Diversity again

By John Hertz: Where I live it’s the first day of spring. For Bruce Gillespie, the New Zealand for 2020 Worldcon bid, and like that, it’s fall. Diversity again. Easier said than done, but worthy of both.

I like to think science fiction has to do with diversity. John Campbell and Larry Niven, among others, have said our essential element is Minds as good as you but different. Easier said than done, but worthy of both.

The other day I saw a hundred folks had reported their Hugo nominations here (nice photo of Hugo trophies, thanks). Someone said “I am struck by how very * different * all our tastes are”. I didn’t happen to think so. The reports looked very similar to me. Another said “if [people are finding] mostly works by [X], it would indicate to me that either 1) the sources they are using … are extremely insular, or 2) they are – consciously or unconsciously – self-selecting for things written by [X].” Of course that’s neither complete nor conclusive. But it’s an important indicator.

It often seems “What’s incorrectly included?” shows up more easily than “What’s incorrectly omitted?” To see that something’s been left out you have to get the big picture. You have to be bigger than your immediate adventure. I once said that to Jon Singer, who is no dope; he said “How?”

Friends can help; in particular, diverse friends. If everyone I hang out with is just like me, who’ll point out what I’ve been missing? Of course it’s a strain. You find yourself thinking “How could you do such a thing?” This is a question better answered than brandished. If we only mean by it “Too strange, gotta go” we don’t learn anything.

One of the sandboxes I play in is Fanzineland. People have been pouring in new sand. It’s fascinating. Not so long ago fanzines were on paper – mostly; according to legend there’ve been slices of bologna, or worse – don’t ask me what I saw in Bruce Pelz’ refrigerator – but then came electronic media, and we had to think it out again.

All of us. Not just the folks upon whom new stuff poured, but the folks who poured in with it. Diversity can’t just be You have to accommodate me, but I don’t have to accommodate you.

Well then. Here are some fine fanzines, fanwriters, fanartists, of 2017, whose names leapt to my mind, conspicuously omitted by those hundred folks (and of course neither complete nor conclusive). Some of them can be found on-line, e.g. through Bill Burns’ eFanzines; that doesn’t matter much to me, it may to you. I couldn’t begin to guess which, if any, will appear on the Hugo ballot; that’s not why I’m writing. Let’s say that next time you get to How do I love thee? you count the ways. Or, not to top that, because I can’t, let’s consider Love your neighbors, for they are not like you. Or let’s just say I like to share my toys with friends.


  • Alexiad
  • Askance
  • Askew
  • Banana Wings
  • Beam
  • Chunga
  • Counterclock
  • Enter at Your Own Risk
  • Flag
  • Inca
  • Iota
  • Littlebrook
  • Lofgeornost
  • The MT Void
  • Nice Distinctions
  • Opuntia
  • Purrsonal Mewsings
  • Raucous Caucus
  • Trap Door
  • The White Notebooks
  • The Zine Dump


  • Sandra Bond
  • William Breiding
  • Claire Brialey
  • Randy Byers
  • Graham Charnock
  • Pat Charnock
  • Leigh Edmonds
  • Lilian Edwards
  • Nic Farey
  • Janice Gelb
  • Steve Green
  • Rob Hansen
  • Andy Hooper
  • Kim Huett
  • Lucy Huntzinger
  • Jerry Kaufman
  • Steve Jeffery
  • Sue Jones
  • Christina Lake
  • Evelyn Leeper
  • Mark Leeper
  • Fred Lerner
  • Robert Lichtman
  • Rich Lynch
  • Joseph Major
  • Lisa Major
  • Mike Meara
  • Jacqueline Monahan
  • Murray Moore
  • Joseph Nicholas
  • Ulrika O’Brien
  • Roman Orszanski
  • Lloyd Penney
  • Mark Plummer
  • John Purcell
  • David Redd
  • Yvonne Rousseau
  • Yvonne Rowse
  • Darrell Schweitzer
  • Paul Skelton
  • Fred Smith
  • Ylva Spangberg (imagine a ring over the second “a”)
  • Dale Speirs
  • Garth Spencer
  • Milt Stevens
  • Suzanne Tompkins
  • Philip Turner
  • R-Laurraine Tutihasi
  • Pete Young


  • Harry Bell
  • Sheryl Birkhead
  • Ditmar
  • Kurt Erichsen
  • Brad Foster
  • Alexis Gilliland
  • Jeanne Gomoll
  • Teddy Harvia
  • Sue Mason
  • Ray Nelson
  • Ulrika O’Brien
  • Taral Wayne
  • Alan White

Humpty Dumpty tells Alice (Through the Looking-Glass, ch. 6) “You’re so exactly like other people…. two eyes, so – nose in the middle, mouth under. “It’s always the same.” Alice says any other way might not look nice. He answers – and these are his last words – “Wait till you’ve tried.” Of course it doesn’t occur to him that he falls under the same description himself.

