Pixel Scroll 5/15/17 Scroll Sat Alone On His File Of Stone, And Pixeled And Godstalked A Bare Old Bone

(1) ADVANCED ALT-MARKETING. Jon Del Arroz is convinced you can sell more books if you fight with the right people. And the right people are on the left.

His business had a good day on Monday, as he garnered negative attention from Paul Weimer, and tangled on Twitter with SF Bluestocking’s Bridget McKinney.

Things got rolling after this Weimer tweet:

Jon took all that back to his blog and positioned himself as a staunch defender of Anne McCaffrey against a benighted feminist in “The Cult Of The New And Its Destruction Of Culture”.

…It started because I was talking to a Tordotcom reviewer. A Hugo Nominated Fanzine writer chimed in to tell me how irrelevant I am by referencing my last novel, how she looked up “Rescue Run” and found that there was “nothing in sci-fi that returned on a google search”.

I corrected, of course, stating not only is there my extremely highly regarded, award nominated and well-reviewed book, but that I chose the title intentionally as an homage to the late great Anne McCaffrey, who wrote a book by the same name. This work was demeaned by her first as “it’s only a short story” (It’s a novella, actually) and this person who is nominated for the Hugo Award for fanzine work, retorted to that by calling Anne Mccaffrey “old and irrelevant.”

… And of Hugos? This fanzine writer who writes self-described “feminist” commentary on science fiction is attacking the first woman ever to win the award! For shame! It boggles my mind to see this kind of lack of reverence for her.

When it comes to protecting the reputation of Anne McCaffrey, I didn’t know Jon had a dog in this fight. Now I know he’s got at least a puppy.

(2) HIGH ON KYLO. If you think the death of Han Solo might make people question having children at all, that’s because you haven’t met last year’s crop of new parents: “Turning to the Dark Side: Kylo is the fastest growing baby name in the US in honor of the latest Star Wars villain” — the Daily Mail has the story.

  • The name, inspired by Star Wars’ Kylo Ren, has jumped a massive 1,467 spaces
  • Popular culture also inspired parents to name their girls after popstar Kehlani
  • The most popular boys’ name is still Noah and it’s Emma for girls once again
  • Despite being in news every day, Donald and Hillary proved unpopular names

… The Social Security Administration released its annual list of the 1,000 most popular baby names for 2016 on Friday.

(3) ANOTHER CAPTAIN ON ANOTHER BRIDGE. This part is obvious – The Verge says “Seth MacFarlane’s upcoming TV series looks like a parody of classic space adventure shows” – but the idea that it takes inspiration from GalaxyQuest is hopeful.


Why do the Imperial Stormtroopers all appear to be left-handed?  It’s because their ammunition magazines on their weapons are on the left side, so it’s easier to hold the guns left-handed.

So is this Lego Storm Trooper inaccurately showing a right-hander?


And while we’re on the subject of Star Wars, did you know….? (Via Scifihistory.net.)

(6) BOOTHE OBIT. Powers Boothe, who appeared in Deadwood and Sin City died May 15 at the age of 68. Boothe also played Gideon Malick in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first in The Avengers (2012), then on TV in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


  • Born May 15, 1856 – L. Frank Baum

(8) HEADQUARTERS IN THE SADDLE. Gamer and comic owner lives the life as a jouster: “The boss who lives as a medieval knight”.

Given how Jason spends his weekends, you might imagine that his day job is equally daring, that he is some sort of professional stuntman.

Instead, he is the chief executive of one of the UK’s largest computer games companies – Rebellion Developments.

Jason set up the Oxford-based business with his younger brother Chris in 1992, and today it has an annual turnover of more than £25m.

Still wholly owned by the two siblings, its best-selling titles include Sniper Elite and Rogue Trooper.

For the past 17 years the company has also owned cult UK comic book series 2000 AD, and publishes a range of novels.

(9) CALLING DR. DYSON. Maybe there is a Ringworld? “The most mysterious star in the galaxy”.

The starlight dips in an irregular pattern, suggesting that something is intermittently blocking the star. This bizarre behaviour, first reported in autumn 2015 and not seen in any other star, has scientists baffled. Researchers have proposed a myriad of explanations, including black holes, comet swarms, and interstellar clouds. But a conclusive answer remains elusive. And one hypothesis in particular has raised eyebrows: aliens.

Yes, aliens.

Perhaps, researchers have posited, an advanced alien civilisation has constructed a vast structure encircling their star, maybe an enormous power plant that harnesses the star’s energy. When parts of the structure pass in front of the star, it creates dips in the starlight.

(10) I HEARD THE NEWS TODAY. A local Albuquerque TV station recently  devoted 1-minute video bio to — “George R.R. Martin Living and Loving New Mexico”.

(11) UNLUCKY STRIKE. The Chicxulub asteroid hit “the worst possible place”:

Scientists who drilled into the impact crater associated with the demise of the dinosaurs summarise their findings so far in a BBC Two documentary on Monday.

…It is becoming clear that the 15km-wide asteroid could not have hit a worse place on Earth.

The shallow sea covering the target site meant colossal volumes of sulphur (from the mineral gypsum) were injected into the atmosphere, extending the “global winter” period that followed the immediate firestorm.

Had the asteroid struck a different location, the outcome might have been very different.

“This is where we get to the great irony of the story – because in the end it wasn’t the size of the asteroid, the scale of blast, or even its global reach that made dinosaurs extinct – it was where the impact happened,” said Ben Garrod, who presents The Day The Dinosaurs Died with Alice Roberts.

(12) ORION DELAYED. And we’re getting farther from returning to the Moon — “NASA nixes Trump’s moonshot plan” reports The Register.

