Pixel Scroll 12/21/21 Pixeland Is The Scrolliest Place On Earth

(1) LET US REMEMBER THE TWENTY-FIRST OF DECEMBER. It’s already dark out! Oh, wait – today’s the Winter Solstice! No wonder. Let NASA Ames Research Center tell you all about it.

(2) RAYTHEON. Social media criticism for DisCon III’s acceptance of Raytheon sponsorship money splashed onto some of the Hugo ceremony participants. The committee issued this statement:

Cora Buhlert commented:

(3) WORLDCON ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES. Mari Ness, who navigates convention space in a wheelchair, summarizes her experiences with DisCon III, which she ultimately decided against attending: “Are we really doing this again? Discon III, accessibility, and genre cons” at Blogging with Dragons.

Discon III turned out to be my worst Worldcon ever – one of my worst genre events, ever.

And I didn’t even go….

(4) THE GAME’S AFOOT. Congratulations to James Nicoll Reviews on posting their 2000th review today: “Just Lots of Little Frames”, about Greg Stafford, Jeff Richard, and Jason Durall’s 2021 The Runequest Starter Set, which is a starter set for Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha . As always, the footnotes are great!

(5) FIFTY THOUSAND BEBOP FANS CAN’T BE WRONG. Yahoo!‘s Jeff Yeung has an updated report about the ongoing Cowboy Bebop petition:

Netflix’s recent cancellation of the live-action Cowboy Bebop has left many fans disappointed, and now more than 50,000 of them have signed a petition to bring the show back for a second season.”

“I truly loved working on this,” the show’s co-executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach said on Twitter after Netflix’s decision. “It came from a real and pure place of respect and affection. I wish we could make what we planned for a second season, but you know what they say, men plan, God laughs.” He added that the team “had so much cool sh*t planned” for Cowboy Bebop’s second season.”

(6) SUITE MEMORIES. Covert J. Beach gives a full rundown on the party suite he used for his “loosely invitational” parties at DisCon III (which also ended up being the location for the Chengdu Victory Party when “it turned out that the suite that had been earmarked for Chengdu had been given away.”)  

….At over 1800 sqft the Suite was bigger than my Condo, complete with full kitchen (I even baked something) and a full washer-dryer. To do it justice I brought three bags of booze rather than just two, discovering in the process that the Briggs and Riley Baseline Carryon is a fantastic piece of luggage to carry booze. It is the perfect width for most long whisky tins. It took two full trips of the car to move the party kit to the hotel, and two back (the 2nd return load which totally packed the car is picured), with a third supplementary trip each way. I caused a lot of bemusement with the valets.

The Convention had a bartender on tap over zoom so people could get advice on what drinks to make. I hear a number of calls were made from the room in the suite called “The Library” where the bartender was amazed at the variety the Capclave/Balticon Scotch Cabal put together (I don’t bring it all.) Much was drunk….

(7) TOP SHELF. Polygon offers its picks of “The best fantasy and sci-fi books of 2021”. In alphabetical order by author’s last name, so no definitive number one ranking.

…If you love books then you know: They aren’t just escapism, they also inspire introspection, making us think harder about the world we live in. This is precisely the promise of great science fiction and fantasy — categories we’ve chosen to consider in a list together, as fantastic books continue to blur the line between the two speculative genres (and besides, we love to read them all). These 20 books span genres and perspectives — from space operas, to Norse mythology retellings, to romances with a dash of time travel. But all of them gave us something new to consider.

In a year with so many incredible choices, it was hard to narrow down the list. So we’ve also included some of our favorite runners up….

(8) WOMEN OF MARVEL. In March, Women Of Marvel #1 will continue highlighting Marvel’s female heroes in an all-new collection of tales. 

  • A Squirrel Girl and Black Widow team-up against a maniacal villain in a story that explores the complexities of super hero identities by Hugo award winning writer Charlie Jane Anders
  • An action-packed Shanna the She-Devil and Silver Sable short sees the jungle ladies battle against wild animal poachers by award winning video game script writer Rhianna Pratchett
  • A dark Jessica Jones tale of compulsion and redemption from celebrated creator Jordie Bellaire and drawn by rising star Zoe Thorogood
  • A fun-filled page-flipper of Black Cat’s greatest failures and latest triumphes by novelist Preeti Chhibber and superstar artists Jen Bartel, Marguerite Sauvage and more!
  • The Marvel Comics writing debut of artist Mirka Andolfo and much more!

