Like many of us, I’ve been struggling to process what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend, and what’s been happening in this country for a while now. The racism and hatred and violence didn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s been building up for a long time…in fact, much of it has always been there. It’s just boiling over into the open right now, making it harder (but obviously not impossible) to look away and pretend it’s not happening.
Part of the argument I’ve seen centers around free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is a right, an important one, and rights apply to everyone. Even people you dislike and disagree with.
But freedom of speech in this country is not and has never been limitless. From the U.S. Federal Courts, here are a few examples of actions not legally protected by freedom of speech:
- Students making an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
- Making/distributing obscene materials.
- Inciting actions that would harm others (e.g., Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.)
Now, here are some of the “alt-right” protesters who gathered in Charlottesville.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
- Many people have been bothered by the fact that the ACLU went to bat for the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last weekend, when the town tried to revoke the permit they'd already granted. I give a monthly donation to the ACLU, and I was fully aware that they do things like this when I made that decision, so I'm not upset -- it's exactly what I expect from them, and they do enough good work otherwise that I chose to support them anyway. Still, I think it's time for them to re-evaluate whether or not it's possible for a white supremacist gathering to be considered a "peaceful assembly" -- and the ACLU branches based in California broke with the national organization on this point today. Is it time to switch my monthly donation to the ACLU of Northern CA instead? It's time to think about it, anyway.
- The city of Baltimore took down all of its Confederate monuments yesterday, quietly and in the middle of the night. Alec McGillis wrote a great article on their removal, including lots of history and context about race and racism in the city.
- A fed-up citizen in Arizona -- who is a registered Republican, although not a Trump supporter -- turned Phoenix's Confederate monument into a participation trophy. On the other side of the country, activists in Durham, North Carolina, staged an "I am Spartacus" moment by turning themselves in en masse for tearing down a Confederate statue there. Whatever else happens, it feels like the momentum on the issue of Confederate symbols in public spaces has really sped up. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see most or all of them gone by the end of the year.
- Wondering why there even is a Confederate monument in Arizona, which wasn't a separate US territory until partway through the Civil War, much less part of the Confederacy? Because these monuments were mainly built to support Jim Crow laws and frighten civil rights activists. They have nothing to do with memorializing Confederate soldiers and everything to do with enforcing white supremacy. I didn't know this history myself until relatively recently, and I'm glad it's becoming more common knowledge.
- Tired of endless articles on the state of the white working class? Mother Jones went to talk to working class people of color.
- More on voter suppression, this time Ohio purging its voter rolls, and the Justice Department backing them up. I really wish the Democrats would get louder about this issue.
- A couple on urban planning and housing, which is not something I talk about much but still a topic of great interest to me. (And also broadly relevant to the other issues at hand -- look up redlining sometime.) First, Gary Kamiya on the small city of Brisbane's reluctance to approve a large housing project and why other Bay Area cities ought not to be pointing fingers. Second, Alyssa Walker asks why the conversation around urban neighborhoods and gentrification is driven by white men.
- In other news, Harper's Magazine published excerpts from the jury selection transcripts for the trial of evil pharmaceutical bro and all-around asshole Martin Shkreli, and they are a thing of beauty. I have no idea how the lawyers waded through all that to get a jury of 12 mostly-impartial members, but I salute them. (Shkreli was found guilty on several counts of securities fraud unrelated to the price-gouging issue.)
I've decided what I'm going to do is just try to help people in whatever way I can, which always feels like a good course of action to me.
So, I have this Russian friend on twitter. She's fannish, her name is Sasha, her twitter account is locked. We met in Black Sails fandom earlier this year. She's very delightful and funny and lives in St. Petersburg.
This year she'd really like to get married. She and her girlfriend have been together for about 5 years. Needless to say, a marriage is not possible in Russia (or Ukraine, where her girlfriend is from). So, they've thought up a plan to travel to Denmark to get married later this year, and they've been raising money mostly through their Russian fandom friends, to make the trip possible. Russian fandom doesn't really do paypal (other money transfer methods are easier), so when I asked how I could help they basically opened an account with PP just for me.
