Pixel Scroll 10/5/22 Thoughts Gather, But Fail To Coalesce Into Pixels

(1) CHARLES YU Q&A. “’In Any Version of Reality’: Talking SF with Charles Yu” at Public Books.  

Christopher T. Fan (CF): In a later chapter of How to Live Safely, there’s another father-son scene, where the father is trying to impart knowledge to the young protagonist. He’s opening a pack of graph paper, peeling off the cellophane—it’s very tactile. He says, “Choose a world, any world,” as he opens up this graph paper and presents it to his son. Can you say more about that sense of optimism? How graph paper leads to a world? 

Charles Yu (CY): In my dad’s office, he had these thick pads of graph paper with this very pleasing feel. They were pretty squishy because the paper was thick, and they had these very light green lines. It wasn’t perforation, it was like they were wax. You just tore a page off, and there was a sound that the pad would make as you tore off a nice sheet. I usually wouldn’t tear off the page I was working on, because you’d want the feeling of all the sheets underneath the top one. I was just playing with the idea.

No matter what else is going on, no matter if you’re an immigrant making your life in a foreign country, or if you’ve got all this work pressure and money pressure, or you’re trying to refinance the house because you’re maxed out on all your credit cards—whatever is going on in your life at that moment, you think, OK, we have math, we have a universe. I draw the X axis, I draw the Y. We’re in the Cartesian plane—here we are. To be able to go to that plane, anytime, just like that.

(2) NBA FINALISTS. The 2022 National Book Awards finalists were announced October 4 by the National Book Foundation. There are two works of genre interest. The complete list of finalists is here.

National Book Award 2022 Finalists: Translated Literature

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

Original Language: Japanese/ Translator: Margaret Mitsutani (Penguin Random House / Riverhead Books)

National Book Award 2022 Finalists: Young People’s Literature

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill(Workman Publishing / Algonquin Young Readers)

(3) WIKI BARS THE DOOR. [Item by Paul Weimer.] Author Gwenda Bond has been denied a Wikipedia for extremely sketchy reasons. Thread starts here.

(4) THE TANK HAS BEEN REFILLED! Chris Garcia just released his Drink Tank Chicon 8 / Chicago issue — The Drink Tank 441 – Chicon! It’s 84 pages of words and pictures from Alissa McKersie, Chuck Serface, and Chris Garcia, joined by Dave O’Neill, Paul Weimer, Fred Moulton, Vanessa Applegate, Juan Sanmiguel, Phoenix Data Art, Bill Rowe, Thad Gann, Ron Oakes, Steven H Silver, Espana Sheriff, DALL*E 2, Midjourney, and WOMBO Dream.

The Drink Tank’s “Crime Fiction – 1950 to 2000” issue should be out in a week or so, but there’s still time to submit for the up-coming looks at “Welcome to Nightvale” (Deadline Dec. 1) and the “Grant Morrison” issue (November 1).

(5) SKELETOR’S RECRUITING OFFICE. Cora Buhlert has a new photo story — “Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre: ‘Help’”

… “Ahem and why are we capturing Man-at-Arms, boss?”

“So he can build machines and weapons for us, Trap Jaw. And tell me all about the secrets of Castle Grayskull and how to kill He-Man, while he’s at it.”

“Uhm, I’m pretty sure Tri-Klops won’t like that, boss. After all, he is our tech guy.”

“I don’t care what Tri-Klops thinks. If he doesn’t want to be replaced, maybe he should come up with inventions that actually work.”…

(6) MY LITTLE PONYTAIL. GQ inquires “How Did This Ponytail Become the Go-To Men’s Hairstyle in Fantasy Adaptations?”

…The show, a Game of Thrones prequel, takes place 200 years before the events of the original series and focuses on the wheelings and dealings of the Targaryen dynasty. This means that while there was one recurring platinum blonde Targaryen wig on Game of Thrones, pretty much everyone on House of the Dragon gets to rock one—and, along with it, the half-ponytail. (It’s so excessive that Vulture published an entire House of the Dragon half-ponytail ranking.) By the time I saw Matt Smith stride onto screen as the bad boy prince Daemon Targaryen—complete with a fancy little half-ponytail he apparently meticulously styles in between waging wars, riding his dragon, and macking on his niece—I realized that the look was far bigger than Westeros. It’s become the go-to hairstyle to telegraph: “This guy’s in a fantasy series.”

