Pixel Scroll 10/16/16 Ticking Pixels To A Cat

(1) ARCHIVAL VIDEO OF NEBULA AWARDS. Video from the 1984 Nebula Awards ceremony has been posted.

You can see Octavia Butler accepting a Nebula for her novelette “Bloodchild” around the 11:30 mark.

Not seen on the video are some of the post-ceremony lowlights described on the SFWA website:

Presented at Warwick Hotel, New York, New York on May 5, 1985

Ian and Betty Ballantine were presented with a special award for their pioneering contributions to science fiction and fantasy publishing.  The Business Meeting took place on Saturday at noon and was followed by the traditional editors’ panel, and agents’ panel. LACon sponsored the pre-banquet reception.  As with the 1983 event, publishing professionals outnumbered authors.  Attorney Tim Jensen was the primary speaker and spoke about taxes and the author. Following the banquet, Harlan Ellison punched Charles Platt over comments Platt had made regarding an award given to Larry Shaw.  Tom Disch also punched William Gibson, without explanation.


(2) APOLOGY DYNAMICS. Ann Leckie has further thoughts — “On Apologies”.

So I want to say this straight out–the apology is not for the apologizer. The person offended against has no obligation whatever to accept any apology at all, or to forgive, or to stop being hurt or angry, or to pretend they’re not hurt or angry any more. I mean, if they want to, if they can, if they think it’s proper, sure. But the apology is for the person who was offended, and they have no obligation to respond in any particular way. Or respond at all, frankly.

(3) SUNIL PATEL NEWS. The Book Smugglers announced today they will no longer publish Sunil Patel’s work.

This past weekend, several women put forward their encounters with a well-known male SFF author, citing his history of manipulation, gaslighting, grooming behavior, and objectification of women in the speculative fiction community. We have read all of the accounts. We are listening to the stories. We stand with the women who have been the subject of this author’s behavior.

In light of these revelations, we have made the decision to no longer publish Sunil Patel’s work. We have removed The Merger from sale, and have canceled all forthcoming short stories and essays with the author.

As members of the SFF community, as publishers, and as women, we cannot in good conscience support this author’s work any longer.

Fantastic Stories also has taken Patel off its projects.

These decisions follow from accusations of abuse that have been discussed on Twitter. Two women who specifically named Patel were Kristine Wyllys and Sarah Hollowell.

Other women authors have supported the conversation by posting generally about their professional experience. You can connect with two of them here —


(4) THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY. Ahrvid Engholm recently quoted this article, relevant to our discussions of the Nobel Prize for Literature, in his apazine.

The member of the Swedish Academy Per Wästberg has written an article about the work behind the Nobel Prize in literatur. It was in the daily Svenska Dagbladet Oct 4th, “The Prize that is Dynamite for Culture”, and the Swedish original piece is here: http://www.svd.se/priset-som-ar-kulturell-dynamit  But I thought I should give you a few snippets and some info from his article:  “Geograhpy is not our subject.” The Academy does not try to spread the grace between countries, languages and continents. After Saramaago he says they”could have given the prize three years in a row to Portugal, if it had been motivated”.

(5) BETWEEN THE COVERS. Bob Dylan not only survived William Shatner’s performance of his music, he also lived down having TV sitcom star Sebastian Cabot record his songs. Sebastian Cabot was a British born actor (died 1977 aged 59) whose most popular role was Mr. French, the nanny in Family Affair, and before that, a college professor who helped detectives in Eric Ambler’s TV series Checkmate. And he played Mr. Pip in a Twilight Zone episode. Cabot recorded an album of Bob Dylan covers in 1967, after his first successful season as the nanny, from which this track is taken.

(6) CLARK ASHTON SMITH. Carl Slaughter reports, “Night Shade offers paperback editions of the collected works of legendary weird fiction author Clark Ashton Smith. Volume 1 was released in 2015, volumes 2 and 3 were released in January and May, volume 4 was released in September, and volume 5 is set for January 2017.  There will also be a collection of miscellaneous writings in May 2017.”

“None strikes the note of cosmic horror as well as Clark Ashton Smith. In sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Smith is perhaps unexcelled by any other writer.” —H. P. Lovecraft

Many of the hardcovers in this series, first published between 2007 and 2011, have been long unavailable since the original printings sold out, and over the years have become quite pricey on the secondary market. Night Shade continues to get more inquiries regarding availability of this series than any other title we’ve released. Now, we’re excited to announce that we’ve come to an agreement with the estate to release new paperback editions of all of Smith’s short fiction, which includes volumes one through five of the original series, plus the additional sixth volume of miscellaneous writings.

