Pixel Scroll 8/1 Scroll forth, my song, like the rushing river

Ten stories, three videos and a partridge in a pear tree.

(1) It’s a privilege to be included in this Sasquan program item:

Writing About Controversies

M. J. Locke [Laura Mixon] , John Scalzi , Mike Glyer , William Frank (Moderator) , Eric Flint

Since before the Great Exclusion Act of 1939, the science-fiction community has had its share of controversies, feuds and flame wars — between pros, between fans, between pros and fans. Maybe more than its share. Discussion about these controversies — whether in fanzines or online — has often generated more heat than light.  How can we research and write about controversial issues in the field? Is it ever possible to just stick to the facts?  Panelists talk about what they’ve learned about how to approach these issues.

August 23, 3:00 p.m., CC – Bays 111A

(2) Fraser Cain discusses what would happen if a black hole met an antimatter black hole.

Here’s the part you care about. When equal amounts of matter and antimatter collide, they are annihilated. But not disappeared or canceled out. They’re converted into pure energy.

As Einstein explained to us, mass and energy are just different aspects of the same thing. You can turn mass into energy, and you can turn energy into mass.

Black holes turn everything, both matter and energy, into more black hole.

Imagine a regular flavor and an antimatter flavor black hole with the same mass slamming together. The two would be annihilated and turn into pure energy.

Of course, the gravity of a black hole is so immense that nothing, not even light can escape. So all energy would just be turned instantaneously into more black hole. Want more black hole? Put things into the black hole.

Cain says if this is your rescue plan in case you fall into a black hole, you’re out of luck.

(3) You may need a break after science-ing the shit out of that last item. Here’s the comic relief.

[Bill] Nye recently read some unflattering tweets in support of a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary about him, which, to be honest, we kind of hope just turns out to be two more hours of tweets.

 

(4) Ken Liu’s novel Grace of Kings is available from the Kindle Store for $1.99 today, as I learned from SF Signal. So far I’ve only read his short fiction. Now I’m diving into his novels.

(5) I listened to five minutes of the Superversive Hugo livestream today, long enough to hear a male voice opine that No Award will not win any of the categories. And I thought to myself, that kind of boldly contrarian thinking is exactly what a livestream panel needs to pull an audience.

(6) Talk about a dog’s breakfast…

(7) Tempest Bradford has a modest proposal.

Does she mean that literally, or is this another case where an idea suffers because it can’t be fully unpacked in a tweet? Think of all the minority/marginalized groups cishet white men belong to. Religious minorities. People with disabilities. Participants in 12 Step programs. (Do I need to say that I have seen convention panels involving each of these topics?) This rule needs to go back to the drawing board.

(8) August 2 is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

The modern version of the ice cream sandwich was invented by Jerry Newberg in 1945 when he was selling ice cream at Forbes Field.  There are pictures from the early 1900?s, “On the beach, Atlantic City”, that show Ice Cream Sandwiches were popular and sold for 1 cent each.

And here is the ObSF ice cream sandwich content.

c_c_sandwich_1

(9) I think it’s rather sad that the person who took the trouble of setting up this robotic tweet generator doesn’t know how to spell Torgersen.

(10) File 770’s unofficial motto is “It’s always news to someone.” The Hollywood Reporter must feel the same way. Capitalizing on the imminent release of Fantastic Four, THR just ran a story about the first (1994) movie adaptation of the comic produced by Roger Corman.

If you haven’t seen the movie that’s not because it was a box office bust. It was never allowed to get anywhere near the box office. Sony exec Avi Arad ended up destroying every available print.

