Sanford Challenges WFC About Missing Safety Policies

The 2016 World Fantasy Con committee has been criticized by Jason Sanford because as of February 1 they still had not posted their antiharassment policy or accessibility policy.

As of February 1st, WFC2016 has yet to post either of these policies. Today’s date matters because on January 31 at 11:59 pm the price to register jumped from $150 to $225. I wanted to register at that lower price but without the policies I wouldn’t do so…

In his blog post “World Fantasy Con 2016 doesn’t care about your harassment and accessibility concerns”, Sanford explains that, even more than the price hike, what really made him lose patience is the dialog between committee leadership and others in a closed World Fantasy Con 2016 Facebook group.

Until today I was trying to be understanding. After all, managing a convention is difficult and relies extensively on volunteer assistance. Maybe no one had pointed out to the people running WFC 2016 how important these policies were to people. Maybe they were having trouble devising these policies.

But then I receive the following screengrabs and many others, which come from the private Facebook group of the people running WFC 2016. The screengrabs show that the people behind WFC 2016 were told repeatedly that they needed these policies, and that it is unfair to not have the policies up before the lower registration fee deadline passed.

But instead of listening to these concerns, which were raised with WFC 2016 since early December, the people agitating for these policies — along with the very need for such policies — were ignored and belittled.

The screencaps are posted at his blog.

Other writers and editors shared his concerns on Twitter.

Sigrid Ellis

Michael Damien Thomas

Marie Brennan

T. Frohock

Steven Saus

Andrea Phillips

Mari Ness

Jeff VanderMeer

However, the WFC committee was not without support.

And Morgan Feldstein wrote this comment on Sanford’s post:

You signed a pledge that prevents you from registering for conventions until certain policies are posted and those policies are deemed adequate by the organizers of the pledges you signed onto. You chose to sign the pledges and adhere to their terms. The organizers of the World Fantasy Convention did not require you sign the pledges. Nor did the World Fantasy Convention make related pricing commitments to the pledge organizers. If you choose to register late for the World Fantasy Convention in order to keep a promise to the pledge organizers, any associated financial burdens are yours to bear and yours alone. The World Fantasy Convention is under no obligation to financially accommodate you in this matter.

I’ve was at the World Fantasy Convention in 2014. I’ve never seen a more polite and well-mannered bunch of conventioneers in my life. If you feel you can’t attend in good conscience because they haven’t properly bent the knee to the pledge organizers, by all means stay home. I have the feeling the conference will manage perfectly well without the collection of Mrs. Grundys who are presently harassing the World Fantasy Convention for an anti-harrassment policy.

In contrast, Marie Brennan called it “World Fantasy’s Safety Surcharge” in a February 1 post.

Today the registration fee for the 2016 World Fantasy Convention went up by seventy-five dollars, from $150 to $225.

I registered during the previous WFC, as has been my habit for years. Unfortunately, now I realize that I need to rethink this policy. Because despite being prodded on these matters, WFC 2016 still has not posted either a harassment or an accessibility policy. The con-runner, going by her comments posted there, seems to think that “be nice to one another” and “the hotel is ADA compliant” are sufficient measures in that regard — and maybe there will be policies posted by the time the con begins, but apparently it’s totally unreasonable to ask for those things before the price of attendance gets jacked up.

This is not okay. It amounts to a safety surcharge, because if you want to attend WFC, you have two choices:

1) Buy your registration early, in the blind faith that the con will do its duty and put together an acceptable set of policies before you arrive.

2) Wait for the policies, and pay more money in exchange: seventy-five dollars more now, another fifty if they aren’t posted by mid-April, literally twice the membership price if you pick your membership up in the fall (y’know, around the time the harassment policy got posted last year). To say nothing of the difficulty in getting a hotel room if the block has sold out, which it often does — a situation that might put you in a different hotel entirely, and yeah, like that won’t cause you problems if your mobility is limited.

Oh, and let’s not forget: this is a con with a membership cap. Waiting to register might mean you can’t attend at all, because they’re sold out. So really it’s heads they win, tails you lose, because if these things matter to you, then you wind up paying more money to the con, or not showing up at all.

