Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 02:22 am
My twenty-seventh! (of 28) Readercons went rather nicely.

How I love listening to intelligent people!  And it’s exhilarating (if scary) to try to make sense on panels.

Only three mishaps, one on the way over.  The highway traffic was appalling, bumper-to-bumper, and my lift, distracted by Siri’s countermands, slid gently into the car ahead, out of which burst an irate and vengeful Chinese couple, dancing like furies round and round both cars, heedless of the six-lane traffic, shouting, “You pay cash!  You pay cash!”  But on the sight of a cellphone, they vanished like spirits at cockcrow.

Next, I discovered that I’d left my carefully curated selection of chocolate and tea—all carefully matched to my program—on a chair at home.  Ah well, there were M&Ms in the green room.  And Taylor’s of Harrogate tea, not at all shabby.

After my reading, I found I’d lost an especially pretty and unmatchable hand-painted bead-button from a favorite dress, and was disconsolate.  It could have fallen off anywhere in the hotel.  But I searched what I could search—my room—before checking out, and discovered the button in the darkest corner of the closet, glinting back at my Light app like a mouse’s eye.  I felt (as one does) disproportionately elated.  I swear it hadn't been there the first six times I looked.  Don’t you love happy endings?

I heard four remarkable readings.  Sonya Taaffe gave us intense shards of poetry and a short story about the post-punk tutelary spirit of a Birmingham canal; Lila Garrott read from their astonishing misfits-in-Utopia novel-in-progress, which is stranger than you can imagine, and utterly lucid; Kathleen Jennings read part of an Australian Gothic novella about an outback town invaded, all but strangled, by alien intrusive flowers, and a tale of a wandering exile oneirically entangled in a Briar-Rose-like labyrinth.  And the peerless John Crowley read from his essential mythic tale of an immortal crow, Ka : Dar Oakley in the ruin of Ymr.  It will be out at last in September!  He gave me an ARC!  Calloo!

For all the brilliance, all the wisdom, wit, and passion lavished on the dizzying array of panels, the hour I remember most vividly was the hilarious Terrible But Great, on irresistibly awful books.  What a hoot!

Of my own panels, Good Influences and Sororal Fantasies were simply a joy; and I plume myself on getting through the Deaths of Gods with James Morrow and Max Gladstone without being cut to ribbons intellectually.  It was like jumping into Double Dutch with lasers.  But I sideslipped the Tetragrammaton:  I went pagan, and talked about the voice from the island crying, “The great Pan is dead,” and about walking down through San Clemente in Rome, from Baroque exultation, down through mediaeval austerity, the abyssal ἰχθύς of the catacombs, the rock-hewn and bull-blooded temple of Mithras, down to the ever-welling spring.

And my reading—always the locus of hope and anxiety—went quite well.  There were more than a handful in the audience:  they listened intently, laughed at the right places, and asked impassioned questions.  They loved the scene I hadn’t read before, about John Donne’s wife and daughter and the compasses.  And wonder of wonders, I have a recording!  As many of you know, Readercon has been recording its panels and readings for decades, way back to wax cylinders (for all I know), and squirreling them away in a vault somewhere.  Possibly in catacombs.  After the apocalypse, I imagine they’ll be used to recreate civilization from scratch.  Gods help us all.   I’ve been asking forever and ever where the archived recordings go.  Some of us would love to revisit fondly remembered hours.  (There was that panel on language when Crowley recited the first page of Lolita...)  This time, the sound guy (there's only one, racing about like an electron) said, Sure.  Got a USB stick?  I had, and he just popped the files onto it.  Golly.

The bookroom is simply paradise.

Over the four days, I had lively and engaging conversations with (among others) [personal profile] ashnistrike , [personal profile] sovay , [personal profile] rushthatspeaks , [personal profile] gaudior , [personal profile] yhlee , [personal profile] negothick , Crowley, Michael Swanwick and Marianne Porter, Glenn Grant, Michael Damian Thomas, and too little time with John Clute and Liz Hand, Chip Delany, and Suzy McKee Charnas.  Long may they all continue!  Oh, and the little Fox came on Sunday and charmed everyone.  He's just learned to wave bye-bye, and has acquired an enchanting deep chortle when you fly him overhead.

Then I tottered home and slept eleven hours...

