jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Sep. 21st, 2016 07:01 pm)

Only one day until I leave for FenCon, where I get to do the author Guest of Honor thing and hang out with folks like Toastmaster Esther Friesner, musical guests Bill and Brenda Sutton, fan guest Sara Felix, science guest (and one of my Launch Pad instructors) Mike Brotherton, and more.

They’ve got my schedule posted on the website. For the reading on Friday, I’m leaning toward something out of the YA fantasy I finished earlier this year. They also gave me an hour on Saturday for a keynote speech. (While I may speechify a little, I suspect there will be a lot of back-and-forth, Q&A stuff too.)

So, who else is going to be there?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

My main computer’s hard drive died yesterday. Most everything is backed up, including all but the last few days of my writing progress. (My photos, on the other hand, are in the hands of the local computer shop to see how much data they can salvage off the drive. I’m pretty hopeful they’ll be able to get most of it.)

In the meantime, I may be a bit sparse online.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Sep. 16th, 2016 12:19 pm)

Friday has a cold and would like to go back to sleep now please.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

Yassmin Abdel-Magied had an article in The Guardian this weekend, talking about her choice to walk out of the keynote speech at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival.

Today, The Guardian followed up with the full speech from American author and journalist Lionel Shriver.

Shriver begins her speech by describing herself as an iconoclast, and claiming:

“Taken to their logical conclusion, ideologies recently come into vogue challenge our right to write fiction at all. Meanwhile, the kind of fiction we are ‘allowed’ to write is in danger of becoming so hedged, so circumscribed, so tippy-toe, that we’d indeed be better off not writing the anodyne drivel to begin with.”

xkcd: citation needed

Look, if you’re going to claim you’re not allowed to write a certain type of fiction, you need to back that up. Instead, Shriver presents the example of a party at Bowdoin College, wherein hosts were punished for passing out sombreros at a tequila-themed party. You can read more about that incident and form your own opinions. It’s interesting to note that this wasn’t an isolated incident at the school. “Last fall the school’s sailing team hosted a ‘gangster’ party where attendees were encouraged to wear stereotypical black clothing and accessories,” and “In the fall of 2014, Bowdoin’s lacrosse team held what was billed as a ‘Cracksgiving’ party that featured students wearing Native American garb.”

ETA: As pointed out by Sarah on Facebook, Bowdoin also has a hard liquor ban, so the sombreros were not the only problem/violation at the party in question.

Shriver goes on  about sombreros and Mexican restaurants, and ends on a familiar refrain:

“For my part, as a German-American on both sides, I’m more than happy for anyone who doesn’t share my genetic pedigree to don a Tyrolean hat, pull on some leiderhosen, pour themselves a weisbier, and belt out the Hoffbrauhaus Song.”

It’s practically a BINGO square in conversations about racism and cultural appropriation. You can’t talk about Native American sports mascots, for example, without white people popping up to say they’re Irish and don’t object to Notre Dame’s “Fighting Irish” mascot, so why do those “oversensitive” Native American’s object to the “Redskins”? Could it be that the situation faced by Native Americans today isn’t the same as that faced by Irish Americans? Likewise, life in this country for someone of Mexican descent is very different from that of someone like Shriver.

But what does all of this have to do with writing and the freedom to write fiction? Shriver continues:

“The moral of the sombrero scandals is clear: you’re not supposed to try on other people’s hats. Yet that’s what we’re paid to do, isn’t it? Step into other people’s shoes, and try on their hats.

In the latest ethos, which has spun well beyond college campuses in short order, any tradition, any experience, any costume, any way of doing and saying things, that is associated with a minority or disadvantaged group is ring-fenced: look-but-don’t-touch. Those who embrace a vast range of ‘identities’ – ethnicities, nationalities, races, sexual and gender categories, classes of economic under-privilege and disability – are now encouraged to be possessive of their experience and to regard other peoples’ attempts to participate in their lives and traditions, either actively or imaginatively, as a form of theft.”

