Pixel Scroll 2/27/17 That’s it! Scroll Over Man, Scroll Over!

(1) ACADEMY INVITES LE GUIN. Ursula K. LeGuin has been voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters reports SFGate. The 87-year-old Le Guin is one of 14 new core members of the Academy.

The arts academy, an honorary society with a core membership of 250 writers, artists, composers and architects, once shunned “genre” writers such as Le Guin. Even such giants as science fiction writer Ray Bradbury and crime novelist Elmore Leonard never got in.

Academy member Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, advocated for Le Guin.

“As a deviser of worlds, as a literary stylist, as a social critic and as a storyteller, Le Guin has no peer,” he wrote in his recommendation, shared with the AP, that she be admitted. “From the time of her first published work in the mid-1960s, she began to push against the confines of science fiction, bringing to bear an anthropologist’s acute eye for large social textures and mythic structures, a fierce egalitarianism and a remarkable gift of language, without ever renouncing the sense of wonder and the spirit of play inherent in her genre of origin.”

(2) 2017 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY COVER REVEAL. Hat tip to F.J. Bergmann.

(3) NEW FICTION WEBZINE. Science fiction and fantasy book imprint Strange Fictions Press will officially launch Strange Fictions SciFi & Fantasy Zine on February 28 with “This Chicken Outfit,” by Pushcart nominated author, A.L. Sirois. Siriois’ short stories have appeared in ThemaAmazing Stories, and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. He has also contributed comic art for DC, Marvel, and Charlton.

Strange Fictions will focus “on publishing speculative short fiction, nonfiction, art, and poetry twice a week for genre fans worldwide.”  New stories, poems, and essays will appear every Tuesday and Friday. Subscribers can sign up for email notifications whenever a new story is posted.

Strange Fictions SF&F Zine is open to submissions from both new and experienced genre writers, and details can be found at the website.

Authors of acquired pieces for Strange Fictions SF&F ‘Zine will receive a flat fee payment of $5 for stories, essays, poetry, and book reviews of 4,999 words and under and $10 for stories, essays, poetry, and book reviews of 5,000-10,000.

(4) ALOFT. Martin Morse Wooster recommends Miyazaki Dreams of Flying as “a lovely compilation of flying scenes from Miyazaki films, including an interview where the great animator expresses his love of airplanes.”

(5) DEFYING THE LAW…OF GRAVITY. In “Mars Needs Lawyers” on FiveThirtyEight, Maggie Koerth-Baker looks at the many problems of international law that have to be solved in we’re ever going to have successful Mars missions.  For example:  if you have astronauts from five countries flying in a spacecraft that’s registered in Liberia, how do you figure out which country’s law applies?

For instance, a limited number of satellites can orbit the Earth simultaneously. Put up too many, and you end up with an expensive game of celestial bumper cars. But some countries — Russia and the United States, in particular — had a big head start on gobbling up those slots. What do you do if you’re Nigeria? Today, Gabrynowicz said, the international community has settled on a regulatory system that attempts to balance the needs of nations that can put an object into geostationary orbit first with the needs of those that aren’t there yet but could be later. And even this compromise is still extremely controversial.

The same basic disagreement behind them will apply to Mars, too. And it’s at issue right now in the U.S., as lawmakers try to figure out how best to implement the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act — a bill signed by President Obama in November 2015. That law states that U.S. companies can own and sell space resources — including minerals and water. But the details of what this means in practice haven’t been worked out yet, Gabrynowicz said. Legal experts say that those details will make the difference in terms of whether the law puts the U.S. in violation of the Outer Space Treaty.

This question of whether space should be an Old West-style gold rush or an equitably distributed public commons could have been settled decades ago, with the 1979 Moon Agreement (aka the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies), which would have established space as part of the “common heritage of mankind.” What this would have meant in practice is not totally clear. But at the time, opponents saw it as having the potential to ban all private enterprise and effectively turn the heavens into a United Nations dictatorship. It ended up being signed by a handful of countries, most of which have no space program. But it is international law, and if humans go to Mars, though, we’ll likely end up debating this issue again.

(6) GAME WRITING. Monica Valentinelli gives an “Overview of Game Production and the Role of Writers” at the SFWA Blog.