Pixel Scroll 11/28 Sympathy For The Devil’s Arithmetic

(1) Connor Johnston opens a different doorway into the commonplace activity of reviewing Doctor Who episodes by “Ranking the Writing Debuts of the Capaldi Era” at Doctor Who TV.

Doctor Who is home to some of the greatest and most confident writers in the history of television, who have each been responsible for some of the most riveting storylines of the last 52 years,  and every great writer must start somewhere. So far in Capaldi’s era, five ambitious personalities have made their first contribution to the show, expanding the already respected list of accomplished Who alumni significantly. With Sarah Dollard’s “Face the Raven” having aired last weekend, she has become the final new addition for the show’s ninth series, as such making this the perfect time to reflect on the newer talent we’ve seen grace our imaginations in the last two years.

(2) Passengers are go! “Airbus proposes new drop-in airplane ‘cabin modules’ to speed up boarding” at ars technical UK.

Today, Airbus has been granted a patent (US 9,193,460) on a method that essentially turns an airplane into an articulated truck. The plane, instead of being a single, contiguous hull, would have a huge hole in the middle where the passengers and luggage would normally be. Instead of boarding the plane directly, passengers and luggage would be loaded into a separate “cabin module.” Then, when the module is ready to go, it’s simply dropped into the airplane. If you ever watched Thunderbirds as a kid, it’s a lot like Thunderbird 2.

The post comes with diagrams.

(3) Sam Weller’s “Where the Hills Are Fog and the Rivers Are Mist” in The Paris Review.

Ray Bradbury’s The October Country turns sixty.

“The Dubliners of American Gothic”—that’s how Stephen King referred to Ray Bradbury’s first book, the little-known 1947 short-story collection, Dark Carnival. There’s good reason few readers, even those well versed in Bradbury’s work, are unfamiliar with Dark Carnival: Arkham House, a small press out of Sauk City, Wisconsin, published the book in a modest run of 3,112 copies; the book went out of print just a few years later. Besides a pricey limited-edition reprint in 2001, Dark Carnival exists as a literary apparition.

And yet many people have read some of Dark Carnival without knowing it

(4) Ryan Britt has a daring demand in “The Ghost of Hayden Christensen: Why Anakin MUST Appear in Episode VII” at Tor.com.

The nice thing about Anakin is that he gets to redeem himself in Return of the Jedi—which, if you’re a kid experiencing the Star Wars movies in the Lucas-order, is a pretty neat arc. Also for contemporary kids, Anakin is the focus of more hours of Star Wars than really any other character, thanks to The Clone Wars. So for better or worse, the prequel-era Anakin defines Star Wars for a big chunk of the viewing public.

If all the actors from the classic trilogy are reprising their roles, the giant space elephant in the room is how old everyone has gotten. Let’s get real, the focus of these new films will doubtlessly be on new characters, but it would be nice to have some existing Star Wars characters in there too, particularly ones who don’t look super old. Luckily, you don’t have to do any Tron: Legacy de-aging CG action on Hayden. He looks good!

(5) N K Jeminsin made the New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2015”. Interestingly, it’s in Fiction. The list does not put sf/fantasy in a separate section.

THE FIFTH SEASON. The Broken Earth: Book One. By N.K. Jemisin. (Orbit, paper, $15.99.) In Jemisin’s fantasy novel, ­civilization faces destruction and the earth itself is a monstrous enemy.

(6) Michael Damien Thomas will work on accessibility at SFWA’s big annual event —

(7) With Carrie Fisher returning in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this 2011 comedy video has a new lease on life —

Kaley Cuoco addresses an important issue affecting cosplay girls across the globe: Slave Leia fatigue. With so many choices available to women who cosplay, there’s no reason everyone needs to be Slave Leia.

 

(8) “Seed bombing to save the bees” at Interesting Engineering.

Seed bombs began as a fun and friendly tactic for greening abandoned lots in urban spaces, but are still a developing idea to be done in large scale. It involves throwing small seed ‘bombs’ from planes onto deserted areas that have suffered deforestation, to gradually begin to recover the ecosystem. This method not only allows the growth of more trees and plants, but helps combat the extinction of bees, indispensable beings for the reproduction of life on Earth….

