The board of directors of the Mid-Atlantic Anthropomorphic Association, Inc. released a statement today about action taken to remove a member during Fur the ‘More, a furry-themed convention held March 10-13 in Arlington, VA.
The statement is a follow-up to yesterday’s tweet:
A Twitter thread of speculative discussion about why the unnamed subject was banned starts here.
Some users think Spoutible might make a good landing place when they leave Twitter, however, the platform’s “Adult Nudity & Sexual Content” policy is being criticized by Courtney Milan and others. The policy begins –
Spoutible prohibits the posting or sharing of any sexually explicit content.
Examples of Adult Nudity & Sexual Content may include:
Sharing or posting sexually explicit images or videos, including nudity, sexual acts, and pornography.
Engaging in sexually suggestive or explicit language in posts, comments, or private messages.
Sharing or posting sexually suggestive or explicit content, including images, videos, and text, that are not sexually explicit but still violate the community guidelines.
Sharing or posting links to sexually explicit websites or content.
Posting sexually explicit comments or messages on public profiles or pages.
Engaging in non-consensual sharing or distribution of sexually explicit images or videos, also known as revenge porn.
Exceptions may be made for medical, health, educational or artistic content.
Courtney Milan asserts that under Spoutible’s policy people will risk being banned for discussing or providing links to various well-known public topics in a thread that starts here. Here are Milan’s opening comments:
Adele Buck shared some screencaps of others’ reactions.
Ursula Vernon had this comment on the kerfuffle.
Today Spoutible CEO Christopher Bouzy defended how the policy is administered:
Scientists recently named a mesa-like lunar mountain that towers above the landscape carved by craters near the Moon’s South Pole. This unique feature will now be referred to as “Mons Mouton,” after NASA mathematician and computer programmer Melba Roy Mouton (MOO-tawn).
Members of NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission proposed the name to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The flat-topped mountain is adjacent to the western rim of the Nobile Crater, on which VIPER will land and explore during its approximately 100-day mission as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
The IAU theme for naming mountains (mons) on the Moon focuses on “scientists who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their fields.” The lunar landmark naming honors and recognizes Mouton’s life, her accomplishments as a computer scientist, and her contributions to NASA’s missions.
“Melba Mouton was one of our pioneering leaders at NASA,” said Sandra Connelly, the acting associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “She not only helped NASA take the lead in exploring the unknown in air and space, but she also charted a path for other women and people of color to pursue careers and lead cutting-edge science at NASA.”
Mouton was first employed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in 1959, just a year after the space agency was established. She became the head mathematician who led a group of “human computers,” who tracked the Echo 1 and 2 satellites, launched into Earth’s orbit in 1960 and 1964, respectively.
A few years later, in 1961, Mouton was the head programmer responsible for the Mission and Trajectory Analysis Division’s Program Systems Branch – the team who coded computer programs used to calculate spacecraft locations and trajectories, giving NASA the ability to track spacecraft while in orbit.
Before retiring in 1973, after a career at NASA that spanned 14 years, Mouton had become the assistant chief of research programs for the Trajectory and Geodynamics Division at Goddard. In appreciation of her dedicated service and outstanding accomplishments, which culminated in the successful Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20, 1969, she was recognized with an Apollo Achievement Award.
(2) BSFS REVAMPS COC. The Baltimore Science Fiction Society has posted the updated BSFS Code of Conduct, approved by its Board of Directors on February 11. An extensive document, its Introduction says:
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) exists to promote the creation and appreciation of science fiction, fantasy, and related sub-genres, primarily through literary art forms, but also embracing the many related cultural arts in graphical, musical, theatrical, and media forms inspired by speculative fiction. BSFS welcomes all people to be part of the activities we sponsor and to consider becoming one of our members.
We affirmatively welcome individuals who identify with groups based on characteristics such as, but not limited to (in alphabetical order) age, ancestry, citizenship, color, disability status, familial status (including marital status), gender identity and/or expression, immigration status, level of educational attainment, national origin, physical appearance, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and/or veteran status. Attendees at our meetings/events and participants in our social media and/or digital platforms, are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is courteous and respectful of the other people present. By attending a BSFS event, all individuals are required to abide by BSFS policies, including this Code of Conduct, venue policies, and all municipal, state, and federal laws….
After three months on strike, unionized HarperCollins employees will return to work on Tuesday, February 21, after voting 194-10 to ratify a labor agreement with the publisher that includes a higher minimum salary and new benefits.
“We are pleased that the agreement was ratified,” HC said in a statement. “We are excited to move forward together.”
According to Local 2110 of the UAW, the union that represents unionized HarperCollins employees, the contract “achieves improved compensation and benefits, including higher minimums, guaranteed annual increases for everyone rated above ‘unsatisfactory,’ two hours of overtime without approval for lowest paid employees, improved union rights with release time during work hours, paid time to participate in the joint labor-management committee and company’s diversity initiatives, improved paid time off, and ability to continue to work remotely until July 1.”
In terms of minimum salaries, the lowest salary, $47,500, will increase to $48,500 in January 2024 and go up to $50,000 in January 2025. More details of the agreement can be found here….
(4) NEW VOICE IN ANALOG. Rosemary Claire Smith’s first installment of Analog’s book review column, “The Reference Library”, appeared in the latest issue. (Via Cat Rambo.)
…Thankfully, while awaiting the next crewed mission to the Moon, readers like me can sink into a spate of new books that build on recent scientific discoveries and technological advances to reenvision what off-planet settlements could look like during this century and into the next. John Kessel, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Maurice Broaddus put forward diverse, well-thought-out visions for lunar settlements and communities of varying sizes in space, mindful of the ramifications these developments may have for everyone who remains on Earth. …
Trump-allied lawyer Sidney Powell sent Fox an email full of wild claims from a woman claiming to be a decapitated time-traveler, according to a recent court filing.
Excerpts of the message formed part of a filing from Dominion Voting Systems released on Thursday in its defamation case against Fox….
(6) PERISHO OBITUARY. The SFWA Blog yesterday mourned the passing of Marjorie Nelson Perisho who died December 29. Their tribute begins:
Marjorie Nelson Perisho (24 June 1939–29 December 2022), who also wrote under the names Marjorie Nelson and Majliss Larson, was a lifetime SFWA member. Her Star Trek novel Pawns and Symbols, was published in 1985 and later translated into Serbian….
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1962 – [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
So what is our Beginning this Scroll? Well it’s A Clockwork Orange.
I read this novel by Burgess oddly enough in a high school literature class. Brave teacher, I’d say.
