Pixel Scroll 8/4/19 Please Scroll The Nature Of Your Pixel-cal Emergency

(1) DISCONTINUED NEXT ROCK. Matt Keely tries to diagnose the reasons for “Such Abnormal Activity: On ‘The Best of R. A. Lafferty’” in the LA Review of Books.

…Hidden powers that hold and wield esoteric knowledge recur throughout the hundreds of stories and 20 or so novels published during his lifetime, and for the last 30-odd years, the Lafferty readership has resembled nothing so much as one of the secret societies he described. His story “Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne” features eight humans and one machine who together possess the “finest minds and judgments in the world.” Lafferty’s admirers were nearly as few as that select band. His first books appeared with Ace, Berkley, DAW, and Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York publishers that still exist today. They met critical acclaim and popular indifference. Lafferty’s later books, if they appeared at all, arrived as Xeroxed chapbooks or were published with micropresses like Corroboree and United Mythologies Press. My Heart Leaps Up, the first installment of a four-part autobiographical series called In a Green Tree, only appeared in five booklets from fan Chris Drumm. The five parts of My Heart Leaps Up were never published together, and the remaining three books of In a Green Tree never left manuscript.

Last year, UK science fiction publisher Gollancz, which has recently brought out most of Lafferty in digital editions, released a print omnibus of three novels, the utopian parody Past Master, the transcendentally paranoid Fourth Mansions, and the Homeric tall tale Space Chantey. But Lafferty’s novels are notoriously difficult — Fourth Mansions in particular drives the uninitiated to despair — and his stories have drawn more readers and inspired greater praise. This April, Gollancz issued The Best of R. A. Lafferty, a collection of 22 stories that span nearly the whole of the author’s career. Neil Gaiman contributes an appreciative introduction to Lafferty; each story receives at least one introduction, all but one original to this volume, and several include afterwords to boot. Lafferty’s readership may have a reputation for being small, but it’s also illustrious. Introducers include Samuel R. Delany, Michael Dirda, Patton Oswalt, Robert Silverberg, Jeff VanderMeer, Michael Swanwick, Nancy Kress, Connie Willis, and the late Harlan Ellison….

(2) MASSIVE PIRACY. Owl Goingback warned Facebook readers about Kiss Library:

Google Alerts tipped me off about a website called Kiss Library, where my books had been uploaded and were being sold without my permission. They weren’t just offering free downloads, like many pirate sites, they were actually selling the books–and for more than what they sell for on Amazon. And since each book had a preview, I could confirm that the actual books were available. Under each book listed was a link to report the book if it had been posted in violation of copyright. Kiss Library did remove all five of my books, but only after I used the link and also sent them an email.
Oddly enough the website is a product of an actual physical store in Canada, located at 2510 Centre St. S Calgary, ABT2G SA6, Phone: 1-213-394-9806, email: [email protected].

I spent a few hours looking up other authors who may not be aware that their books are being sold on this site. In addition to books they are also selling magazines, such as Cemetery Dance and Fantasy and Science Fiction. If I’ve tagged your name, then you have books being sold on the Kiss library. I will post the website address at the end of this post. Facebook will only allow me to tag a handful of people at the time, so please let other authors know.

Christopher Golden, Mort Castle, James A. Moore, Adam-Troy Castro, Neil Gaiman, Ellen Datlow, Alice Henderson, Tim Waggoner, Joe Haldeman, Stephen Jones-Editor, Rick Wilber, Andy Duncan, Steve Vernon, Nancy Kress, Josh Malerman, Mick Garris, Linda D Addison, Jonathan Maberry, Robert J. Sawyer, Alessandro Manzetti The website address is: http://kisslibrary.net

(3) SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS. Angely Chi has tweeted allegations about a speaker at the Iligan National Writers Workshop (INWW) in the Phillipines, and two other persons.


One of those named, Timothy James Dimcali, posted a response on Facebook. (His name is familiar to some because he was at the Clarion Writers Workshop in July,)

To my family, friends, colleagues, and the institutions that trust in me, I am making myself available to discuss this matter in confidence. Please give me the opportunity to erase any cloud that this episode might have created over our good relations.

I vehemently deny all of the recent statements made against me, accusing me of sexually assaulting someone during an event where I was a speaker.

I acknowledge the seriousness of the allegation and I understand that any sexual misconduct should be condemned. But this incident has created so much turbulence that my personal life and my reputation have already severely suffered.

