Pixel Scroll 11/26/17 I Can’t Believe I Pixeled In Front Of The Dean Of Science Fiction

(1) PRONOUNS AND ROCKET STACK RANK. Bogi Takács wrote a series of tweets criticizing Greg Hullender’s statements in reviews about the usage of pronouns for non-binary characters in stories reviewed at Rocket Stack Rank, adding many screenshots of examples. Takács also pointed out the reviews are given a certain implied authority because Rocket Stack Rank is linked from the official The Hugo Awards site as a “Third Party Recommendation Site.”

Get into the thread here:

The Hugo connection is illustrated here:

The comments on the Hugo linkage include one from Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

For those who are unfamiliar, here is Bogi Takács’ brief bio from Patreon:

I’m Bogi Takács, a Hungarian Jewish agender trans person (e/em/eir/emself or singular they pronouns) currently living in the US as a resident alien. I write speculative fiction and poetry – I have had work published in various professional venues like Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Apex and Strange Horizons.

Other comments on RSR, Hullender’s views, and their impact included —

(2) COCO CASHES IN. On opening weekend in the U.S., “Pixar’s ‘Coco’ feasts on ‘Justice League’ at box office”.

Pixar’s “Coco” sang its way to the fourth best Thanksgiving weekend ever with an estimated $71.2 million over the five-day weekend, a total that easily toppled Warner Bros.’ “Justice League.”

“Coco” rode strong reviews and an A-plus CinemaScore from audiences to the top spot at the domestic box office. According to studio estimates Sunday, it grossed $49 million from Friday to Sunday. Centered on the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), “Coco” has already set box office records in Mexico, where it has made $53.4 million in three weeks.

(3) BSFA AWARDS. The British Science Fiction Association invites members to “Nominate for the BSFA Awards” between now and December 31:

The BSFA awards are presented annually by the British Science Fiction Association, based on a vote of BSFA members and – in recent years – members of the British national science fiction convention Eastercon. They are fan awards that not only seek to honour the most worthy examples in each category, but to promote the genre of science fiction, and get people reading, talking about and enjoying all that contemporary science fiction has to offer.

…Nominations are open until 31st December. This will be the first round. Then from 1st January to 30th January the opportunity for members to vote for their shortlist from the collated suggestions will be provided. This will be the second round.

To nominate in the first round, fill in the form here: http://tinyurl.com/BSFA2017nominations

or email your nominations to awards@bsfa.co.uk. A form and process for the second round will be made available on this page after the first round has closed.

(4) FLORIDA EXPANDS RIGHT TO CHALLENGE TEXTBOOKS. The Associated Press has the story: “New Florida law expected to increase textbook challenges”.

A parent in Florida is citing profanity and violence in trying to get the local school to ban Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” — itself a cautionary tale on the banning of books. Another wants to remove Walter Dean Myers’ “Bad Boy” for using the word “penis” and a homophobic slur.

Elsewhere in Florida, some say global warming and evolution are a hoax and should not be taught in textbooks unopposed. Others say their local school’s textbooks shortchange Islam’s role in the world, while their opponents argue it’s the danger posed by Muslim terrorists that’s underexposed.

Under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature this year, any district resident — regardless of whether they have a child in school — can now challenge material as pornographic, biased, inaccurate or a violation of state law and get a hearing before an outside mediator.

The mediator advises the local school board, whose decision is final. Previously, challenges could only be made by parents to the school or district. There was also no mediator and fewer mandates. Districts must now also post online a list of all new books and material by grade level to make monitoring easier.

(5) THANKSGIVING AT THE ISS. A day like any other day, only turkey was there: “Happy Space Thanksgiving: How the Food-Stuffed Holiday Went Orbital”.

One Thanksgiving party will literally look down upon them all, as the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) continues its longstanding tradition of observing the festive harvest holiday from orbit. This year’s menu includes irradiated smoked turkey, rehydratable cornbread dressing, green beans and mushrooms, broccoli au gratin, mashed potatoes, candied yams, sweet tea, and thermostabilized cherry blueberry cobbler for dessert.

Space.com says “Thanksgiving in Space Means Turkey, Work and Football for Astronauts”:

“They don’t actually have the day off on Thursday,” NASA spokesman Dan Huot told Space.com in an email, adding that the crew has “a lot of cargo-unloading tasks to complete” with the Cygnus spacecraft that arrived last Tuesday (Nov. 14). However, the astronauts will at least have Friday off, Huot said.

Along with over 7,700 lbs. (3,500 kilograms) of supplies and science equipment, the Cygnus cargo craft delivered the crew their Thanksgiving dinner and some other tasty treats, like pizza and ice cream. Holiday gifts and care packages from the astronauts’ families also shipped with Cygnus. With that trove of holiday goodies just waiting to be unpacked, the astronauts have plenty of incentives for working through the holiday

(6) AFTER THE STUFFING. Here’s how it looks from the Batcave:

(7) ANTHOLOGY APPEARANCE. Cora Buhlert highlights her recently-published story: “New science fiction anthology with a new “In Love and War” story available: The Guardian, edited by Alasdair Shaw”.

