Pixel Scroll 4/12/18 But By God, Elliot, It Was A Pixel Scroll From Life!

(1) KINGFISHER. James Davis Nicoll turned the Young  People Read Old SFF panel loose on “Toad Words” by T. Kingfisher.

Young People Read Old SFF has circled back to a modern work for the final time in the phase of the project. This time the modern author is Ursula Vernon, who also publishes as T. Kingfisher. To quote her Wikipedia entry,

Digger won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2012 and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 2013. She won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story and the WSFA Small Press Award for Jackalope Wives in 2015. Her story “The Tomato Thief” won the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novelette.

I’ve read a number of Vernon’s works but not, as it happens, any of those. I have read “Toad Words”, however, and it seemed an apt choice for a modern work given what the Young People have liked in the past. But I’ve been wrong before…

(2) DEADPOOL CHOW. Adweek describes how “Deadpool’s Newest Product Pitch Takes Us Inside His Dreams, Which Center on … Frozen Food?”

Brand partnerships with superhero movies are inevitable—let’s face it, most movies are superhero movies these days—but so many of them seem like an unnatural fit. Or a lazy one, at best. There’s a car chase in the movie? Let’s use that in a car commercial! Genius!

That might initially seem like the case with Deadpool’s Devour partnership. Why would Deadpool care about frozen food? Well, he doesn’t—and that’s what makes the new 30-second spot work.


(3) POTTER RECAP. Martin Morse Wooster watched “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” last night on the CW:

This was a BBC documentary tied to an exhibit that is currently at the British Library and will be coming to the New-York Historical Society this fall, although what I gather from the Pottermore website is that there will be two exhibits with some overlap between the British and American versions.

The special, narrated by Imelda Staunton, had several parts.  One was when actors from the movies (including Warwick Davis, Miriam Margoyles, and David Thewlis) read excerpts from the novels.  A second thread consisted of curators from the British Library showing off their magical treasures of books and stuff from their collections.  In addition, we saw some witches and eccentrics who had things to donate to the exhibit, including two gentlemen named Dusty Miller XIII and Dusty Miller XIV who said they had created 7,500 magic-filled wands from sticks they collected in the woods.  Finally, J.K. Rowling was extensively interviewed and got to look at a lot of the stuff the curators had unearhed.

Oh, and there was a lot of Harry Potter cosplay.

Rowling had done a lot of research in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, such as a seventeenth-century herbal written by the great botanist Nicholas Culpeper.  She said that she invented everything to do with wands.  She also named two sources that inspired her.  One was C.S. Lewis’s THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW, and if there are references to portals and libraries in that book those are the parts she found inspiring.  A second source came from an illustration Rowling made in1990 of Professor Sprout.  Rowling said that that night she was watching The Man Who Would Be King, a film with many Masonic symbols.  A simplified version of one masonic symbol was the source for the three-part symbol that denotes the Deathly Hallows in the novels.

Finally Rowling said, “I tied to steer clear of hallucinogenic drugs in Hogwarts.”  So if you’re writing fan fiction where Harry and the gang settle in for good times with some mushrooms, you should know that such scenes are NOT canonical.

(4) AUSTRALIAN CON SURVEY. Twelfth Planet Press publisher/editor and Galactic Suburbia cohost Alisa Krasnostein tweeted

If you’ve attended an SF con or event in Australia in the last 5 years, please consider taking this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TCGQB82

…The purpose of this survey is to investigate the degree of harassment being experienced at our SF conventions and events.

(5) WOTF. Vajra Chandrasekera discourages participation in the Writers of the Future Contest. His thread starts here —

(6) NEW PERSPECTIVES. Bogi Takacs has started writing a column for Tor.com about “QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics”.

…In this series of columns, I will review classics of QUILTBAG+ speculative fiction—often out of print, little-known and seldom discussed. Even novels which were acclaimed in their day are frequently ignored now, creating the false impression that all QUILTBAG+ SFF is very recent.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, QUILTBAG+ is a handy acronym of Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual / Aromantic / Agender, Gay and a plus sign indicating further expansion.

…On the other hand, I also don’t want to pigeonhole QUILTBAG+ writers and only show interest in their work if it is about their specific marginalization. I want to see minority writers write whatever they want. If they (we) want to write about cephalopods in space, I am all for that! Therefore I opted to include work either by QUILTBAG+ authors (where this is known) or with QUILTBAG+ themes. Often these two coincide, but not necessarily so.

