Pixel Scroll 1/29/18 The Man Who Scrolled The Moon

(1) PAIN FOR PLEASURE. The sheer, greedy click-seeking that fuels this kerfuffle is being paid for by the pain of the targeted family, as Foz Meadows makes clear in “A Personal Note”.

And it is an insult, regardless of Freer’s claims that he’s only saying what anyone might think. It is also uniquely hurtful – and again, I say this with no expectation that Freer himself cares for my feelings. Manifestly, he does not, and will doubtless rejoice to know that he’s upset me. Nonetheless, I am upset. I’ve tried to pretend that I’m not, but I am, and having admitted as much to myself, I feel no shame in admitting it here. Before all this, I’d never heard of Freer at all, and while I’m aware that the public nature of my life online means that I am, in a sense, accessible to strangers, there’s a great deal of difference between having someone object to my writing, and having them construct malicious falsehoods about my personal life.

In the past few days, at least one person has asked me if I’m really sure that Toby isn’t Camestros; that maybe he’s doing it all behind my back. Freer, Torgersen and Antonelli have laughed at the idea that, if Camestros isn’t Toby, then surely I must be grateful for their alerting me to the presence of a stalker-impersonator – as though they aren’t the ones rifling through my marriage in pursuit of a link that is not, was never, there.

(2) HELLBOY’S DRAWER. The Society of Illustrators presents “THE ART OF MIKE MIGNOLA: Hellboy and Other Curious Objects”, a selection of works from the comic artist and writer behind the award-winning Dark Horse Comics series Hellboy, from March 6 – April 21.

In this exhibit, the Society will feature highlights from his fan-favorite Hellboy series, as well as other spin-off titles including work from B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, and Witchfinder. The Society is also pleased to feature samples from his award-winning comic books including the Eisner Award winner The Amazing Screw-On Head (Dark Horse Comics) as well as Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire (Bantam Spectra), co-written by best-selling author Christopher Golden. This special exhibit will include an array of comic pages, covers, and rarely seen original paintings by Mignola.

An opening reception for the exhibit will take place on Tuesday, March 6th, beginning at 6:30PM.

In addition, Mike Mignola will be a Guest of Honor at this year’s MoCCA Arts Festival. This 2-day multimedia event, Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon and animation festival, draws over 8,000 attendees each year. Held on April 7 and 8, the Fest will include speaking engagements, book signings, and parties. Further scheduling for Mignola’s appearances including a panel talk and book signings will be available in future announcements.

(3) CONDENSED CREAM OF 2016. If they’re short stories, does that mean they don’t fluff up your Mt. TBR pile quite as much as book recommendations? Greg Hullender notes Rocket Stack Rank is continuing its 2016 catch-up posts:

Here’s our next-to-last article about 2016 short fiction. This one focuses on which publications were most likely to run stories that earned recommendations/awards/spots in year’s-best anthologies.

“2016 Best SF/F Short Fiction Publications”

The two tables of publication coverage are actually a very compact representation of almost all the raw data for this and the final article, which will focus on the sources of recommendations (i.e. awards, reviewers, and year’s-best anthologies).

(4) EXPANDED UNIVERSE: At Featured Futures, Jason recaps the first month of the new year, discussing some new zines and some (old) news in the January Summation.

Covering January short fiction was exciting (and busy), as Featured Futures added Analog, Ares, Asimov’s, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, F&SF, and Galaxy’s Edge to its roster, resulting in significantly more stories read than usual (86 of 455K words) and a similarly larger than usual recommended/mentioned list. In webzine news, and speaking of Galaxy’s Edge, I was going to add coverage of it as a print zine but, coincidentally, it returned to webzine status, once again making all its fiction available on the web. The categorized “List of Professional SF/F/H Magazines” (which doubles as a list of the markets Featured Futures covers as well as being a sort of index of reviews) has been updated to reflect this.

(5) TOWARDS CANONISATION. The advocates of sainthood for J.R.R. Tolkien are calling for support of preliminary events, as well as the planned Tolkien Canonisaton Conference:

Please pray for the following intentions and dates for the upcoming Tolkien year in the lead up to the Tolkien Canonisation Conference in September 2018 in Oxford:…

  • Saturday 17th March – St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh Fundraiser 2018: raising funds for the Tolkien Canonisation Conference.
  • Friday April 13th – (provisional) Lecture on the Theology of the Body and J. R. R. Tolkien in London.
  • Saturday 1st September – Sunday 2nd September 2018 : Tolkien Canonisation Conference in Oxford.