Here’s the trailer, uploaded to YouTube in 2006.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

262 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/1 Scroll forth, my song, like the rushing river

  1. 1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

    4. DESOLATION
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    5. RESTORATION
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart
    Worth it just for the Prayer of Miser Shen, and there were so many other moments that gets me in the feels when I read them

    6. GENERATION
    The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.
    I would be intrested in learning why Kyra ranked The Grey King higher

  2. 1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    3. MATURATION
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    5. RESTORATION
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. GENERATION
    Picking just one is bloody difficult.
    After dithering among Bradbury, Moon, Kushner, and Anderson, I am going to have to go with:
    Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury

    But so help me, Kyra, if the first bracket in children’s fantasy pits The Wind in the WIllows against Puck of Pook’s Hill I am going to stalk you with a lethal weapon.

  3. A bit of additional context about the Willingham thing: Willingham has been known in comics fandom as a loud-mouthed boor back to the late ’80s or early ’90s. He got increasingly difficult to deal with in the later run of his Elementals comic, and that was around the turn of the ’90s. (Things went badly wrong at the publisher. Willingham did not handle it well, and it was remarked at the time that he was lashing out more in all directions.) Getting out of the grind for a bit, including time as a professional poker player, did him good, and by the time Fables started up (2001, I think?), he was slower on the trigger. But it never went altogether away, and started ramping up again as the series became more successful and, I guess, he felt that his success was license.

    It seems weird to me that anyone who’d know enough to think he might have something to contribute on such a panel would not know enough to know he’d be a terrible moderator.

  4. And sometimes I am going to grant her wish when she heaves out one of these axioms that tries to disqualify me from participating in fanac.

    Your complaint about straight white males being excluded from the chance to moderate convention panels about a marginalized group is a pretty tiny cross to bear. All you’ll get for your perception of feeling excluded is the reaction, “Now you know how we feel, but it happens to us all the time — and in more damaging ways.”

    It’s dumb to have a male comics writer leading a panel on “Writing Women-Friendly Comics,” just as it was dumb to originally announce an entirely male list of panelists. Could you or another “cishet” white male do a good job in that role? Sure. But why not be smart and put a woman in that role who is less likely to have the enormous blindspot Bill Willingham displayed and can speak from personal experience on what makes a comic “woman-friendly”?

  5. David W: The “grade A nimrods” will seat themselves in the front row and start waving their hands to be called on. Count on it.

  6. I see that VD is planning a victory dance if Noah Ward takes four or five categories, but that’s going to rank right up there with North Korean Victory Day for being taken seriously by anyone but his minions.

    And I think he may have scored an own goal by removing Kary English from the VD approved list, because, aside from the puppy nominated dramatic presentations and editors that probably could have have been nominated without puppies, she probably has the best chance of the puppy nominees.

  7. There is an observable problem where discussions about marginalized groups which are not defined by skin color or gender tend to become discussions about only white people of a certain gender (more often male, but sometimes female, depending on the stereotype of the group). It’s worth nudging people to remember that.

    Keyword for looking up more on this topic than you ever wanted to know: “intersectionality”.

    The problem from the programming standpoint is finding a way to elicit all the necessary information from your panelist pool in a way that is both respectful and thorough.

  8. @ Bruce Baugh

    Well, it does occur to me that pretty much all con jobs are done by volunteers, and sometimes they may not be fully in the know about these issues. By contrast potential panelists often provide information regarding their interests/ areas of expertise, (ticking a box on a form or something) so the programming coordinator may have gone “My little pony panel: I can only find three people who listed My Little Pony; that will have to do. Comics panel; oh good, here are six people who know about comics; that should be plenty. Oh God it’s nearly midnight. C’mon, c’mon.. Dr. Who panel…”

    I agree that the juxtaposition was unfortunate and perhaps future volunteers will be more likely to be aware of the problem.

    @ Mike Glyer Also–congratulations, Mike, on being placed on the “Writing about controversies” panel. I think you will have useful things to say on the subject.

    I was looking at that panel and thinking I saw no Puppies on it, but really, as long as we’re talking about writing about controversies in a sensible, fair and evenhanded way, I’m unaware of any good Puppy candidates. Perhaps this is simply my own bias speaking…

  9. @Iphinome:

    Uhg if you make it to the end of that podcast they start claiming that TOR should be sued for causing financial harm to authors if No Award wins.

