Pixel Scroll 8/5/20 Please Pixel Your Scroll In The Form Of A Question

(1) KEEPING THE PLUS IN DISNEY+. Disney+ will premiere Mulan on its platform – at an extra charge to subscribers reports Variety.

In another major blow to movie theaters, Disney announced Mulan will forgo its planned theatrical release.  Instead, the live-action remake is premiering on Disney Plus on Sept. 4 for a premium rental price.

The company believes that the release of the action epic will help drive subscribers while serving as a valuable test case to determine how much of their hard-earned cash customers are willing to part with in order to watch a movie that was originally intended to debut exclusively in cinemas.

Unlike the rest of the content available on Disney Plus, “Mulan” won’t be available directly to subscribers. Consumers in the U.S. and other territories will have to pay $29.99 to rent the movie on top of the streaming service’s monthly subscription fee of $6.99. In markets where Disney Plus isn’t available, “Mulan” will play in cinemas.

(2) SEE AURORA AWARDS CEREMONY. The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association will hold the Aurora Awards ceremony online this year on Saturday, August 15 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern via the When Words Collide YouTube channel. The livestream will be open to everyone.

(3) LEADER OF THE PACK. HBO Max dropped a trailer for Raised by Wolves. Arrives September 3.

Mother was programmed to protect everyone after Earth had been destroyed. When the big bad wolf shows up, she is the one we must trust.

(4) BEUKES Q&A. NPR’s Petra Myers interviews author: “In ‘Afterland,’ A World (Mostly) Without Men: Questions For Lauren Beukes”.

Lauren Beukes’ new Afterland takes place in a world that exists not long after our own — a very near future in which a terrible virus has wiped out almost all the men in the world, leaving a scant few million, mostly held in government research facilities.

As the book opens, we meet Cole, who’s on the run after breaking her preteen son out of one of those facilities with the help of her sister, Billie (who has her own motives). Their journey will take them across a drastically different — but still recognizable — country, bouncing from utopian communes to religious sects to Miami sex clubs.

“I wanted to interrogate the preconceptions that a world of women would be a kinder or gentler place,” Beukes tells me over email, “especially if it was only a couple of years out from our current reality and the existing power structures, inequality and social ills. Because of course, women are full human beings and just as capable of being power hungry, selfish, violent, corrupt as much as we are of being kind, compassionate and nurturing as men are of all those things too….”

Why do you think the idea of wiping out all the men is so compelling? This isn’t the first no-men post-apocalyptic story I’ve read, but I don’t think I’ve seen any where women get wiped out.

I’ll be the first to cop to a world without men hardly being an original idea, from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1915 somewhat-prim women’s utopia, Herland, on up through Joanna Russ’ The Female Man in 1975 and, more recently, the hugely popular comics series Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, which gets a subtle nod in Afterland.

It’s an appealing idea because it allows us to explore how women could be without the centuries of oppression and misogyny (including the internalized kind), without the constant threat of violence and rape. It’s the joy of imagining a world where we could be safe walking at night (without having to be a man-killing vampire, as in the wonderful Iranian film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.)

The reverse has been explored in a much more limited away, including in a recent movie about a woman-killing plague with a father and his sole surviving daughter, and in Stephen and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties, which puts all the women in the world into a coma.

I don’t think it’s as popular a conceit, because of the power structures. We live under patriarchy. And the horrific reality is that women are “wiped out” every day, usually by intimate partner violence. In South Africa, we have a devastatingly high rate of gender-based violence, including against gay and trans men and women. According to my friend Dr. Nechama Brodie, who wrote the recent Femicide in South Africa, four women a day are killed here by their partners or ex-partners. The most recent international stats I could find were from the Global Study on Homicide, which found that one-third of women killed in 2017 were victims of domestic violence.

(5) MISSING IN ACTION. Sir Julius Vogel Award winner Casey Lucas tells “How NZ’s best fantasy and science fiction writers got shafted on a global stage” on The Spinoff.

… But I’m going to do what the Hugo Awards committee was afraid to do and stop giving Martin airtime. Because I’m here to document a completely different phenomenon – one that has only been generating chatter once the immediate shocking aftermath of the Hugos’ disrespect to its own nominees had passed.

It began as murmurs in chat rooms, posts on social media platforms, questions posed on industry Slacks and Discords: say, where was the New Zealand representation at the Hugo Awards ceremony? The New Zealand presenters? What of the karakia, the acknowledgement of mana whenua? Aside from a few jokes, a ramble about our gorgeous country, an admittedly brilliant segment on the artists who crafted the physical Hugo trophies, and a stuffed kiwi on a desk, there was no New Zealand content.

Those who attended the WorldCon held in Helsinki, Finland in 2017 commented on the stark contrast. That ceremony, organised in part by the Turku Science Fiction Society, presented Finland’s Atorox Award alongside its international counterparts. So … what about our local awards ceremony?