The Guardian includes eleven science fiction stories by international authors, all featuring guardians of some kind. My own story in the anthology, “Baptism of Fire” is a prequel story to my In Love and War space opera romance series, so all you fans of Anjali and Mikhail (come on, I know there are some of you out there) rejoice.

(8) ALAS, POOR ALANTIM. Motherboard invites you to “Watch a Robot Eulogize Its ‘Brother’ at Moscow’s New Cemetery for Dead Machines”; video at the link.

The sad news is that this Alantim could not be revived after the attack. But the silver lining is that its death inspired Olga Budnik, a spokesperson for the Muscovite tech hub Phystechpark, to create the world’s first dedicated robot cemetery.

“Alantim was a really good robot,” Budnik told me in an email. “It was supportive, always polite, always happy to see you. You know, like a pet. And [the cemetery] was an idea to bury it like a pet. Not disassemble or carry it to the trash. To say good-bye.”

On October 31, Alantim’s Earthly remains were placed at the Phystechpark cemetery site next to a box for collecting other dead robots. He was eulogized by another Alantim, who honored his dearly departed “brother” for being “very useful to your people and Russian science,” according to a Russian-to-English translation of the ceremony as seen at the top of this article.

(9) COURT IS IN SESSION. Lauren Davis briefs io9 readers about “Six Strange Cases of Science Fiction Trademarks”.

J.R.R. Tolkien
Ownership Claimed by: The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate

The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate owns numerous trademarks based on Tolkien’s works, as well as registered trademarks on Tolkien’s name. Last year, a fellow who sold buttons reading “While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion” through Zazzle was contacted by Zazzle, who said that they were removing the buttons at the Tolkien Estate’s request. Later, Zazzle restored the buttons, saying that they had been removed erroneously due to a miscommunication, but it shined a light on the estate’s ownership of Tolkien’s name and left lots of folks wondering where the line was. When are you invoking Tolkien the brand and when are you referring to Tolkien the man?

The estate also owns the right to publicity for Tolkien’s name and image, which they used to challenge the publication of Steve Hillard’s historical fiction book, Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien. Eventually Hillard and the estate settled, with Hillard agreeing to make some changes to the book’s appearance to make it look less like one of Tolkien’s novels. A Mirkwood movie is in the works.

Bonus Round: Like any other trademark holder, the Tolkien Estate has to be vigilant about enforcing their trademarks. But some are stranger than others. In 2004, the estate issued a cease and desist letter to the owner of the domain Shiremail.com, claiming the estate owned the trademark on the word “shire.” The word “shire,” which means an administrative subdivision, such as a county, has been around since the 12th century.

(10) BOARDMAN OBIT. Perdita Boardman (1931-2017) died November 26 after a long illness. Mark Blackman writes:

Perdita was best-known in Northeast Fandom for hosting Lunarians meetings and running the Lunacon Con Suite for many years, and with her husband, John, hosting a monthly fannish gathering called First Saturday. For their long service, she and John were voted Honorary Members of the Lunarians.

Her younger daughter, Deirdre, shared the following on Facebook:

I wanted to share with family (& friends) about the passing of my mom this morning peacefully in her sleep.

Many know she has been suffering from severe dementia well over a decade now, but she became very sick about two weeks ago and moved to hospice care.

Born Dec 27, 1931 in Baxter Springs, KS she grew up outside of Detroit, bounced around a bit living in Chicago, San Francisco, Virginia and finally settling in New York City about 1960, first in Manhattan, then Park Slope and finally her well known home in Flatbush. She spent her final years in Frederick, MD to be closer to Karina & I.

She has loved science fiction & fantasy (as well as mysteries & regency romances) novels since the 50s and was an avid reader.

She was a talented artist, master seamstress and knitted the most amazing sweaters!

I could go on all.

One of her funny quotes from the other day after being annoyed by nurses prodding her was, “I am Perdita Ann Lilly Nelson Boardman and I am going to sleep”

Good night mom.

(11) LE GUIN AS CRITIC. Ursula K. Le Guin reviews You Should Come With Me Now by M John Harrison – stories “for the uncommon reader” in The Guardian:

One of these brilliantly told stories, “The Walls”, begins: “A man, let’s call him D, is seen digging his way out through the wall of his cell. To help in this project, D has only the thinnest and least reliable tools: two dessert spoons (one stainless steel, one electro-plated nickel silver); half of a pair of curved nail scissors; some domestic knives lacking handles; and so on. The cell wall, constructed from grey, squarish cinder blocks about a foot on a side has been carelessly mortared and laid without much attention to detail. But this lack of artifice makes no difference; none of the knives is long enough to reach the last half inch of mortar at the back of each block, and the more D uses them the shorter they get. Each block must, eventually, be loosened and removed by hand, a task which can take several months, and which leaves him exhausted.”

A close attention to detail characterises this story and contributes much to its effectiveness, and yet, like the careless mortaring of the cinder blocks, it makes no difference in the end. Why and how does D have two dessert spoons? What does he live on during these months (which become years)? Who brings it to his cell? We have nothing with which to fill in unstated facts, as we’re used to doing when reading fiction, because the story is consistent only in pulling the carpet out from under its own feet. It is a play of imagination in a void. Its power is that of a dream, in this case a bad one, the kind that keeps repeating itself with variations in an endless loop of frustration.