Shriver’s phrasing is fascinating. “Those who embrace a vast range of ‘identities’ … are now encouraged to be possessive of their experience…” Shriver is a professional writer, so I assume her use of passive voice is deliberate. Reading her description, it’s like she sees these people from marginalized groups as puppets being manipulated into building a fence around their experiences and traditions.

Encouraged and manipulated by whom, I wonder. Shriver never says. But it’s a telling bit of wordplay, one that strips marginalized groups of agency.

Shriver goes on to give examples of books in which authors wrote about characters and groups that weren’t like them, which also gives her the chance to drop this bit of grossness:

“…Having his skin darkened – Michael Jackson in reverse – Griffin found out what it was like to live as a black man in the segregated American South.”

A white person having their skin darkened is “Michael Jackson in reverse”?

  1. Google the word vitiligo.
  2. Thanks, I guess, for demonstrating the failure mode of clever.

Shriver continues:

“However are we fiction writers to seek ‘permission’ to use a character from another race or culture, or to employ the vernacular of a group to which we don’t belong? Do we set up a stand on the corner and approach passers-by with a clipboard, getting signatures that grant limited rights to employ an Indonesian character in Chapter Twelve, the way political volunteers get a candidate on the ballot?”

strawman

It must be so much easier to argue when you just make crap up. Nobody is saying Shriver is never allowed to use an Indonesian character in chapter twelve. No one is saying she’s not allowed to write about characters from other cultures and groups. The Fiction Police are not going to kick down her door, seize her computer, and lock her up in prison for 20 years on Aggravated Cultural Appropriation in the Second Degree.

But wait, Shriver has examples! They’re not about writing, but still…

“So far, the majority of these farcical cases of ‘appropriation’ have concentrated on fashion, dance, and music: At the American Music Awards 2013, Katy Perry got it in the neck for dressing like a geisha. According to the Arab-American writer Randa Jarrar, for someone like me to practice belly dancing is ‘white appropriation of Eastern dance,’ while according to the Daily Beast Iggy Azalea committed ‘cultural crimes’ by imitating African rap and speaking in a ‘blaccent’.”

This is why Katy Perry is no longer allowed to make music. This is why all white belly dancers were arrested in the Great White Naval Purge of 2015. This is why Iggy Azalea is legally required to wear a gag when in public.

Except, of course, none of that happened. What did happen is people expressed opinions. They said they were offended. They might even have (gasp) gotten angry.

Maybe Shriver is one of those “special snowflakes” we’ve been hearing about recently. It’s not that she as a writer isn’t allowed to write about other groups. It’s that she wants to be able to do so without anyone complaining. Without any pushback if she screws up. Without people getting angry. Without anyone daring to write negative reviews about her work, like the one she talked about in her speech:

“Behold, the reviewer in the Washington Post, who groundlessly accused [my] book of being ‘racist’ because it doesn’t toe a strict Democratic Party line in its political outlook, described the scene thus: ‘The Mandibles are white. Luella, the single African American in the family, arrives in Brooklyn incontinent and demented. She needs to be physically restrained. As their fortunes become ever more dire and the family assembles for a perilous trek through the streets of lawless New York, she’s held at the end of a leash. If The Mandibles is ever made into a film, my suggestion is that this image not be employed for the movie poster.'”

Behold, Shriver’s takeaway from this review: “Your author, by implication, yearns to bring back slavery.”

Sokka Facepalm gif

Maybe she simply doesn’t get it.

Strike that. I think we can say pretty definitively that she doesn’t get it. Nor do I suspect she wants to.

Turning to another example, J. K. Rowling has received a lot of criticism lately for her portrayal of Native Americans in the history and backstory of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This criticism is not because she dared to refer to Native characters and history in the story. It’s because she did so badly. Because she took sacred beliefs she didn’t understand, and played with them — stretching and distorting and changing and basically pissing all over beliefs people have fought and died to preserve. Beliefs white people have spent centuries trying to eradicate. Rowling’s distortions and portrayal? They’re one more piece of that attempted eradication.