It was published sixty-one years ago by William Heinemann, and turned into the Kubrick film nine years later. The film won a Hugo at the first L.A. Con.
A true first goes for four thousand dollars currently.
Now A Clockwork Orange to me, and this is emphasized in this Beginning, represent the banality of Evil. Anthony Burgess makes the lads sound so, well, ordinary here. They’re just drinking milk. Drugged out milk, yes, but milk none the less. And planning to do vicious things.
So here’s our Beginning…
What’s it going to be then, eh?’ There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days and everybody very quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither. Well, what they sold there was milk plus something else. They had no licence for selling liquor, but there was no law yet against prodding some of the new veshches which they used to put into the old moloko, so you could peet it with vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom or one or two other veshches which would give you a nice quiet horrorshow fifteen minutes admiring Bog And All His Holy Angels And Saints in your left shoe with lights bursting all over your mozg. Or you could peet milk with knives in it, as we used to say, and this would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of dirty twenty-to-one, and that was what we were peeting this evening I’m starting off the story with.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born February 17, 1912 — Andre Norton. She penned well over a dozen series, but her major series was Witch World which began rather appropriately with Witch World in 1963. The first six novels in that series were Ace Books paperback originals published in the Sixties. If you putting together the essential reading list of hers, what would be on it? (Died 2005.)
Born February 17, 1913 — David Duncan. Ascreenwriter and novelist who was twice nominated for Hugos, first at Seacon for writing the screenplay for The Time Machine, and at NyCon 3 for the same work on Fantastic Voyage. He also wrote Time Machine: The Journey Back sequel to The Time Machine. And he wrote The Outer Limits’ “The Human Factor” episode. (Died 1999.)
Born February 17, 1930 — Ruth Rendell, whose full name of Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE (née Grasemann) is quite wonderful. I know her only as an English author of very superb thrillers and somewhat disturbing murder mysteries but ISFDB lists her as doing horror as well to my surprise in the form as three novels, to wit The Killing Doll, The Tree of Hands and The Bridesmaid, plus a not inconsiderable amount of short fiction that is fantasy no doubt. She was also the editor of A Warning to the Curious: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James. (Died 2015.)
Born February 17, 1939 — Kathy Keeton. Founder and publisher of Omni. It was founded by her and her partner and future husband Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse. It would publish a number of stories that have become genre classics, such as Card’s “Unaccompanied Sonata”, Gibson’s “Burning Chrome” “and “Johnny Mnemonic” and George R. R. Martin’s “Sandkings” to name a few of the stories that appeared there. (Died 1997.)
Born February 17, 1947 — Bruce Gillespie, 76. He’s one of the major Australian SF fans and is best known for his long-running fanzine SF Commentary. Over the years, he’s published The Metaphysical Review, Steam Engine Time and is currently putting out Treasure. He was fan guest of honor at Aussiecon 3, the 57th Worldcon held in Melbourne in 1999.
Born February 17, 1954 — Don Coscarelli, 69. A film director, producer, and screenwriter best known for horror films. His credits include the Phantasm series, The Beastmaster, and Bubba Ho-Tep, the latter based a novella by Joe R. Lansdale whom I’ve met and who is a really nice person.
John Coxon has trauma, Alison Scott has poetry and Liz Batty hasn’t got Paramount+. We draft our picks for the Hugo Awards nominations in Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form before, er, picking some more things.
PEN America counted school book bans in the 2021-2022 school year and found an alarming 1,648 titles banned somewhere in the United States — the most comprehensive count of book bans to date. With some titles restricted in multiple places, the total count of book bans is more than 2,500.
The most banned books were primarily young adult or adult titles, but picture books for the youngest readers were not spared, with 317 titles banned. Several of the most banned picture books are nonfiction, including histories of civil rights and gay pride. Others are lighthearted fiction about animals or babies. Most feature a protagonist of color or characters who reflect the LGBTQ+ experience.
This is the list of the most banned picture books of the 2021-2022 school year, according to the PEN America Index of School Book Bans. For more on what kinds of bans are happening and where, see the full Banned in the USA report.
MOST BANNED PICTURE BOOKS
1 (tie). Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, by Rob Sanders and Steve Salerno, 5 bans
This true story traces the origins of of the Gay Pride flag from its beginnings in 1978 with activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker.
1 (tie). I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas, 5 bans
The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of transgender activist Jazz Jennings.
1 (tie). And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, and Henry Cole, 5 bans
The heartwarming true story of two male penguins at the Central Park zoo who adopt a baby penguin.
In celebration of his love for animation, Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro is set to program a weekend of animation for the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica called “Guillermo del Toro’s Weekend of Animation.”
The films programmed by del Toro will include screenings of “The Red Turtle” and “I Lost My Body.”
The weekend of animation will open with the 2016 Studio Ghibli film, “The Red Turtle,” with del Toro virtually introducing the film. Following that, there will be a screening of the Netflix film “I Lost My Body.”
Sunday concludes with a 35mm screening of the Oscar-nominated film “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.” Del Toro and co-director Mark Gustafson will attend a post-screening Q&A….
(13) MANCON 1952. Rob Hansen has added pages covering the first Manchester con to his fanhistory website: “MANCON (1952)” at Fiawol.org.
…Next came the visiting celebrities. John Russell Fearn spoke first, and he turned out to be a very nice friendly sort of character. In answers to an absolute barrage of questions, he released the following information – He enjoys writing S.F. and has done so for about 25 years. The pseudonym Vargo Statten was his publisher’s idea, not his; he doesn’t like it, but as he’s under contract there’s nothing he can do. Astron del Martia is another of his names, but he only wrote one story under it, “The Trembling World’. The rest are not his. The Vargo Statten tales are turned out at the rate of three a month, each one comprising 40,000 words, taking eight days to write. It’s a full time job even when they are not accepted. He sometimes finds it difficult to find time for a shave….
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. There’s quite a cast in “Extrapolations”, coming from Apple TV+ on March 17.
Extrapolations is a bracing drama from writer, director and executive producer Scott Z. Burns that introduces a near future where the chaotic effects of climate change have become embedded into our everyday lives. Eight interwoven stories about love, work, faith and family from across the globe will explore the intimate, life-altering choices that must be made when the planet is changing faster than the population. Every story is different, but the fight for our future is universal. And when the fate of humanity is up against a ticking clock, the battle between courage and complacency has never been more urgent. Are we brave enough to become the solution to our own undoing before it’s too late?
[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Robert Brown, Rob Hansen, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]
A decision to ban an individual from all Arisia convention and other sponsored activities was announced November 20 by the Arisia Inc. Eboard and Acting Convention chairs.
