Stir the Pot

I don’t like to stir the pot. Primarily because I’ve discovered that the best slow cooker involves a pressure cooker and only 20 minutes!

But today I’m definitely stirring the pot with a big ol’ wooden spoon (we ran out of wooden assterisks, sorry) because Worldcon just went and jumped the shark.

If you’re a longtime reader of Mad Genius Club then you know that some of the members here have had, ah, issues with past Worldcon committees. Especially after the boondoggle of Sad Puppies 3 (link here)(and here)(and also here), quite a number of us simply decided to quit playing the stupid awards game and get back to writing. I know I did, since I asked Kate Paulk to not list anything I’d written that year for Sad Puppies 4, and publicly asked to not be nominated for the Campbell Award in my second year of eligibility. We’ve also run into a few “us vs them” mentalities on both sides, and I’m pretty sure that most of the MGC simply want to read entertaining science fiction and fantasy, so… there’s that.

Recently the term “concern troll” made it into my lexicon. For a guy who earned his spurs on USENET, 4chan, and various other forums, I’d actually never heard of the term before. Once I delved into it’s meaning, however, it quickly became obvious that yes, it makes sense and HOLY CRAP people are concerned for other people’s safety because they might not agree with them politically and the best place to put them is a safe space! *pant pant pant* All in one breath, I’ll add.

Recently, science fiction author and self-proclaimed “leading Hispanic writer in SF” (I use quotes because we’re going to duel over that title one day… probably using rubber chickens and tortillas as projectile weapons) Jon del Arroz was banned from attending Worldcon 2018 in San Jose, CA. Now, Jon is… pushy, since he plays the same game that most of those who sought to discredit and destroy the Sad Puppies played. He understands how their minds work and pretty much goes right back at them with vigor, cheer, and sometimes even breathless exclamation!

The issue is really a two-part issue, but I seriously doubt that anyone is going to want to wait until February for me to finish this, so I’ll go ahead and plow on through it today.

The first issue is quite simple: Jon is local to Worldcon (he lives in the Bay Area) and was on the fence about going to the convention after claiming to have been doxxed (along with his children) by certain unidentified individuals. I remember Jon talking about this either at or shortly after Libertycon 30. At the time I didn’t really know what to think. I doubted that he would lie about something that could be so easily disapproved, but I also had a hard time believing that people who claimed to be on the side of good and equality would doxx one of the few male Hispanic authors out there in the SF&F community.  I was in a quandary — someone was lying, but who?

I chalked it up to convention jitters (it was Jon’s first Libertycon, and that much fun can overwhelm some attendees) and moved on. I stayed in contact with him, since we shared a few interests (he likes the A’s, and I’m a Braves fan, but we both agree to boo the Yankees and Dodgers), and we talked about potentially collaborating on a project down the road. Then Jon made a public query about the value of attending Worldcon. Quite a few of us were reasonably gun shy about it given our past dealings, but we also remembered that since the convention rotates every year, there was the distinct possibility that the attitude and professionalism of the San Jose team would be exemplary. I don’t recall if I said “give it a go”, but I do know that Jon decided to go ahead and buy his attending membership for him and his wife. He contacted the Worldcon 76 chairperson, Kevin Roche, on August 21, 2017 speaking about room rates as well as table rates when the dealer’s room tables went live. Jon expressed excitement about attending and everything seemed to be on the up-and-up.


In the correspondence you can see that on November 2, 2017, Jon expressed concern for the safety of his friends and family amidst the potentially hostile environment. Here he repeats his claim that his family has been doxxed in the past, and identifies them as members of the SFWA. Now, since the SFWA is a huge organization with lots of good people (and some bad) running around, this is sort of a blanket claim. Still though, the claim was made to the conchair well in advance of the Worldcon happening. Around 9 months, to be specific.

On December 22, 2017, Mike Glyer of File 770 contacted Jon via email and asked him if it were true that he was attending Worldcon. Jon confirmed this and Mike simply replied with “Goodbye Jon”.


Now, to any typical individual, this could be taken as a “short and sweet” response to end a conversation. I don’t like you, you don’t like me, but let’s be amicable. I’ve written many emails like this to coworkers and individuals over the years, so really there’s nothing to it. However, there is a strange sense of “finality” to the email, when one looks back in hindsight. Perhaps everyone is skittish since the world was going to end soon(ish)? Hard to say.

Quick addition: on December 20, 2017 Jon applied for membership of the SFWA. I can’t really see the benefit of the organization myself, since any org that claims to represent the author’s interests but lets in publishers and listens to their votes is kinda self-defeating, but Jon states multiple times that since it’s a 501c3 non-profit and insists that it helps authors, he should be able to join so long as he meets the requirements. Allegedly members of File 770 lost their collective minds over his joining, but I have yet to find evidence of this. Perhaps it happened and then was later deleted? Or it could have been other comments taken out of hand? At this point of the game, who knows?

On December 24, 2017 Jon made a Twitter post about his concerns regarding people using and abusing the Code of Conduct at Worldcon in order to justify banning him. He throws out a ridiculous argument that even saying “Hi” to someone can be construed as threatening. However, as much as it might pain some to admit it, he’s correct here, since any overzealous individual who is expecting to be verbally abused or attacked can misconstrue just about anything as “threatening”.


Jon’s concern about people trying to create problems is understandable, because this popped up on Facebook this past week:


Taken by itself, it’s harmless. But apply this standard to the one that is being forced on Jon, and it takes on a different vibe entirely.

Now, quite a few people would immediately point out that Jon is a dick at times and knows how to push the right buttons. He stirs the pot and some people simply don’t like him. I’ve attended enough conventions as a pro and as a fan to understand that if someone you know has a decent following, is known for stirring the pot, and is planning on attending, you keep an eye out for any concerns they might have so that you can nip any potential problems in the bud and take away any potential ammunition they might try to use to discredit your convention. I’ve seen this done to perfection at such cons like MidSouthCon, Penguicon, and Libertycon.

On January 2 2018, Jon received an email from the something called the Incident Response Team at Worldcon 76 (side note — I could not find a Lori Buschbaum on the convention committee and I don’t see any department within Worldcon that the IRT would fall under… maybe Ops or Members Services?) informing him that his attending membership has been revoked and instead he will receive a supporting membership. His right to attend the convention was banned after it was stated that he had made comments on his personal blog about walking into a hostile environment and expecting problems at Worldcon.


Now, this accusation is somewhat troubling, because I scoured Jon’s site while writing this and I cannot see any indication that this is the case. Primarily he talks about his excitement of going and how to nominate for the Hugos, and he does throw out the comment of “Trufans” and mentions a supporting voter block, but other than that it’s pretty harmless stuff. Okay, he taunts some when his qualifications are called in to play for the SFWA membership. He points out that he is eligible by their standards. Yeah, he probably could have been less of a dick about it, but I don’t blame him at this point. Still though, he hadn’t lost his excitement about attending quite yet. Again, past experience and all are negative, but for someone new to worldcon, this is probably all fascinating and thrilling.

Yes, I’m a jaded veteran. I probably like my coffee black because it matches the darkness of my soul and all that. Hail Santa!

Once word got out that Jon had been more or less “disinvited”, the feces struck the rotary impeller and exploded. People went onto Twitter and lauded the Worldcon’s decision, which smelled a little fishy. Why the emotional outpouring of support for a decision to ban someone who expressed concern over safety issues for friends and self? That just reeks of politics, and Woldcon is supposed to be above politics. Now, as a jaded veteran of the Hugos, I can say with all honestly that EVERYTHING about Worldcon is politics. They eat, drink, breathe, and fornicate politics. It’s what makes their happy little heads spin, and is primarily why I stopped paying attention to their inane pleas for money and support.


Screenshot on Jan 2, 2018 from Twitter

Why a grown man is concerned about face-to-face meeting with probably the friendliest author I’ve met at a con is beyond me. I’ve met probably thousands of authors over the years and, outside of Larry Correia, the most gregarious and open to conversation with just about anyone is Jon.

However, this in itself is not that annoying. Many people in today’s society have discovered that passive-aggressive attacks lobbed from a keyboard are far more effective than dealing with a potential problem face-to-face. What is annoying and really has me riled up is the following quote from Worldcon 76’s Facebook page explaining Jon’s expulsion and violation of the Code of Conduct.

Worldcon 76 has chosen to reduce Jonathan Del Arroz’s membership from attending to supporting. He will not be allowed to attend the convention in person. Mr. Del Arroz’s supporting membership preserves his rights to participate in the Hugo Awards nomination and voting process. He was informed of our decision via email.

We have taken this step because he has made it clear that he fully intends to break our code of conduct. We take that seriously. Worldcon 76 strives to be an inclusive place in fandom, as difficult as that can be, and racist and bullying behavior is not acceptable at our Worldcon. This expulsion is one step towards eliminating such behavior and was not taken lightly. The senior staff and board are in agreement about the decision and it is final. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to share them here or in email at

Edit to add permalink to the notice on the Worldcon 76 site (it can be found via navigating through the news link on the left sidebar).

I italicized, underlined, and made bold that one sentence for a very particular reason. Because later on IN THE SAME GORRAM THREAD they make the following statement:

Worldcon 76 in San Jose He’s been asked to provide more information about the threats against his safety. We have not yet received anything. General ‘I feel unsafe’ is not actionable.

Excuse my language for our younger readers here, but WHAT. THE. F*CK?!?!

Then, after being called out for the hypocrisy, this post appeared at the end of the thread:

Worldcon 76 in San Jose This thread is now over. If people persist in posting to it they will be banned from the page.

This is a link to a Twitter thread that is, ah, enlightening. To sum it up? Most of the people watching from the outside are questioning Worldcon’s antics, methodology, and agenda, since they continue to ban people who argue and ask pointed and uncomfortable questions while Jon had let it be all out in the open.

I’m not going to say that Worldcon is hiding anything, but… well… ahh… this is awkward.

Well then, I’ll go right ahead and pick it up here, since you’re afraid to, Worldcon. Don’t worry, I won’t let the big scary Hispanic guy invade your safe space. TRUTH is on OUR side!

In a world where hate-crimes lurk around every corner to jump out and attack an innocent bystander, where thought-crimes are perpetuated against the children born in the 70’s and 80’s every single minute of every single day, there is a place you can go where everyone who thinks proper thoughts and only hates the proper hate. Where dirty minorities who refuse to comply with the thought monitoring are excluded, and white people can ensure that their lowly people of color acquaintances (“No, really, I have a ton of black friends…”) can have extra help because they obviously aren’t good enough to pull themselves up by their own merits. The place where victims of sexual assault of famous people are not welcome but kiddy diddlers are protected, venerated, and adored.

That place? Worldcon!

(I feel so dirty…)

The second issue (I told you I’d get to it) involves Worldcon’s past, their present, and their admittedly bleak looking future. Until the Sad Puppies campaign kicked off… 6? 7? years ago, Worldcon had some seriously dwindling numbers, and the Hugos were even suffering harder. It almost appeared that a lot of in-crowd voting and not-so-subtle eye winks were going on during the nomination and voting process. Now, that’s been hashed to death (and, if you believe how viciously Larry was attacked by those disagreeing with him, proven), so I’m not going to go back over that. Instead, I want to look at the actual soul of Worldcon proper.