(6) ISN’T SOMETHING ELSE MISSING? CoNZealand publications staff didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory here.


Since they didn’t print anything but his name, James Davis Nicoll thinks it would have been nicer if it had been spelled correctly.  

Souvenir Book editor Darusha Wehm apologized, however, Nicoll says he found that apology lacking.  

(7) YES, WE’LL EAT THE BREAD. Why certainly, giving a Hugo to people who hijacked the CoNZealand name is exactly the kind of move you might expect to see after the previous two news items.

But as a salute to their not using any WSFS registered trademarks I think we really should be voting them the DisCon III Shiny Pointy Thing.

(8) IF IT’S RIGHT IT’S A MIRACLE. Somehow Tor.com gets James Davis Nicoll’s name right in the byline for this fivesome — “Five SFF Stories Involving Secretly Supernatural Beings”. Was it a case of divine intervention?

Neighbours! Fine people, right up to the moment when they are overcome by xenophobia and assemble in a large mob (shouty), all too well supplied with torches (lit) and implements (agricultural). Of course, not all people are prone to hateful prejudice and fear against outsiders. Some might go the other way, lavishing unwanted adoration and attention on unusual people. It’s awkward either way, which is reason enough for some folks to carefully conceal their true nature.  Such as these five…


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born August 5, 1850 – Guy de Maupassant.  Fifty short stories for us, translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish; three hundred in all, six novels, travel, poetry.  Second novel Bel Ami had thirty-seven printings in four months.  A father, many think, of the short story.  Managed to write both realistically and fantastically.  (Died 1893) [JH]
  • Born August 5, 1891 Donald Kerr. Happy Hapgood in 1938’s Flash Gordon’s Trip To Mars which might be one of the earliest such films. His only other genre appearances were in the Abbott and Costello films such as Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man in uncredited roles.  (Died 1977.) (CE)
  • Born August 5, 1929 Don Matheson. Best-remembered  for being Mark Wilson in Land of the Giants. He also had roles in Lost in Space (where he played in an alien and an android in another episode), Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaThe Alfred Hitchcock Hour, an Alice in Wonderland film and Dragonflight. (Died 2014.) (CE) 
  • Born August 5, 1935 Wanda Ventham, 85. Mother of Benedict Cumberbatch. She’s been on Doctor Who three times, in “The Faceless Ones”, a Second Doctor story, in “Image of the Fendahl, a Fourth Doctor story and finally in “Time and the Rani”, a Seventh Doctor story. She also had roles in The Blood Beast TerrorProject U.F.O and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter. She was often on British TV including Danger ManThe SaintThe Avengers and The Prisoner. And yes, she was on Sherlock where she played his mother. (CE) 
  • Born August 5, 1943 – Kathleen Sky, 77.  Five novels, eight shorter stories, translated into French and German.  The Business of Being a Writer with Stephen Goldin.  I realize I haven’t read “One Ordinary Day, with Box”, but since it came well after an all-time great Shirley Jackson story (“Had it for lunch”; he didn’t, of course, which is the point), it must –  [JH]
  • Born August 5, 1947 – Élisabeth Vonarburg, Ph.D.,, 73.  A score of novels, fifty shorter stories.  Editor of Solaris 1983-1986, contributor thereafter; also to CarfaxFoundationNY Review of SFTorus (hello, Lloyd Penney).  Ten Prix Aurora.  Grand Prix de l’ImaginairePrix du Conseil Quebecois de la Femme en LitteratureUtopiales Prix Extraordinaire.  Guest of Honor at WisCon 25, three-time Guest of Honour at Boréal (2004, 2007-2008), Guest of Honour at Anticipation the 67th Worldcon.  [JH]
  • Born August 5, 1948 – Larry Elmore, 72.  First professional illustrator at TSR (producers of Dungeons & Dragons).  Did Dragonlance.  Also Magic: the Gathering.  Also Traveller and Sovereign Stone.  Novel (with brother Robert), Runes of Autumn.  Artbooks Reflections of Myth (2 vols.) and Twenty Years of Art and Elmore: New Beginnings.  Two hundred covers, twelve dozen interiors.  Here is the Mar 85 Amazing.  Here is Chicks in Chainmail.  Here is 1632.  Here is Missing Pieces 5.  [JH]
  • Born August 5, 1956 Ian R. MacLeod, 64. Another author I need to read more of. I’ve read the first two in what’s called the Aether Universe series, The Light Ages and The House of Storms, but there’s a number of novels I’m intrigued by including Song of Time and The Great Wheel. Anything else y’all would recommend I read?  (CE)
  • Born August 5, 1966 James Gunn, 54. Director, producer and screenwriter who first film as director was Slither. Very silly film. He’s responsible for both Guardians of The Galaxy films, plus the forthcoming one. He executive produced both of the recent Avengers films, and he’s directing and writing the next Suicide Squad film. (CE)
  • Born August 5, 1968 – Carina Axelsson, 52.  Fashion model and author.  After modeling in New York and Paris went to art school, wrote and illustrated children’s picture book Nigel of Hyde Park, a frizzy-haired dragon (then fashion-detective Model Under Cover, then Royal Rebel; naturally World-Wide Web logs = blogs brought about video blogs = vlogs).  Three favorite books Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceRebecca, so she may really be a both-ist.  Website here.  [JH]
  • Born August 5, 1972 Paolo Bacigalupi, 48. I remember the book group I was part of having a spirited debate over The Windup Girl over the believability of the central character. I think he did a better job with characters in his next novels, Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities, but he’s really not about characters anyways. (CE)
  • Born August 5, 1988 – Manuel Sumberac, 32.  (The should have a caron over it, a punctuation mark like a little v, indicating a sound like English sh.)  Thirty covers, many interiors.  Here is The Nowhere Emporium.  Here is Tuesdays at the Castle.  Also animation.  Also Steampunk City, an alphabetical journey: see the letters O and P.  Here is an interior from Steampunk Poehere is another.  Website here.  [JH]