Does this mean Rowling’s not allowed to publish her book? Don’t be absurd. Rowling could write 200 pages about Hagrid’s belly button lint and publishers would line up to publish it. She’s allowed to write and publish it.

And others are allowed to criticize, to point out the harm she’s doing, and to believe she was wrong to write and publish the story the way she did.

Back to Shriver:

“I confess that this climate of scrutiny has got under my skin. When I was first starting out as a novelist, I didn’t hesitate to write black characters, for example, or to avail myself of black dialects, for which, having grown up in the American South, I had a pretty good ear. I am now much more anxious about depicting characters of different races, and accents make me nervous.”

Shriver is now a bit more anxious about how she depicts characters of other races. Somehow, I’m having trouble seeing this as a bad thing. Knowing people will be scrutinizing our writing pushes us to do better. (Okay, sometimes it leads to defensiveness and bizarre accusations that reviewers think you want to bring back slavery, but we can hope for the best, right?)

As a writer, I do have the freedom to write whatever I want. But to my mind, with great freedom comes great responsibility. I have an obligation to get it right, to the best of my ability. To recognize the power of stories. To understand that publishing is not an equal playing field, any more than the world as a whole. To listen. To recognize that there are some stories I’m not the best person, or the right person, to tell.

There’s so much more to say about all this, but we’re already well past tl;dr length. For those who want to better understand the conversation around writing, cultural appropriation, and so on, I recommend the following resources:

 

Save

Save

Save

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Kat, Incorrigible cover artAt a group booksigning in Lansing last month, I snagged an autographed copy of Stephanie Burgis‘ debut middle grade fantasy Kat, Incorrigible [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound]. It’s a fun read, which the publisher describes thusly:

Twelve-year-old Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her late mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the utmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true loves?

In this charming blend of Jane Austen-era culture, magical whimsy, and rollicking adventure, readers will find a true friend in the refreshingly unladylike Kat Stephenson.

One of my favorite parts of the book was Kat’s relationship with her two sisters, and the development of each of those three characters. All three of them are strong and determined to do what they think is best, and they all have different and conflicting ideas of what “best” means, which causes wonderful familial conflict. I love that they’re all powerful, and it’s different power for each one.

This is book one of a trilogy, and you definitely start to see the larger magical world, with its wonders and dangers both. The strong, often rigid societal rules of Kat’s mundane world are reflected in the magic one as well, and Kat has little patience for them in either world.

The publisher described it as “charming,” and I think that’s the perfect word for the book. There’s fun and adventure and magic and a rebellious magical heroine, all of which make for a good read. But what separates this story from the pack is the development of Kat, Angeline, and Elissa. Watching them love and care for one another while simultaneously getting so infuriated was wonderful. All three are active characters trying to take control of their own lives. They all make mistakes — sometimes heartbreaking ones — but they never stop trying to do what’s right.

And you’ve gotta love a book that manages to present and dump a traditional trope within its first two sentences!

You can read the first two chapters on Burgis’ website.

Save

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

I’ve been working on the first book of an unnamed science fiction series for a little while. Well, I’m happy to announce that series is unnamed no more! As of today, I am officially working on Terminal Alliance, book one in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series!

Here’s the sales summary I sent to my editor:

When the Krakau came to Earth, they planned to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species.

This would have worked out better for all involved if they hadn’t arrived after a mutated plague wiped out half the planet, turned the rest into shambling, near-unstoppable animals, and basically destroyed human civilization. You know — your standard apocalypse.

The Krakau’s first impulse was to turn their ships around and go home. After all, it’s hard to establish diplomatic relations with mindless savages who eat your diplomats.

Their second impulse was to try to fix us.

