Zer Netmouse Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Anne" journal:

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June 2nd, 2015
03:50 pm


Some past TAFF Trip Reports now available as ebooks
Dave Langford has created a free ebooks page at the TAFF site! Download of both TAFF trip reports and other fannish publications are free (but there is a donation button if you wish to donate to TAFF in appreciation). Be sure to click on your preferred format before you hit the download button.


Current offerings:

H. Ken Bulmer – TAFF Tales (1955 TAFF trip report)

Chris Evans (editor) – Conspiracy Theories (1987 symposium)

Rob Hansen – On the TAFF Trail (1984 TAFF trip report)

Rob Hansen – THEN (History of UK fandom 1930-1980)

David Langford – The TransAtlantic Hearing Aid (1980 TAFF trip report)

Peter Roberts – New Routes in America (1977 TAFF trip report)

Jim Theis – The Eye of Argon (1970 fanfiction "classic")

Walt Willis & Bob Shaw – The Enchanted Duplicator (1954 fanfiction classic)


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April 27th, 2015
10:30 am


Biking along Codorus Creek
Codorus Creek was once a bustling thoroughfare of York, PA. They built a canal from the Susquehana to make it a very good way to transport timber and other goods in and out of town. The creek powered mills and forges, and helped make the region a center of industry and invention in the 1800s.

The railroad came in and made the canal and creek an outdated way to move stuff around. The railroad here from Baltimore and DC helped the county to continue to surge in population growth, as people traveled here on their way to Harrisburg and further destinations, and some stayed. Eventually the town spread even more, freeways came in, and trucks, and at least part of the rail system was changed into a biking and pedestrian trail. In town it's known as the Heritage Trail park.

Alongside Codorus Creek

Down the hill from the outdated transformed railway, Codorus Creek now has a cement bed as it passes through town. But it's still lovely to bike alongside it.

Getting back to it, giggle style

And to sit for a minute to take a break...

kickin&quot; back by the bike trail

And people interested in history are actually reactivating the rail line to Steam into History.

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April 16th, 2015
02:06 pm


The strangest thing to me about the puppies
I spent a little bit of time this week reading the comments on various Sad Puppies blog posts and articles. It was sometimes interesting, sometimes appalling, but mostly it was just kind of confusing.

Who do these people think are Social Justice Warriors, and why do they think Tor is their favorite publisher?

I mean, I know, SJW is mainly a derogatory term people use in order to dismiss and harass those who work for social justice as being too shrill and bullying to the people they criticize, and that it isn't a term people usually apply to *themselves*. And as such, 'SJWs' mostly represents an imagined group of "Leftist authoritarians" that are somehow repressing people on the Right. (One of my favorite comments, in a discussion of why some commenters were using melodramatic language that set up the Sad Puppies as though they were truly at war with leftist Hugo voters, was a sad puppy supporter saying, essentially, "They started it! What do you think the W in SJW stands for?" As though SJW was a self-applied term.)

But my first experience with 'SJW' being used to smear science fiction fans and activists was during Racefail '09, when The Man Who Shall Not be Named started using it to complain that the people who think race, class, disability, and gender, etc, are all intersecting problems and yes, racism is still a problem, were missing the Real Truth which is that it was all about class (and furthermore they were a bunch of snooty middle-class people who couldn't see that because of their own privilege and deranged liberal education, and also they were being mean).

If you actually were a participant (or interested observer) in Racefail '09, you may know that one of the main people who was sharply criticized by online masses of angry anti-racist activists was Teresa Nielsen Hayden, whose comment about there being more usernames than IP addresses in a Racefail discussion came across to many as an accusation that some real people who were up there possibly risking their future careers to express their personal truth despite the fact that powerful members of the establishment like Teresa were in the room were in fact sock puppets.

Now people supporting the puppies slates (which, in one way of looking at it, essentially encourage masses of real people to nominate for the Hugos like sock puppets) are calling Nielsen Hayden "The Queen of SJWs" in what has got to be one of the most ironic moves of the century. I mean, seriously. I can only imagine this history is part of why this is all rubbing Teresa so raw, and she has my sympathy. Because the people who are calling her that are so wrong it's not even funny, DESPITE the fact that there is not actually any such thing as an organized group of "Social Justice Warriors". If there were a group of people who were SFF SJWs, she would still not be its queen.