It’s freaking dark, man.

Somehow, somewhere, a convention that began as a way for us outcasts, nerds, geeks, dorks, and everyone even remotely not-vanilla had its very soul hijacked by those who would use it as a vehicle to push their own thoughts and hide their own horrid deeds behind what one could call A Thin Nerd Wall. It only got worse for them this past December when Moira Greyland Peat’s autobiography was released by Satan Himself, Vox Day.

“Who is Moira Greyland Peat?” you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you. Moira Greyland Peat is the daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley, child abuser, child rapist, and definitely not “mother of the year”, and Walter Breen, convicted pederast and longtime member and attendee of Worldcon… where he actively groomed and hunted his prey, typically young boys from the ages of 7 up to 14. And was protected by his fellow Worldcon attendees for over 20 years, and some even supported his habits. Check out what is typically referred to in fandom as the great Breendoggle, but you better have a strong stomach and a lot of time for reading.

To this day people vociferously defend Marion Zimmer Bradley — at least they did until Moira’s book came out. This leaves a very dark stain on Worldcon’s soul, one that will not come out as long as people who have differing opinions are excluded and/or banned from attending. This stain is horrific, unsightly, and has yet to go away.

More recently, the attacks on authors who do not toe the line has gotten more childish and damaging. Besides authors being publicly ostracized and accused of racism for questioning certain “truths”, individuals have used the Worldcon and Hugo Award ceremony for their own grandstanding. Even a so-called “elder statesman” of science fiction and fantasy, David Gerrold, used the Hugo Awards ceremony to hand out wooden assholes to everyone who was a finalist and not a Sad Puppy.


He called them asterisks. It was almost clever.

There is no other way to put it — Worldcon’s behavior over the past 40 years is vile and disgusting, and it does not appear to be getting any better. I am very happy that they finally decided to protect those who would be harmed by sexual predators. In this, they also decided to swing the pendulum the complete opposite way and make it unwelcoming to anyone who does not share their beliefs 100% of the time. Now they will ban those who are worried that their families and personal attacks and are prepared to take safe, non-violent measures to protect themselves from harm and/or slander and libel.

If you have nothing to hide, then why not let everyone see?

Why not, indeed? Or are they afraid of what might rise to the surface when people stir the pot?


Coming January 12, 2018 from Anticipation Press

Devastator, Book 2 of The Warp

By Jason Cordova


243 thoughts on “Stir the Pot

  1. *imagines Jon and Jason hurling tortillas and insults at eachother as a mariachi group plays a version of “Dueling Banjos” off to the side* I need more caffeine.

    1. I have the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in my head with Larry and Sarah setting up in 2 more corners for this multi-sided Tortillas Fight 🙂

      1. Well Larry will bring heavy artillery, and the good Ms. Hoyt is always quick with a flying carp, so it should get interesting.
        Fish tacos anyone?
        Oh, and both Larry and Sarah will tell you that they’re not really Hispanic, they’re Portuguese.

        1. Except I am kind of hearing not appropriate for the theme music here. In the Hall of the Mountain King. From a totally wrong part of the world, that one.

      1. Sarah would throw bacalhau, and all of the bystanders would have to duck. (That stuff can get hard and pointy!)

        But would our resident Spaniard be throwing corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or the potato and egg omelette thing the Castellanos call tortillas?

      1. Okay, since Jon and I are both attending Libertycon, let’s do a charity fundraiser!

        What we’ll need:
        -Two wooden horses for the jousting with rubber chickens event
        -Two packets of soft tacos – corn for Cordova, flour for Del Arroz (the heathen)
        -a mariachi band (not required)

        People can lay bets on who will win, with the proceeds going to Libertycon’s charity for this year, which is being picked next month by the concom, and the winnings will be donated in the victor’s name. The loser will state in front of everyone that the victor is the definitive leading Hispanic voice in science fiction.

        What do people think? Yes, or no?

        1. I like the suggestions for how the duel should proceed, and that this be a charity fundraising event. ^_^ How do you determine, however, the winner for the soft taco melee? Have Larry or Sarah judge who looks more like an exploded corpse at the end of it? The winner should get a little cactus wearing a sombrero and holding a toy book and pen as the award. Perhaps one of the ones that dance when it gets music playing.

          1. It shall be determined on a point system – 3 points head shot, 1 point body, -1 for hitting the sombrero (because damaging such a cultural icon would harm our standing in the Hispanic community).

            1. Oooh. Good idea.

              Actually this WOULD be a good idea. The whole concept is tongue in cheek and humorous, and serves a good cause in the end.

              Perhaps the cactus plays mariachi music too.

              And since we’re laughing at the stereotypes anyway, perhaps the whole thing should be started with an obstacle course – you’ll need to climb a wall to get your weaponry… tacos… rubber chickens…

  2. is the “in a world where” paragraph supposed to be read in Movie Trailer Guy’s voice?

  3. Yes, Jon can be annoying at times (sorry Jon!) but if we start banning people from cons for being annoying, their attendance numbers will plummet. There’s someone I know from some local cons who is annoying as heck, but I mostly manage to avoid the guy. I certainly wouldn’t ban him.

    1. For once, I think brutal honesty is called for…. we’re geeks. We are annoying.

      If someone is not annoying you, it just means you’ve got complementary geekdoms, or they’re LARPing as a normal adult.

      1. Jon is a super nice guy in person. Online? Like all of us, SPOILERS! Oh man oh man does he really get on people’s nerves.

        I have thick skin. I just laugh at his claim of being the leading Hispanic voice in SF, because we all know that’s Larry Correia. We are mere understudies who seek to supplant the man.

  4. I wouldn’t go now. Just the sight of me alone would probably scare these delicate flowers and make them run back to their rooms to change their shorts. Every time I talk to a cop he seems to need to put his hand on the grip of his gun to feel safe. I can’t imagine these unarmed civilians could do anything but flee to a safe place, like the bathroom in their suite. I’d feel bad to clear out the public spaces.

  5. I saw the FB post on the Worldcon 76 page. The moderator posted multiple times “This thread is closed (later adding ‘and if you continue to post, you will be banned’) but they never locked the thread.

    Why would they not lock the thread?
    If you don’t want more comments, you lock the thread. I’ve SEEN threads locked before, so I know it is theoretically possible.
    Or you can DELETE the thread, if the whole thing is really gone sideways.
    But, the last time I checked (which was a day or so, admittedly), they hadn’t locked the thread.

    If the Hugo meant anything to me anymore, I would offer conjecture as to why the moderator would persist in saying that if you made any comments on a thread, you would be banned, but did not make it IMPOSSIBLE to make comments. However, they are no longer worth the energy I would have to expend.
    I have books to read.

    1. Running late for work, so can’t offer any conjectures either, but would like to say that it is a, shall we say, curious choice, and leave it at that.

    2. My guess is that it’s also a way to build a list of wrongfans who will be banned in the future.

      1. Which is why Worldcon and every member of the concom, individually, needs to be sued under “public accommodation” laws. Make this crap expensive, and it will stop.

  6. Worldon/Hugos is pretty much dead to me after Spokane. Never again will they get so much as a dime from me. For an organization that supposedly runs each con independently they sure end up with the same awful occurring repeatedly.

    1. I find myself in complete agreement. That obscenity of an awards ceremony along with the asterisk insult were enough to destroy any last vestiges of respect I held for a once great institution. As a popular saying goes, the current controllers running Worldcon and the Hugos killed it, skinned it, are now wearing its hide, and are demanding the respect that they never themselves earned.

  7. I’ve met Jon Del Arroz in the flesh, at LibertyCon. At the time, I was exhausted, in serious pain despite painkillers (they help with the knee, but not migraines), and being forced to be social when I was completely peopled out – and doing my best to be pleasant and polite because I was out in public, interacting with readers and fans of Peter and JL Curtis, and that’s what professionals do. Given I was not exactly in top shape, you’ll understand how impressive it was that I didn’t find him annoying, upsetting, or abrasive at all.

    Jon was cheerful, enthusiastic, and just generally thrilled to be there, meeting authors and fans alike. He had the same “My people! I found my people!” attitude on Day…3? That most of us feel on anticipation of going, or in the first 4 hours of getting to our home con. While abrasive online, he’s very polite in person. (Not an unusual combination.)

    I can say with absolute certainty, based on in-flesh and online interactions, that if WorldCon didn’t want a problem, all they had to do was be polite to Jon. He’d be polite first, and polite in return. However, that requires taking the high road and acting civilized. When you’re dealing with a bunch of people who pride themselves on social ranking by claiming more victim status points, and praise tantrum-throwing, greed, envy, and lust as virtues – that may not be possible.

    That doesn’t mean the fault lies on Jon’s end. Much as it pains those who find him overly abrasive, he basically got banned for potentially being the adult in the room.

    1. As I recall you and Peter were both ill and in pain, and your schedule for the con was turned upside down once there when you discovered added responsibilities due to Peter’s new status as a Baen author. You and he both were professional and gracious and carried through as best you were able.
      Given the change in venue this coming year perhaps the LC experience will be a tad less frenetic. Looking forward to seeing you both there.

    2. I can say with absolute certainty, based on in-flesh and online interactions, that if WorldCon didn’t want a problem, all they had to do was be polite to Jon. He’s be polite first, and polite in return.

      That. Very much that.It seems that the chattering CHORFs of WorldCon simply cannot pass up any opportunity to take the low road.

      1. “.It seems that the chattering CHORFs of WorldCon simply cannot pass up any opportunity to take the low road.” – which is why having it recorded was so AWFUL. Because they couldn’t just make up accusations and have him punished.

      2. They weren’t going to be. There were posts indicating that they planned to harass him RL, and the danger was they were going to be recorded doing that, so they ban the target and victim of harassment, because – remember – the vileprogs protect their scum and criminals because those lower denizens of their foul hive are useful for them.

    3. I suspect part of it is that you were being a grown-up, and probably don’t notice it anymore than that you were breathing.

      An awful lot of people get upset when they’re rude, and people react like they’re being rude.

      Sometimes, that’s justified– heck, it’s basic manners, my grandma always said the only thing ruder than being rude was CALLING ATTENTION to someone else being rude.

      Sometimes, it’s patching an exploit– there are a lot of people who have run on never living by manners *themselves,* or by only living according to proper manners when they feel like it. (which is roughly the same– a law against murder won’t restrict me much when I don’t wanna kill anybody!)
      I suspect, though I’ve no interaction with him, that Jon may be a little hair-trigger on the latter. Given how much stuff I’ve looked back at ten years later and suddenly realized “hey, wait! That person was lying— they weren’t really innocent and just doing their best!” that is defensible.

    4. Should you find yourself in such a problematic (pained) situation again and I am present, please do not hesitate to ask for whatever assistance you might require – even if (especially if) it is best summed up, “go away.”

  8. The whole thing is pretty pathetic. All they had to do was ignore Jon, but their sense of drama wouldn’t let them. Since they can’t reconcile the idea of a Hispanic Trump supporter with their view of the universe, they have decided he’s not really “Hispanic” (love the many times they use quotation marks) and a racist Nazi. Morons.

