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larry-niven

SFWA’s just announced that Larry Niven is the newest SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Larry’s always been one of the more approachable big name writers. He and his wife Fuzzy often appear at conventions, especially in the Los Angeles area.

I remember when I first met him in person, back as an awe-struck twenty-something. My boyfriend and I were in Santa Rosa at a con in 1982. I had a dealer’s table selling game supplies, and he and Jerry Pournelle and their wives came by, pausing at my table to say hello.

Fuzzy wore a button that said, “Big Fan of Larry Niven.” Jerry’s wife didn’t wear a button, but Jerry wore one that said, “Big Fan of Jerry Pournelle.” Years later, it still makes me laugh.

I’m in an Anthology with Larry Niven

My short story, “A Sword Called Rhonda,” appeared in a collection that Larry Niven’s also in. Honestly? That was a big thrill for me.

About the Award

I’ve always wanted one of these. It does definitely mean I’ve gotten old. I’ve been publishing fiction for more than fifty years now. I’m convinced I picked the right career.” ~Larry Niven

Another Funny Larry Niven Anecdote

Larry can be incredibly quick witted. A lot of funny writers, well, we have to work at it over time. Larry’s written some amazingly funny stuff, including “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”, about the problems of Superman having sex with human women.

A few years ago, I happened to be at a convention waiting for an elevator at the same time Larry was. I can’t remember why I had a bunch of “I’m not Jay Lake” ribbons, but I offered Larry one.

He declined, saying, “But I am Jay Lake.”

“Oh?”

“It’s an office, not a person.”

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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sad-panda-700

Specifically, this list….

I just note the following:

  1. It’s the BASFA (Bay Area Science Fiction Association) recommend list. I’m a BASFA member, though I rarely attend meetings. (I’m chronically ill, folks.)
  2. Yes, I missed the specific recommend meetings because a) flu, b) flu, c) travel, d) travel.
  3. I did, however, make an awards consideration post. Granted, earlier in the year.
  4. The BASFA list includes people who’ve never lived in the Bay Area.
  5. I wrote extensively about what’s inarguably the largest story in Bay Area fan politics (and the largest in fan politics) in the last 50 years, including new material that no one else had ever published.
  6. And nobody, zero people, thought that was worthy of note?

My writing on the topic also led to the Breendoggle wiki getting put online.

I think it was important work, and I was honestly unable to do other substantive work for a month straight, it was that emotionally draining and exhausting. I did that because it would be churlish of me to print and run, and I felt more responsibility to the people who were having a very real hard time with the subject matter.

So I just wanted to say: I expected more. I don’t mean an award nomination, that’s not what I’m angry about.

I expected that people’s lives mattered.

I expected that the story of someone finally coming to terms with being abused by her mother—a famous science fiction writer—would be noteworthy.

And, lest someone see my stories and think I’m a pro writer, not a fan writer, the hosting overage costs from the MZB posts alone exceeded my writing income (under my own name) last year.

So Here’s My Fanwriter Hugo Recommend List

Who in Fanwriting Didn’t Write About Marion Zimmer Bradley

I also want to emphasize that in the following people’s fan writing posts or publications, none of them happened to include Marion Zimmer Bradley:

Dave Langford had a brief mention.

But, while we’re on the subject of people who did/didn’t write about MZB: Vox Day covered it. I’m not linking to it, but he and I are on the same page in one respect, as I commented on one of his blogs:

The entire reason I posted about Marion Zimmer Bradley at all is that she did unconscionable things and enabled unconscionable things and Tor.com was whitewashing that. Full stop. […]

In summary: we may not agree about many things, but I do not support what MZB did to harm children or what MZB knowingly allowed Breen to do to harm children.

One of the things conservatives feel about the left is that we don’t have the moral backbone to call out our leaders. I’m not that person.

Nor do I think that everyone necessarily needs to blog about this, just that it’s notable that the BASFA platform happens to be so closely aligned with those ignoring the biggest story. Which: a quarter million hits and covered in The Guardian. That’s not minor.

Lest You Think It’s Unimportant

I was contacted by a mother who was trying to wrest her child out of a similarly difficult situation, and in a situation related to Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Happening. Right. Now.

I can’t help but feel this is why the rapists keep winning.

We don’t value people who talk about it. We don’t value people who help get stories out.

This isn’t about me. It’s about sweeping everything under the rug.

Look, I get it: I don’t like being Difficult Subject Deirdre. I value comedy more than drama. But some shit just needs to be said.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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memoriam-bph
Eric P. Scott was a bay area fan and open source enthusiast who died recently, apparently related to his ongoing heart problems.

One of the peculiarities of Eric P. Scott is the frequency that we’d wind up on the same plane with him. It didn’t matter if we were heading to Calgary or Seattle or some other random convention—he’d wind up on the same flight.

True, we usually fly out of SFO, as did he. True, we often fly United, as did he. He became a United million miler when it was far easier to do, then health problems (more the financial complications of same) limited his ability to travel. Still, there were usually enough flights that we could easily have picked different ones from each other. We just didn’t happen to.

He’d sometimes show up at our house on a Cabal night, talking about Linux with whomever else happened to show up.

We’d see him at random Linux and open source events, too.