(9) MILAN MEMBER OF JURY IN HIGHLY-PUBLICIZED CASE. [Item by rcade.] The romance novelist Courtney Milan revealed on Twitter that she was a juror in the trial that led to truck driver Rogel Aguilera-Mederos being sentenced to 110 years in prison for the 29-vehicle crash in Colorado that killed four people in 2019. The brakes on his truck failed while he was descending mountains on Interstate 70, leading to the accident after he didn’t veer off into a runaway truck lane.

Milan wrote this on December 14 in tweets she subsequently deleted (Archive.today copy below):

I’m going to write something longer about this, but I just have to say this right now: 110 years is unjust. I feel sick with how unjust this is.

I don’t feel like I can say much right now because my brain keeps stuttering out on this, but my brain will come back online at some point.

I was on the jury in this case and if I had known this was the mandatory minimum for a kid who made some really bad decisions at exactly the wrong time, I would absolutely have engaged in jury nullification.

The severity of the sentence, which must be served consecutively, has brought international attention to the case. A Change.org petition asking Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to grant clemency or a commutation to Aguilera-Mederos has received over 4.5 million signatures.

Before becoming a full-time romance writer, Milan was a law professor at Seattle University School of Law and clerk to Supreme Court justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, according to the Washington Post.

A male juror in the case told Fox 31 the sentence was “100-fold of what it should have been” and had this reaction when it was handed down: “I cried my eyes out.”

(10) STEP RIGHT UP. Signal boosting Connie Willis’ appeal for Locus subscriptions and donations. If she were here she’d say click to support Locus today.

(11) ORENSTEIN OBIT. Inventor Henry Orenstein, responsible for many popular toys including Transformers, died December 14. The New York Times paid tribute: “Henry Orenstein, 98, Dies; Force Behind Transformers and Poker on TV”.

…He refashioned himself as a toy inventor (he held dozens of patents) and broker. During the Toy Fair in Manhattan in the early 1980s, he saw a Japanese-made toy — a tiny car that could easily change into an airplane — and recognized more elaborate possibilities.

“He started playing with it and said, ‘This is the best thing I’ve seen in at least 10 years,’” recalled Mrs. Orenstein, who, as Carolyn Sue Vankovich, met her future husband in 1967 when she was demonstrating Suzy Homemaker at the Toy Fair. “He had the sparkle he got when he got excited.”

Mr. Orenstein put together a deal between Hasbro and the Japanese manufacturer, Takara, which led to Hasbro’s introduction in 1984 of Transformers, toy robots that could turn into vehicles or beasts. They would become hugely popular, spawning an animated television series and a movie franchise.

“Ideas don’t come in little pieces,” Mr. Orenstein told Newsweek in 2016. “It’s in, it’s out. It’s there or it’s not,” he said. “I was just an inventor. You needed a big company to do what I thought should be done: making real transformations from complex things to other complex things.”…


1965 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] ?Fifty-six years ago one of the best Bond films premiered in the form of Thunderball. Directed by Terence Young, it was the fourth Bond film off a  screenplay by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins off yet another Fleming novel. The original screenplay was by Jack Whittingham but it wasn’t used. 

Need I say that Sean Connery plays Bond here? Well this will be only the first time that Connery plays Bond based off this novel as he’ll play him in Never Say Never Again which was executive produced by Kevin McClory, one of the original writers of the Thunderball story. McClory had the filming rights of the novel following a very long legal battle dating from the Sixties.

