Pixel Scroll 10/27/16 Take a Pixel, Maria, Scroll It Up My Screen

(1) HARASSMENT CLAIMS ANOTHER CREATOR. Comics Beat’s Heidi MacDonald reports another woman comics creator abandoned Twitter because of abuse — “Bestselling author Chelsea Cain driven off Twitter by harassment from comcs ‘fans’”.

Mockingbird writer Chelsea Cain, the bestselling author of Heartsick and other thrillers, deleted her Twitter account today after receiving abusive tweets yesterday….

In a now vanished series of tweets (one screencapped above)  Cain noted that she was getting harassing tweets, presumably over the above Mockingbird cover and her work there in general. It’s possible that she was targeted from 4chan or Reddit as well. After saying she was considering pulling the plug…she did just that.

This ignited a firestorm of support on Twitter as well….

And a #standwithchelseacain hashtag was trending for quite a while and is still gaining steam. I doubt this is going to calm down any time soon.

I guess everyone feels a little burnt on social media at the mo, but the harassment problem isn’t a woman’s problem, it’s a MAN’S problem. The good men of comics and everywhere need to make it clear they do not support or tolerate hate, abuse and misogyny. This isn’t a borderline case. It’s clear, indisputable harassment. And that should not be part of the “comics conversation.”

The abuse against women in comics is equally clear and indisputable, and the abuse against women of color is even worse. And so on down the line. It’s toxic and inexcusable.

(2) TAKE THE LONGER WAY. Scifinow has an interview with Becky Chambers.

[CHAMBERS] So when they asked me, “What would you like to do next?” I was like, “Well, I don’t have anything for this crew, but Pepper and Lovelace, those two are, they’ve got stuff that I’d like to explore.” So that was just the thread I picked up and went with.

They’re such a great pairing! So they were the starting point?

Yeah, it really did happen by accident. That was one of the last things that I figured out in The Long Way. A lot of the stuff that happened in the book I’d scribbled down and imagined well before I actually sat down and wrote the thing, but I was a long way through the first draft before I knew where Lovelace was going to go after the first book. Somehow Pepper just sort of naturally took that spot.

It was one of those wonderful moments where something happens when you’re writing that you didn’t intend and it’s just like, “Oh, that actually works really well!” I started thinking about how these two women have vastly different backgrounds and life experiences but they actually have quite a bit in common, and it was fun playing with that. It was fun finding the similarities between two characters who, at first blush, don’t look like they could have anything similar at all and yet are walking such similar paths.

(3) THE SCIENCE IN SCIENCE FICTION. Joshua Sky interviewed Larry Niven for Omni.

JS: One of your goals as a writer is to continuously publish science fiction that is at the cutting edge of science. Is that still the case?

NIVEN: Yes, Fred (editor of If and Galaxy magazines at the time) gave me that goal, because I was already doing it, without quite making it a goal. He in fact suggested me writing stories and he finding scientists to write articles alongside the stories on the same subject, and we never got that far. I think he must’ve found that to be too much work.

JS: Is your process that you check the news, read the latest discoveries in science, and then write a story based on your findings?

NIVEN: That was my goal. In fact, I never really managed it.

JS: Is it difficult to keep track of the latest developments in science?

NIVEN: That’s easy. That’s a hobby. Doing your research for fun, and hoping it generates stories. Sometimes it does.

(4) WHAT I REALLY MEANT TO SAY. Here’s a Los Angeles Times article that will refresh your memory about the new California law requiring autographed memorabilia come with a certificate of authenticity —  “The high cost of an autograph”.

The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, faced with a firestorm of protest from booksellers, issued this letter that argues her legal language should not be interpreted in the draconian way people assume.



(5) VANISHING CULT. The LA Times’ Josh Rottenberg asks, “In an age of comic-book blockbusters and viral sensations, whatever happened to the cult movie?”