Trigger warning: sexual assault of a minor.
The incident occurred away from the Arisia convention in 2009 and was reported to a senior staff person during the 2010 Arisia. Although multiple reports were received at the time, there were no records in Arisia’s Incident Report Management Committee files. The subject of the report continued to attend Arisia and serve on staff. It was only when the IRMC-assisted vetting process for 2022 convention staff was taking place that the reporters stepped forward again, and otherwise they say the individual would not have been restricted from working on Arisia staff.
The Eboard and Acting Chairs statements follow the jump.
Fandom and the Pendulum: The Astronomicon 13 Fan Guest of Honor Speech
By Chris M. Barkley:
“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” — Anais Nin
I was resetting a cuckoo clock the other day when I became transfixed with the motion of the pendulum. Back and forth, in a hypnotic, rhythmic action.
Looking at it, I think that it is the best visual representation of the passage of time.
In doing so, I was also reminded of several conversations I had with friends at Chicon 8 several weeks earlier.
Separately, without prompting or encouragement, each of them described how in the current state of sf fandom the pendulum had taken a strong, hard excessive turn and in a direction that they did not particularly like very much.
All of them had similar complaints and, oddly, all of them mentioned the same metaphor; that it seemed that the pendulum of change had taken a hard swing and it was in a direction that they didn’t like.
To wit, that recently, fandom seems to be a not a very inviting place unless they strictly adhered to a particular ideology.
And I concur.
Because, like the pendulum, the recent social and political shifts in sf fandom, particularly the branch I know well, literary fandom, can be observed and measured.
In order to understand where we are now, we must examine the origins of sf fandom. Even today, the general public believes a very persistent myth that conventions and fandom began after the cancellation of Star Trek and the gathering of fans that started taking place in the early 1970’s. In truth, it began over forty years before then…
In the early 1930’s, Amazing Stories and several other pulp magazines in the United States, began running letter of comment columns. The published letters included the addresses of the fans who sent them. These letter writers, who were nearly all white and male, began to correspond with each other. Local fans found each other and began to form clubs dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. A similar movement was also underway in the United Kingdom as well. By late 1936, they began to call some of these larger meetups conventions.
In the US, the New York contingent of fans decided to hold a World Science Fiction Convention (NyCon 1) in New York City, in conjunction with the futuristic theme of the World’s Fair being held in the nearby borough of Queens.
(BTW, fandom’s first significant feud began at that convention, as several well known members of First Fandom were excluded from attending, mainly because of personality conflicts but at the time, their political differences were played up. More on this later in this speech).
The progenitors of fandom began a whole host of fannish traditions; fanzines and fan writing, literary serious criticism of genre fiction, small press publishing, cos-play, filk singing, convention panels and ‘dead dog’ parties.
As the decades flew by, the marginal popularity of sf, fantasy and horror with the public came and went but remained constant in that initial group of fans, some of whom eventually became well known authors, editors, artists and convention runners.
In the early years, the first two main genre fiction awards, the Hugo (in 1953) and the Nebula (in 1965) were established.
Women authors and editors (Andre Norton, C.L. Moore, Cele Goldsmith, Leigh Brackett and Judith Merril) paved the way for the next generation of better known and renowned writers of the 1970’s and 1980’s, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey, Vonda McIntrye, Joanna Russ and Octavia Butler among others.
I entered fandom in June 1976. I was a witness to and a participant in a lot of the pendulum swing in fandom; the slow but persistent emergence of women and the LGBTQ+ community, the calling out of sexism and harassment and the inclusion of more people of color in fandom.
In other words, the fandom of the early days is as far removed from today’s fandom as the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne is from N. K. Jemisin, the art of Rembrandt from Jon-Michel Basquiat, the musical Oklahoma! is to Hamilton and the swinging moves of Benny Goodman are from the grooves of Rihanna.
And I want to be quite clear about this, as an African-American citizen of the United States of America, I applaud, encourage and welcome all of these changes in fandom. Because in 2022, representation, in the face of an increasing societal turmoil and partisan division, matters even more than ever.
But, as a close observer (and an active participant) in some of these changes, I can tell you that none of this came very quickly or very easily.
As the pendulum swung, other factors and effects came into play; personal computers, cell and smartphones, social media sites and the internet became a double edged sword. Technological advances made it easier to call out toxic fans and their behavior but it also enabled bad actors to disrupt fannish activities and the lives of fans on an incredibly personal level.
Fandom is subject to the same major sources of social change, including population growth and composition, culture and technology, the natural environment, and social conflict as any other artistic movement.
Here’s the thing; these changes, shifts and, if you will, the swings of the pendulum are not only true and observable, they are unavoidable and inevitable.
Because, as history has shown us again and again, in every movement of substance, whether it be music, art, literature, science, sports and (especially) politics undergo the change on a regular and inevitable basis.
A sizable portion of the fans attending genre conventions are female, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. The people who are a part of the sf/f community today are more diverse, more knowledgeable, technically adroit, and, for the most part, they’re unafraid to let you know how they feel. And, as much as their right-wing adversaries would like them to go away, this newly emerging segment of fandom is not likely because they are the new majority, which was mainly brought on by the Puppies’ overt and militant actions against fandom.
And inevitably, with the advances came some pushback, in the form of harassment and trolling, by privileged individuals, who are mostly white, are either frightened by an otherness of others outside of their own experiences or their own racist upbringing and xenophobic tendencies.
In the early to mid-2010’s, this all came to head with is now known as the “Puppy Wars” (Sad/Angry/Rabid) which were expertly chronicled by Camestros Felapton in his Hugo Award nominated non-fiction work, Debarkle.
The fannish backlash against this reprehensible group of egocentric bullies played out over several years; the Puppies may have disrupted the Hugo Award nomination process for a few years but they eventually lost the war when nearly all of their gamed nominees lost and the World Science Fiction Convention Constitution was sufficiently amended to stop it being successfully attempted again.
But this wasn’t to say there were no lasting effects from this conflict; while diversity has become even more celebrated (at least more so in this branch of fandom), there were several troubling, high profile incidents in the past few years:
Conservative provocateur Jon Del Arroz filed a lawsuit against Worldcon 76 (which was held in San Jose. California) when it banned him (rightfully so) from attending the convention due to his overtly inflammatory statements about fandom. But Del Arroz filed a lawsuit in response to the convention committee’s public announcement of that decision, which claimed he made racist statements. Worldcon 76 and Del Arroz announced in June 2021 they had settled the suit shortly before it was scheduled to go to trial. Four of the five claims had been dismissed by the judge, but the charge of defamation, of him being a “racist”, would have been the bone of contention if a trial had gone forward. The convention ceded a $4000 settlement to Del Arroz and a public apology, which can still be seen on the Worldcon 76 website. It is believed that the legal fees incurred by the convention committee were around $100,000.