All of the supposed SJWs that I have seen under specific attack by puppies for participating in an alleged conspiracy, or whisper-campaign, to exclude right-wing writers from the Hugo Awards are white people. Have you noticed that? The Nielsen Haydens, John Scalzi, Jim C. Hines, Mary Robinette Kowal. Others by implication. And in fact, they pretty much have to be because the Worldcon attending, nominating, and voting population is skewed so older white fannish establishment that using the term "SJWs" in this whole debate is kind of ridiculous. At least, if you're looking for some kind of consistency with how the term was used in 2009 (perhaps that meaning has been superseded by how it was used in Gamergate? But no... the puppies insist there's no connection to Gamergate here.)

I mean, yes, Scalzi, Hines, the Nielsen Haydens, and Robinette Kowal are advocates for diversity in the field. And yes, Tor has published some diverse works and authors.

But when I think SJWs and SF, I think of the female writers (most of them people of color) who felt so harassed and targeted following Racefail '09 that more than half of them have essentially stopped blogging.

I think of activists like Kate Nepvue, whose open letter to white people in SFF Fandom is on my must-read list for smofs interested in promoting diversity, and who transforms good intentions into actual progress via the Con-or-Bust program to get fans of color to conventions -- NOTE: Con or Bust is even now gearing up for its annual fund-raising auction (items up for auction are being posted as they come in; bidding opens April 20th).

And when I think of Social Justice and SF, I think of the many authors who are participating in the We Need Diverse Books campaign. I think of editors like Sheree Renée Thomas, Nalo Hopkinson & Uppinder Mehan, Bill Campbell & Edward Austin Hall, Tobias S. Buckell, Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios, Walidah Imarisha & adrienne maree brown, Rose Fox & Daniel José Older, Mikki Kendall & Sofia Samatar, who are out there giving brothers, sisters, and the genderqueer a hand up, working hard to publish inclusive and transcendent works like Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora, Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond, Diverse Energies, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, and Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History (and Long Hidden 2: coming next year!)

The publishers of these works are not Tor Books. They are Aspect - Warner Books, Arsenal Pulp Press, Rosarium Publishing, Tu Books, Twelfth Planet Press, ak press, and Crossed Genres Publications. And the main publisher I think of when I think social justice in SF is Aqueduct Press, which publishes the WisCon Chronicles and guest of honor speeches, and many other important collections, essays, and novels from marginalized and feminist perspectives and authors, including the very useful and highly recommended Writing the Other, by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.

So perhaps it is appropriate that these campaigns about the Hugos have had nothing to do with these people, because they are not Social Justice Warriors, they are Social Justice Workers. But it still makes me want to laugh when I see a headline like "Social Justice Warriors Aren't So Tough When Even Sad Puppies Can beat Them". Because the rabid puppies of the world are not really going up against the people fighting the hardest for social justice in SF. Some of the people who are most visible to other white people, maybe. But as some of the articles I've read this week have alluded to, the groups of people you often hear from in campaigns like these are not necessarily the people who care the most -- they are the people who have the most free time. Usually, you know, white people. (Because, whoops, class and race do actually intersect in this country.)

So I want to laugh, but I also don't feel like laughing, because it's sad that the people fighting so hard for social justice are still so invisible on the national scene. That this debate that invokes the term "Social Justice Warrior" is still basically by or about white people, just like so much else in the dominant culture of SF and the country as a whole.

[And I want to acknowledge here that some people who supported the sad puppies campaign would not characterize their actions as anti-anyone so much as pro- more diverse participation in the Hugo Awards. But the anti-SJW presence in the campaigns and online discussions is definitely highly visible and, as you see above, lauded by the right-wing press.]

The social justice workers I mentioned above? They're mostly not party to this. And they are not really part of the fannish power elite who run and have historically nominated for or recommended works for the Hugo Awards. Perhaps they are too busy doing other amazing things. :)

(Or dealing with issues like cancer, like Mary Anne Mohanraj, who says her intro to the next WisCon Chronicles is basically an essay on how she wants social justice conversations to change in SF/F. Wouldn't that be nice?)