Clark Ashton Smith, considered one of the greatest contributors to seminal pulp magazines such as Weird Tales, helped define and shape “weird fiction” in the early twentieth century, alongside contemporaries H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, drawing upon his background in poetry to convey an unparalleled richness of imagination and expression in his stories of the bizarre and fantastical.

The Collected Fantasies series presents all of Smith’s fiction chronologically. Authorized by the author’s estate and endorsed by Arkham House, the stories in this series are accompanied by detailed background notes from editors Scott Connors and Ron Hilger, who in preparation for this collection meticulously compared original manuscripts, various typescripts, published editions, and Smith’s own notes and letters. Their efforts have resulted in the most definitive and complete collection of the author’s work to date.

The End of the Story—September 2015
The Door to Saturn—January 2016
A Vintage from Atlantis—May 2016
The Maze of the Enchanter—September 2016
The Last Hieroglyph—January 2017
The Miscellaneous Writings of Clark Ashton Smith—May 2017

[Thanks to DMS, Natalie Luhrs, JJ, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/16/16 Ticking Pixels To A Cat

  1. I’m more partial to Johnny Cash’s idiomatic rendition of “It Ain’t Me, Babe.” I particularly like his “No! No! No!”s.

    This may or may not be the same as the 45 I have. I don’t remember June’s voice in it. Time to check my collection, I guess, but here’s this, anyway:

  2. My least favorite Dylan cover is P.J. Harvey’s “Highway 61.” I love PJ but that tune really didn’t work for me in any way.

    Nearly done with Seeker’s Mask (Godstalk III). Good book but her prose style exhausts me, oddly enough. Not sure whether I’ll go on.

  3. Sorry to hear the allegations about Patel. But sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we’ve been keeping the curtains drawn on such things too long.

    <edit to add> Accidental fifth.

  4. Oh and in going back through some of the Twitter threads, I found Damien Walter’s take on the situation:

    Ah, Sunil Patel. One of the poisonous clique around SFs Most Hateful Troll. ALL those people are toxic and abusive.

    Which, you know what, I got opinions about Benjanun Sriduangkaew, but shifting the blame for a man’s alleged manipulative and abusive behaviour to a woman? Way to class it up, Damien Walter. By which I mean “fuck you”.

  5. Dawn Incognito: I scored Damien Walter here as having nothing to say (even though he said something) so I didn’t link him in the Scroll.

    But you were making a point of your own, so carry on…

  6. 3) Honest question here. I know what the other three are and they’re bad enough in their own right, but I have no idea what “grooming behavior” is, as I’ve never heard of it before. If someone could enlighten me, it would be appreciated.

    5) I’m afraid to listen to Sebastien Cabot “sing” anything, so I’ll pass.

    6) I’ve always considered CA Smith to be a better writer than Lovecraft, so it’s good to see him getting his work showcased like this.

  7. Robert Reynolds: Google “grooming behavior” and you will find a host of authoritative articles describing it.

  8. @Mike Glyer:

    Thank you for the tip. I did so and now I’m sorry I asked! I feel like I need a shower now! The more I see of people, the better I like animals.

  9. @Robert Reynolds – You are missing out. Cabot does not so much sing as approach the songs as spoken-word poetry. While It Ain’t Me, Babe made it onto Golden Throats, my personal favorite is Cabot’s take of Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.

  10. Ticky.

    (Also, am currently on a roadtrip so won’t be online much. Now in Wellington & planning to visit Weta Cave/ Workshop.)

  11. @GSLamb:

    Thanks! I listened to that and it was very good. Not what I expected at all! Your recommendation is much appreciated. Now I’ll track down whatever else I can find. Thanks again.

  12. Bill: I had only heard of “grooming” with respect to child abuse, not adult relationships. It must be difficult to distinguish grooming from other normal interactions until after abuse occurs.

    Why would you say that? Grooming is abuse, it’s not a “normal interaction”.

  13. JJ — I deleted that part of my comment before you posted yours. It had been based on descriptions of grooming that said it was a process of getting close to an intended victim and building trust — behaviors that, like I said, can be a part of normal interactions. I continued to read about it during the edit window, and realized that grooming can (and does) include much more problematic behavior. So I pulled that sentence.

    Grooming can be, in and of itself, abusive.

