 1942 from the University of Wyoming and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.  He was an avid hiker and was an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club.  He led hikes for the club until just before he turned 80.  He met his wife, Winifred, on a mountain club hike.

Robert was an early fan of science fiction.  In 1994 he was elected to the First Fandom Hall of Fame, and in 2008 he received the Sam Moskowitz Archive Award in recognition of his SF collection.

Robert and Winifred were lifelong members of the Washington Park United Church of Christ and were strong supporters of social justice.  They supported Winifred’s sister Gretchen in her work at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Japan.  Robert and Winifred travelled extensively in the U.S. and throughout the world.

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the American Friends of the ARI (http://www.friends-ari.org/).

(8) GARMAN OBIT. Jack Garman (1944-2016), credited with a judgment call that saved the first moon landing, died September 20 at the age of 72.

On July 20, 1969, moments after mission control in Houston had given the Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, the O.K. to begin its descent to the moon, a yellow warning light flashed on the cockpit instrument panel. “Program alarm,” the commander, Neil Armstrong, radioed. “It’s a 1202.”

The alarm appeared to indicate a computer systems overload, raising the specter of a breakdown. With only a few minutes left before touchdown on the moon, Steve Bales, the guidance officer in mission control, had to make a decision: Let the module continue to descend, or abort the mission and send the module rocketing back to the command ship, Columbia.

By intercom, Mr. Bales quickly consulted Jack Garman, a 24-year-old engineer who was overseeing the software support group from a back-room console. Mr. Garman had painstakingly prepared himself for just this contingency — the possibility of a false alarm.

“So I said,” he remembered, “on this backup room voice loop that no one can hear, ‘As long as it doesn’t reoccur, it’s fine.’”

At 4:18 p.m., with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining for the descent, Mr. Armstrong radioed: “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Mr. Garman, whose self-assurance and honed judgment effectively saved mankind’s first lunar landing, died on Tuesday outside Houston. He was 72. His wife, Susan, said the cause was complications of bone marrow cancer.


  • September 25, 1959 — Hammer’s The Mummy, seen for the first time in the UK on this day.


  • Born September 25, 1930  — Shel Silverstein
  • Born September 25, 1951 – Mark Hamill
  • Born September 25, 1952  — Christopher Reeve

(11) JUST BEFORE THE FINAL FRONTIER. Need an excuse to feel miserable? Read “Leonard Nimoy Died Hating William Shatner” at About Entertainment.

(12) CULTURAL APPROPRIATION DEBATE. Kaitlyn Greenidge makes some trenchant comments in “Who Gets To Write What?” for the New York Times.

…Claudia Rankine, when awarded the MacArthur genius grant this past week, noted that the prize was “the culture saying: We have an investment in dismantling white dominance in our culture. If you’re trying to do that, we’re going to help you.” For some, this sounds exciting. For others, this reads as a threat — at best, a suggestion to catch up and engage with a subject, race, that for a long time has been thought of as not “universal,” not “deep” enough for fiction. The panic around all of this is driving these outbursts.

It must feel like a reversal of fate to those who have not been paying attention. The other, who has been relegated to the background character, wise outcast, dash of magic, or terror or cool or symbolism, or more simply emotional or physical whore, is expected to be the main event, and some writers suspect that they may not be up for that challenge.

A writer has the right to inhabit any character she pleases — she’s always had it and will continue to have it. The complaint seems to be less that some people ask writers to think about cultural appropriation, and more that a writer wishes her work not to be critiqued for doing so, that instead she get a gold star for trying.

Whenever I hear this complaint, I am reminded of Toni Morrison’s cool assessment of “anti-P.C. backlash” more than 20 years ago: “What I think the political correctness debate is really about is the power to be able to define. The definers want the power to name. And the defined are now taking that power away from them.”

This debate, or rather, this level of the debate, is had over and over again, primarily because of an unwillingness on one side to consider history or even entertain a long line of arguments in response. Instead, what often happens is a writer or artist acts as though she is taking some brave stand by declaring to be against political correctness. As if our entire culture is not already centered on a very particular version of whiteness that many white people don’t even inhabit anymore. And so, someone makes a comment or a statement without nuance or sense of history, only with an implicit insistence that writing and publishing magically exist outside the structures of power that dominate every other aspect of our daily lives.