NASA will miss its deadline for the first flight of the Orion capsule and the Space Launch System, with the launch moved from 2018 to 2019.

The agency’s Bill Gerstenmaier also told media in a briefing last Friday that as well as delaying the first flight (designated Exploration Mission One, EM-1), the EM-2 mission that will carry astronauts will probably miss its original 2021 date.

In February, the new Trump administration asked NASA to assess the feasibility of changing the EM-1 mission, planned as an uncrewed jaunt into cislunar space between Earth and Luna, to instead carry human cargo around the moon.

NASA has concluded that it can’t justify the cost of such a change to the schedule.

(13) FLYING TOYOTA IN YOUR FUTURE? The car maker pushes in a big stack of chips: “Toyota ‘backs flying car project’ in Japan”.

Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced its backing for a group of engineers who are developing a flying car.

It will give 40 million yen (£274, 000) to the Cartivator group that operates outside Toyota city in central Japan.

The Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota and its group companies have agreed in principle to support the project.

So far crowdfunding has paid for development of the so-called Skydrive car, which uses drone technology and has three wheels and four rotors.

(14) GIFTED CHILDREN. Here is the trailer for Fox’s series The Gifted, set in the X-Men universe. It will air this fall.

(15) INSTANT CLASSIC. Bill filed the numbers off an old earworm in this update to “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”

With apologies to Allan Sherman

Hello Scrolls and Hello Pixels
Many posts are just for ticks. You’ll
Find that some are entertaining.
But not those that end up being all mansplaining.

I follow daily the blog of Glyer.
And I’ve become a faithful Filer.
You remember Rabid Puppies?
Their campaign to win the Hugos got them bupkis.

Some folks come here to rant and foment
But I’d prefer a Meredith Moment
A nice movie for my Roku,
Or a book to put on top of Mount Tsudoku.

Let’s go scroll, we pixel filers
Let’s go scroll, my reading pile has
Climbed so high. It’s not so long til the
Ballots are due in Helsinki.

I see my comment is second fifth.
It’s regarding Bob Asprin’s Myth.
But it’s missing a URL link
So I shall leave and appertain myself a cold drink.

[Thanks to Lex Berman, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to  File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

166 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/15/17 Scroll Sat Alone On His File Of Stone, And Pixeled And Godstalked A Bare Old Bone

  1. re: McCaffrey

    I was speaking to a therapist some time ago and culture, and then McCaffrey, came up. In my musings, I wondered whether I’d have been better served in my late teens if I’d read less of the Robert Jordan and David Eddings, with their protagonists discovering their the Chosen One and finding their Destined Loves, and more of some of the fantasy and sci fi that had a more accurate view of things.

    I’d been thinking of the Pern books in my head, in fact, which I hadn’t read in ages, but remembered a lack of general prophecy save the time loop and the female characters. I revisited them and had a similar reaction; namely, the holy crap, this is pretty rape-y and really classist. But still, at times I have to say the characters could sometimes feel more real, and less toxic, than a lot of the other fantasy I’d read at that age.

    So I thought the books hadn’t held up as well, but could still see their appeal in the sff community… and some of the issues the genre has had.

  2. @Robert Adam Gilmour–Just wondering if people here are so attached to the franchise news because it’s so easy to find elsewhere?
    I think attached is the wrong description.
    Speaking for myself (as we all do here), I don’t browse a lot of other sites because I have other things to do and Mr. Glyer’s is constantly fresh and interesting. I’ll follow links to others, but his is, for me, the most consistently interesting. The only other one I read on a consistant basis is “Whatever” and Tor when I remember.
    I just skim over what I’m not interested in. Links, topics or arguments/discussions.
    Doctor Who? Never liked it-even in the 70s. Marvel? Yawn. I was a DC boy. For me, the main (mostly) attraction is the books that I’d never have thought about or heard of or just set aside.
    Granted, I haven’t always liked them, but I gave them a shot because others here did.

  3. Keeping in mind that as a kid, I myself loved the Pern stories, and their problematic issues went whizzing right over my head… and that even now, I look back with a nostalgic fondness for them, even though I know they are highly problematic, and I have difficulty separating the artist (‘tentpeg’) from the work (which is my issue, not anyone elses)… I still had to comment thus:

    @Kurt Busiek, re ‘rape fantasies’: So-o-o-o-o, basically ‘Dragonriders of Gor?’

  4. @Ghostbird: If robinareid gets to be a pain to type out, feel free to use robin: I mostly chose that username for posting here (when I stopped posting under my fannish pseud) so I could remember which of the emails I tied the account to!

    Theory is hard to read: it takes a lot of energy period. I tell my students to read it in small bits, at the “best” time of the day for their brains, and to do it over time, not try to sit down and read the whole week’s assignment in one blitz right before the online discussion assignment is due. (I can guess whether they follow the advice by the quality of their responses!). I was working my way through Ahmed’s QP for about a year before teaching it in my class.

    If you’ve been reading Ahmed’s blog, then you’re in good shape for the books (which somehow, as my grad students and I agreed, are both incredible DENSE and incredible CLEAR if you take the time to read carefully.).

    @Dawn: *heh* I could not remember at all, but then I don’t remember what people look like very well (in real life or fiction). I too want mini-telepathic dragons!

