All fun and games until someone loses an eye

Tim Kirk, Chairman of Convoy (the 2007 British Eastercon) on Those Stories about the hotel’s security, and the resulting possibility of having to cancel the con:

We will be making a site visit before Novacon, and unless we are satisfied that the conditions in our contract have been met, we will address the concerns about security of those potential members of the convention who have not yet paid for membership, by cancelling our use of the Adelphi on security grounds. At that point we shall be forced to cancel the Eastercon and refund all membership payments, which if we don’t have a large enough membership by then we will have to do anyway for financial reasons.

No, we are not joking. We are taking it as seriously as that. We have looked for other hotels, but they seem simply financially unviable at this point. If anyone can find us a hotel of a similar size that is empty over the Easter weekend in 2007, and offers a similar rate for function space, bedrooms and food, we would be interested to hear about their findings.

As we see it, there are now three possible outcomes to this situation:

1) We get what we have contracted from the Adelphi, and enough members to make it viable, and have ourselves a Convoy.

2) The Adelphi is unable to demonstrate to us that it has fully addressed all our security concerns, and we are forced cancel Convoy.

3) The Adelphi does its bit, but we have too few members to be able to fill the hotel to the level required in the contract, and we are forced to cancel Convoy.

Noted Without Comment

Hal Duncan on the origins of sf:

Actually, Orwell is a better candidate for prototypical SF, in my opinion. And before the back-and-forth of whether or not Orwell is SF kicks off, go read this.

By all indications Orwell himself considered his work in the tradition of Wells and (shock horror!) actually had a high respect for the American pulps. So NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR can be seen as the point where the Romantic tradition of pulp invention and the Rationalist tradition of social extrapolation converge as a distinct mode. Orwell’s novel is far more characteristic of the written SF that was to follow than either Wells or the pulps alone. Neither Wells nor the pulps can, I think, *quite* work as proper origin points, not in isolation; I might accept them as grandaddy’s but it’s where those two paths converge, where the families intermarry, that SF really begins as far as I’m concerned. Again this is not a matter of co-opting Orwell to a tradition in the hopes of gaining high-brow credentials. It’s simply that what we have here is a dystopian novel written by someone clearly identifying themselves as working in the tradition of Wells, Stapledon, Huxley, etc., a novel by a writer familiar with and respectful of the pulps, and a novel which features world governments, artificial language and other such SF hypotheticals.

Posted in sf. 1 Comment »

Even so, I like redheads

Jessa Crispin says:

It turns out that my list of reasons I will give up on a book now includes “making the psychic girl a redhead.” Not that the book was that great to begin with, but the writing was okay and I thought maybe the author could pull it together eventually. But trot out one of the more tired cliches in fantasy writing, and you leave me no choice.

When did this become a cliche? Did Jean Grey manage it all on her lonesome, or am I being dense and forgetting the true antecedents?

Ellison again

Did I fail to mention, I am 100% guilty as charged, and NO ONE should attempt to cobble up mitigating excuses for my behavior? As with everything else I REALLY DO (as opposed to the bullshit that is gossiped third-hand by dolts), I am responsible for my actions 100% and am prepared to shoulder all consequences, instead of shunting them off to Vice-President ScaryGuy.

Harlan Ellison has just posted an apology over That Incident on his message-board – see here (scroll down; no permalinks), or the main bit cut & pasted on PNH’s LiveJournal.

EDIT: Ed Champion remains Not Happy.

Posted in gender. 2 Comments »

“Sort of like freebasing your sixth-grade Earth science class”

I am making a list of those who are snickering, and even as I speak I am preparing appropriate retribution.

I should explain the blog title too, and the fact that we are not in fact a blog about cheese. (Though I note that we do now have tags including “cheese”, “eurovision”, “hott boys”, “knitting”, “lego”, and “sandwiches”. We are nothing if not catholic.) We derive our name from a practice instituted in President Jed Bartlet’s White House; in the spirit of President Andrew Jackson, we are here for any and all who are hungry bored on the internet. And, while we’re on the subject of The West Wing

BARTLET What you got today?

ZOEY I got Intro to Cinema and 19th Century Studies English literature, philosophy, and oceanography.

BARTLET How about math. Why aren’t you taking math?

ZOEY Cause I graduated High School.

BARTLET Wiseass all you want, but you’re coming of age in the 21st century. A century in which I promise you mathematics is going to play a starring role. On the other hand I would definitely put my shoulder into Intro to Cinema oceanography. Intro to Cinema Oceanography’s what got me where I am today.

ZOEY Did you call me over to make fun of me?

BARTLET That was going to be a big part of my day.

You came for the slapfights, stay for the geekery.

Hello to all the new folk who’ve arrived here because of a certain other post. This is normally a quiet little group linkblog – well, I say normally, but we’ve only been going a month – devoted to what our editorial groupmind thinks is cool and dorky at any given moment. Such as, for instance, the latest update on those real-world “Hobbits” whose bones were discovered in 2004 on the island of Flores. (Summary: we’re still not sure if “homo floresiensis” is a real new species, but we have a lot more data.)