I stand ready to defend myself with legally admissible proof before the proper forum. I am confident that, when the legal process has taken its course, I will be able to vindicate my name with the truth. I am refusing to release any further information at this time not only for my own protection, but for the protection of the accuser as well.

While I wait for the opportunity to defend myself, I cannot sit idly while my reputation is being unduly tarnished. I have availed of legal advice and I will act very soon for the redress of my rights.

I would like to give my personal assurance to my family, friends, colleagues, and the institutions that have, and will repose their trust in me, that I have never, and will never take advantage of anyone.

Tiny Diapana reconstructs her experience at the Iligan workshop in “Breaking the Quiet” which begins —  

I’m tired and I’m sad and I’m stressed. I’ve recently found myself in the middle of some controversy in the Philippine writing community. Not once have I ever expected that I would ever find myself in this kind of predicament.

To get to the heart of the matter: I was sexually taken advantage of by a panelist during a national writers workshop that I had attended this year.

I called and wrote to the workshop director about the incident. I also had my lawyer send a letter along with the affidavits of my witnesses to the workshop to ask for justice. I wanted the workshop to acknowledge what had happened and to condemn what this panelist had done to me. I wanted the organization to blacklist this panelist so that he could no longer do the same thing to others in future iterations of the workshop.

However, the workshop director sent my lawyer a letter dismissing my request. According to the director, this was simply an issue between me and my assaulter because “it was done behind closed doors and nobody heard anyone screaming, being dragged down the stairs, or trashing about.”…

(4) POLITICAL PARADOX. In “The Conservative Manifesto Buried in ‘Avengers: Endgame’” on Qulilette, Aaron Sibarium argues that Avengers: Endgame like most MCU films represents “a post 9/11 conservatism” where “it’s always 1938.”

For the last decade or so, American cinema has exhibited a paradox: Though Hollywood has become more and more liberal, especially on issues of race and gender, Hollywood blockbusters have become more conservative—not just by recycling old plot points, as Star Wars has done, but also, in the case of superhero movies, by indulging a politics of reaction.

What might be called “Nolan’s enigma” began in earnest with The Dark Knight, which involved a tough-on-crime WASP using torture, intimidation, and surveillance to bring down a media-savvy terrorist. The Dark Knight Rises took things one step further with Bane, a menacing mix of Robespierre and Ruthenberg, whose pseudo-Marxist coup unleashes all manner of mayhem upon Gotham: banishments and public hangings, street brawls and show trials, and—in a scene lifted straight out of the French revolution—the storming of Blackgate (Bastille) prison.

Not to be outdone, Marvel soon embraced its own brand of post-9/11 conservatism. In every Avengers film, Joshua Tait notes, “it really is 1938….The threats are real and the Avengers’ unilateral actions are necessary” to protect life, liberty, and democracy. Each hero thus functions as a kind of Cold Warrior, standing athwart would-be despots and authoritarians, while their enemies function as bland, unidimensional cannon-fodder, a convenient narrative pretext for blowing things up. (To be fair, the bad guys usually do possess weapons of mass destruction; this is fantasy, after all.)


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 4, 1937 David Bedford. Composer who worked with Ursula K. Le Guin to produce and score her Rigel 9 album which the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says is ‘a work that is musically pleasant although narratively underpowered.’ I’ve not heard it, so cannot say how accurate this opinion is. (Died 2011.)
  • Born August 4, 1942 Rick Norwood, 77. Editor of the Comics Revue, the longest ever running running comics reprint magazine. He’s also written a handful of SF stories. 
  • Born August 4, 1942 Don S. Davis. He’s best-known for playing General Hammond on Stargate SG-1 and Major Garland Briggs on Twin Peaks. He had a small part in Beyond the Stars as Phil Clawson, and was in Hook as Dr. Fields. (Died 2008.)
  • Born August 4, 1961 Lauren Tom, 58. Voice actress for our purposes. She shows up on Superman: The Animated Series voicing Angela Chen. From there on, she was Dana Tan in Batman Beyond and several minor roles on Pinky and the Brain. Futurama is her biggest series to date where she voices Amy and Inez Wong. 
  • Born August 4, 1969 Fenella Woolgar, 50. Agatha Christie in “The Unicorn and The Wasp” episode of Doctor Who where she more than capably played off against David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. Her only other genre was as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.
  • Born August 4, 1981 Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, 38. Yes, she’s done a genre performance or so. To be precise, she showed up on Fringe in the the first two episodes of the second seasons (“A New Day in the Old Town” and “Night of Desirable Objects”) as Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup. She was also in the “First Knight” episode of Knight Rider as Annie Ortiz, and Natasha in “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Lose” on Century City, a series you likely never heard of. 

