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Rose Lemberg was born in Ukraine, and lived in subarctic Russia and Israel before immigrating to the US. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Daily Science Fiction, and other venues. She edits Stone Telling with Shweta Narayan. Rose has also edited two anthologies: Here, We Cross, a collection of queer and genderfluid poetry from Stone Telling (Stone Bird Press, 2012) and The Moment of Change, an anthology of feminist speculative poetry (Aqueduct Press 2012). Rose can be found at roselemberg.net, Livejournal, and Twitter.

Her newest project, An Alphabet of Embers, will be a professional-paying anthology of “unclassifiables – lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose.” As of today, it’s within a few hundred dollars of being fully funded.

I’m happy to welcome Rose to the blog to talk about diversity and what looks like a beautiful project.

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An Alphabet of Embers - Kickstarter ImageI am very grateful to Jim Hines, who invited me to write about everyday diversity in connection with my new editorial project, An Alphabet of Embers.

Fundraising for diverse anthologies has become something of a trend in SFF, with wonderful, successful projects such as Long Hidden and Kaleidoscope, and painful failures such as Spellbound/Spindles. In the best case scenarios, editors are clueful about encouraging a truly diverse pool of submitters, and choose brilliant stories to challenge and inspire readers; worst case scenarios leave behind them disappointment and bitterness. Since I am currently fundraising for a new fiction project, An Alphabet of Embers, this topic has been much on my mind.

An Alphabet of Embers does not have the word “diverse” in its subtitle. I have envisioned the project as an anthology of very short, surrealist, magical, lyrical pieces that would delight their readers with beauty and meaning. I did, however, end up talking about diversity a lot in conjunction with this project – everyday diversity, which is the topic of my blog post today.

I co-edit Stone Telling, a magazine of boundary-crossing poetry, with Shweta Narayan. When I founded Stone Telling in 2010, I did not envision the magazine as specifically a diversity venue – but I wanted personal, emotional, experimental poetry that pushed the boundaries of genre. I also knew from the get-go that I wanted diversity of both voice and theme – I wanted to work with more PoC poets, more LGBTQIA poets, and others; I wanted to encourage new poets and discover published voices unknown to me, alongside those already established. So, from the very first issue, diversity became a cornerstone of Stone Telling. Not only did we encourage, and continue to encourage, new voices, but we also showcased voices of people who’ve been in genre for a very long time and deserve much greater recognition; e.g., it baffles me why JT Stewart is not more widely known – her work is so powerful.

An Alphabet of Embers is my first prose project. While it is not a diversity-themed anthology, I strongly feel that every project of mine must be diverse (c.f. not only Stone Telling, but The Moment of Change and Here, We Cross), showcasing a range of marginalized as well as non-marginalized voices. While I strongly believe in the power of special issues, I feel that everyday diversity is extremely important.

Here are some thoughts of how to cultivate everyday diversity:

Trust. The more marginalized an author is, the harder this trust is to come by. Even the most well-meaning editors don’t always get your marginalizations; every diverse author I talked to has a horror story of a personal rejection that perpetuated oppressions, of a lack of understanding of harmful clichés, of dismissiveness.

Earning your readers’ and submitters’ trust doesn’t mean that you don’t fuck up. It’s impossible to never fuck up, or at least, I don’t think it is a worthwhile aspiration. It’s the reaction to being called out that matters. My advice to editors is this: don’t get defensive, don’t try to explain/justify what you did. Instead – listen. Consider. Go for some empathy. Talk to others – especially people from demographics different from you. Educate yourself about issues that matter to people different from yourself.

Trust is built through your work – your work with submitters, whether you accept or reject them, and the finished products you put out into the world. Your finished products will speak to your principles and your editorial aesthetic. Your body of work – as an editor, writer, speaker – keeps building up. Trust is organic and evolving.

Accept that diversity is not a zero-sum game. This applies to readers, writers, and editors alike. We benefit from a greater variety of voices, writing, publications, venues – and this growth in the field challenges us as editors and writers to do better. (I am hoping to write more about this topic soon).

Consider issues of power. Who benefits from your editorial work? Whose voices are you showcasing? Whose voices are missing from your work? What are you missing, as a reader as well as an editor? Do you stick to comfortable and/or hegemonic narratives, or are you willing to challenge yourself?