One of the things I enjoy doing as a game developer is hiring new writers. In almost every case, writers are shocked to learn how many levers and pulleys there are in game production. This tends to hold true regardless of what kind of game a writer is contributing to; in part, this has to do with the process of transitioning from a consumer’s mindset (e.g. fan, critic, reviewer) to that of a creator’s. Sometimes, however, the process is confusing because there are aspects physical development that writers aren’t always involved with. A good example of this is that developers often regard word processing documents with an eye for production when they redline and provide comments. What’s laid out vertically on a page in text isn’t how it will be rendered in the final product, and that has a huge impact on what the writers are hired to write, edit, and make changes on. Sometimes, the number of words that fit on a page or a screen can also shape a writer’s assignment, too.

Other, lesser-known aspects of production might include:

  • Canon or Setting Bible creation
  • Systems/rules documentation
  • Marketing copy and sell sheets
  • Outlining and project management
  • Mock-ups and proofs for manufacturing
  • Playtest or beta editions

(7) DISNEY’S DUDEFRÉRES. Another clip from the live-action Beauty and the Beast shows LeFou singing “My, what a guy, that Gaston!” With Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou.

(8) VOIR DIRE STRAITS. Shadow Clarke juror Jonathan McCalmont followed his introductory post with an entry on his ownblog, Ruthless Culture “Genre Origin Stories”.

A couple of things that occurred to me upon re-reading the piece:

Firstly, I think it does a pretty good job of capturing how I currently feel about the institutions of genre culture. To be blunt, I don’t think that genre fandom survived the culture wars of 2015 and I think genre culture has now entered a post-apocalyptic phase in which a few institutional citadels manage to keep the lights on while the rest of the field is little more than a blasted wasteland full of isolated, lonely people. One reason why I agreed to get involved with shadowing the Clarke Award is that I see the Shadow Clarke as an opportunity to build something new that re-introduces the idea that engaging with literary science fiction can be about more than denouncing your former friends and providing under-supported writers with free PR….

McCalmont’s post includes a high overview of the past 40 years of fanhistory. I was surprised to find many points of agreement, such as his takes about things that frustrated me at the time they were happening, or that I witnessed affecting my friends among the LA locals who founded anime fandom.

Regardless of whether they are conventional, idiosyncratic, or simply products of distracted parenting, our paths into science fiction cannot help but shape our understanding and expectations of the field. Unfortunately, where there is difference there is bound to be misunderstanding and where there is misunderstanding there must inevitably be conflict.

The problem is that while the walls of science fiction may be infinitely porous and allow for inspiration from different cultures and artistic forms, the cultural institutions surrounding science fiction have shown themselves to be remarkably inflexible when it comes to making allowances for other people’s genre origin stories.

The roots of the problem are as old as genre fandom itself. In fact, the very first Worldcon saw the members of one science fiction club deny entry to the membership of another on the grounds that the interlopers were socialists whose politicised understanding of speculative fiction posed an existential threat to the genre’s continued existence. A similar conflict erupted when the unexpected success of Star Wars turned a niche literary genre into a mass market phenomenon. Faced with the prospect of making allowances for legions of new fans with radically different ideas as to what constituted good science fiction, the institutions of genre fandom responded with sluggishness indistinguishable from hostility. Media fandom was born when traditional fandom refused to expand its horizons and the same thing happened again in the early 1990s when fans of anime decided that it was better to build their own institutions than to fight street-by-street for the right to be hidden away in the smallest and hottest rooms that science fiction conventions had to offer.

The institutions of genre culture may pride themselves on their inclusiveness and forward-thinking but this is largely a product of the excluded not sticking around long enough to give their own sides of the story. Time and again, the institutions of genre culture have been offered the chance to get in on the ground floor when science-fictional ideas began to manifest themselves in different ways. Time and again, the institutions of genre culture have chosen to protect the primacy of the familiar over the vibrancy of the new and the different….

Cultural commentators may choose to characterise 2015 as the year in which genre culture rejected the misogynistic white supremacy of the American right but the real message is far more nuanced. Though the institutions of genre culture have undoubtedly improved when it comes to reflecting the diversity not only of the field but also of society at large, this movement towards ethnic and sexual diversity has coincided with a broader movement of aesthetic conservatism as voices young and old find themselves corralled into a narrowing range of hyper-commercial forms.

I thought that was well said. Unfortunately, I also read the comments.


  • February 24, 1909 – August Derleth
  • February 26, 1918 – Theodore Sturgeon

(10) THE STRAIGHT POOP. “Do Cats Cause Schizophrenia? Believe the Science, Not the Hype” advises WIRED.