    1. They probably got plenty of practice with “not Hispanic” during the George Zimmerman trial, where the accused became a “white hispanic” in spite of being nothing of the sort, and at that a strong supporter of the Democratic Party.

      Apparently, though, “black thug” is more Victim(tm) than Hispanic, and thus the defense of a gansta wannabe over someone who was just defending himself against an assault.

      This is not to say that Zimmerman was angelic, mind you. Just that any flaws he may have (I dunno, and don’t really care) in no way justify the literally homicidal* vitriol leveled against him by the left.

      * Not meant in the “Literally Hitler” sense used by leftists, for the record, but the actual definition of “literally” given the numerous death threats directed towards him indirectly or otherwise.

      1. So the ‘Best Hispanic Nazi Science Fiction’ anthology published by Hispanic Nazi Identity Press is a complete fabrication?

      2. My guess was that case became a big deal due to Zimmerman’s last name. The press jumped before looking, and by the time everybody found out he was not quite the blue eyed Aryan type that name sounds like it was too late to backtrack, so we got “white Hispanic” and such excuses. If he had been named something like Jose Lopez we most likely would never have seen any news, much less news of such caliber that they got to the newspapers also in my country.

        And yep, the first and for quite a while there was no mention of Zimmerman’s background or what actually happened, the thing as I first read it did pretty much paint a picture of some very white idiot shooting a young black kid who was just walking home because racism.

        1. From the photographs released by the police, if the media had seen them first they wouldn’t have touched it with a ten foot pole– the race-feuding between black and Mexican gangs is basically untouchable as a subject, and they would’ve assumed that’s what it was.
          If folks are interested, look into some interviews Bryan Suits did of a researcher who figured out that firebombings of middle-class black families in SoCal was honest folks getting caught in gang warfare– ditto some random shootings of guys on the way to work, stopping for coffee. They were a three day wonder, but as soon as the news figured out what had happened it got dropped fast.

          I can’t even really blame the reporters– their names and addresses are out there, and while we haven’t had anything like the “open the door to find your daughter crucified to it” happening in the US, it’s only a matter of time before the horrors make it up here, barring some major changes in policy.

          1. We haven’t had anything like that in the United States that you or I know of.

            1. I probably would’ve heard about it, because of the terrorism word-of-mouth networking. (Nobody wants to be the guy who didn’t pass on the word about a terrorist, these days, so even some really dumb stuff gets passed in warnings, just because the guy who did it hasn’t been stopped.)
              Closest thing I’ve heard of was more “normal” gang warfare, which tends to get smacked down because it gets really nasty attention from law enforcement, even if the news won’t cover it. (Notice the lack of random middle-class black families being firebombed lately, and the sudden stop in the “guy shot at gas station on the way to work.” There were…what, five of them one year? All in the same area, too.)

              We’re actually getting a lot of protection by law enforcement that never makes the news. Some of the cartel guys that start crossing the border, and then suddenly stop, are freaking scary. I’m terrified that some idiot will pop up and decide to “save money” by removing the “useless guards” on the border. Great, my kids will probably be OK, they don’t go to school– but we care about other folks, too.

            2. Shorter, and brain dumped example of a case where somewhat-cartel style violence was used:
              in the US it’s so freaking unusual that they were able to make a national sensation out of that drug running druggy who got dragged to death by an ex-lover and drug dealer, without even paying attention to the lover angle.

            1. Oh, gads, what’d I miss, and is it likely to explode? I was basically on media lockdown with family, granddad couldn’t have his nose in his phone so nobody could…..

              1. On Thanksgiving, several major media outlets ran a story about how homeless shelters in Pasadena and Long Beach were seeing record numbers of people showing up for thanksgiving dinner, and the story tried to make a really big thing of it.. and then it really didn’t happen everywhere else, so they dropped the story quick. Basically, the story tried to blame the economy and political climate- which i am sure is meant to be a swipe at Trump, but ends up being a swipe at CA… so they shut up about it real quick.

                1. During a cold spell… a warm state with generous homeless benefits…had high numbers of visitors.


                  Thank you. I was afraid there’d been something like the neo-aztec activity going on.

                  1. in a state with increasing low-income unemployment (because of the new minimum wage laws) etc etc… y’all know how the economy has improved in the last year or so? well, it has mostly skipped CA.

  9. Wrote to WorldCon asking about their attendee policy and whether they’d be excluding sex offenders.

    Their response? “We have no further comment on the issue. Our original statement, as well as our choices of Guests of Honor help to demonstrate our commitment to diversity.”

    Huh, I didn’t realize that sex offenders = diversity (maybe diversity of sexual proclivities?), just shows how little I know.

  10. Maybe, Larry Correia could have Monster Hunters International go to the WorldCon; lots of monsters there. Make a fun read, I betcha, I betcha.

    1. Since the Christmas Party event, they only allow MCB to assassinate person’s involved with cults. MHI and others take a hands-off approach unless necromancy is confirmed.

      …wait… oh. OH. Oh my.

  11. Dear cthonic gods below I can’t follow all this: I’ve got a day job and writing of my own to do!

  12. Eric and I have only attended the last three WorldCons (Sasquan, MidAmeriCon II, and WorldCon75), but we had a good time at all three. We’d expected the first one to be buzzing with conflict, but to our surprise the Puppy stuff almost never came up. These things really are 99% about meeting authors, attending panel discussions, and chatting with other fans about SFF. The other 1% may be enough to ruin it for you, of course, but, for the most part, they’re fun, happy occasions.

    It’s certainly true the the various Puppy campaigns have helped WorldCon attract new members. Eric and I would never have attended one if it hadn’t been for all the publicity. (That plus the fact we could drive to Sasquan.) WorldCon75 actually had to turn people away at the doors. Sometimes any publicity is good as long as they spell your name right.

    I agree that WorldCon has been too quick to ban people in the past. For example, I was in the audience for the famous Short SF panel at MidAmericon where Dave Truesdale tried to use his position as chair of the panel to change the topic to the impact of politically correct speech on short SF. I felt his abused his position, but I thought the Con was mistaken to expel him for it, and I said so at the time. (Even though I got heat for it on File 770.)

    In this case, I saw the post from Jon Del Arroz saying that he intended to bring a hidden camera into the SFWA suite in hopes of tricking authors he didn’t like into saying embarrassing things on the record. That suite is a place where (among other things) new authors can hope to get quality time with famous authors. If people thought Jon was going to do something like that, the famous authors would likely just stay away. I can see how lots of people would be furious with him, and I’m not surprised the Con decided to just ban him. I don’t know the details, of course, so it might have been something more than that, but that would have been enough for me.

      1. I don’t know about you, but at this point I’m more inclined to believe in the Tooth Fairy than that people supporting Jon’s banning are in any way actually concerned about honesty or integrity.

        (Yes, this is smearing those who are simply working off of incorrect information, but at this point I have no problem with “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas” after the years of that same standard being applied to anyone to the political right of Chairman Mao when some random right-winger makes a stupid statement.)

        1. (The above in reply to Foxfier, since the site’s comment indentation doesn’t make it clear.)

        2. Eh, I’m willing to let folks give evidence.

          After the last dozen or so time that I went looking for an incident, and found that it was far enough out that I couldn’t find a charitable justification for how exactly they’d come to that characterization (for example, the “rape threats” that were someone on twitter being told to go f themselves, or “death threats” that were variations of eat s*** and die) I am no longer willing to do the leg-work for other folks’ claims.

      2. I don’t have a link for the comment about the SFWA suite but here is an example from his personal blog:
        “This is exactly why I have to wear a body cam to go to the con to begin with, some of these folk will almost certainly try to frame me for a crime, and I will have evidence to the contrary. Worldcon needs to step it up and make sure I’m protected from these crazies so my friends and fans can have fun.”

        That was December 26 2017.
        Jon clearly did indicate on his personal blog that he expected a hostile environment to the extent that he thought that it was ‘almost certain’ that he would be framed for a crime.

        Was Jon being funny, exaggerating for effect, using hyperbole? Yeah, probably knowing Jon. However, he did overtly demand that Worldcon take steps to ensure that those events didn’t occur.

        1. I had seen links to comments like you mention– which makes total sense in light of multiple, well publicized false claims that were only dropped after it was publicly pointed out that there was video and more details were sought so they could go to the tape, so to speak.

          That is not like what this guy (Eric, I believe?
          on the wordpress addon, so I can’t check) claimed happened, so… waiting for some sort of support for the claim, even if it’s a link to Jon saying something like “I wanna wear a body cam so I can catch it when people act like fools,” which could be interpreted as Eric did, while not being a massive change from prior evidence seen.

          1. I believe the con-suite comments were on Twitter. I could just ask Jon I suppose – I don’t think there’s really a factual dispute that he said it.

            I think the comment I linked too (which doesn’t mention the con suite) is more relevant as it can be reasonably read as Jon saying that he expected the con to be very hostile and more than just people arguing over who said what but Jon believing that he’d be framed for crimes.

            Taken at face value that is a serious concern. If Jon’s concerns were valid then the organisers of the con would have a legal duty of care to ensure Jon’s safety but at the same time Jon’s claims are too vague to be actionable.

            Put another way – politics aside, what would you do if you were running a convention and an attendee told you they expected to be framed for a crime at your con and that you had to prevent that happening? [genuine question]

            1. I am sorry, but no, your quote is not relevant to investigating the specific claim from Greg (sorry for not remembering the name before):

              In this case, I saw the post from Jon Del Arroz saying that he intended to bring a hidden camera into the SFWA suite in hopes of tricking authors he didn’t like into saying embarrassing things on the record.

              That is a very different situation from any so far discussed.

              And I am still waiting for any kind of evidence for this accusation.

              Starting to put it in the f-off and die category.


              As to the question you offer, if someone came to me with concerns that the exact same thing which had previously happened to others was going to happen to him, specifically, and further had a solution that had ended previous false accusations and wouldn’t cost me anything in time or effort, I would look into how to help him implement it.

      3. I guess this is where I really should have posted the link (or, better, added it to my original post). Sorry to have created a mess here.

        1. *crosses arms*

          You lied about a guy by claiming he had posted that he was hoping to trick innocents into causing themselves scandal, and when challenged you offer that he wanted video in case of trouble?

          I don’t know if you’re malicious or just have that bad of judgement, but I shall have to remember to get primary sources from you from now on.

          1. This tweet is what most people think is why they banned him. You can read Adam-Troy Castro’s comments on Facebook to see how authors took it. I don’t think I can give you more than that.

        2. When I see what happened with Truesdale, and with the Honey Badgers a few years ago, recording yourself at a convention seems like a good idea if you think there might be people trying to look for reasons to boot you.

          1. ESPECIALLY since the people who banned the Honey Badgers, who were the actual victims, tried to get them arrested later on under spurious claims.

            Hell, with what’s been going on body cams being part of standard every day kit seems like a smart idea, especially if you’re conservative, or a straight white male.

