Pixel Scroll 6/30/16 Here Come Old Pixel, He Come Scrollin’ Up Slowly

(1) DUCK! Science News explains, “Asteroid Day is a chance to learn about space and plan for disaster”.

Asteroid enthusiasts, rejoice! Thursday, June 30 is your day to remind the world that humankind is just one impact with a space rock away from annihilation (or, at the least, a very bad day)….

The date coincides with the anniversary of the most powerful impact in recorded history, when a roughly 40-meter-wide asteroid crashed near Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908….

(2) GIVING ANTIQUITY A CHANCE. In the second installment of Young People Read Old SF, James Davis Nicoll’s recruits share their reactions to A Martian Odyssey.

Stanley G. Weinbaum’s 1934 debut, “A Martian Odyssey,” is the second of the two short stories I have selected to represent the science fiction of the 1930s.

Weinbaum is one of the earliest hard SF writers, someone whose stories were shaped by what was then known (or guessed) of the other worlds of our solar system. Weinbaum’s stories are little known and little read these days, in part because his career was so short: eighteen months from the publication of his first science fiction story to his death.

Jamie, for example, has this to say:

What quaint ideas about “atomic blasts” and the medicinal benefits of hard radiation. Writers of SF in the deep past were much more free to be optimistic about new scientific discoveries. Nowadays every new advance is going to cause at least as many problems as it solves, and the unexpected downsides are what drive the plots. This story is just happy to be exploring a crazy new planet and all it’s crazy improbable life forms, held down by only the lightest of plots. Old fashioned optimism about progress, I suppose

(3) MADE YOU CLICK. Barry Malzberg, in a new Galaxy’s Edge column, says for Judith Merril, “There Is No Defense”. You know, it’s not every day you see someone literally say a woman destroyed sf.

Merril, before she gave up anthologies, criticism, and citizenship to expatriate herself to Canada in 1968, was made desperate by the unending, irretrievable, uncorrectable stupidity and murderousness of Vietnam. She had been on an increasingly evident, now unapologetic campaign to destroy science fiction.

She knew it: the campaign was purposeful. In her story introduction to Bob Shaw’s “Light of Other Days” in her final volume, she conceded that the excellence and rigor of the story called her back to an earlier time when she had been entranced by such work and her own desire to  replicate. But that story introduction was half or three-quarters an apology: its appearance in Best SF, its very quality, were an implicit rebuke to the scattered, unfocused, false literary emptiness which had come to occupy most of the anthology. Meanwhile, she was writing savage reviews in Fantasy& Science Fiction, reviews as savage as those of Alfred Bester’s half a decade earlier which had created a good deal of foul karma and eventually got him fired.

Malzberg argues she was intentionally trying to destroy sf. I read Merril’s anthologies as they came out, and there were so many new and completing voices in the Sixties that it made sf a pretty robust literary form. Pulp writers and experimental New Wave authors were all getting published, which forces me to ask — If sf couldn’t be destroyed by bad writing, how could it be destroyed by good writing?

[Note:  The column about Merril has been pulled back since earlier today. What was posted can still be seen via Google Cache — at least for now.  I subsequently learned this was an effect of an ordinary transition from one online issue to the next. The Merril column is available at The Wayback Machine. So I have linked to that.]

(4) CONVENTION IN LISBON. The Portuguese SF convention Fórum Fantástico will take place in Lisbon from September 23-25 at the Biblioteca Municipal Orlando Ribeiro. Curator Rogerio Ribeiro is organizing the event. No registration needed, no entry fee.

Forum Fantastico

(5) JOE SHERRY. At Nerds of a Feather, Joe Sherry’s analysis of his Hugo ballot moves on to the Best Fanzine category. First place goes to:

Lady Business: Lady Business is smart, incisive, and should be considered a required stop for anyone who wants to read more about genre. It is one of my must read blogs and I don’t have many of those anymore. When I talk about fanzines, this is what I mean. If you’re not too familiar with what Lady Business is all about or where to start, take a look at this post. The editors at Lady Business comment on media, generally SFF media, with “an intersectional feminist perspective”.  Whether they are reviewing books, video games, or recapping Xena: The Warrior Princess, Lady Business is always worth reading and is consistently one of my favorite blogs. You’d think that I would have more to say, but all I want to do is wave my arm, point, and mumble “Lady Business – Awesome – Read” and try not to be awkward about it.

(6) SHORT FICTION NOMINEES. Jonathan Edelstein unpacks his Hugo ballot for novelette and short story.

The two categories are a study in contrasting quality. Despite the second year of Rabid Puppy interference (I still can’t believe I just wrote that), the novelette shortlist is quite credible. Folding Beijing is easily one of the best stories of 2015 and would no doubt have made it onto the ballot without Theodore Beale’s help. And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead belongs on the ballot too – yeah, gratuitous foul language and dated cyberpunk plot, but it’s a hell of a story. Obits isn’t Stephen King’s best work, but even bad King is better than most of what’s out there. Even the two Castalia entries aren’t terrible – What Price Humanity is a tightly written and suspenseful story of war veterans being trained in virtual reality for one last mission, and Flashpoint Titan is no worse than ordinary missile porn. Granted, in a year where the eligible works included Ian McDonald’s Botanica Veneris and Rose Lemberg’s Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds, I’m sorry to see the Castalia stories there instead, but the top of the shortlist is very good indeed and none of it is bad enough to get No Awarded.

