Pixel Scroll 1/17/16 Kaiser Scroll, Hold The Pixel

(1) HONEST POSTERS. “If 2016’s Oscar-nominated movie posters told the truth” they’d be very funny. Courtesy of Shiznit.


(2) A TOP TEN WITH FANGS. Here’s Fantasy Faction’s ingenious list – “Top Ten Wolves In Fantasy”. How come I never do Top 10 Lists for File 770? People love them. Ah well, there isn’t enough time to do everything that’s a good idea.

  1. Maugrim (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S.Lewis)

Maugrim was the head of The Witch’s Police in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and relished the dirty work that had to be done. Seen by many as an agent of the Devil, he is the ugly face of evil in Narnia and makes no bones about it. He is instrumental in the coming of age of Peter who eventually slays him, earning the name Sir Peter Wolfsbane.

(3) BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Gustaff Behr tries to work out “How Much Does It Cost Being A Doctor Who Fan?”

Fred starts where all new fans start. He wants to go back and take a look at how Doctor Who came back in 2005 which means, including Series 9 which he will definitely get; Fred needs 9 seasons of complete box sets which costs on average $65.00. That’s $585.00 in total for Chris, David, Matt, John and Peter.

Being a Who fan costs at least $585.00 if you buy all nine New Who seasons of Doctor Who.

And after watching nine seasons of Doctor Who, barely sleeping, bathing or eating, Fred craves more. He needs to see how Doctor Who started all the way back in 1963. He also has to see the celery Doctor, the scarf Doctor, the pullover one and all the other past Doctors he’s heard so much about. He knows there are 156 classic stories of Doctor Who which range between $13.99 and $16.99 so we’ll budget for $15.49 as a rough average. That’s $2416.44 for the whole of the Classic Era of Doctor Who.

Being a Who fan costs at least $3001.44 if you want to have the entire television collection of Doctor Who from William Hartnell all the way up to Peter Capaldi.

And then he moves on to the merchandise….

(4) FUNICELLO OBIT. [CORRECTION — Turns out the source has taken an old story and given it a 2016 timestamp. But it might still be news to somebody….] Annette Funicello (1942-20162013) died January 11, 2013 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 70. Funicello was a child star as a Mousketeer on the original Mickey Mouse Club, and as a teenager starred opposite Frankie Avalon in several beach movies. Her genre work included Babes In Toyland (1961), and quasi-genre movies like The Monkey’s Uncle, and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.

(5) GEORGE CLAYTON JOHNSON TRIBUTE. The Girl George & the Dragons Radio Show talked about George Clayton Johnson with his son, Paul Johnson, and others on January 17.


  • January 17, 1605 Don Quixote was published.


  • Born January 17, 1931 — James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader (and an actor renowned for many other roles.)


  • Born January 17, 1962 – Jim Carrey, of Hugo-winner The Truman Show, The Mask, and other quasi-fantasy films.

(9) MEET KYLO. Joseph Pimentel reports in the Orange County Register that Kylo Ren will replace Darth Vader in the “meet-and-greet” section of Disneyland’s Star Wars area in Tomorrowland where people stand in line to get autographs and photos with Disney characters.

Guests will be able to mingle with Kylo Ren, a central character from the smash hit “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” in Tomorrowland, Disney announced Friday. The company declined to say when the light-saber-wielding dark warrior and Jedi slayer will debut.

Ren will join Chewbacca, and Boba Fett as characters from the “Star Wars” franchise available for visitors to meet and take photos with at the Star Wars Launch Bay. There’ll also First Order Stormtroopers roaming around.

The upper floor of the building, the Tomorrowland Expo Center formerly known as Innoventions, houses the Super Hero HQ where guests meet Spider-Man and Thor.

Ren will replace Darth Vader, the original “Star Wars” villain, in the meet-and-greet. The Sith Lord Vader will continue to be in the show “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.”

Meet-and-greets with various Disney characters have become one of Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s signature attractions, drawing long lines of visitors wanting autograph, pictures and hugs.

(10) KYLO ON SNL. Saturday Night Live sent Kylo Ren (guest star Adam Driver) undercover as Matt, a radar technician, in Star Wars Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base.

(11) ABOUT SPECTRAL PRESS. Simon Bestwick has written a lengthy, heavily-documented post about issues with Spectral Press, publishers of his book Black Mountain.

Readers may wish to pour themselves a large, stiff drink before continuing. This is going to be a long post.

I’ve thought long and hard before blogging on this topic, but there is a great deal of confusion and misinformation out there, and I believe it’s important that the facts be made available. There is also an issue of transparency to customers regarding Spectral Press in its past or present incarnations….

7) The Short Version  Spectral Press has published books, which sold. A share of the money from their sales is, contractually, their authors’. Their authors have not received it, and yet Spectral do not have it. Spectral Press has taken money from customers from books that have gone undelivered and, in some cases, unpublished. Many of these customers want their money back, and yet Spectral do not have it. I would just like to close by reminding anyone who feels Spectral’s critics are being unreasonable, that this situation has persisted for over a year; that the amount owed is a very large sum for a small press to owe, and that the individual in whose hands this situation has been placed has responded to polite and factual criticism with insults and blocking critics on social media, and whose own history should be cause for concern.