            1. Watch, wallet, Leatherman, guns, phone, bodycam. The camera looks like a fat pen and rides in my shirt pocket.

              There are cameras much smaller than mine, but they generally expect to talk to a smartphone via Bluetooth. My 10-year-old dumbphone is tiny and the battery lasts for a couple of weeks between charges, but it doesn’t know anything about video.Or GPS, which is another reason I’m keeping it until it dies.

        3. OK, Greg. Let’s try running all of this through some dispassionate logic filters – something Fieldsy should have done…
          Let’s take this statement.
          “In this case, I saw the post from Jon Del Arroz saying that he intended to bring a hidden camera into the SFWA suite in hopes of tricking authors he didn’t like into saying embarrassing things on the record.
          1)A body cam is not exactly a ‘hidden cam’
          2) ‘tricking’ someone into saying ‘something embarrassing’ requires a) That they be unaware of the camera (see point 1) b)That you don’t tell the possible ‘victim’ of your ‘trick’ that you’re thinking of doing it. For instance: announcing your intent on a public forum like Twitter, especially when you are in frequent contact through this medium with ‘victim’ basically negates any possibility of this being a ‘trick’
          3) ‘Something embarrassing’? Have you actually THOUGHT about what could possibly BE ’embarrassing’? About the only _possible_ thing which does NOT already violate CoC would be if they admitted voting for… Trump. Or even not hating Trump supporters. That could indeed wreck their TradPub careers. But then Jon would like and support them and is unlikely in the extreme to embarrass them with it. No. The only possible ’embarrassment’ would require breaching the WorldCon CoC – for instance by a massive or abusive display of intolerance.
          4)Any breach of the CoC by Jon del Arroz (the only way to provoke an incident…) would be recorded, and therefore useless, because he show his own guilt too.

          Therefore the feeble ‘excuse’ of tricking someone into saying something embarrassing… fails at every possible level.

          So: If one assumes you are correct In this case, the fear of “saying embarrassing things on the record.” translates as “SFWA members intended to breach the CoC, but we are angry that we cannot do so with impunity.” And WorldCon’s committee actions support allowing SFWA to breach the CoC. That sounds like something fairly hard to justify claiming as anything but mind-numbingly stupid to me.

          Let us take the other possibility: That various SJW were in fact planning or would possibly use the lack of a record to make claims which would damage his reputation or claim he had infringed the CoC. Let’s apply logic to this.

          1) Has this happened before? Yes, repeatedly. Attacks – without substance – on the reputations, social standing and livelihoods of people the sf/fantasy SJW establishment dislikes are SOP. Irene Gallo’s ‘Nazi & Racists’ libel, the EW libel, Damien Walter’s libelous attack on me, among others. There are many well-documented instances of dishonest, vicious and malicious attempts to harm or damage innocent people for no other reason than that they don’t like or agree with them. It’s normal. It’s to be expected. Yes it is vile and unacceptable, but it’s what SJW’s do. Because the end justifies the means to them, and anyone who disagrees is ‘untermensch’.

          2)Has recording it prevented or limited this vicious but to be expected behavior? Yes. Various lies were flung at Dave Truesdale claiming he had breached CoC, His recording proved that it was vicious and deliberate abuse of the CoC to expel him. The liars suffered no penalties at all. NK Jemison was accusing Larry Correia of racism in panels at GenCon. When Larry pointed out that the panels were recorded, and challenged her to produce evidence… a deafening silence ensued. Once again the liar – who dishonestly tried to destroy or damage a writer’s reputation, social standing and livelihood – received no penalty (so SJWs may as well lie again and again to destroy people. They either succeed, or suffer no hurt) Neither she nor her shrieking chorus suffered any consequences for the sort of treatment that could destroy a man’s life.

          3)Is there any negative impact from recording? No. There are not even penalties for those revealed to be liars. Their CoC SWATing does not even lose them the slightest privilege. The recording will also show any breaches of CoC by the recorder. It’s a win for the con, a win for individuals who feel they’re threatened… It’s a loss to liars and abusers – but isn’t that GOOD thing? (Not if you support lies and abuse, I suppose. Is that a label you want to wear?).

          How any person of integrity can claim this is a ‘threat’ is hard to imagine. I guess that says it all about those who do.

          1. > That they be unaware of the camera

            If you’re in a convention center, a hotel, or a city street between the two, you’re on *someone’s* surveillance camera. It’s hard to get business insurance without it, nowadays. Audio might be iffy, but most mp3 players and phones will record audio.

            Even here in Hooterville where I live, cameras are everywhere.

            1. “If you’re in a convention center, a hotel, or a city street between the two, you’re on *someone’s* surveillance camera.”

              You of all people should know Terry, in your hotel, there’s always someone watching

    1. I don’t think he’d need to “trick” them into saying something embarrassing. I suspect it comes quite naturally to some of them.

    2. “That suite is a place where (among other things) new authors can hope to get quality time with famous authors. If people thought Jon was going to do something like that, the famous authors would likely just stay away. I can see how lots of people would be furious with him, and I’m not surprised the Con decided to just ban him. I don’t know the details, of course, so it might have been something more than that, but that would have been enough for me.

      January 5, 2018 Reply

      Foxfier #
      Link to check for actual phrasing?

      January 5, 2018 Reply

      imnohbody #
      I don’t know about you, but at this point I’m more inclined to believe in the Tooth Fairy than that people supporting Jon’s banning are in any way actually concerned about honesty or integrity.

      (Yes, this is smearing those who are simply working off of incorrect information, but at this point I have no problem with “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas” after the years of that same standard being applied to anyone to the political right of Chairman Mao when some random right-winger makes a stupid statement.)

      January 5, 2018 Reply

      Can you provide a link to said post please?

      1. OK, am not familiar with the new layout.

        Greg, can you provide a link to that post please?



    3. Hullender. Don’t ChinaMike Glyer us. You’re making a very serious accusation by hearsay and implication. Find the exact words that JDA used and quote them WITH the context. That or withdraw your comment.

        1. From the context, and where it was posted, it sounds like a lot of people have been reading between the lines and getting something completely different.

        2. You actually have to click on it to see the whole thread, but he says, “I will be recording with a bodycam for anyone who is thinking of hijinx :)”

          I’m pretty sure that’s the thread that triggered all of this.

          1. You claimed:
            I saw the post from Jon Del Arroz saying that he intended to bring a hidden camera into the SFWA suite in hopes of tricking authors he didn’t like into saying embarrassing things on the record.

            You offered:
            ‘Yay! I joined the scifi writer club! Oh, guys, yea there’s some jerks in it– but don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be a blast, and I’ll have video to protect me from the jerks.’

            At the absolute worse, it could be:
            ‘Mwahaha, I have joined the evil league of evil, I can’t wait for them to be evil on camera!’

          2. 1) As has been repeatedly stated ‘Body cam’ is NOT the same as ‘Hidden camera’.

            2) I have helped run a con (Assistant Director of Events, which means second in charge of all scheduling, panels, cosplay, and associated mayhem, on the fly changes and all similar craziness) that was about the same size as world con, especially before the Puppy revival. The proper reaction to all of this would have been to inform the individual whether consuites are private or public venues and that he should, when in doubt, ask before filming in such places until he knows their rules. Our convention didn’t have any sponsored (by anyone) ‘consuites’ or ‘conparties’ so it didn’t come up.

            3) World con should have addressed his concerns about his safety immediately. The proper thing to do would have been put him in contact with whomever was in charge of dealing with physical problems (For our convention it was Ops. Events dealt with organizational issues, Ops dealt with set up and anything that might touch on security, how that worked in detail depended on the physical venue.) Then the proper person would have known, probably asked him to check in when he arrived so he would recognize Mr. del Arroz, introduce him to various people, and had his people keep an eye on things so no trouble started. Simple. Not really upping anyone’s work load. (Ops kept a list of ‘things to watch out for’ already, and part of their job was to keep an eye out for trouble.) And reassures an attendee that his concerns are being watched for. If nothing happens then the 6’4″ brick wall of an ops director is happy. If things happen, well… the 6’4″ brick wall took volunteers who could handle trouble without it getting crazy if he needed back up or couldn’t be there himself.

            Side note: No, I will not tell you what convention this was. I’m not setting them up for the poo flinging monkeys to smear.

        3. I’m seeing 2 twitter messages, one recommending a hazmat suit and the other from JDA saying he is excited to go to the their con suite. Both of which bear as much actual reference to your accusation as a typical out of context ChinaMike (TM) statement.

          Did you read what I said?

          1. Those are the points where he said he’d be wearing attending the SFWA con suite. They aren’t the only places where he discussed wearing a body cam and why he’d be wearing one (see my links above). Reading between the lines isn’t required when Jon has actually explained his motives.

            1. Camestros – I seem to recall you also got yourself eventually banned from commenting here. Did you perhaps ask permission? Or, like ChinaMike and PNH do you think rules are for little people? And yes, you do have my permission to answer that specific question (no more) and in twenty words or less.

              1. or did something happened with the format change that they came unbanned?

                or, did they intentionally do something to circumvent the ban? which, technically, as i have stressed before- intentionally circumventing a site’s security measures in order to gain access after your prior access has been deliberately removed by the site administrators has a name, you know.

                1. //did they intentionally do something to circumvent the ban?//

                  Nope- this is my regular WordPress account, my regular Gravatar and my normal IP address (AFIK). I haven’t commented recently but only because I had nothing to say. If Dave banned me it must have come unstuck at his end. I’m far, far, far too lazy to circumvent security measures.

                1. You were banned, not IIRC by me but by one of the other senior members. And you promptly disappeared after commenting at length, fairly often – so you were aware of it.

                  (sigh) You think you’re being clever. It’s a delusion you have, Fieldsy. You and your partner are playing a very dangerous and foolish game. You think you’re too smart for the rubes to have it fall apart… but it will -sooner here, than in your usual circles. I’d prefer it not to happen on MGC. Go, and don’t come back. That’s actually a kindness from us.

                  1. And I apparently need to make my statement clearer… attempting to access a site or system you have been removed from, including by creation of alternate accounts or exploiting any loopholes in the system, can get you in trouble.

                    AKA… camelloophole, go away.

                    1. Depending on the states involved, it’s criminal harassment– deliberate circumvention of banning from a forum.
                      And yes, they did cover “the software changed and the ban list got lost.”

                  2. //You were banned, not IIRC by me but by one of the other senior members. //

                    Sorry, wasn’t aware of that and it appears they didn’t actually implement that. See you around elsewhere then.

      1. I am unsurprised by the hostile interpretation of Jon saying “I will be recording with a bodycam for anyone who is thinking of hijinx :)” because those who planned him ill are threatened by having their bad behaviour exposed.

        Only the vilest scum would screech about anyone trying to defend themselves, refusing to make themselves easy prey. Notably, they have not removed Jon’s wife’s membership… making her easy prey, given that she has been doxxed, along with her children. And given what we know of Worldcon and it’s protection of Breen… that is not a good thing to do.

    4. I will disagree with you, Greg.

      “I will be recording with a bodycam for anyone who is thinking of hijinx 🙂 ” is interpreted only as a threat by people who plan to harass someone and is afraid of being caught on camera, because then their harassment and bad behaviour would be exposed for all to see. It is clear that Jon himself was not going to be the bad actor here, and that he was warning that he would be protecting himself.