The short stories, on the other hand, piss me off.

(7) NOVELLA NOMINEES. Doctor Science’s current post at Obsidian Wings is “Wednesday Reading including Hugo Novella nominees. All re-posts from File 770 comments, but collated.

Penric’s Demon by Lois Bujold. This is another one where the treatment of sexuality confuses me. I think I can say, without major spoilers, that the basic plot is the trope known as “Sharing a Body”, and in this case the body-owner is a young man, while the passenger turns out to be, essentially, n pbafbegvhz bs gjryir jbzra.

Now, I’m used to seeing this trope in fanfiction, where I would expect the story to be heavily focused on issues of sexuality, gender, and the characters’ feelings about bodies. At first I thought Bujold was heading there, but then she sort of veered off to Plot-land, before the POV character had done more than guvax nobhg znfgheongvat. I was left feeling rather wrong-footed, and only sort of interested in the Plot. In sum: for me it was a good enough story, but rather bizarrely incomplete.

(8) GONE VIRAL. Jeremiah Tolbert relives “My Short Time as a Viral Hit Maker”.

On June 23rd, as the results from the British EU Referendum or “Brexit” began to come in, it was clear that the Leave vote was ahead.  Once the lead solidified and the BBC called the result, the Pound Sterling began to tank. The mood on Twitter turned grim.  I had an IM window with Nick Mamatas open at the time.  Sparked by I’m not sure what, I shared the notion that I might Photoshop the big reveal at the end of Planet of the Apes and replace the Statue of Liberty with Big Ben.  Nick said, paraphrasing, “DO IT.”  Not the most original joke I’ve ever come up with, but I’m fairly proficient with photo-editing, so I got to work….

I sent the image over to Nick, and before I could tweet it out myself, he tweeted the image along with credit:

Nick sending it out turned out to be the ticket to success for it, because it spread the image far faster and wider than my own followers list would have. Within seconds, the retweets began.  Early on, Cory Doctorow retweeted it. By the time I went to bed just after midnight, the tweet had over a thousand retweets and showed no sign of slowing down as morning came in the UK….

(9) NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. CNN Money asks “Should robots have to pay taxes?”

If robots are going to steal human jobs and otherwise disrupt society, they should at the very least pay taxes.

That’s the takeaway from a draft report on robotics produced by the European Parliament, which warns that artificial intelligence and increased automation present legal and ethical challenges that could have dire consequences.

“Within the space of a few decades [artificial intelligence] could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity’s capacity to control its own creation and … the survival of the species,” the draft states.

The report offers a series of recommendations to prepare Europe for this advanced breed of robot, which it says now “seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution.”

The proposal suggests that robots should have to register with authorities, and says laws should be written to hold machines liable for damage they cause, such as loss of jobs. Contact between humans and robots should be regulated, with a special emphasis “given to human safety, privacy, integrity, dignity and autonomy.”

(10) MERINGUE PIE MUSEUM. John Kass cuts loose in the Chicago Tribune: “George ‘Star Wars’ Lucas releases the mayor’s mind and not a moment too soon”.

Somehow, the immortal words of little old Yoda finally got through to his creator, George Lucas:

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.

So Lucas let go.

He let go of that ridiculous meringue pie of a museum he wanted to plop on Chicago’s lakefront.

And he let go of the mind of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, so that it was free once more to try running a city that is drowning in red ink and violence.

Unfortunately, Rahm and Lucas didn’t just hush up and go away. Instead, they whined and stamped their feet and complained (in prepared statements) and blamed everything on Friends of the Parks.

But Friends of the Parks did what it’s supposed to do: Stand up for the people of Chicago, to protect the lakefront, because the lakefront doesn’t belong to Hollywood moguls or their political footmen.

I said it a few days ago in the column on Lucas holding Rahm’s mind in thrall with some Jedi trick, and I should say it again.

Rich people have their country clubs and their estates and their private jets to take them away. But the lakefront is the country club for the people. It’s where working people go to take themselves away.

(11) TOFFLER OBIT. “Alvin Toffler, Author of ‘Future Shock,’ Dies at 87”  reports the New York Times.

Mr. Toffler was a self-trained social science scholar and successful freelance magazine writer in the mid-1960s when he decided to spend five years studying the underlying causes of a cultural upheaval that he saw overtaking the United States and other developed countries.

The fruit of his research, “Future Shock” (1970), sold millions of copies and was translated into dozens of languages, catapulting Mr. Toffler to international fame. It is still in print.

In the book, in which he synthesized disparate facts from every corner of the globe, he concluded that the convergence of science, capital and communications was producing such swift change that it was creating an entirely new kind of society.

His predictions about the consequences to culture, the family, government and the economy were remarkably accurate. He foresaw the development of cloning, the popularity and influence of personal computers and the invention of the internet, cable television and telecommuting.

(12) PROPHET OBIT. SF Site News brings word that 1959 Worldcon co-chair Fred Prophet (1929-2016) passed away June 29.

Fred served as the co-chair, with Roger Sims, of the Detention, the 1959 Worldcon in Detroit. He and Roger were appointed Conchairs Emeritus at Detcon1, the 2014 NASFiC, which both men were able to attend. Prior to the Detention, Prophet was active in the Detroit Science Fiction League and Michigan Science Fantasy Society (MISFITS) after attending his first convention,The Eleventh World Science Fiction Convention, in 1953.