The link between schizophrenia and cats goes back to the 1970s, when psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey learned that viruses from dogs might trigger multiple sclerosis—a neurological condition—in humans. “That got me thinking about which animals host which infectious agents,” he says. Soon, he learned that cats host the most successful infectious bacteria in the world: Toxoplasma gondii. Looking into previously published research, he found plenty of studies showing that schizophrenics often had higher levels of toxoplasma antibodies in their blood than people without the mental illness.

Then he started surveying schizophrenics about their life history, and found that many had indeed lived with cats. But what’s important isn’t just if, it’s when. See, Torrey’s theory isn’t merely that T. gondii causes mental illness, it’s that it somehow alters the development of a person’s brain during crucial periods of brain development—and probably only if that person is genetically predisposed to schizophrenia. It’s a complicated hypothesis, and even after four decades of study, Torrey says he’s still not totally convinced it’s fact. Hence, his continued research on the subject.

Still, every study he publishes—his most recent, dropped in July of 2015—attracts the media like nip. Same with refutations, like the one published this week. The authors analyzed a dataset of 5,000 UK children, looking for a correlation between cat ownership during critical ages of brain development and behavioral indicators of later psychosis (like dark thoughts) at the ages of 13 and 18. Their statistical analysis of the results showed no correlation. Most (but not all) news websites ran with some variation of “Relax, Cats Don’t Cause Schizophrenia.”

But that’s not what the study said.

(11) GUESS WHO. From 2015. David Tennant’s NTA Special Recognition – his reaction: “Actor Sees A Tribute Video On Screen. The Realizes It’s For Him And He Can’t Believe It”

(12) TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Carl Slaughter says, “This documentary convincingly demonstrates how the Batman movies/trilogies reflect the cultural era in which they were produced.”

  • 60s Batman  –  prosperity
  • 70s  –  disillusionment  –  no Batman movies
  • Batman  –  escapism
  • Batman Returns  –  anti rich
  • Batman Forever, Batman & Robin  –  safety
  • Batman Begins, Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises  –  fear
  • Batman versus Superman  –  extremism

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

149 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/27/17 That’s it! Scroll Over Man, Scroll Over!

  1. @Joe H.

    Heavy Time

    PoV often shifts several times in each chapter between Bird, Ben, Dek and the others. Several times I had to spool back to work out where the shift came, and adjust my reading speed down a bit.

  2. @ Mark and Lois:

    I’m a reader as well as a writer, so I do contribute to fund drives for some online venues. OTOH, I’ve sold stories to venues where I’ve never contributed and vice versa, and I don’t feel a moral responsibility to chip in everywhere I submit. I subscribe or contribute to venues that regularly publish stories I enjoy, which is independent of my sales, and no editor has ever mentioned contributions (or their lack) to me in either an acceptance or rejection. And to avoid conflicts of interest, I don’t contribute anywhere I have a submission pending, though I may do so after the submission has been disposed.

    Most genre magazines seem pretty transparent about their sources of funding, which usually include some combination of online fund drives, Patreon and subscriptions, all of which point to reader funding rather than writer funding. I agree that the number of potential authors is greater than the number of available slots – as far as I know, that’s been true of all publishing venues through all time – but as long as genre markets aren’t monetizing this fact by charging submission fees, I don’t see how they work out to Ponzi schemes.

    OTOH, McCalmont’s criticism may be more cogent when applied to workshops, though as I’ve never attended one I can’t say for sure.

  3. @Bruce Arthurs: As a long-time Boston resident, I’m puzzled at what you say are markers for Gotham being Boston. Until recently, splashily glittering society (as in Gotham) was looked down on in Boston (to the extent that money was in Boston at all — much of it decamped for the further suburbs, and even exurbs, a long time ago, and only recently returned); as for “mobbed up”, the various mobs around Boston were less known until recently (cf Whitey Bulger, or the release of a ]Mafia[ induction ceremony), where NYC was the site of the “Italian American Friendship League” (ska “The Mafia is a Myth”). Details from your PoV?

    @OGH: How much can McCalmont’s analysis be trusted when his attitude toward facts (at least as analyzed here) approaches Trump’s?

  4. and @4 is very pretty, but I’m amused that all those airplane scenes are accompanied by a piece of music about a river. I suppose one could point to the amount of water that’s also in those scenes….