(12) ENOUGH IS TOO MUCH. Anne Wheaton tells her blog readers why she bid Twitter goodbye.

In real life, I stand up for myself. If someone says or does something to me or someone around me, I do something about it. As my online presence grew, there were people who don’t follow me showing up to say something horrible about me, my husband, or my children. Yes, they can be muted, blocked, or reported, and I was doing that all the time, every day. Sometimes I responded because like I said, in real life I stand up for myself so occasionally, I will do that online. But after a while, it’s like trying to smile and have a pleasant conversation with a kind person in a room full of people screaming hateful things in your face. You can ignore it but eventually, it just isn’t worth even talking at all and you just have to walk out of that room to protect yourself.

I chose to be on Twitter. I am not a celebrity. I am a middle-aged woman who’s a retired hairdresser who now runs a non-profit, is on the Board of Directors at Pasadena Humane Society, has a house FULL of rescue animals, and has two wonderful boys. I do not have a job I need to promote, nor am I looking for a job to take on. I have a full life with an amazing husband and family, wonderful friends, and a successful business I run. If something I choose to do on the side isn’t fun, I need to walk away from it because my free time is pretty scarce. Twitter used to be the fun thing I did on the side, and for the most part, it just isn’t fun anymore, so I need to walk away from it and that’s okay.

(13) ANOTHER TWITTER MAELSTROM. Neil Gaiman’s tweet endorsing Clarion set off a wave of complaints. Brad R. Torgersen was as surprised as Gaiman himself by the controversy, but did a better job of understanding the reaction.

I guess Gaiman upset people with this?

…Second, Gaiman is simply expressing what all of us have expressed — from time to time — about our favorite learning experiences. I have evangelized for the Kris Rusch and Dean Smith workshops, the Dave Wolverton workshops, the Writers of the Future workshop, the Superstars Writing Seminar, the “Life, The Universe & Everything” symposium, and so on, and so forth. All of them have been very valuable to me, and remain valuable long after attendance and participation….

It would be great if a Clarion-type experience were free. But running a workshop with that kind of scope and scale, is not cheap. And the truth is, there are people who will argue that it shouldn’t be cheap. That the high cost weeds out the dilettantes. So that only serious students, who are dedicated, will apply for acceptance. Clarion isn’t designed for wannabes. Clarion is for budding professional artists, who want to flower in an environment that will feed and nurture their professional artistry. Or at least that’s the ideal. And I definitely think Gaiman had the ideal in mind, when he wrote what he wrote.

Still, there is no royal road to publication and acclaim. I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I suspect Clarion’s success rate is probably on par with just about every other workshop going. Which means two-thirds of Clarion’s graduates, won’t make it. They won’t sell. Or at least, they won’t sell well. They will find that life has other work for them, and they will move on.

(13) ONE THUMB DOWN. Fran Wilde’s tweets, 10 of which are Storified here, illustrate the negative response.

(14) ANOTHER THUMB DOWN. Alex Bledsoe, in “Thoughts on Clarion, Privilege and Gaiman”, is one of many other writers sounding off about how they launched professional writing careers without the help of a workshop.

Now, I don’t for a moment believe that Gaiman literally meant need, as in you can’t consider yourself a real writer unless you have Clarion on your CV. But at the same time, I understand the outrage of those who see his statement as an unthinking beacon of privilege. Who the hell is Neil Gaiman, who will never again have to worry about paying bills, or child care, or taking time off from work, or any of the day-to-day struggles that most of his readers experience, to tell us what we need? It’s in the same ballpark as Gwyneth Paltrow’s famous statements about her being a “typical” mother.

Like a lot of writers, I never went to Clarion, or any professional writing workshop. I learned to write via journalism, both from studying it and working at it. I like to say it’s one reason my books are so short, but in another very important way, it taught me to approach writing as a job. A reporter is no special snowflake: if he or she can’t do the work, there’s always someone waiting to eagerly step up. So you get on with it, and do the best you can with what you have. That lesson has been incredibly useful as a fiction writer, too.

(15) GAYLACTIC SPECTRUM AWARDS. The winners and recommended short list for the 2014/2015 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards in the Best Novel category were announced at Chessiecon in November 2015.

(16) DAVIDSON ON THE FINE POINTS. Steve Davidson discusses “How To Recommend Without Slating” at Amazing Stories.