(13) MANTEC OBIT. Maurice George Dantec (1959-2016), a French naturalised Canadian science fiction writer and musician, died June 25 in Montreal reports Europa SF.

Dantec’s first novel, La Sirène rouge (“The Red Siren”), was published in 1993 and won the 813 Award for best crime novel. His second novel, Les Racines du mal (“The Roots of Evil”, 1995), had a cyberpunk affinity and was awarded the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire and Prix Rosny-aîné.

Dantec’s Babylon Babies was adapted for the screen under the direction of Mathieu Kassovitz as Babylon A.D. (2008), starrring Vin Diesel.



  • June 30, 1905 — Albert Einstein introduced his theory of relativity in his publication, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.
  • June 30, 1974 — The July 4th scene from the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws was filmed at Martha’s Vineyard.

(15) THIS IS MY DUBIOUS LOOK. David Russell Mosley, in “The Magician’s Fairy Godmother: A Follow Up to Are there Elves in C.S. Lewis?”, says the answer is yes.

The other day, I wrote a post attempting to answer the question, “are there elves in the works of C. S. Lewis.” As I noted in the original post, the idea came from a discussion on Facebook where the asker was particularly interested in the elvish absence in the Chronicles of Narnia. Well, two nights ago I was reading The Magician’s Nephew when I came across this passage I had forgotten:

“‘For my [Uncle Andrew] godmother [a certain Mrs. Lefay] was a very remarkable woman. The truth is, she was one of the last mortals in this country who had fairy blood in her. (She said there had been two others in her time. One was a duchess and the other was a charwoman.) In fact, Digory, you are now talking to the last man (possibly) who really had a fairy godmother’” (The Magician’s Nephew, 21).

There it was, an elf (for we should keep in mind that fairy and elf are, linguistically at least, interchangeable), or really three partial elves in the Chronicles of Narnia.

(16) YOU’RE QUITE A CHARACTER. Austin Gilkesen explains “How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book” at The Toast. From a long list of diagnostic tests, here are four examples:

  • A Dark Lord fancies your jewelry.
  • A mountain is out to get you.
  • You had to learn the hard way not to follow the lights in the marsh.
  • Your exhaustive knowledge of whimsical riddles has saved your life on multiple occasions.

(17) FANS WANT TO KNOW. Do the houses in Ilvermorny correspond to those at Hogwarts? J.K. Rowling says no.

“There is no equivalence between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses,” Rowling wrote when a fan asked if Wampus was equivalent to Hogwarts’ Hufflepuff. “But don’t diss Hufflepuff!”

(18) YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. Entertainment Weekly spotted the tweet — “Elizabeth Warren offers to teach at J.K. Rowling’s North American wizarding school”.

(19) FINNCON. Catherynne Valente issued ecstatic tweets about breakfast at a Finnish convention hotel.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Sean Wallace, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JohnFromGR.]

137 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/30/16 Here Come Old Pixel, He Come Scrollin’ Up Slowly

  1. Silly Bands were a fad when Sarah was of an age to be into it, so we went out searching for the things a time or two. Rubber bands shaped like something, like a word or an outline. A pathetic thing to hang the hopes of a bookstore chain upon.

    ed: Now that I think on it, I’ll bet they spelled it “Silly Bandz.” Because z is sillier.

  2. A couple thoughts on the Merril conversation…..1. To build off of what other folks noted, I really recommend Pohl’s biography and Knight’s history of The Futurians. To be honest, I liked Knight’s book for exactly the reason that Pohl hated it. It paints a excellent picture of the period of time, warts and all. Merril’s book is good for the same reason.
    2. Malzberg’s narrative is really awful, and strikes me as far more of a personal attack than anything else. When you read the criticism of Merril and Russ, its often quite critical, but that criticism is focused on the literature, which is largely absent from Malzberg’s essay. (So, no, I don’t think Malzberg deserves respect for expressing ‘strong opinions’ for delivering this nonsense)
    3. I find it strange to link the mainstreaming of science fiction to the new wave, which was far more interested in literary experimentation than mainstream attention. We are after all discussing a movement that produced Atrocity Exhibition and ‘Heat Death of the Universe.’ However, it is a curious product of that entrance into the mainstream, which can be much better understood through the formal innovations introduced into the subculture (the genre has always been much larger than the subculture) by Campbell, Gold as editors, and most notably Heinlein as a writer. This work emphasized social change, characterization, and narrative sophistication. It’s notable that Heinlein also led the genre from the pulp format into the so-called slicks. (Another important innovation was the ability to produce paper backs, along with television shows such as Star Trek and Outer Limits) These shifts led to writers getting paid more, and being placed in a position where they could edit their material more thoroughly, which allowed for a lot more thought about form. You can see this concern for form expressed in the early literary criticism of the time from Knight, Blish, and from the outside in the form of the criticism of Kingsley Amis. ‘Mainstreaming’ put subcultural science fiction in a position to experiment and innovate, and question its own identify, and in that sense, its a product of the introduction into the flow of commerce, but it’s more of a response to it than something that desires to accomplish this.
    4. On the other hand, you can certainly think of Merril’s first novel as part of that process of mainstreaming. It’s published by a major publisher, is made into a TV movie, and synthesizes the genre with the domestic melodrama. However, Merril was equally interested in communicating anti-war message as with gaining the audience, and the work is well worth the read. (As is most of the material that mainstreams the genre.
    5. I’ve seen a lot of emphasis on Merril’s contributions as an editor, which I agree are significant, but she did a lot more for the genre, organizing workshops, producing and organizing translations, contributing to the early criticism of the genre, and bring writers together to work on their craft. One can question her approach in these endeavors, but denying the effort and its significance is disingenuous.