  14. (1) ARCHIVAL VIDEO OF NEBULA AWARDS. X punched Y for Reasons; A punched B for no reason. WTF?!

    (3) SUNIL PATEL NEWS. Ugh.

    – – –

    ObSFReading: I just finished the very good Remanence by Jennifer Foehner Wells and I’m looking forward to the third book, which I expect to be a little more action-y. I’m glad to get the Big Mystery explained here; I thought I’d have to wait till book 3. And I liked the explanation a lot! Hmm, time to check out the sample for her same-universe-but-unrelated-series book The Druid Gene. But first, time to continue Fellside where the sample left off.

    BTW if anyone’s read Wells’s The Druid Gene, please let me know how it is.

  15. Thanks for that, Bill.

    Grooming can be very overt, or it can be very subtle — often so subtle that victims do not realize until much later, way after they’ve gotten out, that their interactions weren’t normal but were in fact abusive.

    One of the major acts such manipulators often do is to gradually convince the victim that they are ugly or stupid or incompetent, so much so that no one else could possibly be willing to put up with them, or like them, or find them attractive — or publish them.

    And the manipulator has often simultaneously worked to gradually separate or alienate the victim from family and friends who would support them or provide them with reality checks, so that they are isolated and vulnerable and feel that they have no one to depend on except the manipulator, to whom they must feel so very grateful.

    It’s the frog in the pot of cold water brought very, very slowly to a boil, writ large. And often it’s only finding out that others have experienced the same things which makes the victim finally realize, with horror, that they aren’t crazy, and that they aren’t the worthless person they’ve been made to feel they are.

    Which is why you see people start coming out of the woodwork once one or two people finally have the courage to speak up (Cosby, Trump, etc) — it’s not because the people speaking up are making it up, it’s because they finally realize that it’s not just them, and they weren’t just imagining things, and that it’s okay for them to feel upset about the way they were treated.

  16. Grooming can be very overt, or it can be very subtle — often so subtle that victims do not realize until much later, way after they’ve gotten out, that their interactions weren’t normal but were in fact abusive.

    Which seems very much like the statement that I made (and retracted) that you called me out for.

  17. Kendall: time to check out the sample for her same-universe-but-unrelated-series book The Druid Gene.

    I really liked Remanance, too — I thought she’d leveled up from the first book a bit. I just noticed last night that Druid Gene is in my library’s Overdrive, so I marked it on my “to be read at some point” list (but I’m heavily in the midst of 2016 reading for Hugos right now, so it will have to wait).

  18. Bill: Which seems very much like the statement that I made (and retracted) that you called me out for.

    Not really. Grooming is often — even usually — quite obvious to people other than the victim as not being “normal interaction” (assuming that others get the opportunity to observe it).

    But many of us have social inhibitors which say that it’s not okay to tell someone bad things about someone they like — or in cases where we do try to say something, the victim refuses to listen.

    ETA: The grooming is the abuse.

  19. (1) I’ve read most of the nominated stories, so now I wanna know more about the punching. Although, Harlan punching isn’t really a surprise, and since Disch is dead and Gibson didn’t know why, it will remain a mystery.

    (2) Word. So much word. It should be required reading for everyone. Particularly…

    (3) I’d been getting increasingly uncomfortable about him — without ever meeting him, I admit, just reading — and now, welp, yeah. I wasn’t imagining it. My gut was right. As one of The Olds, I’m so glad to see The Youngs refusing to be kept quiet.

    (4) Next year, UKL!

    (5) Loved him as Mr. Cabot.

    (6) Good to hear — he is underrated.

    Grooming IS abuse. Else it’d just be called normal behavior, not grooming.

    I liked “Remanence” too — the next book should be quite something!

  20. 3)

    I had heard intimations of something blowing up on twitter, as the weekend progressed, but with my computer woes, it took until Saturday night until someone cued me in in a DM just what it was all about.

    And then there was the sidecar yesterday with someone with an ax to grind trying to slide in a personal dislike of Chuck Wendig into the Patel business, which caused a counter reaction of people defending him and decrying that.

    Sadly, when people do toxic and bad things, especially to women, it often takes time for it to come to the surface. And equally so, sometimes people take advantage of these divisions for their own agenda.

    And no, I am not going to go visit Puppyland to find out what Beale and company think of all this. I can imagine it pretty well, anyway.

    “Don’t be an a**hole. All else is commentary” is a pretty good rule of life, but its a hard one to live up to. But I try my personal best.