A specific difficulty is whether to include people with non-Western, culturally specific gender, sex or sexuality IDs. Often these people also use at least some Western terms to self-identify, but sometimes they don’t—especially Indigenous people. If someone has expressed a desire not to be included in Western terms, both umbrella or specific terms, I will of course respect that. But in the absence of explicitly opting out, and also if the authors use Western terms, I decided on the side of inclusion. One of my motivations in this is somewhat self-serving: I also have a culturally specific gender / sex (though I am not Indigenous, specifically) and I am interested in other people who do too!

I aim to discuss a new book every two weeks. I will begin next week with The Gilda Stories, the queer Black / Indigenous vampire classic by Jewelle Gomez, and then follow with The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter, possibly the first SFF novel by an intersex author—which also draws a parallel between being intersex and sharing a mind with a giant whale.

(7) TRUTHINESS. Hear about “’That High Truth’: Lewis, Williams, Chesterton, and Ray Bradbury,” in this video of a lecture given at the Wade Center by Jonathan R. Eller of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies on April 9, 2018.

(8) PROGRAM IDEA. Amal El-Mohtar has a fresh angle for a panel discussion. Start the thread here:

(9) BECKETT OBIT. Alex Beckett (1982-2018): Welsh actor, death announced April 12, aged 35. His genre appearances include Spark Ark (2014), and The Aliens (two episodes, 2016).

(10) HEAR STAN LEE’S DENIAL. Io9 reports “In a New Video, Stan Lee Threatens to Sue Anyone Reporting on Claims of Alleged Elder Abuse”.

The Marvel mainstay came down with pneumonia in February and so his frequent convention appearances were understandably cut back. During this time, multiple reports emerged detailing how hundreds of thousands of dollars, and literal blood, were allegedly stolen from him. In a video sent to TMZ this week that’s copyrighted to Keya Morgan (Lee’s handler, who is currently in control of all of his communications), Lee says he’s prepared to take legal action against any and all media outlets that have reported on the claims that he’s being taken advantage of:

“Hi this is Stan Lee and I’m calling on behalf of myself and my friend Keya Morgan. Now, you people have been publishing the most hateful, harmful material about me and about my friend Keya and some others. Material which is totally incorrect, totally based on slander, totally the type of thing that I’m going to sue your ass off when I get a chance.

You have been accusing me and my friends of doing things that are so unrealistic and unbelievable that I don’t know what to say. It’s as though you suddenly have a personal vendetta against me and against the people I work with. Well I want you to know I’m going to spend every penny I have to put a stop to this and to make you sorry that you’ve suddenly gone on a one man campaign against somebody with no proof, no evidence, no anything but you’ve decided that people were mistreating me and therefore you are going to publish those articles.

I’m going to get the best and most expensive lawyers I can and I want you to know if you don’t stop these articles and publish retractions, I am going to sue your ass off.”

The subject video was reportedly sent to TMZ and is marked on their website as being copyrighted by Keya Morgan. The linked TMZ article is headlined: “STAN LEE DENIES ELDER ABUSE … Leave Me and My Friends Alone!!!” This copy is on YouTube, though who knows for how long?

(11) HUGOS AT ECBATAN. Rich Horton check off another nominated book in “Hugo Ballot Review: Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee”.

The novel is interesting reading throughout, with plenty of action (and some pretty cool battle scenes), some rather ghastly (in a good sense) comic bits, and lots of pain and angst. There is a continuing revelation of just how awful the Hexarchate is, with the only defense offered even by its supporters being “anything else would be worse”. There is genocide, lots of murders, lots of collateral damage. The resolution is well-planned and integral to the nature of this universe, with a good twist or two to boot. It’s a good strong novel that I enjoyed a lot.

(12) SERVICE TO SFF. Congratulations to 2018 Chandler Award winner Edwina Harvey! The award recognizes members of the Australian speculative fiction community, both professionals and fans.

Edwina Harvey is a worthy recipient of this year’s A. Bertram Chandler Award.  She has been an active member of Australian science-fiction fandom: writing, publishing and with her amazing artwork for 40 years.

