July 11, 2020, 05:55:40 PM

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Messages - Nora

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I'm much more excited for this horror take on an arthurian myth :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoJc2tH3WBw

OK. That looks incredible!

Right??? Fantasy horror that looks amazing!!

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Part of me agrees.

Part of me feels that's a harsh overreaction. Most people don't lose jobs for being major arseholes in a professional environment, even when it goes public. And I'm not sure what these people did went beyond that. They didn't physically hurt people, they've not targeted people continuously etc.etc. What they did is an issue but I struggle to work out what's the right response.

Of course, what's happened before isn't a great guide and building a better society would be great. However, for me, part of that is having reactions to transgressions that are more about reform, restitution, and rehabilitation, than punishment and revenge. Publishers ditching authors feels a lot more of the latter than the former.

Also of course, there's the issue of deterrence too. I think even the biggest optimist has to admit deterrence will be needed.

And there's another minor issue in that killing these authors' projects generally means people who had absolutely nothing to do with their misdeeds losing work too. That's a tiny part of it but it's not nothing.

There's got to be something. I'd like to see the serial gropers banned from cons for at least a year.  I'm sure there's classes on "not being a creepy gropey abusehole at workplace drinks" and requiring said authors to go as a condition of staying with the publisher/agency would make a lot of sense.

But losing contracts? I dunno. I'm not sure either way. I'm guessing the publishers aren't either.

edit : this is us still talking *assuming* that the hardest allegations are true and only about them, not about the weird love triangle or the rumours about sykes, etc. It's hypothetical, despite my fiery stance that it's ok for an author to lose representation, etc.

Would you say the same if they'd public made racist comments? Because people are racists verbally, outside of work, get trending online and lose their jobs because their companies don't want to be known as a condoning racism.
Where do you draw the line with men misbehaving and abusing women? Why is it any different? Does it need to be your teen sister, to be told Mr Author want to pee all over her face, before you feel the injury that we do?

You comment as a whole comes across as rather dismissive of the situation for women, though I understand it's not what you mean.

If a man (like Coles) can be accused of sexual harassment, and own up to it, TWICE, and still keep his job in your opinion, then we clearly don't value women's comfort and safety in the same manner. This man is a public figure in the community (or was...) with a voice, and followers, and people hooked to his social media, reading his books, and visiting him in person at cons.
This man can go and be a total asshat to women if he wants to, but he cannot be free of the consequences of his actions, though many men are ready to brush it aside and laugh it off, I for one am glad that we're at a point where publishers don't want to be associated with sex pests... It's progress.
Look, it'll never have any negative effects on you personally. All you have to do is to not harass women, not force yourself on them, not tell teens who want a signature that you want to pee on their face. Is it so hard? Would you be comfortable knowing that type of person is your accountant? Your lawyer? Your dentist? Your teacher? Your teen sister's teacher? Your teen sister's favourite author?

What should we do? What do you propose? A sticker on the cover? "Be warned that author sexually harassed women, admitting to it at least twice. The following work may not be the most feminist forward fiction in this SFF section" ?

If people want to behave like animals, let them reap the consequences. And these consequences, sadly, can act as the deterrence to other sex pests who were probably not thinking about how predatory their behaviour is, and now have to take a little break before jumping down on women.

I'm happy to be part of a serious and deep conversation on social media applications of mob justice, but I'd appreciate if it weren't aiming to make men's lives easier when they prey on women, using their status to boot.

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Sci-Fi, Horror, YA & Urban Fantasy Books / Re: H. P. Lovecraft
« on: July 05, 2020, 04:21:36 PM »
He's hard to recommend and hard not to. He's vital to read to understand a lot of our current culture, as he's influenced SFF, horror, comics, films and video games. There would be no "the thing" without him, or no bloodborne, etc.

But you have to understand he had serious mental issues and was a raging racist and antisemite. Despite being married to a jewish woman... His entire work revolves around the fear of the unknown, as the deepest fear we can know, and he certainly experienced it first hand, and everyone who didn't look just like him was "unknown" to him. So whatever you do, be sure to research him as well as his work.