(6) CHANGE AT TOR BOOKS. Publisher’s Lunch reports —

Liz Gorinsky is leaving her position as a senior editor at Tor Books on February 2. She will continue to handle some of her authors as a consulting editor at Tor and edit short fiction at Tor.com.

Gorinsky tweeted –

Catherynne M. Valente added –

(7) ROBERTS’ RECS. A thread by Adam Roberts is aimed at BSFA Award nominators but is interesting for everyone. Starts here —

(8) STORY SCRAPING AT LOCUS. Locus Online miraculously noticed the 2018 Darrell Award finalists today, one day after File 770 reported the story. Since Mark Kelly stopped doing the news posting there, Locus Online has become especially active scraping stories from File 770 without acknowledging where they got them. A little “hat tip” would be appropriate and appreciated.

(9) SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL PLANET. It’s time for any book blogger, podcaster, or “booktuber” to nominate for the 2017 Planetary Awards. Click on the link to learn how to participate. The nomination deadline is February 14th, 11:59PM US Pacific time.

The Puppy-influenced Planetary Awards were given for the first time two years ago.  The inaugural awards for 2015 work were posted in May 2016 –

  • Best Novel: Torchship by Karl Gallagher
  • Best Short Story: “Something in the Water” by C.S. Boyack

The awards for 2016 work were posted in May 2017 –

  • Best Novel: Swan Knight’s Son by John C. Wright
  • Best Short Story: “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom

The awards are administered by the Planetary Defense Commander, whose identity is findable with a little effort, but there’s no harm in having a handle, right Lou Antonelli? (Wait, maybe I should ask somebody else…)

(10) MORE ON MORT. The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna has an appreciation of the late Mort Walker, who he interviewed in 2010 and 2013: “‘Beetle Bailey’ creator Mort Walker, 94, created laughter ‘nearly every day of his life’”.  Cavna notes that Walker was around so long that Beetle Bailey was personally greenlit by William Randolph Hearst, and notes Walker’s efforts to create the Reuben Award and bring in more women into the cartooning field.

He was drafted into the Army Air Corps during World War II, but within the world of Walker, even that sometimes turned comically absurd. He spent time at Camp Crowder, which he said inspired “Beetle Bailey’s” Camp Swampy. “I signed up to go into psychiatry,” he told me in 2013 of the Army’s specialized training program, “and I ended up studying engineering. It was typical Army reasoning.”


  • January 29, 1845 — Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” is published on this day in the New York Evening Mirror.
  • January 29, 1964 Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb premiered.

(12) VOTING BOOTH ABOUT TO OPEN. The official Hugo Awards website announced “2018/1943 Hugo Award Nominations Opening Soon”. (Date not specified.)

Worldcon 76 San Jose advises us that they will open nominations for the 2018 Hugo Awards and 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards within the next few days. They have been working with Worldcon 75 Helsinki and Worldcon 2018 Dublin to coordinate the combined membership information from all three Worldcons, and to do so within the limitations of the three countries’ data-protection laws. When testing of the online nomination form is complete, Worldcon 76 San Jose will release it on the Worldcon 76 web site and make an announcement. We’ll also announce the start of nominations here on The Hugo Awards web site. Paper ballots will also be distributed with Worldcon 76 Progress Report 2, which we understand is going to press in a few days and should mail to members of Worldcon 76 in February. Besides the online form, a PDF of the paper form will be available from Worldcon 76’s web site when it is ready for release.

(13) FAN HUGOS. Rich Horton, in “First Hugo Recommendations: Dramatic Presentation, Fan Writer, Fanzine”, is among the first to blog about prospective 2018 fan Hugo nominees. (Horton also covers the Dramatic Presentation – Long Form category.)

Best Fan Writer

The two fan writers I want to promote the most this year are a couple I mentioned last year as well: John Boston and John O’Neill. John Boston’s most publicly available recent stuff is at Galactic Journey, where he reviews issues of Amazing from 55 years ago, month by month. (It will be noted, perhaps, that I also review issues of Amazing from the same period, at Black Gate.) John’s work there is linked by this tag: http://galacticjourney.org/tag/john-boston/.

As for John O’Neill, of course his central contribution is as editor of Black Gate, for which he writes a great deal of the content, often about “vintage” books he’s found on Ebay or at conventions, and also about upcoming fantasy books….