Reception from critics was decidedly mixed but Dilys Powell of The Sunday Times said that “The cinema was a duller place before 007.”  The box office was fantastic as it earned out one hundred and forty million against a budget of under ten million. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a rather excellent seventy-three percent rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 21, 1898 Hubert Rogers. Illustrator during the Golden Age of pulp magazines. His first freelance work was for Ace-HighAdventureRomance, and West. In ‘42, he started doing covers for Astounding Science Fiction which he would do until ‘53. He did the cover art for the ‘51 edition of The Green Hills of Earth, the ‘50 edition of The Man Who Sold the Moon and the ‘53 edition of Revolt in 2100. (Died 1982.)
  • Born December 21, 1928 Frank Hampson. A British illustrator that is best known as the creator and artist of Dan Dare, Pilot of The Future and other characters in the boys’ comic, The Eagle, to which he contributed from 1950 to 1961. There is some dispute over how much his original scripts were altered by his assistants before being printed. (Died 1985.)
  • Born December 21, 1929 James Cawthorn. An illustrator, comics artist and writer who worked predominantly with Michael Moorcock. He had met him through their involvement in fandom. They would co-wrote The Land that Time Forgot film, and he drew “The Sonic Assassins” strip which was based on Hawkwind that ran in Frendz. He also did interior and cover art for a number of publications from the Fifties onwards including (but not limited to) Vector 3New Worlds SFScience Fantasy and Yandro. (Died 2008.)
  • Born December 21, 1937 Jane Fonda, 84. I’m sure everyone here has seen her in Barbarella. Her only other genre appearances are apparently voice work as Shuriki in the animated Elena of Avalor series, and in the Spirits of the Dead, 1968 anthology film based on the work of Poe. She was the Contessa Frederique de Metzengerstein in the “Metzengerstein” segment of the film.  
  • Born December 21, 1948 Samuel L. Jackson, 73. Where to start? Did you know that with his permission, his likeness was used for the Ultimates version of the Nick Fury? It’s a great series btw. He has also played Fury in the Iron ManIron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First AvengerThe AvengersCaptain America: The Winter SoldierAvengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War and showed up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. too! He voiced Lucius Best (a.k.a. Frozone) in the Incredibles franchise, Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars, the Afro Samurai character in the anime series of the same name and more other genre work than can be listed here comfortably so go ahead and add your favorite role by him.
  • Born December 21, 1943 Jack Nance. Let’s just say he and David Lynch were rather connected. He’s in Henry Spencer in Eraserhead, he had a small role as the Harkonnen Captain Iakin Nefud in Dune and he’s Pete Martell in Twin Peaks. He’s also a supporting role as Paul, a friend of Dennis Hopper’s villain character in Blue Velvet but even I couldn’t stretch that film to be even genre adjacent. (Died 1996.)
  • Born December 21, 1944 James Sallis, 77. Ok he’d be getting a Birthday today if only for his SJW cred of giving up teaching at a college rather than sign a state-mandated loyalty oath that he regarded as unconstitutional. But he also does have a short SFF novel Renderings more short fiction that I can count, a book review column in F&SF and he co-edited several issues of New Worlds Magazine with Michael Moorcock.  Worthy of a Birthday write-up! 
  • Born December 21, 1966 Kiefer Sutherland, 55. My he’s been in a lot of genre undertakings! I think that The Lost Boys was his first such of many to come including FlatlinersTwin Peaks: Fire Walk with MeThe Three Musketeers, voice work in Armitage: Poly-MatrixDark City, more voice work in The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration, Marmaduke and Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn TwilightMirrors, and yes, he’s in the second Flatliners as a new character. 


  • Tom Gauld’s alternate history drives the world of a well-known Christmas carol.

(15) SWEDEN ACQUIRES A STEED. “Dark Horse Comics to Be Acquired by Gaming Giant Embracer Group”The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

Dark Horse Comics properties such as Hellboy and The Umbrella Academy are finding a new home. The indie comics publisher has agreed to be sold to Embracer Group, the Swedish video game conglomerate. The deal is expected to close in early 2022….

(16) THE RAIN IN NEW SPAIN STAYS THE LAUNCH AGAIN. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Astronomers have once again been told they must wait a bit to open their Big Present—launch of the James Webb space telescope. The latest, and hopefully the last, delay has pushed the launch until Christmas day. This one-day delay is due to expected advert weather conditions. “Delay pushes NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launch to Christmas morning” at CNN.

The highly anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed yet again — this time because of interference by Mother Nature.

Now, the telescope is expected to launch on December 25 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The launch window opens Christmas morning at 7:20 a.m. ET and closes at 7:52 a.m. ET. Live coverage of the launch will stream on NASA’s TV channel and website beginning Saturday at 6 a.m.

The news of adverse weather conditions came shortly after NASA shared that the Launch Readiness Review for the telescope was completed on Tuesday….

(17) ABOUT THE WESTERN SPELLING OF A CHENGDU GOH’S NAME. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Given the fuss some make over pronunciation, I am a little reluctant to wade in here (though I have lost count of the number of times my own name has been mispronounced, misspelled and even an alternate used (well, this last is a bit debatable but suffice to say my first name is not the one I am commonly known as – and no it wasn’t my choice).)  There are simply far more important things to get exercised about: human rights, political rights (*cough* Hong Kong) and climate change to name but a few.  Anyway…

How do you spell Sergei Lukyanenko / Lukianenko?  Well, conversions to the Latin alphabet are always problematic. I do not know about the US, but here in Brit Cit William Heinemann published Sergei Lukyanenko’s Night Watch series.  If that is his commonly-used publishing name in the West then arguably it would be best to use that so that folk can internet search out his work.