(11) THREE-BODY. Now it’s going to be a TV series.

(12) THEY MADE A LITTLE CORRECTION. Somebody jogged the elbow of the folks at io9, who now have added this note to the bottom of their post about George R.R. Martin and the Hugos

Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified File 770, a multiple award winner of Hugos for Best Fanzine, as being affiliated with “the Hugos’ official website.” io9 regrets the error.

Think of it as a corollary to Muphry’s Law.

(13) OVERCOMING. Vanity Fair chronicles how “Black Storytellers Are Using Horror to Battle Hate”.

Civil Rights leader Patricia Stephens Due adored scary stories, which baffled her family since she had experienced so many real terrors. While crusading against Jim Crow laws and segregation in the 1960s, she’d been threatened, dragged away, and arrested, and her eyesight had been permanently damaged when police threw a tear gas canister directly into her face.

Still, she loved tales of killers, monsters, and restless spirits, and purchased her daughter, the future novelist and scholar Tananarive Due, her first Stephen King book. “My dad thought it was kind of weird, but now I’ve come to think that she liked horror because she was a civil rights activist,” says Due. “There was something about horror—that thrill and anxiety when you’re watching something on a screen that isn’t real—that I believe was therapeutic to her, and helped her slough off some of that fear and anger.”

(14) CIVICS CURSE. “City growth favours animals ‘more likely to carry disease'”.

Turning wild spaces into farmland and cities has created more opportunities for animal diseases to cross into humans, scientists have warned.

Our transformation of the natural landscape drives out many wild animals, but favours species more likely to carry diseases, a study suggests.

The work adds to growing evidence that exploitation of nature fuels pandemics.

Scientists estimate that three out of every four new emerging infectious diseases come from animals.

The study shows that, worldwide, we have shaped the landscape in a way that has favoured species that are more likely to carry infectious diseases.

And when we convert natural habitats to farms, pastures and urban spaces, we inadvertently increase the probability of pathogens crossing from animals to humans.

“Our findings show that the animals that remain in more human-dominated environments are those that are more likely to carry infectious diseases that can make people sick,” said Rory Gibb of University College London (UCL).

(15) DEAD ON. “Horror effects icon Tom Savini: ‘My work looks so authentic because I’ve seen the real thing’”, he explains to The Independent.

Whether it’s Kevin Bacon unexpectedly getting an arrow through the throat while lying in bed in Friday the 13thTed Danson’s waterlogged walking corpse in Creepshow, or a zombie getting the top of its head sliced off by a helicopter blade in Dawn of the DeadTom Savini is responsible for some of horror cinema’s greatest moments. Yet not everybody realises that a lot of this iconic gore was inspired by the special effects guru’s traumatic time serving as a field photographer in Vietnam.

“I saw some pretty horrible stuff,” the horror legend, now 73, tells me soberly. “I guess Vietnam was a real lesson in anatomy.” While serving with the US military, Savini learnt details such as the way blood turns brown as it dries or how our bodies lose control of the muscles when we die. “This is the reason why my work looks so visceral and authentic,” he adds. “I am the only special effects man to have seen the real thing!”

(16) MARTIAN HOP. “SpaceX: Musk’s ‘Mars ship’ prototype aces 150m test flight” – BBC has the story.

A prototype of SpaceX’s next-generation Starship vehicle has successfully flown to an altitude of 150m (500ft).

The uncrewed test vehicle rose up on a plume of exhaust before deploying its landing legs and touching down softly.

The flight was carried out at SpaceX’s test site near the village of Boca Chica in south Texas on Tuesday evening.

It’s the first flight test in almost a year for the Raptor engine, which will be used to power Starship.

The stainless steel test vehicle, called SN5, has been compared variously to a grain silo and water tank.

But it could pave the way for a spacecraft capable of carrying humans to the Moon and Mars.