If you're curious, a great mangaka is doing manga adaptations of his stories :

https://mangadex.org/title/47245/h-p-lovecraft-s-the-shadow-over-innsmouth

https://mangadex.org/title/31192/h-p-lovecraft-s-the-shadow-out-of-time

https://mangadex.org/title/22638/h-p-lovecraft-s-the-haunter-of-the-dark

https://mangadex.org/title/36131/h-p-lovecraft-s-the-call-of-cthulhu

https://mangadex.org/title/34328/h-p-lovecraft-s-the-hound-and-other-stories

https://mangadex.org/title/23919/h-p-lovecraft-s-the-colour-out-of-space

https://mangadex.org/title/29716/h-p-lovecraft-s-at-the-mountains-of-madness

https://mangadex.org/title/36986/h-p-lovecraft-s-the-outsider-and-other-stories

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General Discussion / Re: Is redemption possible?
« on: July 04, 2020, 09:18:57 PM »
I am uncomfortable with the term redemption, which has strong religious connotations and doesn't seem to fit the specifics mentioned in this thread.

Precisely. The dictionary definition that comes up first is :

the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.
"God's plans for the redemption of his world"

Sin and evil are both heavily religious and it's part of why I don't like using this word for an IRL setting. Characters have redemption arcs. People learn and grow and mend their ways. Some do some don't and most never become the paragons of justice that we'd wish for.

But it's really worth it to ask who is the exterior factor. Redemption in the eyes of whom? Every community, every religion, has a different opinion on that, and we can't please all.

5
Surely dropping him and making an official statement that they won't endorse living authors who display patterns of abuse, can't keep their hands to themselves, are wife beaters, etc, should be a good start?

I understand that it is hard because some great authors are truly tortured beings, and some historically influential ones were real POS, but we're actively trying to better ourselves as a society, and giving a platform to such people is counter productive to that.

If a large company is caught in the limelight because one of their best manager is shown to be a sex pest, they'll fire him, if only in a calculated way, to avoid flack. Let publishers behave in the same way. It is not like an author cannot self publish. Their work can still be read, if one wants to... Except a manager won't ever be able to "manage" anything on his own. So a sex pest author who loses their contract could do relatively well for themselves going on their own as they most likely will still have fans who don't care about his views or tendencies.

Hence they don't need any special cushy treatment just because they're creative types. Quite to the contrary. There are millions of books we'll never get to read. These guys aren't out there curing cancer, I think the world could survive without their work to begin with, and as I said, it's not even like anything prevents them from putting it out there..

6
You have a lot of time though! I often feel it's best to leave it alone as long as possible, so I clear away these impressions of how important to the story such and such bits are. When I'm fresh off of finishing, everything feels perfect and uneditable  ;D

I think I'll try the second idea for change.

7
Mmmh whoa ok... To me this comes off as angsty YA fantasy. I'll be happy to be proved wrong, but I'll let others review it first. Not convinced at all. Production value seems ok though, which is a plus. I bet after the success of the Witcher it'll be easier to get a spunky fantasy with lots of bloody swords financed.

I'm much more excited for this horror take on an arthurian myth :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoJc2tH3WBw

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General Discussion / Re: Is redemption possible?
« on: July 02, 2020, 03:13:03 AM »
Not engaging with the nitty gritty here, just my own general platitude :

We have to believe in redemption.

We must, because otherwise there is no hope for us, no hope for our loved ones, and no sense to our religions, and all of our stories since time immemorial become wishful thinking.

The act of undergoing a redemption (arc) is the act of bettering onself, learning from our mistakes, changing. It's hard but it happens. We can see it everywhere around us, and it's so full of hope for ourselves and others, that it's a favourite trope in storytelling in all its forms.

To be perfectly grim and dramatic, I think, if you don't believe in redemption, then after commiting something really bad, I guess you'd have nothing left to do but to kill yourself, right? If you can never make right, never truly change, what hope is there left for you? The reason we don't, and push forward, and reach out to learn more, or get help, or turn to faith, is because we have that glimmer of hope, or the assured knowledge, that redemption can be achieved.

But then I may as well ask you : redemption in the eyes of who, precisely? Because in the eyes of some groups I'm a perfectly normal and worthy being, and in the eyes of others I'm a filthy, sin plagued villain, ready to be doomed for being unapologetic to boot. So yeah... it's a wide topic. But I don't see how we can doubt redemption exist at all.