(6) FANSPOTTING. JJ says we can adapt this to be the Worldcon attendee identification guide, too.

(7) STEPHENSON INTERVIEWED. Tyler Cowen interviewed Neal Stephenson on the podcast Conversations With Tyler: “Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality”.  It’s a wide-ranging interview, where Stephenson gives his opinions on a variety of tech topics as well as his opinions on Dickens and Heinlein.  He also denies the rumor spread by Reason’s Peter Suderman that he is mysterious bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, saying that he’d need “a lot more math” to invent bitcoin and that if he was the bitcoin inventor, he’d be a lot richer than he is.

So what’s the implicit theology of a simulated world? Might we be living in one, and does it even matter? Stephenson joins Tyler to discuss the book and more, including the future of physical surveillance, how clothing will evolve, the kind of freedom you could expect on a Mars colony, whether today’s media fragmentation is trending us towards dystopia, why the Apollo moon landings were communism’s greatest triumph, whether we’re in a permanent secular innovation starvation, Leibniz as a philosopher, Dickens and Heinlein as writers, and what storytelling has to do with giving good driving directions.

(8) GOOD LOOKIN’. “This Remote Corner Of Nevada Is One Of The Darkest Places In The World” – which is a good thing.

Jen Rovanpera drives through remote and rough parts of northwestern Nevada, about 6 miles outside the Oregon border. She is an archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management. Today, she isn’t looking for artifacts.

She is showing off the vast area of Massacre Rim, the country’s largest and newest Dark Sky Sanctuary.

“It’s an immense area of darkness. The sanctuary is just a small fraction of that area,” she says, pointing out across a lookout point just north of the site.

Rovanpera recently worked with the International Dark Sky Association to get this area designated. The title doesn’t come with any legal protections, but land managers do have to adopt a lighting policy that preserves the night sky.

“I think it promotes recognition of what an amazing resource it is, and also awareness that parts of the country were losing this opportunity to really enjoy the natural night sky,” Rovanpera says.

Only 10 dark sky sanctuaries exist in the world, with four of them in the U.S. At more than 100,000 acres, Massacre Rim is the largest one in the country. It is surrounded by thousands of acres of sagebrush and grass, making it perfect for cattle and for camping.

(9) PAGING TIPPER GORE. NPR investigates how “Lawmaker Aims To Curb Social Media Addiction With New Bill”.

In the latest action against major tech companies, freshman Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced a bill on Tuesday — the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology, or SMART, Act — that would ban “addictive” social media features.

Most social media platforms are known for their infinite scrolling effect, which allows users to see all of the content on their newsfeeds in one visit to the site if they continue to scroll to the bottom of the page. If the bill was passed, users would have to actively refresh their Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds after a scrolling limit is exceeded.

Similarly, instead of having YouTube videos load automatically one after the other with autoplay, users would have to find and click on the next video themselves. The “Snapstreak” on Snapchat, which requires users to send photos to each other at least once every 24 hours in order to maintain the “streak,” is another “addictive” feature that Hawley’s bill would prohibit.

The senator’s goal is to discourage users from continuously engaging with social media products. His bill also proposes new features that would be part of a “user-friendly interface,” including time limits for each app of 30 minutes per day and frequent reminders of how long a user has been browsing a certain platform. Individuals could change the time limit, but it would reset to 30 minutes every month.

“Big Tech has embraced a business model of addiction,” Hawley said when announcing the bill. “Too much of the ‘innovation’ in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away.”

…Hawley and fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas wrote to the Federal Trade Commission last month, asking the agency to open an investigation into the issue of tech censorship. In a May op-ed, in which he called Facebook, Twitter and Instagram parasitic, Hawley said that social media has done more collective harm than good, and he even went so far as to say that it would be better if these sites didn’t exist at all.

(10) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Wise Words by Sauta Micki” on Vimeo is an Israeli animated film by Yuvaroo about wise advice from a grandmother to her grandchildren.  (It has another title on Vimeo with Grandma in it but that’s the title–in English–that Yuvaroo gave it.)