In 2019 and 2020, sf writer Adam-Troy Castro and his late wife Judi were beset by a series of increasingly vicious cyber identity thefts that drained their bank accounts, ruined their credit rating and forced them to move out of their longtime home. Go-Fund Me campaigns saved them from being homeless but the culprits of these attacks remain unknown and at large.
A few months ago, white supremacist trolls somehow arranged the suspension of the Twitter accounts of authors Harry Turtledove and Patrick Tomlinson. Both accounts were eventually restored but Twitter has no explanation of how this occurred nor have they offered an explanation of how it happened or any whether they are investigating the breach.
Patrick Tomlinson and Hugo Award nominated Nigerian sf author and editor Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki received death threats as they attended Chicon 8. In the four years preceding the convention, Tomlinson and his family members were the constant and frequent targets of identity theft, trolling and death threats.
To counter these reactionary fans, many convention committees enacted Codes of Conduct over the past decade. The trouble was that in the years since they were first introduced, some of these CoC’s were either not very well defined, not very transparent on how they were implemented or, in the worst case scenario, poorly enforced. The most recent examples include:
At the 2022 Nebula Award Conference in Los Angeles, newly minted Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association Grandmaster Mercedes Lackey, during a panel titled “Romancing Sci-Fi and Fantasy”, was alleged to have uttered a racial slur. Author of color Jen Brown, complained about the incident on Twitter and Lackey, without the benefit of an investigation or a hearing, was summarily dismissed (along with her husband Larry Dixon, who vociferously defended her on social media) from further participation in the Conference. Lackey fully apologized two days later and said she had not intentionally said anything racist, but had fumbled saying “person of color”. While friends and colleagues (such as authors of color Samuel R. Delany and Steven Barnes) rallied to her defense, Jen Brown and a legion of others continued to condemn her and boycott her works. As of this writing, SWFA has not offered a full explanation, any indication that an investigation was conducted or an apology for their actions.
Almost exactly a week later on Memorial Day weekend at Balticon 56, local author and conrunner Stephanie Burke found herself in a strikingly similar situation; she was accused by the Programming staff of racist statements and behavior. To compound matters, Burke was accused of never responding to an email about the incident, but it was discovered later that the email was never sent. On top of all of that, Ms. Burke suffered the embarrassment of being removed from an ongoing panel she was on and then was verbally abused by a “senior staffer” of Balticon, who was found in violation of the Code of Conduct. The very next day,Yakira Heistand, the Chair of Balticon 56, publicly apologized for Ms. Burke’s treatment but also stated that the allegations would be fully investigated.
On September 1, 2022, 105 days after the alleged incident, Balticon 56 issued this statement:
“Of the complaints against Ms. Burke, our Investigation Team determined there were no Code of Conduct violations. Witnesses confirmed that she was speaking of her own experiences and not making general statements about another individual or class of people. Speaking one’s own truth is not a violation of our Code of Conduct. Ms. Burke is welcome to be a program participant in the future. Again, we apologize for the manner in which the reports were communicated.
“The BSFS Investigation Team and Board of Directors have found that Senior Staffer 1 who approached Stephanie Burke prior to her panel and asked her to step away acted courteously and in accordance with our policy. Senior Staffer 2’s behavior during the discussion violated our Code of Conduct. The Board has determined that Senior Staffer 2 will be barred from volunteering for Balticon for a period of 2 years and from serving as a Department Head for an additional 2 years.”
In researching this speech, I have read many Codes of Conduct from other conventions. My partner was reading one and they came across a line in one upcoming convention that really stood out:
(Convention X) prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort.”
To me, there is nothing ordinary about this statement.
While it is all good and well to try to be welcoming to marginalized fans, Convention X’s committee would do well to focus on the safety of EVERY fan attending their convention.
The Code of Conduct should be a group’s fail safe to deal with fans and participants who commit unseemly and disruptive behavior but it must be done as fairly, equitably and transparently as possible.
These incidents I have outlined have exposed some of the more serious divisions within our fannish community. My feeling is that fandom, in my estimation, is rapidly approaching a societal impasse; it seems it cannot go towards any sort of future without reconciling with its present set of circumstances.
I take no joy in pointing out these deficiencies in fandom. I am also saddened that there will be those in fandom who will see this speech as a personal attack on the very progressive wing of fandom.
To them I say this; no one, including myself, is above criticism. And that constructive and earnest criticism can only be helpful.
Because together, we can change the direction and velocity of the pendulum in a more useful direction.
For the record, I will make the following confession; when stating one’s preferred pronouns or gender preference became an ongoing issue at the beginning of the last decade, I was very confused about the point of doing so. Gradually, I came to understand that it was a matter of personal acknowledgement, empowerment and respect for the trans community. And if asked, I show the same respect that is offered to me.
I also think that while I support this affirming stance, I am not in favor of anyone being forced, coerced or being required to do so in order to participate in an activity or social event.
Because when diversity is coerced in such a manner, it ceases to be that. It is perceived, rightly, as a matter of control. And when the cost of diversity is a rigid, inflexible set of standards that is almost impossible for anyone to meet, it disallows those who may have differing opinions. That’s the moment it becomes oppression and we become the sort of people we have come to loathe and fear.
Again, I refer to the pendulum of history, which has shown, time after time, that the exclusion or purging of members of the aforementioned groups I referred to earlier in this speech.
In many of those historical instances, in order for the movement to improve and become more just, those being excluded were involved in heinous, insidious and vile beliefs.
Robert Silverberg, who had attended an unbroken string of Worldcon appearances dating back to the early 1950’s, said that he would not attend Chicon 8 because he did not want to be subjected to any abuse because of his past statements that have been considered, even by me, as insensitive and ill advised. (You want to know what he said? Google it.)
George R.R. Martin, the creator of Game of Thrones and a multiple winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, said he wasn’t attending this year’s Worldcon, either. Although he is quite busy writing the last two novels in the Westeros series and overseeing several television projects for HBO, he may have an entirely different reason for not attending. After hosting and producing a disastrously long winded and nostalgia tinged 2020 Hugo Award Ceremony, many think that he has worn out his welcome at Worldcons.