Nine
Friday, July 21st, 2017 12:01 pm
As is our wont, Lisa and I went to the local Fire Board meeting. The first part was nice: the district holding "badging" ceremonies for the newest fire-fighter to pass his probationary period, followed by the formal badging of the department's first-ever captains. They managed to figure out how to budget for three captains so that the Chief didn't have something like thirty direct reports (an untenable situation IMO). After the ceremonial stuff, which ended up delaying the start of real business for close to an hour, they got down to work. But the Main Event item was being presented by one of the more boring people I've met, and even though he admitted up front that he "talks in circles," the Chair of the meeting didn't tell him to get to the point when he rambled along. After nearly an hour of this rambling, abetted by the board members failing to stay on point themselves, and everyone simply repeating the arguments over and over again, Lisa and I gave up and went home. This is too bad because there were other things on the agenda about which we were interested, but at that point it looked as though they were going to be there all night arguing about whether to grant the local raceway a permit to hold a "fire lantern" festival.

My hours don't allow me to stay up late on weeknights. We walked home and I went to bed, possibly going to sleep faster by envisioning the ongoing drone of repetitive debate.

When I preside over the Business Meeting, if a speaker is going in circles, I've been known to intervene and say something like, "Could the member come to a point?"

It was the meeting-induced sleep that led to me not posting anything yesterday, which is a rarity for me because I do try to post something daily if I get a chance.
Friday, July 21st, 2017 12:30 am
I just got to a series of posts from 2014 Wiscon harassment meltdown. Ah, memory lane.
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 04:28 pm
Previous models set first occupation significantly later. Much earlier and the first humans on the path to Australia would have left footprints in the still-cooling ashes of the Toba eruption.
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 12:18 pm
Sometime in the late sixties, I was in my local newsagent's in a small town in the north of England when I saw a copy of Analog. I had heard of the magazine as my local library had anthologies from it, but I'd never seen a copy before.

When I started Leeds university in 1970, I discovered it was usually available from W.H. Smith's in the railway station and I started collecting it. And when I got to London after graduating it was easily available at Smith's all over town, not to mention the speciality bookshops like Forbidden Planet.

Sometime in the early nineties, this stopped but I found I could order it from Andromeda. When they went out of business, I discovered I could now subscribe to it from the publisher's website and have been doing so ever since. (Although issues do seem to occasionally go astray and I have to contact their customer service team to get replacements.)

I was in W.H. Smith's just now and there were several copies of the July/August issue of Analog on their magazine racks. I haven't seen that for over twenty years!
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Thursday, July 20th, 2017 11:24 am
 ...seems to be an attempt to weaken most of Britain's human rights protection. There's a petition against it here:

https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/save-our-rights

spread the word.

gacked from [personal profile] history_monk 


Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 10:12 pm
Reliable sources report the death of Jordin Kare.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 11:21 am
Because some private correspondence shows me that not everyone with a concern about WSFS politics is aware of it, let me make it clear that the people managing the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki are:

Chair: Kevin Standlee
Deputy Chair: Donald Eastlake III
Secretary: Linda Deneroff
Timekeeper: Paul Dormer
Videographer: Lisa Hayes

WSFS Division Head: Michael Lee

I take no offense that not everyone knows I was chairing this year. I am, however, proud of my ongoing accomplishment, as this will be the fifth country in which I've presided over WSFS. (Scotland, USA, Canada, and Japan — the last pictured in my user icon here — are the earlier ones.) I don't think other past WSFS Chair has more than two countries under their belts. I hope to justify the Worldcon 75 committee's faith in my ability.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 05:37 pm
The "Great Repeal Bill" is trying to chip away at human rights protection for UK citizens. I'm amazed that the Tories think this is a good idea; do they expect to be in power forever? Petition from 38 Degrees here
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Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 10:00 am
It turns out you can connect Calibre directly to Project Gutenberg.

Having downloaded a bunch of public domain books, I then went looking for the proper cover art. Interestingly, although I am convinced I owned mid-1970s editions of both Blackman's Burden and Border, Breed nor Birth, I can find no evidence those editions actually existed.

Another interesting thing. This is the list of science fiction books on PG and this is the list of science fiction works by women on PG.
Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 07:32 pm
Linda Deneroff has completed the minutes of the Westercon 70 Business Meeting and the updated for 2017-18 (thus for Westercon 71) version of the Westercon Bylaws & Standing Rules. We've updated the Westercon Business Page with the latest versions of the documents and "demoted" last year's information to the "Past Papers" version of the site.