    World Weary: I wonder if anybody’s done a study of all the changes in the cultures/worldbuilding over time—there’s so much to work through. People are doing some fascinating stuff working with the History of Middle Earth series Christopher Tolkien published, seeing all the changes in the “legendarium” (Tolkien seemed to conceptualize it as all one work). But I don’t know about McCaffrey scholarship. I seem to remember reading one Woodiwiss back in the day, but it was set in Anglo Saxon England, I think—with a Norman invader. I never could get into Barbara Cartland. I liked some of the more contemporary novels (before the romance genre was formularized by Harlequin) focusing on women’s lives (Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels being a favorite), as well as some of the historical ones that were not rapey (but tended to focus on Major Historical Figures, like queens).

    @Robert Adam Gilmour: joining a few others in saying that not everything Mike posts interests me equally, but the range/scope of what he does post is AMAZING (and I enjoy skimming quite a few of the posts that aren’t in my main areas of interest), and the commenters here are also amazing in the variety and scope of their fannish interests and knowledge (and professional interests and knowledge if it comes to that).

    Second JJ’s comment about getting fantastic recs for books and authors and all sorts of other stuff (and heck, adding blogs to my rss feed over at Dreamwidth). Overflowing FONT this place is (plus the filk).

    @Chip: I wasn’t exactly doing an analysis so much as a bit of a memory dump (and the post was pretty damn long as it was). Yes, there was the minor nobility (Lessa’s father was one such)—I was focusing on the hierarchy in the Weyrs. But the “holds” in general seem to function like the manors/castles, etc. (yes a range of nobilities, but no middle class)—and I doubt consent was any more valued there (remembering Jaxom’s descent on the peasant wench in the fields).

    After twenty plus years of living and working with a medievalist, I don’t try to even talk about “accuracy” (the best one can say is “makes good use of the scholarship of the time about what was known as ‘medieval’). I wasn’t questioning the books’ honesty, whatever that means, but the use of the social structure and the gender hierarchies and the “realities” that many female characters would have experienced, specifically rape.

    Re: McCaffrey: some people do become much more conservative when they grow older. I haven’t been able to talk to my mother about politics for about 15 years because of the Fox Kool-Aid’s impact on her politics (though there are other causes as well).

    Norton’s male protagonists as outcasts: yep, on that you and I can agree 1000%. They were “Other,” outcasts (class or ethnicity or mixes of both), in a way that I found, at least, unique. I read Heinlein before Norton I think and was reading both at the same time. Heinlein tried something like that with one book—Thorby? A young man who is a slave who turns out to be lost heir of rich corporate house, but it was nothing like Norton. Norton stood the test of my growing up/older much better.

    @Rose Embolism: Slowly a million Kirk/Spock fikkers turn and glare…

    *offers you this shiny new internet for best comment of the day*

    A friend of mine on LJ/Dreamwidth is a member of the Man from Uncle Fandom which definitely preceded Trek – and was doing a lot of the same things (including fanfic, I think she said) but which didn’t get the press Trek did (and I think she once said some of the MFU people went into Trek as well).

    TYP: But still, at times I have to say the characters could sometimes feel more real, and less toxic, than a lot of the other fantasy I’d read at that age.

    I haven’t tried to reread (want to keep what I loved shiny), but I agree which is part of the complexity of the whole discussion.

    @Harold: Yep, I only read regularly here (though I have a lot of blogs on my feed at Dreamwidth—but that is more skim-reading not engaged reading and certainly not commentary).

    Of relevance to the discussion today, may I recommend Judith Tarr’s excellent From Dark to Dark: Yes, Women Have Always Written Space Opera” over at Tor. She ends by asking for “space operas written by women who are not Le Guin or Bujold or Leckie” so there are recs in the comment thread.

  5. @Chip Hitchcock: “…why is it not growing up with you? Looks big to be unweaned, and might be more sociable if it grew up in your company”

    Most of my cat experience has been with grown-up ones, but as my parents are now planning to get some kittens I’ve been hearing lots of advice about those, and the overwhelming consensus seems to be that putting the cat in its new home as early as possible once it’s technically been weaned does not improve the cat’s social skills; it’s more likely to produce a nervous, bitey cat. As long as the kitten is also getting some exposure to humans, it’s more important for it to have at least 10 weeks of cat family time. At least that’s how it’s been explained to me.

  6. When we got our Russian Blue, Asimov, the breeder only let him come to us after he’d reached 10 weeks old, so that he would be socialised properly with the other cats (10 of them!) in her home.

    Our other cat was originally rescued as a small kitten from the streets and despite being older seems less mature and flightier.

  7. Says robinreid: @Robert Adam Gilmour: joining a few others in saying that not everything Mike posts interests me equally, but the range/scope of what he does post is AMAZING (and I enjoy skimming quite a few of the posts that aren’t in my main areas of interest), and the commenters here are also amazing in the variety and scope of their fannish interests and knowledge (and professional interests and knowledge if it comes to that).

    As one of the folks who sends OGH potential material to post, I’m always amused he uses and doesn’t use. I’ll freely admit that I enjoy the discussions spinning out from his picks many times more than the pick itself as almost everybody is both intelligent and witty.

    I contributed to several APAs nigh thirty years ago and actually was the coordinator for Action Linkage, ‘a network of networks’ that was designed to ‘build a new civilisation’. It was founded by a futurist named Robert Theobald. I’d be gobsmaked if anyone here as actually of him…

    On an absolutely different note, I’ve got a copy just of the latest Sandman Slim novel from Kadrey, The Killing Society. If anyone’s interested, email me here.

  8. @robin:

    That Thorby bio indeed matches the protagonist from Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy, so well-remembered!

  9. Cat should never move before 12 weeks old and for some even later. It is between 8 and 12 weeks old they start to learn the real basics of socializing. How to handle frustration when they are weaned of milk, how to pull the claws when wrestling, how to not bite too hard. Body language of other cats. And it is the mother that is the best teacher in this.