For me, he was always a mixed bag: some days, I’d have incredibly long, cool conversations with him, and other days he would be so frustrating I wanted to scream. Even though those days happened, I always looked forward to seeing him.

It’s very weird thinking I’ll never get that privilege again.

See also: File 770 and Chaz Boston Baden. His own LJ is here.

Graphics Credits

I’d been meaning to design a banner graphic for memorials. I’d recently gotten a bunch of layer styles, and used the Frozen style from here. I altered the outer glow to be a little darker and half as thick. Somehow, using a text style associated with an sf/f film seems fitting for eps.

Font is Desire from Borges Lettering, corners from Make Media, and the glitter layer on the corners is also from Make Media.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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2015-awards-consideration-post

Another year! And a post to let those of you who vote for Hugos, Nebulas and other science fiction/fantasy awards know what I’ve done in the last year for your award nomination consideration. Without further ado:

Best Fan Writer

Five Several of my best posts:

  1. After fifty years of it never being public, I broke the story about Marion Zimmer Bradley’s abuse of her daughter Moira. Thank you to Moira for choosing my blog to speak out in. My two most-viewed posts on this: Marion Zimmer Bradley Gave Us New Perspectives, All Right and Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew. Link to my other posts on this topic.
  2. How to Get to Helsinki from Pitcairn. All that odd travel knowledge comes in useful sometimes. Bonus picture from Pitcairn that I took last January.

  3. Delia Derbyshire, Overlooked Musician and Composer. A piece about the performer and co-composer of the famous Doctor Who theme.

  4. Vernacular & Literary Tricks. Commentary on the use of vernacular in fiction, specifically sf/f.

  5. Jay Lake, RIP, and a Few Memories. I’ve never been able to say before, on the day someone died, “I had a great time at his wake last year.” That’s the kind of person Jay was.

  6. Also, while my series of posts about Ellora’s Cave are more about the romance genre than science fiction/fantasy, EC also publishes some arguably SF/F/WTF works, including EC’s main owner’s own work. Review here. Eggs!

    Anyhow, getting to my writing on the subject, Proving Substantial Truth is an interesting post about the following hypothetical. Let’s say a blogger publishes an article that says “a set of authors” hasn’t been paid in quite a while? What does it take, size-of-data-set-wise, to prove that that’s not substantially true?

    And then there was the “Virtual Visit” to Romanticon, Ellora’s Cave’s own single-track convention, where single-track could be a double entendre. On the way back to Texas, Cavemen Axl and Taylor wound up sitting within three feet of Amber Vinson. They self-quarantined at first, then, when they entered the more likely active contagious time period, the quarantine was mandatory.

My other fan writing is tagged here.

Note: If you’re inclined to vote for me for Best Fan Writer (or, heaven help you, Best Fanzine), the canonical version of this site is deirdre.net. I compose there, and it pushes to Dreamwidth, Livejournal, Tumblr, Twitter, my Facebook timeline, my Facebook Author page, Google Plus, and, until it annoyed me by stripping my own links out, LinkedIn.

Best Fan Artist

  1. I’m best known for this t-shirt I designed for John Scalzi.
  2. I’m proudest of this set of products I designed around the Dihydrogen Monoxide theme.

    a. Approved Dihydrogen Monoxide Isolation Vessel (aka coffee cup)
    b. Stand Back Dihydrogen Monoxide Reaction Timer (aka clock)
    c. Stand Back Dihydrogen Monoxide Containment Shield (aka shower curtain)

    For what it’s worth, I sold exactly 0 items in this series last year, but I had a lot of fun making them anyway.

  3. What to Do With a Rusty Dumpster. Space art from common things.

  4. Mockup: 307 Ale Bottles. One night, Tom Smith’s song “307 Ale” would not leave me alone. Hence.

Best Short Story

I don’t think “The Duchess’s Dress” has a hope of actually winning anything, but I did publish it last year. It’s in the middle of flipping over to Amazon Select, meaning it should be available in Kindle Unlimited in a couple of days.

If you’re not a KU subscriber and don’t have a copy but are an eligible nominator, please email me and tell me your preferred format. (EPUB, MOBI, or PDF. If PDF, let me know if you need large print.)

Eligible Nominators

  • Nebula: SFWA Active and Associate members.
  • Hugo Awards: You’re a supporting or active member of either Loncon3 and/or Sasquan, and/or MidAmericon. Note that while nominations typically remain open until March-ish, you’d have to become a Sasquan member by January 31st.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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What-to-Do-With-a-Rusty-Dumpster

Note: this is a much simpler form of this tutorial from Spoongraphics.

The other night, a friend of mine and I were chatting, and she complimented something I’ve been working on (but haven’t yet posted). And I said, “ehh, it’s just a dumpster.”

She replied, “I would not have assumed dumpster.”

So, here’s my dumpster space scene mini-tutorial.

  1. Acquire a photo of a rusty dumpster. I used this one ($3), but many others are out there. Or—take your own! I used a blue (sea) + rust (land) combo, but there are many other combinations that work. Scratches, however, make it seem unrealistic (though you can mend those in Photoshop).
  2. Cut out a circular piece that you like the water/land shapes on. Spherize (in Photoshop: Filter > Distort > Spherize). Rotate it, if desired, to put the elements where you most like them. (I didn’t bother with this.)