Best Fanzine

As I did last year, I plan to nominate Black Gate, Galactic Journey, and Rocket Stack Rank for the Best Fanzine Hugo. I’m particularly partial in this context to Black Gate, primarily of course because I have been a contributor since the print days (issue #2 and most of the subsequent issues)….

I heartily agree with Horton’s interest in finding other fan publications than File 770 to put up for the Hugo (though he does have kind words for this site). It seemed a good opportunity to say so here.

(14) REAR VIEW MIRROR. Meanwhile, DB makes a start on the “Retro-Hugos for 1942” with a canvass of his favorite writers.

…Now for Lord Dunsany. In 1942 Dunsany published five stories, all very brief, and about a dozen poems, mostly in Punch. Most of the poems are hopeful gazes towards military victory, and a couple of them introduce the allegorical figure of Liberty, so they could technically be considered fantasy.

None of the stories are SF or fantasy, though the only one of them that’s worth reading could possibly squeeze in by courtesy. It’s a Jorkens story reprinted in The Fourth Book of Jorkens (1947), where it’s the shortest piece in the book. Jorkens is Dunsany’s long-running clubman character who’s prone to making outrageous claims or telling absurd stories which nobody can disprove. In this brief tale, “On the Other Side of the Sun,” that topic comes up – “I wonder what’s there?” – and Jorkens astonishes all by stating, “I have been there.” His regular patsy, Terbut, demands “When, may I ask?” At Jorkens’ reply, “Six months ago,” any red-blooded SF reader should know instantly how the story is going to end, but the penny doesn’t drop for the hapless Terbut until after he makes a large bet that Jorkens is lying…

(15) RETRO FANZINES. While Fanac.org marshals digital copies of 1942 fanzines in support of Worldcon 76’s Retro-Hugos, Robert Lichtman and Bill Burns have tracked down additional fanzines published in 1942 by Bob Tucker available elsewhere online – specifically, at the Internet Archive, which has scans of Tucker’s zine Le Zombie. Four 1942 are issues listed.

(16) SAVED FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR. WIRED Magazine’s “Cantina Talk: Finally, a Complete Guide to All of The Last Jedi’s Easter Eggs” not only covers the story in the title, but this even more compelling news —

The Last Jedi Adds Some More Material (But Not Onscreen)

The Source: An official announcement from Lucasfilm

Probability of Accuracy: It’s totally legit.

The Real Deal: So apparently, there was more to Star Wars: The Last Jedi than appeared onscreen—but fortunately for fans, it’s not going to remain a secret. Writer/director Rian Johnson is working with novelist Jason Fry to create all-new scenes for the book’s forthcoming novelization, as well as rescuing deleted scenes from the cutting room floor, to firmly place them in the canon. Amongst the things audiences didn’t see in theaters but will read about: Han Solo’s funeral. Prepare your tissues for March 6; you’ll get to read all about it then.

(17) FUTURE IMAGINED. BBC interview with 2016 Hugo winner — “Hao Jingfang: China’s award-winning science fiction writer” (video).

She tells the BBC a lot of her stories originate from thought experiments, and her latest novel imagines “a dark possibility for the future” where robots have replaced human’s jobs.

(18) THE MARKETPLACE OF THE INTERNET.  Kim Huett sent a link to “Boring Talks #02 – Book Pricing Algorithms” with a comment: “Those of you into buying books online (assuming some of you indeed are) might like to listen to the following cautionary tale brought to us by BBC radio. It will confirm everything you ever suspected about the practise…”

A book for $1.7 million? To a computer, it made sense. Sort of. Tracy King explains.

(19) WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME? If you play poker you may be interested in a new infographic, “Poker & AI: The Raise of Machines Against Humans”. It details insights and research about the evolution of poker-playing artificial intelligence.

But what about the poker industry? Surely there must be an AI capable of playing poker at high levels. The answer is yes, there is. This infographic will show you how the poker’s AI developed throughout the history, as well as where it is now. You can find a lot of interesting stats and information in this infographic, but if you are interested in reading more about poker related stuff, visit our website.

(20) WHERE THE BOYS ARE. This belongs in Connie Willis’ next satirical speech about things science fiction predicted (none of which ever were) — “U.S. soldiers are revealing sensitive and dangerous information by jogging”.

Strava says it has 27 million users around the world, including people who own widely available fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as people who directly subscribe to its mobile app. The map is not live — rather, it shows a pattern of accumulated activity between 2015 and September 2017.

Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity.