So where did its reign start? The ur-fantasy-half-ponytail, down to the blonde dye job, seems to belong to Legolas in the early aughts Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Elven prince had previously been depicted on paperback covers or in the 1978 animated Ralph Bakshi adaptation with more of a cocaine chic shag situation going on. But in the Jackson films, Orlando Bloom emerges with long silky blonde locks, tied back in a half-pony. (Where were you when, in 2001, you discovered what Bloom’s actual hair looked like?) Every prominent modern half-ponytail in fantasy—Henry Cavill in The Witcher, Daemon in House of the Dragon—owes a debt to this one.

Curious about how it originally came to be, I called up the Academy Award-winning hair designer for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Swords King (yes, really). He told me that he didn’t consult any previous aesthetics when developing the hair for Legolas. “We spent weeks experimenting with different things and came up with that. Then Peter Jackson said, ‘Oh, I really like that. That looks great,’” King recalled. “Legolas had two fishtailed braids on the other side of his head and that kept it back off his face. And then there was a tiny bit at the top by the back that was pulled into a ponytail.” (“Elves cannot have messy hair,” King added. “Lots of other characters can, it’s fine. But elves can’t. It’s not elvish to be messy.”)

King also worked on Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit and pointed out that he gave a more rugged version of the style to Luke Evans when he played Bard the Bowman. “He was going to have all his hair down at one point and I went, ‘No, no I’m going to just try it half up, half down once,’” he said. “And I did that and said, ‘That’s it. That’s perfect. We want to see that hair moving when he runs and fights, but we don’t want it in his face.’” The issue with the hair all down was that “as soon as he started fighting, even with product in it and everything, it kept getting in his face. It looked bad. He looked messy.”

(7) MIYAZAKI ON STAGE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Sarah Hemming interviews My Neighbour Totoro, based on the film by Hayao Miyazaki, written by Tom Morton-Smith and with music by Joe Hisaishi (who also did the music for the film).  It is playing at the Barbican Theatre (barbican.org.uk) through January 21.

Morton-Smith “describes his task as ‘translation as well as adaptation’  He’s expanded several scenes, brought forward some characters and increased the dialogue.  But he adds that, although the story doesn’t confirm to convention expectations, it does have defined sections and a narrative journey…

Finding a stage language for this delicate story has meant drawing together a high-powered international team.  Hisaishi has been closely involved and his original score will be played live.  Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is building the puppets, designed by Basil Twist, and Phelim McDermott, expert in improvisation and puckish invention is directing.  The show is produced in collaboration with English theatre company Improbable and Japan’s Nippon TV.

(8) ALBERT COWDREY (1933-2022). Author Albert Cowdrey died August 21 at age 88. According to the family obituary, “He wrote Elixir of Life, a historical novel, Crux, a science fiction novel, and more than sixty published short stories, many in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He was the only writer to receive awards from both the American Historical Association (Herbert Feis Award, 1984) and the World Fantasy Convention (World Fantasy Award, 2002).” The WFA was for his short story “Queen for a Day”.

(9) MEMORY LANE.  

1923 [By Cat Eldridge.] Ninety-nine years ago this month in Black Mask’s October 1923 issue, Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op private detective first appeared. He’s employed as an operative of the Continental Detective Agency’s San Francisco office, hence his nickname. The stories are all told in the first person and his actual name is never given.

He may be the earliest hardboiled detective to appear in the pulp magazines. Note I said maybe. It’s still in matter of debate among pulp magazine historians. 

He appeared in thirty-six short stories, all but two of which appeared in Black Mask. Some ofHammett’s short stories in Black Mask were intended to be the basis for his novels, so for example “Black Lives”, “Hollow Temple”, “Black Honeymoon” and “Black Riddle” would become The Dain Curse. The novels differ substantially from the stories as they were revised by an editor at Alfred A. Knopf.

There are but two novels in the series, The Dain Curse and Red Harvest.  The latter was originally called The Cleansing of Poisonville and it sums up the novel damn well. Red Harvest, like The Dain Curse, started life as linked stories in Black Mask.

The Library of America’s Complete Novels includes both Red Harvest and The Dain Curse as printed by Knopf. The companion collection Crime Stories and Other Writings uses the original pulp magazine texts.

Of course there have been video adaptations. 

The Dain Curse was made into a six-hour CBS television miniseries in 1978 starring James Coburn. Here The Op was named Hamilton Nash which was his creator’s name ‘spelled sideways’. 

Four years later, Peter Boyle played the Continental Op in the opening of Hammett in which Hammett as played by Frederic Forrest is writing a story about the detective character.