Make an effort to include diversity of voice and theme. Diversity of voice is about including authors from different demographics – authors of color and white authors, authors who identify as LGBTQIA and those who do not, neuroatypical and neurotypical authors, etc. Diversity of theme is about showcasing characters who belong to different demographics, as well as different cultural settings. When we limit ourselves to diversity of theme alone, we may get things like all-man panels on feminism in genre. When we limit ourselves to diversity of voice alone, we run the risk of making marginalized people write only about non-marginalized perspectives; e.g. a queer author would make it into a ToC, but only if they write about straight people. A mix between theme and voice also helps to avoid tokenization.

I have written two more entries on this topic:

The submission guidelines for An Alphabet of Embers are here. We have some fabulous rewards, like custom essays and poetry, an additional chapbook of science poetry featuring forgotten figures of science and technology, custom treasure boxes, songs, and more; and we will soon unveil stretch goals with letterpress-printed broadsides, illustrations, a song by the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours, and  a joke issue of Stone Telling! If you’re looking for beauty and wonder, An Alphabet of Embers is for you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Writer’s Ink: Nnedi Okorafor

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Nnedi Okorafor - TattooWhile I was at Detcon1, I noticed how many of my writing buddies had tattoos, and an idea was born…

Introducing Writer’s Ink, a feature I’ll be running more or less weekly for a while, until such time as I stop doing it. (How’s that for specific?)

I’m going to start with Nnedi Okorafor, who was the YA Guest of Honor at Detcon1. Her novels include Who Fears Death (winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel), Akata Witch (an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (winner of the CBS Parallax Award). Her short story collection Kabu Kabu was released in October, and her science fiction novel Lagoon was released in April, 2014. Her young adult novel Akata Witch 2: Breaking Kola is scheduled for release in 2015. She has a daughter named Anyaugo and is an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, New York.

I asked Nnedi to tell us a little about her tattoo:

It’s an illustration from my first novel Zahrah the Windseeker [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] (found on page 63 of the paperback). My character Nsibidi was a windseeker (a person who can fly) who worked with fortune-telling baboons. She had this drawing tattooed on her chest; it means “storyteller.” The drawing combines the Nigerian writing script called nsibidi and the creative ideas that I gave the book’s spot artist. My tattoo artist was Chicago-based artist Ryan Henry. I learned about him in a documentary about Black tattoo artists called Color Outside the Lines. It was screened at a conference to which I was also and invited guest. I love how everything is connected.

Thank you, Nnedi, for letting me show off your art! Click the photo to embiggen and get a better look at the tattoo. I also snapped a pic of page 63 for comparison, since I just happened to have the book sitting on my shelf…

Zahrah the Windseeker, Page 63

The only danger I see with this series is that by the time I’m done, I may need to get a tattoo of my own. Because there are some writers out there with seriously cool ink.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Sexual Harassment in Comics and Video Games

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Related to the ongoing conversation about sexual harassment in SF/F…

From Bitch Magazine, survey data about sexual harassment in comics:

As a comics editor, writer, and fan myself, I got interested in how often people at conventions experience harassment. So earlier this year I conducted a survey on sexual harassment in comics, receiving 3,600 responses from people that varied from fans to professionals. The survey was distributed and conducted online, with people sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, and especially Tumblr and self-reporting all information. Of the people taking the survey, 55 percent of respondents were female, 39 percent were male, and six percent were non-binary (see the raw survey data here).

Out of all respondents, 59 percent said they felt sexual harassment was a problem in comics and 25 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the industry. The harassment varied: while in the workplace or at work events, respondents were more likely to suffer disparaging comments about their gender, sexual orientation, or race. At conventions, respondents were more likely to be photographed against their wishes. Thirteen percent reported having unwanted comments of a sexual nature made about them at conventions—and eight percent of people of all genders reported they had been groped, assaulted, or raped at a comic convention.

The one weakness of the study that I can see is that respondents were self-selected, as opposed to this being a truly random sampling. It’s the same issue I ran into with my survey of first novel sales a few years back. But even taking that into consideration, if you can take 3600 fans and pros, and a quarter of them have experienced sexual harassment in the industry, then we have a huge problem here.