There's no public post about this fundraiser, no kickstarter page. I honestly don't even want to link their account names on twitter to this public post, although I of course asked them what details I could share before writing about this on DW.
Anyway, if you're looking for the usual safeguards to make sure this isn't a scam - they're not really available in this case. I can only tell you that I know this person and trust them and I've helped their marriage fund and have no regrets.
So, if you'd like to throw some money their way, or signal boost this to your friends, their paypal address is: blindpilot at yandex dot ru
(Also, Sasha has pointed out that if you'd like more details about what the money is for, you're welcome to email her at that address.)
I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.
As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots! (Those dark spots in the upper left.)
Click to embiggen.
For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.
I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.
Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
( the last few days )
by Tony Pi I knew this story was off to a good start when it opened with a tea house. I enjoyed this take on Chinese Zodiac animals. Apparently this story is just the most recent in a series so I'm going to have to go back an read the rest.
"Waiting on a Bright Moon' by JY Yang (content note: queer characters with queer tragedy in their pasts)This such an interesting world! There is magic and space travel. The main character is an ansible who uses magic to connect her planet with the home planet. I like how this story addresses the complex and messy nature of revolution. Yang has two novellas due out latter this year which I believe are also set in this same world. I'm looking forward to them.
"Packing" by T. Kingfisher This story begins "Today is not the day I wanted to do this, but we aren’t always given choices. It’s time to pack for the new seasons." It made me cry. If you are an environmentalist it might make you cry too.
I'm about to go on a trip so I've loaded my ereader up with a fair number of novellas including Bujold's latest, and Rose Lemberg's most recent Birdverse offering. So I will hopefully have some novella recs to share when I return.
Some of you might remember me talking about a 15,000-word novelette I was working on between wrapping up Terminal Alliance and starting on Terminal Uprising.
That novelette is called “Imprinted,” and it’s the next Magic ex Libris story.
It’s about Jeneta Aboderin, and it’s set roughly eight months after the events of Revisionary.
I haven’t set a publication date yet. There’s a bit of work left to get everything ready, and with Terminal Alliance coming out in November, I’m guessing it will be available in January or February.
I also haven’t set a price. $2.99 would be ideal, because that’s where ebook royalty rates jump from 35% to 70%. What do you think? Does $2.99 seem fair for a 15,000-word story, or should I bump it down to $1.99 and take the royalties hit?
Finally, as long as you’re here, what do you think of the not-quite-finalized cover?
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
The sites I have found and how they looked for my fairly central suburb:
- Menulog Moderate range, what I ended up using.
- Eatnow Similar to Menulog, but website was a little less helpful regarding opening times.
- Ubereats Largest range. But part of Uber and thus evil.
- Deliveroo Significantly worse range than all the others.
I ended up picking Taiwanese Cafe which has a nice range of food I can eat as well as some stuff Cameron likes. And Taiwanese desserts!! I LOVE TAIWANESE DESSERTS and have had trouble finding anywhere easy to get them. The food was overall pretty good: the red bean and pearls dessert wasn't the best I've had but still satisfying, the popcorn chicken was super tasty, the teriyaki chicken bento perfectly nice, and the egg pancake a little greasy but ok. The only genuinely mediocre dish was the spring rolls.
The menulog ordering process was very painless, and the delivery guy had my number for when he got lost (our set of units has a very confusing numbering system) You're in trouble if you want ingredient lists etc, but that's true of most delivery.
EDIT for my own use since menulog has no favourites system (*plain rice available)
- Golden Star BBQ Seafood Chinese Restaurant*
- Cay Dua Vietnamese Restaurant*
- Parklane Chinese Restaurant*
- Osaka Sushi
- New Place Japanese Kitchen
- Hongkies Hong Kong Kitchen Closed Tues
- Wah Sun Chinese Restaurant* Closed Tues
- Southern Star Vietnamese* expensive, spicy, greasy. Tasted ok.