    You’re far braver than I am for making it to the end of the podcast. That’s one of the stupider things I’ve heard in all this mess.

  10. 1. EDUCATION

    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION

    Watership Down, Richard Adams

    3. MATURATION

    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

    6. GENERATION
    Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury

  11. Oh, the voting.

    1. EDUCATION

    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION

    Abstain.

    3. MATURATION

    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

    4. DESOLATION

    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    5. RESTORATION

    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. GENERATION

    I’m having trouble thinking of a book here which isn’t by an author already in the bracket. So:

    The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe.

  12. Bruce Baugh, and one would think Wiscon would know enough about Frenkel to not include him as a volunteer in their con, but that happened last year. I know the outcry eventually resulted in a ban, but it shouldn’t have even happened.

    Cat, we only have to go back to May of this year to see another convention doing an all male “women in comics” panel. That one doesn’t appear to have been nearly as hostile, but if volunteers are not aware of incidents a few months old, I hardly expect them to be any more vigilante a year from now. A rule seems more reliable than a hope about historical knowledge leading to awareness.

  13. It sounds like the Willingham as moderator decision was both bad and foreseeable, and a real error by the convention.

    Having put together, or assisted in putting together, the program for several conventions, including Worldcon and World Fantasy, I can attest that it is a task fraught with pitfalls. Some people who would be good moderators don’t want to moderate. No one wants to moderate every panel they are on. Balancing the number of items to which people are assigned is difficult (Connie Willis would add to just about every panel at a convention, but you can’t do that). Spreading out your guests of honor and big attractions needs to be taken into account, as does your best guess about the size of audience the item will attract compared to the rooms you have available. Balancing the program, and the time slots, so that there are items that could interest a wide variety of attendees throughout the day is difficult, and still there will be bitching about “the only two items I wanted to see are opposite each other.” Not to mention coming up with new topics rather than the same old standards, matching schedules so that panelists are all available for the item you want them for, and praying that the new writers you are putting on the program can talk as well as write. Leads to a lot of grey hairs.

    And then you put them on the panel they picked from the questionnaire, and the first thing they say to the audience is, “I don’t know why I got put on this panel.”

  14. 1. EDUCATION
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman
    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

  15. DMS:

    [I]t seems like half of the moderators got the job because they suggested the topic, and many of the rest start the discussion with either “I’m not sure why I am moderating this” or “I’ve never moderated a panel”. Which is to say, I have definitely gotten the impression that your “groggy volunteer” description of organization is apt. Or I am just really terrible at picking panels.

    There are two general approaches to creating panels. One, which is common in media and gaming cons, is that people submit proposals saying “I would like to do a panel about X”, and the submitter is responsible for recruiting other panelists, and can make themselves the moderator if they want.

    The other, used in most traditional sf cons, is that Programming gets a big stack of panel ideas and a big stack of potential panelists and tries to match them up. This can involve either panelists filling out a questionnaire about themselves or going through the entire list of panel ideas to indicate which ones they like.

    The second approach usually involves asking panelists if they’re willing to be moderators at the questionnaire stage. Failing that, panelists usually get a preliminary schedule and a chance to object to any of it (for instance, “I’m fine with being on that panel but I don’t want to moderate it”) before the schedule is finalized and published.

    I don’t know how GenCon works, and DSC probably varies depending on who’s hosting, but Worldcons use the second approach.

  16. I should add that I have a lot of respect for the work involved in putting con panels together. It’s not something I can do, thanks to how my body deals (or doesn’t deal) with stress, and I’m glad people do it.

  17. Item 1 makes me even sorrier not to be going to Sasquan, though it will be fun to do a Shakespeare course (my August fun).
    Item 7 – thanks to all for their comments, especially rrede for the roundup, and NelC for both responses to the flouncy one. This kind of nuanced discussion is why I keep coming back, along with a masochistic impulse to experience Kyra’s Brackets of Death.