Imagine the better, stronger fiction that could be produced if writers took this challenge to stretch and grow one’s imagination, to afford the same depth of humanity and interest and nuance to characters who look like them as characters who don’t, to take those stories seriously and actually think about power when writing — how much further fiction could go as an art.

(13) THE VOX DAY FASHION SHOW. Day spared no effort to fit into the theme of a 5K he ran —  “The Color Run: a story of courage, endurance, and ninjas, part I”.

Spacebunny and Vox Day.

Spacebunny and Vox Day.

We got up very early, so early that it was pretty much a toss of the coin as to whether I’d just stay up all night or not, and made the drive to Lausanne, Switzerland, where we met our friends with whom we were doing the run. We changed in the parking lot, where it was much appreciated how my multicolored tutu nicely matched the colorful logo of the t-shirts we were provided. It was rather cold, which inspired Spacebunny to deliver an equally colorful soliloquy in appreciation for the generosity of the donors who were the reason she was wearing nothing but a bikini under her tutu.

Which, of course, was not as pretty as mine, as hers was only yellow. I pointed out that she would probably be glad to not be wearing very much in the way of clothing once we started running and the sun rose a bit higher in the sky, an intelligent observation that impressed her to such an extent that she expressed a keen wish to feel my teeth in her flesh, a sentiment that she managed to phrase in an admirably succinct manner. She was also delighted to discover that while there were people wearing everything from unicorn suits to dragon outfits, she was the only runner in a bikini.

The Color Run happens in hundreds of town internationally in the course of a year:

The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed event in which thousands of participants, or “Color Runners”, are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer. With only two rules, the idea is easy to follow:

1Wear white at the starting line!

2Finish plastered in color!

After Color Runners complete the race, the fun continues with an unforgettable Finish Festival. This larger than life party is equipped with music, dancing and massive color throws, which create millions of vivid color combinations. Trust us, this is the best post-5k party on the planet!

(14) REAL NEWS AND A FAKE TRAILER. From Den of Geek, “Doctor Who Spinoff: Class – Latest News”.

Peter Capaldi will be appearing in the first episode of Class! The show announced the good news via its social media accounts.

We also know that the show’s first two episodes will premiere in the UK on October 22nd. The Twitter account also announced the titles of the first two episodes: “For Tonight We Might Die” and “The Coach With the Dragon Tattoo.” Whoa. That first one is dark and that second one really does sound like it could be a Buffy episode….

Sadly, we don’t yet have an official trailer for Class, though we do have an amazing fanmade one that is pretty brilliant in showing a potential tone of the show and put it into context within the larger Doctor Who universe. It gives a sense of just how ingrained the Coal Hill School has been in the Doctor Who world.


[Thanks to Steven H Silver, Bartimaeus, Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Rambo, A wee Green Man, and John King Tarpinian, for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor IanP.]

162 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/25/16 Keep Your Scrolls Close, But Keep Your Pixels Closer

  1. MaxL: “As a side note, one of the VOYA people created a twitter account today and started threatening libel suits. So that’s promising.”

    Goddamit. I try to be charitable and reasonable and nice, and then….

    &lt Emily Litella voice &gt Never mind. &lt /Emily Litella voice &gt

    (ETA: The “&” thingies are SUPPOSED to produce angle brackets.)

  2. Bruce Arthurs: The “&” thingies are SUPPOSED to produce angle brackets.

    You have to include the semicolon after. (<) Special chars will display properly in the preview window without the semicolon, but when you hit “post”, they will not display correctly.

  3. @Andrew M

    I think that is in part because of how the list ended up; no agenda would actually have been furthered by using it as a slate. I am sure they did intend from the start that people could use it as a recommendation list – indeed, I believe some people used SP3 as a recommendation list – but they did also include advice on how to use it as a slate if you wanted to.

    Looking at my analysis of 2015, I could believe that 50-80 people used SP3 for recommendations–about the same as the number who used it as a slate.