  3. Create a black area the same size. Gaussian blur it with a big blur. Then blur it again. This is the most fiddly part, and you’ll need to fuss with it to make it look realistic.

  4. Expand the shadow region until it looks right.

  5. Add inner and outer glow to the planet so it has atmosphere.

  6. Find a good lens flare photo. I used one from Photography planet I had lying around and used it at 80% normal blend mode.

  7. A good background is black or near-black, and has stars. I happened to use one from here. You can use brushes to make star patterns, or use photos of sky or nebulae—whatever.

  8. I added a different layer above the lens flare, set it to lighten 70%, then filled in a few places (atmosphere, flare itself) with 50%, 70%, or 100% black to keep the stars from peeking through.

From there, the Spoon Graphics tutorial has lovely ideas on how to make the whole thing more realistic, including adding clouds and stuff.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Update: Mark is now out of the hospital and doing as well as he can be.

Mark Greyland, aka the son of Marion Zimmer Bradley, needs your help. He’s currently in the hospital; he entered the ICU with diabetic ketoacidosis a few days ago. His doctor had never seen a blood sugar reading that high. Thankfully, he’s been pulling through, though he is still in the hospital.

Here’s what he needs help with:

  1. Housing in a sane, stable, safe environment within 15 miles of Berkeley, California. He can’t drive due to poor eyesight. He does have funding for this.
  2. Counseling. He’s never had any. This interview is the most he’s ever said about what happened to him.

  3. Help with getting permanent disability. The hospital is working on this in part, but he could very much use some kind of advocate who’d help him.

  4. Any kinds of resources you might be able to think of in the Berkeley area. Frankly, I don’t even know what to ask for.

  5. Your love and affection, kind thoughts, prayers.

Ideally, if there’s some kind of existing charitable foundation that can help, pointers would be amazing.

He simply hasn’t been able to cope with everything going on.

His Space Kitten! shirt has cheered me up quite a few times. I’ve worn it in Ireland and at Worldcon in London and most recently in Gibraltar. His more recent work is here.

(Please repost or forward to any interested parties. Thank you.)

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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I was talking with Crystal Huff about getting to Helsinki, and I volunteered to put together a list of how to get to Finland for the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid.

After I sat down and got started, I thought it would be interesting to put the list together in a non-US-centric way, so I started on the Wikipedia List of Countries by Population. And, as I scrolled down the list, I realized that, without specifically planning going to Finland, I already knew most of the answers about how to get there from wherever.

I scrolled to the bottom of the list, and laughed.

242. Pitcairn

As it happens, I’ve been there, so I’ve studied up on how to get there. Pitcairn, which consists of four islands—only one of which is inhabited—is one of the remotest and most difficult places to get to on the planet. It’s the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific.

So here’s my draft of that answer. Note: it’s this difficult to get from Pitcairn to anywhere, which is one reason that residents often spend several months away at a time.

Pitcairn: If you’re one of the few dozen people from Pitcairn, it will take you longer to get to Helsinki than for the average person, but you already know that. You know all about the cruise ship schedule, and you’re no doubt hoping that something comes later than the Costa Luminosa so you’ll be able to stay on Pitcairn past February 23rd, way too early to leave for Worldcon. Eventually, the Claymore II supply ship schedule for 2017 will be posted, and you’ll probably sail for Mangareva around June. From there, you’ll fly Air Tahiti (not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui) to Papeete. From there, you’ve got one of three possible routes: Air France/Finnair via Los Angeles and Paris (17,615 km), LAN/KLM via Easter Island, Santiago Chile, and Amsterdam (21,521 km), or Air New Zealand via some route like Auckland, Tokyo, Helsinki on Air New Zealand and Finnair, which is shorter (20750 km) than the same route through Hong Kong (21070 km). So, sure, you’d have to leave in June and you might be able to make the September supply ship back, but think of the interesting places you could stop over along the way.

A Funny Aside

When I was entering the UK, the immigration officer looked at my passport. As often happens, initially a bored immigration agent is looking for a place to stamp, then they become interested in the unusual places I have in my passport.

“Where’s Pitcairn?” he asked.

I boggled. After all, it is a British Overseas Territory, but I was actually having to resist answering, “the ass end of nowhere.” I stumbled over the explanation, then Rick piped up to explain.

“Where the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty‘ happened” is generally the simplest explanation, though not quite correct as that’s where the mutineers wound up, not where the mutiny occurred.

You can get to Helsinki even from Pitcairn. It’ll just take a while.

Pitcairn Island

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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I wrote this some time ago; it’s been a draft sitting on my computer for quite a while. It’s as true now as it was then, though.

Looking at prospective panelists, I’m surprised at how many published writers trying to promote themselves do not or cannot:

  1. Have their own domain name,
  2. Have an excerpt up on their site,
  3. Write a paragraph introducing themselves,
  4. Understand what a paragraph is,
  5. Bother to mention a URL where their book is,
  6. (for the non-indies) Mention who their publisher is.

And yet want to be on a panel about building a brand or give a solo presentation about same.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Delia Derbyshire wrote some of, and played all of, one of the most famous—and earliest widely-known—pieces of electronic music ever. Not only that, she did so before the advent of the first commercially-available synthesizer.