      Only people who planned him ill would be angered or threatened by his protecting himself, as all predators do.

      There is no ifs, buts or maybes about that, no matter how much cameltoe and vile770s chumsharks try to spin it.

      1. Hello everyone! I never intended or implied any “trickery.” I was told by several people I should wear a bodycam for my own protection — and as I said, that should prevent any hijinx. This is true because there were demonstrated threats to me which worldcon WAS aware of and refused to acknowledge, and also because of the industry professional threats against YouTuber Diversity & Comics, where professionals conspired to frame him for a crime to get him kicked out of NYCC. I didn’t want that happening here. Apparently Worldcon decided without ever talking to me, asking me to clarify what I meant, or whatnot, that they would up the ante. It’s politically driven and it’s obvious.

        1. I would like to take the opportunity to point out the obvious:

          Since Jon himself has come here to state his intentions – none of which involved trickery nor malice nor mischief – not one of his detractors, who have claimed to know his intent, have either

          1) apologized
          2) retracted their statements
          3)said anything further.

          It is rather telling that on the topic of ‘We know Jon’s mind better than Jon himself, as well as interpreting his words in the most twisted and malicious possible way’ when confronted with the truth we (unsurprisingly) see nothing other than general flight. For the defense of Worldcon’s actions, they have plenty to say and defend and obfuscate, but when presented with evidence contrary to their narratives, they flee like imps from a holy symbol.

          1. Pretty sure at least one has been re-banned, possibly another simply left when it was pointed out he’d been asked to leave before. Haven’t been keeping very close count once it became clear that what they said could not be trusted on even a light footing.

            They were willing to make wild claims based on statements only very tenuously related to what they claimed– that suggests they are acting in such bad faith that they’d be literally incapable of recognizing they are mistaken.

            They took a conversation where someone pointed out that some members of another group wished him ill, and his response with a sane solution to any problem short of maiming violence, and spun it into a conspiracy to entrap the innocent and publicly humiliate them.


            Pause for a moment and consider what kind of a situation they are generally in, where that is not destroyed by basic reality testing as a delusion of the highest order. I’ve known one person who was like that, and it was Silly B***h Dominance Games. Look at Hollywood and such with their belief that the powerful will use it to sexually use, or even abuse, those around them– I’ve known one person who used their authority as a temptation. Turns out, Hollywood, it’s fairly common.

            Suggests that their suspicions mimic what they believe “their” side would do, in a similar situation.

            One or two people, I’d waive it off as one of those random paranoia things– but here we’ve got several. With very similar assumptions of what one can rationally expect.

            1. Y’know, I’m almost willing to let Hullender off the hook about the above, because frankly if he said anything like an apology, the sharks would go after him again.

              The rest I don’t expect anything remotely close to ‘decent human being behaviour.’

              1. Shadow, the problem with rewarding any behavior, including cowardice, is that you get more of it.

                1. This is true, however *dry* we’re not the side that penalizes him for failure to adhere to ‘standards.’ We hold him to the standards of basic civility and courtesy and good manners, but whether or not he upholds that is up to him.

                  The worst he’ll do with each time he does this, is erode what respect he has earned (or we start thinking him a fool.) If he gets abusive or abrasive (which he doesn’t seem to do) or consistently lies he gets banned by the site admins because I’ve noticed we don’t abide by dishonesty.

                  But these are civilized responses.

                  We’re not the ones that beat him like a yellow dog for ‘misbehaviour.’

    5. I heard Jon say specifically the opposite, that he wanted to wear a webcam because people were threatening to approach him and goad him and, as the con had ignored his concerns, and he’s been repeatedly attacked already, he felt he had no other choice for his own protection.

  13. This kind of thing is why we call it a slippery slope. I think we all agree that Capital F “Fandom” is on a toboggan ride to Hell, there are just differing opinions as to their position on the hill.

    Jason apparently feels that this action of banning Jon del Arroz for Pre-Crime is their jump-the-shark moment. Others of us consider Sasquan the moment.

    For me the laugh-out-loud final straw has always been Vonda McIntyre’s “I’ll Walk With You” post, where she proposes an escort service for those at Sasquan feeling threatened by the eeeeevile of the Sad Puppies.

    For Larry Correia the last straw was when he actually -went- to a Worldcon and got a look at who was there and what they were doing. The result of that trip was Sad Puppies 1. Which was a lot of work, indicative of the extent to which they pissed him off. A busy man does not start a whole fricking internet campaign because he was mildly irritated.

    I figure this action, banning a guy purely because some club apparatchik doesn’t like him, puts WorldCon about halfway down the slope. The point of no return is long-since past, they have picked up some serious speed and they are really excited by the ride. Most of them haven’t realized that the dark patch down there at the bottom of the hill isn’t a frozen pond.

    WorldCon is no longer a convention of Science Fiction Fans. Hasn’t been since the 80s, at a guess. It is a convention for SJW hall monitors and block captains to meet, mingle and get their Breen on.

    The difference now is that they’ve been forced to stop lying about it, and we can all see them for what they are.

    1. At what point can we fairly label the WorldCon guestbook/attendance register the Pedonomicon?

    2. You really should attend a WorldCon sometime. Like I said, they’re mostly just plain fun. Sure, there will be panels on things you don’t like, but there are so many panels you can’t attend 20% of them anyway, so you just skip the ones you don’t like.

      I’m curious about LibertyCon this year. It’s hosted in my own home town (where I grew up), and I’ll be there for my niece’s wedding immediately after the Con, so we’ve been toying about attending it. Have you been?

      1. Would be interesting to meet you there. I may disagree with you on a lot of topics, but at least you come by your views honestly (I even have a post where I stuck up for you.).

        But you might want to keep a camera running when you next go to WorldCon. There are some folks the Pronoun Police will never forgive.

      2. Given the time on the ducking stool that you just went through, Greg, I’d be a fool to attend. Did you miss the part where Sad Puppies are fair game for harassment?

        I’m not a fan of being harassed. I’m old, and my patience with fools has long since been used up.

        I’ll give you an example. Tuesday I went to the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale. Immense collection, beautiful building. I took many pictures. The experience was like having a friend show me his super-cool instrument collection. I mean, they have Clara Rockmore’s theramin. So cool.

        Today I went to the Phoenix Art Gallery. Again, immense collection, beautiful building. The 16th/17th Century Dutch collection was amazing. There was a collection of architectural miniatures that was very nice indeed.

        But the modern-art section spoiled the rest. The experience was like seeing a schizophrenic screaming swearwords in the street. The art is mostly an effort to punch the viewer in the face. The animosity is palpable.

        That’s pretty much what I expect from WorldCon. I mean, what’s the best I can hope for if anybody knows who I am and what my views are?

        If I want to be sneered at by supercilious snobs I can go to the art gallery cheaper. $15 with the geezer discount.

        1. knowing the part of Phoenix the art gallery is in, it might have been a schizophrenic screaming swearwords in the street.

      3. I’ve been to a number of Worldcons, and Sasquan was almost my last one. And here’s the thing: I had fun. Right up until Saturday night, it was just about pure fun for me, and then the spite came out. And even then, it wasn’t much, but it was nasty, and I had to work to counteract it in people I had been having fun with. “The Puppies got put down,” was a phrase that came from someone who had previously been nothing but sweet, and there was malice in the tone.

        I’m going to ConJose. I expect to have a good time. But if the spite comes out again, it will be my last, even though I’m not the target. Because at a certain point, you have to wonder when they’re going to start coming for you.

        1. I’ve attended a worldcon and never had a problem. It makes it more suspect what they’ve done to me.

          1. We used to have a friend of the family who was, shall we say, somewhat incendiary online. But never cruel—just completely intolerant of deliberate idiocy and with a verbiage to match.

            It’s because of him that I learned about internet safety even before there was an internet, since people were threatening him and harassing him IRL because they didn’t like his opinions. Said opinions, FWIW, were usually about books or TV shows, so you can see the level of vitriol that was being flung about. (He always attended conventions pseudonymously.)

            He died in 2001. I sometimes think that if he’d lived, he would be one of the Big Bads™ and that I would be forever tarred by my association with him, simply because I refuse to denounce someone. (Certainly not without cause, and really, not even *for* cause, if said cause is nothing more than a difference of opinion and not an actual wrong.)

              1. It would certainly have been interesting. He was a master of the polysyllabic designed insult. Since I did not move in the circles he did, I don’t know offhand how much of his tuned verbiage was real and how much was imaginatively made up.

  14. I see from FB that mild-mannered Jim Butcher is getting ticked with these shenanigans. You know you done screwed up when someone who generally doesn’t comment on these matters decides to break his silence.

    1. Thank you.

      That does not say anything like what was claimed, but it is at least vaguely possible to see how someone who was in the middle of a paranoid fit might interpret it as some sort of variation of what Greg claimed, if one makes an allowance for the flaws of human memory.

      It requires the same mind-set that holds that shooting the guy that is trying to beat you to death is not “fair,” but it’s not quite in the “f off and die is a rape threat” category.

      1. The smiley face and the reference to ‘hijinx’ regarding a visit to the consuite with a camera might not seem to jibe with his claim that he feels threatened by these people who supposedly doxxed him and his children.

        Incidentally, sorry I posted the previous link twice – I didn’t understand your layout. Please feel free to remove the extra one.

        1. Funny, we’re called to look at the context to draw your conclusion…but when the obvious context goes against your borderline psychotic interpretation, suddenly we’re supposed to draw in every other thing said at every point, and conflate the SFWA suite with people who published his address while declaring him hateful.

          Or are you saying that you know, for a fact, that the people who did this threatening stuff would be at the SFWA con suite….?

          1. Certainly not…But your own article says that JdA is claiming that SFWA people doxxed him and his kids:

            “Here he repeats his claim that his family has been doxxed in the past, and identifies them as members of the SFWA.”

            Can you say that JdA knows for a fact that the people he claims doxxed him and his family will NOT be in that suite?

          2. //suddenly we’re supposed to draw in every other thing said at every point, and conflate the SFWA suite with people who published his address while declaring him hateful.//

            If you read Jason Cordova’s article above you will see that Jon had claimed that it was SFWA members who attempted to doxx him. He also asked that Worldcon take his concerns seriously.

            I think, on balance, most of what Jon said is him having a laugh and 4Chan style trolling but it isn’t reasonable to expect the con to spend their time working out what is serious and what is a wind-up.

            As for the associated indignation – Jon wanted publicity, joining SFWA and joining Worldcon were for publicity and being banned has gained him more. He hasn’t suffered in the least and zero harm was done to him. Worldcon avoids a headache. It was actually a win-win for both parties.

            1. If you read Jason Cordova’s article above you will see that Jon had claimed that it was SFWA members who attempted to doxx him.

              Which does not actually answer what I said.

              Incidentally, did I miss you responding to the prior answer you demanded?