She was one of the founding members of Astrex, the Star Trek fan club of NSW, and regularly contributed fiction to the associated fanzine Beyond Antares as well as other SF fanzines from the mid 1970s onwards. She was also an active member of The Hitchers Club of Australia (Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy Fanclub) from approximately 1984 onwards contributing to the newsletter Australian Playbeing through articles and comments and assisting with the copying and distribution of some issues of the newsletter.  Known locally as the Fund Raising Queens, Edwina has worked with Karen Auhl on organising fundraiser events for Medtrek 4, Huttcon 90 and two Sydney Worldcon bids. (Late 1980s – mid 1990s)  Edwina has been a contributing member of FOLCC (the Friends of Linda Cox Chan) which was an informal group donating monies raised to Diabetes Charities in Australia.  Linda Cox Chan was a Sydney-based SF fan artist and writer who passed away in 1991. From 2012 to the present time, Edwina has also run a lucky-dip at Australian SF conventions to raise money for FFANZ.

(13) EUROVISION IN SPACE. Learn about the author’s new novel Space Opera at Whatever: “The Big Idea: Catherynne M. Valente”.

My agent refers to it as the fastest deal in publishing. It was done and I was committed before I could catch a breath. As I was signing the contract, my fiance asked: “Does it really just say ‘Eurovision in space’? Do you actually have any idea how you’re gonna pull that off?”

“Yes, it does,” I said. “And no, I don’t.”

And I didn’t. Part of me was terrified. How the hell do you even begin to write that? I mean, you can’t play it straight. It’s too absurd. It’s obviously a comedy. Ah, but if you try to write science fiction comedy, the ghost of Douglas Adams appears and asks you with a stern expression if that’s really necessary. And even if it was a comedy, the core of Eurovision is that political darkness and artistic light. You can’t play it totally camp, either. And given the politics all around me, I wasn’t sure I was actually up to singing it out just this minute. What had I agreed to?

But the deadline approached. And I sat down at a blank screen. I laughed nervously.

And then I stopped trying to worry about whether I could do this thing at all and wrote some shit about Enrico Fermi and I was off, and off at breakneck speed.

(14) I’M HOME! Glen Weldon creates a mythic dialogue. Jump on the thread here:

(15) DIRECT FROM INTERNATIONAL FALLS. Here is Amazon Prime’s trailer advertising new episodes of Rocky and Bullwinkle. [Via io9.]

The world-famous talking moose and flying squirrel are back in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a comedy about two goofball friends who end up in harrowing situations but end up saving the day time and again. As their silly ambitions dovetail with Fearless Leader’s sinister plans to take over the world, they are set on a collision course with his notorious super spies Boris and Natasha.


[Thanks to Standback, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Steve Green, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, StephenfromOttawa, Chip Hitchcock, Iphinome, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Errolwi, James Davis Nicoll, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories,. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWwombat.]

68 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/12/18 But By God, Elliot, It Was A Pixel Scroll From Life!

  1. Primus!

    Also, R&B trailer is giving a This Video is not available error, at least here in the year 7861.


    She likes it! Hey, Mikayla!

    I am delighted that these Young People seem to appreciate RedWombat’s writing as much as I do. 🙂

  3. 15) International Falls, MN. [The Nation’s Icebox] is a real place. Rocky and Bullwinkle’s hometown is Frostbite Falls, MN. (sez the guy in Northern Vermont, whistling past the graveyard’s thermometer this weekend…)


  4. But why does the animation have to be so ugly?!?!?

    It just puts me right off. Or am I yelling at squirrels to get of my lawn?

    ETA – second fifth!

  5. Eurovision in space was the setting for one of the Dr Who audios called Bang Bang a Boom by Clayton Hickman

  6. This little pixel went to Mercury
    This little pixel stayed home
    This little pixel had scrolled beef
    This little pixel had none.
    And this little pixel cried “file file file” all the way home.

  7. 1: This seems the first time that all the young people like the story. (that I remember at last) Congrats RedWombat!

  8. 4. I have numerous friends who have won or participated in the WotF and AofF contests run by the CoS (and yes, it most certainly is run by them).

    I have asked them why they’e participated and gotten some pretty standard “talking points” responses: it’s not really run by the church, it’s just another contest, helps with the PR, no one tries to recruit, etc., etc.

    All responses that pretty much center on how the SFF community can pretty much stay at arms length from the Church but still participate in this thing without risking any harm.