A century later, human beings might not be what they once were, but at least they’re no longer trying to eat everyone. Mostly.

Right now, we’re hoping for a late summer/early fall 2017 release. Assuming I get off my butt — I mean, sit my butt down — and finish writing the thing.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Sep. 5th, 2016 03:15 pm)

Another photography post. Same disclaimer as before — I’m not a professional, and I’ve got plenty left to learn.

I snapped a quick shot of our dog Zoey the other day. It wasn’t perfect, but I figured I’d play around and see what I could do to salvage it. Here’s the original jpeg from the camera.

Zoey1

The first thing I did was open the RAW file and adjust white balance and color saturation. I also cropped and realigned it a bit.

Zoey2

Next step: Used Photoshop to remove that bit of Styrofoam in the lower right (with the clone stamp tool). I also added a contrast layer and used a hue/saturation layer to selectively brighten the reds, reducing Zoey’s chronically red eyes. Finally, I used the dodge tool to brighten her eyes a bit.

Zoey3

I added another masked layer to sharpen Zoey’s face. It can’t completely compensate for the blurriness of the photo — I took this shot inside, without much light, and the shutter speed was just too slow. But I think it helps some.

Zoey4At this point, I just start playing. I increased the contrast of her freckles, desaturated a bit, and added a vignette effect. I probably get carried away and overprocess things, but I’m having fun.

Zoey5More playing — I added an overlay layer and tweaked the saturation again.

Zoey6

I could keep going. This stuff is addictive. But my kid really wants someone to inflate the wading pool on his last day before school starts, so I suppose I should head outside and do that.

Anyway, I hope this was at least moderately interesting to folks!

Save

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

It’s been one year since I began my new life as a full-time writer.

In my fantasy world, I imagined I’d be producing a new book every month, with essays and short stories in between. I knew better, but it was a nice fantasy.

In reality, here’s what I’ve done over the past 12 months:

  • Final revision on Revisionary
  • Wrote, revised, and sent my first middle-grade fantasy manuscript to my agent
  • Sold my first SF trilogy to DAW
  • Finished the first draft of book one of said trilogy, and gotten about 35K through the rewrite
  • Wrote and sold a fantasy short story
  • Wrote and sold an article to io9
  • Wrote and sold an article to Uncanny Magazine
  • Prepped and self-published UK editions of the Princess books
  • Attended the Launch Pad astronomy workshop
  • Presented at the Lansing Rally of Writers and the MSU Young Author Conference

I also started a few short projects that didn’t end up going anywhere.

I’ll be honest, I’m glad I made that list. I’ve been feeling really unproductive for the past year. Looking back, there’s more I wish I’d gotten done, but that’s not a bad year at all. Especially since being a full-time writer doesn’t mean I get to write full-time. There’s also stuff like:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Doctor appointments for the kids
  • Dishes, vacuuming, and other housework
  • Prepping dinner most nights
  • Dealing with various school-related problems and crises
  • Chauffeuring kids to various activities
  • Catching Pokemon

Not to mention I’m still putting in ten hours/week for my old job. Most of that is telecommuting, but it’s still ten more hours each week.

All in all, this has been a good change for me. My writing productivity may not have rocketed upward as much as I’d hoped, but I’m less exhausted and less stressed. I’ve gotten to spend more time with my kids. I’m even exercising a little more, since I can take the dog for walks during the day or go Pokemon hunting in the neighborhood with my son.

It’s definitely harder making myself sit down and write when I’ve (theoretically) got the whole day to do it. Before, I wrote during lunch because it was the only guaranteed hour I had each day. Now, it’s too easy to say, “Eh, I’ll get to that later this afternoon.” I’m hoping to turn up the self-discipline again once the kids are both back in school next week.