In war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria, the heat map becomes almost entirely dark — except for scattered pinpricks of activity. Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites — presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.

Not just men, of course, but it made a good headline.

(21) OH NOES! Just think what a career he might have had, if he hadn’t been muted by the Guild!


(22) DISCOVERY SPOILERS. There, that should be enough warning about — “‘Star Trek: Discovery’: Jason Isaacs Apologizes for Lying, Admits to Feeling Like a ‘Drunken Hippo’ When Fighting Michelle Yeoh”.

“I’ve done nothing but lie since September,” he said to IndieWire. “I knew, perfectly well, everything before we started. And that meant that every interview was a lie and every conversation I had with my friends… Actually, with quite a lot of my family, was a lie. Anybody on the street was a lie. Anybody in Toronto. So I apologize for all that, but that was the only way to tell the story well.”

(23) PEJORATIVE’S PROGRESS. Inverse’s Ryan Britt looks back on “How the Word “Terran” Became a Sci-Fi Slur”.

In the Mirror Universe of Star Trek, humans aren’t called humans. They’re called “Terrans.” The word “Terran” comes from the root Latin word “terra,” meaning “dry earth,” which is where we get the phrase “terra firma.” But the word “Terran” has been prevalent in science fiction long before it cropped up again on Star Trek: Discovery in 2018. As it turns out “Terran” has a long history of being a dirty word for “human.”

(24) BLACK PANTHER. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther – “Let’s Go” TV spot.

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Kim Huett, Martin Morse Wooster, Standback, Jason, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

98 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/29/18 The Man Who Scrolled The Moon

  1. @Andrew M:

    Thanks! Of course the public library system here in NJ doesn’t have any of his recent stuff; US distribution seems to be poor. I’ll either buy the e-book or poke the libe into getting it.

  2. @Shao Ping @Doctor Science: I often haven’t gotten on with Roberts’ novels (to be blunt, the science is often such egregious nonsense that it kicks me right out), but The Thing Itself is a brilliant work of philosophical SF which I highly recommend. NB: fairly unlikeable protagonists are kind of a Roberts hallmark.

    @Andrew M: Very interested to read what you think of The Real-Town Murders, as I haven’t gotten to that yet.

  3. @rcade:

    I’m not sure if it makes it worse or not that I don’t think most of them are “evil people”, but they’re egging each other on to make a *habit* of evil. Because it’s mostly happening in the open, in some ways it’s a very useful case study of how evil becomes a habit, how people talk each other into habitual cruelty and dehumanization.

    I really wish we could finish up the case study by *fixing* them, by coming up with a way to break this cycle. Or at least to come up with something that protects the Meadows family *completely*.

  4. @Doctor Science: If the library has his early stuff, I was very impressed by Roberts’ first novel, Salt.

  5. The only novel of Roberts’ in the county system is Gradisil; the town stand-alone system only has Jack Glass. Does he even have an official US publisher, or is it all imports?

  6. Speaking (belatedly) (a previous scroll’s thread) of “following a given publisher for More Stuff To Read,” let me offer one out-of-band (not sf/f) suggestion. Hard Case Crime has a lot of great back-list or otherwise obscure stuff, from folks like Block, King, Westlake, Cain, Spillane, Collins… and even some non-skiffy from Silverberg and Zelazny:

    Hard Case Crime brings you the best in hardboiled crime fiction, ranging from lost noir masterpieces to new novels by today’s most powerful writers, featuring stunning original cover art in the grand pulp style.

    The covers are distinctive enough that they jump out, even from the spine view, in our library’s new-stuff shelves.
    Ditto Mysterious Press (founded by Otto Penzler.

    I’d argue it’s as much the easy visual cover cues as the name, for both. (It feels like there’s at least one other mystery/crime/suspense publisher I’m not recalling at the moment.)

  7. Sorry, dropped a closing right parenthesis in my previous comment” … in case you’re foolishly trying to compile these comments, here you got: )


  8. @Doctor Science: my concentration is not so much over abstract evil, as it is that this is the type of group stalking/harassing behavior that tends to escalate.

    Unfortunately, as they are on separate continents, I don’t see what sort of legal action could be taken to stop the Creeper Puppies.

  9. @6: I remember when Liz was introduced as Patrick’s assistant. She’s earned every recognition she’s gotten; here’s hoping that freelancing works for her.