(18) LIFE IMITATES ART. You know the humorous motorcade bits that interrupted the Hugo Awards ceremony? Well, Andrew Porter did not have to leave Washington without seeing the real thing. Here’s his photo of a motorcade taken from his Shoreham Hotel window. 

Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter

(19) IN BEAUTIFUL BURBANK. “The Mystic Museum In Southern California Is Full Of Fascinating Oddities And Vintage Items”Only In Your State’s article includes a photo gallery.

The Mystic Museum is a small museum dedicated to the occult, paranormal, mysticism, and horror. If you find yourself fascinated by the macabre, then consider it the place for you!

(20) HOLIDAY WHO. [Item by Ben Bird Person.] Artist/illustrator Colin Howard did this piece on the 2003 animated Doctor Who serial “Scream of the Shalka”:

(21) THE OTHER GRAND CANYON. Microsoft News for Kids reports: “Orbiter discovers ‘significant amounts of water’ in Grand Canyon-like area of Mars”.

A researcher orbiter circling around Mars has discovered “significant amounts of water” underneath the surface of an area on the red planet similar to the Grand Canyon, according to the European Space Agency.

The orbiter, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, was launched by the European Space Agency along with the Russian Space Agency in 2016 and has been orbiting Mars ever since, with the goal of learning more about the gases and the possibility of life on the planet.

Recently, the orbiter was scanning an area of Mars called Valles Marineris, using the Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector instrument, or FREND, which can detect hydrogen on and up to 3 feet underneath Mars’ soil.

The Valles Marineris is a 2,500-mile-long canyon on Mars with parts that are 4 miles deep. Not only is it 10 times longer and 4 times deeper than the Grand Canyon, but the Valles Marineris’ length is nearly as long as the entire United States.

Data collected from the instrument from May 2018 to Feb. 2021 showed the middle part of the canyon contained a large amount of water, indicating some form of life could possibly be sustained. The findings were published in the solar system journal Icarus on Wednesday…. 

(22) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Spider Man: No Way Home Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George, in a spoiler-filled episode, has the producer watch the five Spider-Man movies before Tom Holland shows up so he can understand the many special guest stars in this one.  “How are we going to market this film without revealing all the crazy stuff?” the producer asks.  “Leaks!” the writer says.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Ben Bird Person, rcade, Bonnie McDaniel, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

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90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/21/21 Pixeland Is The Scrolliest Place On Earth

  1. Enough. I’m dropping off, but a couple of points:
    1. “people who are racked with pain”? Everyone
    handicapped is? And the rest of your comment – so, go to
    a commercial con, where they can afford everything, as
    opposed to all volunteers, many of whom do not
    do this for a living, and are doing the best they can.
    2. I reiterate: this is not a commercial con. No one gets paid.
    3. Just as a point of information, and I may be wrong,
    but being in a wrong hotel is, I think, an issue for the
    hotel liaison, not accessibility. And Discon III did send
    out early notices for those needing hotel accessibility
    3, Lack of communication: did you ever contact the con asking for info? Esp. this Worldcon, that had three turnovers in conrunners? Dammit, ASK if you don’t hear.

  2. mark: And you still have not answered: should they have canceled the in-person part of the con or not? Yes or no?

    If they had canceled the in person part of the con, we’ve been told DisCon III would have had to pay a 6-figure cancellation penalty. That’s why it was always the plan to hold an in-person convention there, and never an option to move the convention to a better facility, in DC or even another city if that’s what it took to find one.

    So the only way to improve the situation for fans navigating in wheelchairs and mobis was to give them accurate advance information about what they would be facing so they could make a timelier choice.

  3. Okay, since Mark brought up my being at Discon III as a wheelchair user and head of Accessibility, I’m going to jump in. But, first, Mark sees what I go through with a different perspective. His first concern is making sure I’m not in pain, but I can’t see what I would like to have con com’s do during the pre-convention planning.

    Bid committees need to do a better job at finding hotels that are accessible for everyone. In going to hotels across the eastern U.S., I’ve yet to find one that fully meets the ADA requirements. Architects aren’t taught to be concerned enough about making a building accessible. So finding accessible hotels isn’t something I expect of bid committees.

    I volunteered to help with Accessibility and make a video of getting around the convention. Unfortunately, none of the people I talked to were on the final committee, and I was never contacted before the con about volunteering during the convention. However, I did step in and helped at the accessibility desk for two hours on Wednesday when they were understaffed. After Wednesday, I never saw the accessibility desk without enough staffing, and I was finding that getting around the hotel was taxing all of my energy.