(Brian Hodgson composed the tardis sound.)

She was a kid in Coventry during WW2, hearing all the weird and haunting sounds of air raids and all-clear signals.

Decca Records told her that they did not employ women in their recording studios. So she joined the BBC. Delia said, “I was told in no uncertain terms that the BBC does not employ composers.”

Seeing the footage about her contributions to the Doctor Who theme was really the highlight of the Doctor Who Experience. As a Torchwood fan (and not really a Doctor Who fan), I felt left out for the most part.

There’s a great page about the history of the theme song.

On first hearing it Grainer was tickled pink: “Did I really write this?” he asked. “Most of it,” replied Derbyshire.

Yet, even though Grainer wanted Derbyshire to receive credit and a share of the royalties, it didn’t happen that way due to BBC red tape (no doubt assisted by the fact that Delia was female). Thus, she became uncredited and without royalties for something that has been heard by millions of people.

Bitter, she left the industry, became an alcoholic, and later developed breast cancer. Though she did get back into electronic music in the 90s, toward the end of her life, she died of kidney failure in 2001.

I find it curious that the BBC created an exhibit for her in the Doctor Who Experience—but still never managed to correct the credits or royalty situation.

If you’d like to learn more about her, here’s a bunch of YouTube links, but you probably want to start with Sculptress of Sound

Her name was Delia Derbyshire, and she loved listening to thunderstorms.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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tl;dr: Inadvertent double booking due to intermediaries (and missing that there were two bookings) resulted in attempts to overcharge us by £1350 (~$2250) for a five-night stay.

  1. On August 30, 2013, I booked a room for Loncon3 through Starwood’s reservation system for the Aloft London Excel (a Starwood hotel) at £279/night (not at the much lower convention rate). I book through Starwood so seldom that I’ve never bothered with the paperwork to change my surname with them; it’s still my pre-married name of Saoirse. I didn’t add a second guest name to this booking.
  2. On January 2, 2014, because my Aloft room wasn’t at the £120 convention rate, I booked one at the Premier Inn to hold something at the convention rate.

  3. On January 2, 2014, I contacted Loncon3 staff to see about moving my Aloft reservation into the convention’s Aloft block so I could be at the hotel directly attached to the convention center (less walking).

    I don’t need an accessible room. I just need less total walking during the day and the ability to easily duck out for a nap during the con to recharge. Staying at the Aloft would be of significant benefit to me.

    Rick Moen and I will share, so we’d prefer a queen or (haha) a king if available.

    Membership number: 172

    Existing booking # 2…7 (Premier Inn London Docklands Excel)

    This will free up a disabled room.

    (followup)

    FYI, I already have an existing Aloft reservation, 7…0, which could just be moved into block if that’s easier.

  4. Loncon3 staff respond:

    Thanks. We’ve received your lottery request and will send an update once we have more info.

  5. I respond back:

    Well, either way I have an Aloft reservation, since I made one before the contract was finalised.
    Ideally, I’d like it moved into block without having to go through the lottery.

  6. They respond:

    The room blocks have no financial impact on the convention, unlike in the U.S. Since you already have a reservation in the Aloft, I suggest you just keep that one and cancel the Premier.

  7. I respond:

    I was hoping for the con room rate though. £279 a night is the rate I’m holding.
    So it may not have a financial impact for you, but it does for me (and thus my holding two reservations at present).

  8. On January 3, I cancel the reservation at the Premier Inn.
  9. On January 4, Rick and I depart for Chile; we didn’t return to the US for 22 days. For most of that time, we’re in some of the remotest places on earth with zero Internet.

  10. On January 17, an email is sent reminding of the lottery closing, but I have no ability to receive or respond to that email.

  11. On January 24, with no further input from me except for what happened above, I receive a confirmation from Infotel, the booking service used by Loncon3 for convention-rate hotel bookings, for the dates of my existing Aloft booking, guaranteed to the same credit card, with a room rate of £120 per night. The second guest in the room is listed as “Rick Moen.” This is how you can tell I didn’t make the booking. No cover note or anything, so all the information I have is in that email. Because we’re still traveling, I only give the email a cursory glance.

    Note: at this point, I’d assumed Infotel had taken over my existing Aloft booking. Also important: I was never, not once, given a cancellation or no-show penalty for this reservation. For my prior Infotel booking, the no-show or late cancellation penalty was a one-night stay. Except for ultra luxury or boutique hotels, this is pretty standard.

    Also: the URL given to manage my booking began: http://localhost:50861/ —invalid for anyone except Infotel.

  12. Whenever I logged into either Infotel or Starwood Preferred Guest, I saw a single booking. For that reason, I believed there was a single reservation. Oops. There’s a reason for this: my Starwood number wasn’t added to the Infotel booking because my surname on that booking (Saoirse Moen) is different from the surname (Saoirse) attached to my Starwood account.

  13. After Rick and I sort out our plans (a couple of weeks before the convention), I make a ToDo list. One of those items was to shorten our hotel stay by one night. I fail to get this done.

  14. We check in on August 13th, remembering to shorten our stay to the 18th. I add Rick’s name to the booking sheet using his legal name. We use Rick’s credit card to check in.