When their work is admired, it is because it is admirable. I highly recommend you check it out.

And while you're at it, please support the Carl Brandon Society, which is in need of both volunteers and funds. Thank you.

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April 15th, 2015
11:55 pm


Recommended Reading: Goodnight Stars, by Annie Bellet
Annie Bellet has pulled her short story "Goodnight Stars" out of Hugo Award consideration because she doesn't want to be either a conscripted player or a ball in this political game. I can respect that. I also respect her story, which I encourage you to read. Her editors had put it online for free access and it's still there.

Just as Annie Bellet will still be writing when this year's Hugo Awards are said and done. One to watch, folks.

(Marko Kloos is also withdrawing his novel, Lines of Departure, for similar reasons.)


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April 14th, 2015
10:57 pm


A Sphincter Says What?
I feel like I should comment on the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies mess with the Hugo Awards this year. If you don't know what I'm talking about, basically there were a couple "slates" of candidates for Hugo Award nomination that people were pushing for this year in organized campaigns online. This is not against the rules, though many found it in poor taste, especially as the organizers were not shy about pulling in people from outside the fannish community to "freep" the results. One group did this before, but without dominating the nominations. Mike Glyer provided an overview on File 770 as to how successful they were this year (which was very), and there are now other articles on salon.com, slate, the daily dot, Strange Horizons, and i09, to name a few.

George R.R. Martin also weighed in with what I thought was a well thought-out post, and several other people have blogged about it as well, including this year's author GoH and Hugo Awards co-host (with Tananarive Due), David Gerrold. Finally, Mary Robinette Kowal has posted on how, yes, fandom can be more inclusive of SFF fans out there who may not have discovered it yet, and encouraged people to participate in the Hugo Award voting and nomination process who perhaps have not done so before. She has backed up that encouragement by offering ten supporting memberships to the current Worldcon to any fan who cannot afford such, and others have joined her in doing this, so she is accepting applications for up to 75 supporting memberships on that page between now and April 17. Please spread the word.

As for me, I did something like that last year -- The Sad Puppies slate annoyed me, particularly because I knew that, what with working on Detcon1 for July and moving to Pennsylvania in August, I had no time for reading and voting on the Hugo Awards. So I went to The Carl Brandon Society discussion list and I offered to buy four supporting memberships to that year's Worldcon to anyone who was interested in voting and would commit to reading the nominees and voting on them. (Noting that I expected people to vote their own preferences, including that I did not expect them to finish any work they were not enjoying). I felt lucky to get four volunteers, and signed them up. This year, I reminded them before the nomination deadline that they could nominate works for this year as well, and that fewer people usually participate in nominating, so it has a bigger impact.

At that time, shortly before nominations were due, I knew the Sad Puppies were likely to put forth another slate, but I didn't realize how many works in almost every category they were going to put on their slate this year. I also wasn't too concerned, however, because a fair number of people involved seemed to sincerely believe in diversifying and expanding participation in Hugo Award nominations, which is a cause I support, and I had the impression there was going to be some diversity in race and gender in their slate as well (which there was). I didn't hear about the rabid puppies slate, which promoted works by truly awful writers and editors on a purely ideological basis, until after the nominations were announced.

I see some good candidates on the ballot in almost every category, and I hope people who vote give every nominee fair consideration. I haven't decided if I'm going to join and vote or not. There's no chance I can attend Sasquan, myself, for a number of reasons.

However, this year my plan is not to give away memberships in the current Worldcon so more people can vote. I'm going to wait until after site selection for the 2017 Worldcon is completed and give away supporting memberships to *that*. Current rules are that members of the current, next, and last Worldcon can nominate for the Hugo Awards. So if you get a supporting membership to the 2017 Worldcon before January 31 of 2016, you will be eligible to nominate for three years -- 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Note that any members of this year's Worldcon can vote on site selection for 2017. In order to vote on site selection, you have to pay a fee that will be rolled into a supporting membership for whichever bid wins the Worldcon. If you are a member of this year's Worldcon, I encourage you to vote in site selection, get that supporting membership for the 2017 Worldcon, and commit yourself to nominating works and people for the Hugo Awards for the next three years.

