Pixel Scroll 4/20/18 A Fool And His Pixels Are Soon Parted

(1) SF IN NYT. Amal El-Mohtar’s latest Otherworldly book review column for the New York Times covers “Princesses, Priestesses and Time Travel: What’s New in Science Fiction and Fantasy”

What does it mean to retell a story? Does it mean dressing up a familiar tale in different clothes? Reading it against its grain? Replacing parts of a story like boards in a ship, until an old story’s shape is built of entirely new wood? This month, I’m looking at recent books that are all retellings of one sort or another.

(2) EDITORS YOU RECOGNIZE. Amber Troska pays tribute to two editors in “Shaping the Speculative Fiction World: Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling”.

It is difficult to overestimate the tremendous value of editors. The contributions that authors make to their respective fields, and their impact on the readers that encounter their work, can’t be overstated either, of course—but it is equally important to remember that no truly great author goes it alone; there are always strong editors behind the scenes, shaping the individual stories themselves as well as the publishing world at large. The Hugo Awards are named for an editor, after all.

Yet I can count most of the editors I recognize by name on one hand. Even with such a limited group to choose from, only two have had an extremely significant, identifiable impact on me as a reader: Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow. I could never hope to cover everything the two have contributed to the publishing world—their careers have stretched too far and are too varied and far-reaching for me to do them full justice. However, there are several projects that are worth looking at in order to appreciate their impact and get a sense of how influential their work has been, and continues to be.

(3) AFRICAN SF EDITORS. From The Minnesota Review: “Editor Interview: Mazi Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu and Chinelo Onwualu of Omenana”.

Mazi Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu and Chinelo Onwualu are co-founders and editors of Omenana, a web-based literary magazine dedicated to publishing speculative/sci-fi/fantasy fiction by African writers. In this interview with Uche Okonkwo, Mazi Chiagozie and Chinelo talk African speculative fiction, life lessons, and writing and publishing as a labour of love.

UCHE OKONKWO: This idea that Africans don’t write sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction is, I believe, part of the reason you started Omenana. Where do you suppose this idea comes/came from and why did/does it persist?

MAZI CHIAGOZIE: I think it comes from that general misconception that Africa is a backward place that hasn’t played any notable role in man’s journey to the stars. So even Africans look at Africa as this place whose people only concern themselves with war, famine, dancing, and procreation. It’s a view that has been propagated for a long time and has now come to offer a copout for people who don’t want to do the work needed to unravel the complexity that is Africa and her varied nations and peoples. We are doing our bit to change the perception, but it continues to persist. And with Wakanda being a fictional place, will continue to persist.

CHINELO ONWUALU: I think the idea that Africans don’t write speculative fiction is born out of the rather racist definitions that limit what speculative fiction is to the sorts of things written by white men in North America and Europe. Thus, when Africans write speculatively, it’s often dismissed as folklore or fable telling.

I feel many of us have adopted this same attitude as part of the deep-seeded practicality that is common with a lot of oppressed groups. Because our systems are so broken – often by colonialist design – we don’t see a lot of value in imaginative endeavours that might divert our energies from the struggle for daily survival. Combined with the devaluation of cultural artefacts like our stories, traditions and beliefs, many of us end up dismissing creative pursuits as wastes of time.

(4) ONCE LESS IN THE BREACH DEAR FRIENDS. David Langford tells about a program Terry Pratchett asked him to write in “The Silicon Critic” at the Milford SF Writers blog

Milford participants often have distinctive personal crotchets when commenting on stories, and John Brunner’s (as I remember from the 1980s) was a particular sensitivity to repetition. Sometimes it seemed that the unintended re-use of a significant word too soon after its last appearance pained him more than a gaping plot hole. The “deliberate repetition for effect” card could be played only so often, especially if you hadn’t noticed the repetition of “repetition” and the fact that it’s now appeared four times in one paragraph.

Terry Pratchett was another author who worried about such things. In 1998 he invited me to write a little Windows application to monitor his own use of favourite words. This, he stipulated, was to be named Bicarb because the idea was to stop you repeating….

(5) ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. The Hollywood Reporter picked up the con’s Twitter announcements: “Universal FanCon Suddenly Postponed a Week Before Event”

The Baltimore convention created to celebrate diversity has not been rescheduled.

A week out from its announced debut, organizers have confirmed that Universal Fan Con, the new convention created to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in fandom, will not take place and has been postponed to an as-yet unspecified date.

In a series of tweets, organizers said that they were “devastated to make this postponement decision,” and shared that there is a “contingency plan” for those whose travel to Baltimore next week was already booked and are unable to reschedule their trip.

Although no official reason has yet been given for the sudden postponement — social media accounts for the event were promoting the show as recently as yesterday — a source told Heat Vision that the event “has a financial deficit.” In January, Heat Vision talked to Universal FanCon executive director Robert Butler, who said that the Kickstarter campaign to fund the show had been “a greater success than we could have imagined,” raising twice the amount initially asked for….

One committee member announced her resignation:

One dealer publicized how the cancellation is affecting him financially – start the thread here.

The con committee now has posted a FAQ on their website: http://www.universalfancon.com/. They claim the con will be held at a later date.

Why are you postponing FanCon?