    For SP4, I had wondered if people would deduce the “real slate” inside the list, discarding the File770 suggestions, but it doesn’t seem as though anything like that happened. Of course even in 2015, their slate discipline was a lot more lax than Vox Day’s was, and they only had about 2/3 to 1/2 the people he did.

  4. Woohoo! Am receiving email notifications from Scrolls from The Times of Darkness!

    ::hides human sacrifice implements::

  5. @Lenora Rose

    … and is everything VD would hate in a book. PoC, Women with Agency, lots and lots of queerness. oh, and heavy on non-Christian religion, but that’s not VD’s particular Bete Noire.

    To illustrate a point about complaining (but not to actually complain) 🙂 I’d like to point out that “queer” is a trigger word for me, as it is for a great many (maybe most) gay men. When I read it, it’s like a punch in the gut. Not as bad as a real one, of course, but it always reminds me of a real one. I cannot finish articles that use it heavily.

    I’m not accusing you of doing this on purpose, of course; I just want to make the point that here is a truly awful word that causes real pain, and yet no one apologizes for it nor even makes any effort to use different words. Whenever I do point it out, I always get responses that are at least as unhelpful and unsympathetic as anything I see from the anti-PC crowd.

    I think a campaign to stamp out the word “queer” is pretty hopeless, and that’s not what I’m trying to do here. (Although if someone actually started one, I’d give money to it.) But I want to point out that it’s good to try to have at least a little sympathy for the folks who get defensive when someone calls them out on an offense that they don’t recognize. You might be in that boat yourself someday, and you’d appreciate being let down gently.

  6. @ Cheryl: A lot of the Raksura series is about Moon’s emotional journey, but in the first book everyone is under stress and their behavior suffers accordingly. Once they’ve beaten off the Fell and successfully made the trip back to the old colony tree, the stress level is lower* and people start behaving more normally.

    * Though still far from nonexistent, and there are some ongoing repercussions from the constant tensions of the last few years in the colony outside the Reaches — which is one of the things about the series that rings very true to me. These people act like real people; they don’t get the Giant Reset Button.

  7. @ Lenora Rose: There is no middle ground, ever, no careful consideration of what is and is not appropriate, nobody with colour or nuance. It’s “Write it all, no matter how vile” or “sell out to the most extreme of left wing extremists.”

    Which is a version of “my way or the highway”, which is, in turn, about power — specifically, who has the power to define the less-powerful.

    @ Bruce A: I fail to see how you can call either of VOYA’s first two responses “apologies” — they were classic nonpologies of the “We’re sorry IF anyone was offended” variety, with a couple of personal attacks thrown in for good measure. And what you’re calling “increasingly submissive,” in the next two, reads to me like “grudging and tooth-gritted” — there is still no acknowledgement that they could possibly have done anything wrong, what’s the PROBLEM with all those whiners and what’s the magic word that will make them shut up? No way in hell is that an apology either. The fifth one was significantly better, but by then it was too little, too late. If that’s me being “one of those people who seem to thrive on attacking perceived slights long past the point where continuing an argument is productive,” all I can say is that when you’re not seeing any improvement, sitting down and shutting up like a good little girl is counter-productive.

  8. I shall attempt a :: ticky::

    ETA: Subscribe email received! Also, my inbox contains two (two!) notifications of articles OGH has posted. Does this mean the File 770 Email Notification (FEN) Crisis of 2016 is over?

  9. VD mocks John Scalzi for wearing a dress, yet here he is wearing a multi-colored tutu.

  10. @Greg Hullender:

    Not who it was addressed to, or the purpose of your remark, but I’d like to thank you for mentioning (twice now that I’ve noticed) that the word “queer” makes you uncomfortable. I had never thought about your perspective before, and will try to be watchful about my word usage going forward.

  11. That VOYA misadventure has real potential for years of use as a practical application of how to not to make a proper apology.

    @Greg Hullender, that is a word I use fairly frequently, because of its utility in describing the big tent of not-heterosexual. I started using it once it lost its article (whereupon it no longer felt weaponized) and it startled me when you recently wrote about how it made you feel. I’ve been casting around for a substitute ever since.

