Editor’s note: Although I have been at this computer all day it’s included writing other posts, so a lot of good links will need to be carried over til tomorrow!
(1) AGAIN PLEASE. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a sequel to the Emily Blunt-Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow is happening. Original director Doug Liman and both stars are returning for the second movie:
Edge of Tomorrow was based on the Hiroshi Sakurazaka manga All You Need Is Kill, and somewhat controversially, was rebranded as its tagline Live. Die. Repeat. on home entertainment. The film was not considered a runaway hit commercially, making $370 million globally on a $178 budget, but it was a success with critics and has grown in popularity over the years on home entertainment. Liman, Cruise and Blunt continue to get asked about sequel possibilities in interviews, and have all spoken publicly about their interest in returning.
(2) VOTE FOR BOTH. Catherynne Valente tweeted extensively about the indie/trad worlds today. Not in a thread, here are some of the things she said —
(3) DIALOGUE. Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and Annie Bellet exchanged tweets today. (Unfortunately, in cases like this WordPress reproduces pairs of tweets, leading to unintended repetition of the message replied to.)
(The “he” in the last tweet is Jonathan Brazee.)
(4) RACISM? Mary Anne Mohanraj raised the question of whether the recent Nebula Awards controversy includes an element of racism in a public Facebook post:
Please imagine that you are a newer writer from Sri Lanka, a brown man from a small island country with a *tiny* publishing industry, a man who has recently been notified that you’ve received a Nebula nomination. You are, of course, over the moon with excitement. You are perhaps scrambling to figure out if there’s any way you can afford the exorbitant cost of a ticket to get to the Nebulas from Sri Lanka (keeping in mind exchange rates as well, which makes said ticket cost ten times as it much as it would for an American traveling to Sri Lanka). It’s going to be hard, but still, overall, you’re so very happy. It is wonderful news, that the largely American-dominated SF/F publishing scene might actually be open to someone like you.
Then some random white lady (random as far as you know, because you aren’t actually up on the minutiae and history of a particular award in another country halfway across the world) starts yelling on Twitter about the nominations, and specifically, about the fact that you and a few other people got nominated…
…Some people in the field have been sharply critical of one of the nominated authors being what they see as condescending in his response to Bellet. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. But he definitely wasn’t swearing back at her — he was, in my opinion, incredibly restrained, considering the flood of vituperative abuse Bellet was hurling at him, at the other nominees, and at the people who nominated them.
Now look. Bellet went through a very rough time, and it’s perhaps understandable that she might come out swinging, and swearing. I’m not going to condemn her for that, necessarily, though I think she misread the situation to some extent. Marko Kloos went through a similarly rough decision then, and he deserves slack on this too.
But EVERYBODY else? They could take the time to read and research a little before leaping in on her side against someone they knew nothing about. Is this what we are in the field? A mob that will leap to the defense of one of our own, regardless of the rightness of her cause?
I don’t actually think Bellet meant to be racist — she didn’t single out the Sri Lankan writer. But it is easy to see how it looked that way to people on the other side of the planet.
There are a host of Sri Lankan writers now wondering if THIS is what science fiction publishing is in America. There are already some of them convinced that this was a racist attack against a brown-skinned writer. They are wondering if the field really is as racist as it seems.
Many of them believe this is emblematic of a field and an industry that WE ALL KNOW still has incredibly large disparities in who gets to get published. No matter how loudly we shout #weneeddiversebooks and talk about supporting #ownvoices. I have spent several HOURS in the last few days talking them down, and I cannot blame them for leaping to that conclusion when they are met with such violent language, and such immediate closing of ranks.
N.K. Jemisin made this comment in responset:
Mary Anne, I have a lot of sympathy for the Sri Lankan writer (not sure why we’re not mentioning his name, but I’ll adhere to your convention here). That said, in the scenario you’re asking me to imagine, I would not have rolled in the way he did. Upon seeing an established writer showing every sign of being really pissed off about some past incident — she mentions the Puppies, etc. — I would be diplomatic and at least try to figure out why she’s so upset before immediately leaping to the conclusion that it’s specifically about me. This guy wasn’t diplomatic. He was condescending and there’s no maybe about it. (Among other things, he called her a petulant child for being angry, which feels to me like a one-two combo of tone policing and chauvanism, because I don’t often hear men getting called children just for dropping f-bombs.) I think it’s a misread of the situation to say that Bellet was yelling *at him,* at least initially. It seemed clear enough to me that she was angry with whoever had created and pushed the slate. She never said anything different.
Now granted, I might be more sympathetic to her because my first reaction to finding out about the whole thing was a lot of swearing on Twitter, too! But after reading your post, I’m left trying to figure out what you’re advocating, here, as a better way to have handled it. Are you asking for people still smarting from a recent past incident to not express anger about a fresh trigger? That feels like a lot to ask. For people angry about group wrongdoing to not single out the writers of color? She didn’t, as you note; things only got ugly after he got snitty with her, to start. For people angry about group wrongdoing to consider how it feels to be a newbie caught up in the mess? There’s no one who would understand that better than Bellet and Kloos, and I read their initial anger as anger *on behalf of* the newbies, not *at* them.