[Thanks to Juan Sanmiguel, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/4/19 Please Scroll The Nature Of Your Pixel-cal Emergency

  1. 4) Yes, I know it’s Quilette, but that article is really reaching. It even manages to get in a jab against the right’s bete noir Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    About the only thing this article does get right is that there are problematic aspects about Black Panther and Wakanda that many viewers don’t notice, because of the flashy visuals and the fact that it’s a very entertaining movie. But again, the author gets it wrong, because Wakanda isolated itself from the rest of the world not because the Wakandans are afraid of immigrants, but to protect themselves against slave traders. Which, considering African history, was a very wise move. Not to mention that the point of the movie is that Wakanda continuing to isolate itself from the world is wrong and causes problems.

  2. (8) Dark Sky:
    I spent a night under the stars on Indian land in southern Utah as part of a camping tour. It was amazing to see meteors near-constantly on a ‘normal’ night.

  3. (1) Lafferty was one of the most singular talents ever to careen across the skies of SF. Reading Past Master bordered on a life-changing experience, and his short stories are little thermonuclear explosions of imagination. “That way lies skunk cabbage and madness.”

    @Cora: As soon as I saw it was Quillette I skipped to the next item.

  4. Heya! Help me out with a few questions about what to expect at Worldcon?

    I have many, many fantastic people whose autographs I would love to acquire. I also see that many, many of them have a specific hour for giving autographs.
    Is it impolite to ask them for autographs outside those hours? Like, at the end of a panel, or just on random bumping-into-them?
    How does signing up for a Kaffeklastch work?
    I’m inordinately interested in the literal description of how you sign up (write your name on a piece of paper? type into a computer? drop your name into a hat?) because I need to figure out whether the signup is something I can do on Shabbat.


  5. @Standback: Last year (and other years that I remember), Kaffeklastch sign-up was indeed writing your name on a piece of paper.

  6. @Standback: Generally authors like to give autographs. It is okay to ask when the author is not busy or rushing off to their next event, and if you are not interrupting anyone. After a panel can be a good time. Random encounters, it depends. Do not interrupt a meal. Ask nicely and accept if the author says no. Keep the number of items to sign to a minimum. One is best. Three is the most one could politely ask to be signed at one time.

    I expect the details for signing up for Kaffeeklatsches will be in the program guide. I recall previous Worldcons where signup was on paper forms at the Info desk.

  7. @Standback, redux: Regarding autographs, if you can make it to their autograph session, do that! But if not, I agree with @Tom Becker; just keep in mind some may not appreciate it, but you can’t know in advance. As long as you avoid obvious “no” times (think: times you wouldn’t appreciate being interrupted by a total stranger), it seems reasonable to say “Hi, I love your work but can’t make it to your autograph session; do you have time now?”

    Personally I would not ask someone right before a panel/reading. They may be preparing (perhaps mentally); and it may take longer than you think and delay the panel/reading start.

    Not just meals; I also wouldn’t bother someone having drinks in a bar, or someone already engaged in a conversation with others.

    After a panel/reading: Make sure to not block the next panel/panelists/whatever’s next in the room (e.g., suggest the hallway if they don’t).

    (Authors reading File 770 comments – what do you think???)

  8. 4) Ah yes. The conservative attitudes of 1938 where gays dare to be open about their relationships in PTSD workshops, a 1938 where there are PTSD workshops and people aren’t just told to pull themselves together, the conservative attitudes of 1938 where a God of Thunder leaves his role as a leader, because he thinks a woman will lead as well or better than him.

    Also, “The Dark Knight” doesn’t start with a “a tough-on-crime WASP”, it starts with a person with serious trauma operating outside the law, breaking it when it becomes convenient. There is no “pseudo-Marxist” in the movie. No mix of Robespierre and Ruthenberg. That is just the author staring at ink spots, declaring the they are a communist conspiracy.

    Yeah, they movies are a vehicle of propaganda, nothing special with that. Black Panther is an excellent example, making a CIA agent a hero when propping up an authoritarian regime in an african country. And Captain Marvel was directly sponsored as a recruitment tool for the army. But there is nothing conservative in that propaganda. It has long since been encompassed by Democrats as well.