Each seed capsule is made from biodegradable plastic and functions as a small greenhouse where the seeds grow at first. When they reach the ground, the capsule disintegrates without polluting the environment until it disappears completely, allowing the plant growth to take its natural course.

seed bombs

(9) At Examined Worlds, a philosophical Ethan Mills claims “I’m Thankful For My Regrets”.

Yesterday we celebrated our Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States.  One popular tradition is to enumerate what you’re thankful for.  I’m thankful for lots of things.  Of course, I’m thankful for my family and friends and my cats.  I’m thankful that I have a fulfilling career and no major health issues.  I’m thankful that I have neither the greed nor the need to go “Black Friday” shopping today.  I’m thankful that the new Star Wars movie is coming out soon!

Also, I’m thankful for my regrets.  Like most people, I have plenty.  I regret that I haven’t done more international travel and that I haven’t done more charitable giving and volunteering.  I regret never figuring out this whole physical fitness thing.  I regret that I saw Star Wars: Episode I seven times in the theater.  I regret voting for Ralph Nader in 2000.  I regret that I didn’t spend more time with my mom.

I don’t think regrets have to be the soul-crushing thing they’re made out to be; you don’t have to exterminate them entirely to have a healthy life. I also don’t think you need to go in the direction of some Nietzscheans and existentialists to say that you have to take ownership of regrets and affirm them, because they’ve made you who you are.  There is, as Buddhists would say, a middle way between these extremes.

(10) There’s an app for the Battleship Iowa?

The Battleship IOWA experience is at your fingertips – you’re all aboard for adventure! You will never look at the Navy the same way. The Battleship IOWA Interactive Tour will let you experience, first hand, what it was like to live and serve on this historic ship. You’ll be part of the adventure!

You’ll see and hear the fascinating stories behind the ship, its crew, and the part it played in shaping our world and our country. It is virtually impossible to get a feel for the service and spirit of this historic shp by simply reading a sign or placard. The Battleship IOWA Interactive Tour puts you in control of your experience. Dive deep into the content of the ship and explore the areas that intrigue you most. You’ll find crewmember stories, fun facts, ship service records, videos of her in action all in the palm of your hand. Enjoy content that isn’t available anywhere else in the museum.

 

Mike Glyer and Sierra visit the USS Iowa in 2013.

Mike Glyer and Sierra visit the USS Iowa in 2013.

(11) Tom Knighton’s “Review of Jessica Jones Season 1”:

…The show stars Kristen Ritter as Jones, a private investigator who got super powers after an auto accident that killed her family.  She’s not the typical hero.  An encounter prior to the show with a mind controller named Kilgrave (played by David Tennant) leaves her with a healthy dose of PTSD and a penchant for whiskey.

Early on, she meets a bar owner who she’s been following for a reason explained later in the series.  The bar owner is a large black man named Luke Cage.

Yeah, baby.

Ritter is solid as Jones, nailing the smart mouth and feigned apathy the script called for.  Her natural thinness might not normally fit a super strong hero, but personally I think it fits the character nicely.  Not only does it make it more impressive when she lifts a car’s back wheels without straining, but it fits the alcoholic aspect of the character pretty well….

(12) Den of Geek’s spoiler-filled review of Jessica Jones focuses on the question, “Is Kilgrave Marvel’s Creepiest Villain?”

The casting of David Tennant makes Kilgrave’s grim demands seem ever more shocking, and this must be deliberate from the showrunners. At points, when Kilgrave’s enthusiasm levels rise a little, he really does resemble a twisted version of the Tenth Doctor. His charisma – combined with his creepiness and callousness – makes for unsettling viewing.

(13) Black Gate’s John ONeill knows why it continually costs more to be a fan who’s passionate about “Collecting Philip K. Dick”.