    It also takes time to build up the immune system after being weaned off and the cat shouldn’t be stressed during that time.

  10. @Rev Bob: Thanks for the confirmation! I’m not sure why that one “stuck” when so much else has slithered out my ears and gone its merry way!

    I might try a cautious re-reading of that one (I retained a fonding for Moon is a Harsh Mistress that remains to this day–wrote an essay for a friend’s collection on it using intersectional theory). Reading the scholarship on Heinlein was interesting too. I think I could probably re-read some of Heinlein’s novels focusing more male characters more successfully than his female protagonists (tried Time Enough for Love which a friend of mine sees as feminist in an interesting way–I will NOT try to summarize her argument–but wanted to throw the book across the room and smack Maureen).

  11. @robin:

    The Door Into Summer is one of my perennial Heinlein favorites. Short and straightforward, at least so far as any story involving time travel can be. Fairly light on the romance, focusing more on the aspects of dealing with the betrayal and the post-coldsleep world. I suppose the bit with Ricky could be seen as problematic due to original age, but I think that gets adjusted for so that nothing Unseemly happens. (I’m trying to avoid spoilers in case you haven’t read it and choose to do so.) It may also affect my perspective that I see the betraying character as an individual, rather than a representative of a type or population – and even so, that trope was common enough in the 1950s that I don’t consider it out of line.

    Damn, it just hit me. That book’s sixty years old now. I think it stands up pretty well, considering.

  12. @ Ghostbird
    I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Russ book. It also includes the “What can a heroine do” essay robinareid mentioned. I’m trying to collar copies of Russ’ other non-fiction collections.
    @ robinareid
    Many thanks for these tips. As I’m outside academe, I’m generally at least a decade behind on issues of theory. (thanks also for recommending Mendelsohn’s (sp?) book on Russ, which I much enjoyed.)
    I’d like to read material on how the romance genre has evolved. Woodiwiss dates from the era of “she can’t be a good girl and want sex so she gets raped a lot”. (ick.) Skip Cartland. She’s a talentless snob who, as premarital sex is taboo, substitutes assault and abuse (as rape would “ruin” the heroine). She’s also noted for plagiarizing Georgette Heyer several times. I share your fondness for Elizabeth Peters; two favorites are about the romance business (Die for Love) and the fantasy/romance business (Naked Once More), both starring the redoubtable Jacqueline Kirby.

  13. So-o-o-o-o, basically ‘Dragonriders of Gor?’

    I think that comes from a rather different angle, really.

    But there’s probably a good compare/contrast essay to be had in there.

  14. Re: File770 Content
    I pretty much read all of the items, even the Marvel stuff*. File770 is like a “one-stop shop” for me, and I don’t visit a lot of other websites – at least as far SF/F news goes – and I get some marvelous discussions to read as well!

    (*I was an avid Marvel reader over twenty years ago, but still like to know what’s going on)

    I’m not certain how much my opinion is worth. I’m not a regular commenter, but I’m a regular reader (sometimes multiple times a day!).

  15. @Robert Adam Gilmour: I do skip those things but they take up a huge amount of space here and each time I see a trailer for a new franchise thing I die a little more. What’s space to a computer? It’s not as if this is a convention, where every new feature requires people, money, and space to run. If you get to a story by “next” instead of picking what you care about from the home page, a story with a trailer or lots of graphics may take a few seconds to load — but I suspect that it takes a lot less than getting that story from some ad-loaded commercial site. And wrt conventions, I suggest you find a copy of OGH’s only sold story, “The Men Who Corflued Mohammed”, which has some sage commentary on people who try to partition fandom.

    @me: the singing was in 1977. (McCaffrey came back a few ties after being GoH, despite the convention moving to the middle of February.)

    @robinareid: I was thinking specifically of Thorby when I patched together that comment — and unlike Norton characters, he doesn’t even rescue himself.

    @various: interesting comments on cats. I was thinking more of socializing with its cohabitant people, but my experience may be unusual; our last was an out-of-season feral rescue, estimated 6 weeks old by dentition, and several parts Maine coon (judging by size, feet, and coat). Very sociable with people (he’d come and glare at me if I were standing by my usual reading seat instead of making him a lap), but we only tried him once with another cat — a marshmallow who AFAICT was used to dominating by sheer weight — who was not a success in the time we gave them (about a week).

  16. Re McCaffrey, it seems to me that “I loved these umpty years ago but they haven’t held up well” is quite mild criticism as these things go, and you could say the exact same thing about a lot of the other Classics Of The Genre. Not at all worthy of a challenge to pistols at dawn.

  17. MSB:

    Skip Cartland. She’s a talentless snob …

    Someone told me they used to do a Cartland challenge with friends in the bookstore; Pick two Cartland books written after X date in her career. Go to the final chapter. Have one person read the male dialogue from one book, and one read the female dialogue from the other.

    Apparently, the conversations often meshed.

    I’d heard one thing that made bodice rippers with semi-explicit rape scenes take off in a big way was the advent of the pill as a genuine commercial thing> Women in the real world could have sex without children as a result, and could therefore admit they wanted sex, and wanted to read about such consequenceless sexytimes. But society was still a bit hung up on women saying aloud “Hey, I want sex” so they had to dress it up as rape/reluc*.