  15. On August 14th, at 3:37 am local time, I get an email that says the Aloft tried to charge £600 to the card I used to hold the booking. I found this curious given that we’d just checked in. Stupidly, I assumed they tried to authorize to my card rather than the one they’d swiped when we checked in. (This has happened before on other occasions when there wasn’t any problem, so I didn’t think anything of it except that it was odd.)

    Despite having two bookings with the same starting part of the surname, we were not advised of that. Naturally, they check us into the booking that’s £279 per night with no included breakfast rather than the booking that’s £120 per night with included breakfast for two.

    The other odd thing: Why £600? Why not £720, which was the full six nights of the booking? Why not £120 for the cancellation fee?

  16. On August 14th in the afternoon, Rick gets a voice mail in the room to “Rick Moen”—asking him if he was also intending to shorten his stay to the 18th. We’re both puzzled by the use of his nickname.

  17. I had breakfast with Peggy Rae and John Sapienza one morning, and they said their hotel room came with breakfast. Ours hadn’t, I said, but I didn’t think to check and see if something was wrong.

  18. We start the checkout process on the 18th, then discover the £279 rate, then I pull up the email reservation. It’s only at this point that I realize there must have been two reservations all along, and we checked into the wrong one. When we get to the third or fourth person who finally cares to try to do something about the issue (srsly), it takes them the better part of an hour to fix the reservation. Basically, they deleted the breakfast line items and credited us with £750, which isn’t exactly the right solution (and made both of us nitpicky types unhappy with the solution), but it’s functional.

    They also tell us that they can’t change the number of days on the £120/night stay, so we’ve essentially got the room through to the 19th—except that we’re leaving for Cardiff. We get hotel keys for our room and put our luggage back there, then head off to the convention.

Overall

First, no one at the hotel really seemed to care about the business of running the hotel. They all seemed like they were phoning it in. There were things like: being open until 11pm for dinner, but telling people they couldn’t take any more diners at 9:30 pm. Having to wait 20 minutes, on average, for gluten-free bread every morning because it took that long to find some waitstaff to get it for me.

Additionally, despite asking for a hamburger with no bun and sautéed potatoes instead of chips, I was brought out a hamburger on a regular bun with chips. I didn’t explicitly say “gluten free,” but that shouldn’t matter.

After going several rounds with the night manager, who made it sound like he was doing me a big fucking favor, he confirmed that chips aren’t gluten free (fried in the same fryer with gluten-coated items). On a different occasion, when I specified I needed gluten free more clearly, I was still brought black pudding (not gluten free, generally) and another non-gluten free item.

I loved the look of the hotel, but the entire experience left a bad taste. I was really glad to move on to Cardiff—and to a different hotel.

The Hotel’s Honesty

The woman checking us in wasn’t particularly experienced, so I don’t think it was dishonesty on her part that checked us into the wrong reservation.

However, the hotel knew all along that there were two reservations. Remember that message for Rick Moen? If we were checked into the reservation with no second party, where I’d handwritten in Rick’s legal name, then why call and ask for him in the name of “Rick Moen” if they didn’t have the other reservation right in front of them?

So—they knew, they knew to our detriment, and they did nothing about it. For that reason, I consider the hotel essentially dishonest, especially after attempting to charge so much for the “no show” penalty.

Lessons for Convention Runners

  1. There really should be a way for the mobility impaired to get hotel rooms close to the convention facilities at convention rates without having to compete with the able-bodied, especially when rooms sell out very quickly for things like Worldcon.

  2. There needs to be a way for that to happen without using up a lot of people points.

  3. Clearer communication about what was done (i.e.., was an existing reservation modified, or was a new reservation created) would be stellar.

  4. Very few things use up people points like attempts to overcharge by £1350.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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First, congratulations to all the winners!

Wow, what a rush.

None of my four outlier recommendations made the ballot. Except one of them won in a different category, and I could just do jumping jacks about that.

Campbell Award

I’m entirely unsurprised that Sofia Samatar won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I remember vascillating between her and Ramez Naam, my own two personal favorites out of the five.

Best Fan Artist

Sarah Webb is someone I should have known would win eventually.

The first of my recommendations, Randall Munroe, came in 9th.

Best Fan Writer

Kameron Hurley takes it! Her acceptance speech. She likely mostly won for the post that also won “Best Related Work” (below), but my personal favorite is When to Persist… and When to Quit.

Best Fancast

SF Signal. Which I should totally listen to more often. Interesting quirk: No Award had the highest number of first-place votes in this category.

Best Fanzine

Aiden Moher’s beautiful A Dribble of Ink.

Best Semiprozine

Lightspeed Magazine. Given their recent success in Kickstarter campaigns, this surprises exactly no one.

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon becomes the first woman to win the Hugo for Best Professional Artist as a solo artist. (Diane Dillon co-won with her husband in 1971.)

Best Editor, Long Form

Ace’s retiring editor Ginjer Buchanan won, though she didn’t have the largest number of first-place votes. Baen’s Toni Weisskopf did, but she also had less support in other places, and also had more people rank No Award higher.

Best Editor, Short Form

Ellen. Datlow.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

I was really hoping for Orphan Black, but Game of Thrones won for “The Rains of Castamere.” I’m peeved that Sharknado wasn’t on either the long list for either the long or short form ballot. It was robbed!

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Gravity. So, so, so happy about this.