    @20: that was such a goat-roping that it even made the BBC. I wonder whether wearing the FitBits was some induhvidual’s requirement (to make sure soldiers at outposts were staying fit instead of waiting for action), or just nobody realizing that the records were widely accessible.

  10. @Doctor Science: Unfortunately, I think his books may only be available as imports; I’ve occasionally seen them in my local B&N, which has an excellent SFF section, but that’s because they ordered the British paperbacks. (Similarly for Paul McAuley, who inexplicably no longer has a US publisher.) I get mine via the Book Depository.


    There doesn’t seem to be anything that can be said or done that gets through this conspiracy theory; denials are just proof that they’re on to something, facts are lies or simply require another twist….
    At this point the only hope is that something distracts them onto a new track.


    Some good suggestions in here. I particularly endorse the Paul Kincaid Iain M Banks book, which I recently read. Ditto Liz Bourke – I think she may be one of my favourite reviewers at the moment.
    The suggestion of the Shadow Clarke is an interesting one. I’ve been ruminating on it for BRW myself. While there was obviously much about it that I criticised there was also a lot of very good writing about books.


    I can’t help but notice that the linked story now has a little F770 hat tip at the bottom.



  12. … unfortunately, it’s part of the personality make-up. They constantly feel like they are “losing” (in imaginary, world-shattering battles) and can and will justify any action that they think will give them a winner’s ribbon.

    I can see that as a motivator to keep re-litigating the Sad Puppies Hugo slate voting brouhaha. That was perceived as a battle for the future of SF/F. Brad and the others at the Very Stable Genius Club obviously enjoy retelling that tale with themselves as the stalwart heroes and us as the scurrilous villains. When one of them gets on a roll it’s like Blutarsky after his inspirational rant mentions the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. The other geniuses are like, “Forget it, he’s rolling.”

    But this fight is so much smaller than that. They can’t possibly think there’s eternal glory in exposing a pseudonymous SF/F blogger of minor notoriety (no offense, Camestros).

    Even if the Unholy Trinity had evidence that didn’t amount to the sum of jack plus shit, there’s no gain here worth the potential reputation hit they should deservedly take over their loathsome attack on somebody’s marital life.

    So I have trouble understanding their motivation to be so gross. If they are doing it for the acclaim of their commenters, Ghu help them. Most of those folks are making the right call to use pen names.

  13. Just a couple notes on the first posting. I think we’re seeing another example of the puppies taking up the tactics of the alt-right, in this case, embracing the anti-academic campaigns that are starting up, and threatening to use the kind of poison pen letter tactics that are currently being embraced by such groups. I suspect that the group brings up these controversies to keep its readership, as a way of keeping interest and investment in the group. I’m not the first one to note this, but there is probably a strong JdA influence. It’s also helping with group cohesion that had been getting a bit shaky as well. (needless to say, this is awful behavior, and I’m increasingly inclined to identify the group as alt-right aligned.)

    I often assign a couple chapters of the small book that Adam Roberts wrote on science fiction, which is pretty good despite his misreading of Darko Suvin who is far less concerned about the details of scientific accuracy than implied in the text by Roberts.

  14. @rcade: So I have trouble understanding their motivation to be so gross.

    There’s not that much to understand. Whatever they claim, its really about getting a feeling of power and control by hurting someone vulnerable. Bonus for it being a woman.

  15. Very bad behaviour by Freer. Good comments here by rcade. I’ve been speculating about the motives of Freer and the MGC people but that’s a waste of energy. In any case they’ve gone way beyond the pale.

  16. Rose Embolism: Unfortunately, as they are on separate continents, I don’t see what sort of legal action could be taken to stop the Creeper Puppies.

    Freer and the Meadows live in Australia. The burden of proof for libel in Australia is way less than it is in the U.S.. And Australian law would allow Australians to sue non-Australians for libel as well, and those non-Australians would have to pay an Australian attorney to represent them.

    Rebel Wilson Wins a Historically Huge Libel Lawsuit in Australia

  17. rcade: So I have trouble understanding their motivation to be so gross. If they are doing it for the acclaim of their commenters, Ghu help them.

    I don’t think it’s hard to understand their motivation. If it wasn’t Cam and the Meadows they used to create drama, it would have been someone else.

    As people have pointed out, the Puppies operate on a transactional mentality. Everything they do is motivated by achieving some personal gain for them — and as authors, that gain is public attention, high blog traffic, and more book sales.

    After EPH passed, and the Puppy campaigns last year fizzled very badly, the Puppies’ blog stats will have dropped massively in the last 1.5 years, and they’re desperately trying to jack that back up again as a way to keep their names and their works in front of potential customers.