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Game designer Brianna Wu wrote an article called “No Skin Thick Enough” about the daily harassment of women in video gaming. Warning: some of the examples and quotes in this article are truly abhorrent.

My name is Brianna Wu. I lead a development studio that makes games. Sometimes, I write about issues in the games industry that relate to the equality of women. My reward is that I regularly have men threatening to rape and commit acts of violence against me.

Wu provides four case studies illustrating the types of harassment women experience, and examining myths and realities about the gaming industry. Their stories are powerful, important, and eye-opening.

I strongly recommend reading both articles.

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Related: Sexual Harassment in the Scientific Community

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

WisCon, Harassment, and Rehabilitation

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On Friday, WisCon posted a statement that read in part:

The WisCon committee has completed our harassment review process with regard to Jim Frenkel, who engaged in two reported violations of WisCon’s general and harassment policies at WisCon 37, in 2013 … WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years (until after WisCon 42 in 2018). This is “provisional” because if Jim Frenkel chooses to present substantive, grounded evidence of behavioral and attitude improvement between the end of WisCon 39 in 2015 and the end of the four-year provisional period, WisCon will entertain that evidence. We will also take into account any reports of continued problematic behavior.

Natalie Luhrs has posted a roundup of some reactions. There’s a great deal of anger and frustration over poor communications, procedural failures, and more. I’m still reading, but my initial reaction is that the whole thing has been a mess that went rolling down a hill of mistakes, snowballing into a giant boulder of crap.

I’m still catching up on the conversation, and a lot of people have weighed in more thoughtfully and eloquently than I could. (See Natalie’s roundup for links.) One thing I wanted to talk about, however, was the “provisional” aspect of WisCon’s statement. Because my initial gut-level reaction was that it seemed reasonable to allow for the possibility of growth and change.

A little while back, I responded to an article titled, “The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not to Rape.” The thing is, rapists can learn not to rape. People can and do change, especially when they’re confronted with consequences and forced to look at their own actions.

I’ve worked with college students, mostly men, in an early intervention program where we tried to help people recognize and change their own aggressive, boundary-crossing, harassing behaviors. I’ve sat in on batterer’s groups. I’ve spoken with pedophiles after their release from jail. My wife has designed and run domestic violence groups. My father spent much of his life working with juvenile offenders who had committed assault, robbery, rape, and more.

People can change. It’s kind of a no-brainer. Our behavior changes throughout our lifetime. We learn new habits, new values, and new choices. I’ve said and done things in the past that I wouldn’t dream of doing today, because I’ve learned better. We all have.

Does that mean all rapists and harassers will come to see the error of their ways if we only give them another chance? Of course not. Some people go right back to the same pattern of hostile behavior. But others can and do come to recognize the harm they’ve done to others, and find a new path.

I believe very strongly that there should be consequences for our actions. But I also believe in education and rehabilitation.

I don’t know if Jim Frenkel will ever truly accept responsibility for what he’s done, or if he’ll change a pattern of harassing behavior that goes back decades. He seemed genuinely remorseful when he spoke to me about this several years ago, but his behaviors didn’t change.

I hope this time is different. I hope the consequences of his loss of employment and being banned from his local convention force him to confront his choices, and that he comes out a better man.

The problem is when we choose to make his growth and change more important than the safety and security of his victims and potential victims.

When you’ve wronged someone and they throw you out of their life, you don’t get to force your way back in to prove that you’ve changed. You don’t get to violate their boundaries because you want to apologize. If the wronged party chooses to forgive and to allow you back into their lives, that’s one thing. If they choose not to, then you need to accept that loss as a consequence of your actions.

WisCon banned a known serial harasser on a relatively short-term “provisional” basis. While I share the same philosophical hope and belief for change, they’ve taken the choice away from his victims.

WisCon is not a judicial body. They are not a rehabilitation program. In my opinion, they are not qualified to judge the sincerity of serial harassers, many of whom have spent years or decades learning to hide their behavior behind the mask of the “nice guy.” Their job is to investigate complaints, and when those complaints are found to be valid, to take steps to protect their membership.

Protection for Frenkel came in the form of WisCon’s investigation process. I believe every complaint should be investigated and decided based on evidence and testimony. In this case, there have been multiple people reporting incidents, with multiple witnesses backing them up. According to the WisCon Harassment Policy, Frenkel also has the right to appeal the decision. Again, I think that’s reasonable.