This holds for all the stories collected in You Should Come With Me Now. Some of them are surrealistic, some are spoofs, some are fables; many are funny, all are inventive; none entirely escapes the loop….

(12) 25 WAYS TO RUB YOUR LAMP. A Yahoo! Movies piece, “Disney’s ‘Aladdin’: 25 magical fun facts for 25th anniversary”, has lots of trivia about Aladdin, including how Patrick Stewart nearly played Jafar but couldn’t get out of his Star Trek: The Next Generation commitments and how there is a hidden Aladdin reference in Hamilton.

  1. The animators crafted the Genie around Williams’s rapid-fire improv. Co-director Ron Musker said Williams did 25 takes for the movie’s first scene, “and they were all different.” The entertainer would stick to the script for the first few takes, “then he would riff.” Musker said Williams recorded 16 hours’ worth of material, forcing the creative team to piece the character together “like a ransom note.”


  • Mike Kennedy quit groaning at the Tolkien pun long enough to send a link to today’s Brevity.

(14) HE’S DEAD ED. The Smithsonian covers nine theories about “The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe” (2014 article.)

On September 27 [1849] —almost a week earlier—Poe had left Richmond, Virginia bound for Philadelphia to edit a collection of poems for Mrs. St. Leon Loud, a minor figure in American poetry at the time. When Walker found Poe in delirious disarray outside of the polling place, it was the first anyone had heard or seen of the poet since his departure from Richmond. Poe never made it to Philadelphia to attend to his editing business. Nor did he ever make it back to New York, where he had been living, to escort his aunt back to Richmond for his impending wedding. Poe was never to leave Baltimore, where he launched his career in the early 19th- century, again—and in the four days between Walker finding Poe outside the public house and Poe’s death on October 7, he never regained enough consciousness to explain how he had come to be found, in soiled clothes not his own, incoherent on the streets. Instead, Poe spent his final days wavering between fits of delirium, gripped by visual hallucinations. The night before his death, according to his attending physician Dr. John J. Moran, Poe repeatedly called out for “Reynolds”—a figure who, to this day, remains a mystery.

(15) MISSING FROM THE MARQUEE. The project loses some name cachet as “Adam Nimoy Steps Down From Directing Deep Space Nine Doc, Release Pushed Back” – story at TrekMovie.com.

On Saturday there were two announcements from What We Left Behind, the upcoming crowd-funded Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary.  Adam Nimoy, while remaining involved, will no longer be directing, and the release date  is likely being pushed back.

Nimoy stepping back

In a statement posted on Facebook Saturday, Adam Nimoy revealed he was stepping down as director for What We left Behind, but he will continue to be a producer and advisor on the doc. The reason given for the change was that he needed more time to focus on other responsibilities. From the statement:

“The real creative force behind the DS9 documentary was well in place before I came along. I was happy to lend them support and guidance to push the project along so that it could be completed in time for the 25th anniversary of the show which is coming up in 2018. I wish the creative team all good things as they Boldly Go!”

(16) WINDOW ON THE UNIVERSE. Motherboard’s article about the “Casting of a Giant Mirror for the First Extremely Large Telescope” has a good infographic comparing the relative sizes of all the existing large telescopes, as well.

(17) HARD SF. Down these mean starlanes a man must go…. A Twitter conversation begins here:

(18) COMPLETE HORSESHOE. Here’s another statistic I never knew anyone kept – the record for world’s largest horseshoe sculpture: “Camberley artist’s dragon ‘could obliterate’ world record”.

Mr Poolman’s sculpture is described as “not just a dragon but a tableau”, telling the story of a village bringing a dragon from the sky with arrows and stones.

“It’s partly collapsed,” Mr Powell said, “brought to the ground, in its death throes.”

Tens of thousands of old horseshoes were provided by farriers in Hampshire – some of them were used whole and others cut into smaller pieces.

“A complete horseshoe is quite limiting in what it can be made into,” Mr Poolman said.

(19) NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. Brandon Sanderson isn’t just on the list, he’s #1 —

(20) UNDER THE TREE. We continue our cavalcade of holiday presents with –

(21) MULTITASKING. It’s a Jedi thing: “Elle UK Interviews Daisy Ridley While She Builds A Lego Millennium Falcon”.

She’s talented and beautiful and she plays Luke Skywalker’s new padawan, Rey, in one of the most anticipated “Star Wars” films of all time, but now comes the true test: Can Daisy Ridley build the Millennium Falcon with Legos?

Elle UK interviewed the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” actress, asking her things like when was the last time she cried, what color her lightsaber would be, and if her father still prefers “Star Trek” (ouch) ? all while she’s tasked with building the Millennium Falcon out of Legos.

(22) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Happiness by Steve Cutts is a cartoon on Vimeo about rats trying to survive the rat race as commuters, consumers, and at work. I’m having trouble getting it to embed, so here’s the link — https://vimeo.com/groups/motion/videos/244405542

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, DMS, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mark Blackman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

99 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/26/17 I Can’t Believe I Pixeled In Front Of The Dean Of Science Fiction

  1. Joe H. on November 27, 2017 at 1:09 pm said:

    The collection of the first three World of Tiers books by Philip Jose Farmer is currently $1.99.