    Due to the complicated routes in getting to the exhibits and panels, I only made it to two panels over five days—both here in a room that didn’t require me to leave the lobby floor. However, I did have to get help to go over the lip in the doorway.

    I wished the maps had the routes laid out on how to get to the different floor levels, and there was better signage along each route. I think the hotel management needs to do this for all guests, and it shouldn’t be up to a volunteer committee to do the work for them.

    I want to thank the convention for ensuring that there was early seating for both the Masquerade and Hugo Ceremony. In addition, they gave all the panelists clear masks for lip reading and having ASL interpreters and had captioning on one of the screens during both events. Since I am hard of hearing, I got a sign to hold up during panels to ask the panelists to use the masks and speak into the microphone.

    So still, the committee could have done a lot more to make the convention accessible for everyone. But, it did a decent try in meeting everyone’s needs. So, I learn a few things to help me make both Balticon and this year’s Costume-Con more accessible and always willing to listen to your needs and complaints when I don’t do enough.

  4. mark:

    You know, some of us are organizers. I myself have organized around 200 events of different sizes. We are well aware of how it works to organise non-commercial events. I spent weeks to get our local dungeon to be wheelchair accessible in all ways. It was hard work, but the pay off to be the only place our wheelchair bound community member could enter was well worth it.

    And it’s extremely disrespectful to use comments like “ever contact the con asking for info” in a discussion that is all about a members communication with a con after having asked for info.

  5. Ellen Montgomery: Thanks for bringing your experience and perspective to the discussion. It adds a lot.

  6. Ok, I’ve been busy elsewhere, and thought about this, and want to retract one thing: I’m not defending SMOFs. They, among other things, attend smofcon, and rumor has it they have books and checklists for every department.

    I’m defending all the rest of us, non-smofs, who volunteer, and do what we know, or what we’re asked to do (if we’re not told something, say, by someone who thinks this all runs on a need-to-know basis, it’s not our fault).

    I’m feeling a lot of lack of courtesy for the rest of us, and seeing attacks as though every one of us is responsible.

  7. mark: We know from statements by DisCon III leadership what representations were made about accessibility. Now Mari Ness and others are reporting their experiences, including to what extent the representations were not delivered. I don’t think you can expect DisCon III to be treated as immune from criticism because many individual volunteers who were part the collective enterprise will be sad when the problems are discussed.

  8. mike, I’m not saying no criticism, but some of the posters have not criticized, but made attacks, with an implication that everyone involved in working on the con was at fault.

    Notice that Ellen and I both complained of offering to volunteer, as experienced volunteers, and no one got back to us. That’s not the same as what some folks have posted.

  9. Do you know, I don’t think I’ve even mentioned volunteers. At all. It must have been some trick if I managed to attack them despite that.

    But this has all done a wonderful job at redirecting the conversation from access to policing how we go about having that conversation, starting with the odd and repeated complaints that Ness used the exact same term as the workshop did and just… carrying on from there.

    @Ellen Montgomery

    The maps seem to be have been pretty difficult for everyone..!

    It’s good to hear about the things that did go right; hopefully those can be carried forward to the next Worldcon as well as improvements made elsewhere.

  10. But this has all done a wonderful job at redirecting the conversation from access to policing how we go about having that conversation, starting with the odd and repeated complaints that Ness used the exact same term as the workshop did and just… carrying on from there.

    Disabled Fen: “We think that con committees need to do a better job of making cons more accessible for all. At a minimum they need to start being honest about what the hotel is like and what the barriers are likely to be.”

    Mark: “But what about my FEEEEEEEELINGS?”

  11. Ok, I tried to drop out, but people keep dragging me by name back in.

    Meredith: you didn’t mention volunteers? Excuse me, every single person working and running the con are volunteers. Did you mean “the con chair and the committee should have”, when you said “the con should have”?

    Nancy: Grow the fuck up, I never said anything like that. That’s a childish post, and this ain’t faceplant.

    I did not make any personal attacks.

  12. Lis Riba: last year Discon polled members whether to go virtual (poll inaccessible, but wording and screencap on their Facebook). Right there, they could’ve been upfront and said the in-person event might be less accessible than they originally promised, due to issues with the hotels. I’m sure that information would’ve changed some voters’ minds. Even if the final result didn’t shift (I haven’t been able to find the counts online)

    My impression is that the member poll was token attempt at making members feel that they had a say in the outcome. The reality is that DisCon III had to either hold a convention at the Omni or pay them $400,000 (which they would never have been able to afford if they did only a virtual convention), so there was never any option to change to a more accessible venue or to hold a virtual-only convention. It wouldn’t have mattered how members voted in the poll.

