(1) WHITE SPACE. The public radio investigative news show Reveal included Vox Day and his foray into alt-right comics in its program “Hate in the homeland”. (He’s the topic of the second of the program’s three segments.)
The mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue and the burning of churches in Louisiana are reminders that hate crimes are on the rise in the U.S. This episode surveys the state of the white supremacist movement in America, focusing on how hate groups are spreading their message.
The first segment is a discussion with Megan Squire, a professor of computer science at Elon University who’s been studying how hate groups are using the internet to win converts. She says that despite attempts to silence extreme sites, they are finding ways to stay online.
Al Letson then explores how comic books are being weaponized by the far right to spread the message of white supremacy.
We end with a conversation with Pastor Mike McBride, founder of The Way Church in Berkeley, California. He talks about how communities of color are standing up to attacks from white supremacists.
(2) SENSITIVITY. Vicky Who Reads takes on a big YA issue with “So. Your Favorite Books Are Problematic. Now What?”
…I’ve been thinking about this since January, especially with a lot of realizations on my part about some of the books I loved when I was younger.
Books like . . .
- Eleanor & Park, which is extremely racist to Koreans & biracial Koreans
- Cinder, which has questionable Asian representation and worldbuilding
- The Grishaverse, which has bad Shu (aka East Asian) rep and magic yellowface
And so many others. These are the most stark to me, because all of them include negative portrayals of identities very close to my own (I’m East & Southeast Asian), yet these were also some of my favorite books when I was 14.
And there are so many other formative YA novels that are extremely popular, and also portray some minority group(s) badly.
…(Okay, we definitely still are being hurt sometimes, but we’re letting less people hurt us.)
But these are our favorites. They hold a special place in our hearts. They’re almost untouchable.
Key word: almost.
…Are you saying we should cancel them?
No, actually. I’m not.
I know you wanted to scream “cAnCeL cUlTuRe!!!1!!11!” at me, but not today, Satan.
I don’t think mass-cancelling them will do anything. I don’t think issuing a community-wide “Six of Crows is officially cancelled for bad Asian rep!!!” statement will do anything productive, nor will it help us do better in the future.
(And some people see themselves in that rep. I don’t, but some people do, and I respect this.)
I do think, that some people might want to individually-cancel books, in different extents….
(3) CANCELLATION FOLLOWED BY LITIGATION. In the Washington Post, Deanna Paul and Lindsey Beyer report that Jordanian American writer Natasha Tynes is suing her former publisher, Rare Bird Books, for $13 million after they cancelled her forthcoming novel They Called Me Wyatt, “about a murdered Jordanian student whose ‘consciousness’ inhabits a 3-year-old boy with speech delays.” At issue is a tweet Tynes wrote (and withdrew) showing an African-American woman working for the Metro subway eating her breakfast on a train, (which is against the rules) and whether, as her publisher claims, this deleted tweet was about “the policing of a black woman’s body.” “An author lost her book deal after tweeting about a Metro worker. She’s suing for $13 million”.
Natasha Tynes, an award-winning Jordanian American author who lost a book deal following claims of online racism, is suing her publishing house for $13 million. The lawsuit, filed in California on Friday, alleges that Rare Bird Books breached its contract and defamed her, causing “extreme emotional distress” and destroying her reputation.
… On the morning of May 10, the World Bank communications officer and mother of three tweeted a photo of a black female Metro worker who was breaking the D.C. region transportation agency’s rules by eating breakfast on a train….
…Hours later, Rare Bird released a statement, calling Tynes’s tweet — which it described as the policing of a black woman‘s body — “something truly horrible.”
As The Washington Post previously reported, in response to the tweet, Rare Bird announced it had decided not to distribute her book. “We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way,” the company announced on Twitter.
By the following day, the publisher had announced plans to halt shipments of the book and postpone the publication date while taking the “appropriate next steps to officially cancel the book’s publication.” Preorders for the novel were also canceled, even though sales had skyrocketed, court documents say.
… Court papers also said she temporarily returned to Jordan on May 21, fearing her family “would be the subject of violence, reprisals and harassment at the hands of a mob incited by Rare Bird if she remained in the United States.”
“What Rare Bird has done to Natasha Tynes is just beyond abhorrent,” said attorney William Moran, who is representing Tynes. “I’ve never seen a publisher throw an author under the bus like this before.”