    Fun stuff! (Um, is this 3-fer digital or Groot-based? URL?)

    I recent found (or refound) More Than Fire, the sixth, final book in the series. It’s either now in the out-going pile, or I sent it to a friend as part of a enjoy-but-don’t-return shipment that also included PJFarmer’s A Barnstormer in Oz.

  2. While I have yet to speak with anyone who has requested specific pronouns, I have come across such usage in books quite a bit recently.
    Though they can be jarring at first, it is easier to remember than some fantasy names that look like the author was either being paid by the apostrophe or trying to cheat at scrabble.

  3. Mike has now updated the 2017 Recommended SF/F Page permalink at the top of the File 770 header to include:

    Here are the permalinks to:
    • The 2017 Recommended SF/F Page
    • The 2017 Best Series Hugo: Eligible Works post and discussion thread
    • The 2017 Novellapalooza post and comments

    See also:
    • The 2016 Recommended SF/F Page
    • The 2016 Best Series Hugo: Eligible Works post and discussion thread
    • The 2016 Novellapalooza post and comments
    • Where To Find The 2017 Hugo Finalists For Free Online

  4. Daniel P. Dern on November 27, 2017 at 3:05 pm said:
    Joe H. on November 27, 2017 at 1:09 pm said:
    The collection of the first three World of Tiers books by Philip Jose Farmer is currently $1.99.
    Fun stuff! (Um, is this 3-fer digital or Groot-based? URL?)

    Digital. Here’s the URL:


    There’s a second pack that includes books 4-7 that’s full price ($9.99). Need I admit that I bought that one as well?

  5. In SF in particular, it makes little sense to put today’s conflicts into a story set 1000 years in the future (for example).

    In SF, even future-setting SF, it’s always really about the modern era in which it was written. The conflicts may be dressed up, but they’re modern-day conflicts, because the writer and the audience are modern-day people.

    This is also true of historical fiction. We write about us for us.

  6. The conflicts may be dressed up, but they’re modern-day conflicts

    I’ve been trying to think of anything other than the Dorsai books that make an effort to redo military rank structure. The standard “US marines with the serial numbers filed off” is like assuming everyone today is using the Roman Legion structure for their armed forces.

  7. Anthony: Well, some SF systems are using Roman Legions with the serial numbers filed off….

  8. I’d like to thank Cat Rambo for suggesting I take some time to read and digest comments. That made it possible to reflect on them and discuss the issue with Eric. This post represents both of our thoughts as co-editors of Rocket Stack Rank. We’d like to thank Filers and guests for sharing their thoughts, and we especially want to thank Mike Glyer for providing a neutral space for civil discussion of this issue.

    1. I am a trans ally. Through recommendations for trans stories over the years and the 2015-2016 Best LGBT in SF/F list on Rocket Stack Rank. Through my actions as LGBT rep in 2005 which helped trans employees at Microsoft. A transphobe would not have done any of these things.

    2. I apologize for offending non-binary and trans people who use “they” as their pronoun. My criticism of fictional non-binary characters in stories hurt real people who read and identify with those characters.

    Eric had concerns about that starting with my Black Threads review. He handles RSR‘s tweets and collects information about authors. (I rarely use Twitter and generally don’t know anything about the authors at the time I write reviews.) From his research, he was convinced that objecting to the use of “they” cannot be trivialized as a “pet peeve.” He didn’t manage to change my mind about that until today. The tweet from @Keffy particularly caught Eric’s attention, and he made the point that we don’t want to be thought of as just “(binary)trans supporters”; we want to be non-binary and trans supporters.

    3. I’d like to respond to two points from this post in particular

    “Hampus, there’s a difference of standards here, though; you a) aren’t claiming three DECADES of activism to your past, b) setting yourself out as a trans ally very publicly in response to criticism, c) setting yourself up as an objective and integral judge of the quality of fiction, or d) treated as an authority by key figures and organisations in our community.”

    a) I was a gay activist starting in 1979 and I worked most recently with trans people while LGBT employee rep at Microsoft from approximately 1995-2006. Out of about a dozen whom I knew, I think one asked to be called “androgynous,” but none ever used the term “non-binary” during my time as an activist.

    c) RSR makes a point not to be seen the one-and-only objective/integral judge. We freely link to recommendations by prolific reviewers and provide a search link to find reviews from less prolific reviewers for every story. Looking at comments on our 2/3-star rated stories, it appears many of our readers actually do ignore our ratings but come to our site for analysis and to use our search link to find other reviewers’ analysis. This is also why our Best LGBT SF/F list includes stories we did not recommend but which got one or more recommendations from other prolific reviewers, which some questioned.

    4. Moving forward, we will no longer single out the use of “they” as pronouns for non-binary characters as a Pro or Con of a story. We will treat non-binary characters the same way we treat gay, lesbian, and trans characters. For existing reviews, we will update each with a comment that links to Bogi’s screenshot on Twitter and this post on File770. In general, if people tell us about errors in pronouns or gendering, we’ll thank them for their the feedback and correct the errors.