  3. I certainly don’t want to dismiss Merril’s many other contributions, but her contributions as an editor are what it’s easiest to point [email protected] people to, at least if they have access to a good library.

  4. There was a mention earlier about Malzberg’s column about Alice Sheldon. I’ve had a bit of a rant percolating about her which I will take to ROT13 for discussion of murder/suicide.

    V xarj sbe lrnef gung “Wnzrf Gvcgerr, We.” pbzzvggrq fhvpvqr, ohg vg jnf dhvgr fbzr gvzr orsber V sbhaq bhg gur zheqre cneg bs gur rdhngvba. Znymoret fhttrfgf gung Furyqba unq orra cynaavat ure uhfonaq’f zheqre sbe lrnef. V jnf haqre gur vzcerffvba, onfrq ba ure ovbtencul, gung fur gubhtug fur naq ure uhfonaq unq n fhvpvqr cnpg. Gung gurl unq “nterrq” gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr orsber gurl tbg gbb byq naq senvy. Boivbhfyl ur qvqa’g npghnyyl jnag gb tb guebhtu jvgu gung, naq fur riraghnyyl gbbx znggref vagb ure bja unaqf.

    V haqrefgnaq jnagvat gb xvyy lbhefrys, V gehyl qb. Ohg lbh qb abg, abg, shpx qb ABG unir gur evtug gb gnxr nalobql jvgu lbh. Fur unq ab evtug gb zheqre ure vainyvq uhfonaq (qhu), naq V svaq vg fbzrjung hcfrggvat gung fbzrbar jub xvyyrq gurve fcbhfr vf frra nf fbzr xvaq bs srzvavfg vpba. Lrf, fur jebgr snagnfgvp fgbevrf gung rkcyberq traqre va vagrerfgvat jnlf. Ohg V pnaabg ubyq ure va nf uvtu rfgrrz xabjvat ure svany npgf.


    Now to celebrate Canada Day by watching The Littlest Hobo and Fraggle Rock (technically CanCon as it was co-produced by the CBC and the live-action stuff was filmed in Toronto). And I bet I can find some Degrassi on YouTube or something…

  5. I”m not meaning to critique the other attempts to defend Merril, and apologize if I gave that impression. The ire was directed at Malzberg and not the thoughtful defenses of Merril. I wrote a chapter of my dissertation on Merril, and the more I looked into the subject, the more I found that she contributed to the genre.

  6. Dawn Incognito
    I’d have to dig for it, but I know I have a copy of STRANGE BREW here. Canadian content, to be sure, though some will argue that it’s the Hollywood version of Canada, like when they say it’s Toronto but you can tell they’re filming in Seattle.

  7. @Dawn Incognito

    Regarding Alice Sheldon:

    Fur fhssrerq sebz frirer qrcerffvba sbe lrnef. V qba’g guvax gung gur raq bs ure yvsr (jura fur jnf dhvgr cbffvoyl abg va ure evtug zvaq) artngrf gur jubyr bs gur erfg bs ure yvsr, juvpu VZB qbrf zrevg ure gur gvgyr bs srzvavfg vpba.

  8. @clack

    “But then, “The Agony Column” has a very creepy feel given our current environment of angry men shooting up public spaces.”
    I don’t think that the public is in physical danger from querulous, elderly Jewish intellectuals.

    Nor did I in any way imply that. I said the story is creepy given today’s context. It also sums up the feeling of denied entitlement that fuels eg. the MRA movement, and some of our recent mass shooters. “You ignore me, therefore I will kill you.”

  9. @Kip W:

    That’s ok, Toronto has stood in for US cities on several occasions. When I was living in a rough area they did filming of Our America nearby. And then left the floodlights up, supposedly at the request of the police.

    I just realized that I have the entirety of Kids in the Hall kicking around somewhere. Excellent.

  10. From what little I’ve read of Malzberg — only The Falling Astronauts comes readily to mind, but I think I’ve read other work — I had him pegged himself as a genre writer trying to weaken the boundaries between this genre and the mainstream. Odd to read a diatribe from him about another writer using that as a club to beat them with. Makes me wonder if it’s more about the beating than what’s being used to beat them.

  11. @NelC – that’s my initial impression, as well.

    Just finished Penric’s Demon and am moving on to the Reynolds. I found the Bujold entry a very fun read. I’m not at all looking forward to the short story entries, where I believe I’ve already read the stuff that isn’t there just to smell the category up.

  12. 2) I’m enjoying these reviews very much. It’s interesting to see what the young readers find jarring (or not) in older, “classic” SF.

    3) I quit paying attention to Malzberg somewhere in the 1990s, when he seemed to have a story in every anthology I read and I began to notice that when he did, it was always the weakest one — the one most likely to get what I now call the Waste of Ink Award. I remember describing one of them as “plotless and incoherent” — which, oddly enough, are qualities I associate with the lower levels of lit-fic as well. I can’t imagine him having anything useful to say about either gender issues or the state of the genre.

    5) I’ve started following Lady Business on their Dreamwidth feed since it was brought to my attention, and I pretty much concur with what this says. If you’re not currently reading it, do go take a look.