    * In outright erotica, there’s apparently a dividing line between reluc, or “Rape scene but where the person appears to like it”, also called rape fantasy** and “Rape scene that is never enjoyed by the victim”. Please note these categories are used specifically to make sure a person is getting the fantasy scene they are looking for ***in reading***, which is generally a place people allow themselves to indulge physically impossible fantasies, never mind morally dubious or morally despicable ones. I haven’t seen reluc used very often, it might even have been limited to a couple of people trying to popularize the term — but I wish it were common usage when the distinction matters. SF and A03 fandom seems to use “Non-con” for everything without distinction, which does not help when trying to sort “Okay, I read 90% of stuff by this author just because they wrote it, including things outside my kink zone, but is this going to be past my current limits?”.

    ** That Atwood short story is actually the only thing of hers I’ve read (I think that might mean I need to turn in both my Canadian and SF credentials…). And yes, I remember it well and fondly.

  18. @Lenora Rose:

    A term I see a lot in fanfic is “dubcon”, which iirc means “dubious consent”. I haven’t read any to suss out how dubious dubcon can get, though.

  19. @ Rev Bob: Door Into Summer was one of my favorites back in the day–because CAT! I think I have read most everything Heinlein published–the book that made me give up on him in disgust was a fairly late one (I have blocked the title completely–but four people, a father and daughter, and their newly acquired, I think, romantic/sexual interests end up in a spaceship travelling through all of Heinlein’s storyverses????–mostly arguing about who gets to “lead.”). I also had a sneaking fondness for Glory Road (and I am not sure THAT one would stand up well, though I agree DIS might).

    @Msb: I was a huge fan of Heyer’s work though didn’t manage to hold onto them over multple moves (and Jacqueline Kirby is one of my favorite librarians in the entire world)!

    I don’t keep up with romance scholarship all that much, although I know it is an active/growing field (there’s a Romance studies area at Popular Culture).

    A quick check of the MLA Bib shows that “romance” (not medieval) and feminist covers a lot of time (back to Jane Austin!) and even incluces some science fiction and fan studies!

    Here’s an article that looks interesting:

    Wavering between Worlds: Feminist Influences in the Romance Genre
    By: Coddington, Lynn; Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres, 1997; 3 (1-2): 58-77. (journal article)
    Subjects: novel; popular romance novel; women novelists; feminism

    And this book looks to cover a whole lot of related topics, though it’s from the 1990s: https://nyupress.org/books/9780814766316/

    This is most recent book listed in the results list (2016): http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=807935

    Seems as if a lot of the work doesn’t focus only on the genre fiction/print texts, but on larger cultural patterns (makes sense since “literary” studies as a discipline is still pretty elitist/canonically based, and romance is apparently more stigmatized than science fiction, gee, I wonder why!)


  20. @Lenora Rose and Dawn Incognito:

    Re: non-con, dubcon, alien sex pollen, etc.

    Yeah, the areas of fandom I’m most familiar with have some real issues around this whole bit messy topic (and there were some major conflicts I saw when I first became involved in LOTR fanfic on LJ in the early 2000s). *shudders at the memories*

    I’m not sure that a really detailed and specific discussion would be appropriate in File 770, but here are a few links at Fanlore which do cover some information:


    Fanlore discussion: https://fanlore.org/wiki/Non-con

    (related terms in the Fanlore article: dub-con, Rapefic, Sex pollen, Aliens Made Them Do it, Incest, Fuck-or-Die, Slavefic

    Link to related articles


    It’s a topic I love to talk about especially in relation to fic I write and fic I love and a whole lot of stuff, but I would not do that under my passport name. If you’d like to talk more, maybe it might be good to move to another medium (email or heck, I’d happily talk over at my fannish Dreamwidth).

  21. @Robin — That [the Heinlein book] would be Number of the Beast. Another one that I haven’t read since the 1980s or 1990s, and likely won’t. I do still revisit his earlier stuff from time to time, though.

  22. @Joe H: Thanks! *shudders at the mere memory* But yes, his earlier work can be great–I had a fantastic time re-reading MOON and writing on it, as well as reading the relevant scholarship. (I’m fairly sure that by next month I will have blocked the title again–I wish I could remove the memory of my response to some of the lengthy conversations and the opening dance sequence).

  23. @Robin — My favorite(?) part may have been when they traveled to Oz, and Glinda expanded the borders by two inches in every direction to account for their presence, and the narrator complained that the Oz folks kept them in very chaste sleeping arrangements.

    Or maybe when they (very, very briefly) encountered the Lensmen and immediately fled because some of their pharmacopeia would’ve been considered illegal.

    “Gay Deceiver, bounce, bounce!”

  24. Re: wide-ranging subject matter of File 770 – I’m picky about what I like, but I don’t mind reading about everything else. If only to sneer at it while patting myself on the back for being an alternative hipster that only likes obscure things, or at least acting like one. File 770 has VERY diverse content, no ads, and a smart commentariat (at least until I show up :p). Win!

    Re: the nurturing of kittens – the only kitten I’ve ever had was raised by a grumpy taciturn rabbit who was too domineering to get along with other rabbits. She turned out a little bit neurotic but in a nice way. She would do this behavior rabbits do, where they deliberately get your attention and then elaborately turn their back on you once you’re watching.

    I am marking “Hampus cat picture day” on my calendar with eager anticipation. I think I’ll be at Baycon then.

  25. Gosh, so Jon lied about Paul starting it. And even if he hadn’t, “HE STARTED IT!” is never, ever a good idea. We don’t tolerate it in children, for crying out loud; certainly not in adults. And beginning your defense with it looks childish.

    Also, I note how “one woman thinks Pern hasn’t aged well” gets turned into “All the SJWs hate McCaffrey!” As can be seen by this thread, a lot of us SJWs bought and read a ton of her books. I was thrilled to meet her at a Worldcon. I have had a stuffed fire lizard on my shoulder at cons (He’s a brown, and his big eyes are looking at me right now from the shelf next to Ryo-Ohki.) Todd’s nice.