            2. Camestros’s rationalization: ‘ – Jon wanted publicity, joining SFWA and joining Worldcon were for publicity and being banned has gained him more. He hasn’t suffered in the least and zero harm was done to him. Worldcon avoids a headache. It was actually a win-win for both parties.’
              Camestros rationalization translated to current affairs: ‘The Rohingya wanted to be citizens of a state, not stateless, untermensch in Burma. The Burmese government decided to ethnically cleanse them from Burma: Now, as refugees, some have been able to migrate to Australia where they can become citizens and not untermensch. It’s actually a win-win for both Burma and the Rohingya.’

              No Camestros. It was a lose for JDA, who lost his opportunity to network and, as it is his home area, do so relatively cheaply, as well as damaging his local status. That was a cost free win for WorldCon. At this point he went public about it, and retrieved some of the willful damage they had done. Rather like the refugee getting a better life in Australia… not what he’d wanted, or would have happily gone through to get, but better than WorldCon gave him. WorldCon on the other hand ended up with egg on their face again, and I suspect substantive costs. So their cost free win became an expensive lose. So it became WorldCon lose: JDA gets a different reward — not because WorldCon were trying to achieve some fair win:win outcome, but because their attempt to have a win:lose backfired on them.

      2. Ah, this may be the disconnect. It depends on what you think he meant by “hijinx.” He had previously tweeted “Commence Operation: Troll The S*** Out of SJW Sci-Fi Authors On Twitter,” so it’s logical to assume that he’s talking about what he planned to do–not what he feared would be done to him.

        I think that tweet has been deleted, but here’s a screenshot of it someone posted on Facebook:

        1. And how is that threatening? Even if you believed it was literal, and not a joke?

          “Oh noes, people will say things to me on Twitter! Just like every other day on Twitter!”

          Now, if you knew for a fact that Jon Del Arroz was Camestros of the logic code poetry, you might actually want to take note and block his Twitter on your own personal Twitter. And if he were actually Yama of the many names and had been guilty of criminal stalking of ladies online and off, there’d be every reason to go into concom session and ban him. And circulate his picture to Security and Ops, and the hotel, and the cops.

          But Jon Del Arroz is just this guy, you know?

          Worldcon apparently is banning him for even less reason than they had when they rescinded the invitation to Jonathan Ross. “My friends’ imaginary friends from the future told me he would insult me in 2040” is not a reason to do anything — except at Worldcon.

        2. So, let me get this straight here. He said that he was going to Worldcon. He’s stated to the con committee that he had safety issues (a doxxing for one and a few other issues). Con committee waffles about any actions on his concerns so he states, widely and publicly, that he will be wearing a body cam. Since he’s also a published SF author he decides to join SFWA. Jokes about wearing a body cam to the suite. Next thing you know he’s banned for all sorts of reasons that don’t make sense. Gotcha. He’s a bad guy that shouldn’t be allowed at Worldcon.
          Some of the previous statements I had heard about him were that he would be wearing a HIDDEN camera. And yet he’s stated numerous times in PUBLIC that he was going to be wearing a body cam. Yeah. I think I see what’s going on and I don’t like it one bit.

        3. No.

          The disconnect is that you made a very specific claim of open, objectively wrong behavior.

          When called to support it, you can only offer incredibly weak assumption of will that is not just bad, but flatly malicious– and when that doesn’t go down, you start to try to explain how gosh, the people who asked for support of your false claim are just not interpreting it right.

          Starts to sound like you didn’t have any trouble with bullies because you’d be right there, cheering as they gave a “rightful” beat-down.

          1. The hidden camera alone is all they needed, since the WorldCon Code of Conduct forbids photographing people without their permission except in public areas, and the SFWA suite is not a public area.

            I’ll admit, though, that I conflated some of the comments from people with Jon’s actual posts. (Memory is an unreliable thing.) He himself never said explicitly that he intended to hassle authors until they said something bad and then get it on tape. The problem was that that’s what a lot of people thought he intended to do. The upset here had nothing to do with politics.

            1. The hidden camera alone is all they needed, since the WorldCon Code of Conduct forbids photographing people without their permission except in public areas, and the SFWA suite is not a public area.

              This point right here. He never said “hidden camera” he said “BODY CAM”, which from what I have seen images of is so far from hidden it’s to be ludicrous. As well, he’s been advertising for weeks that was what he was going to be doing.

            2. PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO Worldcon 76 in San Jose wants you to have great memories from a fantastic convention. Photographs and videotape footage by attendees are generally allowed in all common areas of the convention with the exception of the Art Show. Specific rules regarding these matters may exist for selected events, such as concerts. Please consult the Pocket Program for information relating to specific events. When photographing or videotaping individuals or costumes, use common courtesy and ask before photographing them. Respect their rights if they do not wish to be photographed or videotaped. If someone asks or otherwise indicates (remember many folks in costume do not speak) that they do not wish to be photographed, do not photograph them! Photography or videography for the purpose of sale or publication to the press is expressly forbidden unless written permission has been obtained from Worldcon 76 in San Jose. Individuals may take pictures and videotapes for private viewing or sharing with friends. We ask our attendees to be courteous to those they wish to take pictures of, especially if you wish to place those pictures or video clips onto a personal Web page or similar Internet archive. In this case, ask your subjects for their explicit permission to do this.

              Complete copy and paste.

              Now I know you are a liar.

              1. //If someone asks or otherwise indicates (remember many folks in costume do not speak) that they do not wish to be photographed, do not photograph them! //

                I think that is clear that you can’t take pictures of people who don’t consent to it. Its an ‘opt-out’ approach to permission (i.e. in general permission is assumed) but it is still based on permission.

                Jon would be breaching the rules if he filmed people who did not want to be filmed. So even if his body cam is for capturing ‘hijinx’ it would still breach the rules if it was ‘hijinx’ that people didn’t want to be filmed – and that’s in the PUBLIC places.

                1. Claim:
                  The hidden camera alone is all they needed, since the WorldCon Code of Conduct forbids photographing people without their permission except in public areas, and the SFWA suite is not a public area.

                  ACTUAL TEXT of the CoC says nothing of the sort.

                  That is called a lie.

                  1. //ACTUAL TEXT of the CoC says nothing of the sort. //

                    The text you quoted does indicate that:
                    1. photography etc is permitted in PUBLIC areas but…
                    2. you can’t photograph people who don’t want to be photographed.
                    3. There are special rules for non-public areas – you can’t assume you can film there.

                    That’s quite clear.
                    Sure, if Jon was using a body cam just to film people who were OK with being filmed in public spaces that wouldn’t be a breach of the rules you listed BUT that is not what Jon wanted the body cam for.

                    “hidden camera” that was a mistake on Greg’s part. Jon didn’t say it would be ‘hidden’ as such. I don’t think he actually described quite what this ‘body cam’ would be but if people can see it then I don’t see how he’ll capture the ‘hijinks’. Maybe he just hadn’t thought that bit through or he meant it as a deterrent.

                    1. Haven’t you been banned from here enough times for doing this troll-arguing schtick, Floppy? Do you really want to tempt the Fates again?

                      Seems like a stupid hill to die on, you ask me. Nobody gets kicked out of things for Pre-Crime on Twitter, and you know it.

              2. I think the pertinent section of the CoC that you posted is this one (my emphasis):

                “Photographs and videotape footage by attendees are generally allowed in all COMMON AREAS of the convention with the exception of the Art Show.”

                The consuite, which JdA explicitly said he was going to enter with his bodycam, is not a common area, therefore not a place where the CoC permits filming.

                1. Claim:
                  The hidden camera alone is all they needed, since the WorldCon Code of Conduct forbids photographing people without their permission except in public areas, and the SFWA suite is not a public area.

                  Actual text:
                  Says nothing of the sort.

                  That is a lie. Just because it’s a lie you find useful does not make it less of a lie.

                  1. Where is the lie? I cut and pasted the part about the common areas from the copy of the CoC you posted yourself here.

                    Do you think it’s a lie that the consuite is NOT a common area? As per Mike Resnick (a reliable source, no?) it’s not:

                    “Then there will be open and semi-open Hospitality Suites. These will probably include:
                    ● The SFWA Suite (The Science Fiction Writers of America). You’ll need a SFWA member to get you in the first time. If you want to return, you can probably pick up a sticker for your badge that will get you in.”


                  2. I must be missing something here. Consuites would be private areas, rather than common areas. So the consuites would be able to set their own rules. If the SoFuckingWhatAssociation says no cameras, then no cameras. If they don’t say no cameras, then cameras are permitted, yes?

                    Are these people unable to think?

                    1. Depends on what the actual rules for the suites are, because if they’re official they may fall under the public area rules– but I didn’t want to chase off after that rabbit once it was clear that the specific claim was flatly false.

                    2. “Are these people unable to think?”

                      Which ones do you mean?

                      If you agree that the consuite is NOT a common area open to all under the CoC rules, then filming without permission is not allowed there, and JdA is announcing he’s going to break the CoC rules by saying he’s going in there with his bodycam, for hijinx or not. (And I still think the smiley face and the ‘hijinx’ in his tweet jibe very strangely with his allegation that those terrible unnamed SFWA people doxxed his kids).

                    3. jaynsand said: “If you agree that the consuite is NOT a common area open to all under the CoC rules, then filming without permission is not allowed there, and JdA is announcing he’s going to break the CoC rules by saying he’s going in there with his bodycam, for hijinx or not.”

                      Don’t cons and other such events usually wait until you actually break a rule before they kick you out?

                      And while we’re at it, since when is a snide comment on Twitter an “announcement” of intent?

                      It is really going to suck for you someday when the rule book you are using right now gets used on you by somebody else. Ask Greg Hullender for details, he knows all about it.

                    4. Except, here he is, trying to change the picture of what we are very clearly seeing.

                      Quite honestly, I’m getting Abused Spouse vibes from Greg’s defending Worldcon’s decision here. He’s trying to make it sound very reasonable, but the mild tones and wording only make me think of the battered spouse (regardless of gender) trying to protest that the abuser ‘didn’t really mean to hurt me, it was just once, s/he won’t do it again, really, s/he’s GOOD PEOPLE don’t hate him/her’ while at the same time trying to earn clemency from the abuser that the police were called, to get back in their good graces.

                      It doesn’t surprise me, only saddens me. Still got to give the guy kudos though, he is being consistently civil and at least is willing to talk as ever, and I still don’t get the malicious used car salesman vibe from him that I am getting from jaysand.

                    5. Shadowdancer said: “Quite honestly, I’m getting Abused Spouse vibes from Greg’s defending Worldcon’s decision here.”

                      Ah, he’s always like this. He really thinks the Lefties are the Good Guys and the Righties are the Bad Guys. I guess it takes more than one mugging for some people to break a life-long worldview.

                      After they throw him under the bus a few more times I’m sure he’ll get the idea.

            3. 1. How is a suite with a multitude of people in it not considered a public area
              2. What does the relevant state law say about recording?

              1. From Mike Resnick’s web page, re consuites:

                “Then there will be open and semi-open Hospitality Suites. These will probably include:
                ● The SFWA Suite (The Science Fiction Writers of America). You’ll need a SFWA member to get you in the first time. If you want to return, you can probably pick up a sticker for your badge that will get you in.”


  15. Oh we’re banned from Worldcon every one,
    Yes we’re banned from Worldcon just for having a little fun.
    We’d hoped to spend some leave time there, just three days or four,
    But Worldcon doesn’t want us any more.