And finally thirteen years later, Christopher Lloyd played The Continental Op in “Fly Paper” in season two, episode seven of the Fallen Angels anthology series adapted from Hammett’s short story of the same name. 

Blackstone has done a most exemplary audio productions of the novels which I know are on Audible and probably everywhere else as well.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • Born October 5, 1905 John Hoyt. His first genre role was in When Worlds Collide as Sydney Stanton, and the next in Attack of the Puppet People as Mr. Franz, bookending the Fifties. He starts off the Sixties in The Time Travelers as Varno. He appeared twice during the second season of The Twilight Zone in the episodes “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” and “The Lateness of the Hour”. And he had roles in many other genre series, including as the KAOS agent Conrad Bunny in the Get Smart episode “Our Man in Toyland”, and General Beeker in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’s episode “Hail to the Chief”, and Dr. Philip Boyce in the original pilot episode of Star Trek (“The Cage”). In the Seventies he appeared in Flesh Gordon as Professor Gordon. Yes, Flesh Gordon. (Died 1991.)
  • Born October 5, 1919 Donald Pleasence. He was Doctor Samuel Loomis in the Halloween franchise and the President in Escape from New York. He also had a plethora of parts in other genre properties, a few of which include the main role in the movie Fantastic Voyage which was novelized by Isaac Asimov, roles in episodes of the The Twilight ZoneThe Outer Limits, and The Ray Bradbury Theater, a part in George Lucas’ first foray into filmmaking, THX 1138, John Carpenter’s The Prince of Darkness, and the role of Merlin in the TV movie Guinivere. My favorite film title for a work he was in? Frankenstein’s Great Aunt Tillie in which he played the dual roles of Victor Frankenstein and Old Baron Frankenstein. (Died 1995.)
  • Born October 5, 1949 Peter Ackroyd, 73. His best known genre work is likely Hawksmoor which tells the tale of a London architect building a church and a contemporary detective investigating horrific murderers involving that church. Highly recommended. The House of Doctor Dee is genre fiction as is The Limehouse Golem and The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein.  I thought Hawksmoor had been turned into a film but it has not. But he has a credit for The Limehouse Golem which is his film work. 
  • Born October 5, 1952 Clive Barker, 70. Horror writer, series include the Hellraiser and the Book of Art, which is not to overlook The Abarat Quintet which is quite superb. Though not recent, The Essential Clive Barker: Selected Fiction published some twenty years ago contains more than seventy excerpts from novels and plays and four full-length short stories. His Imaginer series collects his decidedly strange art.  There has been a multitude of comic books, both by him and by others based on his his ideas.  My personal fave work by him is the Weaveworld novel.
  • Born October 5, 1945 Judith Kerman, 77. Can we call her a polymath? She’s a translator, publisher, academic, anthologist and poet.  All of her poetry, collected in Uncommonplaces: Poems of the Fantastic, is well worth your time. She did two non-fiction works of which I’m recommending one, “Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, as I’ve a Jones for that literature.
  • Born October 5, 1959 Rich Horton, 63. Editor of three anthology series — Fantasy: Best of The Year and Science Fiction: Best of The Year, merged into The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy in 2010. He wrote a review column for Locus for twenty years, signing off this past February. His Strange at Ecbatan blog includes reviews, criticism, and a well-received series that proposes Hugo finalists to fill in the old years when only winners were announced, or even before the award was created.
  • Born October 5, 1971 Paul Weimer, 51. Writer, Reviewer, and Podcaster, also known as @PrinceJvstin. An ex-pat New Yorker living in Minnesota, he has been reading science fiction and fantasy for over 30 years and exploring the world of roleplaying games for more than 25 years. A three-time Hugo finalist for Best Fan Writer (2020-2022), he is a prolific reviewer for Nerds of a Feather. He also contributes to the Hugo-nominated fancast The Skiffy and Fanty Show and the SFF Audio podcast. He was the 2017 Down Under Fan Fund delegate to the Australia and New Zealand National Conventions, and his e-book DUFF trip report, consisting of more than 300 pages of travel stories and stunning photographs, is still available here.
  • Born October 5, 1975 Kate Winslet, 47. A longer and deeper genre record than I thought starting with being Prince Sarah in A Kid in King Arthur’s Court before playing Ophelia in Branagh’s Hamlet a few years later. She shows next as Clementine Kruczynski in the superb Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and was Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the equally superb Finding Neverland. She’s Jeanine Matthews in Divergent and Insurgent, and is slated to be Ronal in the forthcoming Avatar 2. She’s the voice of Miss Fillyjonk in the English dub of the Swedish Moominvalley series. Finally, I’d like to note she narrated the audiobook version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

(11) LIVE FROM NEW BOOK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT! Goodman Games is doing a live interview with Michael Moorcock this weekend: “Live Interview With Michael Moorcock is This Weekend!”