    I also have a lot of fanzines, and @rcade’s right: they began as general SFF zines, and the media-based ones EXPLODED with “Star Trek” zines. That’s when they became more female than male. In the 60’s. Before McCaffrey started. I used to go to a con that was entirely for zines, FFS, and I don’t recall seeing many Pern zines there, nor adverts for them. Tons of ST and SW, cop/action-adventure shows (S&H, UNCLE), Brit SF, etc. But Pern was a self-contained fandom, and zines would have carried on just the same without it.

    I guess if you write mid-list or indie SFF, are right-wing, and an asshole (three entirely separate things), you’ve got no choice nowadays but to become a Puppy and get the history of fandom totally incorrect. Sad!

    @David H: Same with “The Ship Who…” It didn’t bother me as a kid, but nowadays it squicks me out. It also explicitly says disabled babies only get to be shellpeople if they have normal IQ. Those who don’t are euthanized. (!) And then they get to be indentured servants until they’d paid off the cost of the schooling and equipment they never had a chance to choose. So an interstellar civilization creates useful slaves out of some babies, rather than prevent birth defects or come up with assistive technology to let them live in society. Swell. We do better than that nowadays in civilized places.

    Of Heinlein, I reread “Citizen of the Galaxy” a couple years back and it holds up pretty well. Even though Thorby is pretty passive till right at the end. Being one of the juvenile books, no sex. “Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” has a couple occasional bits/wordings where you might go “bwuh?” but I still love it.

    Reading File 770 gives you all your daily fannish news covering the whole spectrum without having to pick it up piecemeal everywhere. I skip what I’m not interested in. Random prizes rarely interest me, I buy very few comics, but others love it. Plus the Pixel Scroll discussions are great — here we’re analyzing McCaffrey’s work, sometimes we filk, sometimes we trade recipes, always we rec books, and often we

    KITTEH. I will look at Hampus’ beastie after the con if he doesn’t arrive before. o god it is that close to Baycon already…

  26. Dawn Incognito: Dubcon tends to be two characters who already want to have sex (but haven’t acted on the impulse) or are together (but haven’t acted on a specific kink) being obliged to act by an outside power (sex pollen, aliens). It usually isn’t used for the bodice ripper “no-no-yes” stuff. Which is why I want a mid level warning to indicate whether I’m about to read a kinky fantasy or a darkfic with psychologically realistic trauma.

  27. @Joe: @My favorite(?) part may have been when they traveled to Oz, and Glinda expanded the borders by two inches in every direction to account for their presence, and the narrator complained that the Oz folks kept them in very chaste sleeping arrangements./

    Yeah..that was special. But there’s an even WORSE (as far as I am concerned) Oz travesty: A Barnstormer in Oz by Philip Jose Farmer.

  28. @Lenora —

    Dubcon tends to be two characters who already want to have sex (but haven’t acted on the impulse) or are together (but haven’t acted on a specific kink) being obliged to act by an outside power (sex pollen, aliens).

    In my — certainly limited — experience, it’s more often used in cases of power imbalances. A more powerful person (boss, military superior, slave owner) will want sex from a less powerful person (employee, military lower rank, slave). Whether or not the person of lower power “wants” the sex, they aren’t in a position to freely offer consent. Or there could be some other reason for one partner to have less capacity to consent — disability, drunkenness, blackmail, whatever.

    Although I’m currently editing a story that involves two strangers being exposed to alien mating pheromones, so the “alien sex pollen” thing certainly happens too! 😉

  29. Re: “dubcon” et al.

    I’m basically with Contrarius on my understanding of the term. I’ve often seen the term used in relation to mind control, involuntary submission (e.g. blackmail), the use of alcohol/drugs to lower inhibitions, and so forth. “Dubious” covers a lot of ground; from what I recall of the first Fifty Shades movie (don’t judge; I saw it on cable for free), some of the contract-related scenes would qualify. Heck, you could make a solid case for including the “if you use your safeword, our relationship is over” trope. Yeah, technically there’s consent, but it’s really closer to emotional – maybe even financial – blackmail.

    One thing to remember is that, particularly when it comes to self-published works, marketplace Terms of Service often forbid non-con content. Toss in a couple of details where it can be argued that the scene is some degree of consensual – thus, “dubious” – and you’re technically in compliance.

    (Yes, I’ve had to research this. J.B.’s first book involved a Halloween party where someone made the mistake of asking for the blessings of Bacchus and a Roman lust goddess whose name eludes me on the festivities. The results were… I’ll go with “unexpectedly potent” and leave it at that.)


    Trivia: At least one of The Monkees liked The Door Into Summer so much that the band recorded a song based (loosely) on it.

  30. The horrible ableism of The Ship Who Sang squicked out my teenaged self a lot stronger than the consent issues in Pern, probably because I knew plenty of disabled people in my real life (not that I thought of them that way, to me they were just my grandma, my neighbour, another neighbour, my uncle and two cousins of my mother’s) and just couldn’t get over the fact that no one ever asked those poor kids if they wanted to be stuffed into spaceships .

    I also recall how I read Anne McCaffrey’s essay in the Reginald Bretnor collection James Davis Nicoll mentioned above and how she had to sneak a sex scene past John W. Campbell in “A Womanly Talent” and how revolutionary and feminist that story supposedly was. Meanwhile, when I read “A Womanly Talent” in To Ride Pegasus approx. twenty years after it was first published, that was the only story in that collection I disliked, because who’d want that “womanly talent” of manipulating genes to make blonde and blue-eyed babies, when all the men could do cool stuff like push spaceships through space.