Characters: Ashe/Balthier, Ashe/Al-Cid, Penelo, Ondore
Spoilers: Yes but nothing really blatant.
Notes: A few months ago, I was complaining about not having any fic ideas, and renay pounced on me with a suggestion of Ashe/Balthier and fake dating. This is the result. Thanks to Nay for the bunny and to justira for a super-helpful beta read. Also thanks to Square Enix for releasing The Zodiac Age, thereby giving me the opportunity to put the characters' voices back in my head.
Summary: Beset by advisors who are pressuring her to marry, Queen Ashe reacts by bringing sky pirate Balthier as her escort to an important state event. Just having a bit of fun at her council's expense... right?
Posted on AO3.
You may remember that I was part of the YA award committee to help create a YA award voted on and given out with the Hugos. Well I'm pleased to the report that the award was ratified and tentatively named The Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. The award will be given for the 1st time next year at San Jose. I plan to be there in the audience to see it.
In other great news my friends at Lady Business where awarded the Hugo for best fanzine! They've put together an excellent blog that frequently makes me think as well as helping keep my to-read list nice and long. I'm so pleased and proud. Keep up the great work!
Speaking of WorldCon, have I told you all how very excited I am for next year? WorldCon in my back yard. And so many awesome people are coming. I wish I could invite everyone to my place and have a big party, but it's 1. too small for a large gathering and 2. about 40 miles from the venue, so it's not like we could just pop over. But if you are attending, and plan to spend any time in San Francisco before or after the con, let me know! I am happy to play tour guide. Everyone should come to San Jose, and we will have excellent adventures together.
“[O]ver the last couple of days, we got an earful from our fans and others. The issue also caused a second author to ask us to remove her book from the ballot as well. We’ve reconsidered and changed our mind.”
The Dragon Awards were created last year to recognize the best SF/F books, comics, games, TV, and films of the year. Nomination and voting are open to anyone and everyone, and the awards are presented at Dragon Con.
The ballot this year appears to be a mix of genuinely popular work and works where individual authors or groups campaigned hard to get nominated. File 770 published an analysis looking at Goodreads, Library Thing, and Amazon review numbers of the different nominees. I trust folks can draw their own conclusions.
On August 4, finalist Alison Littlewood posted that she was withdrawing her book from consideration. She notes:
“While this would normally be a great pleasure, it has also been brought to my notice that my book has been selected by a voting bloc who are attempting, for reasons of their own, to influence the awards outcome. Essentially, the same group who set out to fix the Hugo Awards are now encouraging their supporters to follow their voting choices in the Dragon Awards.”
Two days ago, finalist John Scalzi also withdrew his book from the award, saying in part:
“The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured ‘us vs. them’ vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards.”
Rather, Littlewood and Scalzi tried to withdraw from the award. But according to a follow-up post from Littlewood, Pat Henry of the Dragon Awards is “declining” these requests. Both Scalzi and Littlewood’s books still appear on the ballot.
Henry’s statement, as posted on Littlewood’s blog, claims:
“We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors. While we didn’t start the Dragon Awards to foil these two groups, we believe that as we add voters, they will become irrelevant in the our awards.”
Note the false equivalence of rabid puppies, a self-proclaimed group created by Theodore Beale, with “justice warriors,” generally used as an insult against people speaking up for greater representation and inclusion. The rabid puppy slate was posted on Beale’s blog back in June. I’m curious where the equivalent “justice warrior” slate supposedly appeared…
Henry might be right that, when and if the awards add enough voters, slates might become irrelevant. Or they might not. But in either case, that hypothetical future doesn’t change the fact that right now, the awards are a mess, some of the campaigning is ugly, nasty, and hateful, and some authors don’t want to be dragged into that cesspool.
I hope Pat Henry and Dragon Con will reconsider their decision.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.