    We’ll wait another day or two to see if responses to this post requires any further changes.

    Thank’s again to everyone.

  9. Greg:

    I know you are sincere in trying to learn, as we had a long talk in August about what non-binary could mean for different people and you explained your troubles in trying to understand all concepts.

    This time you stepped in it and I was really disappointed. You should always listen to Eric.

    One thing though: If you are going to link to Bogi, make sure they are ok with that. If I understand correctly, they are not used to being in the social limelight and if you link to their tweets, they will always be in some kind of focus). And I would also let someone else look at the updated text, so you don’t make a new mistake, before adding it.

    (I did not us Bogis preferred nouns of e/em/eir because I’m not totally sure how to use them and it seemed like “they” was acceptable to use)

  10. @Greg Hullender

    From my experience of apologies, it might be better to put (2) and (4) – the actual apology and commitment to action – at the top and move (1) and (3) further down or save them for a different post.

  11. Hampus: Since Bogi has criticized Greg for talking about it here but not attempting to contact em, I think eir open to discussion, or at least to apology.

    Greg: There is a gulf between being a non-transphobe and being a trans ally. (Example: I would consider my brother a believer in equal rights for all genders and an exemplar in his personal life of treating women as people, and behaving the same to members of the LGBTTQA community as to all others, including being good friends with many and using preferred pronouns. I would not call him a feminist ally or a GBLTTQA ally until someone else from that community did. I say this as a feminist, and as a Bi person who aspires to be considered an ally to the rest of the LGBTTQA community).

    And sadly, ally is a term it is very hard to claim for yourself, **even if** you have done activism that supports a particular community, specifically because so many self-proclaimed allies fail so hard. Because of this, proclaiming yourself a trans ally, in particular right in the middle of a stretch where trans and NB people are saying you have failed is going to be taken as a red flag, and as the opposite of an apology.

    Solution? Remove your entire comment #1. Period. Your discussion under “3a” of how you have been an activist in the community covers the same ground but without waving a big red flag that will only create more contentiousness. You can add more detail to “3a” about your activism if you want, but do not, please, call yourself an ally at this moment.

    Also, a typo note? You jump from 3a to 3c…

  12. @Kurt Busiek:

    In SF, even future-setting SF, it’s always really about the modern era in which it was written. The conflicts may be dressed up, but they’re modern-day conflicts, because the writer and the audience are modern-day people.

    This reflects Clute’s “real year” theory — but he allowed the real year of the book to be something other than the year it was published, and revoked his support of it some years ago. I suppose it’s loosely true even so (at least judging by the reactions of @JDN’s young audience), but I think there are varying degrees of time-boundedness. Similarly,

    This is also true of historical fiction. We write about us for us.

    is a reason I’m cautious about historical fiction — but some cases (e.g., The Lion in Winter) are … more blatant? … than others.

  13. @Greg

    I’d suggest that the most important people to ask for feedback are not necessarily those here, but those who are most personally concerned.

    I pretty much just +1 what Lenora Rose and Ghostbird have said. Lead with the apology, not the defences, both in what you write here and what you do going forward.

  14. On a lighter note …”CoCo” was an amazing move that really knocked my socks off, which was handy because I need them to wipe the tears streaming down my face at the ending.
    Lots of twists that I did not see coming, but I don’t claim to be the sharpest pencil in the box.
    Animation, colors, music, story, characters, allllllll of them were first rate.
    IMHO this takes over first place in the ranking of Pixar movies, and if it doesn’t walk away with every animation award available this season, there’s a serious problem with the system.
    Go see it.

  15. +1 on Mark. Most of us commenting here are cis-people. This isn’t personal for us. The original wording was not insulting to us. We will miss things when you make your update.

  16. To add in on Lenora’s point: Being an “ally” is not about your intentions and level of goodwill, it is about the extent to which members of a marginalized community feel they can trust you to act in support of them (or at least not contribute further to their marginalisation). It’s therefore not something that you can label yourself, because you don’t get to make a judgement on how trans – in this case specifically non binary – people are affected by your actions.

    Also, the members of that community speaking out on this issue demonstrably don’t trust you, and while the apology and the commitment to change are important, they won’t immediately change that. People need to see you act better.

  17. Mark-kitteh: Excellent point. I listen but I’m as cis as they come and I have fallen on my face with someone in the trans and NB community within the last two months. So clearly I have much to learn too.

  18. In this cis rush to forgiveness and rehabilitation for Greg, I think we need to be clear on something: this is about way more than just pronouns. As discussed above, simply by looking at two different reviews of books by one author, I found a host of transphobic views used as critical criteria. I see no apology for, or even response to, my criticism of those reviews.

    Trans ally isn’t a term you can bestow on yourself. Judging you by your actions, you have no interest in being my ally.

  19. @D Franklin

    I agree with you about what needs to be addressed, and I hope that Greg is paying close attention to the very cogent points you’ve been making in this thread.

    In terms of a “cis rush to forgiveness…” a number of people have just made or agreed with the point that we’re not the ones Greg needs to address.