Those old video stores have virtually all disappeared now, of course, along with many of the independent movie theaters that, in decades past, drew steady crowds to such “midnight movies” – all of it swept away in the transition to a fully digital, on-demand world. And the cult movies themselves? It seems they’re in danger of going extinct as well.

In today’s fragmented, ever-churning pop culture ecosystem, the long tail of home video that once gave oddball movies a shot at a glorious cult afterlife has shortened to the point of vanishing. With even big-budget commercial films often struggling to break through the endless clutter of content, the challenge for smaller, quirkier fare is that much harder.

Even when a particular offbeat film – say, “The Babadook” or “It Follows” – manages to catch a viral wave, it is almost instantly overcome by the next fresh piece of “must-watch” entertainment that demands your already overtaxed attention. Instead of a long tail, we now have a collective case of incurable cultural ADHD.

(6) WRITER’S NOTEBOOK. In his latest post at This Way To Texas, Lou Antonelli shares an idea for a story – “The Revenge of the Internet” — inspired by this premise:

OK, the big problem with social media – which I think everyone recognizes – is that it allows you to attack or insult people with impunity. it unleashes our worst nature. We can get away with saying things to people we would never say to their face, or even on the phone, and we can do it across great distances….

(7) GENDER COUNTING. Juliet McKenna says this is what the numbers say about “Gender in Genre and the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2016”.

When the only thing that counts is what readers make of the writing, the story really is all that matters.

The second thing I’m seeing here? Out of three hundred SPFBO [Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off] submissions this year, the field was 49% male, 33% female and 18 unknown as they were using initials. Can we assume those initials all belong to women? I’d say that’s a risky assumption – and even if that were the case, that still means only a third of the books were written by women prepared to raise a hand to be identified as such. What does that tell us?

Once again, it confirms something I’ve seen time and again since I started writing about inequalities in visibility in SF&F. Something I’ve had confirmed as an endemic problem in fields such as medicine, science, computing, literary criticism, history and the law. Women are still culturally conditioned to put themselves forward much less and to hold their own work to a far higher standard before offering it for publication. It’s a problem that frustrates and infuriates editors, from those working on academic journals, through fiction anthologies in all genres, to the commissioning editors in publishing houses. With the best will in the world, the best initiatives to improve diversity and representation can only work if those who’ve been historically excluded now step forward.

(8) BEFORE THERE WAS DYSTOPIA. In his article “We should remember HG Wells for his social predictions, not just his scientific ones” at The Conversation, Victorian fiction professor Simon John James notes that it’s H.G. Wells’s sesquicentennial, and gives back ground on Wells’s political achievements, including how Wells’s ideas inspired the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights.

Today, given the role that national identity continues to play in human beings’ efforts for greater self-determination, the prospect of Wells’s world state seems even less likely. One surprising legacy remains, however, from Wells’s forecasts of a better future for humankind. Letters from Wells to The Times led to the Sankey Committee for Human Rights and Wells’s 1940 Penguin Special The Rights of Man; Or What Are We Fighting For? (recently reissued with a preface by novelist Ali Smith). Wells argued that the only meaningful outcome for the war would be the declaration of an agreed set of universal human rights and an international court to enforce them.

Wells’s aspiration was the guaranteeing of the right to life, education, work, trade and property for every man and woman on Earth. (Surprisingly, given his earlier flirtation with positive eugenics, Wells also insisted on “freedom from any sort of mutilation or sterilisation” and from torture.) The influence of Wells’s work is clear in the United Nations 1948 Declaration of Universal Human Rights. These rights now have legal force if not universal existence: so are perhaps Wells’s most significant prophetic aim.

(9) JABBA’S JAZZ BAND ON THE TITANIC. I was amused by a sportswriter’s use of a Star Wars metaphor here. (There’s no reason to go read the whole article unless you want to know why a pro basketball team – the Philadelpha 76ers – has been tanking for years.)

