Pixel Scroll 6/4/21 Of All The Pixels In All The Scrolls In All The World, She Files Into Mine

(1) JEMISIN ADAPTING BROKEN EARTH FOR FILM. Gizmodo collates the news about “N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo-Winning Broken Earth Trilogy Movie Deal”.

N.K. Jemisin has already made history by winning three consecutive Hugo awards for each entry in her Broken Earth trilogy: The Fifth SeasonThe Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky. Now, the perhaps inevitable next step is here, with a just-announced big-screen deal with Sony’s TriStar Pictures that will see the author adapting her own novels.

Deadline broke the news, noting that it was a “seven figure deal,” and Jemisin herself shared the story on Twitter (further down the thread, she joyfully emphasized the part about “the author will adapt the books herself”).

…Sharp-eyed readers may recall that The Fifth Season was, at one time, being developed as a TV series for TNT—but that was back in 2017, and obviously the situation has changed.

(2) 2023 SITE SELECTION. DisCon III says the 2023 Worldcon bidders have set the voting fee.

All bidders for the 2023 Worldcon have agreed the voting fee will be $50 USD. If you are at least a Supporting Member of DisCon III, you’re eligible to vote for the 2023 Worldcon Site Selection. The voting fee is in addition to your DisCon III membership. All site selection voters will become Supporting Members of the 2023 Worldcon regardless of who wins. All money collected from the voting fee will be turned over to the winning bid. Further details regarding the voting process will be announced later this summer.

(3) CANCEL CULTURE. The Guardian’s Alison Flood talks to industry people with different perspectives in her article “‘If publishers become afraid, we’re in trouble’: publishing’s cancel culture debate boils over”.

… Sometimes the pressure works: Yiannopoulos was dropped by S&S amid outrage over his comments about consent, and Allen was dropped by Hachette after a staff walkout. Sometimes it doesn’t: staff at PRH Canada complained about Jordan Peterson’s book Beyond Order, but it went ahead anyway; PRH India chief executive Gaurav Shrinagesh brushed off Mishra’s concerns by writing about publishing a “diverse range of voices”. S&S president Jonathan Karp told staff protesting about Pence that “we come to work each day to publish, not cancel, which is the most extreme decision a publisher can make”  but reports from a recent S&S town hall show this did little to calm the workforce.

…One managing director at the Big Five, who asked to remain anonymous, said he saw “a strange contradiction” in his workplace where everyone was positive about diversity, but where some also want to “pick and choose the kind of diversity we want”.

“If we want to be a publisher and employer for everyone, our publishing has to reflect that. And it becomes a necessary inevitability that we publish books and authors of viewpoints some of our staff don’t agree with or indeed, very, very actively disagree with,” he says. “That tension is not entirely new, but for whatever reason, it seems to be sort of boiling over now. It is complicated, but also, I think, quite stimulating.”

At political publisher Biteback, editorial director Olivia Beattie finds it frustrating that the debate is “so often framed as younger editors being oversensitive, rather than acknowledging that what senior editors choose to publish has an impact on the terms of public debate.

“Any half-decent junior editor learns very quickly how to separate their personal ideological positions from the material they’re editing, because that’s a crucial part of the job,” she says. She believes the publishing industry skews more leftwing than the book-buying public, making it inevitable that staff will work on books they disagree with.

“But people aren’t having these kinds of conflicts over simple differences of political opinion, as you might assume from listening to the debate on it,” she says. “Nobody’s refusing to work on a book because it doesn’t fit with their party affiliation: what’s been at stake has virtually always been a question of whether the book or the author is responsible for inciting prejudice against already marginalised and oppressed minorities. That’s an absolutely valid area for debate. It’s also not always clear-cut – some people will be deafened by a dog-whistle that others can’t hear.”

Once junior editors are “up in arms”, Beattie believes that is proof of enough concern to warrant an internal conversation. “Ironically, the people railing against ‘cancel culture’ very often seem to be trying to shut down criticism themselves,” she says….

(4) MELLOW YELLOW. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the June 2 Financial Times, Tom Faber discusses the antitrust lawsuit Fortnite creator Epic Games filed against Apple.

Most ludicrous was the debate reported by the tech news website The Verge around Peely, a humanoid banana who is something of a mascot for Fortnite.  Apple’s lawyers displayed an image of the figure in his ‘Agent Peely’ guise, saying, ‘We thought it better to go with the suit than the naked banana, since we are in federal court this morning, implying that a banana without clothes is somehow obscene. Hours later Epic’s attorney returned to this ridiculous proposition by asking Epic’s VP of marketing whether Peely without clothes would be ‘inappropriate’.  Hi response was a firm ‘no.’:  ‘It’s just a banana, ma’am.’

It really is a banana with sunglasses.

(5) I SEE BY YOUR OUTFIT. “Here’s the first teaser for Shazam! Fury Of The Gods, or at least Zachary Levi’s outfit in it”Yahoo! tells what they can make of this dimly-lit pan of the new costume.

(6) AMERICA: THE MOTION PICTURE. This Netflix movie asks. “What if America’s greatest political leaders were superheroes who know four letter words and can smash things?”

(7) BOOKSELLER OBIT. [Item by Tom Whitmore.] Bob Brown (Robert L. Brown of B. Brown and Associates in Seattle) recently died of esophageal cancer.