Summer vacation has not been the most productive part of the past year…

Financially, there’s been a small hit. I left a good-paying job last year, and our savings has felt the impact. But I think overall, we’re steady. Selling that trilogy helped a lot, and we should be fine for at least the next several years. I am having to be a bit more careful with the spending, though. (No matter how much I might be drooling over the new Canon camera body or some of those lenses…)

My hope is to keep doing better than one book a year, plus extras. Terminal Alliance (the first SF book) has been challenging, but I’ll at least have some of the worldbuilding and character development done when I start in on the sequel, so that should help, right?

Hmph. Who am I kidding? Every book comes up with its own new and creative challenges.

Anyway, bottom line? I’m happier now, and I’ve written more than I would have otherwise. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but I’m calling Year One a victory.

Oh, and anyone else considering going full-time as an author, I should warn you there may be some side effects, as illustrated by this before and after photo…

Jim Before and After

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

When I first started getting more seriously about this photography stuff, I focused mainly on getting a decent DSLR and learning how to use it to take better pictures. Pretty much common sense, right? I didn’t realize at the time how important the processing of those pics was to the final result.

At first, I was using the camera’s default settings, which meant every image came out as a jpg file. At the beginning of 2015, I switched that setting to RAW. Now, instead of the camera processing the image and compacting it into a jpg, I got the whole file with all the data and information the camera captured. Suddenly I could adjust white balance, tweak the exposure and shadows, and so much more. Compare the camera’s default jpg of Zoey from last year (left) to the one I processed from the RAW file (right).

Zoey JPG Zoey-raw

That was just the start. In the past, I’d used Photoshop to do some basic fixes and adjustments to my photos, but I’d never really learned to take advantage of everything the software could do. (I’m told Lightroom is even better, but like everything else in this hobby, that would require spending more money.)

On the left is a picture of Sophie. I’ve already done the initial white balance and such in RAW, but haven’t done anything else. On the right is a picture where I’ve reduced the color noise, added a few contrast layers, added a saturation layer to brighten her nose, blurred the foreground a bit, and added a little sharpening.

Sophie-raw1 Sophie-raw2

It’s particularly apparent when it comes to Milky Way photos. For a long time, I thought I just didn’t have a good enough lens and camera, or maybe I wasn’t getting the settings right. I could see the Milky Way in my pictures, but it was awfully faint. The shot on the left is an example of a jpg straight from the camera. But then I started researching how professionals process these pictures, and I realized a lot of the pics they start out with look faint and washed out too. But look what happens when you add several layers of contrast adjustment and a little bit of noise reduction.

Milky Way jpg Milky Way 2

I know the experienced photographers are probably rolling their eyes and saying, “It took you how long to figure this out?” But for me, this was an exciting revelation, one that’s added a lot to my photos … at least when I have the time to really work on them.

Save

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Basically, it’s the culture, attitudes, comments, and actions that enable sexual assault. Whether it’s victim-blaming, perpetuation of rape myths, attacking survivors, or–

Oh, wait. I have a better idea. Let me show you some of the comments I’ve seen since my article about sexual harassment in SF/F was published over at io9 yesterday.

Content warning for slurs and other garbage.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Aug. 24th, 2016 10:17 am)
  1. Try to stay off social media.
  2. Make progress on the novel rewrite.
  3. Profit!!!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

My editor, Sheila Gilbert of DAW Books, won the Hugo for Best Editor – Long Form! I’ve worked with Sheila for more than a decade now, and she’s been both a wonderful editor and an all-around great human being. I’m so happy to see her receive this well-deserved honor and recognition.

Sheila Gilbert

Photo via Edward Willett

#

Michi Trota became the first Filipino to win a Hugo award. She won, along with Michael and Lynne Thomas, for her work on Uncanny Magazine. Combine that with Alyssa Wong winning an Alfie from George R. R. Martin, and you get one of the best photos of the weekend:

Alyssa Wong and Michi Trota

Photo via Alyssa Wong

#

Looking at the voting stats, Invisible 2 came in pretty high on the longlist for Best Related Work, which is wonderful to see. Thank you to everyone who nominated it.