  20. Thanks, everyone. This has all been very helpful.

    Eric and I are about to get on a plane back to Seattle, so we’ll be out of touch for a day or so. For those who aren’t aware, this past week was the American Thanksgiving Holiday, which we like to spend with family, and that has occupied 90% of our time. It’ll take us a day or two to catch up once we get back.

  21. @D Franklin – In this cis rush to forgiveness and rehabilitation for Greg…

    Yeah, no. Suggesting steps in how not to keep stepping in it in the same way isn’t anything like a rush to forgiveness. I think most of us are pretty clear that being cis comprehensively disqualifies us from offering absolution for transphobia.

  22. I am in no position to forgive Greg – and I wouldn’t want to try. I am in no position to rehabilitate Greg – that’s on him.

    I do think offering him some constructive criticism of his statement, which he seems to intend as a proferred apology (but which will not likely be received as such by anyone directly affected unless altered further), is trying to make sure he doesn’t throw gasoline on the flames, not rehabilitating him.

  23. All of you are more than eager to see Greg change his apology, as if that will change his attitudes, and change his reviews, as if that will change his attitudes or behaviour going forward. All of you seem to see his review as wrong not for what it fails to even take note of, but for the way it is phrased.

    Compare and contrast the responses of the cis people here to this open letter by a group of people including a large number of trans writers and critics (disclaimer, I’ve cosigned it but had no part in writing it):
    An Open Letter With Respect to Reviews Published on Rocket Stack Rank
    Compare what Greg has actually apologised for, to the things which he has been criticised for, in this thread, in the Tweets linked in the Scroll, and in that letter.

    The difference in responses is… instructive.

  24. D Franklin – All of you seem to see his review as wrong not for what it fails to even take note of, but for the way it is phrased.
    Compare and contrast the responses of the cis people here to this open letter by a group of people including a large number of trans writers and critics…

    That’s a great letter. It’s also a letter that could only have been written by a group of mostly trans writers.

    I’m not a speaker for cis people, Filers, or anyone but myself. I don’t know how long you’ve been hanging around here, but Greg’s transphobia has been pointed out numerous times and so far as I know (I haven’t read every comment and I have generally avoided his, because I think he’s just barely this side of being a troll) he’s never accepted the correction. Not on his transphobia or any other thing on which he’s wrong (and there are a number of running battles on various subjects threaded through the last few years of comments).

    That might have some small part in the general tenor of trying to get him to not add incendiary material to the trash fire he started instead of looking at the specific components.

  25. @D Franklin

    That’s the first time I’ve seen that letter. (Possibly it’s been reported in the next scroll, which I haven’t yet read due to a busy day). It is precisely why I and others told Greg he needed to listen to the people most affected, not just us. I did notice that some of the criticisms of his initial response in that letter mirror what Greg was told here, e.g. on the use of “ally”, that actions are required beyond an apology, that he needs to engage fully with all the criticisms not just some.

    It appears that you do not believe Greg could ever alter his behaviour to your satisfaction, and so you criticise myself and others for allowing for the possibility that he will and trying to bring that about. I can understand why you would believe the former, but it seems harsh to criticise us for trying the latter.

  26. At first glance, I was going to say it was kin to “The Three Dots of Irony™,” which are located at the end of a sentence to indicate hidden depths in the preceding words (and which double as a form of canned self-laughter).

    In this case, though, I’d call it a timing cue, to give the following word a different weight and emphasis than what would be expected from a normal reading, in effect choreographing your reading of the words.

    So the word you’re asking for might be ‘timing,’ or even ‘pacing.’ These are not the only possibilities, of course.

  27. “The difference in responses is… instructive.”

    Why wouldn’t you expect a difference in the responses? Greg is my friend. The signers of the letter are not his friends. Then why should the interaction be the same?

    As he is my friend, of course I hope his apology will be a start of a change in attitude (and yes, that apology definitely needs to be expanded). Of course I hope his behaviour will change. I want him to understand what he has done wrong. I want him to not hurt more people in the future. You want me to give up from the start and do not really care about him at all.

    So of course there is a difference.

    And btw, when I say that I’m cis gendered, I mean “for all common purposes”. Which means that there are occasions when I’m not. Make of that whatever you want.

  28. The difference in responses is… instructive.

    What is the word for this use of ellipsis? It’s like a scare quote but different.

    Actually, with the ellipsis and that particular word it comes across as “other people have seen our side but you all here at File770 are still refusing to take our side whole-heartedly,”

  29. @Harold Osler – Actually, with the ellipsis and that particular word it comes across as “other people have seen our side but you all here at File770 are still refusing to take our side whole-heartedly,”

    If you wandered into a corner of the internet where some homophobe who had publicly stepped in it appeared to be an integral part of a community and what you saw was a group of people whose actions appeared to be centered around helping the homophobe to craft a less offensive apology, you might be forgiven for concluding that you were in hostile territory.

    I think an ellipsis might be considered a civil response in that case.

  30. @Kip W:

    At first glance, I was going to say it was kin to “The Three Dots of Irony™,” which are located at the end of a sentence to indicate hidden depths in the preceding words (and which double as a form of canned self-laughter)


    That’s a new one on me! I see the similarity and also agree it’s a marker for timing or pacing.