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Nice one, hopefully we'll get more entries this month :)

I reckon I'll have this month's polished off in a few days. It's a bit different (for me), so will be interesting to see how it goes down.

Looking forward to how you pull it off, as I have just been halted in my tracks by the thought that what I'm going for is heading to be 3/4 tell don't show and I'm not liking that at all. Might have to change the concept completely.

10
The problem @Rostum is when a teen goes to the police and says "this old guy author I like said to me at that con that he'd like to pee in my face", she will get laughed out, or at least strongly discouraged from going anywhere further. There are heartbreaking statistics about rape victims being actively discouraged from pressing charges, can you imagine what it's like when it's sexual assault? Worse, if it's only verbal abuse?

From our perspective, knowing our teen friends or children aren't safe around that guy is terrible and implies a lot of worse stuff for his character, but can the police of the law do anything about it? Will they? What should the punishment be?

That's why social justice rises up. Because people can be safely bigoted, safely racist, safely misogynistic, to a certain extent, without any legal repercussions. So internet mobs arise, and have leverage against companies, who, to keep their name clean, will ditch the offending employee.

Until we have an actual legal recourse when a man is being a pig and making women feel unsafe (which will never happen), mob justice will remain a solution of choice.

It's not something I condone. I stay the hell away from twitter. Its cancel culture is toxic and led several people to suicide before. Seriously hurt many others. But it is undeniable that it has its uses. Certainly MeToo would not have picked up the way it did without twitter... It's a tool. We can only hope that people will learn to wield it more conservatively.

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Well, I have characters and a plot... even the prospect of an ending... so I'm gonna try and join this month.

12
As for Lynch, no matter how much hero worship Rowland had, she didn't cheat with Lynch on her own. Bear could benefit from taking a step back and wondering with us whether or not she's married to someone who used a gullible worshipper for side-action. That sounds like a nasty cheating episode and should be delt with in private, except for the fact that Rowland and Lynch apparently share an agent, and he and his wife have a lot more clout and could stomp her career if they wanted to, probably.

Not sure if you read the whole thread, but Rowland was ok to have an affair as long as Bear was ok with it. It was supposed to be a open relationship as per Lynch. From what I read, Bear was ambivalent or undecided at first, but later didn't agree. It's strange that Rowland agreed to a date knowing he was in a relationship.

Why is it strange that Rowland accepted a date? Never heard of polyamorous couples? Open relationships? I've been in one myself. I know first hand it's complicated, and I absolutely understand that Rowland could have been ok even being made a proper hidden mistress. I'm not saying any of them are better than the other. I'm saying they're all seemingly at fault, and that it's a messy private matter, that I don't care about such things. They're all adults, if they want to cheat on each other, gaslight each other, lie to each other, more the power to them.
I'm only worried about potential abuse of power. Lynch is the most powerful out of all of them, industry wise. So long as he, and none of the involved women, use their career attachments to hurt the careers of others, then I really don't care what goes on in their bedroom.

As per Peat's post, they seem to be working on it, and since it is in the limelight, I'm hopeful that no dirty shenanigans will happen.

It's entirely different when a huge burly guy with half his beard grey says sexually inapropriate stuff to a teenager at a convention. That's worrisome. It's being a sex pest, and shows so little understanding of the concept of "respecting women", that I'd not want to be in the same room as them.

Quote
Cole made a new apology, in which he also linked to his 2018 apology. In both, he says all the right things - admits his culpability, apologises, pledges to do better. Given ongoing behaviour since the 2018 apology, like Peat says, it rings a little hollow. The proof is always in what happens next. But a solid apology like this is so much better than the nothing, or half-arsed apologies, or denials that we so often see.

I find that to be proof enough that this guy has no intention of changing. You seem happy to take the excuse at face value, but he's getting so little backlash, despite being a bloody recidivist, that for all we know, he may very well be in the process of doing a PR friendly mea culpa while rolling his eyes and regretting being "caught". We don't know, what we know is that in 2 years he's not learnt a single thing, and apparently can't be trusted around women if he doesn't have several individuals ready to "keep him in check". Imagine sharing an elevator ride with a guy like that lol
Never giving a cent to that guy and never recommending him to anyone. Easy, and probably not enough.