#

Mary Robinette Kowal gives a masterclass in how to accept the consequences of your actions like a grown-up, as well as single-handedly showing that no, the convention wasn’t selectively using its code of conduct to punish people for political views or beliefs.

#

Andy Weir and The Martian won the Campbell Award and the Hugo for Best Dramatic Work, Long Form, respectively. Which led to actual astronauts accepting in both categories. I made a joke on Twitter about it not being a real party until the astronauts were wearing the Campbell tiara. Little did I realize…

Stan Love wearing the Campbell tiara

Photo from Twitter (uncredited)

#

Next year’s North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFIC) will be in San Juan, and my friend Tobias Buckell is one of the guests of honor! This is awesomeness times two!

#

There’s so much more wonderful and amazing news from Worldcon. Huge congrats to all the Hugo winners. Nnedi Okorafor won for Binti. N. K. Jemisin took home the Best Novel Hugo for Fifth Season. A translated work, “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, won the Best Novelette. So many well-deserve honors.

While no event is ever perfect, almost all the accounts I’m reading describe Worldcon as a great time.

I’m sure there’s other great stuff I haven’t mentioned. Please remedy that in the comments! 🙂

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Tags:

We all knew I’d end up posting a follow-up to yesterday’s piece about Worldcon’s expulsion of Dave Truesdale, right?

A lot more information has come out in the past 24 hours. At this point, it’s obvious from what’s been shared publicly that Dave Truesdale violated multiple items of Worldcon’s posted code of conduct, and that this was something done with a great deal of planning and forethought.

The more we learn about Truesdale’s actions, the more it’s become clear to me that the con made the right call in kicking his ass out. Not for his political beliefs. Not for derailing a panel or utterly failing to do his job as moderator. But for his planned and deliberate disruption of the convention. He also recorded (and intends to publish) panelists without their knowledge or consent, among other things.

(And there are other things as well, some of which have not been shared publicly. I don’t know when or if that will change.)

#

Part of my frustration yesterday was that Worldcon put Truesdale on this panel as moderator to begin with. He’s someone whose over-the-top rants I’ve been aware of for years, if not decades, including his conflicts with Eugie Foster, his hostility toward attempts at inclusiveness and spotlighting authors traditionally excluded from the genre,  his behavior after the SFWA Bulletin cover mess a few years back, and much more.

As one person put it on Twitter, “Truesdale’s gonna Truesdale.”

A number of people pushed back on this, and made good and valid points about how much we can expect programming volunteers to know about the history and background of their panelists and moderators.

I find myself thinking of last year, when I was editing Invisible 2, and ended up running a blog post by someone who was known in other circles to be…problematic, at best. I had no clue. One suggestion (which I’m hoping to follow) was that I needed a co-editor who might be more aware of areas like that. Ultimately, that mess was my responsibility as editor. But is it fair to expect me to have vetted all of my potential contributors?

And I only had about twenty. Worldcon has a hell of a lot more.

The programming mess at World Fantasy Con also comes to mind. There’s a general sense that WFC should have known what they were getting when they put Darrel Schweitzer in charge of programming. But then, there’s a difference between selecting someone to run your entire programming division vs. going through all of the volunteer panelists and moderators.

Ideally, I do think there should be awareness of who’s being put on panels, and recognition that when you put someone like Truesdale in charge of a panel, there’s a good chance you’re gonna get a dumpster fire. But that’s easier said than done. We’re not all online. We’re not all in the same circles.

I don’t have an answer on this one, but I welcome people’s thoughts.

#

A note to myself for future reference: Posting something potentially inflammatory before spending most of the day away from the internet and visiting friends? Bad idea…

#

We’ve seen the predictable whining that the thought-police banned Truesdale for his beliefs. If that was the case, then I do think that would be a problem.

But that’s bullshit. Truesdale was banned for his actions.

