ICON Schedule

I’m Toastmaster at ICON in Iowa again this weekend, which is always a lot of fun. We’ve got Author Seanan McGuire, Artist Arden Ellen Nixon, Fan Guest Inger Myers, and special author guests Laura Mixon and Steven Gould. As well as lots of other cool people.

I’ll be doing something new this time, too. On Friday from 9-11 p.m., I’ll be doing author photos for anyone who signs up. There’s no charge, but there will be a tip jar, with proceeds going to the Rusty Hevelin Collection at the University of Iowa Special Collections and The Iowa Raptor Project. I’m hoping to have some fun with it.

The full Jim schedule for the weekend is below. Looking forward to seeing folks!



  • 1 – 5 p.m. – DreamCon Workshop (Preregistration required)
  • 7 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
  • 9 – 11 p.m. – Author Photo Shoot


  • Noon – Stalkers, Trolls, and Other Bullies (Moderating)
  • 2 p.m. – Flipping Fairy Tales
  • 3 p.m. – Author/Artist Meet & Greet
  • 4 p.m. – Guest of Honor Interviews (Interviewing)
  • 8 p.m. – Monster Promenade
  • 9 p.m. – Round Robin


  • 10 a.m. – Blogging Round Robin (Moderating)

This Week in Pics

Walked around the local park with my family today and took a few fall-themed pics. I’m particularly happy with the way this mushroom turned out:

And of course, you’ve got to get a picture of the autumn foliage, right?

I’ve been spending a lot of time restoring old pictures after the hard drive mess of last month. One of the fun side effects is getting to see various old photos — not just people and places, either. For instance, here’s a bit of cover art I made for a short story that went up for sale on Fictionwise. This was back before Amazon started doing ebooks.

Nothing But Meat Cover Art

Speaking of cover art, here’s one that was actually published by Publish America (now America Star Books). They did eventually pull it and issue a different cover, but I saved it for arguments about whether or not writers should sign with Publish America.


I had some scans of old photos of me, too. Here’s one of me wearing glasses surprisingly similar to the ones I have now:

Young Jim

And then there’s this sketch Howard Tayler did of me at a convention a few years back, when I was doing all that cover posing…


I think that’s a good image to end on. (Though I suspect most of you would have preferred me to end on the previous one. Heh…)

Updatery of the Week

Two good things have happened this week.

  1. After a month, the place trying to pull data off my old hard drive finally finished and got that back to me.
  2. My agent emailed with some minor notes on my middle grade novel. It sounds like once I go through these, we should (hopefully) be able to start submitting it to publishers.

Of course, there are down sides. With the hard drive, I’d had most of my stuff backed up already. Most…but not all. So I’ve been going through all of the files and partial files they salvaged, trying to make sure I’ve got everything. Probably 90% of what’s on this backup drive is redundant, but I’m paranoid. So I’m trying to manage how much time I spend on that.

And before you ask or offer suggestions, yes, I’m modifying my backup processes accordingly.

I’m really excited about the middle grade novel, but I also have another novel deadline coming up. I’m going to try to keep my head down and see if I can get all of the agent’s notes addressed today so I can get this off my pile and back onto his, which would let me focus all most of my attention on the remaining book.

And that’s why I’m keeping this short, because there’s a bunch of other stuff I’d love to babble about, but right now I need to focus on making some novel progress.

On Rape Jokes and Normalizing Assault

A few people have commented on this part of yesterday’s blog post about sexual assault and excuses:

And then you have the guys who say they’ve never heard such things. Really? Never? As common as sexual assault is in this country, you’ve never heard anyone boasting about a problematic encounter? Never heard anyone glorifying assault, talking about what they could do, what they could get away with? Never heard the jokes about getting women drunk in order to get them into bed rape them?

I have no problem accepting that most people aren’t as blunt, vulgar, and obvious about such remarks as Trump was in that video clip. And I’m obviously not in any position to point out examples in people’s real lives. So instead, I figured I’d list some examples of this kind of boasting, glorification, and normalization from shows most of us are probably familiar with.

Let’s start with Avengers: Age of Ultron, wherein Tony Stark jokes, “I will be reinstituting prima nocta.” For those unfamiliar, prima nocta is the historical right of a lord to have sex with rape any woman he chooses on her wedding night. But it’s not like Tony’s actually boasting about sexually assaulting women, right? It’s just a gross, sexist joke, isn’t it?

So how about the Big Bang Theory, where we see this “hilarious” scene of Howard using a remote control car with a video camera to look up Penny’s skirt. (This is one of many, many problematic examples from that particular show.)