(17) ROUGH RIDE. “SpaceX: Nasa crew describe rumbles and jolts of return to Earth” – BBC story includes interview video.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have described the rumbles, heat and jolts of returning from space in the Crew Dragon spacecraft on Sunday.

Behnken vividly described the clouds rushing by the window and jolts that were like being “hit in the back of the chair with a baseball bat”.

But Hurley and Behnken said the spacecraft performed just as expected.

They splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, ending the first commercial crewed mission to the space station.

“As we descended through the atmosphere, I personally was surprised at just how quickly events all transpired. It seemed like just a couple of minutes later, after the [de-orbit] burns were complete, we could look out the windows and see the clouds rushing by,” he said at a news conference broadcast from Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

“Once we descended a little bit into the atmosphere, Dragon really came alive. It started to fire thrusters and keep us pointed in the appropriate direction. The atmosphere starts to make noise – you can hear that rumble outside the vehicle. And as the vehicle tries to control, you feel a little bit of that shimmy in your body.

“We could feel those small rolls and pitches and yaws – all those little motions were things we picked up on inside the vehicle.”

(18) NO S**T, THERE THEY ARE. Er, correction, make that “yes s**t” — “Climate change: Satellites find new colonies of Emperor penguins”.

Satellite observations have found a raft of new Emperor penguin breeding sites in the Antarctic.

The locations were identified from the way the birds’ poo, or guano, had stained large patches of sea-ice.

The discovery lifts the global Emperor population by 5-10%, to perhaps as many as 278,500 breeding pairs.

It’s a welcome development given that this iconic species is likely to come under severe pressure this century as the White Continent warms.

The Emperors’ whole life cycle is centred around the availability of sea-ice, and if this is diminished in the decades ahead – as the climate models project – then the animals’ numbers will be hit hard.

One forecast suggested the global population could crash by a half or more under certain conditions come 2100.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] “Down And Out Kidney” on Vimeo is a cartoon by Dan and Jason about why you should worry about too much uric acid in the body (and yes, it’s entertaining!)

[Thanks to Daniel Dern, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Hampus Eckerman, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, James Davis Nicoll, Mlex, Martin Morse Wooster, Madame Hardy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

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103 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/5/20 Please Pixel Your Scroll In The Form Of A Question

  1. @Madame Hardy: I’m not sure “warring kingdoms” are necessary; I was looking at this and wondering how much time the chairs spent going around asking people whether everything was going OK or whether more help was needed. ISTM that’s the third function of Worldcon chair (@OGH may differ — I say “Worldcon” specifically because the committees tend to be widely distributed compared to regionals) but it does require a light touch as some people get sensitive about being asked whether they’re able to do everything that needs doing.

    I wonder whether Wehm thought material on LinkedIn, Wikipedia, … was not considered “licenced”, and whether there was a check with whatever CNZ had for legal support; fans — people generally, maybe — don’t always think to crosscheck their opinions.

    @Cat Eldridge: hooray for going home! One assumes that whatever succeeded did not (contra the Cheeto) involve internal application of bleach. Here’s hoping they come up with a good solution for the knee. (My sister just had a ~standard ~replacement; I’ll invoke you if I hear any more complaints about the result not being perfectly silent.)
    wrt MacLeod: I remember being moved by “The Chop Girl”, although one had to accept a sexist (period) superstition as fact.

    @Soon Lee: I’m sympathetic to the issues brought up by having to pivot so close to curtain time. ISTM that the program book should not have been one of those, but the slow connections in the Hugo ceremony (explained in another thread as having been picked up on 3 days’ notice because the original team crumped) is understandable. We can hope other conventions will learn from this — and will build up a pool of tech talent who can contribute even if they can’t afford to travel. I told a crew chief asking whether I needed something tweaked in Spokane that I’d never known a Worldcon tech crew to have enough people to get everything done as well as they wanted to do it; being able to call in additional people can’t hurt.

    @Olav Rokne: given AO3’s win, I can’t argue against the theory; unfortunately I didn’t have the spoons to look at the execution. Was the fringe able to get longer-term consent for panel availability than CNZ was?

  2. @Stuart Hall
    Humans have shaped the landscape so we have more contact with wild animals that we didn’t often meet before – like bats and apes, both of which carry viruses that are now in humans.

  3. 4) There’s also Tiptree’s The Screwfly Solution, in which the plague, though it did not target women directly nor caused harm to women exclusively, did have the effect of wiping most of them out.

  4. @Chip Hitchcock

    There is a full playlist of Fringe panels on Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel which you can watch at your leisure at any point in the future:

  5. @Cat Eldridge: Glad that you’re finally getting home, even temporarily!

    @Andrew: Thanks! Will keep checking my mail.

    @jayn: And of course, in “Screwfly Solution” it’s a prologue to jvcvat bhg nyy bs uhznavgl….

  6. Matt Cavanagh: I missed clearly when The Fringe group held a ransom note to the WSFS Mike…..

    You don’t have to steal another group’s brand to run videos online.