  18. I also recall a bit in ISLAND IN THE SEA OF TIME and the ‘Jaguar people’ of 1250BC Mexico…

    One of my favorite parts of the book…I love both ISLAND and the Emberverse.

  19. If “not being able to moderate panels on a specific range of subjects” is a major restriction on your fanac, it’s equally a restriction on everyone else who doesn’t get invited to moderate panels on everything they might be interested in. And that’s most people.

    From another angle, Tempest’s advice is “no cishet white male moderators” on those minority/subordinated group panels, not “no cishet white male participants.” If everyone a con could find to talk about disability access, or a minority religion, was a cishet male, I’d wonder why. How hard are they looking? Not all disabled people are white cishet males. Nor are all Jews, or all Muslims, or all of any other group relevant group I can think of (“living ex-presidents of the United States” might well qualify, but there are only half a dozen of them, none of whom is likely to turn up at a con and want to moderate a panel).

    I also know that some cons find themselves with a shortage of competent moderators–that is, people who are willing to do it, can manage a conversation without dominating it or letting one or two other people dominate it. The sort of “basics of moderating a panel” panels I’ve seen at Wiscon are useful there, even if you think you know what you’re doing—but they won’t make someone want to steer a panel discussion rather than talk over everyone else.

    My first time moderating was out of desperation, on a panel that included on person who seemed to think that she was supposed to do all the talking for the entire hour. I decided I’d rather have be the only panelist who didn’t state their opinion, interrupted*, and started calling on the other panelists and the audience. But that was also the con where I walked into a panel and was surprised to be introduced to someone as “Vicki Rosenzweig, your fellow panelist.” I

    In better-organized situations, where they designate a moderator ahead of time, I don’t offer to/accept the request to moderate if I would mind spending a lot more time on “So, Kyra/Mike/Ursula, what do you think about this?” and “how do you all think such-and-such character fits in here?” than on my own thoughts.

    *sometimes being from New York City and willing and able to talk loud and fast is useful.

  20. I hope I’m not out of line to mention here a WSFS amendment I just proposed:

    “To Amend the WSFS Constitution to make the eligibility time window for ‘specific work’ categories two years rather than the current one year, …”

    There’s been enough EPH discussion in these comments that I hope this is welcome, and not spamming, to campaign.

  21. @ DMS

    I agree that a rule-of-thumb would be more reliable, and didn’t intend to offer my hope for greater awareness as a substitute for such a rule.

  22. 1. EDUCATION
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Watership Down, Richard Adams
    I absolutely can’t choose between these two. I love them both and have read them multiple times.

    3. MATURATION
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

    6. GENERATION
    The Black Company, Glen Cook

  23. At the end of the first quarter, I wouldn’t count any works out entirely (no, not even that one.) While some are definitely further ahead or further behind than others, almost all are still well within the range where I have seen comebacks happen a number of times, and none outside the range where it has happened a couple of times. By the end of the second quarter, this may no longer be the case, but for now, it is.

    The closest contest by far is The Riddle-Maste of Hed vs. The Princess Bride, which is a neck and neck race where the lead has been traded off a few times.

    The next closest are Nine Princes in Amber (leading) vs. The Dying Earth, and The Last Unicorn (leading) vs. Bridge of Birds. The lead in both cases is good but far from insurmountable.

    The leads are bigger for The Tombs of Atuan (leading) vs. The Once and Future King and Small Gods (leading) vs. Watership Down, by as I said, at this point in neither case would I count the underdog out.

    For the off-bracket pick, works that have so far received support from multiple people include The Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Swordspoint, The Broken Sword, Bloodstone, The Black Company, The Third Policeman, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

  24. Beth Z —

    The first thing they say to the audience is, “I don’t know why I got put on this panel.”

    Okay, I’m cringing a bit here, because I used to do this. Then I realized that all those people sitting out there in the audience were there for a reason, and I started a) researching the topic and coming up with things to say before the convention started, or b) telling the con committee I didn’t want to be on the panel (again, before the convention started). It isn’t all that hard.