That’s a really important distinction to me, and sometimes it’s a confusing or complicated line to try to draw. It’s one of the things I was concerned about yesterday, when less was known. Now, this is about me personally. I don’t expect or demand everyone to agree with me on this — I’m not sure I can even explain it that well — but that distinction between trying to judge people’s beliefs vs. judging based on their actions is pretty much a core principle for me. (Even if, being human myself, I sometimes fail to perfectly live up to it.)

I hope that made sense.

#

In conclusion, from what I’ve seen now, Dave was kicked out for his actions, which violated multiple aspects of the code of conduct. And I’m okay with that. (The kicking out part, not the violating the code of conduct part…)

Also, yesterday gave me a bit of internet burnout. I’ll keep reading comments, but I probably won’t be responding/posting much more today.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

For anyone claiming the recording Truesdale made without anyone’s knowledge or consent somehow vindicates him, or that he only hijacked the first few minutes of the panel, here’s what I heard from Truesdale’s own recording:

  • It begins with introductions
  • Then Dave starts reading his “Special Snowflakes” treatise
  • After five minutes of this, Sheila Williams cut in and began shooting him down
  • Dave pipes in a minute later to try to ask, “But what about conservative SF?” Williams keeps going.
  • About nine minutes in, Neil Clarke points out that they’re still off-topic, and gets yelled at by random loud dude in the audience.
  • Eleven minutes in, Truesdale says he wasn’t finished. Gordon Van Gelder points out they’re off topic.
  • Truesdale tries yet again to get back to the evils of political correctness. Sheila Williams shoots him down again.
  • Fifteen minutes in, Truesdale goes off about “a certain group” of bullies who can’t stand disagreement and will crucify you for having other opinions.
  • After another minute and a half of this, Williams and others once again try to respond and get back on focus.
  • Twenty minutes in, Truesdale starts talking about this one anthology editor who produced a mostly/all-male anthology and got crucified, and why it wasn’t his fault, and–
  • Several people try to respond and refocus.
  • About twenty-two minutes in, Wiscon is mentioned. Predictably, Truesdale takes a jab at Wiscon.
  • Jonathan Strahan defends Wiscon and talks about the goal of listening to *more* people, not fewer.
  • Twenty-five minutes in, Truesdale continues to talk about how there’s too much intimidation “from the left.”
  • Gordon Van Gelder points out, again, that the panel continues to be off-topic.

I stopped listening at this point, because I’d heard more than enough. Listening to his own recording, the man hijacked at least half the panel for his own personal crusade.

###

Follow-up blog post at http://www.jimchines.com/2016/08/more-worldcon-thoughts/  (You knew I’d end up doing a follow-up on this one, right?)

###

Updates since I posted this:

###

Just catching up on today’s Worldcon drama. It began when Worldcon selected Dave Truesdale to moderate a panel on the State of Short Fiction. Instead, it’s been reported that Truesdale used the first 10 minutes of the panel for “a 10 minute monologue on how ‘special snowflakes’ who are easily offended are destoying SF.” (Source) He was literally clutching bead necklaces that he called “pearls.” Some people walked out of the audience. Other panelists shot Truesdale’s assertions down and tried to get the panel back on topic. Basically, it sounds like a mess.

This morning, over on Facebook, Truesdale shared an email he says he received from the convention, revoking his membership for his “unacceptable behavior” during that panel.

To be clear, I’m not at Worldcon. I didn’t see first-hand what happened on this panel. (I have read multiple reports from folks in the audience and others on the panel.) It does sound like Truesdale acted like an ass, derailed the panel, and pissed off a lot of people who wanted to, you know, talk about the state of short fiction.