But throughout this process, despite what I believe to be the best of intentions in a difficult and ugly situation, WisCon has failed to protect its members.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Detcon1 Pics

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Detcon1 was tremendous fun. The volunteers who spent the past two years working to make this happen have a lot to be proud of.

I hope to have some thoughts and write-up once my brain wakes up, but in the meantime, I’ve posted some of my photos from the weekend. I was lugging the camera around pretty much everywhere, and while not all of my shots turned out, I’m rather happy with some of them.

Folks who were on the other end of my lens — that sounds odd — might note that I haven’t posted a certain set of pics yet. I’m hoping to do something a little different with those.

Detcon 1 Photos on Flickr

Here are a few of my favorites:

I took a selfie at opening ceremonies. Author GoH Steven Barnes YA Author GoH Nnedi Okorafor Tobias Buckell and I were having a moment. Detroit at night, viewed from my hotel room.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

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Greetings from Detcon1! Have some links!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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A Barricade in Hell, by Jaime Lee Moyer

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A Barricade in Hell [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] is the sequel to Jaime Lee Moyer‘s debut novel Delia’s Shadow. I enjoyed the first book enough to blurb it. (And that blurb appears on the cover of the second book, which is awesome!) I’m happy to say Barricade was just as enjoyable.

From the publisher:

Delia Martin has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with the ability to peer across to the other side. Since childhood, her constant companions have been ghosts. She used her powers and the help of those ghosts to defeat a twisted serial killer terrorizing her beloved San Francisco. Now it’s 1917—the threshold of a modern age—and Delia lives a peaceful life with Police Captain Gabe Ryan.

That peace shatters when a strange young girl starts haunting their lives and threatens Gabe. Delia tries to discover what this ghost wants as she becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and an end to war.  But as young people begin to disappear, and audiences display a loyalty and fervor not attributable to simple persuasion, that message of peace reveals a hidden dark side.

As Delia discovers the truth, she faces a choice—take a terrible risk to save her city, or chance losing everything?

Like the first book, this one invites us into a believable San Francisco of the early 20th century, with characters who are likable, strong in their own ways, flawed, and at times both larger than life (or death) and all too vulnerable and human. Delia has been learning about her gifts, working with a more experienced and tremendously entertaining medium named Dora. Delia’s more comfortable with what she can do, and one of the payoffs of the book is seeing her partnership with her husband Gabe. They work as equals, and come across as a team, though each has their own partner. Both Delia and Gabe recognize their own limits and trust one another to do what they do best…though they both love and worry about the other.

There are a number of things going on in the book–the scope of the story is bigger, and there are more characters this time around, which makes sense for a second book, but resulted in a few speed bumps and loose ends along the way. But these are minor complaints, some of which I’m hoping will get developed in future books.

Evangelist Effie Fontaine made a good villain, for the most part. Smart, confident, powerful, and nasty. My only complaint was that certain developments near the end of the book felt like they undercut her character. I don’t know how to explain it without spoilers, and it certainly worked as an ending. I just found myself wishing the book had gone in a slightly different direction there.

Overall, these are good books, richly detailed, with enjoyable characters. I raced through them both, and look forward to the next. Recommended.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Detcon1 Schedule

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This weekend I’ll be joining the amazing filker and all-around fun person Tom Smith as co-Toastmasters of the North American Science Fiction Convention, aka Detcon1 here in Detroit.

I’m really excited about this one. There’s going to be a ton of great people, and from what I’ve seen, the convention staff have been doing some incredible work. I’m getting preemptively bummed because I know I won’t have time to see and hang out with everyone. Too many cool people, too little time…

This is what the weekend currently looks like:

Thursday

  • 8 pm: Opening Ceremonies, Ambassador Salon 1

Friday

  • 1 pm: Writing Humor and Comedy in SFF, Ambassador Salon 2
  • 3 pm: Fanzines and Professional Writing, Mackinac West
  • 6 pm: Gender Roles in Genre Fiction, Ambassador Salon 1
  • 8 pm: Mass Autographing Session, Ambassador Salons 1&2

Saturday

  • 11 am: Reading, Joliet A
  • 4 pm: Kaffeeklatsch with Jim C. Hines, Kaffeeklatsch 1
  • 8 pm: Extravaganza – Masquerade & Literary Awards, Ambassador Salon 2

Sunday

  • 2 pm: Closing Ceremonies, Ambassador Salon 1

For the reading on Saturday, I’m torn between reading my story for the next Chicks in Chainmail anthology, or an excerpt from Unbound. Any preferences?