  21. 1) I’m not surprised at Harlan Ellison punching someone and Thomas Disch has always come across as a jerk in his non-fiction writings (and I read more of his SF criticism than I ever wanted to while doing my MA thesis, which permanently soured me on Disch), so I’m not exactly surprised there either. As for why he punched Gibson, I guess it was for the crime of not writing the right kind of SF according to Disch.

    3) I’ve never met him and only had a handful of online interactions with him, none negative, but even I heard rumours and warnings, cause women talk to each other about problematic men.

  22. I’ve seen this forthcoming anthology mentioned online and it looks pretty interesting:

    Iraq +100

    Iraq + 100 poses a question to ten Iraqi writers: what might your country look like in the year 2103 – a century after the disastrous American- and British-led invasion, and 87 years down the line from its current, nightmarish battle for survival? How might the effects of that one intervention reach across a century of repercussions, and shape the lives of ordinary Iraqi citizens, or influence its economy, culture, or politics? Might Iraq have finally escaped the cycle of invasion and violence triggered by 2003 and, if so, what would a new, free Iraq look like?

  23. 1) from comments after Disch died:


    Beth Meacham:

    Ok, I must debunk that. I was in the elevator with Tom and Bill Gibson when the “punch” occurred. Bill had just won the Nebula for Neuromancer. Tom was three sheets to the wind.

    Tom congratulated Bill, and gave him a manly punch in the arm to reinforce it. It was one of those crypto-aggressive things boys do, you’ve all seen it, some of you have done it.

    But Tom was drunk and strong, and Bill, though tall, is slight. So it came off badly. But it was most definitely not meant as an attack of any sort.

  24. @ Cassy: If it has an accidental, it’s either an augmented or a diminished fifth. The diminished fifth (also known as the augmented fourth or the tritone) has been called “the Devil’s interval”, and I can testify that it’s the devil to sing accurately!

    @ Dawn: Does it count as derailing when you’re pointing out someone else’s attempt to derail? That’s getting meta…

    @ Bill: A lot of romance novels, movies, and TV shows depict men displaying creepy and abusive behavior while pushing the idea that it’s supposed to be “romantic”. (Twilight is one of the examples commonly offered.) I have been thinking of this as widely-accepted grooming behavior for several decades.

  25. Lee, I called it derailing because I got drawn in by a baiting Tweet and brought it over here. I was upset and angry and venting my spleen over something that was distracting from the subject at hand.

  26. Lee said:

    A lot of romance novels, movies, and TV shows depict men displaying creepy and abusive behavior while pushing the idea that it’s supposed to be “romantic”. (Twilight is one of the examples commonly offered.)

    And if you need lots more examples, the official TV Tropes name for it is “Stalking is Love“.

    Unfortunately, the trope has real effects.

  27. “Thomas Disch has always come across as a jerk in his non-fiction writings”

    FWIW, in my experience Disch was very shy and often came across as a jerk because of his discomfort. (He was also supersmart and very aware of the fact, so he didn’t suffer fools too easily.) I had an office next to his at Hopkins in the mid-90s and got to know him a bit and he was amazingly kind to my mother when she came to visit at one point and liked by his students.

    I’m willing to believe he was intemperate in his youth and my understanding of those early award ceremonies is that they involved drinking to a point where a punch or three was more often than not the norm. But at least when I knew him a decade later, he was pretty awesome once you got past some of the defensive layers. His suicide saddened me deeply; he was one of the folks always at odds with the world and challenging it, and I believe that fight wore him down finally to the point of surrender.

  28. @rob_matic

    Assuming that there’d be a country called Iraq that’s the same size/shape as it is now in 100 years seems a stretch – the Kurds are basically running their own state, the Iranians will probably have part of the middle, and there might be a bit at the bottom that is called “Iraq”.

    Interesting thought experiment though. And the above could go for the USA too – hopefully confederate states would have split off to become Real Amerika ™ by then and the rest of us will be much better off…

  29. @Chris S.: That’s not so “hopefully” from the point of view of the people of color, LGBT people, women, and even a minority of voting white men who live in those states, not to mention children, animals, and plants.

    I used to make this kind of joke all the time, as a life-long west coaster who finds lands east of the Rockies (or, depending on my mood, the Sierras) strange. But my Southern friends have been pushing back on this a lot in recent years, and now I’m ashamed of my part in perpetrating callous stereotypes. This is what they asked me: is it that I felt good about the prospect of just abandoning everyone who disagrees with the governing hegemony, or did I have something in mind to get them out? Many of the hegemony’s victims are among those least able to drop everything in their lives and try to start over, particularly in this era when a lot of the vileness is general.