  25. A couple of notes on the Willingham imbroglio:

    1. People keep assuming that Bill was somehow randomly assigned to the panel. If I’m remembering right, and I may not be, Bill proposed the panel in the first place.

    2. Anyone who says the writer-creator of FABLES doesn’t know anything about the subject of the panel, which was about writing female-friendly comics, is clearly mistaken. FABLES has not been as popular with female readers as it has been for the past 13 years by accident.

    Neither of those points is meant to suggest that Bill was the ideal choice to moderate such a panel. And it sounds like it turned into a panel on politics rather than a panel on craft, which, if Bill proposed it, it was surely intended to be, and a panel on liberal politics is probably not the place for Bill to shine. But writing female-friendly comics? That, he clearly knows something about.

  26. 1. EDUCATION
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    3. MATURATION
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    5. RESTORATION
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. GENERATION
    Sheepfarmer’s Daugher, Elizabeth Moon

  27. Kurt — At this point in the history of the world, I don’t know how anyone could separate the craft from the politics of female-friendly writing.

  28. Lisa Goldstein:

    Okay, I’m cringing a bit here, because I used to do this. Then I realized that all those people sitting out there in the audience were there for a reason, and I started a) researching the topic and coming up with things to say before the convention started, or b) telling the con committee I didn’t want to be on the panel (again, before the convention started).

    Could you elaborate on how you came to that realization, and what held you back from doing (a) or (b) at first? Is there something that the con(s) could have said in the info for panelists that would have made the change of approach easier or caused it to happen sooner?

  29. At this point in the history of the world, I don’t know how anyone could separate the craft from the politics of female-friendly writing.

    Now there’s a whole ‘nother panel!

    You may be right. Given that the panel started with that statement that it was not a Women in Comics panel (which I take to mean it was supposed to focus on female readers, not creators), that the stuff over which it foundered, in addition to interruption, were about such things as heterogenous communities of the Appalachians, and that it was immediately widely reported as a Women in Comics panel, however, I think it was intended to be focused purely on craft, however foolish an intent that may have been.

  30. Kurt Busiek, you are consistently one of* my favorite commenters here at file770. If you’re ever free for me to buy you a coffee or a beer, I live in Seattle.

    *qualifier because Kyra

  31. Feeling as I do today, I probably shouldn’t say anything. But I would like to counter Ms. Bradford’s tweet by pointing out the following (I’ll try to be nice):

    I’m a cishet white male who’s been disabled since birth. I am old enough to be Ms. Bradford’s father and I was marginalized long before she was a zygote. So I’m curious-just how does she presume to argue that I should not moderate a panel on the marginalized of society? Ms. Bradford, I offer this suggestion. Put your….self… in a wheelchair for two weeks and try to live your life for two weeks having to navigate in a physical sphere designed for the benefit and comfort of a majority to which you yourself belong. I suspect you’ll truly discover what it feels like to be “marginalized”.

    End of sermon.

  32. Kurt wrote:

    I think it was intended to be focused purely on craft, however foolish an intent that may have been.

    What was the description of the panel, as advertised in advance? It seems to be behind a members-only wall on the gencon website.

  33. Petrea Mitchell —

    Sorry, it was a long time ago and I can’t really remember much. What held me back was sheer cluelessness, probably, and what might have helped with the realization was that when I started with the Dread Phrase (“I don’t know why…”) there was usually some restless stirring and muttering among the audience, which is not the sort of reaction you’d want to get.

    A programming committee might want to say, when they let you know what panels you’re on, that if you don’t feel like you can do justice to the panel to please let them know. But there’s such a scramble to get places on a panel at some conventions that even that might not work.

  34. Beth:

    The first thing they say to the audience is, “I don’t know why I got put on this panel.”

    Lisa:

    Okay, I’m cringing a bit here, because I used to do this. Then I realized that all those people sitting out there in the audience were there for a reason, and I started a) researching the topic and coming up with things to say before the convention started, or b) telling the con committee I didn’t want to be on the panel (again, before the convention started). It isn’t all that hard.