    So yes, as you say, what DisCon should have done differently was to communicate, communicate, communicate with members about both good and bad accessibility issues.

    Do accessibility walk-throughs both on foot and in a wheelchair, and document both the most accessible routes and the issues with those routes. Measure widths of the features in the accessible hotel rooms to ensure they were truly accessible. Provide the hotel liaison with a written list of specifications (rather than just the term “accessible”) and have them confirm which specs the hotel actually meets and which specs it doesn’t. And then provide all of that information on the website’s Accessibility page, as well as in a newsletter.

  13. @mark

    “The convention” should have. “The conrunners” should have. If you’re taking that as an “attack” on every single volunteer involved, no matter what level of control or what duties… then no, you’re not really okay with any form of criticism.

  14. meredith: I see, and you’re not comfortable with any defense at all of what the con did. In that case, let me try again to drop this thread, since obviously there’s no point in continuing this.

  15. I want the record to show that I do not accept life advice from someone who can’t stick to a flounce.

  16. @mark

    You can scroll up just a little way and see my reply to Ellen, which I know you already read, of course, but have another look. Does that look like I have some sort of weird vendetta against anyone ever saying anything nice about Discon III?

  17. Meredith: as I said in my last comment, let’s drop this. Stop posting messages addressed to me on this thread. You disagree with what I’m saying, and I disagree with some of what you say.

    Let’s just stop.

  18. mark: Why do you think you are entitled to the last word?

    Or let me put it another way. When I have said everything I need to say about a subject in comments, I expect people have read it. Belaboring the same point loses ground.

  19. Anyway. Yes, communication would not have solved the access issues, but it’s a lot easier to deal with them when you’re prepared than if you’re just constantly having your nice fannish weekend interrupted by the soggy biscuit of surprise inaccessibility. It means suddenly being stuck with wasting a bunch of spoons on figuring that out instead of being able to use them on, you know, the event.

    I also don’t particularly think it would better for the volunteers to have to personally answer every individuals questions rather than have a decent FAQ readily available, and only need to deal with more specific enquiries beyond that, even without the issue of shoving the burden onto disabled fen to guess what they might need based on information about the venue and arrangements they don’t yet have – especially disabled fen new to convention-going, who won’t even have past experience to draw on.

    I think I saw somewhere that they hadn’t done the walk/roll-throughs until this November, which would obviously be far too late for either good planning or good communication (ideally it ought to be before booking, but even a few months notice would be better) – did I misunderstand that? Perhaps they meant the November of last year or – even better – the year before.

    @Mike Glyer

    He didn’t include a dig in that one, so he’s welcome to it.

  20. I didn’t think I was entitled to the last word, any more than anyone is. But the post was 15-20 minutes after my last one, when I said I wanted to end it. Is that calling me back, when I’m leaving?

    Anyway, I’ll drop out of this thread. Didn’t expect this to turn into this.

  21. I’ve been looking for a transcript of voir dire because I want to learn what she was asked during jury selection and whether attorneys on either side knew that a potential juror had that much legal expertise.

    If she’d wanted to get out of jury service, she probably could have done so by making sure they knew about her legal expertise. But quite often, the question is, “what do you do for a living?” My father teaches at a law school; he’d wanted to serve on a jury for YEARS and as long as he lived in Madison, he knew that if he got summoned, he would almost certainly know at least one of the lawyers and probably the judge. But then he moved to St. Paul, where he didn’t know anyone, and promptly got called for jury duty. He answered all voir dire questions truthfully but with no more detail than was specifically requested. So when they asked him what he did for a living he said “teaching.” (Accurate! And they did not follow up to ask WHAT he taught. Or where.) When they asked him about lawyers he knew he said, “well, to begin with, there’s my son,” and then they got completely diverted by my brother the brand new (at the time) law school graduate and never came back to say “anyone else?” And that’s how my father, a bona fide expert on legal systems, served on a jury. I’m guessing Courtney Milan’s story there is similar.

  22. Mark says he’s left, so get probably won’t see this. But I have little patience with his criticism of consuite hours, when he says ” I volunteered for a very specific role two years ago right after we won the bid when there probably wasn’t even a hospitality area head in place and no one ever got back to me. But it never occurred to me to reach back out and volunteer again after the convention changed venues and dates once and leadership twice. Or to show up at the volunteer office at con and specifically ask to be put in touch with consuite staff to help run later hours.”