  9. 1) Fourth Mansions is my own favourite Lafferty novel, with The Reefs of Earth a close second. I never managed to finish Past Master, and Arrive at Easterwine is my own choice for “drives the uninitiated to despair”, but he’s still one of very few devoutly Catholic writers I enjoy; probably because his breezy playfulness manages (or mostly manages) to avoid the smugness that comes from reading too many apologetics.

    I used to have a couple of the chapbooks and I’ve read some of his later work that I found in a dodgy online archive years ago and, to be honest, there’s a reason why they didn’t get proper published editions. At their worst, they have that maundering quality I’ve seen in the lesser works of Fritz Leiber or Alfred Bester, and I associate with problem drinking.

  10. Standback:

    A sneaky way of getting autographs or signed books is going to the fan auction (if there is one?). They usually auction of signed books and you can sometimes get good deals. Also, some authors sign books for dealers too, and then you can buy them there.

    Not sure how Dublin does the Kaffeklastches, but in Helsinki, you signed up to them on lists at a specific table for them. And the popular ones could get full quite quickly. You could not sign up for all klatches at convention start, I think they put out the lists only for the current day. But if you have special requirements regarding Sabbath, you could perhaps mail the con about it? Or would it be something you could tell one of us the day before to sign for you?

  11. @ Standbaclk: This is purely personal opinion, but…

    The kaffeeklatsch signup I’ve seen in the past has been “pen & paper” (you register your interest in a kaffeeklatsch, there’s N spaces, and possibly a few reserves; once the klatsch starts, the people who’ve signed above the “reserves below this line” line are admitted, and soon after the reserves are let in from first to full). I am very much not well versed enough to say if this falls within what’s allowable on Shabbat, but I think it just might. Also, I have NO idea how this will be done at Dublin 2019, this is based on having seen sign-ups in the past, at other cons (world- or not).

    In re autographs, I would try to avoid asking for autographs outside autograph sessions, for those who have them. Unless I’ve spent enough time in conversation that the time taken to autograph is sufficiently small a fraction of that time, that it is essentially insignificant. So “end of panel” and “randomly in the corridor” is, for me, right out.

  12. @All: Thank you kindly 😀 It’s great to hear these opinions and suggestions.

    re: Autographs: Definitely the important part, to me, is to tell a bunch of authors (and some editors!) “Hey, I loved your work.” (Helsinki Worldcon was absolutely lovely, and I kept running into huge favorites — Jo Walton; Ada Palmer; Ted Chiang — who were phenomenally kind and welcoming.)

    I actually care a lot less whether I get a physical autograph. So I think I can avoid being an imposing/distracting fan.

    re: Signup: Thanks for the experience and suggestions!
    Con accessibility have already been extremely helpful on a related Shabbat matter. I think asking their help on this would be tricky (and possibly kind of unfair), but I think I can manage this. Thank you @Hampus for the offer to help me out on this; I may very well take you up on it 😀

  13. 5) Had no Idea Meghan had done any genre performances. Cool!

    My experience of kaffeklatches was the clusterflock of Loncon 2014 where there was a scrum to try and get signed up. It was a turn off for me(even as I did manage a couple of good ones, including Kate Elliott) that I haven’t tried to sign up for one in subsequent Worldcons (or Readercon this year for that matter)

  14. Isn’t it illegal to describe someone as a “rapist” if there hasn’t been a trial, or maybe slander? Unless you are the victim or a witness, I guess. Just asking, because I’m seeing a lot of stuff like this online where accusations are made by third parties and it’s hard to know what to believe.

  15. I’m gonna take my pixels to the old file road
    I’m gonna scroll till I can’t no more….

  16. @Howard: It’s not illegal. It might be risky, in that it could open someone up to a libel lawsuit. At least in the US, one of the questions that would be asked in court–and that a good lawyer would consider before filing that suit, is whether the public accusation hurt the person’s reputation.

    Whether you believe the accusation is a separate question: but bear in mind that the false accusation rate, for rape as for other crimes, is less than ten percent. By “false accusation” I mean “Blue accused Green of something that never happened,” not “Green says they were drunk” or “Green insists it’s no big deal because….”

  17. Standback: Please be aware that as having ADHD, I’m not always good at remembering things, at least not when they matter! 😛

    But if we add something to my calendar, so I get a reminder, then I should absolutely be able to help with this. Also, If I understand correctly, it is not a problem if we go together to the signing table, as long as I do the signing?