Currently we are in a financial deficit that will not allow us to operate the convention within budget. Accordingly, we have made the decision to postpone and reschedule FanCon so we can put forward the type of event our fans deserve.

Why did you wait so long to postpone the event?

The FanCon team worked really hard up to the last minute to put forward an amazing event. However, it became clear in our last team meeting that we would not be able to deliver the event the fans deserved without more time.

How long will the event be postponed?

Once we are able to fully assess our options, we will make an announcement.

(6) ANDERSON OBIT. Harry Anderson (1952-2018): US actor and writer, died April 16, aged 65. Genre roles include Tales from the Darkside (one episode, 1985), Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme (1990), Tales from the Crypt (one episode, 1990), It (1990), Harvey (1996), Lois & Clark (one episode, 1997), Nightmare Ned (voice for video game, 1997), Noddy (one episode, 1998). He also wrote one 1992 episode of Tales from the Crypt.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born April 20, 1937 – George Takei
  • Born April 20, 1939 – Peter S. Beagle
  • Born April 20, 1964 – Andy Serkis

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Lise Andreasen discovered it’s not all play time when you’re a werewolf.

(9) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman hopes you will “Share spring rolls with Stoker Award-winning author Elizabeth Massie” in Episode 64 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Elisabeth Massie

It’s time to head to Providence, Rhode Island for the final episode of Eating the Fantastic recorded during this year’s StokerCon, following my Italian lunch with Paul Di Filippo and a Portuguese dinner with Victor LaValle.

This episode I wandered off with one of the con’s Guests of Honor, Elizabeth Massie, for lunch at Apsara, a restaurant which serves up Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine. Massie made her first professional fiction sale 35 years ago, and since then has won two Bram Stoker Awards for the critically acclaimed novels and short stories which followed.

We discussed why Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner is the one to thank for her Stoker Award-winning first novel Sineater, how reading Robert Bloch’s Psycho at a young age was like a knife to her heart, which episode of Twilight Zone scared the crap out of her, why you’ll probably never get to read her Millennium and Law & Order novels, her nearly impossible task of writing one spooky book for each of the 50 states in the U.S, why Kolchak: The Night Stalker was her favorite franchise to play in, the great-great grandfather who cut off his own head with a homemade guillotine, which Dark Shadows secret was only revealed in her tie-in novel, and much more.

(10) NO B5. “J. Michael Straczynski Says With Current Warner Bros. Execs, Babylon 5 Never Going to Happen”Bleeding Cool has the story:

During an extended series of tweets on Thursday evening, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski expressed at length that the award winning science fiction series’ current television rights holder Warner Bros. has no intention of either doing anything with the license themselves, or of letting anyone else do anything with it….

(11) HELP WANTED. Hugo nominee nerds of a feather has put out a call: “New Contributors Wanted: 2018”.

Who we’re looking for: we are looking for people who (1) write well and don’t need extensive copyediting, (b) appreciate our brand of humor, (c) understand and are ready to abide by our established format and scoring system and (d) are otherwise good fits with our voice and style. We are not, however, looking for automatons who agree with the rest of us on anything and everything.

We would also like to note that one of our goals is to feature a diverse range of voices on the topics that matter to us. As such, we encourage writers of all backgrounds to apply.

Caveat: we know lots of you have awesome projects you want everyone to know about, but since these are regular contributor positions, we would like to emphasize that this would not be an appropriate forum to use for promoting that awesomeness (aside from your blogging awesomeness, of course).

(12) WHAT’S THAT SMELL? Here’s a no good very bad article for everyone to disagree with: Olivia Ovenden asks “What’s Going Wrong With Sci-Fi?” at Esquire.

“One of the problems with science fiction,” said Ridley Scott back in 2012 ahead of the release of Prometheus, “is the fact that everything is used up. Every type of spacesuit, every type of spacecraft is vaguely familiar. The corridors are similar, the planets are similar. So what you try to do is lean more heavily on the story and the characters.”

Great science fiction has always done just that. So why have a recent string of releases shown less interest in the story than the spaceships? Is sci-fi a genre in trouble?

(13) PUNCH BROTHERS, PUNCH WITH CARE. Declan Finn says his personal solution would be what Asimov described as “the last resort of the incompetent” — “The John Ringo and ConCarolinas issue”.

I’ve been scratching my head for a while about whether or not I was going to do a blog post for the whole ConCarolinas debacle.

You know, how they told John Ringo that they couldn’t guarantee his safety, etc. THEN the announcement they released about his not attending seemed … poorly managed.

To be honest, I’d never heard of them until this fashla happened. So they made a great first impression on me.

So much so that they convinced to never attend their convention, as a guest or even as just an attendee.

And no, it’s not necessarily “Oh, look what they did to Ringo.”

I am doing something radical. I will take them ENTIRELY AT THEIR WORD that they can’t guarantee the safety of one of their own guests against the angry hordes of Social Justice Zombies.

On THEIR OWN TERMS, I should be concerned to even walk the halls as a regular attendee carrying a John Ringo book. While I have no problem defending myself, I to go conventions to have a good time. I don’t want to spend the majority of the con in cuffs because some dickheads decide “You’re a Ringo fan, therefore you’re [insert cliche lefty insults here]” and therefore I have to beat them senseless.

(14) ERASURE. Sarah A. Hoyt rehashed Sad Puppy history in “Of Conservatives And Conventions” [Internet Archive link] at PJ Media.