You do not have to be present to vote on site selection. You also don't need to be widely read to be "qualified" to nominate for the Hugo Awards. You just have to care. It also helps to keep track of what stories, books, magazines, essays, art, etc, that you like each year. I recommend as part of this commitment, you start a text file or google doc or (gosh), a piece of paper on the wall or side table, titled "Fave SF&F of 2015" -- it's easier to keep track throughout the year than to remember when you're up against the deadline.

As a side note I'll also speak up in support of both the Helsinki and DC bids for 2017. The Worldcon was held in Japan in 2007 and in Montreal in 2009. Both conventions had a mix of great successes and serious issues. I think both sites deserve serious consideration for future years but not 2017. The Worldcon has not been held on the East Coast of the US since 2004, when it was up Boston (about an 8 hour drive from DC), and it has never been held in Finland. The last time the Worldcon was held in DC was in 1974, the year I was born. Both the Helsinki and DC bids have strong committees and good groundwork, and I would be pleased to see either one win.

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March 26th, 2015
01:07 pm


The HIStory of York County
I am currently reading the 1981 edition of To the Setting of The Sun: The Story of York, about York PA, where I now live. The author, Georg R. Sheets, got to page 16 before naming a single woman (Christina Schultz, homesteader, who with her husband John built a two-story stone house). It has been so long since I read a history that so completely elides the active participation of women that I find it baffling.

For instance, his only acknowledgement that William Penn married (twice) and had a family was to mention that Springettsbury Manor was named in honor of his grandson, who was his heir, and later to name his son and two grandsons. Otherwise, he simply referred to the people who managed his estate after him as 'The Penns'. William Penn, effectively the founder of Pennsylvania, was married to Gulielma Springett in April 1672. They had five daughters and three sons, one of whom was named Springett. It seems odd to mention it was his grandson's name yet omit that it was first his first wife's family name. Gulielma died in 1696, at the age of 52. Two years later the 52-year-old Penn married 25-year-old Hannah Margaret Callowhill, with whom he had 8 children, of whom 6 lived past infancy. When William had a stroke in 1712, Hannah became the proprietor of the Pennsylvania colony, and remained so until her death in 1726 (Penn himself died in 1718, leaving her as his executor). Her portrait now hangs in the Governor's office among other portraits of people who have run this state.

As of pg 39 the book is getting into the Revolution and has named approximately 176 men (including several local historians he has cited), and precisely 7 women, including Mrs. Schultz whom I mentioned before. Two of the named women were criminals: a handkerchief thief given 15 lashes and a murderess, hanged. The other four are listed as wives or mothers, sometimes with details as to whose daughter they were or how many children they had: Anna Barbara Spangler, who married a brewer named John Barnitz and had two sons; Catherine Hay, daughter of Colonel John and Julie Maul Hay, who married Anna's younger son John during the Revolution; and Mary Dill McAllister, who was the daughter of Colonel Matthew Dill, who had commanded a regiment in the French and Indian War, and married Colonel Richard McAllister, who founded Hanover in 1763. The McAllisters had 11 children, 2 of whom commanded companies in the Revolution.

There is a 2002 edition of this book, and I note that in between editions Sheets collaborated with photographer Blair Seitz on a book called Pennsylvania Heritage: Diversity in Art, Dance, Food, Music, and Customs (RB Books, June 2001) that has a woman on the cover, so I'm slightly optimistic that the more recent edition is improved on this subject. I will have to get a hold of one at some point and see. I hope it also includes a modern-day map of York County. Lacking such, the 1981 edition is a bit confusing, since many of the places it names are only geographically described in relation to modern-day towns and landmarks. In his forward Sheets recommends giving the book to out-of-town relatives, but people who are not from here are not likely to be able to follow such references without a map.


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February 26th, 2015
11:35 pm


Songs of Soothing
The Rosie kiddo is now sans tonsils and adenoids and plus tubes in ears. Her surgery was shortly before 9 this morning and we headed home from the hospital by 4.

Her cuddle of choice was my old stuffed Stitch, because, as she put it, "He keeps away the bad dreams even without the dream catcher." She knew she would go to sleep for the surgery. When she woke up enough to realize she was in pain, Stitch was there but she still panicked a little and they rushed to bring me in. I comforted her and held her hand while the nurse gave her some painkiller, then I stroked her forehead and sang and hummed until she fell back asleep.