    But it’s definitely the fault of the convention that they didn’t have enough volunteers to meet his standards.

  23. (17) Based on two years of college Russian, I’d say the name would be spelled “Lukyanenko”, where the English “ya” represents the single Russian character spelled as a backward R. BUT…in doing a search on the name, I discovered that he spells his name “Lukianenko” on his own website in English. ALSO…his name sounds Ukrainian, and they do some different things with spelling the “i” vowels. (But his website said he was born in Kazakhstan; it’s definitely not a Kazakh name, and he says he’s Russian.) Personally, I’d go with “Lukyanenko” as being right. (I won’t delve into the two possibilities for transliterating the last letter of his first name; I know when to quit while I’m ahead.)

  24. @ Janice Morningstar:

    I happened to shelve a Night Watch book, and the cover clearly says “Lukyanenko”.

  25. In re jury service, I’ve only been called once. I darn near got on – it was down to me and one other potential juror. The prosecutor used his last peremptory challenge to ding me – which was foolish since I had already decided the accused was guilty. He was present for jury selection and you could just tell, I didn’t need to hear any evidence. It was a child molestation case and he was all sweaty, licking his lips, and repeatedly rubbing his thighs. He was a pervert, no question.

    Of course, this was when I was 19 and long before I became an attorney. I wouldn’t so presume these days.

  26. In my line of work (Cyrillic character the website doesn’t like) gets transcribed as ‘ia’ with a curved line over both letters. This probably made sense to one person fifty years ago. As it happens, I have never had to catalog anything in Russian, and our authority control vendor takes care of names and subjects, so I’ve never had to figure out how to type that.

  27. No apology about the poorly communicated access issues.

    So I guess that’s that on the priorities of both fandom and convention.

  28. Er… poking my head in as someone who is still among the temporarily-able-bodied, and who is not an accessibility expert, but very interested in the subject, on behalf of my wife who has mobility issues and many friends (for whom I don’t speak): DisCon (including without limitation the estimable Ms. Montgomery) struck me as doing an admirable job mitigating the accessibility challenges imposed by the Omni Shoreham and by the general suckiness of the 2021 situation.

    Some fen did have a hard time because of hotel topography and facilities; see Seanan McGuire’s Twitter stream, for example. A lot of us who could help, did what we could, including yr. humble sexagenarian hauling his tochis up and down those eight flights of stairs more often than he wishes to count, specifically to help preserve the tiny and overstressed hotel elevators for those who needed them. And the con staff certainly did good work, e.g., the signage improved greatly around (if memory serves) the middle of day one.

    In a spirit of fanac, I’m grateful for what we all collectively accomplished under adversity, and thankful for the con staff’s good work.

  29. While I’m handicapped, I’m not wheelchair bound. I’ve taken to using a rollator at larger cons (but don’t normally use one). That’s because of POTS (orthostatic tachycardia) and the pain related to it.

    That said, I only had one accessibility issue at con, and that was when the main ADA access elevator was out of service immediately prior to the first business meeting. That required a ton of walking to and fro as well as finding a hotel employee who could lead us through the prep kitchens and into the back of the correct room.

    Apart from that, everything was pretty easy for me.

  30. @Nancy Leibovitz:

    I’d asked whether jurors who decide on conviction are allowed to know about mandatory sentences.

    Funny thing about that: Back in 1997, I went through voir dire for a particularly nasty criminal case in San Francisco, and made a point to research the range of possible penalties that might apply under California law, the very moment I figured out what the case was about — because, if impaneled, I felt morally obligated to take into account the judge’s sentencing, as a factor in my jury voting.

    As you’ll see at the link, the judge put me on the hotspot as to whether I’d researched the law “after I told you not to”. Fortunately, I was able to honestly say no, because I’d done that research one day before he ordered the venire to not “investigate the case on our own”.

    But, as I relate at the link, I got tossed from the jury pool anyway. Because, evidently, being too law-curious and having problematically functional morals is bad.

  31. Over on Twitter, Rahaeli has an excellent thread on convention accessibility, along with some actually practical suggestions:


    (Please read her whole thread before nitpicking this particular Tweet)

    I was very impressed by MRK’s Raytheon apology. I assume it came out so quickly because the sponsorship was making news outside fandom. Hopefully, a wider conversation on accessibility will come next.