    And it might even make me remember to sign up for something myself! 😀

  18. @HowardB it’s hard to know what to believe.

    I suggest believing the victim. The cost of speaking up is higher for them.

  19. Vicki Rosenzweig:

    …but bear in mind that the false accusation rate, for rape as for other crimes, is less than ten percent. By “false accusation” I mean “Blue accused Green of something that never happened,” not “Green says they were drunk” or “Green insists it’s no big deal because….”

    Some additional thoughts on this. Most of these false cases (the ten percent) aren’t accusations. They tend to be of the type “Blue said an unknown person did something”. Where no specific person is accused. Also, when a false accusation is reported to the police, it tends not to be the non-victim who takes the initiative. It is usally a case where someone lies to parents/friends/etc to explain away something and the persons who were told decide the thing is a matter for the police.

    So for someone who makes a report to the police (without being dragged there by others), I’d say the number of false accusations where a real person is named is much smaller than ten percent.

  20. @1: I’ve loved Lafferty’s short fiction (and even Gaiman’s note-perfect pastiche) since I read “Narrow Valley” in Merril’s SF 12 (now there was a mind-bender) 50 years ago, but I’ve never been able to finish one of his novels; his quirks seem best in small doses, but Past Master is still on my TBR bookcase.

    @4: seems like a stretch with some debatable facts; I’m not familiar enough with the philosophical categories used to argue them. It’s true that most blockbusters tend to draw clear lines rather than showing shades of grey, but ISTM that’s an issue scattered across most spectra.

    @Standback: I’d be surprised if Dublin had some mad genius creating electronic signups for kaffeeklatsches, although I expect this will happen some day. wrt autographs, there are always people looking to get books signed after panels; sometimes conventions formally ask for this to be outside the room, so that turnover can happen quickly. (Others allow 10-15 minutes between panels instead of 5.) Look carefully through whatever text you get from Dublin to see what they advise, and note the advice from other Filers on when else not to ask — and always accept “Not now!”, because you can’t know what crazy schedule someone is working with (or what physiological issues, from the permanent major to the circumstantial, e.g. the person who nervously drank lots of water during the panel and has to go Right Now). Note that this applies to any carryover from a panel, not just asking for an autograph.

    @Hampus Eckerman: are you conflating The Dark Knight with The Dark Knight Rises? The latter does evoke revolutionary excess from Robespierre through Pol Pot at least (coming to mind because of current reports of the death of one of his chief lieutenants).

  21. Clip Hitchcock:

    “are you conflating The Dark Knight with The Dark Knight Rises? The latter does evoke revolutionary excess from Robespierre through Pol Pot at least (coming to mind because of current reports of the death of one of his chief lieutenants).”

    Hmmm. I see that Nolan himself has said he was inspired by the Tale of Two Cities. Bane is not Robespierre, but Madame Defarge.


    But to me it more evokes the Knightfall storyline from the comics, where the prisoners are freed and used as a diversion to create chaos. The show trials have been done several times, Batman: The Animated Series had one episode about it, it had been done in the comic before.

    I think making these grand statements about ideology looses the context in that most of it are standard tropes from Superhero comics.

  22. Hampus Eckerman’s suggestion to Standback regarding getting autographed books at a fan auction: if you get one at an auction, and the author is at the con, they will usually be glad to personalize the book for you. There will be a fan fund auction on Saturday afternoon, but I don’t know if bidding on auction items breaks the Sabbath rules in your practice. Paying for items purchased will, I imagine, but the organizers might be willing to wait until the next day to take your money. (Disclosure: I’m one of the auctionneers but not involved in running the books.)

  23. @Chip Hitchcock I’ve loved Lafferty’s short fiction… but I’ve never been able to finish one of his novels

    I’d recommend The Reefs of Earth, if you can find a copy. It’s more novel-shaped than his other long works and a little easier to follow. But there’s certainly an argument that the short stories are his best work and the novels are optional.

    (I can’t remember which Lafferty story was my first – when I was a kid I didn’t always keep track of the authors in the anthologies I borrowed from my mother – but Rainbird, The Seven Day Terror, and Sky are all candidates that made an impression on me.)

  24. Since I was one of the supporters of the Kickstarter for The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin documentary, I made sure to watch it Friday night on PBS. (I have heard that some stations’ websites still have it on live streaming.)