Best Graphic Story

Randall Munroe, XKCD, Time.

In 2011, I first suggested Randall Munroe for Best Fan Artist. As a result of my lobbying, he got on the ballot that year (and the next), but he didn’t win.

Randall’s acceptance speech.

And Cory Doctorow accepting, dressed as an XKCD character (also a later XKCD):

Cory Doctorow accepting the Best Graphic Story Hugo Award for Randall Munroe's "Time.". Photo by Jim C. Hines

Cory Doctorow accepting the Best Graphic Story Hugo Award for Randall Munroe’s “Time.”. Photo by Jim C. Hines

My work here is done.

Congratulations, Randall!

Best Related Work

“We Have Always Fought”: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley on A Dribble of Ink. Very much worth reading. In a related note, here’s how the lemming myth was perpetuated.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for Writing Excuses as I’ll be on an upcoming episode.

Best Short Story

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu published by Tor.com.

Best Novelette

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal also published by Tor.com. I loved the audio version last year, and love the text version as well.

This was the category that Vox Day was also in, so I note that he lost fifth place (of five) to “No Award.”

Best Novella

“Equoid” by Charles Stross also published by Tor.com. I love Stross’s work. Though I preferred his Best Novel entry to this one, I’m glad he won in a category.

Best Novel

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This book won the Hugo, the Nebula, the Clarke Award, and the Locus Award, as well as tying for the BSFA Award. That is a very rare combo, especially for a debut novel.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson came in 4th, and, Warbound by Larry Correia (of the voting slate) came in last, somewhat above “No Award.”

Overall

Wow, a lot of women won! (Dramatic sigh re: Orphan Black not being among them.)

The two nominations I was most excited by won. w00t!

Tor.com really did a great job.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Amazon invokes World War II. (Do Not Linkified because why should they get all the Google juice?)

Except, of course, they said “World War II” rather than 1939 because that carries so much more emotional weight. It’s Godwin’s Law by proxy.

Also, as a technical point, this was an innovation in the US, and the US wasn’t involved in WWII in 1939 (not until Pearl Harbor in December, 1941). Not only that, as Andrew’s article points out, the paperback started in June, 1939, and World War II is generally considered to have started with the Invasion of Poland on 1 September, 1939.

So not only did they invoke WWII for all the emotional baggage it carries, their email opening is factually incorrect.

Then Amazon gives the email address of Hachette’s CEO, but not their own.

Because Amazon wants to play fair, right?

No.

Cora Buhlert Has an Even Better Point

Edited to add Cora Buhlert’s fabulous tweets:

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Catherine Schaff-Stump has a great post: she’s got a copy of Mists of Avalon, and would like to see people donate to RAINN because of the recent revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley’s abuse of her children.

Here’s her post.

Thanks Cath!

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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C.A. Starfire has an interview with Mark Greyland, the son of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen.

I thought everyone knew and that I was such a bad person no one would speak to me.

And, later, addressing the inheritance issue:

I was disinherited by language that sounded so unlike my mother that I knew she never wrote it, as was my sister and my half-brother who is now deceased.

The money went to the opera and to her lover.

Heartbreaking stuff.

In addition to the links C.A. Starfire provided, Mark previously permitted me to share two of his Zazzle links: Stringbreaker and Geofractal.

I bought the Space Kitten! t-shirt (partly from the proceeds of Scalzi t-shirts, so thank you for your support).

Space Kitten!

It doesn’t make up for the hurt I inadvertently caused Mark, but I really do love that piece.

New Post Category

In other news, given a significant number of my website hits are about Marion Zimmer Bradley and are likely to continue to be, I’ve added that as a category. Previously, it was just a tag. So I’m going back and re-categorizing older posts on this matter.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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There have been some super-interesting conversations about Marion Zimmer Bradley’s work in the context of larger discussions on the artist vs. their art. I think we all know that all artists are flawed, but clearly some flaws are larger than others.

For those of you who don’t yet know, I broke the news about Marion Zimmer Bradley‘s child abuse of her daughter Moira last month.

I haven’t heard the artist vs. art argument said quite this succinctly, so I’m quoting Broomstick from The Straight Dope boards:

When evaluating a novel it doesn’t get better if the author is a saint, and it doesn’t get worse if the author is a sinner, it’s the same book either way.

Every art contains, to some extent, the artist’s worldview. How could it not? And yet it is a thing distinct and unto itself, though with a context. The meaning you read into it depends on the context you bring into it, too.

And the context you miss depends upon your own life context, too.

When I was 11, Jane Fonda’s movie Klute came out, and my parents took me with them. I can cheerfully say that most of the movie went “whoosh” right over my head. If I saw it today, I’d see a completely different film.

It’s that old Heraclitus quote:

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

And that may be one reason not to re-read a previously-loved book, like a Darkover book or Mists of Avalon, after finding out Marion Zimmer Bradley’s failings.

Because the context is different for you even though the book hasn’t changed.

And then there’s the other killer comment, from ShipperX on LJ:

With MZB it’s the sexual nature of her work combined with the sexual nature of her atrocities that has me backing away. ::shudder::

Yes. That.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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From William H. Patterson’s book Robert A. Heinlein, Vol 2: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better, p. 263.