Who else is going to be there?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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A Few Pics from Up North

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Hello, world! Still up north for a few more days, but after much patient hunting, I have captured the elusive and wild wifi. I figured I’d share a few pics. (Those of you on Facebook have already seen a couple of these.)

Starting with a shot of my son watching fireworks. This is the first time I’ve tried longer-exposure shots with fireworks. A bunch of them turned out too blurry, but I really liked this one.

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A few bird pics from wandering around camp:

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Sunset!

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The beach at Little Presque Isle:

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Random dragonfly:

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Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Book Giveaways and Other Stuff

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SF Signal’s Libriomancer giveaway ends tomorrow, July 3, at 9 p.m. CST.

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Twelfth Planet Press is giving away 10 copies of Kaleidoscope over at Goodreads. This is a collection of “fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads,” and includes my story “Chupacabra’s Song,” about Nicola Pallas (from the Libriomancer books) as a teenager.

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What are your thoughts on author newsletters? For authors, do you think they’re worth it? For readers, do you subscribe to any? What do you want from an author’s newsletter, and what don’t you want?

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I’ll be heading up north tomorrow, so blogging will probably be light until I get back. Or nonexistent. There shall be family time and relaxing and fireworks and working on the Secret Project of Doom and trying to catch up on some reading, including:

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Thus endeth the random blog post of stuff.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Detcon1 and Diversity

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In talking about diversity in SF/F fandom, I’ve pointed before to convention committees and staff that are mostly or exclusively white, and often male-dominated. This isn’t uncommon, and it’s part of a larger systemic problem with fandom and genre. Recognizing that your favorite con isn’t as diverse and inclusive as you thought doesn’t mean it’s a Bad Con, or that the people running it are Horrible People. What’s important, at least to me, is to recognize and work to change things for the better.

Detcon1 has gotten a lot of things right on that front. They established a Diversity Advisory Board, consisting of Muhammad A Ahmad, Anne Gray, Mark Oshiro, Kat Tanaka Okopnik, Mike VanHelder, Pablo Vazquez, and Sal Palland. They chose to honor a range of guests that acknowledges the broader scope of the genre. They established the FANtastic Detroit Fund to help provide free memberships to fans who might otherwise be unable to attend.

What follows is a video discussion between Pablo Vazquez and Anne Gray about the work Detcon1 has been doing. I’m also including a transcript of the conversation. (But the video is better, because it has music and special effects and stuff!)

Michigan is my home base, so I’m biased, but I think Detcon1 has been doing some awesome things, and I’m really looking forward to the convention.

Detcon1
North American Science Fiction Convention

Renaissance Center Marriott
Detroit, Michigan

July 17 through 20, 2014

[Welcome to Detcon1.]

PABLO: Hi. I’m Pablo Vasquez.

ANNE: And I’m Anne Gray.

PABLO: Yeah, we’re part of the Diversity Committee, and also doing work with the Afrofuturism programming at Detcon1. And we’re really excited about it.

ANNE: Yeah, we’ve – Right from the first, Detcon1 has been dedicated to having a diverse group of attendees – and, when we started inviting our guests, for example, we really wanted to have a diverse group of people so that it was, I think as you said, “representative of the modern world.”

PABLO: Yeah, of Modern Fandom.

ANNE: Yeah

PABLO: Detcon1 has definitely diversified and found absolutely quality people for their guests.

ANNE: For instance we have people of color…

PABLO: Yeah, like John Picacio and Steven Barnes.

 John Picacio, Artist Guest of Honor

Steven Barnes, Author Guest of Honor

ANNE: Yeah, including Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor, YA Author Special Guest

PABLO: mm-hmm.

ANNE: Which is also part of our reach out to young people, cause she’s our YA Author. Our Scientist Guest of Honor is a woman. Helen Greiner. She’s a roboticist.

Helen Greiner, Scientist Guest of Honor

ANNE: Musicians are a couple, a man and a woman. Bill and Brenda Sutton.