    Overall, it was quite good. There was plenty of footage featuring Le Guin talking about her books–Left Hand of Darkness, Earthsea, the Dispossessed, and Always Coming Home in particular. She also explains why it took 17 years for her to write Tehanu. The documentary also features some gorgeous animation that illustrated scenes from Le Guin’s novels. Commentators included Theodora Goss, Margaret Atwood, Annalee Newitz, Samuel Delaney, Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, China Mieville, Michael Chabon, adrienne maree brown (I believe), and perhaps more.

  25. As I’ve probably said before, the only Lafferty I’m certain I’ve read is the short story “Been a Long, Long Time” in Brian Aldiss’ first Galactic Empires anthology; but it’s a story that I’ve never, ever forgotten.

  26. Another autograph question:
    These days I mostly read ebooks and would prefer not to go back to paper. Is it acceptable or horribly rude to ask an author to sign something self-printed (e.g. a poster of a title image, maybe with a quotation)?


  27. Lafferty: Lafferty was a very good writer who was also very conservative in his politics. I kept waiting for the Puppies to mention him, but they never did. Their knowledge of the history of the field seemed to go back about five years — other writers they never mentioned include Poul Anderson and Tim Powers. (Of course their point that conservative writers never get attention might be somewhat weakened by pointing out these authors.)

    @Standback: One thing you might keep in mind is the popularity of the author you’re asking. If there are crowds of fans around them, it’s probably not a good idea to try to get a book signed. If the author is hanging out with only one or two people, they might be delighted to meet a fan. (Though, as others say, don’t interrupt a conversation!)

  28. Regarding kaffeklatsches: Per Kris Snyder in the Dublin 2019 Facebook group:

    [Signups will be at the] Information Desk. Also to clarify, at 10:00 and 14:00 at least 24 hours in advance. For example, a Kaffeeklatsch schedule for 13:00 Friday will have signups open at 10:00 Thursday.


  29. @Rob I watched the LeGuin documentary last night. It is available on demand through my cable provider, but for anyone who missed it, your local PBS provider should list if it is on demand for you.

    I found it very compelling, and now have a very long list of Le Guin that I need to read.

    @Standback I’m hoping to get into Kaffeeklatsches myself, and plan to get to the halls early in hopes of getting my signups done!

  30. @Goobergunch: Oooh! Thank you!
    That’s marvelous; it means signup for Saturday is actually on Friday, when I’m free to actually sign up. That makes this very very easy 🙂


    One thing you might keep in mind is the popularity of the author you’re asking.

    Thanks, that’s a very excellent point. This is very true and I’m very aware of it.
    I think most of the people I’m looking for aren’t going to be swamped, but I don’t really know what to expect from a lot of them — I’ll play it by ear and it’ll be fine. In Helsinki, I managed to shake hands and squee lightly with the not-mega-super-epicstars — and, thanks to Greg, I also completely calmly and professionally and non-squee-ily discussed 3SV with George R.R. Martin. (That was just lucky, but OTOH, I kept being lucky, so evidently Worldcon is a good place for being lucky at meeting cool authors?)


    Is it acceptable or horribly rude to ask an author to sign something self-printed (e.g. a poster of a title image, maybe with a quotation)?

    Oh, goodness, I hope so.
    I’m self-printing a bunch of bookplates, because there’s no way for me to lug half my library around to Ireland with me.
    (But I’m personalizing them, since I do want the authors to know I came wanting an autograph for their book specifically…)

    Hope that’s kosher…

  31. The Dark Knight Rises is certainly a movie with many kinds of problems, but IIRC it’s made pretty clear (to the viewer, not the characters) that Bane’s populist rhetoric is entirely a ruse aimed at confusing both the residents of Gotham and the outside world. He doesn’t actually have any politics, he just wants to destroy the city, and no average people have joined his pseudo-movement— it’s entirely made up of his co-conspirators.

  32. @Standback: Like @Hampus Eckerman, I’m happy to help out, too. 🙂 I mistakenly over-interpreted what you wrote, but I realize maybe signing your name for a Kaffeeklatsch on the Sabbath may not be okay.

    BTW if there are Sunday Kaffeeklatsches you’re interested in, I strongly recommend (if needed) asking Hampus, me, or whoever to sign you up on Saturday. Things can fill up quickly! If everyone you’re interested in is doing them Thursday through Saturday, though, you’re golden. 🙂

  33. @Hampus

    Captain Marvel was made with the support of the Air Force.