    Looking back at her work, Anne McCaffrey’s books were a product of their time, revolutionary back then and pretty problematic when read today or even twenty years ago.

  31. @Rev. Bob —

    Heck, you could make a solid case for including the “if you use your safeword, our relationship is over” trope.

    OMG. Is that seriously in there? I have neither read the books nor seen the movies. But yeah, that’s very dub in the con.

  32. @Contrarius:

    I don’t think that ultimatum was in FSoWTFOMG – at least, not the movie; I didn’t read the book. I was pretty much stringing together examples in that paragraph and did not intend to give that impression.

    Speaking of highly-dubious consent, I know J.B.’s been working on fleshing out (lemme see if I can get this straight) the epilogue to a piece of backstory from a character who shaded the truth about how that event really concluded. Very much on the dubious/blackmail side, but from what I know, the victim of the new piece richly deserves what happens/happened to him. Accordingly, I’ve been brushing up on my knowledge of brainwashing techniques, “enhanced interrogation,” and Stockholm syndrome.

    The thumbnail I’ve gotten is that an abusive “dominant” is himself forcibly enslaved – under much the same terms he imposed on his submissive. The already-published book has a chapter where that sub relates the story of how she arranged her escape, and how when she got free, she told some influential people what he’d been doing to her. Those people got protective and angry and – the part she elides in the book – decided to punish him with a case of his own medicine.

    Normally I’d regard such a story as problematic, but having read the account of what he did… not so much. Kinda like hearing that a rapist got beaten up in prison, y’know? Yeah, beating people up is bad, but in this case…

  33. File770 is really the only source of SFF news that I consistently read so, yeah, even the big franchise stuff is useful to me. I learned about the new Spiderman comic here before I saw it anywhere else, for instance (and Spiderman is my favourite superhero, so I’d be willing to check it out…. once they start collecting it into volumes; I don’t really do single issues of comics)

    I do occasionally read Whatever and sometimes gawk at the absolute insanity of some of the Puppy blogs too (up to and including Castalia when I’m feeling particularly masochistic) but this is largely where I come for SFF news, still.

  34. @Oneiros:

    Which new Spidey book? I’ve heard about the new Ben Reilly book and the new “Peter Parker in New York” book; is there another new one?

    I also don’t do single issues, preferring to wait for the digital trades. Which, incidentally, have been running at half-price for Marvel stuff on Amazon lately, and those connect to your comiXology account/app if you have one. Very cost-effective! (I picked up the Clone Conspiracy omnibus for about $17.50, IIRC, then proceded to grumble about the way it was arranged. If I’d had it as a PDF, I would’ve rearranged it; as it was, I went through and marked down where each issue started so I could hop between ’em.)

  35. @World Weary: Thanks for the explanation, as I wasn’t sure what you were referring to (see below). Hmm, yeah, I read the first Dragon Rider trilogy before the Harper Hall trilogy. You’ve a good point; I wonder if I’d’ve twigged to what was happening if I hadn’t. I can be oblivious when things aren’t spelled out. Even now!

    @Various: Nth’ing that it was Menolly & Sebell in Dragondrums. But for my bonus nerd points – the background for those who don’t recall: Sebell had the gold and Robinton had the bronze, due to a mix-up in Dragonsinger. Robinton was supposed to get the gold, as the senior in rank, but it didn’t work out that way. #IWasATeenagedPernGeek

    @Jonathan M.: “‘Dragonriders of Gor?'” – LOL, my teenaged self would’ve liked a book like that a lot, I blush to admit. Gak.

  36. Chip/Jonathan/Rob

    Thanks much. Very glad to have remembered this wrong. It does make me wonder why I was so sure they had sex, but I am unwilling to reread this trilogy right now to find out.


    I think it’s great that Sweden has a law for this. My mother never wanted a kitten before it was 12 weeks but it was almost impossible to get owners to keep them that long. She said that kittens who stay that long with their mother learn to be mousers and never have litter box issues because they learn from their mom. My kittens have all been rescues so its a moot point.

  37. @Robert Adam Gilmour: Welcome (two years late, sorry)! What’s your favorite SFF stuff?

    I don’t know where people read about “Orville” coming out, but I appreciated that here (haven’t seen it mentioned in other spots I read). But there’s other stuff I don’t care about (e.g., Ray Bradbury, shh, don’t tell!). Heck, even my favorite topics, I probably won’t care about every item relating to them. (shrug)

    I agree 100% Mike covers certain topics better than anyone! Of course, others do cover them. This isn’t the only blog I read, BTW, but most of the others are more narrowly focused, so I like the broader “focus” here. 🙂

    Oh and the commenters & comment threads are more gold in @Mike Glyer’s Dragon Hoard of Awesomeness.

    Now, back to “what’s your fave SFF”??? 😉

  38. @Rev. Bob: I’m thinking of The Spectacular Spider-Man announcement from the the 5/10 Pixel Scroll. Issue #1 on June 21st so probably quite a wait until we get a digital trade to read (in the meantime, maybe I’ll see what Silk or Spider-Gwen are up to).

    I haven’t really kept up with Spiderman properly in years but I might see about picking up some of the bigger story arcs in trades where possible – I have quite a bit of time for reading/tv/podcasts/etc at the moment

  39. @Oneiros:

    Be aware that either the newest or the next Silk collection (I’m fuzzy on whether it’s dropped yet) is completely contained in The Clone Conspiracy omnibus – so if you’re not into that storyline or already have the big book, you should be able to completely skip that trade volume.