As it has evolved, an acceptable Eligibility Post is limited to the following elements:

  • A statement that a work is, under the rules in play, eligible for a particular category of award.
  • Information on where and when the story was made available (so that others can verify its eligibility)
  • A suggestion that those voting for the award in question might be interested in checking it out
  • An Eligibility Post may also include an opportunity for others to add other works that are eligible

An Eligibility Post does not contain:

  • reasons why someone ought to vote for the work
  • begging for votes in any manner
  • discussion of external politics that are somehow related to voting for the work
  • discussion of the “messages” that will be sent by voting for the work
  • plays for sympathy, or authorial love, mentions of career status

The Eligibility Post was soon joined by the “Recommended Reading” list…..

(17) POSTCARD FROM THE EDGE. In 2004, soon after meeting Howard Waldrop, Lou Antonelli succeeded in selling his first story.

I wrote Howard and told him meeting him had brought me good luck. He later dropped me this postcard. I recently found it in a drawer while cleaning up a messy storage shed, and thought I’d share it. If you have trouble reading Howard’s handwriting, this is what it says:

“Dear Lou,
“Congratulations on the sale to Gardner. (You were already getting rejection letters – it was only a matter of time, whether you came to Austin or not!) You’ve sentenced yourself to a life of bitterness and frustration, like me..
“Way to go!
“Yer pal,

Howard is a great writer, a nice guy, and it also seems, a clairvoyant.

(18) BOWIE MOVIE SCREENINGS. The Vista Theatre in LA sold out its Labyrinth 30th Anniversary midnight screening (for obvious reasons) and has scheduled another.

In January we’re going to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of our favorite fantasy films- LABYRINTH, featuring everyone’s favorite goblin king Jareth and his Bowie-bulge! Feel free to join us in costume and dance, magic dance! Response to this event was larger than we expected- we were trending towards a sell out by show night, but with the tragic passing of David Bowie yesterday we sold out in 6 hours of the news breaking. We want all our friends and Bowie fans in our nerd circle to be able to grieve in the manner they chose and if celebrating his life with Labyrinth on the big screen is what they want than we’re here to help. We’ve added this SATURDAY NIGHT midnight screening for those that were unable to catch tickets for Friday night. We will have a costume contest both nights, and hope everyone enjoys the hell out of this film and Bowie’s incredible performance on the big screen

(19) ONE BUSY HOMBRE. Today’s mandatory Guillermo del Toro news is that he will develop to potentially direct Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark for CBS Films. The film is based on the trilogy by Alvin Schwartz.

He is such a big fan of the books that he owns ten of the original illustrations by Gammell.
In addition to potentially directing, del Toro will also produce the film alongside Sean Daniel, Jason Brown and Elizabeth Grave. Alvin Schwartz’s trilogy of short story collections have sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. Even though, from the moment it was published in 1984, the Scary Stories series was one of the most banned from placement by the American Library Association, as the collections were considered to be too scary for children. The ensuing controversy only helped to fuel sales, and the trilogy has remained a cultural phenomenon ever since.

(20) RAINBOW BATMAN. DC Comics invites fans to “Brighten your batcave with Rainbow Batman figures”

Why should the criminals of Gotham get all the colorful costumes? Now you can have the Caped Crusader in pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.


rainbowbatmanclip 2Where did these come from? According to Yahoo! Movies

A year ago, DC Collectibles opened up their vault to reveal prototypes of statues, action figures, and busts that were never produced and allowed fans to vote on which item from the collection should be produced and sold. A colorful line of Batmen figures based on “The Rainbow Batman” cover of Detective Comics #241 (1957) won the poll.

(21) JACK KIRBY DRAMATIZED. Now on stage in Seattle (through January 23), “’King Kirby’ play profiles the artist behind the superheroes, overshadowed by Stan Lee”.

“King Kirby” opens with the canonization of its subject at a high-level sale, where an auctioneer recounts the artist’s pictorial achievements and begins the bidding on each Kirby illustration at thousands of dollars.

From somewhere in the beyond, Kirby (who died in the 1990s, and is portrayed with vigor and conviction by Rick Espaillat) looks on disgustedly at the pretentious upscaling of his work.

In a pungent Brooklyn accent and with a defensive edginess, Kirby takes us back to his humble beginnings growing up in a rough neighborhood, where he had to use his fists to fend off attackers.

No wonder he invented heroic protectors and epic rescuers. Fascinated by mythology and quick with a sketchbook, Kirby starts out doing grunt work in a cartoon sweatshop, forms a partnership with a business-savvy pal, and comes into his own working under a series of amusingly irate moguls. In collaboration with head honcho and collaborator Stan Lee, he’s a big reason why Lee’s Marvel Comics still thrill the masses with spinoffs of characters created in the 1940s and ’50s.

Lee is portrayed as a marketing maestro and idea man, who not only stiffed his top artist out of franchise deals and royalties but also presented himself as the sole inventor of superheroes co-created and fleshed out by Kirby.

(22) STAN THE MAN. CBS Sunday Morning program featured “The Marvelous Life of Stan Lee” on January 17.

The comic starts out, as Stan started out, as Stanley Martin Leiber, born to Jewish immigrants in 1922. He grew up poor in a tiny Bronx apartment during the Depression.