Bob was pretty directly responsible for me becoming a bookseller: he and Clint Bigglestone and I did a rare book mailorder business in the early 1970s (50 years ago!). He continued to maintain his business, in conjunction with his other work of selling space and time (for advertising) up until right before his death. Anyone who went to big conventions and collected books probably knew him — he was a regular dealer. And he always had interesting books. His personal specialty was 19th Century SF and fantasy, but he had plenty of modern books as well; he also dealt in mysteries, like so many SF dealers. His other passions were his family and fishing. His passing leaves a major hole in the field. I’ll miss him.

PS: Please note that this is not the Bob Brown of B-Cubed Press. It’s too easy to get them confused.

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • June 4, 1982 – On this date in 1982,  Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan premiered. Directed by Nicholas Meyer and produced by Robert Sallin, the screenplay was by Jack B. Sowards off a story by Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards. It starred the entire original Trek cast plus guest stars of Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Paul Winfield, Kirstie Alley and Ricardo Montalbán. Gene Roddenberry was not involved in its production. It was a box office success and critics really, really liked it. It’s generally considered the best of all the Trek films ever produced. It would finish second to Bladerunner at ConStellation for Best Dramatic Presentation. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a stellar ninety percent rating.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born June 4, 1894 – Patricia Lynch.  Interwove Irish rural life and fantasy.  In The Turf-Cutter’s Donkey (here’s a Jack Yeats illustration) and 3 sequels, children meet the Salmon of Knowledge and Fionn mac Cumhaill (pronounced roughly “fin m’cool”), are replaced by mischievous changelings, and like that; in Brogeen of the Stepping Stones and 11 sequels the leprechaun Brogeen keeps running away from home, with his elephant companion Trud.  Fifty novels, two hundred shorter stories.  (Died 1972) [JH]
  • Born June 4, 1916 – Ozma Baum Mantele.  First granddaughter of Frank Baum.  The Lost Princess of Oz was dedicated to her.  It was one of her last wishes that Baum’s manuscript of his last Oz book (Glinda of Oz) be donated to the Library of Congress; done, the year after her death.  “Memories of My Grandmother Baum”, “Ozcot, My Second Home”, and “Fairy Tales Can Come True If You’re Young at Heart” in The Baum Bugle; see also its “Baum Family Questionnaire”.  (Died 1999) [JH]
  • Born June 4, 1930 – Steve Schultheis, age 91.  Coined “Beastley’s on the Bayou” when Beatley’s hotel on Indian Lake, Ohio, wouldn’t admit African-American Bev Clark to Midwestcon IV.  Wrote (with Virginia Schultheis) the song “Captain Future Meets Gilbert & Sullivan”.  Retrieved the 15th Worldcon’s gavel for the Goon Defective Agency, in what proved to be as true to life as the Agency itself (John Berry wrote up the Agency, satirizing himself as Goon Bleary).  Instrumental in composing the World Science Fiction Society constitution adopted by the 21st Worldcon.  [JH]
  • Born June 4, 1951 — Wendy Pini, 70. With husband Richard, responsible for Elfquest which won them a BalrogOver the years Elfquest has been self-published by the Pinis through their own company Warp Graphics, then Marvel Comics, then the Pinis again, more recently DC Comics and then Dark Horse Comics. Everything prior to 2013 is free online at the Elfquest Comic Viewer. Be prepared to spend hours lost in great reading! (CE)
  • Born June 4, 1960 — Kristine Kathryn Rusch, 61. If you’ve not discovered the delights of her Diving Universe series, you’re in for a treat — it’s that good. Her Retrieval Artist series is one that can be read in no particular order so is a great deal of fun no matter where you start. Other than those two series, I’ve not read deeply of her, so other recommendations are welcome. Oh, and she won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her Website is here; don’t miss her appreciation of A.J. Budrys.  (CE)
  • Born June 4, 1953 – Pam Fremon, F.N.  Chaired two Boskones; worked on 47th, 62nd, 66th Worldcons (maybe more if I remembered better).  Elected a Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service).  Here’s a photo of some watermelon art for the Orlando in 2001 Worldcon bid.  (Died 2012) [JH]
  • Born June 4, 1964 — Sean Pertwee, 57. Let’s see, where did I see him first? Oh, of course, playing Sheriff Hugh Beringar on Cadfael but that’s not genre, is it? Captain Heinz in “Trenches of Hell, Part 2 “,  on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles which was his first genre role followed being Pilot Smith on Event Horizon and Macbeth in a UK film of that name the same year. He did a bit of low budget horror playing Bradley Cortese in Tale of the Mummy and likewise in being Sergeant Harry G. Wells in Dog Soldiers. There were some fairly low budget SF as well, say Father in Equilibrium. Not to mention Brother Proteus in Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie which I dearly want to see! All of which gets redeemed by his Inspector Lestrade in Elementary, a stunning take on that character. And then there’s his Alfred in Gotham. 
  • Born June 4, 1969 – Ralph Voltz, age 52.  German-born illustrator now of North Carolina.  Four hundred fifty covers, and much else, in and out of our field.  Here is This Is My Funniesthere is The Nakk and the Cat (Nakks are in the Perry Rhodan universe); here is “Star Wars” on Trial.  [JH]
  • Born June 4, 1972 — Joe Hill, 49. I’ve met him once or twice down the years as he shows up here in Portland for signings at both book shops and comic shops. Nice guy like his father. Actually the whole family is amazingly nice. Locke & Key is a superb graphic novel series and I’m fond of all of his short stories, particularly those collected in 20th Century Ghosts. I’ve got Full Throttle, his latest collection in my digital reading pile. I notice that though he’s not yet won a Hugo, he’s won a fistful of Stokers, many BFAs, a World Fantasy Award and even an International Horror Guild Award.  (CE)
  • Born June 4, 1975 — Angelina Jolie, 46. I really liked her two Tomb Raider films and thought Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was a really cool film with her role being quite magnificent. I never saw her early Cyborg 2 undertaking but think Hackers and her role as Kate “Acid Burn” Libby was rather good. I’ve not seen, nor have any desire to see, her Maleficent films. (CE)
  • Born June 4, 1984 – Xia Jia, age 37.  Two dozen short stories so far (a dozen and a half available in English; E-book collection A Summer Beyond Your Reach appeared Apr 2020).  In “The Demon-Enslaving Flask” James Clerk Maxwell meets a demon, with footnotes.  “A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight” shows what at first seems a haunted keep, as in millennia of Chinese stories, but proves to be a decayed far-future theme park with cyborgs.  Under the name by which she earned a Ph.D. she is a university lecturer in China.  [JH]
  • Born June 4, 1991 — Jordan Danger, 30. She is best known for her role as Zoe Carter on Eureka. (Now inexplicably renamed A Town Called Eureka in syndication.) She also showed up in Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators which as horror is genre of sorts, plus the SF films, Higher Power and Beyond the Sky. And even a vampire film, Living Among Us. All low budget, all straight to DVD productions. (CE) 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Wulffmorgenthaler-36 envisions the day water is more expensive than oil. Lise Andreasen translates the caption from Danish: “Listen up, soldiers. This is your new equipment for our incredibly peaceful and diplomatic mission. The willow branch is to look for water, and the bazooka is for diplomacy, if they won’t give you their water…”