    What I’ve not seen is how it allows the Church to reinforce its message regarding their founder’s status within the church, to use it to continue to abuse people; their message is basically that Hubbard was a god in the field and continues to bless the genre…if it weren’t so, why is there this enormous contest…look how many writers, artists and readers participate…

    That sounds relatively harmless, I know, but given the revelations of Leah Remini, Rolling Stone magazine’s expose and the work mentioned by Vajra (and more), it’s pretty clear to me that the church uses this contest (and other front orgs – like the school books they’ve tried to get school boards to approve) to give themselves pretend legitimacy within their own ranks and to leach off of our community in the process.

    I second Vajra’s call to not participate in the contest(s) and to change our perception…this is a writer’s contest run by puppies, although they are puppies of a different breed.

  9. Hugo reading: Finished Down Among the Sticks & Bones (which right now is at the head of my novella ballot) and started Obelisk Gate (which I never quite got around to last year, so I need to read it before Stone Sky; and I’m about 1/3 of the way through it and holy cow, I think the voters last year chose wisely; here’s hoping she sticks the landing).

  10. Niall McAuley on April 12, 2018 at 10:39 pm said:


    Grab yourself a can of pork soda
    You’ll be feeling just fine!
    Ain’t nothin’ quite like sittin’ ’round the house
    Swillin’ down them cans of swine!


  11. @ Paul Weimar: Thank you for linking to Goldstone’s thread picking up from El-Mohtar’s thread on Tolkien–both are fascinating threads to read, and I LOLed at Gladstone’s great dramatic “reveals.”

    I think that the ‘misreading’ of “Tolkien” they’re talking about has its roots in the modernist trashing of his work (*glaring at Edmund Wilson and Harold Bloom*) as well as in how much work by imitators (as opposed to those deeply influenced by Tolkien but not just copying the surface elements) has been done although I think there’s also a dose of “if it’s popular, it can’t be Twue Witerature” prejudice that still lurks. I am going to try to email both authors to see if it might be possible to get some connections going because a lot work by Tolkien scholars is doing just the kind of thing they’re talking about (unfortunately too much scholarship is locked away/inaccessible due to expense).

    One recent release directly addressing the “happy ending” stereoptype I’d highly recommend is Amy Amendt-Raduege’s “The Sweet and the Bitter”: Death and Dying in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (disclaimer: I know Amy, and read her work in manuscript form, and recommended publication!).

    And a bit of promotion: I just got back from the annual Popular Culture Studies conference where I run the Tolkien Studies area. Here is the list of sessions we ran, our list of topics that will be used in the 2019 call for proposals, and information on locations/dates for future conferences. (When I’m not at the Tolkien sessions, I’m at the fantastic Fan Theory and Culture sessions).



    Tolkien through the Lens of Alan Lee: Beren and Luthien
    Sultana Raza

    A Far Green Country: Adapting the Lands of Middle-earth for Gameplay
    Alicia Fox-Lenz

    Kindling for the Fire: Tolkien and Fantasy Gaming
    Peter Grybauskas (Chair)

    “Bending Over with Naked Blade”: The Threat of Male-Male Penetration and Homoeroticism in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Works
    Zac Clifton

    Frodo, Sam, and Gollum: Jealousy between Men in a Homosocial Setting
    Christopher Cameron

    Among Men of War: Destabilization of Gender in The Lord of the Rings’ Faramir and Éowyn
    Brooke Petersen

    The End is Queer! Voyeurism and Apocalyptic Anxiety in Tolkien
    Stephen Yandell (Chair)


    Where Did He Get All Those Wonderful Elves? Tolkien and the Elf Tradition in LotR
    Mary Leech

    Sansûkh and the Formation of Metafandom: Fanfiction, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit
    Sarah Coates (Chair)


    No Kings No Masters: Tolkien’s Anarchism and the Shire
    Huntley Wayne Hughes

    “Under the Wings of Shadow”: Mental Health and the Price of Civilization in The Lord of the Rings
    Hilary Justice

    Francis Thompson (1859-1907) and Sub-creation
    Brad Eden (Chair)


    “From the Ashes A Fire is Woken: Queering the ‘Hero’s Journey’”
    Melissa Sloat

    Contingent Meetings at Helm’s Deep: Disrupting the Heroic Journey in Lord of the Rings through Arwen/Éowyn Femslash
    Eva Wijman

    An Incomplete Fellowship: The Exclusion of Queer Women in Tolkien Studies
    Robin Anne Reid