    The canonical example of the…phenomenon in question is:

    I find your lack of faith…disturbing.

    But not all uses carry the whiff of threat. Some are simple disdain. There may be others that don’t fall into those two big baskets. But does something unite them other than their use for timing? Some meaning inherent to that sort of ellipsis similar to the meaning of the scare quote (visualized as the air quote)? Is it understatement? Irony? Incongruity?

  31. An ellipsis used in that way always reads to me as:

    The difference in responses is… [I’m trying to think of a descriptor I can use here which will not be completely brutal] …instructive.

    And I have, in fact, used an ellipsis in that way on numerous occasions.

  32. @Cheryl S: If you wandered into a corner of the internet where some homophobe who had publicly stepped in it appeared to be an integral part of a community and what you saw was a group of people whose actions appeared to be centered around helping the homophobe to craft a less offensive apology, you might be forgiven for concluding that you were in hostile territory.

    I think an ellipsis might be considered a civil response in that case.

    Enthusiastically seconded.

    What I have been seeing from both Greg and Harold (and either I imagined a fairly nasty post from H. when I was reading late last night on my phone, or it was deleted) is a whole shitload of “these kids are doing GAY wrong,” as if there is some essential standard that is being violated by the Younger Generation, an attitude I got fucking sick and tired of when I was the younger generation, and I’m no more impressed by now that I’m part of the older generation (I’m 62–don’t know Greg’s or Harold’s exact age but am guessing closer to mine than to 20-somethings). In my interpretation of what they are saying, they seem to be claiming an authority they don’t have. The culture and attitudes have changed: why would anybody expect the same sort of discourses and identity politics in 2016 as existed in the 1960s/70s????

    If I was thirty or forty years younger, I’d be right there with the nonbinary group because it was only reading a bunch of articles and posts that I found an explanation that made sense of how I’ve felt for the greater part of my life.

  33. John A Arkansawyer: (and which double as a form of canned self-laughter)

    I am so busted…

  34. @D Franklin again, can’t speak for all filers but I apologise personally if my comments on this thread have read as supporting Greg’s rehabilitation or minimising RSR’s many problems over believing the voices of trans writers. You’re absolutely right to point out that the thread has focused much more on engaging with Greg personally than on having a discussion/amplifying other voices speaking out on the issues – it would be hard for that not to be a focus in a space like this where Greg is present and there’s only a single thread of comments, but I agree it doesn’t reflect well on the community for it to be the only discussion going on.

    My reason for engaging in the way I have is similar to what Cheryl says above – having seen Greg step in it over and over again in comments here, and consistently refuse to change his behaviour or stop discussing matters in a way that presents his personal experience as objective reality, I have very low expectations for what is likely to come of this conversation. At the same time, and despite recognising that I’m not in the community most affected by this (although as a queer cis woman I’ve also been increasingly unhappy and disgusted with the treatment of gender and LGBT issues on the site, particularly the overwhelming focus on “scores” from white male reviewers) I didn’t think it was appropriate to sit on the sidelines and leave all the heavy lifting to trans people. So I’ve been trying to underline how inadequate some of the responses have been (especially the tone policing and the claim to the word “ally”) in a way which might prevent even more garbage being directed at non binary people and the queer community as a whole. Clearly I fell short of doing this in a way that supported the people affected instead of looking like I’m interested in RSR rehabilitation (I’m not), and I haven’t contributed at all towards amplifying the very different discussions I’ve watched happening on Twitter and elsewhere. I’ll try to do better in future engagement.

    Have really appreciated your comments on this thread, and I’m sorry (though honestly not surprised) they haven’t received any direct response…

  35. D Franklin:

    I am sorry but not surprised at the “apology” offered, which was 10% apology and 90% self-justification and denial. After more than two years of seeing that sort of behavior despite the repeated callouts by others here for it to change, I have no expectations that there will be any sort of meaningful rehabilitation.

    I am so sorry that people in the non-binary community have been subjected to so much indignity and denigration of their identities. I see you. I hear you. I don’t have much in the way of power or influence, but I will do my best to support and affirm the right of non-binary people to be treated with dignity, respect, and equality, in whatever way that I can, however imperfect that way may be.

  36. I tend to say that I try to be an ally. Whether I succeed, well, that’s a different question – not one for me to answer, and also one that can have different answers, different levels of success and failure, in different areas.

    So what does “trying to be an ally” mean to me? It means I try to be vigilant against discrimination and bias, whether accidental or deliberate, whether conscious or unconscious (i.e., whether the person in question is aware of what they’re doing and the effect they’re having, or not). But:

    * It does not mean that I’m suddenly without fault on this subject. On the contrary, it means that I try to be vigilant against discrimination and bias, deliberate or not, conscious or not, in my own words and actions as well as those of others. And for things in my own words and actions that I’m not aware of, that of course requires someone else pointing them out to me!

    * It does not give me a ‘shield’ to use to deflect criticism. On the contrary, it means that I try take on board criticisms that are levelled at me, because the probably have a point that I need to have a close look and try to learn from. (And in fact, seeing criticism levelled at someone else gives me an opportunity to see if that criticism might also apply to me.)