    @junego, Arifel, Lee, thank you for the responses. My issue was quite close to that of @Arifel, in that (now that there’s a real computer instead of a phone that pretends copying things is like bailing out the Pacific Ocean with a slotted spoon) Zbba gevrf fb uneq gb fgnl va gur tebhaqyvatf frggyrzrag naq gura fubegyl nsgre qvfpbirevat uvf bja crbcyr, xrrcf znxvat yrnirgnxvat abvfrf. Gung fbeg bs hapbaivapvat mvtmnttvat vf jung V jnf gnyxvat nobhg jura V nfxrq nobhg yngre znghevat.

    It is, for me, a case of a character behaving in ways that don’t entirely make sense unless the character is an adolescent or the writer’s string pulling for narrative tension is a little too visible. Both are things I see in Romeo and Juliet, which I like a whole lot less than The Cloud Roads, so it’s not a dig at Wells’ skill as a writer.

  12. @Dawn Incognito

    Not who it was addressed to, or the purpose of your remark, but I’d like to thank you for mentioning (twice now that I’ve noticed) that the word “queer” makes you uncomfortable. I had never thought about your perspective before, and will try to be watchful about my word usage going forward.

    That would be kind of you. Thanks.

    I keep thinking that if there’s really a need for a different word, maybe we could do something with “metasexual,” since meta is between cis and trans. Of course it would play hob with other uses of “meta.” 🙂

  13. I read all the VOYA so-called “apologies”, and none of them took responsibility for their screw-up. It was all blaming the rightly offended people for being “too sensitive”. They might as well have called QUILTBAG readers “special snowflakes” and thrown around pearl necklaces, IYKWIM. Until they give straight and non-straight romance equal ratings, yes, they ARE prejudiced. First Law of Holes, indeed. And now they’re Twitter-suing; who’re the snowflakes now, eh? Threatening to sue on Twitter is basically detonating a bomb in your own hole. Some of their apologies started out fine and then went off into this snarky little “lighten UP!” asides. And continuing to say “lifestyle” when they’re actually referring to “inborn sense of identity” is way behind the times.

    Until they own up to what they did wrong, the kerfuffle will continue. And suing other people for expressing the opinion that “all Men (persons) are created equal” is literally un-American. (and un-the civilized countries)

    @Lenora Rose is right — it was one grudging apology after one attack and three nonpologies.

    @Cheryl S: Yeah, it’ll make a nice case study in PR classes. Business and PR majors should be given the original documents and the whole string of “apologies” and asked to write a one-page paper or have an hour’s online discussion or whatever it is they do nowadays on “This. Don’t do it.”

    Welcome back, ticky-box. Does it seem to have some Shoggoth marks on it?

  14. @Soon Lee: “File 770 Email Notification (FEN) Crisis of 2016”

    I LOL’d at your name/acronym. 🙂

    @Galen Bishop: Oh, nice catch! I noticed the tutu, but forgot Beale’s Scalzi-mocking-for-dress bit.

    /godstalking ‘cuz I can

  15. @ Cheryl: Ah. Yes, that’s a large part of Moon’s character arc in the second book. I think most of his behavior in the first one can be put down to “result of years of traumatic stress, which has left him disinclined to trust anyone“. By the third one, ur’f svtugvat whfg nf uneq gb fgnl jvgu Vaqvtb Pybhq nf ur jnf jnssyvat nobhg vg va gur svefg obbx. And he still has trust issues, but you can see him starting to work on them.

  16. @Cheryl S.

    RE: Moon and Raksura

    Ohg Zbba’f whfg orra orgenlrq…ntnva…ol tebhaqyvatf. Ur’f svanyyl jvgu uvf bja fcrpvrf naq n) gurl’er abg jrypbzvat uvz jvgu bcra nezf, naq o) ur qbrfa’g xabj gur phygher…ubj gb fraq naq erprvir gur pbeerpg fbpvny fvtanyf. Ur’f uheg, fpnerq naq jnel, cyhf qebccrq vagb gur zvqqyr bs n pevfvf gung’f fgerffvat rirelbar nebhaq uvz. Naq, vvep, nygubhtu ur’f nebhaq 40 lb, ur’f pbafvqrerq snveyl lbhat ol Enxfhen fgnaqneqf?