(11) RUNS WITH SCISSORS. On the day that that Worldcon 76 settles with Jon Del Arroz – “Worldcon 76 Settles with Jon Del Arroz: Issues Apology, Will Pay Compensation” – there’s hardly anyplace he can crow because Facebook and Twitter have him suspended. He told his 3,000 YouTube subscribers yesterday in “SJWs Are Trying To Deplatform Me EVERYWHERE!”

…and I found that I can’t post or comment for 28 days. That also includes liking apparently I tried to like a post and this came up.

And if you scroll through here there’s all of these posts dating back to June 15, 2020 uh that they say violates their community standards. Now I don’t know what these posts are. You can’t click on any of these nor tell what they are uh so it’s all guesswork but I’m gonna guess i posted some memes that somebody went through and combed through my account and then uh tried to harass me here because this is just too many instances all at once. Very very odd uh that this showed up now. I don’t say anything that salty uh usually. I do comment perhaps on some globo homo stuff with my memes especially uh you know with pride month uh you know being in our faces constantly with their little fake corporate shilling that they always do. And I also comment a lot on uh I’d say election integrity, and uh you know certain uh shots that people are getting at this point so maybe that’s what had to do with it i don’t know. But uh one sort of post going through that’s one thing but all of these it looks like somebody went back and combed through my stuff just to try to target me now. Of course within a couple hours of that I found out that the same thing had happened on Twitter.

So I’m suspended for a 30 day on Facebook uh seven day on  Twitter for a recent meme I posted which was making fun of the corporate pride month. And we’ll call it corporate pride month because that’s what it is. That’s it and so they made me remove it and I’m stuck without being able to market anywhere except for here for that amount of time so they are trying to hit my social media accounts and this comes in the wake where I’ve actually got some big news in the pipeline…

(12) SPOT ON. Olivia Rutligliano reminds us why One Hundred and One Dalmatians remains one of the best Disney animated films in “Stopping for a Moment to Appreciate the Original 1961 film One Hundred and One Dalmatians” at CrimeReads.

As I type this, a new film has been released which offers a backstory into the motivations of the Disney villainess Cruella de Vil, a character who needs no introduction (or even, some might say, explanation) but has been given one anyway. I haven’t seen this new film, Cruella, which stars Emma Stone and sets itself up as a pseudo-prequel to Disney’s live-action 101 Dalmatians film from 1996, which starred Glenn Close as the diabolical, piebald, puppy-stealing termagant. I probably won’t see the new film (simply because I’m not very interested in Disney’s live-action remakes and such), but I’m not writing this to knock it. All I can say about it is that I’ve noticed that, in preparation for or perhaps inspired by its release, many have taken to watching or rewatching Disney’s original 1961 film. To which I say: good.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (which IS a crime film) is a timeless joy, and an aesthetic marvel. If you have seen it (or even if you haven’t) you probably know the gist, but here’s a deeper dive….

(13) TRAVEL TRIVIA. “In the 1950s and 60s a UFO was described as cigar shaped. Now a UFO is described as TicTac shaped,” notes John King Tarpinian.

(14) PLANE SPEAKING. Nature covers scientific findings of “Ultrahigh-energy photons up to 1.4 petaelectronvolts from 12 ?-ray Galactic sources”.

Over 500 extremely high energy cosmic rays (PeVatrons) have been detected.

These are atomic nuclei travelling close to the speed of light. PeVatrons have energies around 100 times that of the particles generated in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. They have been detected before but their source is something of a mystery. This is because magnetic fields in space bend their trajectories. However, when they interact with the interstellar medium they generate gamma rays and these do travel in a straight line. The researchers have identified one source, the Crab Nebula. They have detected a dozen sources so doubling the known PeVatron sources. These sources seem to lie along the Galactic Plane. Sources could be other supernovae remnants, pulsar winds and related to the Galactic centre black hole: we just don’t know. However, we may learn more when the Cherenkov telescope Array in Chile and the Southern Wide-field Gamma Ray Observatory in S. America come on-line.