When Stan was old enough, he started looking for jobs to help pay the bills, and in 1939 he landed at a publishing house which just happened to have a small division called Timely Comics.

“I’d fill the ink wells — in those days they used ink!” he said. “I’d run down and get them sandwiches at the drug store, and I’d proofread the pages, and sometimes in proofreading I’d say, ‘You know, this sentence doesn’t sound right. It ought to be written like this.’ ‘Well, go ahead and change it!’ They didn’t care!”

Characters like Destroyer, Father Time and Jack Frost soon had Stan’s fingerprints all over them.

He got so caught up in the battles of good vs. evil that after Pearl Harbor, it seemed only natural he join the Army.

“Oh hell, how could you not volunteer for the Army?” he said. “Hitler was over there doing all those horrible things.”

But instead of fighting, Lee found himself drawing. His best work: a poster telling soldiers how NOT to get VD.

“I drew a little soldier, very proudly,” he recalled. “And he’s saying, ‘VD? Not me!’ as he walks in. They must have printed a hundred trillion of those! I think I won the war single-handedly with that poster!”

 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Tom Galloway, Steve Lieber, Andrew Porter, and Kendall for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

236 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/17/16 Kaiser Scroll, Hold The Pixel

  1. Thanks for the link, Paul. ::reads::

    Man, if Ann Leckie has ever been wrong about anything it has slipped my notice. Everything there is bang-on.

  2. rcade on January 18, 2016 at 8:30 pm said:

    They wanted to talk mostly about Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn, Han Solo and the bad-guy hologram whose name I forget.

    Snookums. His name is Snookums and I stick my fingers in my ears and say la-la-la-la-la-la-la to anyone who says differently.

  3. SNOOKUMS! Yes!

    In recognition of this obvious truth, ULTRAGOTHA hereby is presented a coupon for one (1) free forehead cloth redeemable in the bracket thread of their choice.

  4. @robinareid
    Thanks for sharing your touching moments at Disney. Brought smiles to my face. Great points you make on the Gaiman tweet. Just another microaggression and I’m glad people are starting to speak up. It’s too bad it’s so hard for so many to understand all the microaggressions many of us go through daily if we aren’t the default model

    @Paul Ann Leckie has weighed in on the Gaiman Clarion Tweet
    Thanks for posting. Ann sure does have a way with words. I’m in agreement with @Jim Henley. Bang on.

  5. Ann Leckie is kind of heroic in her clarity.

    And I can totally embrace (metaphorically only) Snookums.

  6. Interestingly, it’s been found that the way a sensitive person builds a thicker skin is not, in fact, by continuous adversity and discouragement, but by getting validation and support.

    Right from early childhood this is true, but, and here’s a real important kicker, it keeps on going throughout life. A lot of the best therapy, including CBT*, which on the surface looks like “We’ll build them a thicker skin by exposing them to the things they hate”, is based on this principle.

    BY contrast, I’m trying to think of a time when the words “Don’t be so sensitive” have actually served the person being addressed. The only thing I can think of is when it pisses off a contrarian, and most contrarians aren’t actually sensitive to start with.

    *Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, not the other kind

  7. But that you look at it this way simply exemplifies the concept of privilege: you don’t seem to have any idea what it is like to face example after example, thousands, hundreds of thousands over a lifetime arguably, or institutional and systematic gatekeeping, starting in childhood (arguably starting before birth if you want to talk about the generational impacts of racism, sexism, class oppression on people).

    It’s possible, of course, but I’m still left wondering what our hypothetical person, so oppressed by hyperbole that they perceive the gate as closed, is going to do when they encounter actual difficulty?

    I think that rather than try to eliminate hyperbole from Twitter comments about Clarion, the better strategy might be to try to teach would-be authors what hyperbole is, not only on the basis that it will be helpful to them as a coping strategy to recognize and understand hyperbole, but because hyperbole is a tool they might want to use in their writing at some point, and if they can’t recognize it for what it is, that put them at a disadvantage.

    You don’t have any idea what it is to have those voices in your head (the ones that Tasha talked about) that come from a lifetime of gatekeeping and restrictions.

    If you’re going to dig down to microaggressions, you should probably not assume that you can then lump people into macro categories and talk about what they have no idea of. It’s possible that, as a white man, everything I’ve ever wanted has been handed to me, but you aren’t really in a position to assume I have no idea about gatekeeping and restrictions, merely because I disagree that this one thing is an example of them.

    My experience of gatekeeping and restrictions may be less than that of others — even vastly less, perhaps — but claiming I have no idea what it’s like is at the very least an unwarranted assumption.

    And then I decided, screw it, I have better things to do today than spend time on the internet trying to address yet another white male’s issues (I only thought of doing so because I was a bit surprised to see that tone/comment coming from you given your earlier posts).

    You probably do. Particularly if you’re assuming that my “issues” are about racism or sexism or something else other than this bit of hyperbole. As in the previous response, I prefer to put the specifics back in, rather than be put in the position of having argued for something other than what I said.