Maduabum is not at the center of this story, but as a part of The Process he is known to the community of people who believe in it, roughly in the same way that the name of the lead singer in the band playing on Jabba the Hutt’s barge is known to your harder core Star Wars weirdos. Maduabum is a component part of a bigger story, in other words, and a peripheral cast member in that story’s expanded universe.

It’s a story that, as so often happens with things like this, is now being told by people with significantly more emotional investment in it than the original credited author. The person who came up with all this was, however idiosyncratically, trying to tell a compelling story successfully through to its conclusion, which is a complicated but prosaic thing. That story didn’t really come to life, and so cannot really have been said to work in any meaningful way, until it changed hands, as generally happens to stories that work the best. The story becomes the shared property of people who really care about it, who have more invested in it, for one, but also pursue it with both a more robust and a more authentic imagination than the story’s creator brought to it. The Process is no longer in Hinkie’s hands. It belongs, now, to the community of believers that keep it alive, and who care about it for reasons that go well beyond the stated goal of building a winning basketball team or attending some cramped and beery victory parade down Broad Street. ChuChu Maduabum is a peripheral part of that story, but he’s part of it. He’s Sy Snootles, yes, but he’s also a real guy. The Philadelphia 76ers owned his rights for six months, and then they traded them.

(10) DON’T SKIP OVER THIS. Steven Lovely picked “The 30 Best Science Fiction Books in the Universe” for Early Bird Books. You may think it’s only been ten minutes since you saw a list of sf/f greats, but this one includes a bunch of present day greats, too, like Ancillary Justice and Three-Body Problem.

(11) ORIGINAL TOURIST TERROR TOWER. In the October 27 Washington Post, John Kelly interviews Itsi Atkins, who probably invented the haunted house attraction in St. Mary’s County in 1971.  Atkins talks about how he came up with the idea and how much he enjoyed scaring people at “Blood Manor” in the 1970s: “He dreamed of screams: Meet the man behind the modern haunted house”.

With Halloween bearing down on us like an ax-wielding maniac, now’s a good time to remember Edwin “Itsi” Atkins, pioneer of fright.

“In all my research, I can’t find anybody who has a live-action haunted house before 1971,” Itsi told me when I rang him up in Georgia, where he lives now. Yes, people had “yard haunts” — elaborate decorations in their front yards — and Disneyland had its Haunted Mansion. But that was an amusement-park ride, which took safely seat-belted riders through a gently scary attraction.

What Itsi claims to have invented is the interactive experience of walking through a haunted house while being assaulted by scary actors amid frightful tableaux.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Martin Morse Wooster for some off these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mart.]

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62 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/27/16 Take a Pixel, Maria, Scroll It Up My Screen

  1. The First Ticky.

    ETA: Is it too soon to start with the Christmas themes? Our local shopping malls have already put up their Christmas decorations.

  2. 6)@Lou Antonelli

    We can get away with saying things to people we would never say to their face

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to…or should.

    And haveing clicked the link: Not something I would want to read, thank you.

  3. (1) HARASSMENT CLAIMS ANOTHER CREATOR. Dammit this is not ok,

    @Soon Lee: No, it’s too early for Christmas. When I worked at a mall the Christmas music started promptly on Nov. 1.

    Today I discovered Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, a six-part series of animated shorts. It’s a comedy-horror that spoofs children’s programming. And goes to some extremely dark and unsettling places.

    Since the last part aired in 2016, I think it may be eligible for BDP short. And I may nominate it.

  4. @Soon Lee
    Over here, Aldi and other supermarkets have been selling holiday cookies and sweets since early September.

    I actually had problems finding Halloween sweets (Halloween hasn’t been celebrated long over here and many older people hate it), but the Christmas stuff was available all over. I finally bought something neutral looking that I can hand out for Halloween and St. Nicholas Day.

    11) Haunted houses have only been around in the US since 1971? I’d have thought they were older, since I vividly remember being taken to one in Missisippi in 1978 at the age of five.