  16. I’m super-impressed by John Picacio claiming that since he’s a Hispanic sf artist, his GoH status totally provides cover for Worldcon to get rid of any other Hispanic sf professional.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered anything he’s drawn, since he seems to have started working for BigPub at about the time I stopped bothering with it. But to announce his cooperation with his own tokenhood, or to rejoice over somebody getting banned for nothing, makes me remember his name in a bad way.

    It’s particularly classy, given that a GoH’s job in bad convention circumstances is to keep one’s mouth shut so the Concom can handle things, or perhaps to change the subject to other stuff planned for the convention. The GoH trying to be the convention’s propaganda minister, when it’s still several months before the con starts… that’s a new one.

    OTOH, trying to start a fight with a writer one does not know, while specifically bragging about being a GoH — that’s just the second coming of David Gerrold’s bad manners. It does show that this person can’t think for himself, of course. But his culpability is reduced if he really thinks this is how a GoH should act.

    Sad. And when the SJWs come for him, it won’t matter how many virtue points he won for being a jerk.

    1. Oh, so they WERE planning to harass the critic, and they were NOT happy that it’s Jon who exposed them. Of course, naturally, this makes Jon their target as well. Jon wearing the bodycam – a very visible item – would have of course, revealed everything.

      The plot thickens. The bones are coming together.

    2. Yes, I was very frightened because of this very incident. I broke this story as a journalist.

      1. Hi Jon. Maybe next time just wear the GoPro on your head and don’t announce your plans. Make ’em work a little harder.

        Although, getting banned for Pre-Crime is also a win. Now you don’t have to go. Did they give your money back?

  17. Mr. Hullender,

    I do not know Mr. del Arroz well enough to trust him. I do not know his circumstances well enough to be sure they are as he has described them. I am not one hundred percent confident in the testimony, including of people I have some trust for, that he is a great guy unfairly maligned.

    When you take evidence, look at it only from some strange perspective, then advertise a hyped version of that perspective, and later direct examination of the evidence only weakly supports your advertisement, it weakens your case.

    In this case, it may change my evaluations of how likely it is that the case against del Arroz is simply fraudulent, and of how likely it is that you are not particularly good, sane or reliable.

    “But”, you may think, “Bob is of no importance, and a fool besides.” There may be truth in that. But why come to a place and make arguments if not to persuade? It is a waste of your time and energy to go to all that effort and then impeach yourself. We all have little enough time in this world. You would be well advised to think about what is really important to you, and adjust accordingly.

      1. Me three. It’s a little odd, to put it mildly, and I have not idea how bad it might get on a small screen vs. my laptop.

    1. “…we know about…”

      Precisely. I’ve heard some seriously scary rumors that were strong enough to make me extremely wary of bringing anyone under 21 to Worldcon with me.

      1. Note what I said about Jon’s wife not getting her membership rescinded or changed to a Supporting only. Reading that actually had me scared – she was clearly being left vulnerable.

        Actually I don’t note anywhere that Jon’s costs of membership were refunded (minus the cost of a Supporting) or fully refunded. At this point, WorldCon should refund them both, really.

        1. On their facebook page they claimed to have offered a full refund to both of them.

          Of course, they also claimed that he was going to violate California state law, which turns out to not be so. (Somebody posted a link to one of the colleges related to it, even.)

  18. At Spokane and Kansas City, we went pretty much as dealers only. We went to the dealers’ room and did business, maybe attended bid parties or visited with a few friends, then went back to the hotel and I wrote while my husband played his computer games.

    We’d been looking forward to San Jose because I have family in the area (crash space), and I wanted to refresh my memory on a route that features in a novel I want to finally finish writing. However, when I saw that they were charging $900 a booth for dealer’s space, I said forget it. We lost money on $900 booths at a 50,000-person comic con. There’s no way we’re going to break even at a convention that may draw 5,000 people tops. Not to mention that we’d have to leave right after getting back from Tampa Bay Comic Con (one of our big money-makers), with no time to rest and recuperate, or get an oil change for the van.

    Instead, we’re going to be at Michigan Comic Con that weekend. It’s a brand-new con that Imaginarium (the parent company of Tampa Bay Comic Con and Indiana Comic Con) is putting on in the COBO Center in downtown Detroit. We know the venue from Youmacon (an anime con), and we know these people will run a good convention without all the political BS, the booths are about half the cost of Worldcon booths, and even with a first-year crowd we should be able to bring in a reasonable profit.

  19. Dear me, this thread goes on *forever*. And ever. And is a bit heated. (8^(( Congratulations to the original blog author for encouraging creative conversation!

    If you are unhappy with the Hugos, please note that the National Fantasy Fan Federation awards will be given this year for novels and for shorter works, and for a bunch of other things.


    1. Does the NFFF play at Pre-Crime banning of paid-up members and other political nonsense? Or do they just read the books like normal people?

      I like to have the lay of the land before sticking my head out, know what I mean?

      1. No political nonsense. We read and write things.

        Several writers here are members. Cedar Sanderson is our Art Editor and Gourmet Bureau BuHead. For more information . public membership is free, but that is the nonvoting membership.

        Our members read the books, watch the films, view the comics, stare at the boob tube, play the games, nominate, and vote. As the objective is to congratulate the winners, not to embarrass the losers. we do not announce vote totals, only the name of the work that won in each category, and the author as appropriate. The Best Editor prize has gone twice to Toni Weisskopf.

        We also have a short story contest every year, and occasionally publish other works. A Sea of Stars Like Diamonds is available on Amazon.

        The events reported in the original blog post here are, well, strange, and not something that would happen with us, we hope. We were originally founded in part to send fanzines to people for cheap(we still do that) and because there were FanFeuds. This was back in 1941, when the FanFeud was The Great Exclusion and people not being admitted to a WorldCon.

        We have occasionally has a completely fake member appear, for reasons we did not follow.They didn’t vote, run for office,… They did get the magazines, all five of them, electronically, but you can get them by becoming a public member and sending me,, your email address and no money.

        We did once have a member resign when it was observed that art that he had submitted looked remarkably like someone else’s work.

  20. Visiting the Real World for a moment, can anyone think of a commercial enterprise out there that would ban a paid-up, ticketed customer from their event over a Twitter comment?

    The most I’ve ever heard of is having security remove people for violating the rules. If it says no cameras and you have a camera, you’re out. I have not heard of a company that takes away your ticket because you posted on Twitter about maybe bringing one, months before the event.

    1. Yep. That’s so sketchy it isn’t even funny.

      More to the point, if someone were really concerned about a violation of the SFWA consuite rules, the people to deal with it were SFWA — at the door of the consuite. The most that the comcon should have done is have a chat with him about what the rules are for private and public spaces, and what constitutes which.

    2. That they initially cited “made members uncomfortable” as the reason, and only after being pressed for an explanation by multiple people did they offer up the camera reason.

      One would think that if that was truly the reason, saying so right up front would’ve been a good idea, instead of flailing about for a more concrete excuse (and it is still an excuse) only after catching heat for the initial decision.

      The follow-up of deleting and banning any dissenting (or even simply questioning) voices does at least give the impression that the initial “reason” they offered was more accurate, even if it didn’t mention that the discomfort was because of Jon’s unapologetically right-of-center politics and support of Trump.

      And really, when you have Jim Butcher, who’s well known for not getting into the weeds of fandom politics, saying the decision was a load of excrement, you have a problem.

      1. I do not need Jim Butcher to tell me this is a load of horse puckey. ~:) I have a nose of my own.

        Mr. Butcher’s opinion is none the less welcome, as he agrees with me. Clearly, a very wise and discerning gentleman. >:D

  21. I mean, is anyone surprised by this? These people do live in the same state that’s done its level best to quash certain video recordings of Planned Parenthood employees being…more than somewhat callous about their most notorious business.
    That they would ban Mr. del Arroz for daring to pre-empt any attempt at shenanigans is par for the course.

  22. “Somehow, somewhere, a convention that began as a way for us outcasts, nerds, geeks, dorks, and everyone even remotely not-vanilla had its very soul hijacked by those who would use it as a vehicle to push their own thoughts and hide their own horrid deeds behind what one could call A Thin Nerd Wall.”

    Not somehow, it was built into the very fabric of WorldCon from its first year, in fights over which vision to impose on fandom, science fiction, and then the world. And it wasn’t just Michelism and the Futurians either.

    1. PTerry once pointed out* that there are two types of bullies- the active ones who beat you up and take your lunch money, and the passive ones, who aren’t strong enough to be active, but bully others by being petty, unhelpful, ect.
      An organization gives these passive bullies a chance to go active, because it gives them some power.

      *In “The Hogfather”

  23. And here is a historical note, reproduced by permission from The National Fantasy Fan of a couple years ago, on Michelism and where it came from:

    Our Higher Purpose
    by David B Williams

    Not surprisingly, this too began with Hugo Gernsback.

    He published what he chose to call “scientifiction” stories in his radio and electronics magazines years before he launched Amazing Stories, the first magazine dedicated to SF.
    Since he wasn’t responding to a market demand by providing SF stories to his amateur-radio and science-hobbyist readers, Gernsback must’ve thought this type of story conveyed some special value to this audience. He didn’t give them westerns or detective thrillers.

    Radio was the most futuristic development the early 20th century. Telegraph and telephone signals traveled along visible wires, like wagons along roads and barges along canals. Electricity also traveled through wires, like water or gas through pipes.

    But radio signals were invisible, undetectable until captured and converted to sound by and electronic receiver. Radio signals went everywhere, even passing through solid walls, unconfined to any kind of pre-existing conduit. This was sense-of-wonder technology.
    Gernsback’s readers were up to speed on this new technology and wanted to know what was coming next. They viewed science is an endless cornucopia of progress. They were future-oriented and expected more big changes and amazing technologies to come, an ideal audience for the scientifiction stories Gernsback offered them.

    But Gernsback wasn’t just providing entertainment to those readers. He believed SF’s mission was to awaken readers to the power and potential of science, to stimulate the imaginations of scientists and inventors, and even inspire readers to seek careers in science. The readers who read about future wonders could then help to make those wonders come true. Unlike westerns, detective tales, or love stories, SF had a job to do. SF had a higher purpose.

    In 1926, Gernsback described the ideal SF story as “a charming romance interwoven with scientific facts and prophetic vision,” proclaiming his model of SF as the bearer of science education and prediction. And he never changed his mind. When he launched his last SF magazine, Science-Fiction Plus, in 1953, the subtitle was “preview of the future.”

    Gernsback emphasized this higher purpose in his editorials, and he transmitted this kind of thinking to his readers. It’s no surprise that the earliest stirrings of organized SF fandom came from science hobbyists who were at least as interested in the science of SF as in the fiction.

    The first two recognized fanzines were pubbed by these amateur-science enthusiasts. The Comet appeared in May 1930 as the journal of the Science Correspondents Club, followed two months later by The Planet from the New York Scienceers. The pages of both publications were devoted to science, although The Planet also included reviews of recent prozine content.
    The International Scientific Association tried to mix the amateur scientists and SF fans, but the fans soon became dominant. The first two Eastern SF conferences (Philadelphia 1936, New York City 1937) were essentially exchange visits between delegations from the ISA’s two major branches.