    But don’t think it’s just one time, or one *wispy* example. It’s not.

    It’s the only example I’m talking about, and it’s pretty wispy. If you want to talk about other examples, perhaps less wispy, then feel free, but don’t assume I’m on the other side of them, or calling them wispy. I was pretty specific, and I stand by that specificity.

    Oh, and keep in mind that people who have experienced that lifetime and have persevered and worked through to success in publishing or anything else are likely to then face another whole round of microaggressions along the lines “of it’s just because of affirmative action” not anything they actually accomplished! And that is fucked up too.

    I agree with you on the idea that dismissing someone’s success as “just because of affirmative action” is indeed fucked up. I don’t equate that to hyperbole about the value of Clarion on Twitter.

  8. But who’s to say their way of overcoming some nonexistent barriers like this one isn’t to briefly clap back on Twitter and then get back about their business?

    Certainly not me.

    This leaves aside that some of the criticism of Gaiman came from published novelists like Fran Wilde and Alex Bledsoe. (I think DJ Older too, but Twitter’s down, so I can’t confirm.)

    I can’t really follow this as a response to something I said; perhaps it’s all my privilege getting in the way. But I don’t remember saying anyone should be barred from briefly clapping back on Twitter, nor did I say none of the criticism was coming from published novelists.

    This is one of the reasons I try to keep putting the specifics back in. I think perhaps people are taking them out and then assuming the comments can be taken to apply equally to other things — that saying the illusory gate of a bit of hyperbole that doesn’t even apply to the speaker himself is wispy is equivalent to saying all gatekeeping is wispy, and that I must therefore be told that it isn’t.

    I mean, yesterday I borrowed the form of Greil Marcus’s quote about Bruce Springsteen being the future of rock and roll (I think it was Marcus), which Stephen King also borrowed to say that Clive Barker was the future of horror. Both of these are hyperbolic statements designed to communicate something pretty simple and complimentary, but if we take them literally, how many musicians or writers have just been told that they are not the future of their genre, that they have no part in it, that the future is all taken up by one guy? Is that gatekeeping, too, and must it be decried? Or do we recognize it as hyperbole?

    I guess each of us handles it in a different way, but I think your reference to “briefly” and “getting back to business” have a lot of value.

  9. Hampus Eckerman

    As a kid, I would have been happy to mee anyone of the actors from Star Wars. Absolutely anyone, girl, alien, robot, boy, whatever.

    Note to self : introduce Hampus to a Sarlacc…

  10. Kurt: From my vantage point, a lot of this is about being kind of continuously ground down. I know you know a lot of what that feels like, too. But for someone who hits the grinder before they get a chance to build any kind of writing career, there’s less to fall back on. Gaiman’s tweet is just one thing, but then this is one of those situations where any one (special?) snowflake may be the one that sets off the avalanche. it has significance precisely because of everything that happened earlier and is going on at the same time.

    This is some of what I thought, when I saw the tweet quoted. Not very intensely, this time around, because I have kittens at hand to cheer me up and I’ve long since stopped actively hoping to be able to do anything of the sort, but there was this wistful moment….

    “I’d love to be able to do that someday. But I won’t ever have $5,000 free – if I did, there are so many other things I’d need to do with it. Nor could I simply suspend life here for six weeks. There are people who need my support. I’d have to arrange care for the cats and the apartment. I’d want to get six weeks of medication lined up in advance and Medicaid makes it very difficult and/or expense to get more than 30 days’ worth of anything. I know I can’t do it anyway, thanks to my problems with slow neurotransmitter replenishment and the general fatigues issues – I’d just crash out after a few hours and need multiple days to recover. Maybe I could do six consecutive weekends, but probably not.

    “And even if I had the money and the energy, I know I can’t handle extended critique sessions…either delivering or receiving. My PTSD issues with psychological manipulation and abuse kick in; I panic, cry, and flee. So I can’t actually participate even if I could be there.

    “And even if I had a miracle cure for the PTSD, I still couldn’t go because of my allergy issues. They’re not going to require all the participants to be smoke-free, and they won’t ban alcohol from the place. A lot of people don’t have any idea to tell which perfumes are free of orris root. I hear they’re pretty good about wheelchair accessibility, but there’s all this other stuff that basically requires being able to examine the specific place in advance and screen people, and if they were to go for it, the stress and work of doing the inspecting would wear me out so I couldn’t participate anyway.”

    And at that, most of my issues are personal ones, apart from ongoing care concerns for my mother and her accelerating memory problems. I don’t have relatives I’m responsible for, no close relatives or friends in jail or having just faced police abuse, no risk of being present with someone who’s sexually or otherwise harassed me or someone I care about in the past, no need at the moment to go through an appeal of a rejected claims benefit, no significant risk of losing benefits eligibility if the money fairy did give me enough dough to cover it all and make arrangements feasible, and a zillion other things.