  5. (4) seems clear enough. The statute says:

    “Dealer” means a person who is principally in the business of selling or offering for sale collectibles in or from this state, exclusively or nonexclusively, or a person who by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to collectibles . . .

    Isn’t it perfectly clear that “principally in the business of selling . . . collectibles” means that ordinary booksellers aren’t included? Maybe someone specializing in rare autographed first editions is covered . . .

  6. (5) VANISHING – I really dislike this kind of opinion piece, where the writer mixes together clearly true assertions with weirdly counterfactual speculation that isn’t identified as such. I mean, that last quoted paragraph about how “when a particular offbeat film … manages to catch a viral wave, it is almost instantly overcome by the next fresh piece of ‘must-watch’ entertainment” – says who? What is “overcome” supposed to mean in this context?

    The choice of examples is terrible, since both of the specific movies mentioned in that sentence are still very highly regarded and have been mentioned in every single article about 21st century indie horror films I’ve seen since they came out; if the writer hasn’t noticed any such discussion, I can only imagine that he’s not actually all that interested in such things and may not be the best person to opine about cult movies. They are also both infinitely easier to find, two years after release, than they would have been if they’d come out in the ’80s— at least for people like me who didn’t happen to live near a good midnight-movie venue then. I did have a decent video store, but it wasn’t for sure back then that a low-budget movie (especially a foreign one like The Babadook) would even get a VHS release any time soon, or that the store would pick it up. And if I saw it and wanted to tell my friends about it, there was no guarantee that they’d be able to see it; I’m amazed at how easy it is to start a cult following now, for both recent works and rediscovered older ones.

    I guess the writer is also saying that availability per se doesn’t matter because we all have “overtaxed attention”, but it’s not as if there weren’t plenty of higher-profile movies and popular TV shows back then, not to mention the thousands of other movies I could choose to watch at the video store. (I also have ADHD and don’t particularly love seeing it thrown around as a metaphor for what someone thinks is bad about pop culture, but that’s another story…)

    The whole thing sounds to me like a stereotypical hipster’s lament (and I’m not normally one to rant about hipsterism, but in this case the writer is embodying the stereotype): “My favorite things were cooler when most people couldn’t find out about them.” Or possibly, “There are too many cool things now.” Oh woe!

  7. Sorry, more on (5): Maybe my complaint about that article has more to do with confusing editing. That is, for instance, when it gets into concrete issues of the economics of filmmaking— way more relevant to a discussion of the putative death of cult movies than the other hand-wavey stuff about attention span, etc.— in the paragraphs about Don Coscarelli, the writer contrasts the low theatrical box-office gross of Coscarelli’s latest movie with a quote about how back in the good old days of VHS, you could make half a million bucks off of “any piece of junk”. Well, I think the latter figure is pretty clearly not referring to box office in theaters… but it’s not clear whether the writer understands that, and he makes no attempt to find out what if any income Coscarelli is getting through rentals and streaming now.

  8. Charon D
    I will freely admit, it’s kind of silly. I would go so far as to say goony. It wasn’t even my first thought. I was thinking of:

    T is T,
    Tee tee tee
    Tee tay ticky tay
    Too too too
    Ticky tay, tee, tie, toe, too,
    Ticky tie toe too

    But then I started worrying that if I did, someone else would reply with the Name Game, which has a higher Q rating.

  9. @4: in other words, the law means what it says — as I was arguing weeks (months?) ago.

    Irony, thy name is @6…. (No, I didn’t click on the link; I don’t do horror.)

    @10: I am baffled at a reader sufficiently serious to recommend (e.g.) Butler and Le Guin going on to recommend Feintuch’s ridiculously faked-up work. Did MilSF really need that many listings?

  10. Completely off topic…I’m starting to prepare my Background Lecture on Jemisin’s The Fifth Season for my students in the Afrofuturism class. It’s the third one because it’s the most difficult to read, I think, in terms of narrative point of view and the non-chronological structure. So I’m going to give them a bit more detail about it than I have in the lectures on the previous two novels (Okorafor’s Lagoon and Okri’s The Famished Road).

