Federation of Beer announces that Shmaltz Brewing Company of Clifton Park, NY is brewing a new Star Trek-themed beer called Vulcan Ale – The Genesis Effect, that will be made available on Planet Earth in early October. Under license by CBS Consumer Products, Vulcan Ale – The Genesis Effect will pay homage to the Star Trek franchise and its legacy, tying into the storyline of The Wrath of Khan as well as Shmaltz’s own brand of He’brew craft beers.
(2) Camestros Felapton uses photographic evidence to set the record straight in “Tentacled Victorians”.
Rumors that Queen Victoria herself was a squid monster where unfounded. Photographic evidence shows she was an octopus-monster not a squid monster.
(3) Amazon has filed suit against 1,114 fake reviewers who “sell fabricated comments to companies seeking to improve the appeal of their products,” according to the BBC. The lawsuit was filed Friday in Seattle.
The defendants, termed “John Does,” have offered their false review service for as little as $5 on the website Fiverr.com, according to Amazon. The sellers were avoiding getting caught by using different accounts from unique IP addresses.
However, Amazon was able to identify the fake reviewers by conducting an investigation and purchasing some of the fake reviews. Amazon is also working with Fiverr to resolve the issue.
“While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers and the vast majority of sellers and manufactures place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon’s brand,” Amazon said in its complaint.
Vox Day suggests “More than a few SJWs should be shaking in their shoes” because – why wouldn’t he?
(4) Bri Lopez Donovan reports on the latest conrunners’ convention in “JOFCon 2015 Helps Build the Convention Community” on Twin Cities Geek.
I was fortunate to be a part of the “Disability Access” panel, which was actually more about accessibility in general rather than disability access in particular. I and my fellow panelists, Amanda Tempel and Rachel Kronick, started with brief self-introductions before jumping into the discussion by talking about some pitfalls and how they’ve been addressed in various conventions. One of the problems we talked about was the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms at CONvergence. Amanda mentioned how it had been a problem and a point of discussion for years, and how member engagement really pushed the initiative to create bathrooms that were accessible to those outside of the gender binary. The solution she spoke of was convention runners working with their venues to relabel or re-allocate resources, in this case to relabel the gendered bathrooms of a hotel to make them gender neutral for the duration of the convention.
Another issue tackled was the vetting of panelists. Audience members of this panel brought up the lack of diversity on panels that were covering topics of diversity—for example, no people of color on a panel about race in sci fi, or no folks with autism on a panel about spectrum disorders within geek media. Audience members and panels brainstormed various ways to address this, including vetting panelists by asking why they are interested in being on a particular panel and assessing their answers for issues that could arise.
(5) Kevin Trainor asks “SF Won The Culture Wars A Long Time Ago. Isn’t It Time Fandom Started Acting Like It? on Wombat Rampant.
Are you starting to see a pattern here? Is a trend becoming apparent to you? Here, let’s add another ingredient to this mulligan stew. In 1997, while I and my wife at the time were mostly busy trying to raise our kids, the regional SF convention in Minneapolis, Minicon, was in crisis. Attendance had ballooned to over three thousand people, staff turnover and burnout were epidemic, and the fan club nominally responsible for running Minicon, MNSTF, had no real idea whether the con was making money, losing money, or investing it in beaver hat futures on the Medicine Hat Commodities Exchange. The MNSTF Board of Directors, wakened from their dogmatic slumber by all the hooting, hollering, carrying-on, shrieks of horror, and assorted gibbering, actually paid serious attention to various proposals regarding the upcoming Minicon. One proposal, advanced by Minicon veteran Victor Raymond, was to split the baby: have one Minicon dedicated to traditional SF fandom, and another at a different time which would be more of a Gathering of the Clans, a three-ring circus and big ol’ party for media fans, anime fans, BDSM folk, and the other subcultures drawn to SF fandom, where being different wasn’t automatically considered bad. Another proposal, which was the one MNSTF wound up going with, was called the High Resolution Minicon Proposal, and whatever its authors’ original intentions, it was seen by most of Upper Midwest fandom as “Thanks for all the time and money you’ve sunk into Minicon over the years, you fringefans, but we’re tired of you now, and you need to fuck right off.” What became immediately apparent was that the vast majority of Minicon’s attendance and staff had in fact been made up of those “fringefans” for quite some time, and in the years following the implementation of the HRMP, Minicon’s attendance imploded to a low of about 400 people. Meanwhile, those fans who felt snubbed by the HRMP organized three other conventions: Marscon, more focused on media and gaming but still mainly an SF convention; Convergence, essentially Minicon 2.0; and Diversicon, which was ironically even more focused on traditional SF & fantasy but had split from Minicon over the issues of a “dry” consuite and open staff meetings, which Minicon had rejected. So in the end, what Victor had campaigned for happened anyway, but instead of successfully managing the change and remaining the preeminent SF club in the upper Midwest, MNSTF dropped the ball and dwindled into obscurity, which their graying membership seems quite happy with. The same thing, with minor variations, also happened at Boskone and Disclave and other regional conventions, so i think it’s reasonable to draw a few conclusions about SF fandom in general from these examples.