  13. @jayn: That’s my understanding as well. Really, what I see Tiptree praised for is her stories, and deservedly so. When I think of feminist authors praised for their lives, it’s more likely to be someone like Ursula Le Guin, with her decades of civic engagement. Tiptoe’s life has pretty much always been portrayed, when I’ve seen it discussed, as a tragedy where social constraints meet escalating depression. I don’t ever see anyone saying “go out and live a life like Tiptree’s” the way I see people say “I’d like to grow up to be Le Guin”.

  14. Jonathan Edelstein on July 1, 2016 at 9:38 am said:

    That jarred me, but the story is MilSF, and military people give each other nicknames like [Token].

    This particular nickname was presumably inspired by South Park, although I find it somewhat doubtful that such a cultural reference would survive into the 22nd century.

  15. “The former Judith Grossman”…

    I had wondered if maybe it was a dig at her for using a pen name that is not identifiable as Jewish.

    She worried about this herself, then had the origin of Judith pointed out to her (by Asimov?).

    One of the unfortunate results of early SF distribution was that I read Malzberg on Malzberg before I read his SF. He was a would be literary writer who came to believe he could not get published in literary markets, so entered the SF field to make his name and be able to enter the literary field.

    rgl rock ‘n scroll all nite and pixel every day

  16. See, again, this is why Oor Wombat’s “Bryony and Roses” shoulda been on the ballot instead of “Uprooted”. It doesn’t have the problematic stuff people are complaining about in rot13. Ab encrl fghss!

    “the former Judith Grossman” — Ya mean, shock horror, her maiden name? And then she had the gall to use a pen name! Gasp! As for what he’s maybe trying to imply: big whoop. She loved SF in all its many forms. Malzberg just sounds like he needs a whole buncha Prozac, retroactively. If Merril’s life’s work had only been the writing of “That Only A Mother”, that would outdo all of his. He’s just… not that good. His stories are always the weakest in anthologies, as @Lee said, and the targets of his vitriol seem to be women at a higher-than-statistical rate. So he’s frustrated and bitter, fine. We all are, but we try not to make a career out of it.

    “Binti” just didn’t impress me much. There didn’t seem to be much there, there, save for the protagonist’s culture and the end was severely convenient and anticlimactic. It’s a nice story, but as many have said, a juvenile one. There were a LOT better stories that should have been in that category instead.

    I hope our friends in Canuckistan are enjoying their day. Please tell me the PM is running around in short-shorts and flexing or something.

  17. Nghhh, re: Sheldon, I respectfully disagree. ROT13 again for the usual plus some personal ugliness.

    Gurer ner n ybg bs qrfcrengryl, fhvpvqnyyl qrcerffrq crbcyr jub qb abg chg gurve fcbhfr qbja yvxr na navzny. V haqrefgnaq ubj fur sryg, V guvax. V unir orra zragnyyl vyy naq fhvpvqny juvyr oheqrarq jvgu n fvtavsvpnag bgure gb gnxr pner bs. V unq gubhtugf bs xvyyvat uvz fb V jbhyq or serr gb xvyy zlfrys orpnhfr “ur pbhyqa’g fheivir jvgubhg zr”. (Va zl pnfr gur nohfvir qbhpur srq gung oryvrs fb ur pbhyq cynl ivqrb tnzrf.) Znlor ur’f yhpxl V qvqa’g unir n tha. Znlor gurer ohg sbe tha pbageby tb V. Ohg rira gubhtu V gubhtug vg jbhyq unir orra n “zrepl xvyyvat”, V fgvyy xarj qnza jryy vg jbhyq unir orra n xvyyvat.

    Hayrff Furyqba jnf fb qrgnpurq sebz ernyvgl gung fur qvqa’g xabj vg jnf zheqre, naq V unir abg frra gung vaqvpngvba, V qba’g jnag gb ryvqr be rkphfr jung fur qvq. V srry yvxr vg’f qvferfcrpgshy gb gur zrzbel bs Uhagvatgba Furyqba gb abg pnyy Nyvpr Furyqba n zheqrere. Gung qbrfa’g artngr ure pbagevohgvba gb gur svryq bs FS. Vg qbrfa’g erqhpr gur dhnyvgl bs ure fgbevrf. Ohg vg qbrf gnvag gurz, sbe zr.

    I don’t think there’s any nice way to wrap this post up. I’m sorry.

  18. lurkertype: There were a LOT better stories that should have been in [the Novella] category instead.

    Like Carter Scholz’ Gypsy. I was gutted that did not make it. And Angela Slatter’s Of Sorrow And Such. And K.J. Parker’s The Last Witness.

  19. @Dawn Incognito, I think how one sees Tiptree might be different if one has personal experience. Rot-13 because of personal ugliness (great phrase): V unir orra n crefba gung fbzrbar jub jnf zragnyyl vyy naq fhvpvqnyyl qrcerffrq gubhtug jbhyqa’g fheivir jvgubhg gurz.

    That’s the filter through which I view her work and it definitely rules out the whole feminist icon thing for me.