    “and stooping he raised Beleg and kissed his mouth”: Architextuality and Queer Fandom Spaces
    Maria Alberto (Chair)


    Brad Eden: The Future of Tolkien Research: Thoughts and Visions

    Huntley Hughes: Bringing Theory Down to Earth: Tolkien’s Universe as a Point of Departure for the Analysis of Contemporary Political Realities

    Alicia Fox-Lenz: Inhabiting Middle-earth: The immersive world of Tolkien-based gaming

    Maria Alberto: Fan studies

    Hilary Justice: Paths and Errands; History and Culture

    Robin Anne Reid: The Need for Intersectional and New Realist Theories of Identity in the 21st Century (Chair)


    Arrogantemu’s Splintered Light series
    Maria Alberto

    Sansûkh, by determamfidd
    Sarah Coates

    “Common Tongues,” by Cupidsbow
    “At About Six O’Clock,” by Lobelia
    Robin ANne Reid

    Late Third Age/early Fourth Age fic centred on Rohan and Gondor
    Eva Wijman (Chair)


    Washington, D. D. 2019 4/17-20
    Marriott Boardman

    Names in parentheses are people who suggested the topic and might wish to help advertise them and perhaps moderate.

    Disclaimer: as always, the sessions are determined by what proposals are submitted, and a number of these topics could be “blended” in a session. Besides the area CFP, it’s possible to put together individual topic CFPs for circulation as well.

    Hemingway and Tolkien (Hilary Justice)
    Reparative Fan Fiction (Race) (Robin Reid)
    Methodology: Digital Humanities Tools for Tolkien Scholarship (Sarah Peters)
    Ethics in Tolkien Fan Studies
    Environmentalism and Tolkien
    Ecology and Tolkien
    Visual Arts/Visual Adaptations (Sultana Raza)
    Cosplay (Alicia Fox-Lenz)
    Game Studies and Tolkien
    Alternate Mythologies
    Pagan Readings of Tolkien
    Religious Readings of Tolkien
    Spirituality and Tolkien
    Catholic Arguments/Debates in 20th Century and Tolkien
    Oxford Community and Tolkien
    Women in Tolkien
    Gender and Tolkien
    Romanticism and Tolkien
    Tolkien Genre/Tolkien’s Queering of Genre
    Poststructuralism and Tolkien
    History of Tolkien Fandom (Maria Alberto, Dawn Walls-Thumma)

    Possible topic to invite other areas to co-sponsor
    Divination and Tarot
    George R. R. Martin and J. R. R. Tolkien
    Archives and Tolkien
    Ethics in Tolkien Fan Studies

    Locations and Dates of Future PCA Conferences

    2020– Philadelphia – 4/15-4/18
    2021– Boston: 3/31-4/3
    2022– Seattle 4/13-4/16
    2023– San Antonio: 4/5-4/8

  12. Okay, so I’m 238 pages into New York 2140. I will say Kim Stanley Robinson does infodumps better than most writers (looking at you, Neal Stephenson and Cixin Liu). His “that citizen” chapters, while obviously thinly disguised authorial rants, are entertaining and full of snarky goodness. I’ve met some engaging characters, and the future New York is fascinating. (If, in my opinion, wildly optimistic–the impression I’m getting is that after humans are forced to clean up their act, if not for the pesky water and dying polar bears, the future will be so bright we’ll have to wear shades!)

    I guess my question is, is there an actual story somewhere in here, or did it drown in the Pulse?

    Anyone? Bueller?

  13. (1)

    I also wonder if the narrator spits out only surviving species or if certain words would cause a long-extinct frog from the Cretaceous to pop out.

    Ooh, Jamie with the plot bunnies!

  14. @Bonnie McDaniel – I am approaching the end of New York 2140 and if you were to ask me “is there a story?” I would be inclined to answer “yes, but I wouldn’t write it that way”. You may well feel differently. I think it’s worth persevering, though.

    (I am still keeping up my one-a-day policy on Hugo finalist reviews – just – and my thoughts on this one, for whatever they might be worth, will probably appear in the next few days.)

  15. (15) Well, it’s probably better animation than the original series had, but apart from that it just doesn’t feel right to me. I’m reminded a little of “Rocky and Hoodwinkle” from the New Mighty Mouse episode, “Don’t Touch That Dial,” except that that one was much closer in spirit to the Jay Ward vision. A wacky parody might work when the original is serious or self-important, but a wacky parody of a wacky parody generally results in a gelatinous mess. I do not endorse this product or service.