    I know, from general reading and also from knowing several Clarion graduates, that it’s partly about the instruction and partly about the networking. I like networking. I enjoy socializing that can be useful as well as fun. Then sometimes I have blue moments as I realize I may never get to do it again, and think about how much of my social and business life depends on narrow little windows of opportunity in the past, and I remember how I felt back when I was much younger and sick early on and Paul Simon’s “Boy in the Bubble” felt like it might be the anthem for my life.

    Like I said, none of this hit me very intensely this time around. But it was there, and in the past it has sometimes been pretty crippling. There are times when the thought ‘It’s just not enough to maybe be a good writer; it depends on all this stuff I don’t and can’t have, so maybe I should just stop now.” looms very, very large in my consciousness. Likewise with others, including people who have much more widely impairing problems, more diffuse ones, and ones whose solutions are much more complicated than mine.

  11. Bruce —

    I sympathize with what you say here, and I don’t want to minimize any of it, but I do want to point out that you’re talking about all the reasons you can’t attend Clarion (I can’t either; while I could probably swing the money I doubt I’d ever be able to swing the time, what with deadlines, health, family, deadlines and deadlines, and back when I could have swung the time I had neither the money nor the skill to get in), but did you really think someone who didn’t attend Clarion was telling you it was the only way to get anywhere?

    If Neil had been hyperbole-free, and just said he thought going to Clarion was a wonderful idea and he recommended it highly, would you not have had any of those thoughts about wishing you could go but being unable to? And if you did, would it have been wrong of Neil somehow to inspire those thoughts by telling the truth?

    Like I said, I don’t mean to dismiss any of the troubles you have to wrestle with. Just trying to stay specific — is using “need” hyperbolically rather than literally to recommend a workshop that is apparently quite helpful, but which most writers who succeed (including the guy who said it) manage without, gatekeeping?

    This is, perhaps, tangled up with Neil ordinarily being one of the most encouraging people in the business, and for me at least, with the nature of colloquial speech and the amount of hyperbole we all run into on a regular basis.

    But, well, so it goes.

  12. For me, Neil’s “NEED” just reinforces a bunch of other stuff I’ve heard through the decades, including from some writers and editors I really respect, about how it takes this kind of workshopping to bring out your best writing. When you’re feeling particularly depressed or just low, it’s easy for that to feed into whatever self-condemnation you may be carrying around at the moment.

  13. For me, Neil’s “NEED” just reinforces a bunch of other stuff I’ve heard through the decades, including from some writers and editors I really respect, about how it takes this kind of workshopping to bring out your best writing. When you’re feeling particularly depressed or just low, it’s easy for that to feed into whatever self-condemnation you may be carrying around at the moment.

    This combined with Neil and his wife both having a perceived habit of tweeting stuff from a point of privilege without considering how their words might hurt others who don’t have their advantages. So when he yet again tells you…

    Let’s go back to your earlier example. If someone can’t handle what someone says on Twitter how will they handle rejection from editors or a bad review?

    If they’ve just gotten knocked down by an offhand comment by Gaiman maybe not as well as they would had if they hadn’t seen/heard about his tweet as each microaggression builds on the last.

    For example I can handle the occasional book with a rape or child abuse in it. I do much better if prepared. But unprepared and 3-6 books in a row I’m a mess. That happened to me this week. Books people talked about here didn’t have content notes (or not recently), authors who don’t usually put this stuff in books did, and I was punched in the stomach boom, boom, boom. In my case I could have avoided some of it by asking a few detailed questions and reading more of the negative reviews. But some days I’m not up to spending 2-6 hours reading reviews to find a book which is safe and on a group where we regularly talk about triggers I sometimes forget people aren’t going to mention them for a slew of reasons.

    In the Gaiman example above does one too many microaggressions some days mean I’m not cut out to be a writer? I think you’d agree no.

    In the second example there are days when I wonder if I’m unfit to be a reader. Most days I wonder what’s wrong with the world I live in which makes it so hard to find books in any genre, including young kids books, where at least one of the following rape, abuse, murder, slavery, suicide, self-harm is not included.

  14. Heather –

    I think given that Neil and others have noted that it was hyperbole is reason enough to believe it’s hyperbole. It’s clearly not meant as the unvarnished truth, given the number of people who manage to break in as writers without attending Clarion.

    I don’t think I’ve assumed everyone else is being utterly literal.

    So the question seems unfounded on both halves.

  15. Kurt: the distinction I want to make here is, basically, I don’t think Neil set out to stab anyone. (I’ve seen things Neil wrote while very, very angry. I know the difference. “They are not telling you true things” remains one of the great slams.) We are not here suggesting that Neil has anything like the intent of, say, Vox Day or John C. Wright. Rather, we’re suggesting he did the equivalent of wearing big boots and landed on some feet, including some with bad arches, ingrown toenails, broken ankles, and the like.

  16. Bruce —

    I understand the distinction you’re making, and I don’t think I’ve made any suggestion that anyone here (or anywhere) thinks Neil set out to stab anyone.