…I went over to John Ringo’s page and read about it.  As far as I could tell, a bunch of people on Twitter had been badgering both the con-committee and the other (very leftist) guest about inviting someone who was… what the heck was he?  I don’t know.

In the beginning, the accusation against him was that he was “Puppy Adjacent.”

For those of you wanting to follow this at home, the score card is this: Five years ago, my friend Larry Correia started a movement called Sad Puppies, which was a half joking attempt to get books not of solid leftist bent (not even right wing, just not preachy left) nominated for the Hugo, which used to be one of the most prestigious fan awards in science fiction.

When Larry tired of the game after two years, my friend Brad Torgersen took it over…

Vox Day was a little offended to find that he and the Rabid Puppies have been erased from Hoyt’s version of history — “SJWs in SF: Sad Puppy version” [Internet Archive link.]

I find this rather fascinating for what it omits. The Baen cum Sad Puppies crowd is in an uncomfortable position not terribly different from that of Never Trump and the cuckservatives. They are accustomed to being the sole opposition to the SJWs in science fiction, and viewing themselves as the proper and respectable opposition, so they really don’t know what to do about the Rabid Puppies or the considerably less accommodating opposition that is now represented by Castalia House, Arkhaven, and Dark Legion. Nor do they understand how various trends favor the growth of our influence, in part at their expense.

So, they push a narrative to the public in which we don’t exist, even though without us, Sad Puppies would have remained what it was prior to our involvement, a minor bump in the road that didn’t even require any suppression outside of the usual routine. This is not to say that what they did was not admirable, and indeed, their construction of the Dragon Awards will likely prove to be more significant in the long run than our demolition of the Hugo Awards. I merely observe that their efforts would have been insufficient in our absence.

But unlike the SJW narrative, the Sad Puppy narrative does not harm us at all. I am content to let them push it in peace; after all, they are not the enemy. Right now, we are marshaling our forces and preparing to engage in offensives on multiple fronts, some of which are known and others which will prove to be unexpected….

Let the others trail in our wake at their own pace. As long as they refrain from either attacking us or getting in our way, they are not part of the problem. They are trying to be part of the solution, even if they go about it in different and suboptimal ways.

[Hat tip to Camestros Felapton.]

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. in Stems, Scottish animator Ainslie Henderson shows how he takes found objects and turns them into stop-motion animation.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Steve Green, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mark Hepworth, Andrew Porter, Lise Andreasen, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ky.]

133 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/20/18 A Fool And His Pixels Are Soon Parted

  1. (10) I don’t feel a strong desire to see any new B5 stories, though it would be nice to get a better transfer than the old set of DVDs. The scenes with SFX are hard to watch. That said, I can see why it’s not in Warner Bros. interest to redo it — there’s probably not a large enough market to justify the cost.

  2. @Kiya Nicoll: they booked WHAT? What an utter lot of clueless noobs. I’d feel sorry for them if they were in the middle of nowhere, but they’re in the middle of a large experience pool who could (and maybe tried to) give them a dose of reality. (They were probably like 1990’s dot-commers saying “We’re working with a terrific new idea that invalidates all your experience!”) Those of us who remember SF Expo (which I always pronounced “sphexpo” in honor of Murry Leinster) are not surprised.

    @Russell Letson: I’m no longer current (let my sub lapse a couple of years ago), but when I was reading F&SF there was a regular review column by Charles De Lint and a column (that tended toward more ~difficult material) by a rota of authors including James Sallis and Elizabeth Hand; other names in the unread stack include Chris Moriarty and Michelle West. Perhaps not the Jiants of the past — but I don’t think we’ll ever see people with the scope of Knight or Blish, as the field has grown so much larger.

  3. @Contrarius & @Kip W: I seem to recall I was a little iffy on the k.d. lang version when I first heard it, but it grew on me. That might be one of the variations I own, actually. 🙂

  4. Dear folks,

    Harry Anderson had a loosely fannish connection, as well. When he was in San Francisco he would perform at Carter’s Magic Cellar, the club that Cedric and Jan Clute ran in San Francisco in the mid-late 1970s:

    http://www.calmagic.com/blog/2014/5/14/the-magic-cellar-my-reminiscences-by-gerry-griffin.html

    Cedric and Jan being part of the fannish community, the Cellar became the regular weekend hangout for quite a few SFF authors and fans. And, for some of us, there was modest but welcome money. Terry Garey worked as the “door dragon,” and I washed glasses.

    Not so incidentally, Cedric and Jan also gave the Flying Karamazov Brothers their first break into regular showbiz (a strange story of coincidence in itself) at The Magic Cellar. Some of us can indeed say we “knew them when,” and there are even “px plz” to prove it.

    The Cellar went into a slow but inevitably fatal decline when it and Earthquake McGoons (upstairs) lost their lease. Well, not exactly lost. A new owner bought the building and announced his intention to tear it down and build an office high-rise. The clubs pointed out that they had an unbreakable 99-year lease that applied to the new owner. In return there was suggestions, ever so carefully and obliquely made, that very unfortunate things might happen if the Clutes decided to fight the (illegal) eviction.