Let’s fast forward a few years. By now, everyone is familiar with the Sad Puppies story: Larry Correia noticed a drop in Worldcon attendance correlating with an increase in Hugo Awards to works of SF that weren’t terribly successful in the marketplace, but were written by the Right People and tended to have the Right Characters expressing the Right Views. Over the next two years, he tested the hypothesis, encouraging his readers and friends to join Worldcon and vote. Membership numbers at Worldcon increased, votes for the Hugo increased, and in the third year of Sad Puppies, when massive numbers of people bought supporting memberships and nominated works by John Wright, Tom Kratman, Michael Williamson, and other authors considered “badthinkers” by defenders of the existing order – the same people, mind you, who had encouraged Larry to go out and get more people to join Worldcon if he felt it wasn’t sufficiently reflective of the SF market- the backlash from people such as Patrick and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden, John Scalzi, David Gerrold, and various unhousebroken employees of Tor Books was vitriolic. The Sad Puppies (and their co-belligerents, the Rabid Puppies led by Vox Day) were libeled as racists, homophobes, neo-Nazis, misogynists and pretty much every politically correct insult in the book. In the end, despite the Puppy Kickers’ hypocritical preaching against the evils of “slate voting”, a bloc of 2500 voters chose “No Award” over any work nominated from the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies list – a list, mind you, that SP3 leader Brad Torgersen had not delivered from on high, but instead crowdsourced from anyone who wanted to suggest works worth nominating. Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies list was almost identical to the SP list, but as far as anyone knows, it was a list he chose and distributed to the Dread Ilk. This massive “No Award” result, which doubled the number of such from the last ten years, was loudly cheered and celebrated by those in attendance at the Hugo Award banquet; this cheering was encouraged by MC David Gerrold, while thousands of fans around the world were subjected to this display of vile behavior thanks to the Internet.
(6) Meantime, Kevin J. Maroney has his say, “Once More Around the Sun”, at New York Review of Science Fiction.
As I’m sure you know by now if you have even the faintest scintilla in the Hugo Awards, the “No Awards for Slates” option won out in this year’s Hugo final voting. This is the approach I advocated in my previous editorials, excluding the Puppy finalists not on grounds of quality or lack thereof, nor on the politics or personal foibles of the people running either of the Puppy slates. This was entirely a vote against the underhanded tactics that resulted in those finalists reaching the ballot. (The kindest thing that can be said about slate voting in this type of open-ended popular vote is that it is “technically not cheating.” That’s not a kind thing to say at all.) The people who were dragged onto the Puppy ballots without being consulted can be assured that this vote absolutely was not a personal rejection of you but of an unacceptable process.
There are larger issues involved in the Puppy movement that I don’t feel the need to rehash right now, issues of culture war, of reader communities and their protocols, of the powers and perils of our deeply interconnected communications. But at its core, the Puppy fight was about a group of people deciding to “not technically” cheat their way into an award and they were rebuffed, and that much, at least, is good. The Puppies will be back next year. It’s not particularly clear what they hope to accomplish in a fourth bite at the apple they claim is poisoned, but it will certainly be something.
(7) Today in History:
October 18, 1851 — Moby-Dick by Herman Melville was published. Much later, Ray Bradbury turned it into a script for John Huston.
October 18, 1976 — Burnt Offerings, from Dark Shadows‘ Dan Curtis, opens in theaters.
(8) The Superheroes in Gotham exhibit at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library will be open through February 21, 2016.
Superheroes in Gotham will tell the story of the birth of comic book superheroes in New York City; the leap of comic book superheroes from the page into radio, television, and film; the role of fandom, including the yearly mega event known as New York Comic Con; and the ways in which comic book superheroes, created in the late 1930s through the 1960s, have inspired and influenced the work of contemporary comic book artists, cartoonists, and painters in New York City.
Michael Powell reviews the exhibit for the New York Times.
The curators found in a private collection the Pow! Bam! Wham! Pop Art-era Batmobile and put it in the lobby. They mounted the Penguin’s umbrella and Catwoman’s hot unitard upstairs, along with Action Comics No. 1 (the first appearance of Superman) and art originals of the singular Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man.
The exhibition focuses on comic book founding fathers. They were predominantly Jewish kids — with a few Italians and the occasional wayward Protestant mixed in — from the Bronx, the Lower East Side and Brooklyn. And in the 1930s and ’40s, they created a world.
Bob Kane (born Robert Kahn), a creator of Batman, and Will Eisner, a son of Jewish immigrants and the creator of the Spirit, attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, as did the wisenheimer bard Stan Lee (born Stanley Lieber), who created the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Hulk and many more.
(9) Christopher Lloyd told The Hollywood Reporter he’d be glad to do Back to the Future: Part IV if somebody reunited the whole gang. “Doc” also says he’d like to toss out the first pitch if the Chicago Cubs get to the 2015 World Series, as predicted in Back to the Future: Part II.
(10) Book trailers by SFWA Members are collected here on YouTube.
(11) Brian Z. lays that pistol down in a comment on File 770.
Meet me in the thread, pixel, pixel
Puppies all around, pooping, pooping
Tear those puppies down, scrolling, scrolling
Droppings in the ground where flowers grow
Old familiar whine
Shiny happy pixel-scrolling fans
Shiny happy pixel-scrolling fans
Shiny happy people laughing
Filers all around, love them, love them
Never make amends, dish it, dish it
There’s still time to cry, crappy, crappy
Save an unkind word for tomorrow’s whine
Old familiar whine
Shiny happy pixel-scrolling fans…
(12) J-Grizz scores one for the home team.
Pixel pixel little scrolls
God Stalk! Brackets, maybe trolls
Reading comprehension’s bad
Perhaps that’s why they are so sad
Pixel pixel little scroll
Filking’s just the way we roll
I bought a $10 hat. Fear me. pic.twitter.com/BuKDNHiFQF
— Simon Le Gros Bisson (@sbisson) October 18, 2015
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]