Going back a little further to Friends, there’s an episode where Joey realizes his tailor has been sexually abusing him for years. Laugh track is included to make sure you know how hilarious this is. (There are plenty of other messed-up bits in this show as well, including the “Taking care of a drunk naked woman sounds like a job for Joey” line, followed by Joey starting off to do just that, only to be stopped by Chandler.)

The Harry Potter films never question the fact that Fred and George are selling what are, in essence, a magical date rape drug. When Ron is drugged by a love potion, it’s once again played for laughs, and never challenged or confronted.

How I Met Your Mother had Barney struggling with a Very Serious Problem: “How Can I Have Sex With Robin Again?” His solution? To get her drunk at Ted’s wedding. (This is one of many shows where, if you’ve watched it, then yes, you have heard the jokes about getting people drunk in order to get past their unwillingness to have sex rape them.)

None of these are as blunt and vulgar as Trump’s quote. All of them normalize and minimize sexual harassment and/or assault. They suggest it’s normal for guys to not worry about pesky things like consent. They teach that the proper response to being sexually harassed is laughter and maybe mild, quickly-forgotten annoyance.

I can’t say what people see and hear — or don’t — in their day to day interactions with other people. Some of us are less social and outgoing than others, and hopefully we’ve mostly tried to surround ourselves with decent human beings. But as common and prevalent as this stuff is in our media and our culture, it’s hard for me to imagine never hearing any of it in real life.

Firing From Worldcon Staff

While I was at Imaginarium this weekend, I caught bits and pieces of information about David Weingart being fired from Worldcon.

I debated whether or not to shine more light and attention on this. In part, I was concerned because Dave’s posts included a screen shot and information that was used by some to track down the victim, which led to threats and harassment against said victim. It sounds like this was at least in part from followers of Theodore Beale. I don’t believe this was what Dave intended, but it happened. Dave has since pulled that screenshot and his posts.

As it’s been discussed and debated publicly, I decided to try to pull together what information I could.

  1. My Side of the Story: A livejournal post (now private) from David Weingart, dated 10/5. Dave talks about being fired from music programming at Worldcon.
    • Another individual on staff was uncomfortable with Dave for reasons unknown and had, a year or two back, asked him not to interact with her.
    • Dave and Worldcon worked out an arrangement where he would volunteer, but would respect certain boundaries and avoid contacting or interacting with her.
    • Dave posted a lighthearted comment on a Worldcon staff chat board.
    • He realized he’d responded right after a comment from the aforementioned individual.
    • Worldcon contacted him about this violation of their arrangement, and suggested new boundaries that would among other things restrict Dave from all-staff chats.
    • Dave refused these new restrictions, and was then fired.
  2. A Followup Request: Weingart wrote another post (now private) on 10/7, saying, “There’s one thing that I don’t like about some of what I’m hearing though. People are rushing to judge or speculate on [name redacted]’s mental health. Please don’t … Please, please, PLEASE do not speculate on her mental state and descend to name-calling (and if you must, please do not do it on my account). Please don’t be unkind to someone who is (as far as I can tell) hurting.”
  3. Worldcon 75’s Public Statement: On 10/8, Worldcon posted a relatively brief statement (now deleted). “David Weingart was recently dismissed from Worldcon 75 Staff for failing to abide by an agreement he had made to not interact with another staff member who reported feeling stalked by him in the past. The agreement had allowed both valued staff members to work on Worldcon 75 for several months. Once broken, David refused to recommit to a course of action intended to prevent problematic interactions from happening again, and refused to accept responsibility for his actions or impact.” They also offered an apology to the other staffer, who was now being harassed and threatened as a result of the public discussion.
  4. Worldcon Apologizes: On 10/11, Worldcon posted an apology to both Weingart and the victim. “Worldcon 75 would like to apologise for the grave mishandling of a personnel issue over the past few weeks, in particular regarding communication, the delays in our responses, and for our role in escalating the situation. Specifically, we would like to apologise to both our current and former staffers, who are now experiencing harassment from various parties. We would also like to apologise to our staff and to the Worldcon community at large for the lack of transparency in how this issue was handled and for our missteps in communication about it.” They also spelled out steps they would be taken to improve things moving forward, and solicited input and feedback at feedback@worldcon.fi.
  5. Other Details: There was other discussion online, including claims and counterclaims about things like whether or not this was the first time Weingart had posted on that board, how many times he responded to the other individual’s comment, and more. Short version — I simply don’t know all the facts.


As this was playing out, there was a lot of anger on all sides. Some were furious that Weingart — a good person and hard worker — was being punished. There was talk about harassment policies being misused or abused as a tool to carry out personal vendettas.

At the same time, we had the anger and frustration that any time a convention actually enforces their harassment policy, they’re immediately subjected to public scrutiny and forced to defend and justify every minuscule piece of evidence that went into their decision. Something we generally don’t ask or expect when cons enforce other aspects of their policies.