I have a lot of experience selling vintage paperbacks at conventions and other places, and nobody — but nobody — has skyrocketed in value like Philip K. Dick. The only authors who even come close are George R.R. Martin, James Tiptree, Jr, Robert E. Howard, and maybe Samuel R. Delany.

A big part of the reason, of course, is that virtually all of Dick’s novels were originally published in paperback, which means that — nearly unique among highly collectible authors — the coveted first editions of his novels are all paperbacks.

(14) Not all of CheatSheet’s “10 Sci-Fi Cult Classics That Everyone Should See” are as surprising as Snowpiercer (at #4) – who knew it had been around long enough to be a classic? Some might even agree with its strong preference for remakes — John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, David Cronenberg’s The Fly (#10) and Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (#5).

  1. The Thing

Audiences in 1982 were more interested in cuddly aliens like Steven Spielberg’s ET than they were in monstrous, shape-shifting ones, which explains the critical and commercial failure of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Thankfully, viewers have rediscovered the film, which stands as one of the greatest horror films and one of the greatest science fiction films. An Antarctic outpost of men struggles to identify and destroy an alien that can assume the form and personality of any living thing it consumes. The men, led by a never-better Kurt Russell, act competently in facing the threat, making it all the more terrifying when they can’t stop it. There’s mounds of existential tension and paranoid distrust to go around in the icy and isolated setting. Carpenter knows how to play off the tension brilliantly, using some of the most tactile and creatively terrifying practical effects in cinema history, courtesy of Rob Bottin.

(15) How Attack of the Clones Should Have Ended!

(16) After reading about Ridley Scott’s plans for more Prometheus movies I look forward to a future video series telling How It Should Have Begun.

Ridley Scott has confirmed that ‘Alien: Covenant’ will be the first of three films that will then link up to the story from the original 1979 ‘Alien’.

The second movie in his ‘Prometheus’ series is in its pre-production stage in Sydney, Australia, at the moment, where Scott confirmed the plans in a press conference.

He said that the newly-named ‘Covenant’ and the next two films will answer the ‘very basic questions posed in Alien: why the alien, who might have made it and where did it come from?’.

Covenant will tell the story of the crew of a colony ship which discovers what it believes to be an ‘uncharted paradise’ world, but is in fact a ‘dark and dangerous’ place, inhabited solely by David, Michael Fassbender’s android character from the first ‘Prometheus’ movie.

 [Thanks to Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Uncanny Magazine Launches Kickstarter To Fund Year Two

Uncanny Magazine is raising funds through Kickstarter to cover some of its operation and production costs for the second year. Half of the initial goal of $18,700 was raised the first day but more is needed before the appeal ends September 10.

At the magazine’s helm are three-time Hugo Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas (Apex Magazine, Chicks Dig Time Lords, Glitter & Mayhem) and three-time Hugo Award nominee Michael Damian Thomas (Apex Magazine, Queers Dig Time Lords, Glitter & Mayhem).

“We publish intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and vision from writers from every conceivable background,” says Lynne. “The Uncanny team believes there is room in the genre for stories that inspire the imagination, challenge beliefs, and make readers feel. With the hard work of the best staff and contributors in the world, Uncanny Magazine delivered everything as promised with the Year One Kickstarter. Uncanny has received outstanding reviews and community support. Some pieces from our first issue in 2014 even garnered award nominations and a Year’s Best anthology inclusion.”

Uncanny has developed several additional funding streams to make the magazine sustainable, but still needs to raise support.

For Year Two, Uncanny has solicited original short fiction from Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award winning and nominated authors including: Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Ursula Vernon (Digger), Aliette de Bodard (The House of Shattered Wings), Elizabeth Bear (Karen Memory), Amal El-Mohtar (“The Truth about Owls”), Alyssa Wong (“The Fisher Queen”), Carmen Maria Machado (“The Husband Stitch”), Maria Dahvana Headley (Magonia), Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories series), Scott Lynch (Gentlemen Bastards series), Rachel Swirsky (“If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love”), Catherynne M. Valente (Deathless), and Max Gladstone (The Craft Sequence). There will also be numerous slots for unsolicited submissions.