    The growing rift between science and science fiction was simply the first dispute royale of fandom’s first decade. But that dispute didn’t spark widespread feuding. The fans simply won by attrition. The focus on science gradually waned, replaced by increasing attention to SF and to fandom itself.

    But if fandom wasn’t about promoting science, what was it about? If, as Gernsback claimed, SF had a higher purpose, shouldn’t SF fandom also have a higher purpose? This question plunge all fandom into war.

    The Futurians, a group of New York City fans who coalesced around Donald A. Wollheim in the mid-1930s (and thus were written initially known in fandom as “Wollheimists”), would prove to be the driving force behind this conflict.

    In addition to Wollheim, key Futurians included John Michel, Fred Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth, Robert “Doc” Lowndes, and, in a widening circle, Richard Wilson, Dave Kyle, Damon Knight, James Blish, Larry Shaw, Jack Gillespie, even Isaac Asimov, though he was really only one of several social affiliates who did not participate in actual combat.

    Wollheim and his circle could not countenance the idea that fandom could just be for fun. Gernsback had already explained that SF had a higher purpose. The Futurians believe that SF fandom also needed a higher purpose.

    Wollheim classified most fans as “shallow-minded adolescents” and considered discussion of SF as “childish” and “inane”. His goal was to “raise science-fiction from merely a childish puerile hobby to being an active force toward the realization of those things that science fiction already believed.”

    At the third Eastern convention in Philadelphia in 1938, Wollheim read a speech entitled “Mutation or Death” written by fellow Futurian Michel, whose severe stutter made him incapable of delivering the oration. This speech introduce the doctrines of Michelism to fandom.
    According to Wollheim, “Michelism is the belief that science-fiction fans should actively work for the realization of the scientific socialist world-state as the only genuine justification [emphasis added] for their activities.”

    The address ended with the proposed resolution:

    “THEREFORE: Be it moved that this, the Third Eastern Science-Fiction Convention, shall place itself on record as opposing all forces leading to barbarism, the advancement of pseudo-sciences and militaristic ideologies, and shall further resolved that science-fiction should by nature [emphasis added] stand for all forces working for more unified world, a more Utopian existence, the application of science to human happiness, and a saner outlook on life.”

    After prolonged debate, the motion was defeated 12-8, with several extensions. No one voted against the resolution’s content, but the opponents did object to introducing politics into fan affairs.

    In 1940, as General Secretary of the Futurian League, Wollheim defined a Futurian as one who, through SF [emphasis added], attains a vision of the greater world, a greater future for the whole of mankind. A Futurian seeks to utilize his idealistic convictions, always a democratic, impersonal, and unselfish ways, for the betterment of the world.

    General Secretary! Working behind all this was Communism, the doctrine that dared not speak its name. Textbook Communism (“the scientific socialist world-state”) embodied all the utopian principles that appealed to idealists in the 1930s. Several Futurians joined or attended meetings of the Young Communist League, and Michel joined the Party when he was old enough.

    The question remains as to whether “Michelism” was really initiated by Michel or whether Wollheim nominated Michel as the titular leader to deflect attention from himself. Recall that President Truman, fearing Congressional opposition to anything that bore his name, cunningly called his reconstruction program for Europe “the Marshall Plan.”

    Some kind of conflict was inevitable in the first World SF Convention convened in New York in July 1939, because the Futurians had lost ownership of the event. Leading Futurians had been appointed to the planning committee two years earlier but had accomplished nothing. So, at the New York “national convention” in 1938, Sam Moscowitz, William Sykora, and their New Fandom group stepped forward and were authorized to form a new organizing committee.
    It must’ve been bitterly infuriating to the Futurians to know that they had allowed this plum to be plucked from their fingers by their despised opponents, and then to see those opponents host a very successful, even historic, meeting.

    As fans from across the country gathered in Caravan Hall, the Futurians handed out pamphlets crying alarm and warning fans about the nefarious plans of the “controlling clique.” Headings included “Beware of the Dictatorship!” and “High Handed Tactics.”

    This agitprop Salvo perturbed Chairman Moscowitz, who feared that the Futurians were bent on disrupting the convention. He therefore decreed that any Futurians not already in the hall who did not pledge to behave would be banned from the proceedings.

    Six of the Futurians (Gillespie, Kornbluth, Lowndes, Michel, Pohl, Wollheim) refused to give such an assurance and, as a result, never got to attend the First World Con. Thus arose the infamous Exclusion Act.

    Moscowitz later speculated that the targeted Futurians welcomed their exclusion, because they thereby gained the advantageous position of victims. Crying injustice and fascism, they subsequently garnered widespread sympathy throughout fandom.

    Anyway, the war was on to expunge fascism and restore democratic principles to fannish affairs. Fanzines on both sides were filled with accusatory diatribes. It was hard to find fans who didn’t take sides. It was hard for fans who didn’t give a damn and to enjoy SF and fandom in peace.

    But in their quest to give fandom a higher purpose, the Futurians and chosen the wrong tactics. Even sympathetic fans came to resent the intrusion of politics and fandom, for whatever reason. And the Futurians’ aggressive attacks on their opponents became more and more tiresome to uncommitted observers.

    And what was all the fuss about? What the Futurians offered was not an action program but resolutions. For them, it was enough that fandom express its support for Right Thinking. This was all very exciting. They were engaged in the Great Struggle. They were doing something.
    But it was all talk. The Futurians did not choose to engage in the politics of the Real World. Instead, they focus their considerable energies on becoming SF writers and editors and disrupting fandom with her obstreperous behavior. They were successful in both endeavors.
    It became widely believed that the Futurians’ operating principle was simply “Rule or Ruin”. For example, Wollheim and three Futurian acolytes showed up at a meeting of the Sykora-led Queens SFL chapter and joined. This seemed odd because Sykora was on the Futurians enemies list. However, he was absent from that meeting and no one objected to admitting the new members.

    It wasn’t long before the Futurians sparked dissension with a motion to send a delegate to a leftist youth Congress. Director James Taurasi blocked a vote. The Futurians accused him of dictatorship and initiated impeachment proceedings. They also blackballed new members who were known to oppose Michelism.

    Sykora skipped some meetings because of the newly hostile atmosphere, and the Futurians used in attendance requirement in the bylaws to expel them. Taurasi was subject to a second impeachment proceeding and resigned in disgust. Both sides appealed to SFL headquarters at Thrilling Wonder Stories. Leo Margulies, magazine publisher and SFL director, dispensed with the problem by declaring the chapter dissolved.

    In just six months, the Futurians had penetrated and destroyed an active and growing club. If the original plan had been take to take over the SFL chapter, the Futurians had made wonderful progress, expelling the president and forcing the director to resign. But dissolution of the chapter left the Futurians with nothing to control.

    They then formed the Futurian Science-Literary Society of New York, but most of the non-Futurians followed Sykora and Taurasi into a new and thriving Queens SFL. So, in the end, the Futurians won a Pyrrhic victory.

    In 1945, after a pause for World War II, several Futurians holding Fantasy Amateur Press Association offices resigned and formed the Vanguard Amateur Press Association with an all-Futurians board. Based on past performance, it was immediately alleged that they were set on wrecking FAPA, and replacing it with an APA that they totally controlled.

    But that was the end of it. The world war had change things. Real fascism had been defeated on the battlefield, and Communism had revealed itself as a flawed Ghod. In the postwar world, and following internal dissensions (revolutions always devour their own), the Futurians dispersed in turn grown-up careers and marriages. Fandom could no longer demand the total commitment of their energies and ambitions. It was time to get on with life.

    Gernsback’s faith in SF’s power to educate readers and inspire them to enter the sciences was not totally misplaced. A number of space scientists have acknowledged that reading SF in their formative years help to guide them into scientific careers. But they certainly didn’t learn their science from SF, and the number of scientists truly recruited by SF was minimal.

    Of more concern within the genre was the effect of Gernsback’s formula on the development of SF’s fiction. Western stories didn’t screech to a halt to explain how cattle-ranching works. Why did SF stories need to pause to explain the science? Rather than being the Father Of Magazine Science Fiction, fandom might have chosen to honor Gernsback as the Father Of The Info Dump.

    Following the glory days of Gernsback’s preeminence, writers and critics began to challenge his literary ideology. According to Gary Westfahl in the online edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, “some maintain that Gernsback’s impact on SF was harmful because it led to a sterilized in didactic insistence that the road to the future was best apprehended through a focus on science and technology in isolation.”

    He cites Brian Aldiss’s assessment of Gernsback as “the worst disaster ever to hit the science fiction field” and adds: “virtually all later voices for SF reform – from John W. Campbell, Jr. and H. L. Gold to the New Wave’s Harlan Ellison and Cyberpunk’s Bruce Sterling – have explicitly or implicitly presented their ideas is a repudiation of Gernsback.”

    In the end, the good guys won, in both SF and fandom. SF became less concerned about scientific plausibility and prophecy and more concerned about character development and narrative technique. SF’s job was to awaken a sense of wonder, not a sense of purpose. And, within fandom, the advocates of science fiction and fandom for its own sake replace the amateur scientists and wanna-be Communists.

    SF did not need to justify itself with a higher purpose, nor did its associated fandom. It was okay to just have fun.

    1. Thanks for posting that. In some ways it explains a lot, in some ways it makes me just shake my head and think of all the various denominational jokes about “three families, two churches.”

  24. I am geeky enough I’ve come to expect other geeks to exclude me, mock me, bully me, try to get the KKK mad at me (and bring ‘Second Amendment’ tools to my home) and say my cat is ugly. Plus I have Asperger Syndrome, write poetry, and have cats. Jon Del Arroz, when I interact with him on Twitter, is always very kind to me. What’s with that? Especially if he is a Force of Evil?

  25. I ran a WorldCon once. IguanaCon II to be specific. (It can be, as they say, looked up). This utterly turns my stomach, what this upcoming WorldCon has done. I thought I might want to once more attend a WorldCon at some time in the future. Not any more. It’s dead, Jim. Or, if it isn’t, it should be taken out and shot, put out of its misery. It makes me sick to see what the WorldCon has become, and what “fandom” has become. No wonder I left.

    1. Well, yeah. “No wonder I left” is getting to be a regular thing.

      I left the world of comic books that I used to SO look forward to every week. Comic Book Day when the new issues came out was the best day of the week. Until it wasn’t. Now I don’t look at them at all. Haven’t since the 1990s. Its been a long time.

      The bottom line, it really is possible to drive people away from stuff they love. I’ve been driven away from quite a few things over the years. Its a recognizable pattern.

      They’ve done it with Science Fiction to the point where I am now on the attack. I will not be driven away this time. Publishers fill the stores with SJW garbage, no problem. I write my own, bitchez. Try to make me stop.

      They probably -will- try to make me stop, eventually. Its who they are.

    1. Folk have, and these folk spread to them and eventually try and do the exact same thing in a new venue. Sooner or later you make a stand or get run completely out of everything you enjoy.

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