    As a start, I went through and made a list about which chapters focus on which character (and will add to it a bit more about pov). This is non-spoiler (there will be spoilers in my lecture eventually, but if I post more over here, I’ll rot-13 it!).

    Here’s what I have so far:

    Essun (10)
    1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 18, 21, 23

    Damaya (4)
    2, 6, 11, 17

    Syenite (9)
    4, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 20, 22

    Two Interludes: between 8/9 (two of Syenite’s chapters), and between 19/20 (also Syenite’s chapters).

    I was surprised to see Damaya had the fewest chapters by far!

    I’m thinking of suggesting students organize the plot summary portion of their journal on each of the three characters’ storylines instead of trying to summarize all 23 chapters in order, so to speak….

  11. This I believe: No decent person puts up Christmas decorations before Black Friday. It’s how I was raised, so it’s obviously how all decent people think.


  12. @Kip W I was thinking of:
    T is T,
    Tee tee tee
    Tee tay ticky tay
    Too too too
    Ticky tay, tee, tie, toe, too,
    Ticky tie toe too

    Who knew that Moe Howard could sing?

  13. It remains only to point out that “Swinging the Alphabet” (I like the performance in FORBIDDEN ZONE, myself) apparently has some history behind it. I have The Book of a Thousand Songs, which has a copyright date of 1918, and it has a version of the song in it. Definitely not the final version, but also definitely recognizable.

    That book, by the way, turns out to be available on the internet as a PDF download. I recommend it highly as a source of “AHA” moments, as I recognize tunes in it that I never knew had names. I also like to annotate my paper copy as I discover things about the songs. The fun you can have with a pencil and a piano.

  14. @Soon Lee: That is all sorts of Wrong. Halloween, besides being fun with the costumes and candy, helps to keep Christmas decor from erupting too soon. Lis is correct, Christmas things should not be put up until at least the day after Thanksgiving — the long weekend gives a nice opportunity to deck the halls. Foreigners may consult an American calendar, or round it down to the last weekend of November. Very traditional people might consider Dec. 1st.

    (1) They should be smacked with Bobbi’s smacking sticks.

    (2) I thought the book was a’ight, but not nearly as good as the first. I was nowhere near as invested in chapter after chapter of Pepper’s miserable childhood as I was in the adventures of a traveling multispecies crew. Sorry Becky (And there most certainly ARE villains in the second one, a whole planet of them who are never mentioned again and are presumably still villaining).

    (5) I’m with Eli — my first thought was “There are a LOT more of them now, thanks to the internet.”

    (6) Ooooh, the irony. What is it about Puppies that they can’t recognize irony?

    (11) Or not, since a bunch of us are old enough to remember 1971 and haunted houses before that.

  15. Here in Germany, Christmas decorations are traditionally put up in the week between Eternity Sunday, last Sunday of the church year, and the first Advent Sunday. This often, but not always, coincides with the US Thanksgiving.

    So the general rule is “No Christmas decorations before late November.”

    Too bad the supermarkets insist on annoying everybody with holiday cookies and candies from early September on.

  16. Today’s Meredith Moment:

    Octavia E. Butler’s entire Patternist Quadrology (Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay’s Ark, and Patternmaster) is on sale for $3.03 for at least a few hours longer for Kindle US and presumably for other formats.

  17. (1) HARASSMENT CLAIMS ANOTHER CREATOR. Lordy, from that headline, I thought someone died.

    – – – – –

    @Kip W: LOL at your Name Game bit, but I’ve never heard of that other one. I like goofy songs, though. I watched part of the clip @Bill linked to – that was cute. 🙂

    ETA: @JJ: Wow, awesome price! I own three of the four, though. Hmm, I swear I’ve read Wild Seed, so I’m confused that it’s not in my book database along with the other three. Double hmm, I don’t believe I ever read Clay’s Ark?!