  7. Jeremy Carter: Seeing the announcements for the ‘CoNZealand’ Fringe made me physically sick. As if those people didn’t have enough to deal with.

    If you want to counterprogram the Worldcon, well that’s the world we live in, but it’s contemptible to label it with the official con’s name.

    Or as Erin Underwood said more mildly:

    Is it possible to move the activities to be either before or after ConZealand so that you don’t impact attendance? It seems a little odd to use their name for off-hours programming when you’re not a part of the Worldcon…especially if you bleed away their attendance.

    And as Irish fan CarolC tweeted:

    Running events at European times is a great idea. But implying they’re an official part of Worldcon is a jerk move

    Dublin Fringe was an amazing project that was an integral & official part of the Dublin Worldcon

    I don’t know if it’s legal, but it is definitely rude

    Oh, it was legal, all right.

  8. @Mike – fairly emotive language and the history of fringe events around main art festivals is fairly helpful. I noticed the recent Coode St Podcast found this a very helpful development. Pointing the way for the future. I don’t recall ConZealand issuing a cease and desist.

  9. 9) Also born on this day in 1948 (or 1964) was the inimitable reclusive Swiss film-maker Nathanial Hornblower who, in addition to directing the genre videos for the Beastie Boys’ Body Movin’ and Intergalactic, had all the ideas for Star Wars and everything. (Died 2012)

  10. Paul Weimer: Name issues aside,

    The name is what’s being discussed. It is not an aside.

    And when you consider that it was done by some of the people involved with the public Letter of Concern to CoNZealand progamming, which brought out some genuine issues, one wonders why one of the organizers would make an evasive reply about whether the Fringe was part of the con:


    Genuine question. Is this part of #CoNZealand ? #CoNZFringe


    It’s not part of official programming, so you don’t need a membership to watch it, but the team is aware that we are doing it, especially since a bunch of people involved were already CoNZealand volunteers (like me!)


    Aware? Are they okay with it though? Like I get the idea but it *really* looks from the branding & presentation makes it look like it’s part of #CoNZealand #CoNZFringe

  11. Matt Cavanagh: I don’t recall ConZealand issuing a cease and desist.

    Neither do I.

    What Dave Gallaher said when I asked the committee is, “They do not have our permission to use the CoNZealand name. And they don’t need our permission to do what they are doing.”

  12. @Mike so as you note they don’t need permission…curious definition then of stealing

    A lot of Worldcon stuff the last few days made me sick – weirdly all on the actual con side

  13. I’m not sure “they didn’t tell us to stop” is a wonderful argument when you know full well that they couldn’t have done so without having an avalanche of bad press descend upon their heads.

  14. Mr. Glyer,
    The fact that ConZealand could have and did not issue a cease and desist is a telling point, I think, here.
    (I more than suspect WSFS would have readily done so, and this was Known, hence it was never going to be called the Worldcon Fringe).

    The entire point was to provide programming and content where there was gaps in Worldcon as possible, the timing of the Fringe events was tailored specifically when ConZealand was not on, and with trying to include people underrepresented in ConZealand’s programming.

    Every event made it abundantly clear that it was not affiliated with Worldcon.

    And I am proud to have participated.

    I think your contempt here is suboptimal.

  15. Matt Cavanagh: A lot of Worldcon stuff the last few days made me sick – weirdly all on the actual con side

    Wow, look at that red herring flash past!

  16. If you want to counterprogram the Worldcon, well that’s the world we live in, but it’s contemptible to label it with the official con’s name.

    I think that calling it “contemptible” is a bit hyperbolic.

    They’re fans. We’re fans. They were doing fannish activities in support of making the fannish community better. Even if I agreed with the suggestion that the name was a mistake (a suggestion I don’t make), it would be a long way from “contemptible.”

    I reserve the word “contemptible” for activities like organized campaigns whose stated goal was to destroy the Hugo Awards (as a completely random example).

    Mike, you know that I have a lot of respect for you. I just don’t think that we should be tearing down fans who are trying to contribute positively to the fannish community.

    (As an aside, I kind of regret the name of the blog that my friends and I started, precisely because of the same issues you’re bringing up about CZFringe. Though Kevin and the WSFS trademark committee have cleared us, and told us we’re OK, I still regret it. We started the blog in a fit of fannish enthusiasm, as a response to the negativity of the SP campaigns, not meaning any harm. I kind of see the CZFringe naming issue in a similar light.)

  17. Paul Weimer: I think your contempt here is suboptimal.

    My speaking up may not change anybody’s mind about their future course of action, but if I say nothing, that change will certainly never happen.

  18. I think complainants should construct a case and present it to the business meeting in person two years running. That seems to be the process, right?

    Mike, that’s hardly a red herring given your own purported nausea.

    Paul has the right of it, and for a site celebrating fandom you appear to be showing your ass to a good proportion of it.