Bill and Brenda Sutton, Music Guests of Honor

ANNE: And you were really excited about our Fan Guests.

Bernadette Bosky, Arthur D. Hlavaty, and Kevin J. Maroney, Fan Guests of Honor

PABLO: Yeah! And I like that our fan guests, I mean, it’s the first time that I’ve seen, like, a polyamorous triad as a fan guest. And as a polyamorous person myself, I was, you know, exceedingly happy to see that. And I’m sure a lot of other people like me will as well. Lifestyles or racial diversity or gender diversity. We also reach out to typically ignored parts of fandom, like the video game fandom, by having our video game guest Jon Davis, who’s worked on, like, Titanfall and other popular video games.

Jon Davis, Video Game Special Guest

PABLO: We have outreach to those communities. We reach out to tabletop role players; we reach out to video gamers; comic book fans. So on and so forth.

ANNE: Steampunk

PABLO:  Steampunks, you know.

ANNE: Afrofuturists…

PABLO: Exactly.

ANNE: I mean one of the things – We’re in Detroit.  I mean, we are the North American Science Fiction Convention, but we’re in Detroit. So we wanted to make sure that Detroit fans, even if they’ve mostly gone to a comicon, or they’re just readers, or something. When they find out about us, they wanna come, and when they come—

PABLO: mm-hmm.

ANNE: They feel welcome. We want everybody to feel welcome and included.

PABLO: By making Detcon1 diverse, we’re introducing fans who have never, like, met each other, or knew about their specific subsects of  fandom, to be able to connect with one another, and share their love of, you know, what makes them a fan within greater fandom as a whole.

ANNE: mm-hmm.

PABLO: So, you know, I can’t wait to see that, to see all these different people actually connecting with one another, on, you know, our greater love of science fiction and fantasy; of speculative fiction.

ANNE: Yeah. Science fiction conventions are where we come together, we have great conversations, and then we take that out into the rest of our lives, and … this should be exciting.

PABLO: Yeah!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Repetitive Stress Injury

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I’ve heard it said that if you’re a writer, it’s not a matter of if you’ll develop a repetitive stress injury, but when. Looks like 2014 was my year.

I’ve been getting pains in my shoulders for months now. In the beginning, it was little more than a twinge. I assumed I’d pulled something at karate, and then when it didn’t go away, I thought maybe I was sleeping on my arm wrong, or I needed a different pillow. It was annoying, but not incapacitating.

But it didn’t go away, and it gradually got worse. If I used my right hand and tried to reach around to touch the back of my left shoulder, pain jabbed through the core of those upper arm muscles. If I used the left hand and reached for the right, it was worse. So I finally headed over to the friendly neighborhood Doctor-Man, who had no problem diagnosing me:


Chris Rock


Wait, what? No, that’s not– Stupid random Dogma references sneaking into my blog post!

Anyway, the doctor diagnosed me with biceps tendonitis, which is an inflammation of the long head — get your mind out of the gutter — of the biceps tendon.

The good news is that it’s not terribly severe. He put me on anti inflammatories, told me to try icing the shoulders, and talked about the kinds of thing that can cause this injury to develop, and what to do about it. This talk can be boiled down to, “Whatever you’re doing to mess up your shoulders, stop doing it!

As far as I can tell, the problem is that the arms of my desk chair at work were a little too low. This means the tendons were strained by holding my arms up all day while I’m typing. Why was the left shoulder worse than the right? Because I mouse left-handed.

It’s been about a week, and my right shoulder is noticeably improved. The left … that’s going a little more slowly, but hopefully it will catch up.

Ah well. If all else fails and my left arm never heals, there’s always this option from He-Man…


prosthetic08



Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

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Curious how many people will click on the spider link today…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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I had another blog post all ready to go today, but this was far more exciting :-)

Last night, SF Signal revealed the cover for Unbound, the third Magic ex Libris book. They’re also hosting a giveaway of three autographed copies of Libriomancer, the first book in the series.

Here’s a small view. Like the other books, the cover for this one was done by Gene Mollica, and I love what he’s come up with for book three. Click through for the full-size cover and to enter the giveaway.

Unbound will be out on January 6, 2015. But you can pre-order now at: B&N | Indiebound | Amazon.