  18. 1) And people keep wondering why noone wants to buy Twitter.

    4) If California is anything remotely like here (the Netherlands), then the discussion in the local parliament and memos like this are important guidelines to judges (and hopefully prosecutors) on what acts the law actually applies to. Trying to parse the mere text is, at least here, not the whole of the law.

    And finally, I didn’t expect to get a title credit within a day. I feel flattered.

  19. Kendall: Wow, awesome price!

    I know, right? I checked my library, and they only have 2 out of the 4 books, so I snarfed that baby right up.

  20. Robin Reid:

    I’m thinking of suggesting students organize the plot summary portion of their journal on each of the three characters’ storylines instead of trying to summarize all 23 chapters in order, so to speak….

    That makes me curious: If you don’t suggest it, do you expect any of your students to think about that on their own? Because it seems a very reasonable way to write a plot summary for a book written non-chronological. At least unless you make a specific point of writing the plot summary chapter by chapter.

    (A chronological plot summary, and a decent index of people and places, is something I wish I had when I read The Obelisk Gate.)

  21. I know the answer to (5): It’s online, in lots of places. For instance, RPG.Net, a place I primarily frequent for roleplaying game chat, has an ongoing thread about horror movies and TV; as with other long-running threats there, when it gets too long, they close it up and then open up a new one in the same series. It’s good for an average of, oh, 5-10 posts a day, with big spikes when something catches a lot of people’s attention, and it covers movies in theaters, currently airing on TV, streaming and downloadable releases from Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Hulu, Youtube shorts, and orders from specialty places like Shout Factory, among others.

    We talk about new releases good and bad, catching up with stuff others were raving or ranting about weeks/months/years ago, watching and rewatching classics, stuff we fired up because it looked crappy in the right way to be brain-dead distraction when needed, the whole deal.

    Comparable chains of comments exist lots of places, for lots of genres. Basically, it takes just one chatty person to notice something cool and set off discussion and then viewing. (And then more discussion, for we are people of the Word, you betcha).

  22. @Lis I’m with you. The Christmas Season for me, traditionally, does not occur until Santa appears in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. That’s when you know that Christmas is on its way. Any earlier is uncivilized!

  23. In my home, dating back to my childhood, Xmas season doesn’t start until December 8th*. Why? Because the 7th is my birthday, and between Thanksgiving and then, it’s all about me.

    *In the pre-VHS/DVD/DVR era, exceptions were allowed for the sole showing each year of any of the trinity (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas).

  24. Tom Galloway: exceptions were allowed for the sole showing each year of any of the trinity (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas)

    I am shocked, SHOCKED I say, that your list of approved canon does not include The Year Without a Santa Claus.

  25. 6) Riiight. People don’t choose to troll on social media, to send anonymous hate mail or death threats. It’s the Internet’s fault. The Internet Made Me Do It. Like the Devil used to.

  26. 3: those questions….leave something to be desired.

    4: well, yes and no. One could argue, fairly successfully I think, that the “principal” business of SDCC is the selling of autographs (the headliners are the draw, the headliners usually only contract to appear if there is the prospect of a nice take in autographs; special events are scheduled and sold based that include unique, signed memorabilia; attendance at some events is segregated based on who has or has not paid for autograph access…); the late Barry Levin’s shop could arguably be considered principally centered around selling signed “collectibles”.

    What one elected politician says today can be unsaid by another legislator tomorrow.

    This “principally” language is one of those vague things: I’ve seen this kind of language in contracts for defining distribution rights: “a general sports facility is one that does not have more than x% of its floor space devoted to the sale of…”; a specialty sports facility is one that is devoted to a single sport or has more than x% floor space devoted to…”

    So, who measures square footage, and what happens when the general facility does a one-time promotion temporarily increasing the foot print of that particular sport in question?