  20. Re: Sheldon,

    Boivbhfyl V unir ab jnl bs xabjvat jurgure Furyqba zrg gur yrtny qrsvavgvba bs vafnavgl gur avtug fur xvyyrq ure uhfonaq naq urefrys (gung vf, jurgure fur jnf fb vyy fur ynpxrq gur pncnpvgl gb ernyvmr gung jung fur jnf qbvat jnf jebat – juvpu vf qvssrerag sebz xabjvat jurgure jung fur jnf qbvat jnf vyyrtny, OGJ). Ohg jr qb xabj gung fur fhssrerq nyy ure yvsr sebz frirer qrcerffvba, naq gung qrcerffvba PNA oevat bar gb fhpu n cbvag.

    Vs jr xarj gung fur’q yvirq ure yvsr ng ulcbpevgvpny inevnapr jvgu gur cnvashy pbzcnffvba bs ure fgbevrf – vs fur’q orra n plavpny nohfre nybat gur yvarf bs n Erdhverf Ungr, fnl – gura, lrf, V’q fnl gung jbhyq pnfg n qbhogshy funqbj ba ure yvsr naq jbex. Ohg nf sne nf V pna gryy (naq nqzvggrqyl gur ovbtencul vf zl bayl fbhepr) fur qvq abg yvir gung jnl. Fb gb zr, fnlvat gung fur pnaabg or n srzvavfg vpba – fnlvat gung ure ragver yvsr naq nppbzcyvfuzragf ner vainyvqngrq orpnhfr bs gur ivbyragyl hapunenpgrevfgvp npg gung raqrq vg, na npg fur znl abg unir rira orra gehyl erfcbafvoyr sbe – gung qbrfa’g frrz dhvgr evtug gb zr. Vg frrzf gb fnl gung gur crbcyr jub eha gur Gvcgerr njneq ner jebat gb pryroengr ure jbex – juvpu VZB, vf vgf bja whfgvsvpngvba.

    Juvpu qbrfa’g zrna gung lbh’er jebat gb qvfnterr, bs pbhefr. Lbhe crefbany srryvatf ba gur znggre ner orlbaq qvfchgr.

    Also, I think Malzberg originally wrote ‘the former Josephine Grossman’. Which doesn’t really make his objection any less annoying or nitpicky.

  21. @Cheryl S.:

    V nz fb fbeel gung lbh jrag guebhtu gung. V’z irel tynq gung lbh’er fgvyy urer naq V ubcr gung lbh’er bxnl.


    Buuuuu fuvg lbh whfg urycrq zr chg zl svatre ba jung V svaq zbfg hafrggyvat.

    Nf V fnvq rneyvre, zl haqrefgnaqvat vf gung Nyvpr Furyqba gubhtug fur naq Uhagvatgba unq na nterrzrag gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr orsber gurl orpnzr gbb byq naq senvy. V gurersber svaq vg cebonoyr gung fur gevrq gb pbaivapr uvz gung vg jnf gurve gvzr ba frireny bppnfvbaf bire gung svany qrpnqr. Gung *vf* nohfr.

    V tbg ab cebbs, bs pbhefr, V’z whfg tbvat bss zl zrzbel bs gur ovbtencul. Naq zragny vyyarff vf n gehyl ubeevoyr guvat gung pna znxr hf npg yvxr zbafgref. Ohg V’z nsenvq fur znl unir znqr gubfr ynfg lrnef Uryy sbe obgu bs gurz.

    V qba’g guvax gung vainyvqngrf ure yvsr naq nppbzcyvfuzragf, ohg V guvax vg nqqf na nfgrevfx. Orpnhfr nybatfvqr gur pbzcnffvba va ure jbex, V nyfb frr zvfnaguebcl naq plavpvfz naq ivbyrapr. Vg’f n evpu naq pbzcyvpngrq gncrfgel, ohg fbzr bs gubfr guernqf ner oybbq erq naq qnexrfg oynpx.

    Okay, that was approaching emo poetry at the end. Which means it’s time to go to my self-soothe cache of shiny happy cartoons. Peace to you.

  22. @Dawn Incognito

    Peace to you…I agree that it’s important to never forget (much less deliberately ignore) the feet of clay of any idol we set up to worship.

  23. On Tiptree: Oh, lord, this is going to sound like I mean it as a gotcha or something dumb, and I really don’t, not least because a lot of this is unsorted in my own mind.

    For those who find Tiptree’s end not just overshadowing but crushing her earlier legacy, how do you feel about her situation as compared to Anne Perry, and to authors who were successful soldiers?

  24. @Bruce Baugh
    I’ve found it much harder to read Anne Perry’s work once I found out about what she’d done. I had stopped reading her before I found out because it seemed to me the descriptions were getting more vivid and a contempt for society was showing more and more. I had just gotten approved for a few of her books including a Christian fantasy on Netgalley around the same time I heard about the past. I was going to give her another try. I was surprised when it made reading the books of hers I had for review harder. I still have them partly read on my kindle.

  25. @Dawn Incognito–

    Nf V fnvq rneyvre, zl haqrefgnaqvat vf gung Nyvpr Furyqba gubhtug fur naq Uhagvatgba unq na nterrzrag gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr orsber gurl orpnzr gbb byq naq senvy. V gurersber svaq vg cebonoyr gung fur gevrq gb pbaivapr uvz gung vg jnf gurve gvzr ba frireny bppnfvbaf bire gung svany qrpnqr. Gung *vf* nohfr.