    They interpreted this — very likely correctly — as an offer they could not refuse, vacated, and attempted to find other digs. Nothing really worked out, long term. After a year or so, Earthquake’s and the Cellar were history.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  5. @Cthulhim

    Adam Whitehead addressed that question and came to the same conclusion, that because you’d need to rerender all the cgi from scratch it wouldn’t be cost effective:

    This makes putting Babylon 5 through a HD remaster prohibitively expensive. Another conservative estimate of the process is that it would cost between $30 million and $40 million, twice what ST:TNG cost to go through the same process, and ST:TNG struggled to make a profit on its remastering despite being the most-watched and most popular space opera TV show ever made (which is why a HD remastering of Deep Space Nine and Voyager has not taken place yet).

  6. Cthulhim says I don’t feel a strong desire to see any new B5 stories, though it would be nice to get a better transfer than the old set of DVDs. The scenes with SFX are hard to watch. That said, I can see why it’s not in Warner Bros. interest to redo it — there’s probably not a large enough market to justify the cost.

    Is it even possible to get a better transfer than what has been? Or is that the quality of the master tapes? Either way I agree with you that the potential market for new DVDs is too limited for Warner to release them.

    On iTunes, you can purchase the entire series less the films and spinoffs for seventy dollars.

  7. @Cthulhim

    As I understand it the live action was all filmed with the intent of doing wide screen. Unfortunately the sfx were only done in 4:3. To make things worse the original “models” were lost so for the anamorphic DVD release they had to crop the scenes with the accompanying loss of resolution.

    A high def version would require doing the sfx over from scratch.

    Oh and B5 was often a bit too “serious,” the occasional outbreak of levity was welcome.

    ETA ninjad by Mark it appears

  8. @Chip Hitchcock: I suspect that some of what’s going on is that they were trying to model themselves on the big media fandom cons, which tend to wind up in big spaces and book a lot of big stars and so on, when what they really needed to do was target a model a bit more like a sensibly run SFF con.

    I mean, what I’ve seen of their financial logic is also a hot mess, but them trying to take the hot mess and wedge it into a vision that certainly takes more than the $50K or so they had in their starter pool can’t have helped. (I’ve been sort of mental-modeling stuff like “So, if their Kickstarter rewards included membership/hotel rooms, what they should maybe have done is use the hotel rooms they’d already sold as a basis for their room block negotiations and….” but it’s a giant mess regardless.)

    In addition to that there appears to have been an actual scammer involved. FailFandomAnon linked this: https://twitter.com/jazmine_joyner/status/987602592590004228 which has that tracked down, but summary is that one of the people involved has a history of Kickstarters for cons that never happened. Which means best case is that the other runners didn’t do due diligence on their volunteers and their experience, and worst case is the entire thing was a scam to bilk money out of underprivileged fen.

  9. Ah. Declan Finn. Still trying to make himself relevant by inserting himself into a subgroup of fans that don’t particularly want him around except as a diversity token. (That Puppy bandwagon is just not sustainable for those without an independent income, but folks keep trying it anyway.)

  10. Lela E. Buis: In this instance, they’ve been bullied by their invited guests and attendees.

    No, they haven’t. One of a con’s responsibilities is to ensure an enjoyable, harassment-free environment for their guests. Given Ringo’s 38-page first-hand account of how he behaves at conventions (and the screeds which he’s posted since it was announced that he will no longer be attending ConCarolinas), he clearly has a huge problem in not treating other convention guests with respect, even harassing them.

    It was ConCarolinas’ responsibility to investigate members’ concerns. Instead, the con chair followed the people who were complaining on Facebook to their own walls and essentially told them to shut up. In addition, that person posted what appeared to be thinly-veiled threats to revoke without refund the memberships of members who were concerned about the hostile environment Ringo himself brags about creating.

     
    Lela E. Buis: Clearly they’ve also had concerns about guaranteeing Ringo’s safety.

    There’s no evidence of that whatsoever. It looks to me like an excuse the con chair made up, instead of admitting that the evidence which had been presented of Ringo’s past bad behavior at cons was pretty damning, and admitting that the con had been hemorrhaging members and panelists since the announcement of Ringo as a guest, and could not afford to lose so many participants.

  11. (5) Obvious noobs at planning ANY event, scammers aside. And didn’t know anyone old enough to tell them the tale of Baltimore Worldcon’s 1983 fiasco involving the giant fees of said convention center. And at least 1983 was more reasonable about hotel choice; I was at a downscale Holiday Inn where my roomies and I could scrape up enough cash every morning to pay the next night’s bill lest we be tossed out onto the mean streets of Bulmer.

    @JJ: I suspect many, many panelists told ConCarolinas they weren’t coming if Ringo the Rude was. Particularly by anyone who’d had the misfortune to be on a panel with him at other cons. Thus the con would have giant gaps in their programming.

    Probably a fair number of attendees as well, necessitating refunds (or bad faith no-refunds, like the clueless con chair threatened) and loss of the so-important hotel nights. We know enough members said they wouldn’t be there if Ringo was, since the chair got all snippy about denying them refunds for that reason alone.

    Watch the con go down in flames, or toss an extra, late addition? Easy choice.

    That con chair shouldn’t do it again, and should never ever be allowed to work on PR for anything. Don’t let ’em tweet, ffs.

    @Lis Reba: good thread.