(4) RIPLEY: BELIEVE IT. Sigourney Weaver chats with Parade about the 40th anniversary of Alien and her future roles: “Sigourney Weaver Reminisces on Her Career, Alien, Avatar and the New Ghostbusters“
…She’ll soon head back to New Zealand, where she’s been at work filming the live and CGI portions of the long-awaited, effects-driven Avatar sequels. (Because her Avatar character died at the end of the 2009 original, she’ll be playing someone new in the next four installments, the first of which is scheduled for the big screen in 2021.) She’s also set to reunite with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in the new Ghostbusters, due July 2020. “It’s going to be crazy working with the guys again!” she says. She won’t reveal any details except to confirm she’s reprising her role as hauntee Dana Barrett.
(5) CLEARANCE. Heather Rose Jones sorts her garage in anticipation of a “Yes, I’m ready to admit I’m not doing SCA any more” giveaway open house in “The Great SCA Gear Divestment Project”.
…The hardest part of this process isn’t the “stuff” itself, but the investment I put into making and adapting things for my “ideal medieval environment”. Some of those things I only enjoyed a few times. Some were still in the process of being perfected. But here’s the thing: I’m *not* using them. And I have no rational expectation of using them in the future. And I’d rather that someone else used them to help build *their* “ideal medieval environment” rather than having the stuff continue to collect dust in my garage.
There’s been a recurring theme in my life of needing to distinguish between living the life I will truly enjoy, and trying to live a fantasy life that I only *want* to want. Let me unpack that. The example I usually use to illustrate this struggle is My Fantasy Canopy Bed.
(6) HEERMAN SHARES EXPERIENCES. The Odyssey Workshop’s “Interview: Graduate Travis Heermann (Part 1 of 2)” includes advice about Kickstarter campaigns.
Your latest novel, The Hammer Falls, was funded on Kickstarter in only twelve hours. Congratulations on both a successful Kickstarter and on the release of a new novel! You wrote a post in 2016 for the Odyssey blog on running a Kickstarter. Would you share some tips for getting the word out about Kickstarters? How did you encourage people to participate?
The key is stoking up your friends, family, and fans. 90% of this campaign’s backers were friends, family, fans, and repeat business people who had supported my Kickstarters in the past. And then you have to ask. For many of us, that’s the hardest part.
For this campaign, I used several strategies to get the word out:
1. Facebook ads. Resulted in no traffic AT ALL. It’s like going back to an abusive, gold-digging ex, and you think it’ll be different this time…
2. Posting on Facebook. Way, way, way less useful than it used to be. Their algorithms make sure your link doesn’t get seen by anybody. Posting a textual message to your wall and then posting the link in the comments helps with this somewhat,but the results were not nearly as good as the campaign I ran in 2015.
3. Posting on Twitter. Similar problem to Facebook with its incomprehensible black box algorithm. Practically no engagement.
4. Posting updates in previous Kickstarter campaigns, so that all my previous backers could see that I had a new project coming. Theoretically, these are my staunchest supporters, most likely to come back for another go.
5. Appealing to my email list. This is where nearly half of the contributions came from. These are people I send communications to regularly. I got about a 30% click-through from the email list to the campaign. Not everybody who clicked contributed, but that’s a good click-through ratio….
(7) NOT A HIPPPOPOTAMUS. NPR’s Liza Graham reports that Sarah Gailey’s “‘Magic For Liars’ Asks, What If You’re Actually Not Magic?”
You are not the chosen one. You don’t get to leave your humdrum life behind and go to the mysterious school where they teach magic. You will not discover powers you never dreamed you had. The reason you don’t fit in socially is not because you’re a once-in-a-generation sorcerer. Your blemishes and aches and colds and unfulfilled longings will not miraculously fade away as you become the marvelous creature you were always meant to be. You are not magic.
But your twin sister is.
Ivy Gamble, PI, protagonist of Sarah Gailey’s Magic For Liars, has lived with disappointment for years. She wasn’t the chosen one — single and solitary in her 40s, she couldn’t be less chosen if she tried. But she’s smart and damn good at her job, and she keeps going. Until one day, she’s called into the magicians’ school — Osthorne Academy, where her brilliant sister is now a faculty member — to investigate a case no magician can crack….