    Hz. Jung V jbhyq fnl vf, gung vf fcrphyngvba. Lbh qba’g xabj; lbh qba’g unir erny vasbezngvba gb tb ba. Vg zvtug or rknpgyl nf lbh fcrphyngr–be vg zvtug abg. V guvax jung lbh’er ernyyl rkcerffvat vf lbhe srryvatf nobhg lbhe bja rkcrevrapr. Juvpu vf gbgnyyl inyvq, ohg znl abg ernyyl ersyrpg jung unccrarq jvgu gur Furyqbaf.

    I do agree on there being threads of violence and misanthropy in her work, along with the other stuff.

  26. @Tasha Turner: Makes a lot of sense. Like I said, I genuinely don’t know how I feel about this stuff.

  27. @Bruce Baugh:

    Firstly, thank you for clarifying that you didn’t mean your question as a “gotcha”. It is messy and complicated with lots of difficult feelings.

    I don’t think the comparison to soldiers is entirely valid; if they are murderers, they are state-trained and -sanctioned murderers. I was told by someone who served in Afghanistan, “never ask a soldier if they killed someone. I was fired upon; I returned fire.”

    Me on Anne Perry:
    “Who’s Anne Perry?”
    “…and she’s a crime writer? That is fucking disgusting.”

    Argh back to the rot-13…

    Onfrq ba jung yvggyr V’ir ernq, V unir irel yvggyr pbzcnffvba sbe Naar Creel. Fur naq Cnhyvar Cnexre nccrne gb unir ivrjrq Ubabenu Cnexre nf na bofgnpyr gb or erzbirq. Gurl cynaarq gur zheqre, qvqa’g fubj nal erzbefr, naq gur negvpyr V ernq zragvbaf ure nfxvat na nhgube jub genpxrq ure qbja va 2009 sbe n obbx, “qb lbh unir nal vqrn ubj haornenoyl cnvashy guvf vf sbe zr?” Gung vf puvyyvat. V’z fb fbeel gung crbcyr xrrc oevatvat hc gur snpg gung lbh onfurq n jbzna’f urnq va jvgu n oevpx. Ubyl fuvg.

    @Lis Carey:

    Lbh’er evtug, vg vf fcrphyngvba onfrq ba jung V erzrzore sebz gur ovbtencul. V’ir chg gur obbx onpx ba ubyq ng gur yvoenel gb qbhoyr-purpx zl erpbyyrpgvba bs gur “fhvpvqr cnpg”. Gung’f gur cevznel onfvf bs gur fcrphyngvba, naq V’z fher vg’f vasyhraprq ol zl rkcrevraprf bs orvat envfrq ol n fhvpvqny cnerag naq lrnef bs fhvpvqny vqrngvba. Gung’f cebonoyl hasnve, naq V nz obgu fbeel sbe ratntvat va vg naq gung V pna’g dhvgr funxr vg. Jr pna’g xabj sbe pregnva jung unccrarq va gubfr svany lrnef; jr bayl unir fbzr bs Furyqba’f yrggref gb tb ba, vvep.

    For anyone who needs soul balm, I am linking my favourite opening theme from Polar Bear’s Cafe.

  28. Dawn Incognito, Cheryl S., jayn:

    My understanding was (and I’ve just gone looking and am not sure where I got this from) that Uhagvatqba Furyqba unq abg whfg nyzbfg pbzcyrgryl ybfg uvf fvtug, ur unq nyfb ybfg zhpu bs uvf zragny snphygvrf — naq gung ur naq uvf jvsr unq, jura gurl jrer lbhatre, cerivbhfyl znqr na nterrzrag gb raq vg orsber rvgure bar bs gurz orpnzr fb sne tbar gung gurl jrer ab ybatre “va gurve evtug zvaq”.

    V unir pybfr sevraqf jub unir unq n snzvyl zrzore qrfpraq vagb fravyvgl sebz ntr naq/be Nymurvzre’f, naq vg vf urnegoernxvat jung gurl unir gbyq zr nobhg ubj gurve ybirq bar punatrq sebz na vagryyvtrag, engvbany nqhyg vagb n puvyq jub pbhyq bayl haqrefgnaq gur zbfg fvzcyr pbaprcgf, naq orpnzr frysvfu naq cnenabvq.

    Sbe zlfrys, V xabj gung V jbhyq jnag gb or noyr gb raq guvatf orsber V pnzr gb gung fgngr — rfcrpvnyyl xabjvat gung bapr V qrgrevbengrq rabhtu, V jbhyq ab ybatre or pncnoyr bs znxvat gung qrpvfvba. Fb V pna haqrefgnaq znxvat fhpu n cnpg.

    Vg vf ragveryl cbffvoyr gung Uhagvatqba unq sryg guvf jnl, naq znqr na nterrzrag jvgu uvf jvsr — naq gura bapr uvf zragny fgngr orpnzr zber naq zber qrtenqrq, ur haqrefgbbq bayl gung ur’q fnvq ur jnagrq gb qvr, ohg abg jul ur’q fnvq guvf, naq ur orpnzr nsenvq bs qlvat.

    Fb ng gung cbvag, vf sbyybjvat guebhtu jvgu gur cnpg ab ybatre bxnl — rira vs bar bs gur crbcyr vaibyirq ab ybatre unf gur zragny pncnovyvgvrf gb erzrzore jul gurl unq sryg gung jnl va gur svefg cynpr?

    I don’t know. This is a hard, hard question.

  29. JJ, thank you for that information. Oof. That’s a heartbreaking question, and I don’t know the answer either.

    Thanks to everyone who discussed this horrible topic with me. I think I need to tap out and snuggle the cats and watch cartoons for the remainder of the evening. Peace once again.