    And what Lee said about traumatic stress since childhood.

  17. And WHOOP, WHOOP!! The tick is back. (I have no filking skills. Someone want to try to “The B&*^% Is Back”?)

    I don’t have to keep 3 or more tabs open (which takes up a lotta real estate on an iPad) and refresh whenever I remember any more.

  18. The VOYA debacle has been terrible. In the course of their so-called apologies, they’ve managed insult the youth for whom they allegedly advocate. After the initial complaint, they could have responded in a way that was professional, but they didn’t. And then they just kept going. The current management team (VOYA was sold in 2010) certainly seems to have a different approach than the original owners. They’ve deleted quite a bit from Facebook and elsewhere (thank goodness there are screenshots documenting their complete lack of professional behavior). If you’ve only seen the content currently available on their accounts, you haven’t seen the worst of it. Additionally, the mass blocking of librarians and authors on twitter was astounding.

    They’ve lost a lot of goodwill and trust among the youth services folks I know.

  19. @junego: LOL, the first line of that song is “I was justified when I was five” which I’m sure can be spun into some sort of fifth reference.

    Hmm, the “commented” links in the e-mails seem to all link to the first comment page (&cpage=1). I forget how they used to work. Not a big deal (and outside OGH’s control, I presume). /ramble

  20. Greg,

    I’ve only been hanging out in circles where the word is, uh, reclaimed, and hadn’t considered its lingering effects elsewhere. I’m sorry, and will endeavor to avoid it in future.

  21. Greg,

    Thank you for mentioning the issue. A good section of The Youth might, like me, move in places where the word in question is often preferred as inclusive and natural. We are all too quick to forget generational gaps.

  22. Those might be Shoggoth marks…

    @Lee, @junego, it sounds like a good plan might be to wait for a time when I’m less sensitive to try The Serpent Sea. The world building was so good and I loved her Ile-Rien series so much, that not being sent into orbit by a book so many people recommended really surprised me. Thank you again.

  23. I, too, grew up with “queer” as deeply offensive in a “talking about sexual identities” context, and I’ve been more than a bit bemused by its recent reclaimed status. And it seems to mean something I don’t quite understand, now, which would leave me feeling uncomfortable about it even if it’s history weren’t an issue for me.

  24. @Galen Bishop: And Teddy’s tutu is for vacation and self-aggrandizement, plus he actually owns it and wore it all day in public — whereas Scalzi’s dress was for charity and was borrowed, just for a few minutes in private. Quite the contrast!

    I’m not a young’un, but where I hang out, “queer” has been thoroughly reclaimed and is even preferred in some contexts — only within the group, of course.

  25. @Greg Hullender – I’m one of those who have been around people using it in a reclaimed kind of way for a while, and became comfortable using the word in the past few years. When you explained how it hits you, I decided to intentionally stop using it. I’m not at all unsympathetic to how it makes you feel, just FYI.

  26. When I was in college in the early 90s and hanging out with activists, “queer” was just in the process of being reclaimed and had a strong association with political radicalism. It would not have been used by people who were openly gay/lesbian/bi etc. but weren’t into left politics. I like the way that the meaning has developed now. I think there is a strong need for some such broad and simple word, but yes, one without baggage — reclaiming is a risky thing; it can make some people feel powerful and have the opposite effect for others.

  27. @Greg Hullender: Whenever I do point it out, I always get responses that are at least as unhelpful and unsympathetic as anything I see from the anti-PC crowd.

    It’s possible that at least part of that response is happening because you have sometimes (that is, when I’ve seen you discuss it here) insisted on telling people what their own motivation is for using the term, and defining it for them in a way that assumes bad faith on their part. I’m thinking for instance of this comment in which you claimed that the motivation was “that it lets them avoid mentioning lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals.” That is, to put it mildly, not an accurate description of how or why anyone I know in the LGBT community uses the word; I can certainly believe that you met some unpleasant person who was like that, but that’s no excuse for pugnaciously telling everyone else that that’s what they really mean by it.

    I don’t want to re-argue that argument and I am perfectly fine with avoiding the word in your presence, but if you really think that other people’s ideological rigidity is the only reason why your position often doesn’t get the response you’re looking for… see above.