    As for Spider-arcs, that’s about where I’m at, although I will admit that I’ve been following things a little more closely since the post-Secret Wars reboot.. I did get the two hardbacks containing Spider Island (main and companion), and of course I got Spider-Verse despite the variant I most wanted to see show up not even getting a panel cameo. (Specifically, “Web-Man” from Spidey Super Stories #25. Doctor Doom created him with some kind of magic mirror, and he had a color-reversed blue-and-red outfit that looked great on the cover.) That’s where Spider-Gwen comes from, of course, as well as the now-canceled Web Warriors – the team’s presumably still around and might show up again, but the book died after eleven issues covering two arcs.

    In addition, the whole Superior Spider-Man run is worth a look: Doc Ock ends up in Spidey’s body through a mind-swap and decides to prove that he’s capable of being a better, more effective Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was. (Spoiler: It’s not as easy as he thinks, but he does have a few decent ideas.)

    Also, be aware that there’s significant crossover between the Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, and Silk books, so you’ll probably want to consider those a set rather than separate titles – aside from the Silk/Clone Conspiracy issues, that is.

  40. @Rev. Bob: Cheers for the heads up – actually I haven’t had a look at any Spider-Woman yet but I really should get on that! So far I’ve only been actively trying to keep up with Silk (and failing, despite there only being, what, three volumes so far?) because I’ve been prioritising novels lately – this month has been “way too long novels” – with The Scar (China Miéville) followed by Wall of Storms (Ken Liu) and, if I have the time and patience when I finish that, I’ll move onto Death’s End, and that’ll be most of my doorstopper tomes out of the way (god am I glad for ereaders – there’s no way in hell I could’ve carted those around Asia as physical books)

  41. @Oneiros:

    Spider-Woman has been interesting because of the complications involved in her having a new baby, as well as her becoming a mentor of sorts to Gwen and Silk. The Spider-Women collection crosses between all three books, as things go sideways during one of their lunch meetings. Gwen being from and living on a different Earth also shakes things up, both there and in her own book.

    Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, Silk was introduced in a tie-in to the Original Sin event (in which Uatu is killed) and has a major role in Spider-Verse. A comparatively older Spider-Man arc, “The Other,” is also useful for understanding an aspect of Spider-Verse, not to mention being a generally neat-weird story in its own right. I mean, it’s not Kraven’s Last Hunt, but what is? 😉

  42. @Rev. Bob: Trivia: At least one of The Monkees liked The Door Into Summer so much that the band recorded a song based (loosely) on it. Huh?!? I can believe one or more of them ran into the book (they were living in Laurel Canyon, where there was all sorts of cross-fertilization(*) ), but the song has nothing to do with the RAH book — it’s more along the lines of Ray Stevens’s “Take Care of Business, Mister Businessman” (which AFAICT came later — I remember it being topical in ~1969 where tDiS came out in late 1967 (says Wikipedia, which also notes it was by Douglas/Martin rather than any of the Monkees)).

    * and out-crossing: a Joni Mitchell interview from several years ago sounds like she moved there after reading “–And He Built a Crooked House”.

  43. Though Mike will probably know much more than me on this, the Jefferson Starship album that was nominated for a Hugo (“Blows Against The Empire”) was very loosely based on Methuselah’s Children. From what I have read, the band actually asked Heinlein for permission to use the idea and he granted it (noting that they were the first to actually ask)

    Other hippie-era LA/SF musicians who read SF.included Phil Lesh (who compared the Grateful Dead’s collective jams to the mindmeld in More Than Human), David Crosby, Roger McGuinn (who wrote a song based on Clarke’s “The Sentinel” for the Byrds) and there’s probably more.

  44. World Weary: it might be that you remembered Robinton because it’s specifically focused on that Menolly had a huge crush on him (and more subtly implied that so does Sebell.) Right as those two characters are getting the culmination of their implied attraction/romance. Which seems a bit unfair.

  45. @Lenora Rose

    Sebell had a crush on Robinton? Teenage me totally missed that. Mind you, teenage me was spectacularly clueless.

  46. Current discussion in my music friends’ group is about Warren Zevon’s Transverse City. It’s a beautiful ambitious dystopian mess. Guest stars out the wazoo–Jerry Garcia sounds really sweet on it–and the weakest song, “Networking”, has these lines in 1989:

    I will upload you, you can download me

    It’s a personal favorite of mine among Zevon’s records, even though I know in my heart of hearts it’s among his weakest.

  47. @Matt Y

    4- Maybe they inserted the clone DNA backwards? If they’re shooting with their off hand it explains why they miss so much.

    By the time of Episode IV, there were very few clones remaining in service. The Empire shut down the cloning and training facilities shortly after the end of the Clone Wars, switching to levies raised from client planets. Most of the surviving clones were either KiA in early pushes by the Empire to consolidate power or died due to their artificially limited lifespans (approx 40 or so).

  48. Lurkertype and Kendall- I doubt there’s any site that covers the whole spectrum and that’s fine and very understandable. There’s a lot of niches and subgenres that hardly any sites cover. I’m predominantly a fan of weird fiction and ghostly fiction and a lot of the best work is in the small press that only a handful of sites mention much. I imagine there’s all sorts of small press niches that are difficult to find unless you’re really deep into those particular things. Magic Realism and outright Surrealism are hard sells to a lot of SFF fandom.

    It’s very difficult to cover highlights from visual art, music, games and even film* because they are their own labyrinths and there’s not the same compartmentalization (music being particularly tricky but I believe it has some of the most potent fantasy you can find).

    *Fandom barely seemed to notice Lucile Hadžihalilovic’s Evolution and Matteo Garrone’s Tale Of Tales.

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