  32. I spoke to Shoreham management and they were really impressed by all the signage DisCon put up, especially those specifying where/how people could get to things without using the stairs. They might actually retain some of the signage after the convention, adopted to their own uses, of course.

    Incidentally, this was the busiest the Shoreham has been since they reopened after being shut for 18 months. They even had to pull in people from other Omni properties to accommodate the business.

    I made it a point to give extra-large tips to wait staff, and left a $25 tip for the maid when I checked out, because I’d specified my room not be serviced while I was there—which deprived the maids of a daily tip.

  33. Just to irritate everyone, it is spelled “Lukjanenko” here in Sweden.

    Nancy Lebovitz:

    I’m sure it helps, but I am also sure that the reason people are disabled also will make it harder for some of them to help with evaluation beforehand.

  34. I find the volunteer system a bit off-putting, speaking in this case only for myself and not anyone else. I’m a bear of very little spoons (although Filers may have noticed a bit of an increase of late! my pain management has been adjusted a little and it’s working quite well, I’m maybe hitting 25% of Normal Human Energy instead of oozing along on, like, 5%, maybe even 30%!), and the extremely open-ended nature of volunteering, and the lack of information about what it entails, is a barrier for me.

    Leaving aside the question of whether volunteers are being accepted – I know Mari Ness has also offered to help with access a number of times and only rarely been taken up on it – and how volunteers could improve their chances of, well, their volunteering being noticed (it wouldn’t have occurred to me when at a con to offer my services to allow later con suite hours, on the basis that presumably those hours were chosen for a reason, and I’m guessing that it maybe didn’t occur to mark, either)… what was I talking about. Oh! Yes.

    For access, given the nature of at least some of the relevant people, more specific requests for info and help and so on might work better than “volunteer! Generally! With little guidance and – in Chicon 8’s case – no ticky box for access-specificishness!” (I’m guessing it’s under Diversity & Inclusion, but I’m not certain.)

    Plus I really do think an access-specific FAQ would be a real help, as a baseline of communication, once a convention has started figuring out what they can and can’t make work. It’s pretty tricky to know the right questions to ask if you haven’t got much information to work from, and pretty tricky to know you need to ask if the messaging isn’t accurate. Plus, it’s a lot more efficient than every disabled person having to ask and get their own answers from volunteers who already have enough to do. An FAQ would make a difference.

    @Nancy Lebovitz

    I’d consider “we need volunteers with xyz style disabilities to do a comprehensive walk/roll-through with our department heads” and other similar things to be very different from “have you, specific individual, done abc, and if not, stfu peasant”. It’s my general policy to ignore questions along the lines of the latter even if I have, since it can validate it as a tactic to be used against anyone who hasn’t, and I don’t want to do that. But seeking volunteers, generally, is perfectly acceptable.

  35. Re: rahaeli’s thread, I’ve been kicking around the idea that some sort of more general (including access stuff, but not access-specific) Worldcon bible might be a help to pass from concom to concom, so that some stuff is written down as worked/didn’t work and checklists and culture notes and so on, without having to rely so much on individual memory and without it interfering too much with the autonomy people value. Guidelines rather than rules, but it could be some help especially for bids with less institutional knowledge, but also as Worldcons figure out new things so they don’t have to figure it out three Worldcons in a row before it becomes How We Do Things. It could be where the notes Mary Robinette Kowal suggested for future sponsorships live, for example.

    But it isn’t something I’m qualified to build, and I’m generally loathe to go “here have a ton more work” to other people, even if it might save work and time in the long run.

    (I’m also just assuming it doesn’t exist based on no-one ever mentioning it to me and also, well, no evidence of it existing otherwise. Does it exist? Maybe it could be improved!)

  36. Meredith: There is no chapter titled “Accessibility” in the Worldcon Runners Guide, and I wouldn’t place much faith in it being an effective respository for the kind of information you’d like to see captured and passed on, but it does exist.

  37. @Mike Glyer

    Ooooooo. I’m going to read that after Christmas.

    (ETA: I’m working on the general assumption that A. paying people is never going to happen, B. the autonomous bids are never going to change, and C. we need a better system for externalised institutional memory that can be used as a resource somehow to mitigate some of this stuff. And other stuff. Stuff in general. Is this not likely to be It?)

  38. 17) ““ How do you spell Sergei Lukyanenko / Lukianenko? … Sergei Lukyanenko’s …“”

    Michael Burianyk
    As well as Internet search his Russian chauvinist, anti-Ukrainian, anti-Georgian views.”

    Good point. Ditto Cixin Liu and re-education camps.

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