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Awesomeness Out of WorldCon

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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! 🙂

More Worldcon Thoughts

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.)

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

Worldcon Expels Truesdale

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.

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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?)

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Updates since I posted this:

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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.

How Not to Respond to Accusations of Racism, WFC Edition

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.”

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Signing Pics and Book Winner

Had a lovely time last night at Schuler Books with Stephanie Burgis, Patrick Samphire, and Merrie Haskell. I posted a few pictures over on Facebook. Photo quality isn’t the best — I blame the kit lens I was using — but I love some of the expressions 🙂

We had a good turnout, read some bits from our respective work, and chatted about writing and worldbuilding and the difference between writing for kids and writing for adults and all that good stuff. Thanks again to everyone who came out to see us! I hope you had as much fun as I did!

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I also realized I hadn’t yet picked a winner on the Heroine Complex giveaway. Shame on me! That has now been remedied, and an email sent off to Heather, who was blessed by the Random Number Generator to receive an ARC of this fun book. Congrats!

Pics from Last Week

This was my second attempt at photographing fireflies. Basically, it involves setting the camera on the tripod, taking lots of 5-second exposures, then layering the ones with fireflies together in Photoshop using the Brighten blend mode. I’m a lot happier with this round than my first attempt. Next up: finding a better setting and background, and maybe trying a wider lens.

Fireflies

We went to the local fair last week. The sunlight was pretty harsh (and hot!), but I liked how a few of my shots turned out.

Bottles at the ring toss game

Ferris Wheel

Carnival ride - upside down

Jim C. Hines