    I will tell you: arguments, law suits and money wasted on letters from attorneys arguing over the ambiguous – eventually (in my case) leading to contract re-writes that incorporated much more specificity (such as, in this case: “this law does not apply to…nor can any part of it be interpreted to apply to…ever…

  27. Crazy uncle Lou wrote

    SO… imagine in the future, after a societal collapse – with our current technology inoperative and no rule of law – people seek out and exact revenge on others who attacked them and lambasted them on the internet years earlier.

    Was there not a case brought up here when the kerfuffle was getting heated about a fan who sought out and exacted revenge on someone who had attacked and lambasted them in a fanzine… about 60 years in the past.

  28. (1) I can’t remember the last time I heard that the trolls had driven someone off of Facebook, reddit, Instagram, or any social-media site other than Twitter. Is Twitter more popular / more newsworthy than these other sites, or does it really have a special vulnerability to trolls?

    (4) Now I am thinking of that subplot in The Man in the High Castle involving the American who sells forged historical artifacts to trend-seeking Japanese.

  29. Currently reading: Spinrad’s The People’s Police, due out 2/17 (already available in French.

    I’m reading this for review and absolutely racing through it. As in enjoying it tremendously.

    I’ve long thought that Norman’s work has not gotten anywhere near the attention it deserves. (He should have been made a SFWA Grandmaster a while ago.)

    Can’t offer any detail prior to the actual review – which looks to be set to appear some short time prior to the US release. I think you all will want to read it. (and by it I mean the review, lol).

    I’ll stretch a bit and conclude with this: if you’ve enjoyed Spinrad’s work before, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

  30. “(1) I can’t remember the last time I heard that the trolls had driven someone off of Facebook, reddit, Instagram, or any social-media site other than Twitter. Is Twitter more popular / more newsworthy than these other sites, or does it really have a special vulnerability to trolls?”

    Twitter is particularly well designed to take advantage of the worst facets of human behavior because it generally takes less than 140 characters to insult/degrade/belittle/accuse someone, but generally takes more than that to defend yourself from such things. In addition, Twitter is also attractive to the ‘Lord of the Flies’ denizens of the internet because they have to spend zero to no actual time investment in their favorite pasttime of breaking another human being down.

  31. @Seth Gordon Is Twitter more popular / more newsworthy than these other sites, or does it really have a special vulnerability to trolls?

    A bit of both, I think. Twitter has a very flat structure that makes conversations public, which makes it popular with journalists and a good way to keep up with the zeitgeist, but it also has very poor blocking, filtering, and privacy options, which makes it easy for bullies to pile on. And despite occasional noises from their PR people their processes for dealing with abuse are appallingly bad, apparently as a matter of conscious choice.

  32. It turns out that people get driven off Reddit, Facebook, and the like all the time. It’s just usually less publicized than when it happens on Twitter, because a lot of journalists don’t know how to look for it happening elsewhere. Twitter does have some distinctive failure modes, but the phenomenon is as old as the net itself.

  33. Christmas either starts with the first Sunday of Advent (almost always in early December) or Christmas Eve and runs through 12 Night when the Wise Men came.

    Traditional Christians put up the manger scene on the first day of advent and place the infant Jesus in the crib on Christmas Day.

  34. [asbestos underoos….activated]

    (1) Ok, so I was curious and did a little looking. Given the political predilictions, I figured gab.ai would have more than a few “woot! we did it!” posts.

    Uh, nope and nope.

    I did find an article by Robert Kroese. He went looking for harassing/abusing tweets that should still exist on Twitter and didn’t find any. Criticism, yes….abuse, no.

    That led to an article by Brad Glasgow. Someone sent him one absolutely abusive image/post from October 19th.

    My search also led to an article on Ms. Cain’s blog where she said:

    Let me be clear: I did not leave Twitter because I was trolled; I was trolled because I said I was going to leave Twitter.

    Twitter has an advanced search feature. I went backwards from October 26th to the 24th and couldn’t see anything abusive.