I am 100% supportive of more writers of color coming into this field! More writers from other countries, esp SE Asia! All in. But this guy jumped into what was essentially an ongoing conversation about the past few years’ worth of stuff, and reacted as if it was about him, personally. That’s not a misread on Bellet and Kloos’ parts.
Personally, I think this whole business is the result of a culture clash: anything-goes indie writers versus a (indie and tradpub) community that at least *thinks* of itself as merit-focused. The anything-goes writers really should’ve done some field research before they jumped in and tried to plant a flag on merit-focused ground; this mess is the result. I think this writer’s interaction with Bellet is a microcosmic example of the overall problem.
(5) TODAY IN HISTORY
- March 1, 1856 — Charles Dodgson chooses his pseudonym-Lewis Carroll.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born March 1, 1938 — Michael Kurland, 81. His The Unicorn Girl was the middle volume of the Greenwich Village trilogy by three different authors, the other two being Chester Anderson and T.A. Waters. Kurland has also written genre novels including Ten Little Wizards and A Study in Sorcery, set in the world of Garrett’s Lord Darcy. His other genre novels are Ten Years to Doomsday (written with Chester Anderson), Tomorrow Knight, Pluribus and Perchance.
- Born March 1, 1941 — Martin Greenberg. Founder of Gnome Press who’s not to be confused with Martin H Greenberg. Not on Asimov’s list of favorite people despite being the first publisher of the Foundation series. Not paying authors is a bad idea. (Died 2011.)
- Born March 1, 1950 — David Pringle, 69. Pringle served as the editor of Foundation during the Eighties which In turned spawned Interzone durning that time. The Glasgow Worldcon committee gave Pringle a Special Award for his work on Interzone. With Malcolm Edwards and Ian Watson, he also edited Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction from the late late Seventies through the mid Eighties. Besides his various guides to the genre such as The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy, I see early on that he did a lot of work on J.G. Ballard such as Earth Is the Alien Planet: J. G. Ballard’s Four-Dimensional Nightmare and J. G. Ballard: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography. I also note that he’s not published anything listed on ISFDB in the field of late. Any idea why?
- Born March 1, 1952 — Steven Barnes,67. Co-writer with Niven of the Dream Park series. I read the first two when they came out thirty years ago, not bad at all. Their Heorot series isn’t bad either. I’ve not read him on his own so cannot say how he is as a solo writer. I see he’s git a spot of series writing having done work for The Outer Limits, Andromeda and Stargate SG-1.
- Born March 1, 1956 — Tim Daly, 63. He voiced Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent in Superman: The Animated Series, plus Superman: Brainiac Attacks, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Superman / Batman: Apocalypse and Justice League: Doom. He has appeared in Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, After Darkness, Made in Heaven and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
(7) WHAT SHAKESPEARE READ. Fascinating research — “Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays” in the New York Times.
“If it proves to be what they say it is, it is a once-in-a-generation — or several generations — find,” said Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.
The findings were made by Dennis McCarthy and June Schlueter, who describe them in a book to be published next week by the academic press D. S. Brewer and the British Library. The authors are not suggesting that Shakespeare plagiarized but rather that he read and was inspired by a manuscript titled “A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels,” written in the late 1500s by George North, a minor figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth, who served as an ambassador to Sweden.
(8) PICKING A RESPONSE. Hillary Monahan discusses a now-commonplace social media dilemma. Thread starts here.
(9) ANOTHER THING LARRY CORREIA IS SENSITIVE TO. Larry Correia read that Kosoko Jackson pulled his book and issued an apology for having offended people (see details in the Reason.com article linked by yesterday’s Scroll). Jackson’s work as a sensitivity reader seems to have inspired Corriea’s Monster Hunter Nation response — “’Sensitivity Readers’ Are Bullshit, and You Are A Sucker If You Believe Them” [Internet Archive link]. Of course, Correia thinks the very idea of sensitivity is bullshit, and you’d be mistaken if you thought this was supposed to be a defense of Jackson.
…Note, these Sensitivity Readers are always the typical progressive buzzword vultures, looking for racist/sexist/homophobic microaggressions, because it’s pretty obvious to anyone who has ever read a book from mainstream publishing that they don’t give a shit about offending any other group… Or even getting their basic facts right about anybody who isn’t Team Blue.
Seriously, I specifically set MHI in Alabama because of how sick and tired I was of how southerners are always portrayed as ignorant redneck hicks in most fiction. And I’m a westerner (though I lived there long enough Alabamans adopted me). Where are the “Sensitivity Readers” for combat vets? Where are the “Sensitivity Readers” for Christians? Or gun-nuts? (holy shit, these people are bad at writing action scenes, so they really could use that one)
(10) THE HECK YOU SAY. Mashable has some thoughts about the new “red band” (mature audiences only) trailer for the Hellboy reboot (“‘Hellboy’ unleashes apocalyptic trailer with monsters and blood aplenty”). Check out their opinion at that link, or skip right to the trailer on YouTube. In either case, get ready to rock out to some Deep Purple… OK, a Deep Purple cover band. The movie is set for a 12 April release.