  5. @IanP — The version she sells on her own website? It’s been a long time since I read Heavy Time, so I don’t have specific memories (except of it being a tense & claustrophobic book, even for Cherryh), but I flipped through my paperback and through my eBook, and I did see scene breaks delineated by either a blank line or by three asterisks, but nothing that would indicate POV shifts within scenes.

  6. I assume that every so often The Flash does a time travel screw up, meaning that EVERY speculation about the location of Metropolis and Gotham is correct in some timeline.

    Batman: “Barry, you put Gotham in New Jersey again. FIX IT.”

    4) I tend to think Miyazaki loves clouds as much as he does flying. And now I want to watch Laputa again.

  7. @ Dann
    I don’t consciously dock a book points for this kind of issue. But I know that unconsciously it affects my enjoyment of the book and its rating.
    I will mention it in an Amazon review if I write one.

  8. 8. McCalmont is definitely operating under false assumptions.
    Traditional fandom, being its own thing, gets to decide what belongs and what doesn’t. The decisions are made internally by fandom…not externally by some other entity. what he is suggesting is like saying that the NFL has to adopt youth football rules and procedures because there are far more people playing in far more leagues than just the NFL.
    Is that elitist? No. its a community deciding whether or not it wants to let a WAlmart open downtown. Mytown does not car how many other towns have let walmart in. Mytown is going to decide for itself…and Walmart publicly complaining about the length and depth of our decision making process doesn’t make a good argument for Walmart….

  9. The clip from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST gives me hope for the film. Josh Gad has a great voice and he should do well in that part.

    About Le Guin: well, good for her, but the news in the piece is that Chabon and Diaz are part of the Secret Masters of American Literature!

  10. @Joe H,

    I’d had dead tree copies of it and Hellburner which I think didn’t make it home from Uni, given Cherryh’s lousy availability in the U.K. I suspect I’ve grabbed a hooky ecopy at some point just to read it again. Not something I like doing but sometimes it’s the only way. I’ll snag an official one from her website. If only I could get ebooks of Cyteen and Regenesis, easier to get 2nd hand paperbacks for 1p plus shipping.

    I do remember having the same reaction the first time though.

  11. David Langford: I think my email telling Mike that the TAFF voting deadline has been extended (to 17 April) may have gone astray.

    As a great writer once said, you are one sly dog, Langford!

  12. Nancy Sauer: @Mike Glyer, I notice this entry is posted in “like show business” and not “pixel scroll”. Deliberate choice or data entry error?

    The latter. Fixed now. Let the appertainment begin early today!

  13. Karl-Johan Norén: but I think neither Mike nor McCalmont have covered themselves with glory in their exchange.

    I’m not going to accept his treatment of me, and I’m not going to let him set the boundaries on my news coverage.

  14. @Dann: formatting errors grate on me, but they are manifestly not the author’s fault, and I try to make allowances in my reaction to the book.

    More deep-seated problems might be the fault of author and/or editor… I figure the author is usually two-thirds to blame in these cases. For example, if someone’s published a piece with a lot of notable grammatical howlers – beyond the occasional random misprint which could happen to anyone – I think the blame lies 1) with the author for making the errors in the first place* (language is the tool of your trade, dammit, you should know how to use it properly), 2) with the editor or editors for not catching it, and 3) with the author for not working well enough with the editor (after all, the justification for an editor’s existence** is that they spot the mistakes the author’s missed, so the author should use that, right?)

    *yeah, I know it might be dialect or experimental avant-garde prose or something. But after decades of generally reading stuff, I reckon I know whether something’s on purpose or just a mistake.

    **if any.

  15. FWIW, I commented on McCalmont’s thread regarding his view of short fiction markets and received a response which was considered and thoughtful, though I still think its foundations are flimsy.

  16. 7) Boy, I hope they do a better job with the sound mixing in the real thing. I could hardly parse the lyrics in that clip, and I know the song!

    Also, I am incapable of looking at Gaston there without seeing Bard the Bowman.

    @ Cassy: See, I always thought it was the other way around. Gotham City is dark and gritty, and that matched up with my mental image of Chicago (which was strongly influenced, at that age, by Depression-era gangster stories). And I never had any doubts that Metropolis was NYC.

  17. @Mike: I don’t disagree with that, or simply writing that you disagree with some of his views. That’s your call. But arguing in the comment section, after being asked to shut up, is never a path to greatness.

    (And my notes with thoughts on his piece are just growing on and on.)