    I also poked around back in March when the comic first came out. A search for (what I believe is) the obvious combination of “mockingbird” and “shit” came up with zero tweets in March of 2016. I saw tons of support and nothing critical much less abusive.

    I did find a bunch of images that made me think that I’ll have to buy Mockingbird Volume 1. It looks interesting.

    I have no idea what might have caused Ms. Cain to withdraw from Twitter. But I’m willing to take her at her word.

    Let me be clear: I did not leave Twitter because I was trolled; I was trolled because I said I was going to leave Twitter.

    The trolling was unjustified regardless of when in the sequence of events it occurred, but it is probably appropriate to keep those events in the right order.


  35. Hi Dann, thanks for linking the Chelsea Cain. A couple of paragraphs before the part you quoted:

    But know that I did not leave Twitter because of rape threats or because someone had posted my address, or any of the truly vile tactics you hear about. I left Twitter because of the ordinary daily abuse that I decided I didn’t want to live with anymore. The base level of casual crassness and sexism.

    So she didn’t leave Twitter because of the TrollStorm (TM) but left because of the “ordinary daily abuse”.

  36. (6) Ooooh, the irony. What is it about Puppies that they can’t recognize irony?

    Nursing grudges over internet slights, no matter how minor or even imaginary, seems to be one of the defining characteristics of the Pups.

  37. Seth Gordon said:

    I can’t remember the last time I heard that the trolls had driven someone off of Facebook, reddit, Instagram, or any social-media site other than Twitter. Is Twitter more popular / more newsworthy than these other sites, or does it really have a special vulnerability to trolls?

    Twitter has the unique confluence of being organized around personal presence, having developed a reputation of being the hip place to see and be seen, design decisions that do make it uniquely vulnerable (not just the 140-character limit, but also very limited filtering and privacy controls), and a hands-off attitude that lets toxicity flourish.

  38. If I may offer a self-serving “Meredith Moment”, Bella Distribution is having a paperback sale through this weekend. If you want to pick up some normally-pricey books, including both Daughter of Mystery and The Mystic Marriage (plus lots of other lesbian genre fiction) at low, low prices**, check it out.

    **Note that shipping outside the USA is still a bit of a show-stopper, despite the sale prices.

  39. Hi Dann,

    Let me try again. I see what point you are making, and agree that Chelsea Cain did not quit Twitter due to the rape or death threats seen in many cases. Rather she quit Twitter because of the “usual” cruelty and sexism.

    I got used to a certain level of take-down tweets after that. Every time an issue came out. I’d get lots of love and support. And a handful of people who seem to thrive off making sure strangers feel hated. I guess it’s a way of being seen. It’s not different than what most comic book writers deal with, especially female ones. The tweets that bothered me were never the ones concerned with content; they were the ones that questioned my right to write comics at all, and were disgusted by the idea of a female hero having her own series.

    It reminds me of a piece I read some time ago from a man talking to a female friend or colleague about a con they went to. It was good, the woman reported, except for the usual sexual harassment. The man was blown away. Just the “usual” for this woman. Nothing terribly notable.

    That’s how I read “ordinary daily abuse”. Just the base level. Just one of the things to live with as a woman comic writer on Twitter.

    I left Twitter because, in the end, all the good stuff about Twitter didn’t make up for all the bad stuff.

  40. (7) Whoa. It’s nice to see some focus on the issue of gender inclusion in the field.

    But how about some link love for the actual SPFBO contest? The 10 finalists include 5 male and 5 female authors. The judges appeared to contain 5 to 7 female review sources. (Sorry, my ability to infer gender based on a couple of those names is weak.) At least one of those review sources appears to be run by multiple women.

    So while women may feel that the use of initials make is easier for them to enter the field (a negative), we also have a slight majority (at the least) of women selecting from entries (a positive) that came from a group of entrants with moderately more male writers* with result being a 50/50 split (also a positive).

    Yay team?


    *Hard to say if that is good or bad unless someone has the statistics on gender make-up of the entire field.

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