The Sanctum Secorum is pleased to announce a special episode of Sanctum Secorum Live with guest Michael Moorcock. In honor of the forthcoming release of the newest book in the Elric saga, The Citadel of Forgotten Myths, Mr. Moorcock will be talking live about Elric, his new book, and more. Perhaps more importantly, he will also be taking questions from you, our viewers!

The show will be broadcast live on The Official Goodman Games twitch channel, and will also be rebroadcast via the Sanctum Secorum podcast feed as well as the Goodman Games Youtube channel. The show is being broadcast at 4:00 pm EST, allowing the entirety of the global Goodman Games fan base to take part and have your voices heard (figuratively at least).

(12) CHOW IN THE PINE TREE STATE. Some parts are edible…! Stephen King talks about the cuisine of Maine and shares a recipe that sounds pretty tasty: “Stephen King on What Authentic Maine Cuisine Means to Him” at Literary Hub.

… When I think of Maine cuisine, I think of red hot dogs in spongy Nissen rolls, slow-baked beans (with a big chunk of pork fat thrown in), steamed fresh peas with bacon, whoopie pies, plus macaroni and cheese (often with lobster bits, if there were some left over). I think of creamed salt cod on mashed potatoes—a favorite of my toothless grandfather—and haddock baked in milk, which was the only fish my brother would eat. I hated it; to this day I can see those fishy fillets floating in boiled milk with little tendrils of butter floating around in the pan. Ugh.

As the twig is bent the bough is shaped, so they say, and my tastes have remained simple and unrefined. I like nothing better than a couple of blueberry pancakes for breakfast, floating in maple syrup. (Folks think of Vermont when they think of maple syrup, but the Maine variety is just as good.) There’s nothing like a chunk of fried fish with vinegar for lunch, and a New England boiled dinner for supper—corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. (“You must zimmer very zlowly,” my mother liked to say.) Add some strawberry shortcake (Bisquick biscuits, please) for dessert, and you’ve got some mighty good eatin’….

(13) BLANK SLATE. Slashfilm knows “Why Star Trek: Lower Decks Creator Mike McMahan Wanted Non-Trekkies In The Writers’ Room”.

… While it might seem like a no-brainer to stick with die-hard fans, the writers who were new to the “Trek” universe brought something special to the table, too:

“The original ‘Star Trek’ was made by people who had never seen ‘Star Trek’ because they were creating it. I wanted that feeling of brains that didn’t know ‘Star Trek’ as well, but were just thinking about the characters and the comedy. … [The new writers] find things that are super funny that they love, and you’re like, ‘Oh, right, that was normal to me because I’ve seen it my whole life, but that is an amazing, weird, funny thing.'”

As it turns out, McMahan’s unconventional decision paid off. The show has been a breath of fresh air, which was almost certainly the result of getting fresh eyes in the writers’ room. …

 (14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] How It Should Have Ended took a pause this summer, but they are back with guest voice Jon Bailey (the “epic voice guy” form Honest Trailers)

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Paul Weimer, Cora Buhlert, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lis Carey.]

31 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/5/22 Thoughts Gather, But Fail To Coalesce Into Pixels

  1. Anyone here? Seeing no one not even the man who was not supposed to be on these stairs yesterday and isn’t again today, I declare that I’m first.

  2. That Paul Weimer also writes book reviews for A Green Man, and even here at File 770. He may be ubiquitous on the internet, or just about 🙂

  3. 8) Albert Cowdrey: Damn, I knew he was getting up there, but still his passing is sad. I’ve long enjoyed his short stories in F&SF. Every issue I would check the table of contents to see if he had a story in that issue. He had several different series of stories, many of which have characters that cross over to other series of his and alot of them are set in and around New Orleans, which in his stores is a magical place indeed. I hope someone puts together a collection of his short stories. They really are quite enjoyable.

    And Happy Birthday to Paul, and many many more!!

  4. Paul Weimer says That Paul Weimer also writes book reviews for A Green Man, and even here at File 770. He may be ubiquitous on the internet, or just about ????