My thanks to Gene for the great cover, and to SF Signal for doing the reveal and giveaway!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Above World, by Jenn Reese

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I’d been wanting to read Jenn Reese‘s novel Above World [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] for a while now. Having now read and enjoyed it, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that this book has the wrong cover art.

It’s not that I think it’s a bad cover. It’s vivid and colorful and clear, and captures the mermaid Kampii nature of the protagonist. The cover also conveys that this is a middle grade novel. So far, so good. But the book is so much more. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic Earth with advanced tech and bioengineering and settlements of humans who have been modified for their environments and robot pets and more. I wish the cover showed more of those elements, because they’re pretty sweet.

Here’s the official summary:

Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony’s survival is in doubt. The Kampii’s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people.

But can Aluna’s warrior spirit and Hoku’s tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt—growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains—here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

I liked this book a lot. It’s a fun read, with action and adventure and romance and great characters. I liked the relationship between Aluna and Hoku. I liked the backstory and the worldbuilding, and the larger-than-life villain. There’s just a lot going on in this book that made me say, “Oh, cool!”

There were a few elements that felt a bit too plot-convenient, where our characters encounter just the right character at just the right time. But that’s a minor complaint, and didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

This is the first book of a trilogy, and all three books are available, so you don’t have to wait.

You can read an excerpt of Above World at the Candlewick website.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Rape, Abuse, and Marion Zimmer Bradley

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My very first rejection letter was from Marion Zimmer Bradley. It was both harsh and helpful. So I was thrilled when, years later, I made one of my first professional sales to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine. I was even happier when I sold a story to her anthology Sword & Sorceress XXI.

I’m proud of those stories. I believe the Sword & Sorceress series was important, and I’m grateful to Bradley for creating it. I believe her magazine helped a lot of new writers, and her books helped countless readers. All of which makes the revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley protecting a known child rapist and molesting her own daughter and others even more tragic.

Here are some of the relevant links.

  • Marion Zimmer Bradley’s testimony in defense of her husband, Walter Breen, a convicted pedophile.
  • A blog post from Deirdre Saoirse Moen, in which Moira Greyland, daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen, states that Bradley molested her starting when she was three years old and continuing until Greyland was twelve and able to walk away. Greyland also describes Breen as “a serial rapist with many, many victims,” but says Marion “was far, far worse.”
  • The “Breendoggle” Wiki. Much of fandom seemed to know about the allegations against Breen. The documentation includes eyewitness accounts of Breen molesting children and discussion that even if Breen was indeed an active pedophile, that doesn’t mean he should be expelled from fandom.
  • Silence is Complicity. Natalie Luhrs talks about Breen, MZB, and the damage done by prioritizing silence over safety, complicity over acting to protect the vulnerable members of our community.
  • On Doing a Thing I Needed to Do. Janni Lee Simner talks about having written for some of MZB’s projects, and her choice to donate her income from those sales to RAINN.

There’s more out there, including people defending MZB, as well as people insisting we must “separate the art from the artist” and not let MZB’s “alleged” crimes detract from the good she’s done. And there’s the argument that since MZB died fifteen years ago, there’s no point to bringing up all of this ugliness and smearing the name of a celebrated author.

I disagree.

To begin with, while Bradley and Breen are both gone from this world, their victims survive. The damage they inflicted lives on. Are you going to tell victims of rape/abuse that nobody’s allowed to acknowledge what was done to them? That the need to protect the reputation of the dead is more important than allowing victims their voice? To hell with that.

Second, as Luhrs and others have pointed out, many of the same behaviors that allowed this abuse to continue for so long are still present in fandom and elsewhere today. We excuse sexual harassment as social awkwardness. We ignore ongoing harassment and assault for years or decades because someone happens to be a big name author or editor. Half of fandom shirks from the mere thought of excluding known predators, because for some, sexual harassment and assault are lesser crimes than shunning a predator from a convention.

I’m not going to say that people should or shouldn’t throw all of MZB’s books away. There are authors whose careers might not have happened without MZB’s help, and our genre is better for many of them. But it’s also important to acknowledge that predators exist. They may be in positions of power and influence. Sometimes, they’re people who have done good work for a community. They often have very smooth, well-practiced tactics for defending or excusing their actions.