(15) DECISION JUICE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Queue up the obligatory “big brain/little brain” joke: “Human brain and testis found to have the highest number of common proteins” reports Phys.org.

…In this new effort, the researchers noted that evidence from other studies has found some signs of similarities between testis and the human brain. Intrigued, they initiated a study that involved analyzing the proteins produced by different parts of the body and then comparing them to see similarities. The researchers found the greatest similarities between the brain and testicles—13,442 of them. This finding suggests that the brain and the testicles share the highest number of genes of any organs in the body….

(16) LEAVING OUT THE MIDDLEMAN. This is a piece in which a woman who published a “speculative thriller” about parthenogenesis explains why she did it: “Finding Inspiration for Speculative Fiction in the History of Reproduction” at CrimeReads.

…Plutarch’s observations about mola, the supposed products of parthenogenesis, almost definitely referred to molar pregnancies, birth defects incompatible with life, or other conditions that lacked a clear medical explanation at the time. But my paranormal-obsessed brain took the idea and ran with it in entirely different directions. Plutarch couldn’t have imagined that, roughly eighteen hundred years later, a young woman would encounter his general idea and instantly feel inspired to write a thriller about virgin birth.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened. I’m a sucker for a good origin story, and this one felt big. What if Plutarch was right, and women who strayed too far from a rational male influence—women who thought for themselves—could literally imagine their own children into being? What if a woman’s unruly brain gave rise to an unruly child, conceived without the “soul” that a father would imbue?… 

(17) THREE VIDEOS BY DOMINIC NOBLE. [Item by Jennifer Hawthorne.] The Deceit and Broken Promises Behind The Worst Adaptation Ever (Earthsea) is coverage of how Le Guin got incredibly badly treated by the people who produced the terrible SciFi miniseries of Earthsea.

Lost In Adaptation: Earthsea is the video about the first two books of Earthsea and the terrible miniseries itself

Lost In Adaptation: The Golden Compass is his latest video, about The Golden Compass.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, Tom Whitmore, Lise Andreasen, Jennifer Hawthorne, Rob Thornton, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day bill.]

Science Fiction Author Vonda N. McIntyre, Official Obituary

By Tom Whitmore: Award-winning Seattle science fiction author Vonda N. McIntyre died April 1, 2019, of pancreatic cancer. She was 70.

McIntyre wrote novels, short stories and media tie-in books, edited a groundbreaking anthology of feminist SF, and founded the Clarion West Writing Workshop. She won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards for her 1979 novel Dreamsnake, and won the Nebula again for her 1996 novel The Moon and the Sun. Her short stories were also nominated for awards. In media fiction, she will probably be most remembered as the author who gave Ensign Sulu a first name (Hikaru) in her Star Trek novel The Entropy Effect: that name was later written into one of the Star Trek films. With Susan Janice Anderson, McIntyre edited one of the first feminist science fiction anthologies (Aurora: Beyond Equality, 1976). She was a participant in the Women in Science Fiction Symposium edited by Jeffrey D. Smith (Khatru #3/4, 1975 – reprinted with additional material as by Jeanne Gomoll, lulu.com, 2008) with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany, James Tiptree Jr. and others. Her Nebula-winning fantasy novel The Moon and the Sun has been made into an as-yet-unreleased film, The King’s Daughter, starring Pierce Brosnan. Much of the film was shot in Versailles, and McIntyre delighted in telling how kind Brosnan was to her when she visited the set.

McIntyre founded Book View Café, a online publishing collective for member authors to sell their ebooks. When she developed some joint problems in her hands, she began making what she called “beaded sea creatures,” which she regularly gave to friends and charity auctions. She had a lively correspondence with Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner about them, and some of them are in the Smithsonian Institution.

Vonda Neel McIntyre was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1948. Her family moved to Seattle in the early 1960s, and she earned a BS in biology from the University of Washington. She went on to graduate school in genetics at UW. In 1970, she attended the Clarion SF Writing Workshop – and in 1971, with the blessing of Clarion founder Robin Scott Wilson, she founded the Clarion West Writing Workshop in Seattle. McIntyre continued to be involved with the workshop throughout her life. She enjoyed a close friendship with Ursula K. Le Guin throughout her career that including various editing and publishing ventures.

The Seattle science fiction community recalls McIntyre as the “fairy godmother” to hundreds of Clarion West graduates, many of whom have gone on to be bright stars in the publishing world. “Vonda was one of Clarion West’s founders, and has always been our fairy godmother, bringing comfort and whimsy to class after class with her impromptu visits and gifts of crocheted sea creatures,” said novelist Nisi Shawl, a Clarion West board member. “She was the Good Witch of the Northwest, a fearless public reader and a stellar private writer who is missed by all.”

A memorial service will be arranged in Seattle. McIntyre requested that, in lieu of flowers, people make memorial donations to one of their favorite charities.

For additional information, please call or email her agent, Frances Collin at fran@francescollin.com, 610-254-0555.

Vonda N. McIntyre did ten times as much behind the scenes in the science fiction community than she did out in the open. Her award-winning stories, her media tie-ins, and her editing were all quite visible, and important: more important in the long run will be her legacy of support for individuals and institutions.