  12. (14) On Ringo, the origins of the Sad Puppies, and “Puppy adjacency” – There is an anecdote that I don’t believe I’ve recounted anywhere which may shed some light on this subject. There’s not much to the anecdote itself, but the context is critical.

    Some may remember that I used to be a regular at LibertyCon, which then had earned the nickname “BaenCon” and hosted several authors and many fans who are now described as Puppies or Puppy-adjacent, but at the time there was no such thing. Larry Correia attended – once, I think – before starting the Sad Puppies, and this incident happened before the Puppies and (I believe but am not certain) before his first appearance there.

    Here it is. In a con-public space, I heard it stated as a Known Fact that John Ringo had been cheated out of a place on a Hugo ballot.

    I do not recall which year or for which book, or whether the person specified such, but the allegation was that nominations for Ringo were either not counted or thrown out… and that had this not happened, the book would have appeared on the ballot. Again, this was asserted as a known fact rather than as theory or supposition, and I should state that I did not hear it from John (or, to my recollection, from anyone formally associated with Baen, although I believe there was an implication that Baen was aware of this incident).

    And then, after attending LibertyCon at least once (I forget whether his second visit was pre- or post-SP), Larry Correia stated something strikingly similar as justification when starting Sad Puppies… without naming John Ringo. (But that’s definitely the connection I made when I heard about SP and read Correia’s claims.)

    I cannot prove that there is a connection. It may be that what I heard was the one-time speculation of a solitary crank, although I consider that unlikely given his complete confidence and the way that he spoke of it as something commonly known. It may also be that Correia never heard the story, and that his parallel accusations of Known Hugo Rigging Against Conservatives were purely coincidental. I mean, I wasn’t exactly hanging out with him when he hatched his plan; I wasn’t privy to those discussions. The most I can confidently say is that, if this factoid and the birth of the Puppies are unrelated, it at least demonstrates that there was an audience prepared to believe Correia’s claims when he launched his campaign.

    But fans gossip, especially likeminded fans, and most particularly fans who self-identify as part of a named niche group (e.g. the Barflies). And LibertyCon’s a pretty small convention with a high percentage of regulars.

    Anyway, it strikes me as a damned peculiar dot in the timeline. Always has. No smoking gun, no hard evidence, but… damned peculiar.

  13. That was a memorable Disclave. Even before the floodgates opened, there was water running down the window wall, making me worry about the electrical outlet there. Then at whatever ungodly hour it was, the alarms went off and we had to go outside. I brought a pillow and sacked in the car as best I could. I could see water gushing from the side of the hotel several floors up (I seem to recall the fourth was where the original idiocy happened that caused it).

    Then when we went back in, there was the unique phenomenon of ceiling tiles full of water, giving way and plopping randomly in front of the elevators like sodden pancakes dropped from a great height. I didn’t hear of those hitting anyone.

    I expect that most have heard my favorite nickname for the con (not sure who came up with it), “20,000 Leaks Under DC.” You had to be there.

  14. @Chip Hitchcock:

    The first reviewer I followed devotedly was Baird Searles who reviewed for Asimov’s in the late 1970s through the 1980s. For some reason, whatever books he liked, I tended to like as well, and I missed him sorely when he was gone.

  15. I was commuting to Disclave that year. Arriving Sunday morning, with no idea what had happened, and gradually hearing the details, was a memorable enough experience.

  16. @Lurkertype: “I suspect many, many panelists [and probably a fair number of attendees] told ConCarolinas they weren’t coming if Ringo the Rude was.”

    Please forgive the splice-for-brevity in the above quote, but I did it to juxtapose the scale of the posited shock factor.

    I have attended ConCarolinas one time, a few years ago. (EDIT: 2010.) It was a last-minute thing, because a friend was driving and wanted company on the road because it’s a five-hour trek, but I got a good story out of it. (My mother’s a Richard Hatch fangirl, and he was there. Treated me and the friend to dinner and signed a glossy photo for her. She was over the moon… but I digress.)

    Anyway, John Ringo was a panelist at that ConCarolinas. I even managed to catch one of the panels he was on, and there was no shouting.

    I keep hearing about ConCarolinas and John Ringo as if they’re a sooper-lefty convention that knew nothing of The Mighty Ringo – but it ain’t so. I was there; I know better. Hoyt even points out in her piece that ConCarolinas has a history of being Baen-friendly; that meshes with my experience.

    It may well be that there has been an upheaval in their concom, staff, and audience between then and now, but I find it difficult to believe that the convention’s institutional memory is quite that short. Ringo should not have been a surprise factor for them. This sounds like something that’s being/been blown way out of proportion.

  17. Rev. Bob: In a con-public space, I heard it stated as a Known Fact that John Ringo had been cheated out of a place on a Hugo ballot. I do not recall which year or for which book, or whether the person specified such, but the allegation was that nominations for Ringo were either not counted or thrown out… and that had this not happened, the book would have appeared on the ballot. Again, this was asserted as a known fact rather than as theory or supposition… Anyway, it strikes me as a damned peculiar dot in the timeline. Always has. No smoking gun, no hard evidence, but… damned peculiar.

    I’m going to call “bullshit” on that, and here’s why.

    This is “a bunch of Ringo fans knew that they’d all nominated Ringo’s book, yet it didn’t make the ballot, so they angrily claimed that their votes got discarded, and it has passed into their con lore as some sort of ‘fact’ “.

