Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Four Hugo Awards Recommendations

23 February 2014

The Hugo Awards
Best related work: Fic by Anne Jamison, a history of fanfiction.
Best fan artist: Randall Munroe. Last cartoon of the year is 1311 and first of 2013 was 1155 (thank you @xkcdfeed). Three of note: 1158 (it’s all about physics), 1167 (Star Trek Into Darkness), 1177 (Time Robot). For those who feel he isn’t eligible, he was ruled eligible in 2011 and the rules have not changed. Further discussion here.
Best dramatic presentation, short form: Flying Tiare by Matthieu Courtois and Ludovic Allain. Made as a fan film for the airline’s 15th birthday, it’s a real look at the technology and work of commercial flying. The really cool part, though, is seeing someone go up into the jet engine and get to see the (running) engine from the inside.

I’d already posted a recommendation for: Short story: “The Slow Winter” by James Mickens, so just a reminder.

The Cambellian Anthology

The 2014 Cambellian Anthology is out! It features 860,000 words (eight-ish novels in size) from 111 different writers who are eligible for the Campbell award this year. Totally, completely free.
I want to offer my immense gratitude to Stupefying Stories for this. More than any other single award, I try to be well-read for the Campbell, and it used to be a real chore before Writertopia started keeping the eligibility list. Stupefying Stories took it to the next level with the clever idea to have an annual anthology.
Also, immense gratitude (and props) to the authors and publishers who’ve permitted their work to be included.
Special shout-out for Brooke Bolander, who is one of the eligible.

Addendum

Best dramatic presentation, long form: Sharknado. As billed. Loved it, and I’m not normally up for this kind of thing. Definitely smarter than it had to be.

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Society6 Art: Iceplant

22 February 2014

Based on seeing a friend’s pieces on Society6, I decided to start uploading photos there for sale in various forms. They have prints, iPhone cases, computer cases, pillows, tote bags, and stuff like that.
My first piece (my plan is to upload one per week) is called Iceplant.
I know, I know, it doesn’t look like iceplant, right? I prefer to think of it as iceplant in someone’s acid trip.
Actually, the photo is really of iceplant. Rick and I were walking around Pigeon Point Lighthouse one day. I had my finger on the shutter button, as you do, and misstepped, setting off the trigger. I got a lovely streaky blurry photo of a patch of iceplant.
Honestly, it really wasn’t very fetching, but there was something about it, so I played with it.
iceberg-web
My friend Joe (zeruch) also has a shop on Society6, and I like this piece in particular. Note that some of his figurative work is NSFW, but I’ve linked to an abstract. I think it looks pretty awesome as a pillow or clock.

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2013 Reading Summary

22 February 2014

Finally got around to reading this post, The Women We Don’t See.
Last year, my reading habits shifted as I was looking to publish in another genre. As that genre happened to be romance, I read a whole bunch of female authors (some of whom may be female in pen name only, granted). To my knowledge, none of the authors I read last year fit in a non-binary category, though some of the works I read did.
Books read: 243
Books by female authors: 220
Books by male authors: 28
91% female authors
(Sum is greater than total because of co-authors, e.g., Witt & Voinov.)

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Here, Have Some Lava

21 February 2014

Taken Nov 22, 2011. I drove as far south as one could go south from Pahoa, which is south of Hilo on the big island of Hawai’i. The road ends near Kalapana, then there’s a dirt road that other cars were going on, so I went too. (Never a great idea.)
The “dirt” road turns out to have been a paved road that lava flowed over. A few hundred feet back, there’s a bit of road again, leading out to a parking lot ending in a guard shack with a bunch of scary signs. I parked there and got out, went to the guard shack. He made sure I knew where the safe boundaries were and that I had water, sunscreen, and a hat.
Walking in the sun on a Hawai’ian day is brutal enough, but the black lava just soaks up heat. As if that weren’t enough, you’re not actually that far above the actual real hot lava flows that are probably radiating even more heat.
Despite my SPF 85 haole basting sauce, I managed to get a sunburn.
P1110614
Oh, and I’d been very close, only a few hundred feet away, the year before. Here’s what the view looked like from offshore back on Nov 23, 2010:
L1000511

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Fascinating Atlantic Article on Fraternities

21 February 2014

Caitlin Flanagan of Vanity Fair has taken the art of the first paragraph to a new level in her article The Dark Power of Fraternities. I’m not going to quote it here. Just: coffee & cats warning, okay?
There should be a trigger warning on the subject matter of the rest, though, which is about the warring dynamics of student safety, fraternity traditions and independence (not all of which is bad), and universities knowing where their fundraising dollars come from and not wanting to upset the balance.