  18. In the TV show “Gotham”, Gotham City is clearly old stock footage of New York City, occasionally doctored a little to reinforce the world capital of Art Deco look I associate with Gotham City without too modern buildings getting in the way.

    Regarding Metropolis, I recall reading somewhere that the inspiration was Cleveland, because it was the biggest city Siegel and Schuster knew as young men.

  19. Many conversions of books and magazines to Kindle format screw up the spacing. The two most serious ones are:

    1) In quoted speed, there should be a new paragraph whenever the speaker changes, but in the conversion, a whole block of dialogue with numerous speaker changes can end up glued together into a single paragraph. If the writer uses dialogue tags (e.g. “he said”) then it’s impossible to tell who’s speaker. If not, you can look for repeated quotation marks.

    2) When there is a scene change, there should be a blank line. Otherwise, you have to infer it from context.

    Minor-but-still-irritating problems: Broken words (for ex ample). This obviously occurs because they started from a type-ready text that already had hyphens in it and then they just discarded the hyphens.

    Accented characters that aren’t in the Kindle font and end up displayed as blobs.

    I have repeatedly complained about this to Analog and Asimov’s. Asimov’s has made a lot of progress, but Analog doesn’t seem to care.

    If I found this in a novel, I would ask Amazon to refund my money.

  20. JE: I’m not supposing there’s any explicit quid pro quo wrt contributions to fiction venues, but I note that McC is talking about commercial short fiction – that is, the stuff that makes a significant profit for its publishers. I believe the venues that rely on subsidization are more common.

    I’ve often seen writers drumming up support for their favorite zines, using the line: If we don’t contribute to their bottom line, they’ll go out of business and then where will we sell our stuff? I don’t see: Where will will find stuff to read? It’s not like the fans of a TV show who band together to lobby the networks to keep their favorite show on the air – with no expectations that they will ever sell them a script.

  21. Karl-Johan Norén: You don’t seem to have registered that I only came to McCalmont’s post because I was following the doings of the Shadow Clarke jury, then discovered in the comments that Sad Puppy Cirsova had thrown out my name to him. McCalmont, who is always complaining to people every time I mention him, could have made any number of choices at that point, and the choice he made was to write abuse about me. I am sure Cirsova couldn’t be more delighted, and since McCalmont, despite his protests, eagerly seeks attention, I am sure he is well-satisfied with his day’s work, too.

  22. Cora: As someone who’s had a few run-ins with McCalmont before, I got a good chuckle out of that exchange.

    I just think it’s hilarious that the Puppies, seeing his criticism of Mike, assumed that he would regard their crappy fiction favourably.

    JMC: You self-serving Nazi pricks turned up in the comments of my blog to try and publicise a sad sack right-wing fantasy magazine filled with some of the worst writing this side of a head injuries unit.

    Now you’re defending yourself with debate-class pedantry and bad faith appeals to liberal values? Piss off back to Kotaku in Action.

  23. @Jonathan Edelstein

    Flimsy is a fair assessment IMHO.

    He believes that the bulk of money generated comes from aspiring writers, in the hopes of getting into the venue as a quid pro quo or simply keeping it open so they have the chance by normal means. Locus had some handy stats for last years zines in terms of stories published and subscriptions. I’ve looked at a few venues for the proportion of stories published to subscribers (assuming that no-one placed more than one story) to see how many of these supposed aspiring writer subscribers are likely to be getting into these venues.
    Analog 18,800 subs (plus individual sales), 84 stories (0.4% stories to subs)
    Asimov’s 15,269 subs (plus individual sales), 73 stories (0.5%)
    Clarkesworld 3,300 subs (not clear if this includes Patreon), 82 stories (2.5%)
    Uncanny 1,300 subs (again, not clear if this includes Patreon), 38 stories (2.9%)

    So, if you’re a subscriber to Uncanny because you want to sell it a story, you’ll be going for 34 years before you get a sale. Analog is over 200 years. There’s no doubt that a good proportion of readers will also be writers, aspiring or otherwise (and you made a good point that writers will inevitably already be enthusiastic readers) but the idea that they are the “bulk” or that their motivation is likely to be selling a story, isn’t supportable.

    The Locus survey asks the necessary questions to see what the actual proportion of writers within readers is, but I’m not sure if they do that particular bit of analysis.