  19. Olav Rokne: I just don’t think that we should be tearing down fans who are trying to contribute positively to the fannish community.

    The trouble with this defense is that it immediately begs the question why you and the Fringe organizers didn’t extend the same consideration to the fans organizing the actual CoNZealand program. They ran in competition to it, under a CoNZealand title, as a slap against program organizers they felt had assigned people to the wrong items, or because not all Hugo nominees had been placed on programming. They could just as easily have provided this added value a week later under a separate name — no need to try and poach CoNZealand’s audience.

  20. Olav Rokne on August 6, 2020 at 10:52 am said:

    I just don’t think that we should be tearing down fans who are trying to contribute positively to the fannish community.

    I only have the perspective of somebody observing from afar on Twitter but I can’t honestly say it all seems entirely positively motivated.

  21. Re: The timing, I get the reasoning behind it and don‘t entirely disagree with it, but I wonder if there were some fans who would otherwise have made the effort to deal with the timezones and stay up late/get up early for ConZealand programming who decided not to because there was the Fringe running at more convenient hours for them. Would it have been a problem to run it a week after? Genuine question.

    I don’t think the Fringe was a bad thing for existing. I do think the execution – like much of ConZealand proper – left a bit to be desired. (And being unofficial and created in response to an issue does not exempt you from criticism any more than the tried-their-bestishness of ConZealand exempted them.)

  22. Hi Mike!

    Putting this comment here specifically because you asked me. Thank you for the conversation we had today and the opportunity to clarify (my understanding of) Fringe’s purpose:

    Fringe, though there was overlap between its organizers and the drafters of The Letter to CoNZealand, was unrelated to that latter endeavor. Fringe was, quite simply, a complementary program track to enhance the Worldcon experience.

    Indeed, Fringe’s organizers took great care NOT to schedule any overlapping programming, and if Fringe was not better integrated with the “real” CoNZealand, it was not for lack of trying — communications between CZ and the outside world was…difficult, at best.

    It is my understanding, and Fringe’s messenging did nothing to dispel this, that Fringe was never meant as a slight on Worldcon. I enjoyed both, and I helped find folks to staff both events. Indeed, Fringe serves as a model of constructive fandom, and I look forward to seeing similar events in the future!

    I understand where Mike is coming from based on the (limited) information he had when he expressed his initial concerns. I suspect that if Mike and the Fringe folk had a good, lengthy conversation, not only would this matter be cleared up, but Mike would have a great entry for another Pixel Scroll. And I know blog-maintainers always like to have content for upcoming articles… 🙂

  23. I helped out with the Exhibits WordPress site and, yeah, what @Soon Lee said. Not to excuse any of the problems, but if you’re wondering “how could a convention drop such a ball?” it’s because organizing it to run virtually added dozens and dozens of balls to the juggling pile, including a big one — no Worldcon has ever been virtual before, so there was no model to follow for how to do it.

    One of the funny things about doing a presentation virtually, is that it’s frequently MORE work than doing it in person, because you have to do all the things you’d do in person, plus establish and maintain the technology, but the perception is often that it’s easier, as in “oh, you can do it from your home.”

  24. @ RedWombat and Andrew have pointed out that stories about all the women being wiped out/removed did exist–if anyone is interested in following up on more titles, I can highly recommend The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalestier (Wesleyan Univ. Press) that originated in Larbalestier reading Joanna Russ’s “Amor Vincit Foeminam: The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction” (1980). Russ argues, as does Larbalestier, against the “no women in sff at the start” stereotype by focusing on the conflicts, i.e. battle, around women in fandom/female characters (a lot of blurring between the two categories took place) which show women were part of sff from the start. Russ focuses on stories that she characterized as “overtly antifeminist, and frequently comically so” (1). Larbalestier started with the stories Russ discussed and looked at others published up to the year 2000 (the book, based on her dissertation, was published in 2002). Larbalestier’s focus isn’t just the fiction, but fanzines and histories of sff, through a feminist lens, and is on all work about “the battle-of-the-sexes,” by all writers, which includes but is not limited to a number of stories where (mostly but not entirely) male authors got rid of all the women in some way.

    At some point, related to an earlier discussion of this topic (all-male societies, which started, I think, with discussion on File 770 about Lois McMaster Bujold’s Ethan of Athos and whether Athos differed from others, somebody tipped me off to A. Bertram Chandler’s Spartan Planet. Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it’s on the shelf.

  25. @ Soon Lee

    The pivot to an online Worldcon, in the midst of a global pandemic might go some way to explaining the number of times the ball was dropped. I was on programme staff for coNZealand so I got a sense of the heroic efforts that went into making it happen. It’s gutting to be finding out examples of the con failing so badly.

    You are correct that having to shift at such short notice to a completely virtual mode of delivery is a reason for so many mistakes.