I know both of them quite well and I, for one, would tell either one of them that they would be welcomed at any convention I was running. Why?
Because neither of them are our enemies. Our enemies are fear, hate and prejudice in the absence of understanding.
My good friend David Gerrold has repeatedly stated over the years that when you attend Worldcon, it is like an annual family gathering. Fathers and mothers, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and so on. And, like all families, there are rivalries, grudges, simmering resentments, educational, class and political differences as well.
But despite those differences, we all unite because of our mutual love of science fiction, fantasy, films, television shows, art, comics, manga, graphic stories and much, much more.
Any imposition of a lock-step set of ideological beliefs, no matter on which extreme of the political spectrum it comes from, are dividing fandom right now and fandom, particularly this progenitor of all the others, will eventually, and tragically, become unsustainable.
The first mention of a “graying of fandom” came to my attention around the turn of this century. In short, the people who are currently attending, running and administering conventions and other fannish activities are getting older.
I have observed that there are a number of younger fans attending Chicon 8, they were far outnumbered by older fans. Collectively, we need to attract a legion of younger, more diverse fans, who are not only interested in merely extending our existing traditions, but creating new ones as well.
Being one of those older fans, I can see that my time in fandom will someday be coming to an end. I have already announced (to anyone who will listen) that I will be attending conventions and other events into the near future, I will no longer be actively working on any future local conventions or Worldcons.
I am not doing this because I am tired or unenthusiastic, I am doing so because I have other, more pressing pursuits such as remaining healthy and active, seeing to the safety and well being of my four adorable grandchildren and other family members and, of course, more writing.
I wrote this speech not just as a warning (although it can be read that way), but as a cry into the abyss that we need not act against our own best interests and be seen as the overseer of the death of fandom.
As I see it, the pendulum has already swung to an extreme position. And the direction it swings next may cleave fandom into many, many pieces that cannot be made whole again. We must not let this happen.
My final words of advice to everyone consists of the following:
As a family, we should treat each other as peers, not rivals with agendas.
And in this family, there will be arguments and disagreements. And when we have these arguments, we’ll argue ferociously. But let’s argue with facts, logic, evidence, and most of all respect for the person you are arguing with. Argue with empathy.
Act towards others as you would act towards yourself. People who are unable to do that will become evident and will soon find themselves on the outside of our social circles, looking in.
Let’s show kindness, even in the face of hate and adversity.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
And finally, ask not what fandom can do for you, but what you can do for fandom.
“Never seen a true statement, a wise statement, that existed in only one culture or tradition. Truth isn’t created, it is observed.”
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) Board of Directors today issued a statement about their investigation into “Stephanie Burke’s comments at Balticon 56 and our senior staff’s treatment of Stephanie Burke.”
They determined Burke’s statements on Balticon 56 program did not violate the Code of Conduct. They also looked at the actions of two “Senior Staffers” and determined one “acted courteously” but the other violated the Code of Conduct and “will be barred from volunteering for Balticon for a period of 2 years and from serving as a Department Head for an additional 2 years.”
The BSFS (Baltimore Science Fiction Society) Board of Directors (Board) Investigation Team, (consisting of Paul O’Neil and Leona Thompson) have concluded their investigation into Stephanie Burke’s comments at Balticon 56 and our senior staff’s treatment of Stephanie Burke. The Board has reviewed their findings and recommendations and made the following decisions:
Of the complaints against Ms. Burke, our Investigation Team determined there were no Code of Conduct violations. Witnesses confirmed that she was speaking of her own experiences and not making general statements about another individual or class of people. Speaking one’s own truth is not a violation of our Code of Conduct. Ms. Burke is welcome to be a program participant in the future. Again, we apologize for the manner in which the reports were communicated.
The BSFS Investigation Team and Board of Directors have found that Senior Staffer 1 who approached Stephanie Burke prior to her panel and asked her to step away acted courteously and in accordance with our policy. Senior Staffer 2’s behavior during the discussion violated our Code of Conduct. The Board has determined that Senior Staffer 2 will be barred from volunteering for Balticon for a period of 2 years and from serving as a Department Head for an additional 2 years.
BSFS gives every complaint equal attention and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior at any BSFS-related event, including Balticon. All members and guests are encouraged to bring such matters to the Board’s attention at any time, without fear of any adverse action being taken against them for doing so.
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1963. BSFS holds an annual convention, Balticon, during Memorial Day weekends in Baltimore, MD. In addition, BSFS offers a 14,000+ lending library at its building in eastern Baltimore City, as well as ongoing events featuring book discussions, movies, anime, and gaming. The calendar of events is available at www.bsfs.org.
File 770’s previous coverage of the events and issues is here:
Following Richard Fife’s publication today that “Faith Hunter Assaulted Me” at JordanCon 2022 in April, fantasy author Faith Hunter issued an apology on Facebook, and announced that she has removed herself from JordanCon permanently and cancelled all her con appearances for the year.
JordanCon 2022 was held April 22-24 in Atlanta. Hunter, whose fantasy works include the Rogue Mage series, the Jane Yellowrock series, and the Soulwood series, apparently decided to pull out of cons after the developments of JordanCon weekend, however, the reasons had not been made known.
…I have known Faith for many years, moderated her on panels and advocated for her to be a guest at JordanCon when I was still the director of the Writing Track. I had several long discussions with her about the divide in the world that had resulted in my public resignation from DragonCon as the Assistant Director of the Fantasy Literature Track. I had encouraged her to come to Multiverse, the new convention of which I am the Vice-Chair and that is dedicated to providing a safe place for marginalized and vulnerable fans.
On Saturday evening of JordanCon 2022, I saw Faith at a table with several of our mutual friends, and I opted to go up and join the conversation. As I sat down next to her, I could tell she was inebriated. It wasn’t just the multiple empty martini glasses in front of her, but that her general demeanor was one of lowered inhibition. Even then, in retrospect, there was something off about her behavior from the person I’ve known. At the time, I think I was rationalizing that this was her first public appearance since 2020.
She immediately grabbed my hand and leaned in, starting a conversation with me. The conversation touched on the growing divisions in convention fandoms, and at one point, I had mentioned I wouldn’t be welcome nor even belonged in certain spaces.
She then reached out and touched my hat, hair, beard, and coat and said, “Yes you do. And I didn’t touch anywhere that was wrong, so nobody can’t say anything.”
Those words made me feel uneasy in the moment. I didn’t address it, though, and looking back, I’m not even sure what I could have or would have done. As I sat at the table, Faith had several other off-putting moments with people whose story it is not mine to publicly share. After she left, I then learned of even more she had done, and the next few hours were spent processing and comforting those she had hurt.