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I've heard about this from my flatmate today. He was a little more graphic about some of the things that allegedly happened at cons.

Overall, it doesn't really surprise me.
Authors are people who can spin a good story and stick to it long enough to get it published. Being a good storyteller is sadly not an indication of good moral character. Liars are also known to spin a good yarn. And authors can often write about things outside of their problematic views, or effectively "hide" such views under the cover of fiction, or be good precisely because of their views (Looking at you, Lovecraft!)
So it's always best to not assume people are nice, until they have a great track record of being fucking nice.
I'm particularly dubious when it comes to middle-aged men who suddenly get a platform, suddenly have women queueing for an autograph, suddenly cosplaying as their character... It can really go up to the head, and like I said, getting published isn't any sort of credentials. And that's the case with actors and comedians too, as we can often witness nowadays.

The SFF community has been, for me, one of the most toxic to be in as a woman. The amount of time men would interrupt me, talk over me until I'd shut up, dismiss my opinion, refuse to listen, or showed condescension, was bad enough that I can count at least two cases where I lost it and actually asked the guy in question to "shut the fuck up and let me finish my sentences", in the middle of a group conversation. Never fancied counting the times when it happened in 1-on-1 conversations... Happens at work to often to bother.. That's a reason I so love forums like this one : you can chose not to read my post, but you can't interrupt me.
Even at work! For those who don't know me, I'm a bookseller, and my sections and areas of expertise are in SFF and manga/comics. And that's beyond the bull that can happen in the SFF section. "Book people" in the industry have been sexual harassers and assaulters, using rank to push people out and pressure them, among other abuses of power. Sadly, just because we share a love of good stories, doesn't mean we share the same amount of decency and manners.
There is definitely a neck-beardy element to this fandom, and a lot of extremely toxic public personalities are vocal fans of Fantasy, and in particular authors who (just so happen to) write male power fantasies, like Lawrence and Lynch or Cole.

So yeah, I find it deplorable, but about as little surprising as a transphobic tweet from JKR.

As for Lynch, no matter how much hero worship Rowland had, she didn't cheat with Lynch on her own. Bear could benefit from taking a step back and wondering with us whether or not she's married to someone who used a gullible worshipper for side-action. That sounds like a nasty cheating episode and should be delt with in private, except for the fact that Rowland and Lynch apparently share an agent, and he and his wife have a lot more clout and could stomp her career if they wanted to, probably.

I really love the community, please don't misunderstand my negative statements. I still read in it, love to work with it, and the genres are the best, in my opinion. Whether in art, video games, comics, or novels, SF&F is my lifeblood. The books that raised me and taught me growing up and to this day are mostly SFF ones.
But it has never been a nice place to be a woman in, and the internet and its cover of anonymity are the only way I interact with the fandom outside of work, to avoid spending time with potentially disagreeable people (who often don't even realise they're being toxic).

Sadly I doubt that dragging them out in public will change much of anything until the community at large changes. It's certainly getting better, but it's a slow process. More conscious publishers getting more representation, more minority voices... slowly... slowly. But publishing still is a business, and people get treated depending on how they sell. We have a responsibility to blockade and ignore the authors who turn out to have horrible opinions or be sex pests. To incite publishers to take action, so that empty "sorries" and promises to "never do it again" aren't the only consequences.

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Sorry for the long absence @ScarletBea !! I sometimes hover a little, but I've spent my pandemic time not writing at all... and instead channelled all my creativity into doing 3D art. I am trying to pick back up other hobbies so I don't burn out, so I'm making an effort and trying to write, but I'm really an oddball sort of person, when it comes to hobbies. I don't want to let go of writing though... So I'm gonna try and be more diligent.

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It will be enticing me back, @Lady Ty !!  :D  I'm 300 words shy of a finished story. It feels odd not to be able to submit for another month and some, but I'm glad, as I'm not sure I can come up with a story for this month. Image isn't working for me...

Might try the July one though. Hope you've been well? And everyone, really...

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