    Captain America is Army. Although, I’ve always wondered . . . Steve Rodgers has one very specialized skill, shield slinging martial arts; ignores officers when he feels like it; appropriates military equipment for his own use; and came and went on his own schedule . . .

    Shouldn’t he be Chief Warrant Officer America?

    (Sorry for a joke only veterans will get.)

  34. @Sophie Jane Lafferty’s The Reefs of Earth should be easy to find. It has just been republished. I haven’t read it yet, but I have a new copy.

  35. @Sophie Jane, @StephenfromOttawa: TFTR — I’ll keep an eye out for the new printing.

    @Lisa Goldstein: the Puppies profess to desire not just conservative politics but old-fashioned (e.g., ~simpleminded) storytelling; Lafferty and Powers fail massively on the latter (not to mention sometimes not drawing clear lines between heroes and villains), and generally don’t put their politics on their stories’ sleeves. That’s “generally”; the Puppies would probably drool over “Primary Education of the Camiroi” if they could find it — and get past the idea of aliens being superior to Earthlings.

    @Douglas Berry: “Captain” was applied when he was still obeying orders, as a show horse rather than an active soldier; I suspect a lot of Filers are familiar enough with the military to get your joke, but imagine the loss of face for the Army if he were demoted — it’s not like Kirk dropping from admiral back to captain. And shield-slinging is a lesser skill; his main skill is survival.

  36. @Hampus:

    But if we add something to my calendar, so I get a reminder, then I should absolutely be able to help with this. Also, If I understand correctly, it is not a problem if we go together to the signing table, as long as I do the signing?

    Whoops, missed this yesterday!

    Hampus, thank you very very kindly.
    It sounds like I’m going to have no trouble at all, and will be able to sign up on Friday when there’s no issue.
    With no contradiction, we can absolutely sign up together, particularly if there are any klatsches we’re both intrigued by — that would be a lot of fun! 😀

  37. Oh god, I just remembered. Is there a problem with having the filer meetup at Shabbat?

    I’m gonna try for the Kaffeklatsch with Scott Edelman on Friday. I have some Spider-Man comics i’m going to try to get him to sign afterwards.

  38. @Hampus: That one is strolling around, right?

    (In general, I strenuously try to avoid bending plans around my religious strictures. Firstly, because they’re on me; secondly, because my Worldcon schedule is going to be so hodgepodge, it’d be awful to try and work around me regardless 😛
    Worldcon is half an excuse for me and my fantastic S.O. to get off our butts and take a fancy vacation; I’m only actually going to be around about half the con…)

  39. There’s both a stroll and a Kaffeklatsch with Edelman. I can do either!

    I tend to miss all panels, klatsches and whatnot since I have a hard time being still and listen when I can’t be active or when people are too slow with giving information. I’m gonna try to see what talks are available this time, they are better for me.

    But I’m trying out new medicine, so maybe I can actually listen this year.

  40. @Hampus Eckerman

    : I think making these grand statements about ideology looses the context in that most of it are standard tropes from Superhero comics.

    Which kind of begs the question of why comics have those common troops. I mean there’s nothing inherent to the medium that requires black and white morality or prevents shades of grey being addressed. And indeed I’ve seen comics that are morally and thematically complex.

    I mean even in the MCU Captain America: Winter Soldier has commentary on the post-911 security state, and in Iron Man III, the “Mandaran” turns out to be a mostly chimerical villain for public consumption, while the real problem is (again) Tony’s technology. And then there’s Captain Marvel, where the evil race of infiltrators turns out to be a collection of desperate refugees used as a convenient villain by the people the heroine works for.

    So um, TLDR: I think that article had problems, OK?

    Chip Hitchcock:

    “Captain” was applied when he was still obeying orders, as a show horse rather than an active soldier;

    FWIW, since Rogers disappeared on active duty, he would be eligible for automatic promotions up to the rank of colonel. Also, his back pay would be on the order of 4 million dollars.

  41. (8) While probably not quite as dark as that location. Tonopah has sufficiently dark skies that the town built a stargazing park. The linked photo was taken during the day, of course. Note the fence; parking is on the other side of it, and they put in the slats so the lights of incoming cars wouldn’t shine into the park. The park has hard points for setting up telescopes as well as the seating shown here. During Westercon 74, it will available at all times except on July 4, because the town’s fireworks display is launched from this area.

Comments are closed.