    (It’s not like everything in the state governments of, say, New York, Michigan, and Washington is so progressively wonderful that we, bored for lack of beams in our own eyes to remove, should feel comfortable throwing stones at others as though we’ve got nothing connecting us to the problems.)

    When a ship is sinking, sometimes not everyone can be saved. But tossing the people busiest cooperating with the rescue work overboard surely doesn’t help.

  30. You’re very welcome, RW. I was already in the midst of the shift, but comments of yours in early days of my reading your journal/blog were timely reinforcement. So that’d be Rich’s fault for having pointed me at your stuff. 🙂

    (And it bears repeating that among the victims of the latter-day slave power are a bunch of conservatives who do not vote monstrously and have no more effective voice in their governance than the All-Southern Communist League. Those folks can use the old line “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me” and be 100% right.)

  31. @Chris S., you might want to rethink that last remark. Every now and then some group of (say) Texans will propose secession and there’s always some northerner to sniff “Good riddance!” And then someone will reply, “Hey, I live in Texas, I am not a wingnut, and I like having the constitutional protections that wingnuts want to avoid. Are you so willing to throw me and all other sane Texans away?” That person has a point. There may (perhaps) be arguments in favor of dividing the US, but simply dismissing everyone who lives in the south as people you obviously wouldn’t want to associate with isn’t one of them.

    ETA: Bruce said it better.

  32. @Vasha, et al: Having been a northeasterner most of my life, I spent twelve years living in Florida and I can say this: the southern states are rapidly improving via immigration from the northeast – but not fast enough.

    There are several local expressions: one is – you can’t be a “Florida Cracker” until you’ve lived there at least a decade (though most of the folks down there who are PROUD to call themselves “crackers” will usually say a “yankee” can never be a “cracker”) and the other being “the further north you go, the further south you are.

    I’ve got nothing against people who want to live in agrarian life style, no even against those who want to remove themselves to a place where they can mostly do their own thing undisturbed, but the level of downright deliberate ignorance that knowingly hides behind the “southern hospitality” rhetoric is staggering and scary.

    The town I lived in most of my time there had photos of their local bridge – complete with warning sign – “(N-word), don’t let the sun set on you in (name of town redacted)”; I had to personally educate most of the residents – find, upstanding, educated individuals (at least in their own minds) that “Jew you down” was an unacceptable turn of phrase.

    Those are mild examples. Their legal system is medieval (they will deliberately delay paperwork on Friday’s in order to insure extra inmates over the weekend; their judges flaunt the states own written law; there is DEMONSTRABLY different treatment of those they perceive as “white” vs non-white, and when the “white” folks make a point of letting them know that they aren’t as “white” as one might expect (like, they might be a Kike “pretending” to be white), well, lets just say that they react in inappropriate ways.

    Their school systems and other infrastructure sucks (one of the reasons why hurricanes devastate the place so badly) because they’ve got this “every man for himself” attitude going on that’s some kind of legacy of “southern” thinking.

    I don’t stereotype or generally make grand, sweeping statements about things, but, well, I was happy to move back to New England, where, at least in most places, they don’t refer to me as a yid, or actually believe I had a hand in killing christ.

  33. Digital Book Alert: Judging from the Kindle Store, it looks like Open Road Media has digitally republished (in their entirety) Jo Clayton’s Skeen Trilogy, the Diadem Saga, and the Duel of Sorcery trilogy as well as Bait of Dreams.

    I found out because Moonscatter (Book 1 in Duel of Sorcery) is currently on sale in most major digital markets for $1.99.

  34. May I just? This is like a squirmy worm under my skin. I’ve read Sunil Patel’s apology tweets several times now, and I want to think the best of people, I really do. I hope it’s sincere and he will actually listen and self-reflect and change.

    But…I’m familiar with abusers who know what words to say to get them out of hot water and make everyone think that they’re truly sorry and are totally going to change their ways this time. And then…they don’t. Maybe they do for awhile, until people have forgotten about the transgression(s). Maybe they do around particular people if it benefits them enough. But there are always more vulnerable people around.

    I’d say “I’ll believe it when I see it”, but I’m not in a position to see anything. I guess I hope those who are in that position will be wary.

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