  28. I am kind of unhappy about the whole thing as the Q-word has been wholesale adopted in Sweden and does not have the historic luggage here.

    Saying LGBT without adding Q makes me feel that I am betraying my friends and all the work we have done to create an inclusive enviroment. Like we are sacrificing those that don’t fit into the “normal” fold.

    But I will try to avoid using the standalone word here.

  29. I’m gay, nearly 70, and I rather like “queer.” Some of us have managed the whole reclaiming business fairly successfully; I don’t, in fact, have many friends who find “queer” especially problematic.

  30. @Kendall
    My earworm is screaming “Ti-ick! Ti-ick! The tick-y’s ba-ack!” for hours now…but I have no other words. Sad. :-[

  31. I’m all for mocking Beale but generally one does something like the Color Run for either or both of these reasons:

    1) Fun
    2) Charity

    A cursory search of his blog reveals a link to a Justgiving page which states that the money is going to be given to research into Crohn’s disease research at King’s College London (specifically a human trial of a vaccine against [one of] the bacteria believed to cause it, apparently)

    So, yeah, I’m a little uncomfortable with the barbs going his way for what is, at least in part, a fairly decent act.

  32. Oneiros on September 27, 2016 at 3:00 am said:
    I’m all for mocking Beale but generally one does something like the Color Run for either or both of these reasons:

    1) Fun
    2) Charity

    A cursory search of his blog reveals a link to a Justgiving page which states that the money is going to be given to research into Crohn’s disease research at King’s College London (specifically a human trial of a vaccine against [one of] the bacteria believed to cause it, apparently)

    So, yeah, I’m a little uncomfortable with the barbs going his way for what is, at least in part, a fairly decent act.


  33. Re: use of the word queer and sensitivity to potential offense

    I previously wrote a rather lengthy exploration on why I find the positive/inclusive use of the word queer to be extremely useful and to cover a semantic function that no other word or phrase covers quite as conveniently or accurately.

    I do appreciate that some people, like Greg, have painful associations with the word and both choose not to use it and find others’ use unpleasant. But unlike some words that have historically been slurs, my experience is that there is a vast range of reception for “queer” and that currently the majority of that reception (including large numbers of LGBT people like me) is as a positive, productive, and useful word. That puts me in a bit of a dilemma, because I’m strongly averse to knowingly offending people with my language use, but I have no intention to avoid using the word queer in the positive, productive, and useful meaning that it has grown into.

    A useful parallel–though more narrow in meaning–is the word “dyke”. When I first came out back in the ’70s, public use of “dyke” was still pretty solidly negative and accusatory. It went through a long period of in-group reclaiming when it held that awkward position of “we can use it for ourselves, but don’t you use it for us.” That sense probably lingered longer in out-group use, such as when one city refused to issue a parade permit to a chapter of “Dykes on Bikes” on the principle that the name included an offensive slur (offensive to the group using it!). And I’m sure that there are still individuals today for whom the word dyke is painful and carries a lot of hurtful memories. But the dyke-boat has sailed. And all we can hope is that regular non-pejorative use will erode that painful reception.

    I will continue to use the word queer, not because I don’t care about those who find it hurtful for historic reasons, and not because I think their opinions and positions are not important, valid, or valuable, but because I believe the positive usefulness of the word vastly outweighs the lingering traces of that historic pejorative sense. I am unhappy about the hurt that this will cause, but I’ve weighed the matter in my own conscience and have made my choice.

  34. @Heather Rose Jones

    I will continue to use the word queer, not because I don’t care about those who find it hurtful for historic reasons, and not because I think their opinions and positions are not important, valid, or valuable, but because I believe the positive usefulness of the word vastly outweighs the lingering traces of that historic pejorative sense. I am unhappy about the hurt that this will cause, but I’ve weighed the matter in my own conscience and have made my choice.

    Then you have no leg to stand on when you complain about people like Vox Day making the same calculation and doing the same thing.

  35. “Then you have no leg to stand on when you complain about people like Vox Day making the same calculation and doing the same thing.”

    Greg, if you want us to listen to you, ridiculous false equivalences is not the way to go.