    Beyond that, I think I’m being nudged, intentionally or un-, in the direction of being an all-purpose Defender of the Tweet (and perhaps of Amanda, too, since someone dragged her in parenthetically along the way), rather than of what I actually said. I started writing a response to some of this a couple of times, but it kept circling back to me pointing out what I did say, and how it doesn’t actually connect to whatever I was being explained. It has also gotten to feel a bit like a one-sided conversation, in that when I’ve tried to even mildly engage and steer things toward what I actually said, I just get another explanation and my questions are ignored.

    No sweat, it’s the internet, and one consistent feature of the internet is that people can have extremely lengthy conversations that turn out to be about multiple sides assuming the people they’re talking to mean something other than what they actually said, because everyone’s coming at things from a slightly different angle and read any disagreement as direct opposition rather than tangential or angular or whatever.

    Suffice it to say I sympathize that you feel your feet have been trodden on, but I do still believe the things I actually said, as opposed to the things others have apparently decided I said. If Neil’s tweet was the last straw for anyone, well, there were bigger, weightier straws coming, in any attempt at a professional writing career.

    But now I’m circling back to repeating myself, so I think I’m best off just stepping out. If I’m today’s example of white male privilege, I’ll do my best to learn and grow in my own limited way.

  17. Kurt: Thank you for the good will I expect from you, and always appreciate seeing. A lot. 🙂

  18. Note to Self: Rev. Bob doesn’t read the footnotes. 😉 Don’t worry, that’s not my kink.

    More seriously, though, shared abbreviations are such a nuisance. It’s not too hard around here to figure out whether MTS is the Telephone System (now with its hands in many other communication pots) or the Teacher’s Society from context (are they trying to sell me cable tv, or is my best friend talking about her union?), but it took me a surprisingly long time to figure out what FTM could possibly mean when the babywearing group was using it, because I was quite sure that it wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind. (Turns out it’s “first-time Mom”).

  19. @Lenora: (footnotes)

    Too. Busy. Flinching. 😮

    the Telephone System (now with its hands in many other communication pots)

    Heh. I see what you did there.

  20. @World Weary:

    The movie is cute but lost a lot of the resonance from the original book. In particular, how the curse is broken in the book was a lot more moving. It is mostly interior so not filmable but I still didn’t care for the tonal change at the end from broad comedy to thriller. The book has nuance that the movie lacks.

    Totally agree. Then again, I was the target audience when the book was released so I have a certain fondness for it. Couldn’t stand the movie because it seemed like every tweak they made to the narrative took away from the magic in the book, where one would hope at least some movie tweaks would add magic to the story.

    And the way Ella broke the curse in the movie threw me out of it entirely. Seriously, she would never have thought of trying that before? Ugh.

  21. I’m willing to believe the book version of Ella Enchanted had nuances the movie lacked. But did it have showtune-style Elton John covers? I think not! Advantage: movie.

  22. I mean, it’s certainly biologically possible that an FTM could be an FTM, but it’s not so common that a babywearing group would be full of them.

    I like what Ann Leckie said. She is always correct. I may outsource all my opinionating to her. 🙂

    Neil really is a bit clueless about his amount of privilege sometimes (though he tries hard and I know he’s deeply sleep-deprived now) and frankly I’ve never cared for his wife (also often blind to her privilege, more than he is); that informs it too. I am not the only person who’s looked surreptitiously left and right, lowered their voice and sheepishly admitted “I lost some respect for him when he married her,” and had someone else reply “Yeah, I was so disappointed.” sigh, headshake It makes us feel like we’re Bad Fans, but there it is. I’m sure they don’t care.

  23. Lenora Rose

    I like the idea of replacing Boba Fett. I never understood the love for him anyhow. He gets about 3 lines, and isn’t really doing anything much but covering one plot point and looking vaguely cool.

    This response is days late, but I believe much of it is the way Boba Fett was introduced. After A New Hope, Boba Fett was the first new character to be introduced from the upcoming Empire Strikes Back, originally not available in stores and sold only as a mail-in item (send in x number proof of purchases from Star Wars items and y amount of shipping and handling.) So he was mysterious, a promise of more to come, and available only to those willing to go to special trouble to get him! The marketing was prototypical of the modern marketing technique of slow, selective leaks of details along with the idea of exclusive limited-edition collector’s items. The minor controversy around the replacement of Boba Fett’s originally-promised rocket-launching backpack with a non-functional one because of chocking hazards may have had an effect on his visibility, too. (I can’t say how much Boba Fett’s appearance in The Star Wars Holiday Special may have influenced fandom—I don’t exactly remember clamor for the production of Bea Author and Porn Grampa Wookie figures.) The discovery that Boba Fett turned out to be a very minor character in the movies came long after the hype surrounding him. (IIRC, a Battledroid mounted on a STAP was a similar early-release hype item for The Phantom Menace, and General Grevious for Revenge of the Sith. And fan generated their own lovestorm for BB-8 before anyone knew a single thing about BB-8’s role or significance in The Force Awakens.)