At just that moment, in fact, science-fiction fandom was tearing itself apart over the preemptive cancellation of the membership of a suspected pedophile by PacifiCon, the most recent world science-fiction convention, in September 1964. This conflict might have passed the Heinleins by, except that the suspected pedophile was the husband of one of Heinlein’s more intimate correspondents, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Heinlein never commented on the “Breen Boondoggle” publicly, but to Bradley Heinlein wrote:

The fan nuisance we were subjected to was nothing like as nasty as the horrible things that were done to you two but it was bad enough that we could get nothing else done during the weeks it went on and utterly spoiled what should have been a pleasant, happy winter. But it resulted in a decision which has made our life much pleasanter already and which I expect to have increasingly good effects throughout all the years ahead. We have cut off all contact with organized fandom….I regret that we will miss meeting some worthwhile people in the future as a result of this decision. But the percentage of poisonous jerks in the ranks of fans makes the price too high; we’ll find our friends elsewhere.

Fortunately, not all their fan contacts were so unpleasant.

(end excerpt)

You know, I’ve never been a Heinlein fan either, but this takes my non-fandom to new depths. Guess they never cared how pleasant the winter of the kids would be. Patterson’s a piece of work, too.

For context, Mark D. Eddy adds:

For context, though, Heinlein had already had a series of negative experiences with fans and conventions (including a fan who was harassing friends and family to try to write an unauthorized biography for a publisher Heinlein wouldn’t write for), and was already distancing himself from the “poisonous jerks” — so all he apparently knew about the situation was filtered through MZB, who was hardly an uninterested party.

Which is a fair point. While it’s always good to get as much of both sides of the story as possible, there’s a real human failing believing the predator’s side of the story. (See also: STK’s comment on the deirdre.net version of this entry.)

Hat tip: RPG.net commenter The Scribbler.

Note: I’m also tagging all of the posts with the breendoggle tag to make it easier to find in the future.

Also: When asked, Can this be true? The MZB click thrus are upsetting., Deborah J. Ross, author of many books set in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover universe, replied, Only half the story is being told. Please be careful about believing sensationalist rumors online.

Note: I’ve edited out a couple of paragraphs from the original post as Deborah has apologized for her ill-considered tweet.

In light of that apology, I’ve deleted my unnecessarily harsh snark but am leaving the context above intact.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Trigger Warning: child rape

Just when I thought I was done with this….

One thing that’s come out of shining light into dark corners is that the original “Breendoggle” from 1963 has now been posted online. If it was online before, Google couldn’t find it, only documented references to it.

Bill Donaho wrote the original piece in 1963.

What this gives is contemporary accounts, some second- and third-hand, of recent events as of that time.

You know, the year before Marion Zimmer Bradley married Walter Breen.
Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Responding to this comment about the timeline on the MetaFilter thread about MZB’s abuse and Breen’s case.

More correct timeline:

  1. Tor.com publishes their tribute piece on MZB’s birthday. (Now removed, see #3)
  2. I write my response piece and post a link to it on the Tor.com piece’s comments.

  3. When looking at my own comments, I notice a lot of hits coming from this File 770 piece that says Tor.com took down the MZB article.

  4. I’m not proud of this, but here it is. I post a childish gloat. I’d rather the original piece at least mentioned the bad stuff. Even a cursory sentence and we probably wouldn’t be here right now.

  5. A commenter on my original piece calls me out about my motivations, and, for the first time in 3 years, I re-read MZB’s depositions. Twice. Note that at this point, I haven’t yet read Lisa’s deposition. I thought I had three years ago, but no.

  6. I respond to my commenter with items out of MZB’s deposition. No further comments from them. (Given the family history there? I truly hope they’re okay. My heart goes out to them.)

  7. I write to both Moira and Stephen Goldin. I receive a response from Moira, which I asked for permission to post, and received that permission. I received no response from Stephen. (Update: he was offline at the time and has since commented.)

  8. I posted the followup piece with Moira’s emails.

  9. Only after I read the MeFi thread did I read Elisabeth Water’s deposition, unaware that I’d missed possibly even more significant content. Ugh.

I’ll promote a paragraph from one of my comments into this post:

Many of us have been through some really dark times, and we have the pieces that spoke to our hearts that got us through those times. It genuinely gives me no joy to know that, for those whom MZB’s works were those pieces, I’ve dislodged that for them.

And I’ll add:

In addition to the lives she harmed, MZB’s works saved the lives of other people by speaking to them when other works and other people would not and/or did not.

Truly.

Rachel E. Holmen, who worked as an editor for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine said about Marion:

When she visited cons, ten or twenty young women an hour would stop by with stories along the lines of “Your books saved my life.”

There are other writers being published now who may speak to those same hearts, but if MZB is still the author that would help them, then I think it’s important that her work be available to do so. This doesn’t diminish her very real (and very severe) failings.

Rachel’s quote points out why we need diverse books by diverse writers that speak to diverse audiences.

Additionally, MZB gave a start to a lot of women writers—a higher percentage than anyone else in the genre at the time. Those writers helped pave the way for even more female voices in the genre.

Including me.

“A Sword Called Rhonda” was in fact a parody of Mercedes Lackey’s works (specifically, Rhonda was a parody of Need), and Lackey was first published by MZB.