  36. And all we can hope is that regular non-pejorative use will erode that painful reception.

    I’m not sure that has reached these shores yet judging by this stramash

  37. Greg, I am so sorry. I had forgotten about your concerns over the word when I wrote my post. Next time, I will endeavour to use a less hurtful term.

    (I have no idea why I didn’t just use LGBTTQA, which is my usual, and at worst leads to discussion of what any given letter is for)

  38. Greg Hullander: I’m not sure what to say. I have a friend who refers to themself as “genderqueer”. Should I tell this friend that they can’t use the term? How could I possibly have the right to do that? (Especially since I’m cis-female?) If that friend started posting here, should that person be forbidden to use the term that they think best fits their personal experience?

    I recognize, and have enormous sympathy for, the fact you’ve been hurt by the term. I also recognize that my friend has the right to refer to themself in the way that makes them comfortable.

    I don’t know if there’s a way to square this circle. But I do think there is an enormous difference between someone using a term in a hateful and perjorative fashion and someone using a term in a welcoming or at least neutral fashion.

    I’ve had “woman” thrown at me as a perjorative term. And it hurt. I’ve also heard “woman” used in an affirming way, and in a neutral way. The impact of the same word is vastly different depending on the context and the intent of the speaker. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not claiming any kind of equivalence between “woman” and the word you hate; in my experience “woman” is used to dismiss or denigrate but not usually to harm, unlike, historically, the word you hate. But I do think that the word you hate has become considerably less toxic to younger folk than it is to older folk.

    For what it’s worth.

  39. Greg, Vox Day doesn’t make the same calculation. He’s proud of not doing so.

    And you know this.

    That’s why people find it hard to agree with you even when they may have agreed with your original point. Heather cares about people’s feelings, and regrets it when she finds the choices such that it’s basically a choice of who gets hurt. She tries to inflict the least hurt possible.

    You, on the other hand, seem to mainly care about your own feelings. It’s way less compelling.

  40. What Lis Carey says resonates with me. My usage was entirely thoughtless, and thus earned a reprimand. Heather Rose Jones’ explanation of a complicated calculus of maximal justice and inclusion deserved at least a thoughtful disagreement.

    Question; is genderqueer, rather than queer alone, sufficiently removed from the original slur usage as to be tolerable? Because it has a different meaning (being about gender and not sexuality*), and is usually a self-applied label by those who use it.

    * though by definition it would be nigh impossible to be genderqueer and either wholly hetero or homosexual, regardless of how narrow one’s preference of partners were.

  41. @ Greg Hullender

    Then you have no leg to stand on when you complain about people like Vox Day making the same calculation and doing the same thing.

    Life is complicated and not all decisions are easy, straightforward, and without consequences. If one of those consequences is that you think I’m in the same category as Vox Day, I accept that and will integrate it into my overall worldview.

  42. So, yeah, I’m a little uncomfortable with the barbs going his way for what is, at least in part, a fairly decent act.

    The thing I find weird is just how important it seemed to the two of them that Spacebunny was the only participant in a bikini.

  43. Aaron, the bikini thing didn’t particularly bother me, but it did seem odd to me that it wasn’t a WHITE bikini. From what I could surmise from (13), everyone was supposed to wear white so that it could be maximally colored by dyes along the way… (Maybe she put the t-shirt on over her bikini for the run?)

    Regardless, I’m not going to snark at anyone for participating in a charity fundraiser, even if not dressed as the organizers asked. It’s the charity that is important, not the participants.

  44. @junego:
    My earworm is screaming “Ti-ick! Ti-ick! The tick-y’s ba-ack!” for hours now…but I have no other words. Sad. :-[

    Oh the tick, oh the tick, oh the tick is back
    Stone-scrolled pixel as a matter of fact
    I can tick, I can tick ’cause I’m better than you
    It’s the the stories I read
    The pizza I do

  45. Aaron, the bikini thing didn’t particularly bother me, but it did seem odd to me that it wasn’t a WHITE bikini.

    The fact that she wore a bikini didn’t seem odd. Its a charity fun run. People wear similar attire all the time for such events. The thing that I found weird was their apparent excitement over the fact that she was the only participant wearing a bikini.

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