  16. @1: Oor Wombat for the win! I’m not surprised this was unanimously liked; it’s a good story with contemporary concern and just a touch of snark to avoid cloying (vs the laid-on-with-a-trowel attitude of @14 — cute, but overdone).

    @3: a good thing too — just think what an intoxicated adolescent with a wand could do without even meaning to….

    @15: is it just me, or did they keep the cheap animation but redraw all the characters strangely? ISTM they bulge in odd places, and Rocky looks actively dumb — I have trouble imagining that face saying “But Bullwinkle, that trick never works!”

    @Paul Weimer: interesting thread; mostly good points, although he seriously overstates how long restoring the Shire takes — and I’m not convinced there’s anything specifically masculine (given modern sensibility rather than Tolkien’s sexism) about the interactions of groups of characters on the road.

    @Elisa: I’m not sure the movement is bad — but in addition to the character drawings, I found the liberal use of clashing color, combined with more vigorous (ISTM) movement, hard on the eyes.

    @robinareid: an interesting list of panels, although I don’t see anarchism as fitting Tolkien’s “God bless the squire…” classism. I’m also unconvinced that Wilson and Bloom get much shrift outside academia; I suspect most contemporary writers and readers have enough issues with his real flaws (e.g., the world really does turn out implausibly better (contra Gladstone) except for the lead himself — just the sort of line Poul Anderson specialized in.)

  17. Lis Carey, glad to hear that! It seems to me you’ve been ill for quite some time; I hope you’re on the mend.

    Bonnie McDaniel, I’d say that the story, such as it is, in New York 2140 is mostly an excuse for worldbuilding. The main character (it seems to me) is the city itself. I grant you the worldbuilding is very good, but the plot(s) is (are?) slight.

  18. @Doctor Science

    If it was @Mark who inspired you to look his post referred to UK Kindle not US.

  19. I feel the love!

    ETA: ConCarolinas is in my state, a few hours away. I had a good time as a guest a few years back, but I know nothing of the internals.

  20. RedWombat on April 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm said:

    ETA: ConCarolinas is in my state, a few hours away. I had a good time as a guest a few years back, but I know nothing of the internals.

    OK – different fragments of an argument keep popping up in places I look at but not the gist of it.

  21. Meredith Moment! Michael Swanwick’s Iron Dragon’s Daughter is currently $2.99!

  22. @Chip Hitchcock: an interesting list of panels, although I don’t see anarchism as fitting Tolkien’s “God bless the squire…” classism.

    I’d find the idea that Tolkien’s work embodied “God bless the squire” to be as over simplistic and inaccurate as the “always happy ending,” “no women,” etc.!

    Huntley’s trained in Political Science, and is working with the theoretical definition of anarchy as it applies to the Shire in the context of Tolkien’s statement of his 1943 political beliefs:

    From a letter to Christopher Tolkien 29 November 1943 (#52, Letters Of J. R. R. Tolkien, page 63): “My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)–or to ‘unconstitutional Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind).

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Various strands of theoretical anarchism.

    It all depends on how you define anarchism, but I found Huntley’s point by point comparison with the Shire pretty convincing. The Shire of course is not typical of the other lands/political systems in Middle-earth, but Tolkien’s work (as Tom Shippey has argued) has a lot of oppositional pairings, and that’s just in LOTR. Get into the Silmarillion, and the History of Middle-earth, and things get more complicated including the condemnation of Numenorean colonialism.

    I’m also unconvinced that Wilson and Bloom get much shrift outside academia;

    Oh, I don’t think people read them and go AHA!

    Not even in academia these days: some modernists would know Edmund Wilson who was one of the major intellectual forces for the radical new approaches in literature–he plays a somewhat hilarious role in a great biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay I read a few years back, and a few might know Bloom, but they’re not likely to be assigned outcome some specialized classes.

    My point was their ideas were so widely circulated over the years that they’re joined that pool of folk knowledge that everybody knows but never questions–like “Eskimos have 50 words for snow.” Another factoid relating to Tolkien is that “LOTR is an allegory for World War II.”

    I am affected by my own experiences which involve being an undergraduate in the 1970s hearing my English profs say sff was all badly written without, as it turns out, ever having read it, just having been ‘taught’ that in their day!