I also came to look at her interaction with me in a very new light, of one where she felt entitled to touch me regardless of my consent and had decided she needed to make that clear, especially since I was not the only person that evening where she had ignored explicit pleas for her to not touch them….
The next day Fife reported the incident to the convention chair.
Sunday morning, with the permission of the other victims I knew of at the time, I reported directly as a witness and victim to the Convention Chair, Jennifer Liang. Her empathy and disgust at what happened was comforting, and during my report, she received communication from Jenna Sellers, the Operations Officer at JordanCon, that another witness, who was also a long-time member of JordanCon staff, had likewise reported the incident.
I was informed on May 16th that in addition to other reports from witnesses, Faith had self-reported and voluntarily would never return to JordanCon. Additionally, she had pulled out as the Guest of Honor from ConGregate and as a guest at DragonCon. The Convention further informed me that she was permanently banned from JordanCon.
(The con’s procedures for handling reports could not be immediately determined. There are references to a JordanCon Code of Conduct on the website, however, its text is not available from the drop-down menu.)
First, I want to say that I’m very sorry to the people I offended and hurt at JordanCon 2022. I have a black hole in my memory for that night, but what little I recalled was indeed unacceptable. When one of the people at my table finally got through to me, I left the table and went to find my doctor, who was also attending the con. Dr. Leann Rettell sat with me for over two hours. She stated at the time that she believed I had a reaction with my meds after a drink, and I am still under her care. Regardless of contributing factors, *this was my fault*.
The next day, Sunday, I self-reported what little I recalled of that night. I personally wrote apology letters to the few people I remembered seeing. I removed myself from the con permanently, and cancelled all my con appearances for the year. I issued (on May 23) a broadband apology to anyone I insulted or abused.
Again, I truly offer my humblest apologies. There is no place for my actions at any con.
I have no more to say publicly.
File 770 searched Hunter’s blog, newsletter, and Twitter and Facebook activity for May 23, and checked all items posted after the JordanCon weekend, but was unable to locate the earlier apology.
She did announce May 15 on Facebook “For personal reasons, I have withdrawn from ConGregate this year. It’s a great con. Y’all go and support them!”
Faith Hunter’s Facebook apology has received over 400 positive responses.
The response to Richard Fife’s post includes a statement of support from Charlotte Moore-Lambert on why he warrants being believed. Moore-Lambert formerly ran Dragon Con’s Fantasy Literature Track with Fife as her second. When her criticism of an author in social media led to her being fired by Dragon Con in 2018, Fife resigned and wrote a public statement protesting how Dragon Con had handled the matter. (See Pixel Scroll 6/9/18 item #3.)
Balticon has posted on the convention’s Facebook page the text of an apology from Baltimore 56 Programming Head Lisa Alder-Golden addressed to Ms. Stephanie “Flash” Burke, the Board of Directors, and the Balticon Con Chair.
The SafetyDetectives cybersecurity team uncovered an open ElasticSearch database exposing an organized fake reviews scam affecting Amazon.
The server contained a treasure trove of direct messages between Amazon vendors and customers willing to provide fake reviews in exchange for free products. In total, 13,124,962 of these records (or 7 GB of data) have been exposed in the breach, potentially implicating more than 200,000 people in unethical activities.
Sellers would tell prospective reviewers they bought an item from Amazon and gave them a 5-star review, the seller would refund the purchase price and let the customer keep the item. The refund was actioned through PayPal and not directly through Amazon’s platform, which made the five-star review look legitimate to Amazon moderators.
(2) MOVERS AND SHAKERS. K. W. Colyard contends these are “The Most Influential Sci-Fi Books Of All Time” in a Book Riot post. By my count it has 73 books. Notwithstanding the title, its work is more along the lines of advising people if-you-like-this-book-you’ll-like-these-other-books.
…The most influential sci-fi books of all time have shaped not just science fiction and its myriad sub-genres, but horror, fantasy, and manga, as well. Filmmakers have drawn inspiration for the stories between their covers, and real-world STEM developments have been made in their names. Without these books, for better or worse, our world would not be what it is today….
I was delighted to see this title in the list, though perhaps I shouldn’t say that too loudly since my past enthusiasm for its Hugo win so annoyed Jo Walton she wrote a whole book about the award:
DOOMSDAY BOOK BY CONNIE WILLIS (1992)
A Hugo and Nebula winner, Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book follows a time-traveling historian to 14th century Oxford, where she becomes stranded in the midst of the Black Death, thanks to a global influenza outbreak spreading in her home time. A treat for all readers, Doomsday Book will particularly tickle fans of other stories about time-traveling academics, such as Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library.
…I recognized that my unwillingness to create accounts and slowly but surely amass a following could be a deal breaker for agents, editors, and publishers alike. My response is this: does anyone remember Myspace? People are already leaving Facebook in droves. While Twitter and Instagram are holding strong, Gen Z has found TikTok and Snapchat, hinting that they might be reluctant to type or read 280 characters or view images that don’t move. Or maybe Gen Z will give up social for good, having seen the sort of harm it can do.
Culture is always shifting. The market is saturated with writers who want to reach readers. I want readers, too; however, I’ve decided to put my health and well-being first. No one needs to see the paranoid stuff I’d post—about hidden cameras and tracking devices—amid a manic episode. And I don’t need to feel addicted, anxious, depressed, or numbed out by platforms that are designed to sell ads.
In the end, it’s all about the words. And the best thing I can do for my career is just write.
The ambitious screen adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s award-winning classic book series has paid off at Apple TV+, with Apple revealing today that Foundation — only into its fourth week at the premium streamer — already has been renewed for a second season….
(5) METROPOLIS ON THE BLOCK. Bidding ends October 14 on The Gary Munson Collection of Horror and Fantasy Rare Books Auction at Heritage Auctions. Many nice copies and first editions of important SF/Horror/Fantasy works. Among them are three different early editions of Metropolis by Thea von Harbou, a work better remembered for its film adaptation by the author’s husband, Fritz Lang, in 1927. The auction notes say —
The film was written by von Harbou in collaboration with her husband, Fritz Lang, who also directed the movie adaptation. Indeed, the book itself was intended to be something of a treatment prior to the final screenplay and filming actually began before the book was published.
There’s a signed limited edition, a regular first edition, and a second photoplay edition, which HA all dates to 1926.