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born June 9, 1925 — Keith Laumer. I remember his Bolo series fondly and read quite a bit of it. Can’t say which novels at this point, though Bolo definitely and Last Command almost certainly. The Imperium and Retief series were also very enjoyable though the latter is the one I’d re-read at this point. Amazon and iBooks have decent though not complete ebooks listings for him, heavy on Imperium and Retief, no Bolo. (Died 1993)
- Born June 9, 1930 — Lin Carter. He is best known for his work in the 1970s as editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series. As a writer, His first professional publication was the short story “Masters of the Metropolis”, co-written with Randall Garrett, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1957. He would be a prolific writer, average as many as six novels a year. In addition, he was influential as a critic of the fantasy genre and an early historian of the genre. (Died 1988.)
- Born June 9, 1934 — Donald Duck, 85. He made his first appearance in “The Wise Little Hen” on June 9, 1934. In this cartoon, Donald and his friend, Peter Pig, lie their way out of helping the titular little hen tend to her corn.
- Born June 9, 1943 — Joe Haldeman, 76. Whether or not, it was written as a response to Starship Troopers as some critics thought at time, The Forever War is a damn great novel. No surprise that it won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards.
- Born June 9, 1949 — Drew Sanders, 70. He’s an LA resident who’s active in con-running and costuming. He has worked on many Worldcons and is a member of LASFS and SCIFI, and has been a officer of both groups. He co-chaired Costume-Con 4 in 1986.
- Born June 9, 1954 — Gregory Maguire, 65. He is the author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West based of course on the Oz Mythos; Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister retelling the tale of Cinderella; and Mirror, Mirror, a revisionist retelling of the Snow White tale. Well you get the idea. He’s damn good at this schtick.
- Born June 9, 1961 — Michael J. Fox, 58. The Back to The Future trilogy stands as one of the best SF series ever done and his acting was brilliant. Since 1999 due to his Parkinson’s Disease, he’s has mainly worked as a voice-over actor in films such as Stuart Little and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Prior to his diagnosis, he performed on Tales from the Crypt and directed “The Trap” episode. He would return to live action performing in 2014, bless him, with The Michael J. Fox Show series.
- Born June 9, 1967 — Dave McCarty, 52. He’s a Chicago-area con-running fan who chaired Chicon 7. He also headed the Chicago Worldcon Bid who lost out in 2008 and was victorious in 2012. He is married to fellow fan Elizabeth McCarty. He was the Hugo Administrator for Loncon (2014), MidAmeriCon II (2016), and for Worldcon 76 (2018).
- Born June 9, 1981 — Natalie Portman, 38. Padmé Amidala in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. She also played Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta. (Very weird film.) And, of course, Jane Foster in Thor and Thor: The Dark World.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Brevity explains why a leprechaun might object to Judy Garland singing her old standard.
(10) DUBLIN 2019. Now live — Dublin 2019 Irish WorldCon Member’s Page.
Hello and welcome members of Dublin 2019, An Irish WorldCon! This page has been created as a place where WorldCon members can chat, share information, sell memberships or swap accomdation with each other. This is not an official page and as such is not regulated by WorldCon staff. Please treat each other with respect and dignity. Can’t wait to see ye in Dublin this August!
(11) MINTY FRESH. A whole flock of coins celebrating the first manned Moon landing are on sale from the U.S. Mint. Here’s one in gold struck at West Point.
(12) GOING MONTHLY. At Galactic Journey, Gideon Marcus cheers Fred Pohl’s latest (1964) plans for IF: [June 8, 1964] Be Prepared! (July 1964 IF).
IF Worlds of Science Fiction, Galaxy’s scrappy younger sister, has also launched a big operation, the result of a long-ranged plan. For years, the magazine has been a bi-monthly, alternating publication with Galaxy. Now, editor Fred Pohl says it’s going monthly. To that end, he lined up a slew of big-name authors to contribute enough material to sustain the increased publication rate. Moreover, Pohl intends IF to be the adventurous throwback mag, in contrast to the more cerebral digests under his direction (Galaxy and Worlds of Tomorrow. Or in his words:
“Adventure. Excitement. Drama. Color. Not hack pulp-writing or gory comic-strip blood and thunder, but the sort of story that attracted most of us to science fiction in the first place.”