    Anyone interested can read Wilson’s famous “Ooo those awful Orcs!” article online! I’ve assigned it in classes before along with Auden’s more positive review.

    I suspect most contemporary writers and readers have enough issues with his real flaws

    I doubt that anybody can say anything with authority about what “most contemporary writers and readers” say/think about Tolkien’s work (and I know you aren’t claiming much authority with “suspect,” but you’re still making a general claim).

    I’ve taught Tolkien a number of times, was active in online fandom, and have actually done some reception studies/work, and what I see is that Tolkien fans come from a wide spectrum of beliefs/ideologies from evangelical Christian to pagan/New Age, from liberals to white supremacists, all with strong connections to “their” vision of Tolkien.

    I said the misreading that El-Mohtar and Goldstone were talking about “has its roots” in the critical commentary from the 1950s and 1960s because I’ve seen the same claims made by so many people (albeit all Anglophone and mostly white) in a variety of contexts in ways that echo a lot of the ways in which Tolkien’s work was dismissed at the time of publication and even years later. I could have added Germaine Greer and the other British intellectuals who had a meltdown over the fact that Tolkien won “author of the century” in a chain bookstore’s in-house survey (Waterstone’s).

    The tweets linked above show that wholesale dismissal of Tolkien’s work is not in fact universal and never has been. And as Tom Shippey noted, and so have others, a lot of the people who circulate those kind of generic statement haven’t actually read the books.

  23. Camestros Felapton: Apparently there’s some conflict with ConCarolinas having invited John Ringo as a guest author.

    I guess I missed this particular branch of the Puppy idiocy.

    I can see why a lot of authors and readers might not be interested in attending a convention where the GoH has called the fiction they write or enjoy badly written and only an excuse to push “SJW” values.

  24. JJ on April 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton: Apparently there’s some conflict with ConCarolinas having invited John Ringo as a guest author.

    I guess I missed this particular branch of the Puppy idiocy.

    Oh my! From 2015 – that’s were the Redshirts is SJW comes from? I don’t remember that one at all.

  25. I guess I missed this particular branch of the Puppy idiocy.

    I can see why a lot of authors and readers might not be interested in attending a convention where the GoH has called the fiction they write or enjoy badly written and only an excuse to push “SJW” values.

    What a bunch of idiocy!

    And coincidentally, I don’t remember that post either. In fact, I had John Ringo filed away as “rightwing author whose stuff does nothing for me, but who wisely kept out of the puppy wars.”

    But these are classic puppy talking points from “SJWs only care about the message, not a good story” via “John Scalzi of all people is a rabid SJW” and “Redshirts was an unworthy Hugo winner, the unworthiest of them all” to “Baen rules, because Baen only published good stories”. Well, maybe in his parallel universe.

    But yeah, that explains some of the ConCarolinas thing.

  26. PSA – iron dragons daughter, while awesome, is on the grim mcgrim end of the fantasy spectrum.

  27. Man. I read that Ringo screed and a little voice in my head kept exclaiming, “Bullshit!”

  28. (5) WOTF. I read an article quite a while back (a few years? more?) laying out how the contest really acts as a shield for Scientology. It’s true. And it’s sad that well-known SFF folks participate and legitimize Scientology.

    (10) HEAR STAN LEE’S DENIAL. “Copyright Keya Morgan” – oh, okay then. That totes helps make it seem like Stan Lee’s not being taken advantage of, hmm. /s

    [ETA: My Dad’s a little younger than Stan Lee; I wish Dad were in as good shape. 🙁 ]

    – – – – –

    In other news, I finished Sam J. Miller’s The Art of Starving in audiobook – not exactly my kind of book, but kinda it was, too. I’m too tired to be coherent, but I will say, it did not knock In Other Lands off my top spot for the YA award. But that was a high bar to try to clear, seeing as how IOL may have been my favorite book last year! 😉 Anyway, the narrator for Miller’s book was great; Tom Phelan was a very good fit for Matt(main character)’s “voice.”

    [ETA: I over-edited. The book was good, and a very solid first novel; I look forward to his admittedly-very-weird-sounding adult novel that’s coming out later this month.]

    N.B.: This book may be tough for someone with a history with eating disorders, as you should be able to guess from the title/description. Or maybe not – what do I know – but I imagine it could be.

