What is up with all the AO3 concern trolling on Tumblr recently?
Once he was established as the grandmaster of SF, and someone everyone else in the field looked up to, all Heinlein’s worst aspects came to the fore, and his books tended to consist of long speeches by middle-aged male writer characters called things like Hobert A Beinlein, explaining why capitalist libertarianism is the single best political system, why incest is a good thing not a bad one like you think, and why red-headed young women should have sex with older science fiction writers, with the other characters then commenting on how wise, clever, and sexually attractive these older writers are.
Andrew Hickey on inserts.
Also known as: Why I Never Want To Hear Anyone Whining About “Mary Sues” Written By Teenage Girls Every Again.
Joining cult-like groups happens for a reason. Good people may not see what goes on behind a false front. Casual involvement can only have the positive side. Lonely people who may not have a place in other groups can be manipulated by smooth talk. Outcasts who have earned consequences for bad behavior can find enabling from organizers who recruit them. They can feel more important by dragging others down.
Ruining things and making battle is the opposite of creative fandom. It can be important to confront bad faith and dishonesty and demand better. It can also be important to listen and give space to people questioning involvement. Nobody needs friends picked for them – it’s just good to let them know that they don’t need a cult for that. The whole fandom has plenty of better friends everywhere.
Picking better friends isn’t “policing”.
Patch O’Furr on making better spaces.
The whole article is about the work the furry community has been doing to combat the alt-fur brigade, and is an interesting read. The key take-homes are, I think, 1) to create zero-tolerance environments for hate groups and other toxic edgelords, and 2) to allow honestly repentant individuals the opportunity to disassociate from said groups and reintegrate back into the community.
Want to know why these folks [libertarians, et al.] think creativity goes away when people’s needs are fulfilled?
They think the motive is specifically profit.
Peter Coffin on creativity.
Yes, this is in response to The Last Night (that so-called cyberpunk videogame that purports Universal Basic Income as the killer of all creative output), but it’s pretty much the best summation I’ve seen of why this argument is straight-up grade-A bullshit.
For the record (and the thing you’re not “supposed” to admit): I make no significant income off my novels.1 About the only commercial benefit I get from them is that they make cons tax deductible work trips. I still write, however, because, well. I always have. And I enjoy it, so I always will. The reason I don’t write more is that I need a 40-hour-a-week day job to support myself.
See also this post, which talks about creativity and capitalism from a fannish perspective.
- That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy them; you totally should! ^
On making friends when you’re the new person at a con.
I’m a deep introvert and incredibly shy, which manifests as a kind of aloof standoffishness. Nonetheless, even I managed to accrue a circle of Con Friends, mostly thanks to being adopted by more gregarious networkers (shoutout Alex and Elizabeth). Being passive about it–with the exception of joining the local spec fic writer’s club–it took maybe two or three cons to happen, starting from a baseline of “knowing no one”. So, yeah. If you’ve never been to cons before, breaking into “the scene” is damn intimidating. But, in general, people are nice, and most of the “aloofness” is a manifestation of the exact same feelings of anxiety and shyness you’re probably having.1 So… show up, and be patient.
Incidentally, at the last Continuum I was at, they has a system of color-coded pegs you could clip to your lanyard to show how open you were to approach from new people. Pretty much the only color I saw people take was the green “come talk to me” peg. I didn’t have a peg myself, for a variety of reasons, but I’m kinda interested to know how they worked out for people…
- I’ve had conversations with people that were basically “OMG I was, like, so intimidated you seemed so cool and you knew everyone and I was scared to talk to you!” from both sides, so… y’know. ^
Yikes. Only a week until Conflux 13? Where did that go?
For my sins, this year I will be appearing on four panels. They’re gonna be great. Y’all should come see them.
- Magic systems in SF fiction: Friday, 29 September @ 10am.
- Remembering Terry Pratchett: Saturday, 30 September @ 10am.
- Reinventing the myth: Monday, 2 October @ 10:00am.
- Wonderful, wide, weird, cruel & cool (worldbuilding): Monday, 2 October @ 1:30pm.
Or, actually. you should come see all of them except the Pratchett panel. Because I am totally, 100% going to cry in that and it’s going to be awkward for everyone. And by “awkward” I mean “amazing”. It’s going to be amazing. So come along!
On combating microaggressions at conventions. Notably provides handy lists of potential responses for calling-out or shutting-down gross comments, which are useful for those of us who can freeze up in social situations. Allies of all stripes; this one’s on us. If you hear something, say something! I know it’s hard. I struggle with it too! But just remember it’s much, much harder to be on the receiving end of microaggressions when they occur. Which most of you probably well-know, because intersectionality and all. So, yanno. Be the bystander–or, better, institutionally organised change–you wished someone was for you!
As a disclaimer: I was at the Continuum this post is talking about, though I apparently managed to miss all of the problematic panels and I had the luxury of having a pretty heavily (self) curated experience. Continuum is what I would call a “generally good con”, by which I mean it seems to make a special effort to be diverse and inclusive, although there can occasionally be a… factional split, may be a polite way of putting it, between more conservative, “oldschool” SFF congoers and, um. Everyone else. So yes, there are issues, and I think race is probably one of the areas the con culture in general is weakest in.
Also, as an aside–and for my own “papercutty moment”–it’s amazing what people with mutter to their friends while sitting next to you in panels if they think you’re too busy drawing to pay attention to them…1
- Spoiler alert: painting/sketching is a fidget activity for me. So yes, I am paying attention and yes I can hear you! ^
So, holy shit, where did the year go? Apparently “somewhere else”, meaning Conflux season is hurtling towards us, fast.
Conflux, for the uninitiated, is Canberra’s local specfic (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and associated genres) convention and, unlike its sister-cons, e.g. Continuum, Conflux’s main Thing is that it tends to be more focused on the writing and craft side of things than the fannish side. Which isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of fannish things to do and see–there totally always are–so much as that it’s also The Writer Con, meaning there’s always a pretty strong programming track for craft and publishing.
Anyway. Confux’s program has gone up, so this is the part where I pretend I do some kind of scheduling and/or planning for where I’m going and what I’m seeing. Neat.