    I’m on three panels at Worldcon, and as it happens, two of them have “I’m not sure why I’m on this panel” factors. Well, one of them. The other, I think, is just a description dodge.

    The first panel I’m on is “When Should You Get an Agent?” I expect I’m on this panel because when I filled out the con questionnaire, I mentioned that I used to be an agent. And I’ve got potentially-useful thoughts on why you should get an agent and how, but when? I can probably cover my knowledge there in about eight words. I work mostly in a field in which agents are extremely rare, I’ve worked with film/TV agents more than literary agents, but I expect everyone else on the panel has more of value to say than I do.

    But, well, it’s my first time volunteering to be on Worldcon programming (aside from one panel where I was dragooned onto it at the last minute), and I don’t want to rock the boat. So when the first-draft schedule was sent around, I sent the organizers a note saying that despite my minor agenting experience, I may not be best suited to such a panel, and let them decide what to do.

    When the final schedule was sent around, I was still on the panel. So my assumption is, I’m on the panel to bulk it out and to put me somewhere. So it goes, sometimes. I’m meeting an old friend and colleague from my days as an agent an hour before the panel, who has been an agent for decades now, and I’ll ask him a few questions to arm myself. Beyond that, I’ll offer my eight words or so of advice and otherwise be content to be quiet, unless the panel turns from the initial question into “Amusing Stories About [General Subject],” in which case I have (at least some) more material.

    The other panel I mentioned it “Beyond Superheroes,” and it’s described thusly: “Comics are more than superheroes. There have been and are many SF and fantasy comics, ranging from Sandman to Astro City, from Adam Strange to Fables. What SF and fantasy comics should all fans — even those who aren’t comics fans — know?” This description perplexes me a bit, because I write ASTRO CITY, and it’s absolutely, thoroughly, right-from-the-ground-up a superhero comic. It tells different kinds of story from the usual adventure-oriented superhero comic, but it’s a superhero comic. Still, I know plenty about the subject, and have written a fair number of non-superhero comics, so I just wrote the organizers and mentioned that they might want to change the panel description to mention Conan or Arrowsmith or the Autumnlands or some other non-superhero book I’ve done, if they want to name one of mine.

    They didn’t change it in the final schedule, so I suppose it’s just there as advertising of a sort. “Hey, let’s mention this well-known title that one of the panelists wrote even though it doesn’t quite fit.” The moderator knows ASTRO CITY is a superhero comic, I expect whoever pitched the panel (probably the moderator) does as well, it won’t be a problem.

    But at least in one instance, I figure I’m on the panel due to logistics and availability. I offered to be removed, but they didn’t remove me. So I’ll just do my best and try not to get in the way of anyone doing better.

  35. A few years ago, when the subject of harassment at cons was beginning to surface as a topic and a handful of US cons were bringing in anti-harassment policies while UK cons were being studiously quiet about the subject, I wrote to a moderately-sized UK con I was going to attend asking what their anti-harassment policies were.

    To my astonishment, the response to this simple enquiry was along the lines of “We don’t have any policies in place, but it ought to be talked about. How about we pencil you in to moderate a couple of panels on the subject.” My emphasis.

    My utter astonishment, since not only am I a cis/white/het/male, I am, frankly, a nobody. Hardly even a fan, really, by some definitions, only having been to a Thrint’s handful of Worldcons and almost as few other cons at the time. (And hardly any more now.)

    I spent about six weeks in a total panic, trying to get myself in the right headspace to make a good fist of moderating such a potentially fractious subject, trying to do a bit of research on modern feminist theory, reading up on con harassment policies in the States, holding my nose and reading threads where horrible people were defending their rights to be the norm in a world of non-norms just so I could get a handle on how these discussions get derailed. I heard nothing from the concom.