  30. @Bruce Baugh
    I didn’t mention before but each situation is different. In the Sheldon’s case I’ll probably take the lack of proper mental health care into account. Lack of help and understanding of caregivers and those they care for is still a problem today. My grandmother had some kind of brain/cognitive problems, at one point we were told Alzheimer’s, it was heartbreaking when she not only didn’t recognize family and couldn’t do basic tasks for herself but when she got violent verbally as well as physically. There were times I visited here when I didn’t recognize her as the woman I loved.

    I’ve often thought we are kinder to animals than people by putting them down when they are in pain and no longer themselves. For all the medical procedures I’ve had over the last 6 years I keep having to have conversations around why I don’t want to be hooked up to life support. I don’t want to be kept alive when I’m not home anymore/brain isn’t functioning. Because I’m suicidal this ended up being a bigger discussion – am I being logical in my decision or is it my depression talking? Now the discussions include since I’m suicidal obviously I don’t want to be resuscitated or put on life support and I’ve talked to my therapist and psychiatrist but also for my dignity and everyone’s sake don’t do it.

    Each case is unique. How it affects my view of the author and the author’s work is going to be different. What baggage we bring to the situation is going to affect how we react to someone else’s life. No person is perfect. Putting people on pedestals is bound to end in disappointment. It’s hard to put ourselves in someone’s shoes keeping in mind the time period, gender constraints, age issues, etc. and we don’t know nearly as much as we like to think we do about others lives even if they left daily diaries of their lives from age 8-death.

  31. Re: Sheldon: I still have the bio, was just flipping through it.
    Nccneragyl ure uhfonaq jnf fgvyy yhpvq, ohg unq jvguva gur ynfg lrne tbar pbzcyrgryl oyvaq nf jryy nf unq n fgebxr naq fur orpnzr uvf pnertvire naq gbbx bire nyy gur gnfxf ur unq cerivbhfyl qbar, juvpu frrzf gb unir rknpreongrq ure qrcerffvba.

    Vg’f jbegu abgvat gung qrfcvgr jung fur qvq, ure fgrcfba, jub cnegvpvcngrq va gur ovb, frrzf gb guvax xvaqyl bs ure.

  32. I was surprised that the “Malzberg column about Tiptree” wasn’t really a column about Tiptree. The link seems to have disappeared but when I read it this morning it seemed to use her as one example among several in an overly compressed indictment of the field of SF as a whole. The nominal crime of the field is that its nature – providing access to alternate realities – encourages imposture and self-delusion; ironically, this is within shouting distance of the “toxic fandom” critiques developed by the Ess Jay Double-Yous Malzberg’s defenders blame for ruining his fun. The real crime is the same one Malzberg’s been prosecuting since at least his Engines of the Night collection: the field’s failure to give Malzberg the career he would have wished.

    The problem with his essay is that Malzberg thinks piling pieces of weak evidence together somehow makes it strong evidence. Sheldon does seem to have gotten a kick out of bamboozling much of the field, but she had reasons (sexism) beyond kicks for adopting a pseudonym. Once you feel you must do it anyway, you might as well enjoy it. And there are an awful lot of domestic murder-suicides in the United States: science fiction is neither a necessary nor sufficient cause of Sheldon’s crime or tragedy or, if you prefer, both. Likewise, my recollection is that what destroyed Alfred Bester’s career was alcoholism, not the fact that he was able to pass as a non-nerd in the Peter Benchley crowd. (Bester claimed in an interview to have convinced Benchley that Jaws needed to be a book, not just an article.)

    Not only is SF not an obvious cause of these calamities, it may have held them off for a time. Alice Sheldon, CIA analyst, may have done herself and possibly her husband in 10 or 20 years earlier if she had not had the consolation of her identity and achievements as James Tiptree, Jr. An Alfred Bester not in the throes of creating two great novels and a terrific volume’s worth of short stories may have drunk himself into irrelevance long before he eventually did. In each case, the world is enormously better off that the author did the work.

  33. @Dawn Incognito, tapping out seems like a wise choice. This is a topic full of minefields. If you check back in, thank for your kind words. V unir Irel Fgebat Bcvavbaf nobhg thaf va gur ubzr naq V’z n irel yvtug fyrrcre., but everyone has something. I just didn’t want you to feel like you were alone in your stance.

    @Bruce Baugh (and JJ, tangentially), I think it’s pretty nuanced for me. People are complex, capable of great good and great harm. Alice Sheldon’s final act doesn’t erase the power of Tiptree’s writing, but it does assure that she’s not one of my personal heroes. I used to read Anne Perry’s writing with pleasure, until I tired of the almost obsessive repetitiveness of her underlying themes. Those themes (redemption, secrets, loss) acquired a different slant of light when her story became public.

    In both cases, I’m going with the presumption that what they did made sense to them at the time. I know from experience how compelling someone’s internal logic can be, even if a more objective observer would be horrified. I don’t think I’ll pick up the challenge of soldiers, except to say they generally do a job many of us would not want to do but which most of us think is sometimes necessary.

    As far as the Malzberg column about Sheldon, I think using her to hone his axe is fairly despicable, but he also clearly has his own issues and isn’t averse to displaying them publicly.

  34. Dawn Incognito: belated thanks for the Polar Bear’s Cafe bit. This looks like great fun and I sense some binge-watching on the horizon.

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