… The episode begins with the transporter being used to ‘beam up’ one of the ubiquitous extras from a planet which, we are told, gets very cold at night. There’s some sort of malfunction with the transporter, and when Captain Kirk is beamed up next, he sways as though faint. Scotty escorts him to sick bay, leaving the transporter room empty when it activates again and beams in…another Captain Kirk?
It’s immediately apparent that something is off about the second Kirk. He rushes over to Sick Bay to demand alcohol from Doctor McCoy, yells at crewmates, and in a deeply disturbing scene, menaces and attacks Yeoman Rand. (Is it just me, or does it feel like Yeoman Rand’s only purpose aboard the ship is to be menaced and attacked? We’ve seen it happen in the past three episodes: Charlie in “Charlie X”, a random infected crewperson in “The Naked Time”, and now the captain himself.)…
If Snow White looked suitably snowy in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Disney’s first animated feature; if Pinocchio’s nose grew at just the right rate; if Dumbo was the correct shade of elephantine gray; all that is due in part to the largely unheralded work of Ruthie Tompson.
One of a cadre of women who in the 1930s and ’40s worked at Disney in indispensable anonymity — and one of its longest-lived members — Ms. Tompson, who died on Sunday at 111, spent four decades at the studio. Over time, she worked on nearly every one of Disney’s animated features, from “Snow White” to “The Rescuers,” released in 1977.
A Disney spokesman, Howard Green, said she died at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s retirement community in Woodland Hills, Calif., where she had been a longtime resident.
Ms. Tompson joined Disney as an inker and painter. She later trained her eye on the thousands of drawings that make up an animated feature, checking them for continuity of color and line. Still later, as a member of the studio’s scene planning department, she devised exacting ways for its film cameras to bring those flat, static drawings to vivid animated life.
“She made the fantasies come real,” John Canemaker, an Oscar-winning animator and a historian of animation, said in an interview for this obituary in 2017. “The whole setup then was predigital, so everything was paper, camera, film and paint.”…
(8) MEMORY LANE.
1988 – Thirty three years ago, Jane Yolen’s Sister Light, Sister Dark was first published by Tor. It was nominated for a Nebula Award. It’s the first novel of her Great Alta Saga which is continued in White Jenna and would be concluded in The One-Armed Queen in which a character named Cat Eldridge appears as an ethnomusicologist. (I found her a century old folktale collection she wanted. It was a fair exchange. She’s now on the list of folk who get chocolate from me regularly.) The series would be nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award but that would go to Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer that year. The Great Alta Saga is available at a very reasonable price from the usual digital suspects.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born October 12, 1904 — Lester Dent. Pulp-fiction author who was best known as the creator and main author of the series of novels chronicling Doc Savage. Of the one hundred eighty-one Doc Savage novels published by Street and Smith, one hundred seventy-nine were credited to Kenneth Robeson; and all but twenty were written by Dent. Several writers of late have featured him as a character in their novels. (Died 1959.)
Born October 12, 1916 — Lock Martin. His claim to fame was that he was one of the tallest humans that ever lived. At seven feet and seven inches (though this was disputed by some as everything is, isn’t it?), he was also quite stocky. He had the distinction of playing Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still. He was also in The Incredible Shrinking Man as a giant, but his scenes were deleted. (I suspect those deleted scenes for The Incredible Shrinking Man are now available given our present reality.) He shows up in Invaders from Mars as the Mutant carrying David to the Intelligence though he goes uncredited in the film. And lastly he’s a yeti in The Snow Man which he is credited for. (Died 1959.)
Born October 12, 1942 — Daliah Lavi. She’s in Casino Royale as The Detainer, a secret agent. In the same year, she was in Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon as Madelaine. She was Purificata in The Demon, an Italian horror film. If you’re into German popular music, you might recognize her as she was quite successful there in Seventies and Eighties. (Died 2017.)
Born October 12, 1956 — Storm Constantine. Writer with her longest running series being the Wraeththu Universe which had at least four separate series within it, all of which are known for their themes of alternative sexuality and gender. She had also written a number of non-fiction (I think they are) works such as Sekhem Heka: A Natural Healing and Self Development System and The Grimoire of Deharan Magick: Kaimana. (Died 2021.)
Born October 12, 1963 — David Legeno. He’s best remembered as Fenrir Greyback both of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows films. His first genre role was in Batman Begins as League of Warriors villain, and he had a role as Borch in the quite excellent Snow White and the Huntsman. Mike reported on his tragic death here. (Died 2014.)
Born October 12, 1965 — Dan Abnett, 56. His earlier work was actually on Doctor Who Magazine, but I’ll single out his co-writing Guardians of the Galaxy #1–6 with Andy Lanning, The Authority: Rule Britannia and his Border Princes novel he did in the Torchwood universe as great looks at him as a writer. And let’s not forget his script for DC’s The New Deadwardians.
Born October 12, 1966 — Sandra McDonald, 55. Author of some sixty genre short stories, some of which are collected in Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories (which won a Lambda Award for LGBT SF, Fantasy and Horror Works) and Lovely Little Planet: Stories of the Apocalypse. Outback Stars is her space opera-ish trilogy. All three of her novels are available from the usual suspects but neither of her short story collections are.
Born October 12, 1968 — Hugh Jackman, 53. Obviously Wolverine in the Marvel film franchise. He’s also been the lead character in Van Helsing as well as voicing him in the animated prequel Van Helsing: The London Assignment. One of his most charming roles was voicing The Easter Bunny in The Rise of The Guardians, one of my favorite films. And he played Robert Angier in Nippon 2007 Hugo-nominated The Prestige based off the World Fantasy Award winning novel written by the real Christopher Priest, not that pretender.
DC’s league of queer superheroes (or queeroes, if you will) just added another character to its ranks: none other than the Man of Steel himself, Superman. Or, to be more specific, Superman Jr.
Jon Kent, the half-human, half-Kryptonian son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is the newest hero to wear the iconic “S” and take on the mantle of Superman within the sprawling continuity of DC Comics. And on November 9, in Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, he will come out as bisexual.
The story, which was written by Tom Tayler and drawn by Jon Timms, includes a scene in which an exhausted Jon opens up to his friend Jay Nakamura, leading to the two characters sharing a kiss. And the apple doesn’t appear to have fallen too far from the tree: just like his dad, Jon has developed feelings for a reporter….