    About a fortnight before the con, I tremulously emailed the committee to ask “Who? What? Where? How?”, and a different member of the concom emailed me back to tell me that the panels had been cancelled, and saying something about sending me to a “conrunners” con on the continent. I had no idea what they were talking about. I had never heard the word “conrunner” before, and when I looked it up, I still couldn’t connect what they were proposing with what I’d been volunteered for and then dumped from.

    I got the impression there had been a whole conversation that I hadn’t been privy to, at all, but that somehow it was assumed I did know about it. By Slan telepathy, presumably.

    At the con, there were no panels on harassment policy. When the subject came up obliquely in one panel, the moderator, a member of the concom, squelched it brusquely, saying in effect, “I’m a woman, and I’ve never been seriously harassed at a con.”

    These days, being slightly older and slightly less stupid, I would react to such a proposal with “Hell, no! Get someone who knows something about the subject. You know, from the receiving end.”

  36. @RedWombat-“I honestly think that’s why Tempest’s suggestion has merit, though I’d approach from the other direction. If you’re going to have a panel about a minority, make the moderator a member of that minority, full stop.”

    Funny how it all comes down to how you put things–from what I’ve read/seen of Ms Bradford, she seems to thrive on lobbing verbal/Twitter bombs and watching the reaction. Her schtick, if you will.

  37. Paul:

    Kurt Busiek, you are consistently one of* my favorite commenters here at file770. If you’re ever free for me to buy you a coffee or a beer, I live in Seattle.

    That’s very nice of you. I’m down near Portland, but if I’m up in Seattle on something other than a packed schedule, I may just let you! We have to support the brewers of Seattle, after all.

    Susan:

    What was the description of the panel, as advertised in advance?

    I don’t know. I’m going by the title, which I think was “Writing Female-Friendly Comics,” along with the fact that Bill likes craft- and genre- oriented panels, and I think he proposed this one.

  38. And now, the pain.

    1. EDUCATION
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    Okay, that wasn’t too bad.

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Watership Down, Richard Adams

    *twitchtwitchtwitch* Oh god, I can’t. I…rrrrgggg….ngnnngggh…nnn…
    Watership Down. That was like chewing off my own foot.

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

    No problem there.

    4. DESOLATION
    Abstain

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    UUURRRRGH…ow…ow…the Last Unicorn is better but Bridge of Birds is what I read when I’m sad, but…but…okay, tie. I can’t do that one.

    6. GENERATION
    Diane Duane’s The Wounded Sky.

  39. 1. EDUCATION
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Watership Down, Richard Adams

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

    6. GENERATION
    I was going to vote THE 13 CLOCKS here, but despite its being a wonderful book to read as an adult, it’s pretty clearly aimed at kids — most particularly at one kid, Sara Linda Williams, who had some input into the book as it was being conceived — and has been packaged and published as a children’s book more often than not, I think.

    So instead I’ll go with a YA choice, THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper.

  40. 1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Watership Down, Richard Adams

    – this was hard. I love them both but if Pratchett had never written Small Gods, I’d still have everything else he wrote (and much less idea of the life cycle of Discworld gods). If Adams had never written Watership Down, there would be a gaping hole and nothing I can think of to fill it with.

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    – abstain

    6. GENERATION
    Having written it in once, I think I’ll stick with The Broken Sword. Though The Dark is Rising is tempting, I think I’d put in in a youth category.

  41. Bill Willingham? Oh, yeah. Not the best diplomat.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/27642316@N00/2635029756

    Oh, and this nice little tidbit:

    “Yes, I’m a little put out by the (at least three and counting) reputedly male readers who posted testimony that they wept after reading this issue (one claiming it was for the loss of innocence). Not that I believe they actually did. But I’m still from an early enough American generation to find men claiming to act like overly dramatic little girls just a little bit cringe-making.”

    Ah, and this nice one about people thinking Stephanie Brown should have a display case in the bat cave:

    “Then Willingham had to ruin everything and say, and I swear to God this is a direct quote “I wanted to gun down those girls who kept asking about the memorial case.”