    I’d also say that the extent to which so many of the mistakes affected BIPOC and other marginalized groups is the same pattern than we are seeing in the U.S. (and some other countries–but I am in the U.S. so seeing it up close and nasty): that the impact of the global pandemic is revealing the extent to which the normal structures of the country (and WorldCon) are racist, misogynistic, and homo/transphobic.

  26. “I’d also say that the extent to which so many of the mistakes affected BIPOC and other marginalized groups is the same pattern than we are seeing in the U.S. (and some other countries–but I am in the U.S. so seeing it up close and nasty): that the impact of the global pandemic is revealing the extent to which the normal structures of the country (and WorldCon) are racist, misogynistic, and homo/transphobic.”


    The problem is fundamental to fandom. If we’re trying to fix the issue two weeks before show time, we’re waaaaay too late. We did a lot to try to help address the issues, and to CZ’s credit, they gave free passes to the folks we sent their way, but we need to be working hard to make fandom as a whole more inclusive and compelling.

  27. ConZealand Fringe didn’t undermine the con, it supplemented the experience with positivity.

    This is just my personal take, but counter-programming a con during the con and using its name in your own seems pretty non-positive to me. But maybe I would’ve received it differently if I was familiar with fringe festivals.

    Even if Fringe scheduled events at different times than Worldcon, if they occur during the same dates as Worldcon they’re taking some of the time that attendees might otherwise have spent on official con programming. That’s undermining the con.

    Maybe there are good reasons to do that and this year was one of them, but I’d view it more positively in future years if it happened on different dates than Worldcon.

  28. @Meredith

    I’m not sure “they didn’t tell us to stop” is a wonderful argument when you know full well that they couldn’t have done so without having an avalanche of bad press descend upon their heads.

    Recall how much grief Kevin Standlee took when he tried to say this very thing to the AO3 people.

  29. AO3 person standing right here. The bad press was a result as much of an ill-chosen tone as of the content. But I suspect Mike doesn’t want that relitigated here!

  30. @bill

    Also, as it happens, an AO3 person – I don’t recall anything that brings to mind that comparison. Also, not going to indulge that line of discussion further.

  31. The White Plague wasn’t particularly memorable because it wasn’t particularly good. I re-read it a few years ago, and it’s far from Herbert’s best.

  32. (4) I’ve thought for years that these kind of “one gender wiped out” stories are pretty much played out, and I haven’t seen anything about this new one to think otherwise.

    “This whole thing smacks of a non-scientific understanding of gender,” I holler as I overturn Mike’s BBQ and turn the Pixel of Scroll into, uh, something something..

    (reference for the curious: https://twitter.com/dril/status/213849618415484929?lang=en)

  33. (7) I haven’t really been following CoNZealand stuff at all, but is “CoNZealand Fringe” all that different than “Shadow Clarke Jury” in terms of names?

  34. Jake asks I haven’t really been following CoNZealand stuff at all, but is “CoNZealand Fringe” all that different than “Shadow Clarke Jury” in terms of names?

    The Shadow Clarke Jury is sanctioned by the institution that does the Clarke Awards. It is not an outside group trading off the name of another group like this Fringe did.

  35. I tried to watch some of the CoNZealand Fringe panels, but they’re set to play an offensive ad at least once every two minutes. Even though youtube lets you skip each ad after 5 seconds, I couldn’t get more than a few minutes into either panel, as it was just too distracting.

    It definitely gave me the impression that the organizers’ motivation was partly to profit off of the CoNZealand brand, not just to “do something positive for fandom.”

  36. I watched many of the Fringe panels live and never saw an ad during any of it.

    I bought an attending membership to CoNZealand because I had some use-it-or-lose-it vacation time, and since COVID meant I couldn’t travel, I may as well not travel to New Zealand.
    But I’m not a night owl and couldn’t afford to totally mess up my circadian rhythms. I could only attend about half of the con “live” so really appreciated the additional panels during the times when CoNZealand had nothing scheduled.

  37. @ Madame Hardy and Meredith: Third A03 person here, thirding what you bot say. I GAFIATED from F770 because of that imbroglio! No need to go over any of it again.

  38. But I’m not a night owl and couldn’t afford to totally mess up my circadian rhythms.

    That midnight (my time) panel I ended up on screwed up my sleep cycle nicely. I think, however, that it began as running opposite the Hugos, one reason I didn’t expect to win, and I expect it got moved later to avoid the conflict.

  39. Claire Rousseau: I am never going to get another souvenir book from my first ever Hugo nomination. THIS. FUCKING. HURTS.

    As far as I’m aware, the Souvenir Programme Book has only ever included lists of the Hugo Finalists. It has never included bios OR photos. So maybe this is a little melodramatic for something that no one else has ever gotten before, either. (Also, “my FIRST Hugo nomination” is more than a little presumptuous.)

    On the other hand, it either should have been done for everyone, or for no one. I’d have been delighted to help out chasing down bios or writing them based on publicly-available information. I know a number of the Finalists personally; it wouldn’t have been that hard for me, and I had the time. I’m sad that they didn’t ask for help collecting the bios.