    That Birthday was crafted by JJ way back in ‘18 and I should ask her permission to update. (JJ, may I?)

    I was a bad boy today — I ate an entire bag of Lindt’s dark chocolate truffles. Now that’s only five ounces but it seems like a lot more. Delicious!

  5. Paul Weimer says That Paul Weimer also writes book reviews for A Green Man, and even here at File 770. He may be ubiquitous on the internet, or just about

    That Birthday was crafted by JJ way back in ‘18 and I should ask her permission to update it. (JJ, may I?)

    I was a bad boy today — I ate an entire bag of Lindt’s dark chocolate truffles. Now that’s only five ounces but it seems like a lot more. Delicious!

    I also have a lovely scented leaf cardamom which arrived today. It’s the sixth cardamom that I now have. After a serious of ones that failed to thrived quite awfully, all of the ginger family here now are doing fine.

  6. That Paul Weimer also wrote a lot for SF Signal which is still online. And for Tor.com. He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!

    (And in a little while Cat will realize this birthday was already rewritten — because a 2018 edition would not have included Paul’s Best Fan Writer nominations.)

  7. The Great Host Ever says (And in a little while Cat will realize this birthday was already rewritten — because a 2018 edition would not have included Paul’s Best Fan Writer nominations.)

    Ahhh you’re assuming I’ve actually looked at it.

    Pleased add a note about his stellar reviews here and Green Man.

  8. (2) I must have been tired when I glanced at this because I wondered why File 770 was talking about professional basketball…

    (3) I’ve noticed this with other another woman genre authors recently. Why doesn’t she have her own Wikipedia page whne he has one?! (To be fair, I’ve wondered why certain male authors don’t have their own page. But there does seem to be a bias…)

    (9) I know there are pulpsters who think Carroll John Daly created the first hardboiedled detective in Black Mask in December 1922. Not everyone agrees that his story qualified. If I could find my Zelda notebook, I’d remember what the arguments were. FWIW even many pulp fans don’t like Daly’s writing — and he is forgotten by the public at large. OTOH let’s give props to Daly for wiediting an anti-Ku Klux Klan story back in 1923! Still, it was Dashiell Hammett who created the template we’re all familiar with.

    (10) Donald Pleasence was also the voice in the notorious Lonely Water PSA created to warn British children about the dangers of bodies of water. It is one of the spooky ones! I also enjoyed him in “Alone in the Dark,” where he was one of several famous character actors in the cast.

    The excitement about the new Hellraiser came just in time for Clive Barker’s birthday…

    And happy birthday to Paul!

  9. (3) I was all set to get outraged… but if you read through all the pearl-clutching, it turns out that she doesn’t have a Wikipedia page because whoever drafted one for her gave a two-sentence blurb and her bibliography, and the response was that the page needed to include more about her life and accomplishments to be worth publishing, and included a bunch of links to pages giving advice on writing for Wikipedia, as well as a literal Resubmit button for when they had added more.

    But, yeah, just ignore all of that. It’s definitely the patriarchy’s fault that she doesn’t have a bio listed. Guys’ bios just magically appear without anyone writing them, right? Down with the patriarchy!

  10. Anne Marble says I know there are pulpsters who think Carroll John Daly created the first hardboiedled detective in Black Mask in December 1922. Not everyone agrees that his story qualified. If I could find my Zelda notebook, I’d remember what the arguments were. FWIW even many pulp fans don’t like Daly’s writing — and he is forgotten by the public at large. OTOH let’s give props to Daly for wiediting an anti-Ku Klux Klan story back in 1923! Still, it was Dashiell Hammett who created the template we’re all familiar with.

    I think part of the reason that the Continental Op is considered the first Private Detective is that he has no name and therefore serves as a literal template fot all the detectives that follow him. It makes a very neat beginning to an entire genre.

  11. @Brian, it would have been very easy to state those relevant facts about the rejected draft without adding the sneering about “pearl-clutching” and “down with the patriarchy.” Most people are very unfamiliar with Wikipedia editorial policy, and you do not know whether Bond knew the details of what this other writer wrote, or of the response. It’s entirely possible that she jumped to a conclusion based on being told something like “they rejected the page I wrote for you, because they said there was no proof that you were noteworthy.” And, as another commenter pointed out in that Twitter thread, there’s no contradiction between acknowledging that that may have been a wrong conclusion and acknowledging that there is a lot of arbitrariness in Wikipedia, which makes such conclusions feel plausible.