    But because their sense of community is based mostly on envy, resentment, and hatred of a shared enemy, they can’t get high traffic from nice constructive posts about authoring and promoting books in the way that they can from posts frothing with envy, resentment, and hatred of a shared enemy. So they have to periodically designate another enemy, and concoct another elaborate story of how they have been attacked and victimized, in order to get their supporters and their blog traffic whipped up again.

  18. “I think we’re seeing another example of the puppies taking up the tactics of the alt-right”

    A commenter on Camestros’ blog suggested that Camestros and the Meadows family are just grist to the puppies’ mill in their efforts to gain status among other alt-righters by enthusiastically copying their tactics. And as JJ said, they have to see something in it for them. That seems a lot more likely than a sudden mutual decision to take enormous trouble to prove to the maximum number of people that they’re louts.

  19. Sometimes in life you behave in a way that causes a good friend to take you aside privately and say, “What the hell, dude?” If these three have such friends, now would be the time for that intervention.

    Sadly, I think that happened during the SP3 campaign, and they simply burned their bridges with those friends and danced in the firelight.

  20. @David Shallcross: that really doesn’t work for me, because when I see “Terry”, my first thought is either “Wogan” or “Chocolate Orange”, and I can’t work up any antagonism against either of those.

  21. @David Shallcross: That rings a bell. I know I’ve seen “Terry” as a slur against humans somewhere. Maybe in Norton’s “The Last Planet”? There’s also “Earthie” and in “The Trouble with Tribbles” the Klingons use “Earther” during a conversation in which they’re trying to be deliberately offensive, so I suspect they don’t mean it as a neutral term.

    P.S. “The Cool Green Scrolls of Earth”

  22. Andrew, try Laumer’s “Retief” series. I mean, for the usage “Terry,” though you could also try them for amusement (if you haven’t).

  23. Kip: That’s it – I’ve read some Retief, and that’s where I must have seen “Terry” used that way (by those awful Groaci).

  24. Take from the link provided by JJ on January 30, 2018 at 2:04 pm:

    Even though this marks a hefty win for celebrities protecting their names, it’s unlikely to set a precedent outside of Australia, where libel laws are much stricter than those in the U.S. In America, a court must prove that false facts were intended maliciously, whereas in Australia a publisher must prove that their story is true or that it serves the public good. Wilson’s case may pave the way for other celebrities to win big paydays against publishers who make false claims, but it doesn’t have quite the same wide-reaching ramifications as a recent lawsuit lost by Richard Simmons, with a judge reasoning that being accused, falsely or not, of being transgender does not qualify as a slur. In Australia, at least, being accused of being a serial liar still counts as one.

    Now, I suspect that claiming that someone is a pseudonymous blogger would not necessarily pass the implied bar of qualifying as a slur.

    However, claiming that two people are abusive pedophiles does.

    The question is, does what Freer wrote rise to the level of an accusation, or is it merely an insinuation? Would an insinuation be sufficient to convict him of libel?

  25. Owlmirror: The question is, does what Freer wrote rise to the level of an accusation, or is it merely an insinuation? Would an insinuation be sufficient to convict him of libel?

    (IANAL) It would depend on an aggregate of evidence, I think, including accusations of violating employment requirements, the number and content of harassing and threatening e-mails received by the targets, their employers, and other people with the ability to make decisions affecting the targets, either from the accuser or someone spurred on by the accuser’s claims, whether any official agencies were called in by people spurred on by the accusation/insinuation, etc.

    A libel case is about damage to personal and professional reputation and potential loss of income due to that damage; if that can be demonstrated, then a case can be made. Freer’s mistake was in attacking someone from the same country, in a country where libel and slander cases are actually winnable; that reduces legal hurdles.

    Certainly what has occurred thus far would be potential grounds for a harassment case. And restraining orders become part of one’s police record.

    Ideally, however, Freer would just back off and admit that he’s full of shit — or, failing that, just STFU. 😐

  26. I was married to a vile Terry for several years; as an epithet, it works fine for me.

    My cat wanted me to drop rumors that he’s actually Timothy but I told him he had to learn how to write a coherent sentence first, so now he’s sulking in the closet. No doubt puking hairballs all over my shoes.