  40. Matt Cavanagh: I missed clearly when The Fringe group held a ransom note to the WSFS Mike. Hijacking feels a Fairly silly term to use. Free videos at times not competitions with NZ On subjects the con didn’t cover seem a strange way to compete.

    Olav Rokne: Fringe’s organizers took great care NOT to schedule any overlapping programming

    The program was run during CoNZealand. How many people chose to watch something in their own time zone instead of making adjustments and participating in CoNZealand? You can’t claim that the event did not compete against CoNZealand, it very much did. They could have run it the previous weekend or the following weekend. Instead, they chose to directly compete with CoNZealand for peoples’ limited hours of attention.

    Olav Rokne: Fringe was never meant as a slight on Worldcon.

    It would be great if a lack of bad intent meant no harm was done. But intent and actual effect are often not the same thing.

    Jeremy Carter: Describing an attempt to provide discussions panels for NZ authors and Hugo finalists overlooked by the Worldcon programming as “hijacked” is a surprising choice.

    Olav Rokne: I’d not thought about the trademark issue. In part because they were very clear in their communication that the Fringe was not affiliated with the Worldcon. They made no false representations about the nature of their event… ConZealand Fringe didn’t undermine the con, it supplemented the experience with positivity.

    Matt Cavanagh: I don’t recall ConZealand issuing a cease and desist… curious definition then of stealing.

    Paul Weimer: The fact that ConZealand could have and did not issue a cease and desist is a telling point, I think, here.

    Using someone else’s brand without their permission, to promote your own product or yourself, is very much hijacking. Just because people can get away with taking someone else’s thing and using it for their own purposes without being sued doesn’t change the fact that it’s a shitty, entitled thing to do.

    The fact that some of the Fringe people are claiming that it was okay for them to use the name “CoNZealand” because they also worked on the con staff and gave “permission” for it absolutely beggars belief.

    And of course there was no way CoNZealand could publicly object to it, given that the Fringe group has a long history of inciting Twitter mobs against others, including against CoNZealand.

    It was a shitty, arrogant, entitled thing to do to a bunch of people who’ve spent months — and even years — of their lives trying to put CoNZealand together.

    Steven Poore: I think complainants should construct a case and present it to the business meeting in person two years running.

    Or maybe people who profess to be genuine fans and care about Worldcon could just not act shitty and entitled.

  41. @JJ again no legal laws broken. Personally I think of ConZealand had done a better job themselves of organising events the acting’s may not have been needed and I’m getting tired of saying that purely COViID led to many slip ups. That’s where I feel the entitlement of Worldcon comes into play

    Worldcons probably need now to wake up to the new dangled internet.

    I could have asked my bosses to book five days off and stay tied to a screen for five days but that’s been pretty much my life since March. I doubt people who bought Worldcon tickets changed their minds at the last minute to watch Fringe instead and didn’t decide to take their ticket. YMMV

    Let’s see how the many lessons to be learnt by Worldcon organisers move forward

  42. I didn’t like using the name CONZealand Fringe without permission. I loved people working to get fun panels for others enjoyment. I didn’t like competing against the real convention while using their name. I loved people adding unofficial events around the con. And so on.

    I don’t think neither the con nor the fringe group had/took the time to think through all angles of what they were doing. That’s how it is sometime.

    The only thing I can say is that everyone are doing unpaid work for others enjoyment. We should be more lenient towards errors or sometimes bad judgement when someone has done a few months of free work for others. Or even just a few weeks.

  43. (Also, “my FIRST Hugo nomination” is more than a little presumptuous.)

    This is a minor nit, but it’s more fun talking about than the Fringe dispute.

    Claire Rousseau said “first ever,” not “first”. But in either wording it doesn’t seem presumptuous to me. How could someone convey that it was the first time they had gotten a Hugo nomination without calling it their first? Her comment doesn’t imply anything about getting a second.

  44. Paul Weimer: Turns out that Jon Del Arroz’s trial is apparently set for December 1st.

    I believe not. I looked, and what’s on the calendar for December 1 is a trial setting conference:

    What Happens at a Trial Setting Conference? The judge will ask questions about the case to ascertain whether it is ready for trial and how long the trial is likely to take. If the case is indeed ready to proceed to trial, the court will set a Mandatory Settlement Conference (or MSC) as well as a trial date.

    There was a previous trial setting conference held July 14 — I had inquired about that before it happened and heard the pandemic has caused a lot of litigation delays. And in fact they seem to have kicked the decision down the road 6 months.

  45. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place at the same time, and in the same city, as the Edinburgh International Festival. Neither festival appears to have suffered from the presence of the other.

  46. Iain Coleman: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place at the same time, and in the same city, as the Edinburgh International Festival. Neither festival appears to have suffered from the presence of the other.

    The Edinburgh International Festival is a completely different thing from CoNZealand, but thank you for your contribution of whataboutism.

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