    * It does not mean that success as an ally in one area means that I have somehow ‘graduated’ and can now wear an I’m an ally badge. On the contrary, each success is one step on a journey where I am one of the supporting cast, and the protagonists are the people whose ally I am trying to be – and anyway the journey is really theirs, not mine.

    Trying to be an ally is, simply put, not about me. And I know that I make mistakes and get it wrong and I have hung my head in shame at doing just such things; But I try to learn and become better. Not that that excuses wrong things that I do – intent is not magical, after all. It does, however, offer me a path forward if I can indeed learn and improve.

  37. I don’t care much about Rocket Stack Rank. Never have.

    I have called out Greg before on his attempts to declare his personal opinions either objective fact (or the shared opinion of the group, which is actually more offensive – I’m a little inoculated towards white cis guys who seem to think themselves magically more objective just because their attitude is more mainstream, but even the person I am thinking of who is the exemplar doesn’t tend to speak as if his opinion is also shared by me without evidence or permission.)

    And yet … and yet I am also almost always guilty of assuming that people who are vaguely on this side of social justice (liberals rather than neo-liberals or reactionaries, people who mostly believe in egalitarianism even if they think too much fuss is made over too many of these newfangled ideas) can be brought the rest of the way over. That repeatedly pointing out flaws and making constructive steps will bend that person towards a more open and less self-centered view of the world, let them see and centre more marginalized voices. instead.

    I tend to think of this as a kind of support to the marginalized communities, in that it removes one more harmful voice.

    This conversation has pointed out the utter flaw in this, however, and the reason a member of that community would see it as isolating them, and not as support at all.

    It means I am, in the moment, centering my attention on the very person doing them harm.

    I apologize for failing to focus upon the actual harm done in the moment and upon those harmed.

    No, I did not add to or support D. Franklin’s commentary pointing out the further transphobia in the two reviews – I DID notice that Greg’s initial reaction was “I don’t see any” and upon reading them myself I saw several of the issues – though D. Franklin’s further explanation revealed even more, and far more explicitly. I agreed with virtually the entire commentary.

    But I felt I had nothing to add to what was otherwise an extremely thorough deconstruction.

    I apologize, since my silence on this was taken as failure to support.

    I entirely failed to notice Greg had not yet addressed it directly in any way, and that is purely my own blindness. I apologize for this, too.


    (Robinareid: The nasty post from Harold was in another related thread. The one about fireside fiction IIRC. .)

  38. I will not apologize for communicating with Greg regarding this. He is my friend and I care for him. I will apologize for removing focus from those that have been mistreated by doing this in this forum.

    I have moved my interaction with Greg to the mail and it will stay there regarding this discussion. I do agree with Franklin that all issues he brought forward should be addressed in any apology. It is not only a matter of pronouns. It is a matter of putting peoples identity into question and to on purpose misaddress them.

  39. @JJ

    An ellipsis used in that way always reads to me as:

    The difference in responses is… [I’m trying to think of a descriptor I can use here which will not be completely brutal] …instructive.

    Sometimes, I use that kind of ellipsis in a slightly different way – more like (for example): This person’s behavior has been… [allowing listeners to fill in an appropriate word in their own minds, so I can use a deliberate understatement]… sub-optimal.

  40. @Hampus I might be misunderstanding one of your sentences here, but are you using “he” to refer to D Franklin? They mention several times on this thread that their pronoun is “they”.

  41. #10: More about Perdita Boardman. Here’s what I wrote. Blackman left out that she was married to Ray Nelson, among other things:

    Perdita Boardman, first wife of fan (and inventor of the propellor beanie) and author Ray Nelson (as Perdita Lilly), married since the 1960s to NY fan and physicist John Boardman, died November 26th. She had suffered from dementia for many years. She is survived by her husband John, her daughters Deirdre and Karina, and others. Her second husband was Mike Girsdansky — who was published in WORLDS OF TOMORROW in 1965.

    She was born December 31, 1931. As the first wife of Ray Nelson, she was the subject of his first book, the 24-page poetry collection, “Perdita: Songs of Love, Sex and Self Pity.”

    An accomplished seamstress and designer, she made the banner for the New York in ’67 Worldcon bid, and made the two table coverings that I used, first for Algol, then for Science Fiction Chronicle, when selling at SF conventions. She also made Heidi Saha’s original Vampirella outfit, from the bat to the boots, with the exception of the jewelry.

    She and her husband John Boardman were Fan Guests of Honor at the 1998 Lunacon. Their house in Flatbush, Brooklyn, was used in a scene in the film, “Malcolm X.” A photo of Perdita and her first husband Ray at the 1950 World SF Convention is here:

    She is at the front far left in the photo; Nelson is at the top rear far right.

  42. “@Hampus I might be misunderstanding one of your sentences here, but are you using “he” to refer to D Franklin? They mention several times on this thread that their pronoun is “they”.”

    Oh god! I’m so sorry! My deepest apologies, I failed here. No excuses.

  43. Pingback: Top 10 Posts For November 2017 | File 770

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