[T]he majority of all fraternity insurance claims involve booze—I have read hundreds of fraternity incident reports, not one of which describes an event where massive amounts of alcohol weren’t part of the problem—and the need to manage or transfer risk presented by alcohol is perhaps the most important factor in protecting the system’s longevity.

And, after a truly horrifying set of crisis-management steps:

As you should by now be able to see very clearly, the interests of the national organization and the individual members cleave sharply as this crisis-management plan is followed.

Indeed.
I love the descriptions of two sides of the fraternity vs. injured-by-fraternity representatives.

Fierberg is a man of obvious and deep intelligence, comfortable—in the way of alpha-male litigators—with sharply correcting a fuzzy thought; with using obscenities; with speaking derisively, even contemptuously, of opponents. He is also the man I would run to as though my hair were on fire if I ever found myself in a legal battle with a fraternity, and so should you.

…and…

And then there is Peter Smithhisler, who is the senior fraternity man ne plus ultra: unfailingly, sometimes elaborately courteous; careful in his choice of words; unflappable; and as unlikely to interrupt or drop the f-bomb on a respectful female journalist as he would be to join the Communist Party.

Worth a read even if you don’t actually care about fraternities.

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Fodera Apologizes

20 February 2014

Text here.
Excerpt:

I want to apologize to Mary for doing that. Mary, if you are reading this, I really am very sorry for my inconsiderate and insensitive response to the question, and my later posts. Our estrangement (admittedly by my own choice) has been painful to me, and I should not have done this to you, nor should I do such a thing to anyone. I don’t expect us to become friends again, but I hope for the sake of our earlier friendship, and what you did know of me, that you will believe the sincerity of my apology. In any event, I fully intend to leave you in peace, Mary, and I wish you continued success.

Update: Mary accepts. (My bad on the initial wording of this; I was chatting online at the time about the wording of Sean’s apology and made an unfortunate gaffe. I have not actually seen Mary’s post, but others have linked to it and hope it comes back online soon.)
Note: as of this update, the site with the linked-to posts is down. Screencaps on Pretty Terrible post here.

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Oh Colleagues, My Colleagues

19 February 2014

Here are my core values:

  1. I believe that true communication can be healing for all parties. Catch is, true communication can be difficult at the best of times. In some cases, I will grant, it is impossible.
  2. I believe that name calling, whether it be twelve rabid weasels or unperson, or anything else, cannot be true communication and therefore is not healing. I don’t care who does it, and I’ve seen it from both sides, and can we please all just be better people?
  3. I really, really don’t like being told who I can or can’t talk to. (Yes, there are professional limitations with confidentiality or conflict of interest, duh, but I mean apart from that.) That this has happened in the past and people have ragequit being my friend because I wasn’t #$(*#$& enough just reinforces this.
  4. Anyone looking to find fault with another never needs to look far. We are human. Because of that, I try to focus not on the fault but on the positive.

I also want to say that there’s a very real “tone argument” problem with the way one of the sff.net posts was treated (linked above). Yes, the content is problematic, but there is an underlying point.
Let me translate it without the tone problem:

  1. A member spent significant time working on a document of use to the membership.
  2. Another member asked that it be given to her to post on the new SFWA site.
  3. He (member in #1) said he wouldn’t post it as long as he didn’t have access. (There’s an additional clause too.)
  4. She said he’d had a chance to influence the site, but hadn’t logged in.
  5. He had repeatedly requested an account, but never received a response. Others had the same problem. (Note: I was one of them, which I’ll talk about in a minute.)
  6. As a side effect of being blocked from joining the new site, he quit SFWA.