I don’t know all that happened. But, as usual, I do have some thoughts…

The Beale Effect: I’m bemused at how effectively Theodore Beale managed to unite Worldcon and Weingart, both of whom came together as if to say, “Oh hell no. F**k that guy.” As soon as Beale jumped in, Weingart pulled his posts, Worldcon called Weingart to apologize, then posted their public apology. It pretty much ended the public dispute right there.

Tuesday-Afternoon Quarterbacking: I wasn’t there, and I wasn’t part of the decision-making process. But as I understand it, Weingart notified the staff from the beginning that the other individual had set boundaries about not wanting to interact or work with him. Bringing Weingart on but restricting his interactions seems like a solution destined to cause problems. If this other individual was already working for the con, my hindsight solution would be to simply not bring Weingart on staff. Yeah, it might mean losing a good volunteer in Weingart, but it would have more effectively respected the other individual’s boundaries, and would have avoided the mess that eventually followed.

Yeah, But… Doesn’t that mean all it takes is for someone to say, “I’m uncomfortable with Person X,” and then Person X doesn’t get to volunteer or work for a convention? And isn’t that why people are so worried about…

Weaponized Harassment Policies: To me, this falls into the same category as false rape accusations. Is it possible for someone to make false accusations of harassment, or to use such policies to try to punish someone they don’t like? Anything’s possible, yes. Is there any evidence whatsoever to suggest it happens more than once in a blue moon? Not that I’m aware of. But, like false rape accusations, the idea that people are using harassment policies as weapons of personal vendetta comes up with ridiculous, even obscene frequency.

A well-written harassment policy doesn’t give any one individual that kind of vindictive power. The decisions made regarding Weingart involved not only the victim, but multiple senior staff at Worldcon. Those staff have admitted to mishandling the situation, yes. But that’s a far cry from some sort of scheme or conspiracy to “get” Weingart. (Also, that mishandling doesn’t necessarily mean their final decision to fire Weingart was wrong.)

Boundaries: I’m a strong believer in boundaries. In stating, respecting, and enforcing them. It can suck to be on the receiving end, to have someone tell you they want no more contact or interaction with you. Especially if they don’t give you a reason, or you don’t understand their reason. But once that boundary is stated, you’ve got to respect it. Even if you think it’s unfair. Even if you just want to understand. Even if you just want to apologize. Every reason to violate someone’s boundary is about you, not them. Your confusion. Your hurt. Your need to apologize.

I think this is where some of the conflict comes from in these situations (and this isn’t specifically about Weingart and Worldcon). If you feel like you have a really good reason to cross that boundary, and you’re not doing it with any harmful intention, why should you face consequences? Because it’s not about you. It’s not about your intentions. It’s about the person who set that boundary, and your choice to violate it.

ETA: To clarify, Worldcon did not have their harassment policy finalized or in place during all this. (The convention isn’t until August of 2017.) While much of the discussion and debate got into harassment policies, this particular incident was about a specific arrangement between Worldcon, Weingart, and the other volunteer.

Posing for Pixels

The Pixel Project is an ongoing campaign raising money to help end violence against women. This year, they’ve somehow managed to convince authors Chuck Wendig, Tee Morris, and myself to do some genderswapped cover poses. That’s right, you’ll get not one, but three middle-aged, bearded white guys in glasses, all trying to contort ourselves into some rather ridiculous positions. They’re calling it:


If you go to the site, you can vote for which of the three poses you’d like us to do when and if we reach the fundraising goal.

Cover Pose Options

But wait, there’s more! Donate $500 or more, and you get to choose an extra cover for Tee and I to try to duplicate. (Please…be gentle.)

It’s been a while since I’ve done any cover posing. I’m a little older and a little creakier than I was back in 2012, but I’m willing to recontort my spine once more for a good cause. Especially since Chuck and Tee will be doing it too 🙂

In summary?

  1. Vote here
  2. Donate here

Imaginarium This Weekend

I’m one of the “Imaginator” guests at the Imaginarium Convention this weekend in Kentucky. My schedule, which I believe is final, looks like so:


  • 6-7: Beyond the Warrior Looking for Love


  • 11-Noon: How to Fracture a Fairy Tale
  • 1-2: Imposter Syndrome
  • 5-6: Imaginator Q&A with Jim C. Hines
  • 6-7: Autographing


  • Noon-1 (Tentative, given my flight schedule): Humor in Fiction

The convention is also hosting the Imadjinn Awards, and I’m honored to say that Invisible 2 is one of the finalists in the Best Anthology category.

Anyone else planning to be at this one?

Jim C. Hines