Uncanny Magazine year two plans to showcase original poetry by Sofia Samatar, M Sereno, Isabel Yap, and Sonya Taaffe, and essays by Chris Kluwe, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Jim C. Hines, Sarah Kuhn, and Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Uncanny Magazine Year Two will also feature cover art by Julie Dillon, Galen Dara, and Katy Shuttleworth.

The funding goal will pay for all six issues of Uncanny Year Two, including:

  • 17,000 words of new fiction per issue (3-5 stories, depending on length)
  • A reprint story
  • Reprint cover art
  • 3 new poems
  • 2 new nonfiction essays
  • 2 new interviews

Uncanny pays $.08 per word for original fiction, $30 per poem, $50 per essay, and $100 per reprinted artwork.

The Year Two budget includes paying the staff, podcast production and hosting costs, website hosting and maintenance costs, backer rewards, and Kickstarter fees and taxes.

The Staff

Michi Trota is Uncanny’s Managing Editor. She is a writer, editor, speaker, communications manager, and community organizer in Chicago, IL. Michi writes about geek culture and fandom, focusing primarily on issues of diversity and representation, on her blog, Geek Melange. She was a featured essayist in Invisible: An Anthology of Representation in SF/F (edited by Jim C. Hines) and is a professional editor with fifteen years of experience in publishing and communications.

Deborah Stanish conducts Uncanny’s author interviews. She co-edited the Hugo-nominated Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who with L.M. Myles and Whedonistas with Lynne M. Thomas, and is a founding member and the moderator of the Doctor Who: Verity! podcast.

Uncanny’s podcast is edited and produced by Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky. Erika is a founding member and producer of the Doctor Who: Verity! podcast. She also co-hosts The Audio Guide to Babylon 5 and is a frequent panelist on The Incomparable. Steven is one of the three hosts of the popular Doctor Who podcast Radio Free Skaro, as well as a co-host of another Doctor Who podcast called The Memory Cheats.

Amal El-Mohtar is the Uncanny Magazine podcast narrator.  Amal is the Nebula-nominated author of The Honey Month, a collection of poetry and prose written to the taste of twenty-eight different kinds of honey. Her poems have won the Rhysling award thrice and the Richard Jefferies Prize once. Her story “The Truth about Owls” from Kaleidoscope is the winner of the 2015 Locus Award for Best Short Story

Uncanny at Dawn

Uncanny 1 cover COMPThe first issue of Uncanny Magazine will be available tomorrow, November 4. With an assist from the summer’s Kickstarter appeal, Hugo Award-winning Publishers/Editors-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas (Chicks Dig Time Lords, Apex Magazine) and Michael Damian Thomas (Queers Dig Time Lords, Glitter & Mayhem) have launched a new online science fiction and fantasy magazine featuring new and classic stories, plus poetry, provocative nonfiction, and a monthly podcast.

All of Uncanny Magazine’s content can be purchased in eBook versions on the day of release.

Half of the issue’s free online content will be posted November 4, and half on December 2.

Fans can follow Uncanny Magazine on Twitter  and Facebook .

Issue 1 Table of Contents:

Cover by Galen Dara

Editorial
The Uncanny Valley – Editorial by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

New Fiction
Maria Dahvana Headley – “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White”
Ken Liu – “Presence”
Max Gladstone – “Late Nights at the Cape and Cane”
Amelia Beamer – “Celia and the Conservation of Entropy”
Kat Howard – “Migration”
Christopher Barzak – “The Boy Who Grew Up”

Classic Fiction
Jay Lake – “Her Fingers Like Whips, Her Eyes Like Razors”

Nonfiction
Sarah Kuhn – “Mars (and Moon and Mercury and Jupiter and Venus) Attacks!”
Worldcon Roundtable featuring Emma England, Michael Lee, Helen Montgomery, Steven H Silver, and Pablo Vazquez
Tansy Rayner Roberts -“Does Sex Make Science Fiction ‘Soft’?”
Christopher J Garcia – “The Short List – The Ten Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Shorts on the Web”

Poetry
Neil Gaiman – “Kissing song”
Amal El-Mohtar – “The New Ways”
Sonya Taaffe – “The Whalemaid, Singing”

Interviews
Maria Dahvana Headley, Interviewed by Deborah Stanish
Beth Meacham on Jay Lake, Interviewed by Lynne M. Thomas
Christopher Barzak, Interviewed by Deborah Stanish

Podcast
Episode 1: Editors’ Introduction, Maria Dahvana Headley’s “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” and Amal El-Mohtar’s poem “The New Ways” (both read by Amal), and an interview with Maria conducted by Deborah Stanish.