(11) WHERE TO GET YOUR CLICKS. Juan Sanmiguel asked:
It means that after reading my latest post a Filer hasn’t completely given up hope that somebody will come along and write something interesting!
(12) HE SHRIEKED. Andrew Porter tuned into tonight’s Jeopardy! and witnessed this:
Answer: This Edith Hull bestseller about forbidden love in the desert became a 1921 film starring Rudolph Valentino.
Wrong question: “What is ‘The Thief of Baghdad’?”
[Thanks to JJ, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Rob Thornton, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
It’s really interesting to me that this whole mess was caused by his buddies (he specifically aligns himself with the group) at 20bt50k, who made a slate and then apparently put him on it not only without consent, but without even *mentioning* to him he was on it, but he wants to come after Annie.
I’m also not impressed with the whole “why can’t we all just be wizard friends” complaint. He dives deep into the “civil discourse”, respectability politics, and “sci fi isn’t inherently” political arguments, which whether he knew it or not, are basically the exact opposite way the conversations are going in Western SFF discourse.
Also, “You may not know how important I am in my country” and therefore should do some research while simultaneously calling Annie “some internet rando” is pretty hilarious in a sad, ironic way.
I’m sorry he got dragged into something he wasn’t prepared for, but he’s entirely responsible for his own behavior in response, and it’s not a great look.
Rob Thornton on March 2, 2019 at 9:55 am said:
@ Lis Carey
I didn’t read it all but it was long enough to trigger my TDLR reflex.
I made it through the whole thing, sigh.
Amazing how smart and savvy and tied in he is, until it is a question of understanding slating.
I’ll just go with unimpressed and onto the Nope List.
JJ: Wijeratne is not an indie but a hybrid author. He has actually been one of the people to debunk the indie vs trad angle, though he still claims outsider status from *American* publishing and that is a part of his beef.
As you can see from comnents I left at Mohanraj’s facebook I don’t think he is exonerated but I also think you are determined that, having seen him on the wrong side so to speak you are determined to fully vilify him.
I am not JJ, nor am I determined to fully vilify Wijerante, but–when he called the fully adult and enraged Annie Bellet a petulant child he dug himself a very, very deep hole in my estimation. He may have stopped digging, but he’s nowhere near the surface.
7) This stuff comes up every so often–source research is a long-established sub-field in Shakespeare studies. While Googling around for some background, though, I noticed a perhaps significant item in a BoingBoing comment thread from when the story broke last month–it’s the last comment.
June Schleuter is a legit period scholar, but McCarthy’s anti-Stratfordian career makes this long-time Shakespearean’s eyebrows rise just a little. His self-published North of Shakespeare: The True Story of the Secret Genius Who Wrote the World’s Greatest Body of Literature* is still listed on Amazon, though the used price was $2468.13 when I checked a few minutes ago. (Free shipping, though.)
* The title alone sets off alarm bells.
Lenora Rose: As you can see from comnents I left at Mohanraj’s facebook I don’t think he is exonerated but I also think you are determined that, having seen him on the wrong side so to speak you are determined to fully vilify him.
My issue with him is that he wants to paint himself as a victim in this — and in some aspects, that may actually be the case — but his various dishonesties and behavior during all this make it clear that he is also attempting to manipulate peoples’ perceptions by pretending that certain things have been something other than what they actually were.
He is, as the PR agencies would say, very deliberately “managing” the public on this. Of course he regards File 770 as a problem, because the things which are being reported here contradict some of the narrative he’s been putting out.
I don’t disagree with any of your last comment, JJ. * Just the factual correction about his career not being indie and he being one of the people who was supporting that line.
He has not covered himself in glory. I also don’t yet think I am liable to give up on trying his stories should they come my way highly recommended or for an award I havd any say in.
* WTF, autocarrot? It just tried to turn JJ into UK.
Thanks for your comment, Lenora Rose. Just out of curiosity, have you read the story?
Nope. I am slow and seemingly reluctant to read any fiction shorter than novellas, in general. I am not up to debating its award worthiness.
Lenora Rose: Nope. I am slow and seemingly reluctant to read any fiction shorter than novellas, in general. I am not up to debating its award worthiness.
No worries. I would definitely recommend reading the Schoen novelette if you feel up to it at some point, but otherwise the slated works are not notably good.
@Lenora Rose: All hail autoincorrect, the knower of all truths and tireless rewriter of history!
@6: One of the episodes Barnes wrote for The Outer Limits, “A Stitch in Time”, is phenomenal, both for the writing and for Amanda Plummer’s Emmy-winning performance.