    The reason I don’t believe this is that the Hugo Awards have been publicly releasing all of the nomination and voting totals since it was made a requirement of the WSFS Constitution starting in (IIRC) 1989. If, say, XX Ringo fans knew that they’d nominated his book, and the longlist showed works which had gotten less than XX nominations but the Ringo book wasn’t listed, then they could prove that their nominations had been tossed out. (Of course, if the longlist didn’t go as far down to XX nominations, then XX nominations wouldn’t have been enough to get his book onto the longlist, never mind the ballot.)

    But no such proof was ever produced. According to ISFDB, Ringo’s earliest SF publication was 2001. The longlist stats are out there for that year, and every year since — and yet no list of Ringo fans has ever come forward saying, “We all nominated his book, and it should therefore show up on the longlist with at least that many nominations, but it didn’t.”

    Just like all of the Puppy claims about dishonesty in the Hugos, this is another one which has been repeated so many times amongst the Puppies and Puppy-adjacent that they have decided it is fact, rather than pure imagination and grudgery.

  18. The impression I got from the con chair’s posts was that they were miffed about losing what they perceived to be a good guest over what they felt was a wild over-reaction – so wild that they were concerned it might turn physical. I didn’t at all get the impression that they were trying to save face over no longer wanting Ringo as a guest due to his past behaviour. Unless I missed something?

    Please note: I am not endorsing any of what I perceive to be the con chair’s views.

  19. Meredith: I didn’t at all get the impression that they were trying to save face over no longer wanting Ringo as a guest due to his past behaviour.

    I don’t think that they were. It’s quite clear that the con chair didn’t see any problem with Ringo’s past behavior, desperately wanted to keep Ringo as a guest, and resented like hell having to do otherwise.

    I think that they were trying to save face over having to remove Ringo because the con would no longer be viable with so many members and panelists choosing not to attend — and over not wanting to admit that was the reason why Ringo was removed.

  20. @Rev. Bob: 8 years is long enough for a big turnover in institutional memory, believe me.

    And it’s been a sea change in the way people conceptualize (har) how they should be treated by institutions. People aren’t willing to put up with bullying, harassment, and other such misbehavior.

    I suspect, when it came down to it, they were given a choice between having Ringo or having a lot of other panelists, and asked him not to come, which has been blown up into “the SJWs want to kill Ringo!” (With what? Sarcasm, patchouli, and old copies of Ms. Magazine?)

    I suspect, given public statements, that the con chair simply flipped out and panicked everywhere about everything. That’s where the initial overreaction came from, I’d guess. Pure Chicken Little squawking.

    And money — they probably don’t give a damn about Ringo’s long history of being a bad panelist and so didn’t think anyone else would either. Surprise! People of all political persuasions don’t like terrible panelists!

    Of course, in 9924, we’re far beyond all this.

  21. @JJ:

    Oh, I quite believe that the assertion made was false. What is significant to me was that it was accepted as truth by some subset of that population. There is a key difference between “asserted as factual” and “actually factual.”

    In other words, if there was already a base of “Hugo tampering truthers” citing that “known fact” as their “evidence,” that could be how the whole Puppy campaign came to be. How Correia got radicalized, so to speak.

  22. @JJ

    Oh, I must have misunderstood this bit then: “It looks to me like an excuse the con chair made up, instead of admitting that the evidence which had been presented of Ringo’s past bad behavior at cons was pretty damning”

    I thought you were saying they thought that rather than that you thought that. Never mind. 🙂

  23. The con chair didn’t want to admit their old panel pal isn’t such a draw nowadays. AND the chair probably got poked in their entitlement gland and responded all “How DARE these people not give us their money and time without question!”

  24. Meredith, I didn’t phrase that very well, but my point was that while the con chair didn’t agree at all with the people who were complaining, it wasn’t as if the chair was going to be able to argue that the evidence was false, given that it was in Ringo’s own words — and if they’d tried to argue that they thought the cited behavior was okay (which it kind of seems that they do), they’d have been in for an even bigger shitstorm.

  25. I recall hearing of the Ringo Was Robbed story, and if memory serves, it was he received a lot of votes for the Campbell, but he was not listed as a finalist because his window for qualifying had closed. He was under the mistaken impression that it was based on one’s first novel rather than first pro sale (and he had been selling shorter works for years), so he was convinced that he was REALLY removed from the finalists for nefarious reasons.

  26. Marshall Ryan Maresca: I recall hearing of the Ringo Was Robbed story, and if memory serves, it was he received a lot of votes for the Campbell, but he was not listed as a finalist because his window for qualifying had closed.

    Ah, well, that would be consistent with their outcry when JCW’s previously-published novelette was removed from the ballot in 2015 — because, of course, the Hugo Admins had clearly just made up that rule, rather than enforcing rules which had existed for decades. 🙄

  27. @Cat, @IanP: While it’s not practical to create a high-def version, they could have done the transfer better. Either they could have given up on widescreen and transferred it as it was originally broadcast (which I understand is how it’s being shown on VUDU, and maybe iTunes), or they could have scaled the SFX scenes with a different process to get better quality, as described here.

    *shrug* It is what it is. At least I have some version of it I can watch it with my daughter. It’s been very prescient lately.