I think the Carl Sagan quote about books is a great way to end this.

0z6lz-carl-sagan-quote-on-books

See also: Paul St John Mackintosh’s article, “More on Marion Zimmer Bradley and the ethics of artists”, which takes a more intellectual approach.

Janni Lee Simner discusses what she and her husband did with the royalties they’d earned from sales to Marion’s anthologies. Thoughtful.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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marion-zimmer-bradley-bph

Moira Greyland (Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen’s daughter) has agreed to let me share her email.

This is really hard stuff to read, and I’ve just thrown up my lunch. I knew about none of this part of things until a few minutes ago.

Hello Deirdre.

It is a lot worse than that.

The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was twelve, and able to walk away.

I put Walter in jail for molesting one boy. I had tried to intervene when I was 13 by telling Mother and Lisa, and they just moved him into his own apartment.

I had been living partially on couches since I was ten years old because of the out of control drugs, orgies, and constant flow of people in and out of our family “home.”

None of this should be news. Walter was a serial rapist with many, many, many victims (I named 22 to the cops) but Marion was far, far worse. She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls.

I wish I had better news.

Moira Greyland.

Followed up with:

It should also be noted that Walter was convicted on 13 counts of PC 288 A, B, C, and D.

Oral sex was the least of anyone’s worries.

Link to the California Penal Code for context.

No. Words.

Mother’s Hands

I’ve updated this post to add two pieces by Moira Greyland with her permission. This is the first.

Reprinted with permission.

Mother’s Hands
© 2000 Moira Stern (Moira Greyland) in “honor” of my mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley

I lost my mother late last year
Her epitaph I’m writing here
Of all the things I should hold dear
Remember Mother’s hands

Hands to strangle, hands to crush
Hands to make her children blush
Hands to batter, hands to choke
Make me scared of other folk

But ashes for me, and dust to dust
If I can’t even trust
Mother’s hands.

They sent me sprawling across a room
The bathtub nearly spelled my doom
Explaining my persistent gloom
Remember Mother’s hands.

And hands that touched me way down there
I still pretend that I don’t care
Hands that ripped my soul apart
My healing goes in stop and start

Never a mark did she leave on me
No concrete proof of cruelty
But a cross-shaped scar I can barely see
The knife in Mother’s hands.

So Mother’s day it comes and goes
No Hallmark pretense, deep red rose
Except blood-red with her actions goes
It drips off Mother’s hands.

The worst of all my mother did
Was evil to a little kid
The mother cat she stoned to death
She told to me with even breath

And no remorse was ever seen
Reality was in between
Her books, her world, that was her life
The rest of us a source of strife.

She told me that I was not real
So how could she think I would feel
But how could she look in my eyes
And not feel anguish at my cries?

And so I give you Mother’s hands
Two evil, base, corrupted hands
And lest her memory forget
I’m still afraid of getting wet.

The bathtub scene makes me see red
With water closing over my head
No little girl should fear to die
Her mother’s fury in her eye!

But both her hands were choking me
And underwater again I’d be
I think she liked her little game
But I will never be the same

I’m still the girl who quakes within
And tries to rip off all her skin
I’m scared of water, scared of the dark
My mother’s vicious, brutal mark.

In self-admiring tones she told
Of self restraint in a story old.
For twice near death she’d beaten me,
And now she wants my sympathy.

I’ve gone along for quite awhile,
Never meant to make you smile
But here and now I make my stand
I really hate my mother’s hands.

They Did Their Best

By Moira Greyland

The cry of our day is to smile as we say
Something pat that sounds like understanding
And those of us left who still cry when bereft
Risk guilt trips upon our heads landing

Something pat that sounds like understanding
So the ones of us left Who still cry when bereft
Risk guilt trips upon our heads landing

For the party line now Is to claim that somehow
Everybody somehow did their best
So the ones who did wrong Goes the new New Age song
Aren’t to blame, we should lay this to rest.

But it’s lies, there are villains who are still out there killing
Or else for our courts there’s no need
Our jails are not filled With innocents willed
By a system corrupted with greed.

My mother did her best, yes she really did her best
To drown me for not being her willing lover
My daddy did his best, oh he really did his best
And forced his preteen boyfriends to bend over.

Some people are sick, like to make people suffer
Some people just turn a blind eye
But pretending a monster is ribbons and lace
May condemn a small child to die.

My husband was a cop and much child abuse had stopped
Like the mom who put her baby on the stove
She threw him out of sight but the smell she couldn’t hide
And she didn’t come out smelling like a rose.

Did that mommy do her best? Would you tell that little one
“Forgive her dear, she must have been insane”
Would you tell that to those burns, To that lie will you return
And hurt those shining eyes so full of pain?

A victim does his best, a victim does her best
To love and live and give up grief and malice
But when we had no love, but what came down from Above
It’s surprising we have not become more callous.

And how to learn to cope And not give up all my hope
Is painful far enough without your lies
But if you had seen me then With blood pouring off my skin
Would you have turned a deaf ear to my cries??

And told me “Mommy did her best, yes, she really did her best
So stop crying and stop bleeding and forgive her
To cut you she’s the right, and to throw you out of sight
And not love you till you sexually deliver!!

The Guardian Covers this Story

The Guardian has covered this story here.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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