  27. Charon D.: My cat wanted me to drop rumors that he’s actually Timothy but I told him he had to learn how to write a coherent sentence first

    So you haven’t actually read anything that Timothy’s written. Wise choice. 😉

  28. @JJ Timothy is sort of meta-coherent, while Kahuna is typically succinct and focused on food-related themes, although he’ll cross over into spoken word if he runs out of food.

  29. @Robert Wood: “I think we’re seeing another example of the puppies taking up the tactics of the alt-right,”

    That’s a lot like observing that the Republican Party has adopted the positions of the GOP.

  30. @NickPheas: “Teddy was always running a hate group.”

    Well, yes, of course.

    @Kip W: “Kendall: I would say that dessert fills in the crannies, while short fiction fills in the Nooks.”

    ::snort:: 🙂

    @ULTRAGOTHA: “(23) Terran is a slur? How did I miss that all these years?”

    I didn’t really buy that either (not as a general definition).

    @Daniel Dern: “in case you’re foolishly trying to compile these comments”

    My LISP compiler greatly appreciates your patch!

    @Robert Wood: “It’s also helping with group cohesion that had been getting a bit shaky as well.”

    I sincerely hope that any one with a shred of decency in that camp has seen the vileness and left, realizing they don’t want to be associated with them.

    @JJ: “. . . or, failing that, just STFU.”

    This is probably the best that can be hoped for, and I do hope for it.

  31. @Andrew and Kip W, Keith Laumer (and Rosel George Brown) use Terry as a slur in Earthblood. Not a Retief story but it always seemed related

  32. (1) I spent far too much time reading the post and comments at MGC and all I’ll say is that while many people read SF, they actually live it out in the vast reaches of empty space beyond our earthly realm; and where many people read about fantasy realms, they actually inhabit one that is utterly divorced from the rules of logic and evidence that hold in our earthly reality. Given that, you’d think they’d be a lot happier living the dream, but it sure doesn’t seem like it, because no matter where they are they’ve gotta have orcs, I guess.

  33. Freer et al: they are also using these ginned up controversies in an attempt to flood search engines: JDA is a perfect example. Do a search and check out the sheer volume of like-minded websites with mentions, posts, interviews…etc. Among other things, they seem to be trying to create such an enormous web presence that it leaves the impression that they are all somehow important, popular, etc. – especially if you just go by surface mentions and don’t read any of the bullcrap.

  34. Alexandra Erin has an insightful Twitter thread about the P*zzaG*ters that basically posits that they are so deep into their derp that they can’t not believe it. That every time more evidence comes out that it’s utter gossamer fabrication, they have to dig that hole deeper and wider and in more directions to prop up that they can’t possibly be wrong. I see a lot of that with the Camestros thing.

    Many hugs to the Meadows family and Camestros. What a stupid and cruel thing to go through.

    Also, I’ve read Foz’s first book, An Accident of Stars, and it’s really good. Check it out.

  35. @Ferret Bueller:

    Very well said. And of course the extra irony is that, needing monsters to fight, they have become monsters themselves.

    Fred Clark aka Slacktivist has been blogging about this kind of behavior for years now. He started out seeing it in his native subculture, Evangelical Christianity, and is now tracking its spread throughout right-wing America. He says:

    I used to think that the audience supporting any given conspiracy theory was made up of three distinct kinds of people: Cynics, true believers, and hobbyists.

    That’s in the past tense because I no longer quite believe that. What I’m starting to believe, instead, is that any individual supporter of any given conspiracy is made up of all three of those things.

    They do it because they’re trying to get something, because they’re duped, and because it’s a fun game — all at the same time.

    This is part of why facts and evidence — even overwhelming facts and evidence — will never be sufficient as a rebuttal to any of these fantastic forms of folklore. As I wrote here several years ago, “To challenge that fantasy, to identify it as nothing more than that, is to threaten to send them back to whatever their lives were like before they latched onto this desperate alternative.”

    In the case of the Puppies, the unbearable alternative is being neither particularly good writers nor particularly popular.

  36. In the case of the Puppies, the unbearable alternative is being neither particularly good writers nor particularly popular.

    Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson wrote a whole book, in turns hilarious and chilling, about this kind of cognitive dissonance. It’s called “Mistakes were made but not by me”, and it starts from describing Leon Festinger’s study of a millenial cult that believed the world would end on December 21 1960 or so, and what happened to them when the day came and the world was still there. Answer: they went from being a small inward looking placid cult to an aggressively evangelizing one.