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59 thoughts on “Diversity again

  1. Don’t you need at least the fleeting hope that one stage performance might break through and reach the ballot in some years?

    @rcade I will admit I sometimes hope that a stage work might–might!–garner enough votes that when I go look at the full nominations tally, it appears in the top sixteen. At least, that’s why I keep reading the nominations tally reports. Well, that and other reasons.

    I love live theatre… but there’s also a reason why I prefer shows to do what they are increasingly doing, and have select video screenings in movie theatres for particularly big or interesting productions, or more frequent visual recorded versions (IE, DVDs or streamed versions) available for sale. (Of course touring versions are awesome, but there seems a vast gap between the Fringe circuit level tours and the massive Broadway spectacles creating touring productions.)

    @Lenora Rose I agree that it’s great that the spectacle shows are opening themselves to more audiences via simulcast and recording, but my main theatrical interest is blackbox productions and immersive/interactive shows, so I don’t think I’ll be seeing those on screen for a while. (Also, I really enjoy the work of a number of our local actors and actresses, and I’d rather support their careers with my ticket money than those of big producers in New York and London.)

  2. “It’s nearly impossible to avoid being misunderstood when your first instinct is to turn to literary quotations and allusions instead of just engaging in simple, straightforward communication.”

    To be honest, there are several of John’s posts that I haven’t been able to parse at all. Not sure if it is wordplay or obfuscation. 🙂

  3. @Dann, I appreciated this comment by you: Nonetheless, I am consistently haunted by the prospect of finishing one literary red velvet cupcake of a book while feeling like I missed out on a wonderfully tasty apple-cinnamon crumble cupcake.

    That’s why I *love-love-love* Filer recommendations. This has become my primary place to find new (or new-to-me) books to read. Sometimes people recommend tiramasu works (ugh; coffee — but I know some folks genuinely love the vile stuff so who am I to complain) and sometimes a light fluffy meringue and sometimes a dense block of Belgium chocolate and sometimes a simple, elegant fruit plate — which may or may not contain durian — and I truly appreciate it. And Filers are generally remarkably good about mentioning that a particular literary dessert (to abuse your metaphor) has peanuts or coffee or a splash or rum or durian, so that people who love that sort of thing or who are allergic to it both know.

    For the most part, it’s not just “read this thing”. It’s “I loved this werewolf urban fantasy, but if you don’t like extended sex scenes you’ll be skipping about a quarter of the book.” Or “Not my particular cup of tea, but well enough written that I still finished it: milSF with interesting aliens”. Or whatever.

    The common thread, I think, is that people here love SF/F. Love it enough that they want to buttonhole others and say YOU’VE GOTTA READ THIS I LOVED IT. And that’s what keeps bringing me back (and murdering my book budget!).

  4. Hertz *could* go a long way in explaining himself if he just wrote plain answers to some of the questions in my very first post here (After which I started replying to JJ, who seemed much more certain than I what the topic was, and I took their assumptions and ran with them while having that discussion.)

    Indeed, if it turns out that the conversation JJ and Dann are having is entirely the wrong end of the stick after all… it would be BETTER for him to say so.

  5. @ Cassy B

    Thanks very much. I enjoy good recommendations as well. I hope to give as good as I get!

    Speaking of which, finally finished Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle final entry “The Core”. It was on par with the rest of the series, which means it is fabulous. The conclusions of the twin threads about competing perceptions of theology and competing cultural forces are immensely satisfying. One hero lives. One hero dies. One hero wins. One hero succeeds. Worth the time to read who does what.

    And as I think I mentioned Damien Black’s Devil’s Night Dawning, I want to caution folks about the second installment Wizard’s Sun Rising. The author uses the word “ravishing” in lieu of “rape” in the context of a Nordic-like army’s repeated conquests of various towns, villages, and cities. The rest of the book was really top notch, but this one issue took me out of the story enough that it is worth mentioning for those for whom it will be more significantly objectionable. I still think the book is well written and worthy of attention. But people shouldn’t experience unpleasant surprises needlessly.


    I think readers should always prefer reading experiences that they enjoy and as long as your choices work for you, then they are great choices.


    IMHO, dropping the original comment in a thread about what people were nominating established a link between nomination lists and the suggestion that people should read more widely. I accept your explanation that this was not your purpose.

    Work on your reading comprehension; that is an egregious attempt on your part to draw meaning from my words that is not there

    As our exchanges end poorly so frequently, I apologize for intruding.

    I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. – Isaac Asimov

  6. Dann: As our exchanges end poorly so frequently, I apologize for intruding.

    An apology for “intruding” is meaningless. An apology for claiming that I said something very different from what I actually said would have actually meant something.

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