Episode 2: Editors’ Introduction, Amelia Beamer reading her story “Celia and the Conservation of Entropy,” Sonya Taaffe’s poem “The Whalemaid, Singing” (as read by Amal El-Mohtar), and an interview with Amelia conducted by Deborah Stanish.

Uncanny Beginnings

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, multiple Hugo nominees as editors of the semiprozine Apex Magazine, are funding the first year of Uncanny, their new professional online SF/F magazine, with a Kickstarter appeal.

uncanny logo

Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy will contain new and classic speculative fiction, poetry, essays, art, and interviews.

The Thomases are raising $26,000 to cover operation and production costs. So far on day one of the campaign (July 29) they have already received over $5,500 in pledges. Fundraising will continue through August 28.

Uncanny will appear bimonthly, in eBook format (MOBI, PDF, EPUB), with each issue containing 4-6 new short stories, 2 reprinted stories, 2 poems, 2 nonfiction essays, and 2 interviews.

Half the material from each issue will be posted free on the Uncanny website, and there will also be a monthly fiction podcast.

Lynne and Michael Thomas will guide the magazine as Publishers and Editors-in-Chief. Lynne was Editor-in-Chief of Apex Magazine from 2011-2013, which was nominated for three Hugo Awards during her tenure. She co-moderates the two-time Hugo Award-winning SF Squeecast.

Michael, as the former Managing Editor of Apex Magazine, was a Hugo-nominee in 2012-2013.

Michi Trota will become Uncanny’s Managing Editor. She is a professional editor with fifteen years of experience in publishing.  Deborah Stanish will conduct Uncanny’s author interviews. Its short fiction podcast will be edited and produced by Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Apex Editors Stepping Down

Editor-in-Chief Lynne M. Thomas will leave Apex Magazine after the December 2013 issue.

“I’m in need of break, after which I’m looking forward to exploring new opportunities and projects,” she wrote.

She added that Managing Editor Michael Damian Thomas is also leaving. “As many of you know, Michael and are a team. Nothing would have been possible without him.”

Apex Magazine has twice been nominated for the Best Semiprozine Hugo under the Thomases’ editorship.

[Via SF Site News.]

Glitter & Mayhem Launches at Worldcon

glitter SMALLApex Publications will launch Glitter & Mayhem, an anthology dedicated to Roller Derby, nightclubs, glam aliens, (literal) party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, and debauchery, at a skating party during LoneStarCon 3.

The 120,000 word, 346-page anthology originated as an idea on Twitter and with was funded through Kickstarter, with fans chipping in nearly $16,000 for a chance to read the stories promised by Seanan McGuire, Alan DeNiro, Amal El-Mohtar, Daryl Gregory, Damien Walters Grintalis, Maria Dahvana Headley, Kat Howard, Jennifer Pelland, Tim Pratt, Cat Rambo, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Diana Rowland, Sofia Samatar, David J. Schwartz, and William Shunn.

The edition is introduced by Amber Benson and contains 19 original short stories and a novella by Seanan McGuire set in her InCryptid universe.

The official book launch takes place Saturday, August 31 at the San Antonio Rollercade from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Meet and skate with Glitter & Mayhem’s editors John Klima, Lynne M. Thomas, & Michael Damian Thomas, cover artist Galen Dara, and authors Rachel Swirsky, Maurice Broaddus, Cat Rambo, Daryl Gregory, and Vylar Kaftan. Admission is $11. (Regular skate rental included.)

Copies of Glitter & Mayhem are available at Larry Smith Books in the Worldcon Dealers’ Room.

The full press release follows the jump.

Continue reading