Now, given the current blow-up, you might think that’s a good thing. I don’t know about that, I’ve known him for quite a few years and have always thought, as Scalzi says, that he is generally a decent and good person. People hit their breaking points in strange ways. He apparently hit his.
Partial aside: I think Susan’s post about communities is important, and I agree. And yeah, I can relate to the hurt/comfort narrative she alludes to (and, full disclosure, also guilty of posting comfort in the thread she mentions). It’s one of the reasons I don’t read LJ or FB much.
There’s a very real difference in how “usenet” people and “web forum” people interact and how they like to receive their information. The usenet approach has always been less controlled and more decentralized. Posts can be canceled, but not edited. There are managers, but they’re very hands off. The forum approach is far more about active management, including editing of posts. Or deleting them wholesale.
Like this one, riffing off this post on my site and its followup:

This was exactly my point. Stop creating more legal and moral debt. Even a non-exclusive right diverts the authors’ sales into what are essentially Vera’s pockets at present.
Oh, and, in a related note: stop trying to show that they are loyal to you, and instead show that you are loyal to them (and their bottom lines) — by reverting all rights. That’s the only statement that’s unambiguous and clear.

Now, I could have rephrased and posted something milder after the above two paragraphs were censored, but I’m going to point something out right now: that someone is still a member of SFWA. So, if you read that thread on sfwa.org forums (sans my bit o’ content), you might not realize that you’d actually get more real information if you’d just saved your SFWA membership $ and read the Absolute Write thread instead.
So back to the thing I said I’d talk about. Many of us who were active on sff.net found that we couldn’t get sfwa.org logins that stuck. It’d work for a day or two, then not work. Then we’d ask for a reset, none would come, then we’d whine again. Everyone complained in the sff.net SFWA Lounge.
Honestly, it never occurred to me that we were being deliberately kept out, but that seems to be the narrative now. Also, I volunteered more than once, do web development for a living and not once was I even contacted to help.
I very nearly quit SFWA over it.
So I can understand why Member the First would have been upset. I understand why he quit. And I can understand why he might still be angry about it, even having experienced only what I have. The rest? I don’t understand that.
There were and are very real problems, and there’s a lot of pent-up anger from people who’d been SFWA members for a long time who have felt shut out for years.
This takes us back to core value #1, doesn’t it?
Speaking of: there’s a reason that while my name is on this timeline, I’m one of the very few who never got a letter from a lawyer, raided, sued, or stuff like that. When sides are disagreeing loudly, you’ll generally find me in the buffer zone.
Edit to respond to a couple of points raised in private conversations:
1. This was about persistent trouble getting onto the SFWA.org site, not the sff.net one.
2. I was asked if I knew of other incidents involving Member the First. I had never heard of any until this recent incident.
I’ll say this, just so it’s clear: if there were people who “should be” blacklisted for any reason other than people who had previously behaved badly on panels at at a convention I’m working on (which, frankly, was only a very few people and as many women as men), I’ve never been privy to any list of people guilty of bad behavior. I have been on the programming staff of a Worldcon and programming head for a Westercon and several regional conventions.
The kind of bad behavior I’ve heard of (these are real things that happened): monopolizing conversation on a panel so hard that con ops had to be called to shut the panel down before it erupted into violence; blowing off a panel with the other panelists and taking the Guest of Honor offsite so they missed an important event, then gaslighting the programming staff. Then there’s the episode with Harlan Ellison, the Klingons, and the speakers playing loud dance music…. (Harlan won.)
Footnote to add link to later apology.

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The Weekest Link

17 February 2014

I’ve been meaning to do a link-salad type post for a long time, and I just never came up with a catchy name for it. So: problem solved. I’m going to post this once a week.
I’ll just put in the links I found interesting or funny or whatever, and I’ll try to keep away from the rage-inducing stuff.

Computers & Technology

Writing & Publishing

Arts

Travel

Science, Health, and Things Like That

Fandom

Culture

Miscellaneous Humor

strawberry-field

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New iTunes Connect Sales Charts

17 February 2014

E-mail from Apple:

We have released a new version of Sales and Trends on iTunes Connect that introduces interactive features to help you better understand your sales data.
You now have the the ability to:

  • View sales within a selected time period
  • Group your sales data (for example, by territory)
  • Filter sales by one or more values (for example, by book title and transaction type)
  • See your estimated proceeds (in U.S. dollars)
  • If you have any questions, contact us.

Regards,
The iBooks team

Woohoo!
I love charts and graphs.
So I log in.
itunes-recent-sales
Sad panda.
Wait, there’s now a lifetime tab….
itunes-lifetime-sales
So. There you go.
Love the update. Thanks, Apple!
This post has the iBooks numbers in context with other sales outlets. For context, this is a republication of a short story which I also sell directly.

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