I was slightly surprised what my brain decided to use to sing her down just then, and I thought I would record that and the other songs I sang to her as the day went on and from time to time she got tired and went back to sleep.

First I started with the old round, "Hey, ho, nobody home." I was surprised with myself until I got to the line, "Yet I will be happy, very happy," and thought maybe it wasn't such a strange choice after all.

After that it was "Everthing's All Right" from the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar. No mystery there. (In case you're not familiar with it, it starts out with, "Try not to get worried, try not to hold onto problems that upset you. (Oh) Don't you know everything's all right yes, everything's fine." )

That was followed by "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess, which I've been using to sing her to sleep since she was a baby. ("...so hush little baby, don't you cry." ... "there's a-nothin' can harm you. With mama and daddy standing by. ")

Later, when we were back at home, I surprised myself again by singing the Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun". ("And I say... It's all right.") Again, maybe not so strange.

And just a little while ago, after she woke crying and I have her the dose of ibuprofen she was due? "Swing low, sweet chariot."

All good songs. And the other parts of the day went fairly well too, all things considered. Now it's time for me to put myself to sleep.

Sing me a song, won'tcha?

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February 24th, 2015
08:27 am


Happy Birthday novapsyche!
Most happy of birthday wishes for my dear friend, novapsyche!

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February 19th, 2015
01:54 pm


Vote for TAFF! Deadline is Tuesday, April 7th
Brian and I were TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) delegates in 2010 and encourage everyone involved in science fiction & fantasy fandom to consider voting for who should cross the pond. Voting can be done electronically or by printed ballot and requires participants to make a small donation toward the maintenance of the fund. Go here for more info and to vote electronically.

The Candidates:

Nina Horvath

Whatever can happen, does happen. So why not an Austrian for TAFF? – Nina Horvath is a science-­fiction fan and an award winning author. She has been to conventions in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia and the Ukraine so far, but is eager to travel further.She has already written con reports quite often and will do so again with pleasure. She is eager to take up the honourable task to represent Europe ́s fandom in North America in a very serious way – but nevertheless hopes to find enough time for her favourite ­activity: Socializing with other fans over a beer.

Nominated by: David Hartwell, David Lally, Gloria McMillan, Mihaela Marija Perković, Cristian Tamas

Wolf von Witting

Has TAFF ever had a more pan-European candidate? German-Swedish-Scottish, born in Finland, married in Moscow, living in Italy. Touched by the Wand Contact 1974. First convention 1977 in Kleve, Germany. Touched by the 2nd Wand, called Fanac, in 1978 causing me over the years to produce more than 200 fanzines in three languages.
With my quarterly fanzine CounterClock I never stop striving to improve on my writing. As fan-illustrator, Atom and Rotsler have been paragons. I smoffed, filked and dabbled in fan-history. I know no greater honour than to follow in the footsteps of Walt Willis. Travel report guaranteed.

Nominated by: Arnie Katz, Ronald M Hahn, John-Henri Holmberg, Lloyd Penney, Chris O’ Shea


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February 4th, 2015
11:09 pm


Work with Meaning and Impact (Tough Act to Follow)
My father helped invent and develop the life-support systems (cardiopulmonary bypass, or heart-lung machines) that are used for open-heart surgery and transplantation.

In the locker room at the gym tonight, I overheard a woman recounting the experience of having a loved one wait for and eventually receive a heart transplant. Felt so much pride and joy as I realized the fears she remembered and related to her friend had only to do with wondering if he would get a donor heart, and if his body would reject it. NOT about whether he might die on the table during a surgery where his heart was stopped and removed from his chest.

I remember so clearly how dad extended his engineering education to include hydraulics and hematology as well as specific material chemistry in order to reduce the damage to the blood caused by mechanical pumping and oxygenation to within acceptable limits. He also learned how to do 3D modeling on the computer and rapid prototyping with a programmable milling machine in step with developing technology. He attended surgery and interviewed surgeons and perfusionists to improve the design of the whole system and interface. His experience convinced me that the best career is one in which you are constantly learning and challenging yourself.

Talk about work you put your heart into. So proud of you, Dad.

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