  28. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 4-22-18 - Amazing Stories

  29. @Kiya Nicholls: I don’t see modeling after a giant media convention working; AFAICT those all took time to grow. (The 4-decades-past NYC STrekcon that got oversold by Ticketmaster(?) and shut down by the fire department might be an exception — but it had no competition.) Like I said: clueless noobs. Interesting to hear fraud (or at least peculation?) may also have been involved.

    @Kip W: if the leaks had been under DC they wouldn’t have mattered — as shown by the hotel hosting a huge leather convention just a few years later, in the 2/3-buried hall we called the Bunker.

    @Lurkertype:

    the chair probably got poked in their entitlement gland and responded all “How DARE these people not give us their money and time without question!”

    There’s way too many people whose attitude is “It’s my [area] and I’ll burn it down if I want to!” (attested quoted, but I’m not 100% confident of the attester.) I’ve dealt locally with a milder version, concom who say that there’s no obligation whatsoever to members to keep whatever the concom’er doesn’t like or remove something they favor. (There was even an argument where one entitled fan’s remark could have been rendered metaphorically as “Let them eat cake!”…)

  30. A further thought: high convention-center expenses were not, from what I saw at the time, a major part of Baltimore-1983 going bankrupt; they knew going in what the CC would cost and that they couldn’t work without it given how big Worldcons had been recently. (Note the existence of a track record….) The obvious budget-breaker was the Diamondvision, which may have made for a better Masquerade and Hugo Awards than anyone else had done but was not affordable. (There were reports at the time that it had been axed at the top level and put back in by somebody who in a firmly-organized concom couldn’t have done that on their own.) There were also reports (later contradicted) that they planned on twice the at-the-door memberships of the previous east-coast Worldcon despite having no larger a population to draw from. However it happened, they did manage to put on a good convention rather than collapsing; given that and the fact that they hadn’t been obviously insanely optimistic, fandom more-or-less rallied around and paid off most of their debt (~~10% of the convention’s total cost).

  31. @Chip Hitchcock: Nicoll! Like my infamously Disastrous Not-Actually-Relative James!

    I’ve seen some people speculating that they were modeling on Otakon, which does run out of the BCC these days and pulls over 20K attendees, but apparently nobody involved had the faintest clue that Otakon started as a 350-person con its first year.

    I do wonder now how much access the people involved had to fannish institutional memory and whether they felt they could ask if they did know people, given they were explicitly trying to make space for marginalized fen who were not part of the relevant insitutions. If there’s a lot of peeking-through-the-shop-window going on a lot of the shape of the particular clueless noobery strikes me as very explicable. (I may just be being unhip and out of the loop but I feel like it’s a lot harder to get a handle on fannish institutional memory with the fracturing of the social internet; I’m pretty sure a lot of people younger than me have never *heard* of rasseff, which is where I got my 101s.)

    Goodness knows the fallout from this mess is going to be some time falling out, though, before we have any sense of all the factors involved.

    @Everyone talking about the Ringo thing: I chatted briefly with an acquaintance who’s one of the complainants about the invite and they commented that they were getting amazing amounts of harassment, abuse, and occasional threats. (Not surprising in the present-day internet world, really.) They say they sent evidence of the harassment to the conchair and got blocked for their trouble.

    (I got their permission to share that much here, with a request of please anonymity because they’re wading through enough nasty nonsense, thanks.)

  32. Ah, well, that would be consistent with their outcry when JCW’s previously-published novelette was removed from the ballot in 2015 — because, of course, the Hugo Admins had clearly just made up that rule, rather than enforcing rules which had existed for decades.

    Well in that case, there is the problem that they had broken that rule with Scalzi – probably just because they didn’t know about the previous publication, in which case this clearly doesn’t count as a binding precedent, but still.

  33. Andrew M: Well in that case, there is the problem that they had broken that rule with Scalzi – probably just because they didn’t know about the previous publication, in which case this clearly doesn’t count as a binding precedent, but still.

    It’s my understanding that Old Man’s War was the first instance of a work which had been serialized on the internet later being published as a novel which was nominated for a Hugo, that there was no Hugo precedent for dealing with such a thing, and that the reason it was allowed onto the ballot was because at the time internet publishing was still a nascent thing and no one really knew how to handle it.

    Unsurprisingly, the argument “that Hugo Admin in that other year screwed up and let a previously-published work onto the ballot, so you should, too” does not seem to carry much weight with Hugo Administrators.

  34. @Rev. Bob

    This sounds like something that’s being/been blown way out of proportion.

    That’s what I’m thinking too. This sort of thing is starting to remind me of the Day-care sexual abuse hysteria of the 80s and 90s. The danger with frivolous accusations is that eventually people will conclude that all accusations are frivolous.

  35. Hugo darling Connie Willis got tossed off the Campbell ballot for *one* short story that was published as kind of a fluke years before she started selling properly. So someone being removed for >1 short publications is completely consistent with the rules. And that was in the all-paper days.

    But it seems the rules aren’t supposed to apply to conservatives. And on that note…

    @Kiya: Sorry for your friend, but am completely unsurprised. No concern for their safety, but plenty of worry about right-wingers’ entitlement and hurt fee-fees. Such fragile little snowflakes.

