Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Harryhausen and Stan Lee will receive the J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction next April at the 2013 Eaton Science Fiction Conference.

“Science Fiction Media” will be the 2013 conference theme, chosen to reflect the “increasingly diverse forms of expression of science fiction.”

“The past several decades have witnessed an explosion in science fiction texts across the media landscape, from film and TV to comics and digital games,” said Dr. Melissa Conway, a conference co-organizer.

Scholarly papers presented at the conference will explore science fiction as a multimedia phenomenon, whether focusing on popular mass media, such as Hollywood blockbusters, or on niche and subcultural forms of expression, such as multiplayer Internet games based on genres such as fantasy and science fiction and the production of fan-made music videos that pair scenes from TV shows and movies with a particular piece of music. Information about submissions is available here.

A science-fiction writing competition for full-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the UC system will offer a first prize of $500 and a second prize of $250. See details at .

[Via Locus Online.]

Readercon Bans René Walling for 2 Years

When author Genevieve Valentine came home from Readercon she protested the harassment she’d experienced from a man at the con – repeated, unwanted touching – and described the discomfort she felt when he approached to apologize and remained in the vicinity of the Clarkesworld table she was staffing.

Particularly because Readercon has a published zero-tolerance policy towards harassment fans have been following the complaint, waiting to see how it would be handled. The con committee rapidly came to a decision, announced on its website July 27:

We followed up those reports with interviews with the target of the harassment, various witnesses, and Rene Walling, the harasser. The information we collected and reviewed was consistent, consequently, we feel the facts of the incident are not in dispute.

When we wrote our zero-tolerance policy in 2008 (in response to a previous incident), we were operating under the assumption that violators were either intent on their specific behaviors, clueless, or both.

During the course of our conversation with Rene it became immediately apparent that he realized what he had done and was sincerely regretful of his actions. It was that recognition and regret that influenced our decision, not his status in the community. If, as a community, we wish to educate others about harassment, we must also allow for the possibility of reform.

Our decision was suspension of his membership for at least two years.

René Walling is a high-profile fan — co-chair of the 2009 Worldcon, a writer for, and Arisia’s fan GoH in 2011. He is also on the Kansas City in 2016 bid committee. Some have questioned whether that is why Readercon did not follow through with its policy of “permanent suspension of membership.”

Valentine was dissatisfied with the result despite feeling there were some positive aspects:

But if I go back [to next year’s Readercon], I will go back knowing that some reports of harassment are more valid than others, and that if someone gets harassed there, they should be sure they are receiving the kind that falls under the con’s sexual harassment policy. (You will need to brush up; I was told they are rewriting it for next year, for undisclosed reasons.)

Nick Mamatas thought Readercon should have stuck to its guns:  

Really, if a con or other organization wants flexibility in consequences for harassment, build it into the policy. Offering only one consequence—banned! for! life!—and then failing to follow through means that there either is no real policy, or that the policy only applies to special people.

However, Readercon’s lenient penalty unexpectedly resonates with Walling’s 2009 post to the Convention Anti-Harassment Project where he agreed with someone’s snarky opinion:

“yes, actually, because you are a woman I will give you the benefit of the doubt.”

See, that’s where I have to drop out of their idea. Because I’m a guy I don’t get the benefit of the doubt? I don’t think that’s right.

I am a decent person as are many other men. (note: I am NOT saying there are no indecent men)

Meanwhile, Lynnne Thomas’ disapproval of Readercon’s decision is typical of many of the early responses:

This is the kind of experience that discourages women from attending conventions. If I don’t feel safe reporting harassment at a convention because you have an enforceable and enforced policy in place, then I don’t feel safe being at your convention. Period.

Why, then, should I care enough about your convention to participate in it? Why would I volunteer to do panels? You’re asking me to put myself out there without the assurance that it will be safe to do so.

[Thanks to Dan Goodman for the story.]

Update 07/28/2012: Corrected year Walling was Arisia fan GoH.

Rooms With A View

The Haggard Room.

Chicon 7 will recreate as an exhibit the Haggard-themed room from the home of GoH Jane Frank and her husband, Howard.

The Franks’ admiration for H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, She and his other lost world stories inspired them to design a room in their house to showcase specifically commissioned art based on Haggard’s work. Decorated in Victorian-era furnishings, the Haggard Room displays thematic art by Michael Whelan, Don Maitz, and Bob Eggleton, Gary Ruddell, Donato Giancola, Ian Miller, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Richard Bober, and Steve Hickman.

Chicon’s exhibit will be the most opulent room recreation ever presented by a Worldcon, a real peek into how “the other half lives” when you consider what has gone before.

Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal, used large graphic photos to reproduce the apartment of its Fan GoH Taral Wayne, the visuals as intricately detailed as a Taral fanzine cover because of all the collections on display.

Entry to Taral's apartment at Anticipation.

Collections on display in Taral's apartment at 2009 Worldcon.