After going to the Clarion workshop in Pennsylvania, where she roomed next to Octavia E. Butler, she decided to found a similar workshop on the West Coast. With the aid of Clarion founder Robin Scott Wilson, she started (and ran for three years) Clarion West; when Marilyn Holt and JT Stewart decided to restart it in the 1980s, she continued to advise and support the workshop. Most of Clarion West’s archives were stored in Vonda’s basement. She was a regular donor of both money and items for their auctions.

She was the webmaster for SFWA for many years, and the webmaster for Book View Café ase well.

She supported more writers than anyone realizes. Her friendship and support for Ursula K. Le Guin is well known: they published holiday cards together, and each regularly mentioned the other. She also was strong writing support for James Tiptree Jr., Paul Preuss, Molly Gloss, Nicola Griffith, Nisi Shawl, Octavia E. Butler, and just about anyone else who she met who wrote. She also listened to and cared for folks who didn’t write. She was a quiet, tireless force helping bring women’s voices forth in the SF community.

Her beaded sea creatures are almost pure Vonda. When she began to develop some pain in her hands from arthritis, she decided to take her crocheting skills and create beaded shapes reminiscent of nudibranchs and fractal patterns to give her the needed exercise to keep her hands supple. She began giving them to friends, donating them to charity auctions, and talking with people about them. She had a lively correspondence with Martin Gardner about them. The Smithsonian has examples of her work as well.

Vonda also helped out in small ways. Greg Bear commented about how happy Vonda was to wheel him around when he was temporarily in a wheelchair at the memorial for Karen K. Anderson, his mother-in-law. Every convention organizer who ever had her as a guest was pleased with her smile and her kindness to people working on the convention. She would not accept mistreatment, but never attacked. She had stories about all her friends, and would tell them whenever it was appropriate.

The SF community lost a major pillar today.

Harlan Ellison Remembrance Panel at Worldcon 76

By Rich Lynch: There were panels at Worldcon 76 which were so popular that the audience filled every seat, took every standing room place around the room, and even spilled out into the convention center hallway. For those you had to get there early as I found out to my dismay a couple of times. The one that possibly had the greatest audience overflow happened on the middle day of the convention – it was a remembrance of Harlan Ellison, who had died just a few weeks earlier.

As most of us know, Ellison had a very outgoing and at times provocative personality (to say the least!), and he often interacted with fans throughout his life partly because he was a science fiction fan before he became a professional writer. A show of hands indicated that most of the people in attendance had a personal Harlan story of some kind (Nicki and I included), but given how packed the room was and how limited the available time was (just 50 minutes were allotted) it was only the panelists who shared their memories about Ellison with the most entertaining ones, no surprise, coming from Robert Silverberg, who had been friends with him for more than 60 years.

Ellison was depicted as one of the great science fiction writers of all time, which he certainly was, and also someone who wasn’t averse to stirring up some controversy by his words and actions from time to time. Which he certainly did. The panelists appeared to me to show catharsis with all their Harlan stories, and in the end there was consensus that there was a pedestal somewhere out there that Mr. Ellison’s career and reputation would reside upon.

He was unique, and that was emphasized at the end of the panel by Silverberg when, after hearing the moderator say that we would not see Harlan’s like again, responded: “One was more than enough!” It brought the house down.

[This is an excerpt from Rich Lynch’s full Worldcon report, which he’s still drafting.]

Panelists Tom Whitmore, Robert Silverberg, Chris Barkley, David Gerrold, Christine Valada, Nat Segaloff.

Update: 09/06/2018: Closing quote changed to conform to version reported in Ansible.

Pixel Scroll 8/15 “Ward, I’m Worried About the Marmot”

The editor fails to hide how ornery all this Puppy news makes him, in today’s Scroll.

(1) D23 is this weekend and attendees received this Drew Struzan poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s a souvenir edition — Struzan will create another primary poster for the film.

star_wars_poster_full_0_0 COMP

(2) Just in time for WorldCon, “Tragedy of the Goats”, Francis Hamit’s epic story about, sex, security,and science fiction Fandom. Download it to your Kindle today and read it on the plane. (No puppies were harmed in this production.)

tragedy of the goats

(3) Spokane Public Radio devoted about three minutes to “Worldcon Brings Science Fiction and Hugo Awards to Spokane”

Tom Whitmore, head of publicity, spoke to me over Skype and explained the twist in this year’s awards. Normally their 10,000 members nominate freely, but this year two writers groups formed a coalition to lobby for certain scifi works.

Whitmore: “And they were very successful in getting the nominations out there. This was not against any of the rules, it’s just not what’s been done in the past, it was against social norms.”

Hugo Awards recognize science fiction works, as voted on by Worldcon members.

And, he says, it has upset a lot of other members. Critics say these writer groups want to make the nominees more homogenous like the genre used to be, ie: winners would be less diverse.

That doesn’t sit well with one very-well known, award winning female writer. Vonda McIntyre will be a guest author at the convention.

McIntyre: “The most amazing writer going when I first started was Samuel R. Delaney…”

A science fiction writer who’s black, and gay.

And who’s named Delany.

(4) If Tom Knighton hadn’t titled his post “Why I no longer care” it would be easier to focus on his actual point:

I read for fun.  If I want to challenge myself, I read non-fiction.  I’m a damn political writer.  I challenge myself daily.  I read fiction for fun, and it’s not your place to suggest I challenge myself in what I do for pleasure.  It’s not anyone’s place.

The truth is that those books I’m told I should challenge myself over are books I don’t want to read.  I don’t care how it handles homosexuality.  I care whether it tells a good story and whether I’ll like the protagonists.  Now, if those protagonists are homophobic, I’m 99 percent sure I won’t like them.  I don’t need to be told that the protagonists are gay, straight, trans, or whatever.  That’s not pertinent to my interests.  Whether the story is fun, is.