    I don’t remember being caught up in the Boba Fett hype as a child, but I do remember the exact location where I bought my own Boba Fett around 35 years ago—a toy section that was in the back left corner of a Woolworth’s in the nearest city to me—and it was one of the very few items from my metric shit-ton of Star Wars figures and vehicles that I didn’t sell off as a teenager and regret selling as an adult. (One other item I still have from childhood is a Rancor. I also specifically remember the circumstances for buying that—it was after the hype for Jedi had cooled and stores had mostly stopped selling Star Wars items. I found it in a crushed box in a clearance bin at a K-Mart in a different city from Boba Fett, discounted down to $1.50. Said Rancor is the second largest creature within a foot of my desk as I type—the largest being a 18-24ish inch Godzilla figure with launching fist bought at a yard sale in the 1970s.) The appeal to whipper-snappers who weren’t around at the genesis of Boba Fett—I assume—originates from all of the EU Boba Fett material created to feed the original demand created by the early hype.

    Contrast that with Captain Phasma. There was very little concerted hype surrounding that character starting months or years pre-movie. Almost all of the attention came from 1.) people excited that the character is being played by an actor I personally had never heard of before (never having watched Game of Thrones) and 2.) feminist and feminist-leaning websites happy about having another (supposedly) significant female character in a Star Wars movie. As for the first, at the risk of sounding like a prude, I certainly hope that young children aren’t watching Game of Thrones. As for the second, I doubt that many young children are reading TheMarySue or similar sites, so they will know or care about only what is revealed about Phasma on-screen. Which is almost nothing, other than being n pbjneq jub orgenlrq ure betnavmngvba sbe ure bja zbzragnel fnsrgl, pbfg gur yvirf bs jub xabjf ubj znal bs ure pbyyrnthrf, naq ernyyl fubhyq or fhzznevyl rkrphgrq ol ure fhcrevbef sbe vg.

  24. Rev Bob:

    I could’ve sworn I had Ever After in the collection, but apparently it got jumbled up in my head with Ella Enchanted and Enchanted – which share a slot not far from The Princess Bride. Mayhap I need to rectify this oversight…

    For me, Ever After is Just Okay, not nearly as good as Ella Enchanted (Pretty Darn Good) or Enchanted (actually one of my favorite movies). The last time I watched The Princess Bride, it had experienced a punishing visit from the Suck Fairy.

  25. @Darren Garrison:

    n pbjneq jub orgenlrq ure betnavmngvba sbe ure bja zbzragnel fnsrgl, pbfg gur yvirf bs jub xabjf ubj znal bs ure pbyyrnthrf, naq ernyyl fubhyq or fhzznevyl rkrphgrq ol ure fhcrevbef sbe vg

    Enough with the mealy-mouthed equivocations, Darren. Take a stand!


  26. @Darren:

    Actually, I quite liked the 2015 Cinderella (live-action), and I much prefer Maleficent over the animated Sleeping Beauty. Some of the Disney animated classics are really showing their age, in the same way that Golden Age SF is – namely that social assumptions have shifted in ways that make the old gender tropes uncomfortable.

  27. Actually, I quite liked the 2015 Cinderella (live-action),

    Haven’t seen that one yet. Not only do I not go to theaters, I don’t have the budget for buying DVDs that I used to, and I’m having to borrow (metered) internet from a neighbor. So as far as I recall, I’ve so far seen only 2 movies made in 2015–The Force Awakens and the Chinese movie Monster Hunt (had to know if the story was better than the CG–it wasn’t much.)

    I agree that much old Disney animation hasn’t aged well (though I still have 2 or 3 dozen of them on DVD.) I’d say my favorite straight-up Disney Princess Movie is Tangled (I’m not a Frozen hater–but I think Tangled is funner and more coherent, and I think that the facial animation on Rupunzel was profoundly well done) and the earliest DPM I actually rewatch is The Little Mermaid.

    Speaking of faces, as much disdain as I showed for dancing over in the Austen-hate thread (and I do disdain dancing) the ballroom scene from Enchanted is something I have cut out as a clip for easy rewatching on my computer (along with the other song sequences.) It is amazing how much story takes place wordlessly in the facial expressions of the actors in that sequence and it always crosses my mind how people with forms of facial blindess / autism spectrum that can’t recognize emotions from facial expressions (and also any hypothetical aliens that might watch it) would be utterly locked out of the depth of that sequence.

    (Plus, I have kinda-sorta-close to a degree of Kevin Bacon with Patrick Dempsey–in 1990, he was in a movie called Coupe de Ville set in 1963. At the end of the rural road where I live, maybe 2000 feet from my house, there is an old diner that looks old-fashioned enough to be chosen for filming a scene from the movie in. So there is a pretty good chance Patrick Dempsey drove past my house at least once! (And yes, that is a pathetic concept of a brush with fame.))

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