  24. @ Lois:

    Yeah, I won’t deny I’ve seen those appeals, but I’ve also seen others. I googled “donate to Strange Horizons” as a test (Strange Horizons chosen because it gave me my first pro sale) and came up a couple of threads that matched your description but others with from John Scalzi, Ann Leckie, IO9, etc. that made appeals based on the quality of the fiction. So, even bearing in mind that the plural of anecdote isn’t data, I’d dispute the strong assertion that nobody reads genre short fiction other than people actively trying to sell some. There are people who genuinely like to read and talk about short stories – hell, that’s why a lot of us started writing them in the first place.

    And speaking purely for myself, some of the short fiction venues I read most avidly are ones I’d never submit to because I don’t write in the style they favor, and based on discussions over the years, I’m not alone in this.

    BTW, are you the Lois Tilton I knew on soc.history.what-if? I know you’re the one who panned my first story. 🙂

  25. @ Greg Hullender: the exact two mistakes you list first (dialogue merged into paragraphs and missing scene change markers) happen in the dead tree copy I’m reading of “an Accident of Stars”.

    @ Mike Glyer: Citing his article here is valid. Jumping in briefly at a random insult is at least understandable. Not respecting his request – repeated – to back off and leave? Is behaviour that gets people called stalkers and banned on sites and with people much more generously minded than McCalmont. His misrepresentation of your site and your aims ceases to be your problem if you take the high road and leave and let the evidence bear out.

  26. I went to take a peek at this “Cirsova” magazine (the “sad-sack, right-wing-fantasy magazine referred to above) to see if it really did have “the worst writing this side of a head-injuries unit,” and I discovered that it’s not an online magazine. To read it, you have to buy it from Amazon.

    However, the “peek inside the book” feature works, and, sure enough, what I can see does look pretty bad. There’s nothing like starting a story with a big infodump in italics to get the reader in the right mood for stilted dialogue and narration from the tell-don’t-show school of editorializing.

    To test the other half of his claim, I’d need some samples of fiction written by people in a head-injuries unit. (Presumably by the patients, although he didn’t specify.) Oddly, that seems to be one of the few categories of anthology that no one has published yet.

  27. I will note I made the same mistake briefly with a jerk just yesterday, and failing to respect his request meant I owed him (and tendered) an apology for that part, regardless of how jerky he was in the rest.

  28. some of the worst writing this side of a head injuries unit.

    Hey! Not all of my writing is shitty because of the uncountable number of head injuries I am had! A lot of it is due to the sleep apnea! I will know how to apportion blame better after my MRI, which I may have now that they’ve assured themselves I don’t have metal particles in my head.

    My memory doctor was oddly alarmed at the laugh she got when she asked if I had ever had a concussion, and almost as alarmed as my delighted reaction to the word “fire”.

  29. Finished of The Apothecary’s Curse by Barbara Barnett. Had a feel of Tim Powers over it, good handiwork, and I was kind of satisfied. Still too much of the story line depended on miraculous coincidences and there was never any real passion in it. 3.5-4/5.

  30. @Greg

    I actually read the first issue (they had it on Amazon for free at one point). It was neither great nor terrible, pretty much the mixed bag you’d expect a new zine to be. The stories were better on plot and action than prose quality. From memory the best story was by Misha Burnett with quite a good Lovecraftian idea but a slack ending, but on the other side of the coin I remember one that had an interminable travelogue away from somewhere, then the protagonist changed his mind and walked back again – it was a bit huhwha?

    ETA: @Hampus “a feel of Tim Powers” gets my interest, thanks!

  31. Lenora Rose: Not respecting his request – repeated – to back off and leave? Is behaviour that gets people called stalkers and banned on sites and with people much more generously minded than McCalmont.

    He didn’t ask me to back off, he told me to fuck off. My experience with male fans from Commonwealth countries is that (a) they love an opportunity to tell somebody to fuck off and (b) it’s a challenge more than an insult (although it’s certainly not intended as complimentary). Since my evaluation of McCalmont is that he’s a bully, I decided that a lack of response at that point would only invite more abuse down the line. I engaged with him and I was frank with him.

  32. JE – I would never make or defend that strong assertion, nor do I really suppose McC is, tho I won’t attempt to speak for him

    wrt: what-if, that would almost certainly have been me

  33. “My experience with male fans from Commonwealth countries”

    Those would be fanzine fans I’ve known for decades, mostly. Male fans from Commonwealth countries who comment here just about never tell anybody to fuck off. #NotAllMaleFans

  34. @Greg Hullender: Depends on the head injury, I believe. I know that there have been plenty of authors who have written published works while suffering from PTSD or depressions.