    My jaw just dropped open. I knew from interviews and shit that Willingham was an asshole- and I’m sorry, he is, for mocking people at panels, and mocking men for daring to cry over a comic book death- but that is just a creepy as fuck thing to say. I raised my hand and I wanted to say “Willingham, you’re an asshole” but instead I just told him a) I hated Stephanie’s death and b) You shouldn’t want to gun people down for being passionate about a character.

    Backpedaling time! No, see, those silly girls were just distracting from important issues at panels by asking the same question over and over again, andandand they just don’t understanf how the comics industry works and then, I swear to god, he word for word said the “being hated is almost as good” quote. He DID. He and Sattler telled me that when fans hate a story, it’s almost as good as if they love it, because at least they care.”

    And Willingham being the reason for Fables being women-friendly? Naaah. Example of his script:

    “They kiss. This is the truest of true love’s kisses since the beginning of time. It’s every poem ever written and every song ever sung. This is the one panel at which the dream of every female reader of FABLES has come true. Each and every one of them must be made to cry or squeal or swoon like a character in a Jane Austen novel.”

  42. Fantasy bracket, Round Three, my choices:

    1)-The Riddle-Master of Hed, because I liked it a bit more than TPB.
    2)-I haven’t read the Prachett, so I have to abstain.
    3)-The Tombs of Atuan, because I have a soft spot personally for the series as a whole.
    4)-Nine Princes In Amber, by a thin margin. No ties for me from here on.
    5)-(whimpericon) The Bridge of Birds by less than a hair, because I like it just a shade more.
    6)-Swordspoint, though if I thought he had a prayer, I’d pick something by Avram Davidson.

  43. Kurt —

    Your minor agenting experience may be just fine because of any of several reasons: you have more experience than others who could have been put on the panel; you are an entertaining speaker; or your experience in comics and media gives a different perspective from others on the panel who are all approaching it from a novelist background. Any or all may apply, as I haven’t looked it up on the program and didn’t work on putting the program together. Or it could be a hiccup by the people putting together the program, though Laurie Mann certainly is one of the most experienced Worldcon programmers around. On the second item. it probably is a mention of a well-known comic you have done, based on whoever pitched it. That one seems to me to be a minor issue, one that could be shrugged off during the panel if needed. If it really wrings your withers, you could try sending another email, though the schedule may have gone to press.

  44. Robert Reynolds: I absolutely agree, if the topic of the panel were, say, accessibility issues in fandom, I’d pick you for moderator over AFAIK able-bodied Tempest.

    But here’s the crux when I say a white male on some axis of disadvantage* grumbling that a black woman doesn’t get that he has disadvantages too:

    Name me one situation you are in regarding your condition where your circumstances would be improved, not made worse, by being black?

    *Or some white cis female unaware how privileged her whiteness can make her privileged, to bring it close to my home and my privilege — or anyone on a weird intersection of privileged and not.

  45. I was hoping I could vote more in this round but the only matchup in which I’ve read both is Tombs of Atuan vs. The Once and Future King. Not fair! Unacceptable!

    The Once and Future King is four novel(la)s packaged as one. Tombs of Atuan is the middle volume of a trilogy.

    Tombs of Atuan would beat any one of The Sword in the Stone, or The Queen of Air Darkness, or The Ill-Made Knight, or The Candle in the Wind. But taken together? Ugh.

    Abstain.

  46. 1. EDUCATION
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

    4. DESOLATION
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    This was a difficult one, but Cugel won it by holding a knife to my throat while Corwin was inexplicably delayed in another shadow.

    5. RESTORATION
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

  47. I really liked Privilege of the Sword more than Swordspoint but I think Privilege is disallowed due to its publish date of 2006.

    Did anyone ever read The Lost Prince by Paul Edwin Zimmer (brother of MZB) ? I got a real God Stalk / Black Company feel from that book though God Stalk was published in the same year.

    The 3 other books in the series are fainter in my memory. I really enjoyed the 2nd and the 3rd and 4th I don’t recall much from.

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