When we ignore ongoing harassment and abuse, when we belittle efforts to create harassment policies, when we respond to people speaking out about their own abuse and harassment by accusing them of starting “lynch mobs” and “witch hunts,” we’re teaching predators that fandom is a safe hunting ground. We’re teaching them that they will be protected, and their victims will be sacrificed so we can cling to an illusion of inclusiveness.

We need to work on teaching a different lesson.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Snoopy

When this goes live, it should already be Cool Stuff Saturday in Australia…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Doctor Snoopy

Snoopy

I decided to go with a lighter blog post for today. Feel free to debate and discuss.

#

Proposal: Snoopy is actually a Time Lord. Probably the Doctor.

Evidence:

  1. Snoopy was first sighted on Earth in October of 1950, and was around for far longer than any known beagle. Also, his appearance changed over time. (But he’s always been a white male!)
    Snoopy 1950Snoopy Modern
  2. His dog house is canonically bigger on the inside.
    Snoopy Doghouse
  3. And it flies. (Though it doesn’t always take him where he intended to go.)
    Snoopy - Lost
  4. He is known to have traveled in space.
    Snoopy - Moon
  5. He has a companion, one he understands and communicates with despite their different languages. (TARDIS translation circuit?)
    Snoopy + Woodstock
  6. He owned a Van Gogh. (The link between Van Gogh and the Doctor has been well-established.)
    Snoopy Van Gogh
  7. He’s been known to wear bow ties.
    Snoopy - Bow Tie

Conclusion: Time Lord!

Doctor Snoopy

Snoopy as Doctor Who, by Kieron O’Gorman. Click the pic for the original artwork.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

LC on Rape and Self Defense

Snoopy

So apparently Miss Nevada said something about the importance of awareness and self-defense for women, some people responded with varying degrees of anger on Twitter, and Larry Correia chose to respond with a blog post called “The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not To Rape.”

I’m not gonna waste a lot of time here, and I’ll preface this by noting that as someone who studies and teaches self-defense, I have nothing against people learning to protect themselves.

  1. Self-defense isn’t and can’t be the only answer. If it is, we’re basically telling everyone who isn’t physically or emotionally capable of fighting off every attacker, no matter how much power that attacker might have over them, that they’re on their own. Sucks to be them, eh?
  2. How many self-defense courses teach that you’re vastly more likely to be raped by a friend, acquaintance, or loved one? How many courses actually prepare you to use the kind of force you need to use against someone you like or love?
  3. To LC’s claim that rape culture is a myth and we’re just dealing with individual, isolated criminals, and that all of those studies have been debunked (in which he omitted any links or citations to the alleged debunking … strange, considering how grumpy he is about people supposedly “ignoring reality”):
  4. Finally, on the “naive idiocy” of teaching men not to rape, I’m gonna just quote from an old blog post:

Correia is right that there are a lot of different kinds of predators out there. When it comes to sexual assault, the majority of them are men, and they’re far more likely to be someone the victim knows. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, yet for as long as I’ve been working with rape survivors and speaking out about rape, there have been countless people insisting that the Only True Solution is to turn all women into gun-toting ninjas.

I don’t understand the fear some people — again, this seems to be primarily men — have when it comes to looking at other solutions. Instead of reading the research, they just proclaim that education will never work, because reasons. They ignore the pervasiveness of rape myths, the myriad approaches to things like bystander intervention, the utterly broken way our legal system treats rape, and all of the other factors that contribute to the prevalence of rape in our society.

There’s nothing new in LC’s rant. It’s the same attitude we’ve seen for ages, an attitude that conveniently puts the burden on victims to end rape, oversimplifies the problem, and allows the rest of us to look away and pretend there isn’t a real or widespread problem here, despite countless studies showing otherwise.

Some of you are aware of the current conversation in SF/F fandom about several Big Names who sexually assaulted hundreds of children, and how fandom stood by and let it happen, despite there being multiple eyewitnesses to these assaults. Call me a naive idiot, but I wonder how many children would have escaped those assaults if others in fandom had intervened or reported them or enforced any kind of consequences, anything to teach the perpetrators that this kind of behavior was unacceptable.

I wonder how many victims we’re continuing to turn our back on today because we assume there’s no point in doing anything to intervene.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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