Somewhere along the line, folks got hung up on sex and sexuality.  It’s pretty annoying.

However, it’s become clear that for some people, a book’s “message” is vital.  Even books from bygone eras aren’t safe from being dissected for their social message rather than their story.

I’ve been one of those trying to argue that message fiction was a bad idea.  I still think it is.  But now, I just don’t care what those folks do.

(5) George R.R. Martin pre-interprets how any of several possible Campbell Awards winners will be an early sign of how the wind is blowing on Hugo night.

If Wesley Chu takes the Campbell, as he should, I think we will be in for a fairly reasonable night in Spokane. There will be some winners from the slates, and some categories will go the No Award, but most of the rockets will actually go to deserving work. If Chu wins, I think the vast majority of the fans in the auditorium will be more happy than not by night’s end.

If No Award wins, however… if No Award takes the Campbell, it will represent a huge and ominous victory for the “nuclear option,” for the faction of fandom that wants to destroy the village in order to save it. A victory by No Award in this category will signify that the voters decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and will likely betoken a long ugly night ahead, with category after category going to No Award. Myself, I think this unlikely. I think the hardcore “vote No Award on everything” voters are a small (if noisy) minority. But I could be wrong. It could happen.

And what if one of the four Puppy finalists takes the tiara?

That would represent a victory for the Puppies, certainly. But even there, certain distinctions should be made. Rolf Nelson was a candidate of the Rabids, but not the Sads. A victory by Nelson would be a singular triumph for Teddy Beale and the most extreme elements of Puppydom… and could suggest even worse results ahead, up to and including VD actually winning one or both of the Editing Hugos for which he is nominated.

Kary English, on the other hand, represents a much more moderate side of Puppydom. Though initially put forward by both the Sad and Rabid slates, VD later dropped her and removed her from his suggested ballot entirely when English put up a couple of blog posts that distanced herself from the Puppy party line.

(6) Miles Schneiderman of YES! Magazine joins the ranks of finger-waggers who haven’t bothered to learn how to spell “Torgersen” in his widely-linked critique “Sad Puppies, Rabid Chauvinists: Will Raging White Guys Succeed in Hijacking Sci-Fi’s Biggest Awards?”

In other words, Torgerson seems to think there are merely a handful of science fiction and fantasy stories worth anyone’s time: the ones that are just plain fun. People don’t want uncomfortable ideas or unorthodox characters; they just want “a rip-roaring good story” full of “broad-chested heroes” with “pioneering derring-do” who, of course, “run off with beautiful women.” Anything else is false advertising, tricking the unsuspecting reader into a story with complicated messages and cultural commentary, when all they wanted was escapist adventure. Torgerson’s version of “old school” speculative fiction seems to be primarily for and about men. Get out of our treehouse, girls! We’re playing space pirates. Didn’t you see the sign?

Not only does this view denigrate women, it denigrates fans of speculative fiction. In fact, it disrespects the entire genre by negating the value of any story element that doesn’t contribute to the reader’s entertainment high. As the Canadian journalist Jeet Heer points out, “the faux-populism of the Puppy brigade is actually insulting to the right, since it assumes that conservatives can’t be interested in high culture.” The Puppy movement is anti-intellectual at its core, and thus anathema to the genre it seeks to redefine.

(7) Jugger Grimrod (would I kid you?) says the butcher’s bill at the Hugos won’t be as bad as you’ve heard, on Silence Is A Weapon.

Everyone says the Hugos will survive, and I tend to agree. I think the Puppy voters will get tired of throwing away their money in the name of making whatever statement they’re trying to make. They will also have a harder time maintaining the charade that their campaign is about anything other than self-promotion, because after this year there will be fewer neutral parties willing to appear on any slate. The nomination rules will probably be changed to make slates less effective, although I’m afraid that will make the whole process more confusing and could scare some potential nominators away. In the long run this will mostly be forgotten, but in the short term it probably means that at least two WorldCons are going to have their Hugos basically invalidated, and I don’t like that they have to make that sacrifice. In my opinion the harassment policy should be invoked against the Puppy organizers and they should be banned from the convention and disqualified from the awards on that basis. I get that the Hugo organizers won’t do this, they would argue that the integrity of the awards depends on strict adherence to the bylaws, not arbitrary decisions by administrators. I could make some counter arguments but I don’t want to go down that road right now. I will just say that when a group has a stated goal of disrupting the awards, it wouldn’t bother me at all if they were barred from participating.

(8) Brianne Reeves breaks down the Antonelli story from a politicial perspective in “Let’s Talk about the Hugo Awards (Now with more libertarianism!)”.

Most recently, a false police report was filed by a Hugo nominee against another, leading to a full WorldCon investigation and the nominee’s work being rejected from a magazine. In the fall out, death threats and harassment ensued. We’ll be talking a little bit about this. For the full background on the story, you can see some of the posts I’ll link below.

While the “victim” of the false police report has accepted Lou Antonelli’s apologies, the actions of Antonelli haven’t ceased to have consequences. Antonelli’s actions in particular aren’t really what I want to talk about. I’m going to be addressing the actions we have seen in our community more broadly. It feels a bit ridiculous that I should even have to do this; these behaviors are far from common. Unfortunately, they’ve insinuated themselves into our world.