    For their own good, the con needs to dump that con chair. S/he shouldn’t be allowed to do social media on their behalf ever again. I realize they might not want to do that this close to the con (esp. since they seem to be circling the wagons, victim-blaming, and denying anything’s wrong), but ffs don’t let her do it again. Blocking people because they inform you they’re being threatened is stupid as well as all kinds of wrong. Bad PR.

    I went back to the original roundup of reactions when this kerpupple first started. (Earlier this month. Eeesh.) It’s instructive. All direct quotes, no editorializing.

    https://file770.com/?p=41735

  36. Rev. Bob: This sounds like something that’s being/been blown way out of proportion.

    Greg Hullender: That’s what I’m thinking too. This sort of thing is starting to remind me of the Day-care sexual abuse hysteria of the 80s and 90s.

    Oh, FFS. That 38-page document is more than enough proof that Ringo is not a suitable panelist for any convention — and it’s in his own words.

    The people who complained about him being made a Special Guest at ConCarolinas had good reason to do so.

    Any con which wants to include him on their programming should announce that before they start taking memberships, so that those who don’t want to be around the sort of toxicity he and his sycophants practice are able to opt out without having lost time, money or effort on arranging to attend that con.

     
    Greg Hullender: The danger with frivolous accusations is that eventually people will conclude that all accusations are frivolous.

    That, right there, is Chapter 1 of How To Suppress Womens’ Attempts To Say No To Harassment. 🙄

  37. Ringo and his pals are the ones blowing things out of proportion, frankly. Attacking innocent people, playing at being martyrs.

    They can’t admit their own bad behavior of harassing people who’ve decided not to attend an entirely optional event at their own expense.

    And they’re sticking up for a man whose self-admitted behavior makes him a bad con guest and a terrible con panelist.

  38. (12) That smell is not the decline of SF, it’s the decline of writing at Esquire. To paraphrase one of the quoted reviewers: “What did I just read?”

  39. @JJ

    Oh, FFS. That 38-page document is more than enough proof that Ringo is not a suitable panelist for any convention — and it’s in his own words.

    I still haven’t seen this “38-page document” you’re talking about. I’d be interested to see what was in it that justified all of this. All I’ve heard so far are specific references to his politics and vague statements about him being rude on panels. I want to hear what he did to justify this–not what he thought or believed that led to it.

    That, right there, is Chapter 1 of How To Suppress Womens’ Attempts To Say No To Harassment.

    No, the most effective way to suppress women’s attempts to say no to harassment is to cry “wolf!” when there’s no justification.

  40. @Kiya Nicoll: apology for the typo — normally I check, this time I goofed. I get that these people were trying to make room for the ~marginalized, but there’s this thing called “due diligence” — somebody should have thought to ask. Well, now they know, and maybe they’ll be able to get rid of the questionable character and build something worthwhile by restarting with more-plausible goals.

  41. @ Lis

    I wouldn’t say that. Perfectly possible to miss a thread here and there or just not keep up with one if it keeps going for a few days, and I don’t think it really came up in the Scrolls except indirectly. We all miss stuff sometimes.

    Although I would generally recommend looking for the evidence in the most likely places before opining over whether something has been an over-reaction.

  42. I am curious: Is your misquote of Declan Finn intentional, or simply incompetence?

    Because the omitted “in self defense” gives the statement an entirely different tone and meaning.

    Don’t worry, I don’t expect a retraction, correction OR apology. Your history of such incidents is obvious.

  43. @Merideth
    Thanks. I read the first bit of it. Are you talking about passages like this one?

    The moderator was fine, he felt it necessary to “keep me in check” because I will take over a panel if I get bored by the other panelists. (Alas, common.) Pretty sure I’ve been on a panel with him before and I didn’t take it amiss. And in general everything went fine. But Elizabeth Massie, with whom I’ve done probably a dozen panels, for want of a better word or phrase “jumped my shit” about “let somebody else talk for ONCE…”

    First thing I noticed is that this is from twelve years ago. That makes it hard to believe that this document is why he got disinvited from the con. Is there any evidence that anyone in the current episode actually complained about his poor behavior on panels? Everything I saw was someone citing his politics as the reason they didn’t want to be on a panel with him. Not his poor manners on panels. The manners argument seems to be something someone dug up after the fact.

    And there should be something a lot more recent than twelve years ago. Isn’t there a blog post or twitter thread from at least one person saying “I’ve been on panels with this guy, and it’s long overdue that someone showed him the door?”

    I’ll also add that I wanted this info to give to people I know on the other side. Something to let me say, “see, it wasn’t about his politics.” But I couldn’t find anything, and the 38-page memo is disappointing.

  44. Greg Hullender: Is there any evidence that anyone actually complained about his poor behavior on panels?

    Consider reading, in their entirety, the comments on the 3 posts I’ve linked above, instead of asking people to re-hash all of the discussion for your benefit. There are links to more recent posts by Ringo, as well as descriptions of what people have experienced.

  45. @Greg Hullender

    My name isn’t spelt like that.

    I suggest you search the document for the word Tits, since that’s what he so charmingly nicknamed the audience member who he informed at one point that he’d been ogling every time he wasn’t pontificating, for which he blamed her clothing. I call that sexual harassment, personally, but apparently he considers it a witty if rude comeback worth boasting about.

    When there’s a 38-page document skimming the beginning probably isn’t going to give you the whole picture.

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