  37. Answer: they went from being a small inward looking placid cult to an aggressively evangelizing one.

    An earlier example is the Jehovah Witnesses, who started out believing the world would end back around 1914, and are most actively proselytizing in Spanish-speaking communities.

    (It’s 3:17pm on 31 Jan 1308.)

  38. If you read about con men and how they work, it always starts with a small investment. But then more is needed and people will invest more. And more. Because if they don’t they will have to acknowledge that they were wrong, that they were tricked from the start. And that is hard for many people.

    In this case, conspiracy theorists are conning themselves.

  39. An important point Slacktivist often makes that previous studies of cons & conspiracy theories overlook is that they can be *fun*, they can be a *game*. He often refers to it as “LARPing”, pretending that people who you don’t like are actually “Satanic Baby-Killers”, pretending that you’re tracking down a mystery and fighting heroically for good. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it makes your friendships feel brighter and more important.

    As long as you’re fighting monsters. Even if you have to pretend other people are monsters to do it.

  40. @Doctor Science

    It’s fun, it’s exciting, it makes your friendships feel brighter and more important.

    Yep. It’s all fun and games until someone shoots up a pizza shop.

  41. I finished Adam Roberts’ The Real-Town Murders and here are my thoughts:

    It’s totally a Hitchcock homage — in a good way. As in North By Northwest, the protagonist is a decent person, just trying to live their life, when they inadvertently get dragged into something huge, with mysterious, powerful people pulling strings, and a bizarre murder mystery which is somehow connected to it all — and while being a pawn which is pulled this way and that into misadventures by the various factions, the lead character must get back to their home every 4 hours to prevent their partner from dying.

    That last bit is the part that really, really didn’t work for me. In order to add the suspense of the time-frantic element to the plot, the author relies on a MacGuffin created solely for that purpose. Right up to the very end, I kept hoping that he would actually make the MacGuffin make sense in the larger world of the book — but that didn’t happen. It’s just a clunky plot device to add a sense of dire urgency to the story.

    The story does have some interesting subcommentary about chronic disability, government surveillance, and internet addiction.

    It’s worth reading if you like SFFnal mysteries, but it’s not on my Hugo nomination longlist.

  42. @JJ

    I thought tRTM was too busy being smart to actually be clever. I quite enjoyed some of the future-England stuff, like working out which city it was, but the plot seemed to wander off from the core mystery as and when it felt like it. The Hitchcock was too blatant for me – the N*NW finale, the drones/birds homage, etc.

    I liked the partner/timelimit but was frustrated how underdeveloped it was – jnf gur arrq sbe ure gb pher ure cnegare ol fbzr vaghvgvir zrgubq npghnyyl erny, be fbzr fbeg bs qryhfvba? Vs ure cnegare jnf fbzr fbeg bs Zlpebsg svther fubhyqa’g fur unir fbyirq n ybg bs gurfr ceboyrzf rnfvyl?

    I probably liked it more than the above makes it sound, but I do think it’s too flawed to be a favourite of mine.

  43. Mark: I thought tRTM was too busy being smart to actually be clever… I probably liked it more than the above makes it sound, but I do think it’s too flawed to be a favourite of mine.

    I agee about the forced cleverness. I found all of the pop culture references tiresome, and the Timing Urgency MacGuffin far too contrived — both of those kept throwing off my willing suspension of disbelief — but for the most part, I thought that the rest of the story was pretty enjoyable, and I didn’t mind the obvious Hitchcockian homages. I think that Hitchcock fans would probably enjoy this novel.

  44. I’m pretty sure Earthblood is set in the far future of Retief’s universe. Reference to Yill and such.

    Living in 1963, I’m smack dab in the Retief stories, and they are generally a lot of fun. Saline Solution, the most recent, was particularly good.

    Speaking of Laumer, his daughter and granddaughter recently reached out, and we have been corresponding. The Journey has been a great way to meet wonderful people.

  45. You might not want to read all the Retiefs in order. Later in the series, they became a kind of mishmash of career diplomats arguing over facial expressions (designated by description and alphanumeric ID), and the last book, very late in the game, was sort of sad, particularly given the dizzying heights of the series in its prime.

    I hope it’s not giving away too much to mention that I particularly dote on a part where he’s being tortured by a race that utterly cracks when faced with clashing colors.

  46. Ah, Retief, I borrowed a bit of him for one of my RPG characters, diplomat Ingrey of House Wererathe. His rather direct methods of solving problems got him in trouble with his superiors, too, just like Retief…

Comments are closed.