Previously, Chicon 2000 decorated its Fan Lounge to resemble the living room of a typical Chicago fan in the ‘80s, furnished with an ill-assorted bunch of old couches, lamps and end tables. One couch was occupied by two crash-test dummies dressed as Neil Rest and Phyllis Eisenstein – bearded “Neil” wearing sandals, jeans and a Windycon 7 t-shirt, and “Phyllis,” attired in black, a goth ahead of her time. Poor-fan’s bookcases made of boards and cinder blocks lined the perimeter of the room.

Roger Sims and Dave Kyle with “Neil” and “Phyllis” in the Chicon 2000 Fan Lounge.

These room recreations make innovative use of the exhibit space and have all been fun. I wonder if there been any others than the ones I remember?

Update 07/27/2012: Corrected identification of Chicon 2000 Fan Lounge crash-test dummy to Neil, per comment.

London in 2014 Names Worldcon Committee

About a month from now the votes will be counted and the unopposed London in 2014 bid will become a seated Worldcon. Progress Report Minus One lists the con’s leadership team.

Alice Lawson and Steve Cooper will co-chair the 72nd Worldcon.  

The Division Heads and their deputies will be:

Exhibits: Farah Mendlesohn.
Facilities: Mike Scott; (deputy: TR).
Hospitality: Eemeli Aro (deputies: Alison Scott and Patty Wells).
Programme: James Bacon (deputies: Liz Batty and Ian Stockdale).
Promotions: Nicholas Whyte (deputy: Paul Taylor).
Publications: Kees Van Toorn.
Services: Rita Medany (deputy: Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf).

The Events and Logistics division heads have yet to be confirmed.

Several departments will report directly to the chairs: Internet, John Harvey; Membership, Steve Lawson; Treasury, John Dowd; WSFS, Ben Yalow.

Presupporters are receiving postcard and e-mail notifications to let them know the PR is available.

[Via Ansible Links.]

Test Your Writing

Gregory Benford recommended Helen Sword’s article “Zombie Nouns” in the New York Times:

Nouns formed from other parts of speech are called nominalizations. Academics love them; so do lawyers, bureaucrats and business writers. I call them “zombie nouns” because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings:

The proliferation of nominalizations in a discursive formation may be an indication of a tendency toward pomposity and abstraction.

Sword’s article links to the Writer’s Diet test where you can paste in a 100-1000 word writing sample and find out whether it’s “flabby or fit.”

Since I’m working hard in case I’m called upon to fill in for Scalzi at Whatever (and riding that joke into the ground) I put “Plenty To Be Humble About” to the test. The robots declared the piece “Fit and Trim.”  They didn’t declare it funny, however, which worries me.

Patrick Stewart Carries Olympic Torch

Trek Today has video of Patrick Stewart carrying the Olympic torch through Croydon on July 23.

(Did they match him with Croydon because of its many science fictional associations — home to Doctor Who’s companion Sarah Jane Smith, for many years the residence of Darth Vader actor David Prowse, and still the headquarters of Banana Wings’ Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer?)

I saw the torch relay pass through Hollywood one night before the 1984 Olympics. Had goosebumps, caught up in the emotion of the moment. Also remember during that season they illuminated the Hollywood sign’s white letters in an array of colors.

Shiffman Update 7/23

Milestones in Stu Shiffman’s continuing recovery from his stroke over the past few days have been (1) doctors removing his nasal feeding tube, (2) continued speech and physical therapy, and (3) Stu spending more time sitting up in a chair.

Tom Whitmore reports on Stu’s CaringBridge journal that Andi and Stu also talked abut decorating the hospital room walls with some of his artwork.

Tarpinian: Birthday Party for Earl & George

Earl Hamner Jr. and George Clayton Johnson at Mystery & Imagination Bookshop. (Photo by John King Tarpinian.)

By John King Tarpinian: The bookshop, Mystery & Imagination in Glendale, CA, hosted a dual birthday party on July 22 for two Twilight Zone legends, Earl Hamner, Jr. & George Clayton Johnson. The upstairs area of the bookshop was standing room only. Earl wrote eight TZ scripts while George wrote six. Earl and George credited Ray Bradbury for introducing them to Rod Serling.

Both talked about their lengthy careers and even lengthier marriages. They talked about the industry they were swept up in, the lessons they learned along the way.

Earl followed his TZ adventures with the movie, Spencer’s Mountain starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara which then turned into the TV show, The Waltons. His next venture was Falcon’s Crest. Earl talked about going to studio meeting now with the “twelve-year-old executives” and how the industry has changed. He read a piece he recently wrote about being eighty-nine years old.

George also talked about his career starting with writing the original Ocean’s Eleven for the RatPack, then his TZ episodes. Among them, working with a very young actor Robert Redford to Jack Klugman and Jonathan Winters. Not to mention Steven Spielberg selected his Kick the Can for the TZ movie. Having the luck of the first aired original Star Trek being his The Man Trap.

There were a few other authors who attended to pay their respects, Peter Atkins (The Hellraiser movies), Horror Writer and TZ radio writer Dennis Etchison, mystery writer and comic expert Michael Mallory.

It was a lovely afternoon honoring two men who have given us so much enjoyment over the decades.