Frankly, it was Galaxy that got me into SF in 1950, so I’m not sure I want a return to the “Golden Age”. But I’m willing to see how this works out, and in fact, this month’s issue is encouragingly decent, as you shall soon see.
(13) DIFFERENCES IN THE ORIGINAL. Luke, I am your second cousin twice removed on your mother’s side: “The Original ‘Empire Strikes Back’ Script Shows Darth Vader Wasn’t Supposed to Be Luke’s Father” at Yahoo! Entertainment.
George Lucas once described his own father as a “domineering, ultra right-wing businessman”-a man who is largely believed to have inspired the relationship between Luke and Anakin Skywalker. In 1980, The Empire Strikes Back revealed that Darth Vader was actually Luke’s father, a twist that has become one of the most famous father-son stories of the century. That reveal marked a pivotal moment in the Star Wars franchise-one that turned this into a decades-long narrative about fathers and sons that has resonated in virtually every major plot point of the eight films in the Skywalker Saga.
But that major twist almost didn’t even happen. A transcript of what is allegedly the original script for The Empire Strikes Back has appeared online and includes a number of key differences.
(14) UNWANTED SJWCS. You know that plastic polluting the sea you always hear about? “Garfield phones beach mystery finally solved after 35 years”.
A French coastal community has finally cracked the mystery behind the Garfield telephones that have plagued its picturesque beaches for decades.
Since the 1980s, the Iroise coast in Brittany has received a supply of bright orange landline novelty phones shaped like the famous cartoon cat.
Anti-litter campaigners have been collecting fragments of the feline for years as they clean the beaches.
…The beach-cleaning teams had long suspected that a lost shipping container – perhaps blown overboard – had regurgitated its precious orange cargo. But they had never been able to find it.
(15) THREE MILE (SAND) ISLAND. The answer, my friend, is blowing in the Martian wind: “Exploring The Mysterious Origins Of Mars’ 3-Mile-High Sand Pile” at NPR.
… “We don’t have a gravimeter on the surface of Mars, but we do have accelerometers,” he says, “and gravity is just an acceleration.”
You may not think of gravity that way, but you can, and scientists do.
So with the help of engineers Stephen Peters and Kurt Gonter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he was able to adjust the way the data from the RIMU were handled; that gave Lewis his gravimeter.
He knew just what he wanted to do with it: Try to figure out how a 15,000-foot-tall mountain could form in the middle of Gale crater, the crater Curiosity landed in.
(16) RAKSURA. Nina Shepardson reviews The Siren Depths by Martha Wells for Outside of a Dog.
In the third installment of Martha Wells’s Books of the Raksura series, Moon finds himself with exactly the opposite problem from what he’s used to. As he finally starts to settle into his home at Indigo Cloud, he discovers that another group of Raksura has taken an interest in him—and because of Raksura society’s complex rules, they may be able to force him to take up residence with them instead. Combined with gradually emerging hints about the reasons behind the Fell’s repeated attacks on Raksura settlements, this makes for a tense and dramatic story.
(17) CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Paul Weimer tells what he likes about a new novel in “Microreview [book]: Velocity Weapon, by Megan E. O’Keefe” at Nerds of a Feather.
In Velocity Weapon, Megan O’Keefe takes her talents honed in steampunk fantasy and expands her oeuvre to an intriguing interplanetary space opera.
…The novel has lots of interesting ideas right down to character beats. Sanda’s war-manifested disability, the loss of a leg, is an abiding and recurring problem for her throughout the book. The author doesn’t trivialize the loss of the limb with magic future tech, especially given the impoverished, solitary future she now lives in, and we can see and understand the frustration that a soldier feels when so horrendously injured. On a similar beat, back in the past, Biran’s unexpected change in role and status when he is fruitlessly simply trying to find his sister means that he has to level up into a leadership role quickly.The author does a great job showing how he has to rise to this challenge and deal with the issues emerging from his rise. The two siblings, even though separated in time and space, make a strong core of a resonant pair of main characters to support action, plot and theme….
(18) UNDONE. Watch the first official teaser for Undone, a genre-bending animated series starring Rosa Salazar and Bob Odenkirk destined for Amazon Prime.
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Dann, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]