I’m approaching much of this from a more libertarian perspective. This is for a few reasons (1) I think that a libertarian discourse about rights and the role of the state is fitting for the behaviors we have seen in this community; and (2) I think that a discourse about positive and negative rights is a broadly applicable approach for the rhetoric that accompanies the behaviors we have seen recently.

I believe Lou Antonelli acted on impulse, not in furtherance of either well- or poorly-considered libertarian principles, though Reeves’ post was interesting to me just the same.

(9) Marcus Bales’ poetic comment appears on Blog, Jvstin Style:

Ballade of Sad Puppies

[first of four verses]

Who knows within what hidden garret
Vox Day scribes his sexist rant,
or why Correia tries to parrot
his vicious views with careless cant,
or Torgerson begins to prate
of how their work has been ignored
providing cover for their slate
behind his merited award;
they’re powered by their privileged fear.
Oh, where are the pros of yesteryear?

(10) I often search Twitter for File 770 references but rarely for Glyer. It seems I have missed a few gems as a result.

[Thanks to redheadedfemme and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cubist .]

Stu Shiffman (1954-2014)

Stu Shiffman (middle) in 1981.

Stu Shiffman (middle) in 1981.

Stu Shiffman died November 26, almost two-and-a-half years after suffering a stroke; he was 60. The renowned fan artist, who generously shared his talents in fanzines, apas and convention publications, received the Best Fan Artist Hugo Award in 1990 and the Rotsler Award in 2010.

Stu was a native New Yorker but moved to Seattle about 20 years ago with his partner Andi Shechter.

Stu always was fascinated by the traditions and in-references of science fiction fandom and loved to incorporate them in unexpected settings that might involve anything from cartoons of talking animals to intricately rendered Egyptian tomb art and hieroglyphs.

When he got into fandom in the 1970s mimeographed fanzines were still quite common. Taral Wayne admired that Stu “was as much a master of pen and ink as he was of stylus and stencil.”

Stu also had a special interest in drawing literary characters like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Burrough’s John Carter (interests which sometimes merged, as in his ERBzine contribution Adventure of the Martian Hegira: fragments from the Barsoomian Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes.)

In fact, one of his earliest contributions to a fanzine appeared in the sword-and-sorcery oriented Amra (October 1975) — “Goric & Other Limericks” co-authored with NY fan John Boardman.

Stu’s own publications, such as Raffles, co-edited with Larry Carmody, began appearing around 1977.

He became a leader in New York’s faannish fandom when he hosted Fanoclasts. He also chaired the Flushing in ’80 hoax Worldcon bid committee composed of Moshe Feder, Joe Siclari, Gary Farber, Hank Davis, Elliot Shorter, and Jon Singer.

Stu’s soaring popularity led to him being voted the 1981 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate. The following year he began his TAFF report, A Raffles Lad Abroad or The Road to Yorcon. (See Chapters 1 and 2 here.)

Stu ordinarily enjoyed his fannish accolades as much as anyone, but he did become frustrated that during the 1980s he established a record for the most fan Hugo nominations without winning. Everyone was gratified when he broke through at last in 1990.

All this productivity happened despite a medical condition Stu was coping with at the time. The symptoms became apparent when he was invited by fellow artists Schirmeister and Taral to join them hiking on Mt. Wilson in 1984 and he had difficulty keeping up. Taral explained in The Slan of Baker Street, “Stu will have to forgive me if I relate this imperfectly, but he had an abnormal connection between the blood vessels of his brain that allowed venous blood to mingle with arterial blood. The intermixing robbed his bloodstream of oxygen, and he tired easily.” Doctors corrected this by performing brain surgery in 1985 – an operation lasting 12 hours according to Ansible.

Stu’s interest in mysteries was strong enough to fuel three fandoms with art and articles. He was a Sherlockian (Sound of the Baskervilles, Hounds of the Internet) who contributed to publications like Baker Street Journal, and a Wodehouse enthusiast who sent material to such journals as Plum Lines and Wooster Sauce. And Stu was just as likely to write something about them for an sf fanzine. For example, a 1999 issue of Mainstream featured his “Adventures of the Danzig Mien,” the script of a Sherlockian parody: Stu had a great time festoon­ing a Conan Doyle-esque plot with ridiculous references and in-jokes.

He also produced some similarly-inspired short stories for an anthology series. In “The Milkman Cometh” (Tales of the Shadowmen 5: Vampires of Paris) Tevye meets Sherlock Holmes and confronts Boris Badenov. In “Grim Days” (Tales of the Shadowmen 7) Lord Peter Wimsey and Colonel Haki meet in Istanbul.

He drew a backup feature for Captain Confederacy, the black-and-white comic produced by Will Shetterly and Vince Stone (published by Steeldragon Press), involving two steampunkish characters named Saks & Violet.

So it is not surprising that Stu was attracted to alternate history and for many years was a member of the judging panel for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History.

His convention guest of honor stints included Hexacon (1980), Minicon XX, Wiscon XII, Corflu 6 (1989) and Lunacon 2000.

At Corflu 5 (1988) he was named a Past President of Fan Writers of America (fwa).

He had a recipe in the Tiptree fundraiser The Bakery Men Don’t See (1991) – “Grandma Ethel Katz’s Noodle Kugel.” Stu co-edited the 1986 issue of Science-Fiction Five-Yearly with the Nielsen Haydens and Lee Hoffman. He illustrated the 1991 edition of Beyond the Enchanted Duplicator…To the Enchanted Convention by Walt Willis and James White.