  12. Cat Eldridge: If you’re really talking about private detectives and not hardboiled detectives, there are stories about them decades before the Continental Op. That’s why I edited the birthday to make it “hardboiled” because that’s the category Hammett would be in the running for having helped create.

  13. Michael Moorcock. I met him at a con long ago, etc. He told me a fun story: he’d been in the service, and in San Francisco. He had time off, and during the day, he’d bought a sword (saber?) in a 2nd hand store. The owner had wrapped it in newspaper, around and around. People probably thought it was a fishing rod or whatever. Finally, he’s waiting for the bus back to the base, and a punk comes up to him (and no one else at the stop), and pulls a knife, and demands his money.
    Michael reached into the top of the newspaper wrap, and pulled out the sword. The punk ran, not walked, away. No one wanted to sit next to him on the bus, for some reason.

  14. Mike Glyer says If you’re really talking about private detectives and not hardboiled detectives, there are stories about them decades before the Continental Op. That’s why I edited the birthday to make it “hardboiled” because that’s the category Hammett would be in the running for having helped create.

    A reasonable edit as the Continental Op was most likely the first hardboiled dectective.

  15. Dept. of Niggles Dept.: The title of Red Harvest does not have a definite article.

    It’s not unreasonable to give Carroll John Daly credit for the first hardboiled PI–his Race Williams stories preceeded Hammett’s Op stories–barely, if Wikipedia’s bibilographies are to be trusted. (June vs October of 1923.) I know I read some Daly long ago, but I have no memory of which story, and apparently I didn’t feel the urge to pursue his other work. Hammett, on the other hand, I liked well enough to include in an undergrad popular literature course in the 1970s–the nice Vintage paperback editions were available, and I think I settled on The Big Knockover to cover Hammett.

  16. 3) Gwenda Bond has a Wikipedia page as of 3:17 this morning thanks to Wiki editors Neopeius, Gobonodo, Jakcbay and MurielMary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwenda_Bond .

    There absolutely is an identifiable pattern of a higher notability bar for articles about women on Wikipedia – in particular they are disproportionately vulnerable to calls for speedy deletion – but in this case it does seem like the original article simply needed more content.

  17. Neopeius, whom I know and DMed me after I retweeted Gwenda’s plight, hypothesized that the original article was insufficient, yeah.

  18. ” but if you read through all the pearl-clutching”

    Perhaps we could stop using this gendered phrase and find a better way to say it? Just a thought. Certainly bias towards women in media is pretty well documented by now, so maybe it’s worth clutching a pearl or two now and again.

  19. The article creation process for Wikipedia has a fairly high degree of arbitrariness that tends to favor articles created by editors familiar with the system who have the knowledge and the time to invest to get an article through its challenges. Most articles are simply created by editors without going through any sort of formal process. (Those may be subject to speedy deletion by other editors, but if you know what to include in the article to defend it from notability challenges, and respond quickly to any such challenges, or if the article’s topic doesn’t raise any flags with folks watching the logs, the article will likely make it through. One of the flags in practice, which is sometimes decisive even when it shouldn’t be, is “I’m not personally familiar with this person or topic, and I think I should be”.)

    There’s also a more formally reviewed “articles for creation” route, often used by newcomers, which involves a lot more scrutiny from longtime editors. Articles that get through this review route are generally of higher initial quality than articles that someone just starts on their own, but a lot of articles don’t make it through review. (Most are rejected the first time, generally with notes on how they could be revised to pass review, but lots of submitters give up after the first rejection. It sounds like this was the route used for the initial attempt of an article for Gwenda Bond.)

    Because of the way this process works, and because the population of regular editors is demographically skewed in various ways (including being heavily disproportionately male), more biographies of men tend to successfully get through the creation process than biographies of women. This is a problem on Wikipedia, and the structural reasons for that problem that I’ve noted here are sufficient for sexist results even if no one involved has consciously sexist intent.

  20. Happy Birthday, Rich Horton!

    There is one Albert Cowdrey anthology called Revelation and Other Tales of Fantascience. There should be more collections of his work.

    I note that Diana Pho has four Hugo nominations and one Hugo win for Best Professional Editor, Long Form, and does not have a Wikipedia page.

  21. @Cat

    We are both right! According to an article in the November issue of Mystery Scene, the December 1922 issue of Black Mask also included a story by some guy named Peter Collinson — who was actually Dashiell Hammett. Both stories included hardboiled detectives.

    Right now, the real mystery is how I managed to spill pumpkin spice latte and get some on this issue. 🙁

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