Comicsgate’s Jon Del Arroz was quick to throw shade on these developments in a YouTube video:
Today Superman, the strongest hero on the planet, comes out as bisexual. Oh my God it’s just super cringe and this is exactly what they do. The whole point of this exercise by Tom Taylor is to get a New York Times article, to get an IGN article, to get on the front page of whatever. What used to happen in comics in the early 2000s is they found out that via gimmicks — actually this started in the back 90s with the Death of Superman — they found out that through gimmicks of killing off major characters and all that and doing things like killing Captain America, and Civil War and all that they could get mainstream attention to their comic book. They could get a buzz in the media. And so the comic industry shifted from one of telling interesting stories one of really keeping readers engaged based on continuity, based on love of the characters, based on great heroic battles, it shifted to what gimmick can we get out so that the mainstream industry media industry picks up our stories so that we can sell a couple extra short-term books. And it really is that cynical. It really is that lame. And once that stopped working, because they overused the death of everybody — I mean at this point I think they’re doing the death of Doctor Strange, it’s like he’s going to come back next week or whatever so like who cares….
“They said it’s a bold new direction, I say they’re bandwagoning,” the 55-year-old actor toldFox & Friends on Tuesday. “Robin just came out as bi — who’s really shocked about that one? The new Captain America is gay. My daughter in [The CW series] Supergirl, where I played the father, was gay. So I don’t think it’s bold or brave or some crazy new direction. If they had done this 20 years ago, perhaps that would be bold or brave.
“Brave would be having him fighting for the rights of gay people in Iran where they’ll throw you off a building for the offense of being gay,” Cain continued. “They’re talking about having him fight climate change and the deportation of refugees, and he’s dating a hacktivist — whatever a hactivist is. Why don’t they have him fight the injustices that created the refugees whose deportation he’s protesting? That would be brave, I’d read that. Or fighting for the rights of women to attend school and have the ability to work and live and boys not to be raped by men under the new warm and fuzzy Taliban — that would be brave. There’s real evil in this world today, real corruption and government overreach, plenty of things to fight against. Human trafficking — real and actual slavery going on. … It’d be great to tackle those issues.”
…Toebbe’s Facebook page indicated that one of his favorite books is Cryptonomicon–a thick science fiction novel popular with math and computer science geeks. One of the protagonists is Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse, a mathematical genius and young Navy captain, whose grandson becomes a ‘crypto-hacker’ on a mission to build a ‘futuristic data haven…where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of oppression and scrutiny….
(13) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter did not touch that dial! So he was tuned in when Jeopardy! contestants hit some bumps in tonight’s episode.
Final Jeopardy: category, Publishing
Answer: Last name of brothers James, John, Joseph & Fletcher, whose company published magazines with their name as well as books.
Wrong question: Who is Penguin?
Correct question: What is Harper?
In another category, “Making a short story long,” the answer was: “This sci-fi great teamed with Robert Silverberg to expand his classic 1941 short story ‘Nightfall’ into a 1990 novel.”
The contestant correctly asked, “Who is Isaac Asimov?”
(14) USER GUIDANCE REFRESHED AT A WELL-KNOWN PLATFORM. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Daily Kos updated its “Rules of the Road,” which seems (to me) a lot like what [us] fans call CoC (Code of Conduct). I have NOT read their full document, so I am not (here) endorsing, advocating, criticizing or otherwise opining on the document nor suggesting that SF cons, etc be looking for lembas-for-thought. I am (simply) noting the document, in case either of you might find it worth perusing. “Introducing the new-and-improved Rules of the Road”. Here’s an example of one of the changes:
The next difference in this updated version is we added a new entry, #13, to our DO list about avoiding microaggressions:
DO recognize and avoid microaggressions. Microaggressions are subtle slights, comments, gestures, and behaviors that convey implicit biases against marginalized groups and people. Microaggressive comments and behavior are often unintentional but that does not mitigate the harm to the recipient. Examples include making a comment that perpetuates stereotypes, denying or rejecting someone’s reported experience because yours is different, singling out an individual to speak on behalf of an entire marginalized group, targeting marginalized people with disproportionate criticism, and denying or minimizing the existence and extent of discriminatory beliefs, practices, and structures. Understand the detrimental impacts of microaggressive comments and behaviors and accept responsibility for taking self-corrective actions.
We have always had Rules about bigoted language, but microaggressions are actually much more common on our platform, and they are an area where we must improve. If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, please read this post on microaggressions where we first introduced this as a new entry into the Rules of the Road and gave guidelines on how to respond to them if you see them on site.
I have often heard anti-solar energy voices talk about solar installations taking farm land out of production in an attempt to create a food vs green energy conflict. Forward thinking farmers have tried mixing solar with agriculture and, happy surprise, the two go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
Farmers are trying out mixing agriculture with solar panels and the results are awesome. Sheep, like those shown above, love the nice shady spots to rest between grass grazing. The land owners love it because they don’t have to mow around the solar panels. The solar energy companies love it because it opens up huge amounts of land to potential solar production….
… Until now, flight suits and uniforms have been a standard blue colour, and the sudden change has left crewmembers – none of whom have a first name – questioning what the unexpected change could mean….
(17) YOUR BRIGHT PALS. In “Honest Game Trailers: Tales of Arise,” Fandom Games says this anime-derived adventure will take lonely players to a world “where you not only have actual friends but they all have glowing swords.”
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Rob Thornton, Jumana Aumir, Bill, Daniel Dern, (via) Amanda S. Green, Jeffrey Smith, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day @JacksonPeril.]
Convention codes of conduct really are a contemporary development, so while researching early Hugo history I was surprised to discover this one in the final paragraph of the “Convention Rules” of the 1955 Worldcon (see Clevention – PR 4 page 16):
CONDUCT 12. The Convention Committee reserves the right to revoke the membership and its attendant privileges of any person or persons who conduct themselves in such a way as to reflect unfavorably or to bring discredit to the Convention. If the Committee finds it necessary to revoke such a membership, it may, at its discretion, make it mandatory for the person or persons, from whom said membership is revoked, to leave the Convention site. It should also be emphasized that the membership will refrain from the use of armbands, placards, badges, ribbons, buttons, cards, etc. wherein a reference is made or which can be connected with a source or agency, political or otherwise, real or fictitious, that seeks the overthrow of the present government….”even in the spirit of fun”. [Ellipsis and quotes in the original]
There might even be earlier ones waiting to be discovered, because a note at the end of the 1955 rules thanks the 1953 committee and L. Sprague de Camp “for the loan of their convention rules and notes thereon” and says “We have taken the liberty of ‘lifting’ a large portion of their rules, word for word, largely, because it was felt that it would be both foolish and a large waste of time altering a set of rules that should be standard for all conventions.” However, in the 1953 Worldcon publications available at Fanac.org I didn’t find any containing a previous Code of Conduct. But who knows what fanhistorians may eventually uncover?