On June 14, 2012 Stu suffered a stroke. Two brain surgeries followed. For several months he went back and forth between ICU and acute care, depending on his breathing and heartbeat. Eventually he was reported to be on a gradual upswing and thereafter, though he periodically had serious setbacks, Stu enjoyed sustained improvement.

Andi Shecter visited constantly. Tom Whitmore maintained a CaringBridge online journal that let Stu’s friends keep abreast of important changes in his status.

Andi Shechter and Stu Shiffman on their wedding day, June 18, 2014,

Andi Shechter and Stu Shiffman on their wedding day, June 18, 2014,

In 2013 Andi and Stu, who had been together for 25 years, announced their engagement. On June 18, 2014 they married in a ceremony at University of Washington’s Burke Museum with nearly 100 in attendance.

By October, Stu had recovered to the point that he’d been able to use a powered wheelchair for the first time since his stroke. However, only a week later, he had a fall and required surgery from which he did not regain consciousness.

Then, this afternoon, he died after his heart stopped. Tom Whitmore explained: “Aides found him when they went to prepare him for a shower. He was given CPR and 911 was called. The EMTs were able to get a heartbeat and pulse back and he was being readied to go to Harborview Emergency Department when he heart stopped again. They were unable to get him back. They tried for about 40 minutes.”

I am so sad that Stu wasn’t able to make the recovery we all hoped he would have, and am very sorry for Andi’s loss.

Stu Shiffman and Mike Glyer in 2004. Photo by Rich Coad.

Stu Shiffman and Mike Glyer in 2004. Photo by Rich Coad.

Stu Shiffman Update 11/21

Stu Shiffman has been unresponsive since a fall suffered in October caused a recurrence of swelling in his brain. Tom Whitmore told followers of Stu’s Caringbridge page on November 19: “Unfortunately, this kind of swelling is hard to control. So Stu has an open place in his skull, which means he’s wearing a protective helmet. And it means that he’s likely to be unresponsive for a while. The standard estimate, to be safe, is 90 days.”

The fanartist suffered a stroke in 2012 and had made gradual but good progress til his recent setback.

Doctors plan to close his skull again in February. “This has been known to result in a return to responsiveness of unresponsive patients,” adds Whitmore. “It’s very possible that Stu will regain a lot of the function he had regained before, and possibly more. It’s also possible some good things will happen during that 90 days — we don’t know.” All Stu’s friends look forward to his taking that next step in recovery soon.

1964 Hugo Voting Stats Unearthed

Let us take you back to those thrilling days of yesteryear…when the Hugos were presented at Pacificon 2, the 1964 Worldcon. A memo containing that year’s Hugo voting statistics has been discovered by Tom Whitmore in the records of the late Alva Rogers.

Kevin Standlee has posted a copy [PDF file] on the official Hugo Award website.

Standlee notes that the 1964 awards were decided by a plurality of votersWay Station won Best Novel with just 24% of the vote. Later the rules were changed to require ranked voting and an elimination runoff, insuring winners would have the support of a majority.

No wonder voter support was splintered all to hell that year – look at the nominees in the Best Novel category, listed in order of finish.

  • Here Gather the Stars (alt: Way Station) by Clifford D. Simak
  • Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Witch World by Andre Norton
  • Dune World by Frank Herbert
  • Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The winner, Way Station, has long been one of my favorite sf novels.

Herbert’s Dune World, defeated in 1964, was the version serialized in Analog; a longer fix-up novel incorporating this material would win the author a Hugo in 1966 and go on to be recognized as a classic in the field.

Despite the plethora of good work, 7 people voted No Award! Good grief, what were they waiting for?

Andi and Stu Engaged

Congratulations to Andi Shecter and Stu Shiffman who became engaged on July 18 in a ceremony at the rehab facility where Stu’s been staying. Tom Whitmore reported on CaringBridge:

Stu was fetching in a panama hat, and Andi was her usual dapper self. Rabbi Jessica K Marshall officiated, and a very pleasant time was had by all. This was Stu’s first trip outside in a very long time (aside from being transported from one facility to another). The weather was completely cooperative, warm with a slight breeze and very clear.

As Andi and Stu explained last month:

We have been together for 25 years. On June 13, 2012, Stu suffered a serious stroke from which he has recovered to a major extent, although he still has more healing to do. In March of 2013, Andi turned 60 years old, while Stu will have his 60th birthday in February of 2014. We feel that we have good reason to talk about love and commitment.

They will be married next June.

Stu Shiffman Update 6/3

Nearly a year has passed since fanartist Stu Shiffman suffered his stroke and his accelerating improvement is encouraging. Tom Whitmore wrote in a new post for Stu’s Caring Bridge page:

Stu’s been on the speaking valve pretty much every day, which means he’s getting more chances to talk. He’s been talking to his family on the phone, including his sister; and people are having no trouble understanding him. He sounds a lot like himself at this point — a bit quacky, perhaps, but the phrasing and pauses are classic Shiffman. He’s eating pureed foods regularly, and getting lots of visits from therapists. They’re always glad to work with him because he’s doing so well. For now, there’s no big news, but lots of positive small news.

 

Stu Shiffman Update 4/22

Ten months after suffering a stroke Stu Shiffman is regaining his speaking ability reports Tom Whitmore on Stu’s Caringbridge page

Stu is now doing almost all his communication by speech (rather than spelling things out). He’s still a little croaky, but only a little difficult to understand. He’s also continuing to work out a couple of times a week at the gym upstairs. He still can’t stand or walk, but they’re working on keeping his muscles in shape.

This is very fine news!