  29. John Ringo has been a guest at ConCarolinas several times before without blood running down the aisle. The worst thing I have ever seen him do in person is talk over other people and he was by far not the worst case of an author doing that that I have seen.

  30. Shrug. If a con wants to invite Ringo, it’s certainly fully in the right of other authors to withdraw or even to ask for his withdrawal… but I’m not sure “never invite anyone who said anything nasty about SJWs” is really the way to go either, and this puts cons in a bad spot, if we *say* we don’t want cons to vet people based on politics.

    And several people have said explicitly that they don’t want conventions to disinvite people who are conservatives for being conservative. Ringo strikes me as someone whose books (even the non evil-id books) don’t appeal to me, but I don’t see this as doing anything good for the impression of leftists as intolerant. He’s not a Nazi, neo-Nazi or off-brant white supremacist (Vox Day). He’s not someone who has actively harassed people (Del Arroz, Shetterly).

  31. @Lenora —

    Ringo strikes me as someone whose books (even the non evil-id books) don’t appeal to me

    I’ll stick in a random plug here for the Weber/Ringo (Ringo/Weber?) books in the Prince Roger series, which I’ve found pretty fun. I’ve tried books by both Weber and Ringo writing alone and dnfed em, but I’ll be happy to read more in this series.

  32. I would probably not go as a fan to a con which had Ringo as GoH. Having him as an “also appearing” is murkier, and it would depend on who the other guests were.

    When you’re a dealer, this is a more difficult decision, especially if it’s a con where you’ve traditionally done well. I’m in a Facebook group for con dealers where this is under discussion right now.

    But in either case, the real issue would not be Ringo himself, but some of the people he’s likely to attract. Remember that it’s very rarely the people at the top of the organization who “suddenly snap” and do batshit stuff; it’s the ones who worship them. It wasn’t one of the featured guests who tried to haul a duffel bag full of guns, ammo, and knives into Phoenix Comic Con with the specific intent of killing someone who was appearing there.

  33. Magewolf: The worst thing I have ever seen him do in person is talk over other people and he was by far not the worst case of an author doing that that I have seen.

    I’ve seen a number of Ringo supporters making comments like this on Twitter: “I’ve never seen him say anything racist / sexist / misogynist, or harass anyone, therefore it hasn’t happened.”

    I think that the flaw in that logic is obvious.

    I’ve also seen a number of comments on Facebook from women talking about specific incidents in which Ringo harassed or intimidated them — including one who was a moderator on a panel with Ringo and another man, both of whom were already seated at the front table when she arrived, and Ringo proceeded to verbally harass her as she walked up to the front.

    * and I’m sorry that I can’t give you links to them, but they’re friends-locked — for obvious reasons — and quoting them verbatim would not be appropriate

  34. Lee: Having him as an “also appearing” is murkier

    He’s not an “Also Appearing”. That list is usually all of the published authors who are attending the con and serving on one or more panels.

    Ringo is a designated “Special Guest”. ConCarolinas’ website is really badly set up; the “Guests” page does not list him (which certainly looks like a deliberate move by the concom to keep it under the radar, since that page does list the Costume Special Guests), and there’s (conveniently) no link and no way to access the blog posts except the last two posts. However, they did make a blog post about it:
    Welcome to Author Special Guest, John Ringo

  35. @JJ

    I am not a “Ringo supporter”, I suppose I could be considered a ConCarolinas supporter in a very widely defined sense. I was merely pointing out that he had been a guest before with no problem that I was aware of. And before you ask no I did not follow him around and go to every panel he was on the years he was here.

  36. Magewolf: I am not a “Ringo supporter”

    I apologize if what I said gave you the impression that I thought you were a Ringo supporter. You’ve been a participant here for a long time (almost 3 years, Google tells me), and that would be inconsistent with what I know of you from your posts during that time.

    My point was that “I haven’t seen any of that behavior” is not a helpful metric, no matter who is saying it. Because harassers and abusers tend to be judicious about who is observing when they do their harassing and abusing.

  37. Contrarius: I’ll stick in a random plug here for the Weber/Ringo (Ringo/Weber?) books in the Prince Roger series, which I’ve found pretty fun.

    I read those – a trilogy if I recall. I enjoyed them well enough to finish three books. However, one thing I was always curious about is which author was responsible for the slick writing that would suddely show up from time to time, and which author wrote the rest of it. Had the entire book been written like the best parts were, then the series would really have been something,

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