    Comparing, say, David Drake’s fiction up to 1995 with what you describe would likely falsify McCalmont’s assertion, but then I’m not sure how fair the comparison would be.

  35. @Mike
    I didn’t throw out your name, someone else did after I left (I do not know who Sheena is). Not my intention to drag you or anyone else into it. Sorry he was such a dick to you, too.

    The content of our first two issues is currently hosted on our wordpress.

    Thank you for giving us a chance. Hopefully, as time goes on, we’ll be able to improve. There were a lot of rough edges on that first issue, since a) it was the first time I’d ever done something like this and b) I was doing all of the work by myself. I’ve since got some volunteer help, so if nothing else, there are fewer typos and grammatical mistakes getting through to the final version.

  36. @ Lois:

    McC in comment of 2/18/17 at 3:56 p.m.: “There aren’t any commercial short fiction venues because nobody without a professional interest in short fiction reads the stuff.”

    Same, comment of 2/28/17 at 5:38 p.m.: “The clients of the short fiction scene are aspiring writers, not readers.”

    Same, in comment of 2/28/17 at 7:26 p.m.: “I stand by the stronger claim, namely that the majority of the money that goes into online short fiction magazines comes from people who are actively writing and thinking about submitting” — not as strong an assertion as the previous, but supporting his overall thesis that genre SF doesn’t have a significant readership independent of aspiring authors.

    I’ll leave it at that for now, I think.

  37. @JJ
    We were specifically mentioned by name in the comments by someone as “something interesting”, and so I offered to engage and field questions. Then I got called a fascist, so I left.

  38. On second thought, I will mention one more thing, which is that Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine recently did issue a policy statement prioritizing submissions from subscribers. This caused a backlash and an appeal to the SFWA, which condemned “monetizing” of submissions, “including… statements that contributors who are subscribers will get preferential treatment.”

    So, pace McC, I wouldn’t call that kind of implicit quid pro quo a standard industry business model – maybe it’s something that certain venues are doing on the down-low, but not something that aspiring writers can or should view as a recognized way to get ahead.

  39. That may not mean much. I have three siblings. Of the four of us, three of us have written stories and/or novels at one point or another (none published). If 75% of the US population have at least toyed with the idea of writing stories, then it’s not a big thing to claim that most readers of SFF magazines are aspiring writers.

  40. @Cora

    In the TV show “Gotham”, Gotham City is clearly old stock footage of New York City, occasionally doctored a little to reinforce the world capital of Art Deco look I associate with Gotham City without too modern buildings getting in the way.

    Actually, based on a special aired last year, a lot of it is new footage of New York City (because they film Gotham there), doctored to highlight the art deco look.

  41. Cirsova: We were specifically mentioned by name in the comments by someone as “something interesting”, and so I offered to engage and field questions. Then I got called a fascist, so I left.

    You were mentioned in the comments by one of your fellow Puppies, not by the blog’s author. Quelle surprise.

    If you don’t like being called a fascist, you should not display obvious evidence such as GamerGate banners on your website. 🙄

  42. The folks who are looking forward to seeing Beauty and the Beast are generally fans of Disney princess movies. There are probably some crossover from the Harry Potter fans due to the casting of Emma Watson as Belle. Josh Gad has a following due to his role as “Olaf” in Frozen.

    The live-action remake of Cinderella did quite well for Disney so expectations for BatB are optimistic.

  43. @JJ I don’t know who Vivienne Raper is or if they were a Puppy; from the comment left, I assumed they were not.

    “One of the interesting things to come from the Sad/Rabid Puppies is the pulp revival movement in short fiction. This is a bunch of predominantly conservative/alt-right writers who have gone back to before the Golden Age of SF to the swashbucklers & spaceships age of John Carter & Barsoom, etc. and are writing short stories in the fantastical pulp style of Leigh Brackett and other authors. They’re even more hyper-conservative than the sentimental stories in some ways, but – at the same time – knowingly so. It’s retro and neoreactionary rather than nostalgic. They’ve started a magazine (Cirsova) and it’s possible something interesting might come of that.”

    That hardly sounds like someone who is pro-Puppy.

    Also, a fun factoid about us that you may not know: I thought that the short fic picks that the Sad Puppies put forward were pretty weak, which is one of the reasons I went the “I’ll build my own amusement park” route and started a magazine.

    There’s no “They” in the “They’ve started a magazine”, just me.

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