As you might have guessed, I have thoughts about all this…

  • Who the hell thought it was a good idea to put Dave Truesdale in charge of this panel? He’s been doing these rants for years, if not decades. How can the convention turn around and pretend to be shocked by his pearl-clutching derail when that’s pretty much who he is and what he’s known for?
  • I’ve seen panel derails and blow-ups before. People have gotten into shouting matches, walked off of panels, and so on. I’ve never heard of someone being kicked out of the con for it. (Not invited back as a panelist, sure. Kicked out? Maybe it’s happened, but it’s not a practice I’m aware of.)
  • Right now, we have only Truesdale’s post about him being kicked out. It’s possible there’s more to this than just his ridiculous behavior on that panel.
  • As Truesdale has gone public with this, I hope Worldcon will issue a statement clarifying why he was expelled from the convention, and whether he violated convention policies either on the panel or elsewhere.
  • ETA: From the Worldcon Code of Conduct: “MidAmeriCon II reserves the right to revoke membership from and eject anyone at any time from a MidAmeriCon II event without a refund. Any action or behavior that … adversely affects MidAmeriCon II’s relationship with its guests, its venue, or the public is strictly forbidden and may result in revocation of membership privileges.

I think we’ve all seen people derail panels for their own personal agendas. Truesdale’s moderation might have been an epic shitshow, but is it grounds for expulsion?

Like I said, we don’t have all the facts on this. Just people’s comments on the panel, and Truesdale’s own account of why he was kicked out. But it sounds like a mess.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cover Art for I Am Princess XBack when my son was in school, I noticed Cherie Priest’s YA novel I am Princess X [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound] in his Scholastic book order form. Naturally, I added that to the order we sent in!

Let’s start with the official summary from the publisher:

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X? When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon — her best friend, Libby, who lives.

I stumbled a little in the beginning, because I’d gotten it into my head that this was a fantasy novel. Between the princess thing and the fact that Priest is known for SF/F… and the fact that I didn’t read the back of the book as closely as I should have. This is not speculative fiction. It’s YA mystery with a bit of a thriller feel.

It’s also a comic, which was cool. You get pages from the I Am Princess X webcomic interspersed between some of the chapters. I would have liked a bit more of the comic, but it made sense for it to end where it did, about 2/3 of the way through the book.

There’s no romance to speak of. The heart of the book is the friendship between May and Libby, which I liked a lot. I also appreciated the strained relationship between May and her father. May’s parents are divorced, and neither one of them is doing a great job of parenting. Her mother isn’t really part of the story, but I liked that her father was at least trying. Not always successfully, and he certainly messes up sometimes, but he wasn’t just a cardboard failure of a parent, or completely absent from the story.

Computer gurus Trick and Jackdaw were interesting characters as well, though they didn’t feel as well-rounded. But I’m not sure if I really wanted more of them, or if I prefer it this way, with the main focus on May and her story.

It was a little too dark for my son (he’s 11), but I enjoyed it.

You can read an excerpt here.

Save

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Content warning for racist advertisements, used as examples.

Oh, Darrel Schweitzer, no.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Sarah Pinsker pointed out a number of problems with WFC’s proposed programming track? I blogged about it here, and a number of other people weighed in as well. Some of the many complaints included:

  • “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories” as a title for a panel about “unlikely aerial fantastic fiction.”
  • “Little to no acknowledgement of any recent writing in the genre,” per Foz Meadows.
  • Schweitzer’s choice to ignore the feedback he received before the program was published.
  • A panel about “perversely alluring freaks.”
  • The heavy emphasis on dead white men, to the exclusion of so many others.

Well, Schweitzer and a few of his friends have stepped up to set the record straight. It started when Chet Williamson posted on Facebook that “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories,” as a phrase, “is not a racist creation by Darrell Schweitzer.” Despite Google not finding any reference to this phrase, except from Schweitzer himself, Williamson found a painting by Jerome Rozen that used the title in question.

Fair enough. Williamson is correct that this proves Schweitzer did not invent the phrase. Williamson also points out that this supports Schweitzer’s claim of the phrase being “an old in-joke among pulp fans.”

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

.

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags