Gods of Egypt hatewatch image showing a picture of scott woods next to images of the actors from the movie next to an image of tempest

Going for the Stretch Goals with a Gods of Egypt Hate Watch – UPDATED

Things have been a bit whirlwindy in my life and thus I did not post here when I hit my initial funding goal for my trip to Egypt. BUT I DID, I DID, I AM GOING TO EGYPT! This all happened fast. One day I hit $3,000 and started preparing for the Gods of Egypt hatewatch and then BOOM, shortly after I was over $5,000. I have some amazing friends and family.

And, because I hit my initial funding, I am reaching for my first stretch goal: $6,000. This will give me enough extra money to stay in Cairo a few days after the tour ends and take a day trip to the Valley of the Kings so I can spend one full day at Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple taking pictures. I’m quite close to this second goal. Right now the fundraiser is at $5,666[1], so I need just $334 more.

How to encourage a few more donations? I still owe my supporters this hatewatch…

At 12PM Eastern today I will watch Gods of Egypt with Scott Woods and we will give you our impressions of this mess in real time on Twitter. We’re using the hashtag #WhitesOfEgypt. Keep an eye on that to follow along.

As we watch you will start to feel sorry for us, because this movie is so racist it hurts. Every time you feel that pang of sympathy, consider dropping a few bucks in the tip jar.

I will Storify the tweets once we’re done for those of you who miss it (I’ll add to this post). And afterward Scott and I will do a video of our final reactions. Which will also be hilarious.

And after that I will no longer have to watch bad movies set in ancient Egypt and go back to reading good books about Egypt, instead.

…unless I don’t hit my stretch goal…

UPDATE! We did it and we survived. Click here for the Wakelet of all the tweets. And you can watch our reaction video below.

Got closer to my stretch goal but still looking for a few more dollars!

Footnotes

  1. The number of the Beast! Ahhhhhh![]
Egyptians Moving Large Statue

Physicists Might Be Jerks and Other Things I Learned While Researching Egypt

For the past 3 weeks I’ve been holed up in the library at Rosicrucian Park, a magnificent place that is also home to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, one of my favorite museums in the country. I needed to do some deep research for the novel I’m writing, and I figured this particular research library would be an excellent place to do just that. I was not disappointed.

One of the great things about researching there is that they have several older Egyptology books, some dating to the early 1900s (oh man… I typed that like it was some old timey century ago but that’s literally the century I was born in… ack). One of the interesting things I discovered as I went through some of these older books is that the paradigms of Egyptology that I’m used to encountering in books written in the past 40 years or so are not the paradigms that have always existed. Some scholars at the beginning of everything had different–and sometimes more interesting–ideas about ancient Egyptian culture that have fallen away. Some have fallen away due to more finds and better understanding of the language. But some seem to have dissipated for no good reason. I find it all fascinating.

One aspect of the shifting paradigms is shifting ideas about how advanced or primitive the ancient Egyptians were compared to the ancient Greeks or Romans or even modern peoples, for whatever value of modern one is talking about. I found varying views on the types of tools and simple machines the Egyptians must have had for them to have built massive monuments and temples of multi-ton granite stones, varying views on how sophisticated their knowledge of astronomy was, and varying views on the meaning of their mythologies. So much to take in!

One particular aspect of this caught my eye while researching, which I wanted to share with you. That is the supposed mystery of how Egyptians were able to move such large stones.

A few years ago some physicists published a paper called “Sliding Friction on Wet and Dry Sand,” which proved that one needed less force to pull a heavy object over wet sand than dry sand. The way science journalists got everyone’s attention when reporting on this somewhat boring topic is with headlines like “The surprisingly simple way Egyptians moved massive pyramid stones without modern technology” and “Solved! How Ancient Egyptians Moved Massive Pyramid Stones.” First of all, nothing in this research paper proves anything about pyramid stones, but clickbait headlines gotta clickbait, right?

Anyway, the reason why most people remember these articles is because of this:

It has long been believed that Egyptians used wooden sleds to haul the stone, but until now it hasn’t been entirely understood how they overcame the problem of friction. … “The Egyptians… placed the heavy objects on a sledge that workers pulled over the sand. Research … revealed that the Egyptians probably made the desert sand in front of the sledge wet.”

Adding more evidence to the conclusion that Egyptians used water is a wall painting in the tomb of Djehutihotep. A splash of orange and gray, it appears to show a person standing at the front of a massive sledge, pouring water onto the sand just in front of the progressing sled. What this man was doing has been a matter of great debate and discussion.

Egyptians Moving Large Statue

Bonn [one of the researchers] wrote in an e-mail to The Post. “In fact, Egyptologists had been interpreting the water as part of a purification ritual, and had never sought a scientific explanation…”

When I first read this my thought was: Ugh, typical Egyptologists/archaeologists, assuming something practical is ritualistic. Cuz, well, this happens often.

But then.

As I was going through older books, I came across that picture of the pulling of the giant stone statue several times, and every single time I did, the author explained the picture or captioned it with something along the lines of: Workers pulling granite statue of the pharaoh while someone pours water on the sand to help make moving it easier.

Um. But wait. I thought that “Egyptologists had been interpreting the water as part of a purification ritual, and had never sought a scientific explanation.”

HMM.

Either the early Egyptologists were smarter than the ones that came later about these things or maybe, just maybe, the physicist who gave that quote doesn’t know what the hell he’s fucking talking about and/or made it seem like the people in a different scientific discipline than he is were being stupid.

Quite honestly, it could be either or both.

I want to run over all those articles about this thing with a giant CITATION NEEDED stamp.

Science journalism has so much to answer for.

At any rate, I am very grateful for the opportunity to spend time reading these older books and widening my understanding of ancient Egyptian culture as well as some of the people who were formative to Egyptology. This research trip was made possible by the folks who support me via Patreon, and I am so, so appreciative of them! They’ve put up with a lot of lag from me, but next month I’ll be able to get back on track and start sending them chapters again.

If you would like to read more about my research finds, I’ve been blogging about them on Patreon for all patrons. I have a few more research posts coming this week. If you’re interested in seeing them, click on over!

A graphic showing multiple stop signs with white hand icons depicting STOP imposed on them and the F facebook logo imposed on the hands

An Open Letter To My Facebook Followers

Dear folks who follow me on Facebook,

I am super done with this bullshit social network.

The other day I got put into 24 hour FB jail because of a thing I shared. I can’t remember if it was an article or a status with pictures, but the thing was about a dude who messaged a woman via OKCupid and became abusive because the woman did not respond to him or, when she did, did not respond in the manner he wanted. So she created a post with screenshots of his words and his profile. Facebook says this is against their community guidelines and cut me off.

There may be a conversation to be had about whether that post or the guidelines around it are appropriate. But what strikes me is that time and again I’ve seen how FB doesn’t protect marginalized or minority folks from cishet white dudes when they attack, but have punished women and POC when they share screenshots of those same attacks. The way their community guidelines are set up means they will readily punish stuff like I posted but pages that literally say all Jews are evil and part of a global conspiracy continue on even though they’ve been repeatedly reported. I also notice that Facebook continues with the ridiculous Real Name policy even though it specifically hurts vulnerable groups, such as trans people, political dissidents, activists, people escaping abusive situations, and more[1].

Plus there’s all the crap that goes on with fake news, how they refuse to address this in a meaningful way, how the algorithm works against creators and folks who want to share their personal projects, and overall just keeps people from seeing all the folks they want to see.

It’s just become a cesspool in here. A cesspool with some very lovely pool partiers around, mind.

By that I mean you.

I connect with so many of you through Facebook. I truly enjoy the conversations, and keeping up with your lives, and seeing your thoughtful shares of links. And if that was 90% of my experience on Facebook I would stay. But it’s not. So, I am slowly edging toward the EXIT.

I’m not leaving completely. For one, I know I will be cut off from many people if I do that. I also know that easing people over to new platforms will take some time. And I will have to wean myself from my habitual checking of FB every time I have a moment of boredom or procrastination.

I am going to make a major change to how I use Facebook.

Step 1: I will no longer post much on my regular profile/wall. I’ll auto-post links to new stuff going on with my projects, and I will sometimes share something or make an original post, but I’m mostly leaving the traditional way of interacting via Facebook behind.

Step 2: I’m going to use my Group more. For those who don’t know, I have a Group on FB called Tempest in a Teapot. It started as a way for people who wanted to be sure they saw posts about my podcast and Patreon and other projects to do so. Groups have a few extra abilities in FB, such as sending notifications for EVERY post, so you don’t miss them. I’m now going to use the Group as my primary way to interact on Facebook. That is where I’ll share things, post statuses, all that. So if you want to keep following me on Facebook, join the group. Right now I am letting anyone in who asks. Which leads to…

Step 3: I’m going to aggressively protect and moderate my space. This is a thing missing from Facebook that we used to have when we were mostly on blogs and such. Groups give admins the ability to moderate posts and comments, if need be. I will not be shy about booting people from the group if they act out. It’ll be harder for them to stalk my posts if they’re booted and blocked. And there will be far fewer drive-by comments from people unconnected to me.

Step 4: I’m going to spend more time posting in spaces that are less toxic. More blog posts here (and linkspams, cuz I do love sharing), more journaling with friends over on Dreamwidth, more having conversations in Google Hangouts, in Slack, via text[2]. I’ll also shift most of my general social networking over to Twitter. Yes, Twitter is also a problem for different reasons. However, it doesn’t have all the same problems (the algorithm deciding what you see, some news sources given priority, real name policies, etc.), and so I’m willing to shift my energy there for now.

There are other steps after this, but I’ll talk about them later. What’s the bottom line for you, my follower on Facebook? I’ll break it down for you.

If you want to keep following me and seeing my social media shares, join the Tempest in a Teapot Group or follow me on Twitter.

Follow my blog posts. Yes, there’s about to be more of them. I have an RSS feed or you can subscribe to alerts for new posts via email (check the right sidebar).

Follow me on Patreon. If you’re already a member of that platform, you can follow my posts even if you don’t pledge. You’ll just see the public ones.

Every week for the next little while I will remind people about this post and these bullet points.

And if you’d like to join me in leaving Facebook in the dust, I’m posting several how to guides on that process on Medium.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve chronicled a bunch of what I’ve seen an read about in a post with the extremely apropos title It’s Time To Abandon Facebook.[]
  2. P. S. Friends, close friends, those I love dearly: Please, please, please slide opn over and tell me your most preferred method of communicating either one-on-one or in small groups. I’m bad at communication but I want so badly to just spend time talking with y’all and having great conversation. So tell me how to make that happen. Invite me to your Slacks. Add me to your hangout groups. I am ready.[]
comic titled How People Are On the Internet. First panel shows two young men against a blue background. the man on the right is pointing off panel and says I love the work of that guy. Second panel, the man on the right says So tell him. The man on the left says Oh there's no need for that. Third panel, the man on the left has an angry face, again pointing off panel, and says The work of that guy though I don't like. Forth panel, the man on the left yells Hey! You suck and I hate you! while the man on the right looks shocked.

#FriendlyFriday and #IHeartThisThursday

Earlier this year my friend Alethea shared the comic above on her Facebook.

Around that time I’d also seen another graphic or post or something with a similar sentiment: People don’t tell the creators of the things they love that they love said things nearly as much as they yell at creators of things they have a problem with.

I don’t completely agree. As I said in response to the first comic: Saying “I Love This!” doesn’t get the same amount of attention as saying “I don’t like this!” coupled with “because it’s a problem.” The real issue here isn’t that people don’t talk about what they love. The problem is that people don’t give attention and signal boosts to the people talking about what they love.

In the time between me first saying this and now, things haven’t changed. In thinking about the kinds of links I see shared multiple times on Facebook or Twitter, they are more of the “Do you see this awful/problematic thing?” variety than “Do you see this amazingness?” People DO post the latter stuff, but it’s not shared and boosted as many times.

This is not only the fault of All Of Us, I know. Facebook’s horrendous algorithm seems designed to suppress squee unless it comes from very specific sites (who I can only suppose are advertisers) and boost things that get us riled up. Or, if that’s not the design, then perhaps it’s just that Facebook is not here to help you spread the word about that book or that musician or that artist unless they are huge, mainstream creators with corporate backing who, again, are likely paying Facebook some money in advertising dollars.

And with Twitter… well, it’s hard to get anything noticed on Twitter unless you share it forty million times.

Whatever the reasons and the back-end machinations, I do think that us individual users of these platforms have a major role in this as well. How often are you moved to share, retweet, reblog a post that’s just about someone loving on a thing they love? How often compared to boosting stuff that isn’t these things?

Don’t worry, I am not judging you cuz I do this, too. And I aim to be better about it. Thus this post.

A few months ago the aforementioned Alethea Kontis started doing a thing on her Patreon called #FriendlyFriday: “where I tell you all about my fabulous friends and what brilliant things that they are up to.” I decided to follow suit on my Patreon (the posts are public). I know so, so, so many talented creators involved in a plethora of projects that deserve more attention that I will never be at a loss for people to write about. I’m sure this is true for a bunch of the people reading this. So, I’m challenging you: join us for the #FriendlyFriday party.

Every week create a blog post, a Facebook status, a Tumblr blog, or some other public thing wherein you talk about a creative friend, their current project, and why you like them. Doesn’t have to be long, complex, or even erudite. A simple “XXX is an amazing artist and you should click through her gallery and also support her on Patreon” is just fine. The point is for you to show your friend some love and maybe expose them to some folks who’ve never seen their stuff before. Oh, and be sure to tag it #FriendlyFriday.

Now that’s all well and good, but there’s a next step to this. When you see a post on the #FriendlyFriday tag, share it. Just do it. Unless you look at the art or book or or whatever and think “Dear Zu’ul, that is horrendous!” You don’t have to share things you don’t like. But if you do like it, even a little, share. Seek out #FriendlyFriday on Twitter or Tumblr and wherever else. If you leave it up to the social networks, they’re not going to show you. Now is the time to be proactive.

Continuing in this theme, sometimes there is art and music and dance and writing that you love that isn’t created by a friend. In that sense, the #FriendlyFriday tag might not be the best fit. I have a solution for that, too: #IHeartThisThursday.

This is for sharing links to stuff you love that you don’t have a personal connection to (other than how it speaks to you!). For my part, I plan to put together a short weekly linkspam with #IHeartThisThursday stuff. You can also just tag a single tweet or FB status with it. Make it a regular thing over on Tumblr. Don’t forget to tag the creator, if possible, when you do. They want to know how much you love them as much as everyone else does.

Just as with the #FriendlyFriday tag, seek out #IHeartThisThursday posts and share them. Widely. Be proactive in boosting the good work and amazing creations that exist in the world.

We have to do both in order for this to work.

Who’s in?

Surel's Place

I’ll Be The Artist In Residence at Surel’s Place This November!

Some exciting news! A week and a half ago I found out I’ve been accepted to be an Artist-In-Residence at Surel’s Place in Boise, Idaho. I am beyond thrilled at this opportunity and so, so grateful to the jury for choosing me.

I’ll be there for the month of November and, per the residency requirements, I will spend that time writing and writing and writing. I’ll also give a workshop to the Boise writer’s community and probably do a reading. November is a fitting month (even though it is cold!) as it’ll also be NaNoWriMo–as good a time as any to concentrate solely on writing.

My hope is that I’ll be done with this draft of the Steampunk Egypt book by then, but if not that’s when I’ll get it done. If I am, then it’s on to Book 2 and/or finally pumping out the YA novel about the girl turning into a dragon. Either way, it’s a whole month to write without having to worry about anything else, including food and travel. GLORIOUS.

This could not have happened without the support of my friends who read my submission stuff and advised me, the folks who gave me recommendations (Claire, Nisi, Mary, you rock!), and the community of residency Binders who inspired me to keep submitting even after many rejections. Many thanks to all y’all.

OdysseyCon banner

OdysseyCon and Why Serial Harassers Are Safe In Our Community

This post is long, and will have to dip back into history a bit before returning to the present. But this context is important.

A couple of years ago the WisCon concom went through some rough times due to both individual and group responses to the harassment experienced by one of WisCon’s attendees perpetrated by another of WisCon’s attendees. If you’re not familiar, please read about the incident and some of the ways it affected the person harassed. The fallout from this was widespread in our community and long ongoing.

One of the things that happened because of the discussion around what should have been done and what didn’t get done after the harassment was reported is that a long time member of WisCon’s concom, a man named Richard Russell, was removed from the concom via a vote by members of that body. Why was he removed? Because it was decided by WisCon’s governing body that the statement of principles and code of conduct WisCon had for its members during the convention should also be applied to the concom throughout the year. If someone on the concom is being abusive, or harassing, or any other such behavior, they should not get to remain on the concom. Makes sense, right?

Well. Some folks didn’t feel like it did.

Enough folks agreed that this was a proper way to handle things, and so that became a rule. Under the terms of that rule, Richard Russell’s behavior, stretching back literal years, was brought up. Multiple people pointed out instances where they felt Richard was abusive and, even when called on this directly, continued his abusive behavior. Due to this no longer being acceptable[1], Richard was forced to leave the concom.

Mind you, not banned from WisCon. Removed from the concom. That’s important.

Richard set about telling everyone who would listen[2] that he had been treated unfairly, that no one had ever told him what he did wrong, that he was banned, that everyone was a big meanie. How do I know this? (Aside from the thing mentioned in footnotes.) Because someone publicly defended him on these points.

Fast forward to WisCon that year. We had a panel called WisCon: What Happened Last Summer?[3] To talk through the stuff that went down around FrenkelFail and then Richard being removed and all of Richard’s dear friends leaving the concom because of this. One of those dear friends, who also defended him on the concom mailing list to the rest of us many times, was on the panel: Jeanne Gomoll. But I’ve already told that story.

Here’s something I apparently did not mention in my post, but did tweet at the time: A man got up during the part of the panel where the audience was invited to comment and stated that he was there to defend Richard Russell and began to chide us all for the terrible manner in which we had treated him. In my memory, Mikki Kendall, who was one of that year’s con chairs and also on the panel, let him go on for a bit before she informed him that everything he was saying was wrong.

The paraphrased memories I have go something like:

Guy: Instead of banning him–

Mikki: We didn’t ban him. He was removed from the concom but not banned.

Guy: Well but before doing that you should have _______.

Mikki: We did do _______.

Guy: But you didn’t _______.

Mikki: Yes, we did.

Guy: But what about _______.

Mikki: We did.

Guy: Oh.

Mikki then informed him that if he thought that we had banned Richard, never warned him, didn’t explain to him and whatever else he had come there to tell us we should have done, that was because Richard had lied to him. She then reiterated that Richard was removed from the concom because he was abusive. She used that word.

I remember this part clearly because I had a very deep and sudden anxiety attack just hearing these words.

The guy said: “Well, yes, Richard can be an asshole sometimes, sure. But–“

I don’t know if I can adequately express how painful it was to hear someone dismiss the words “he abused” with “he can be an asshole, sure.” I had not been very emotional during the whole of that very emotional panel until that moment. I almost got up and left.

Except the immediate reaction in the room was multiple voices rising up to say NO. NO, YOU DO NOT GET TO DISMISS THAT. NO. Mikki had a mic, so her voice is loudest in my memory. She said the same. She did not let him get away with that. It’s the only thing that kept me calm. The slapping back of that all too common narrative by many voices in the room. I didn’t even realize how much trauma I had around that narrative until that moment.

Shortly after that, the guy finally stopped talking, made some mumbling about how maybe he needed to rethink things, and sat down.

Okay, I told you all of that story in order to tell you this one.

Today, Monica Valentinelli, who was slated to be one of the Guests of Honor at OdyessyCon, another local Madison convention, publicly stated she would not attend or be guest because of the presence of a person who had previously harassed her and she did not feel comfortable around[4]. You can read her statement explaining this. Here’s some information that wasn’t included in this initial statement because Monica was still attempting to be a professional about all of this. The reason why she posted that statement this morning is because, after sending an email to the concom raising concerns about Frenkel’s involvement in the con, which she had not been aware of, she got this email[5]:

Monica,

While I understand your position, I hope that I can encourage you to reconsider. Jim Frenkel is, and has been for a long time, a member of the Odyssey Con concom, so he is very involved with the convention. As such, he is very concerned that nothing happen that will reflect badly on it. Having attended every prior OddCon myself, I can assure you that he has always behaved in a correct manner there. He does “yeoman duty” for the con every year, and is respected for his contributions.

I have known Jim personally for more than thirty years. Although there have been unfortunate events in the past, I do not now believe, nor have I ever, that Jim is dangerous to any one, in any way. I believe that the lamentably widely disseminated idea that he is, is exaggerated and grows from a lack of knowledge of the facts in his case. His reputation since the WisCon incident has been spotless.

I will, if you wish, take Jim off any panel that presently features both of you, which I hope you would find a reasonable compromise. Banning Jim entirely would be unfair to him, and, in refusing to attend if he is working the con at all, you are being unfair to yourself. Why let other people make your decisions for you? Come and see the man for yourself. You will see that he is a decent man, and not a monster.

Don’t take my word alone. I would urge you to reach out to some of our past guests. I’m sure you know Margaret Weis–she was a guest at last OddCon, why not get her opinion?

Thank you for your consideration,
Gregory G.H. Rihn
Odyssey Con 2017 Programming

Yes. That was said.

Today I looked up Gregory G.H. Rihn on Facebook and discovered that he is the Guy who stood up and defended Richard Russell at that panel. In almost this exact same disgusting language.

And guess who else is on the OddCon concom? Richard Russell[6].

So we’ve got Greg Rihn, serial apologist for serial harassers and abusers, responding to a guest of honor in this manner. When said guest of honor responds to that by withdrawing from the con, Richard Russell, who has a history of abusive communications, signs his name to a statement that essentially says “Well she brought all this up awfully late! And also Frenkel has never harassed anyone at OddCon, so we have no grounds to ban him. Plus, we don’t let guests of honor dictate who can come to our safe space. Also, this is a safe space[7].”

I’ve seen a bunch of people commenting on this wondering how it is that Jim Frenkel is in any way involved with any convention at this point in time given everything that’s happened. Well. This. This is why. It’s multiple people[8] who knew full well the problems before this came up yesterday[9] who know Jim and are real sure he didn’t ever do anything wrong, despite those third hard reports from the Internet (who trusts that?? Pish) continuing to allow him to be in official roles because we wouldn’t want to lose all his knowledge and experience.

This is how fandom has worked for decades.

So quit being shocked by it, or ignoring it, and start connecting the dots. Hold these people accountable.

And support the people who take the incredibly difficult step of being public about this stuff. Monica could have quietly withdrawn, made up some innocuous public reason for doing so, and not rocked the boat. Might have been easier on her because she lives in Madison and is in nominal community with these people. Maybe she won’t experience massive blowback because of this, but history tells us that she will. How about we not let that slide. How about we stand by her side, swords drawn, ready to cut down the waves of sexist assholery already coming her way.

ETA: OddCon issued a new statement/apology. I have thoughts about this in comments.

Footnotes

  1. And yeah, it’s a whole conversation about this never having been acceptable, but there are reasons motions had to be made and votes taken and rules put firmly in place by governing bodies to make this happen. They are all annoying reasons.[]
  2. Including a post I remember being on File770 but I now cannot find, making me wonder if I mis-remembered or if they took it down because it was super one-sided and awful.[]
  3. That link goes to a Storify that covers quite a bit of what was said.[]
  4. She does not name him, but in the ensuing conversation it became clear she was talking about Jim Frenkel[]
  5. I am only posting this email publicly because OdysseyCon already did so on their Facebook page[]
  6. Who, by the by, had his name as a signer at the bottom of OddCon’s first official statement about all of this, which was completely unprofessional and gross, and is just of a piece with all this fuckery.[]
  7. There is a screenshot of this statement here.[]
  8. See how many folks are listed on this concom ETA: This page is not working right now. But there are about a dozen people who were listed on the concom.[]
  9. Sigrid Ellis brought it up a year ago and they ignored it. They wanna act like this is new and it’s not.[]
February Tempest Challenge Day 5

Eartha Kitt’s Biographies | Tempest Challenge BHM

It’s hard to speak truth to power and to stand up to folk who seem like the most powerful folk around. Doing so often leads to severe consequences. And yet it remains one of the most important things an individual can do.

Eartha Kitt knew this well:

Kitt became a leading light in the civil rights movement in the 1960s but when she condemned the Vietnam war on a visit to the White House her career in the US ended and the CIA branded her “a sadistic nymphomaniac”. —The Guardian

The CIA, people.

If you don’t know about this incident, here’s a short video on the subject.

The fallout from this lasted years and drove Kitt to Europe for decades. And all she did was ask a simple question that amounted to “Do Black lives matter as much as white ones?”

If you don’t know much about Eartha Kitt beyond Batman and Santa Baby, then it’s really worth tracking down one of her biographies. It looks like they’re all out of print, but many are available on Amazon. She wrote several over her long life and career, and some of the later ones are more easily obtained for reasonable prices.

Read about her life in her own words, about that incident with the Johnsons, about the backlash that ensued and how it felt to be targeted for being Black and having the nerve to speak your mind. And then do what’s in your power to follow Kitt’s example. Hathor knows we need more people like her right now.

Hugo Award

4 Reasons Why You (Yeah, You) Are Qualified To Nominate for the Hugos

The Hugo Award nomination period closes in just a few days. You’ve seen my recs, and over the weekend the #hugoeligible hashtag showcased so many more. But I know some of you are still thinking that you aren’t qualified to nominate because:

  1. You haven’t read/watched/listened widely enough (according to you).
  2. You don’t have enough nominations in every category to fill ever slot you’re allotted.
  3. You don’t have time to read all the cool stuff recommended here and elsewhere and on the tag.
  4. You’re “just a fan” and not anyone fancy.

I’m here to tell you that none of those things disqualifies you from nominating for the Hugos. None. Zip. Let’s break it down.

I Haven’t Read/Watched/Listened Widely Enough

Have you read/watched/listened to eligible media at all? Then you’ve done so widely enough. I’m serious. No one can read, watch, or listen to every single thing, and very few people can even consume all the stuff that gets floated as good by reviewers, friends, and the folks you follow on social media. Even as a person whose job it is to read and review short fiction I have not read every single piece of short fiction out there.

How do you know what stuff is best, then? It’s all relative. If you read just 4 novels last year and one of them wowed or moved you, then you nominate that one. It was the best of what you read.

I Don’t Have Enough Nominations To Fill Every Slot

This is fine as well. Like I said, if of the novels you read you only loved one, then you nominate one. Only two good movies, only one podcast, and no particular thoughts on Fan Writer? That is all fine. You are not required to fill out all the slots in every category nor are you required to nominate in every category.

I Saw All The Recs But Didn’t Have Time To Assess Them All

That’s fine. You’re not a bad person for not having gone through every single recommendation.

Do you know what you can do? Keep track of the people who made all those recs, because they probably share a lot of stuff they love throughout the year, not just at award nominating time. That way, you’ll have more time to check out stuff you might like for next year.

I’m Not Anyone Fancy, Why Should I Nominate When Better Read/More Engaged/Highly Connected People Are More Qualified To Do So?

I’m going to loop back to: did you read, watch, and listen to things? You are eminently qualified. Also, the Hugo is a fan award, driven by fans and what they like. It is absolutely not a requirement to be anything other than a person who loves SFF stuff and wants to see the stuff they like recognized for its awesomeness. That is all.

Your voice matters. What you love matters. It matters to the award even if the stuff you nominate doesn’t get on the ballot. After all, the people who create the fiction and movies and TV shows and podcasts and fan writing and art you love look at the list of what was nominated but didn’t make the final and go: oh hey, this many people thought my story was award-worthy! That’s the best.

In Summary

Nominate what you think is best of what you’ve read, watched, and listened to, no matter the number of overall things. Don’t worry about filling every slot if you can’t. Don’t worry about not getting to every recommendation. Your voice matters.

Got it? Excellent. Go fill out your ballot.

Tempest is on Patreon! (And Looking For Your Support)

As of this month, I’m officially on Patreon and looking for patrons! You can support me creating cool stuff for $1 per month on up to $500 per month if you have deep pockets like that.

If you listened to my interview on the Less Than Or Equal podcast[1], you might be wondering why I said I was going to launch my Patreon page last year (wow, six months ago…) when I only just did so this month. There are a few reasons, but the biggest one can probably be summed up with the words Impostor Syndrome.

What’s so insidious about Impostor Syndrome is that even though I can identify it in other people and always attempt to beat it back with the “You’re awesome and your voice is needed and I’m glad you’re alive and loud and sharing your talent with the world” stick, I cannot always turn that on myself. Luckily, I do have friends to do so for me. After finally wrestling my brain weasels into a bag, I put my page together and even made a video.

Because I know that people think the Tempest Challenge and the video series that goes with it are valuable. I know that the Write Gear podcast has already helped some writers. I know that my writing on this blog and over at Medium and the other places I publish has added more signal than noise to discussions about genre and race and gender and writing. And I know that you all want to talk about Jem and the Holograms endlessly, just like I do! (And sing the songs, right? RIGHT?) That’s why I finally launched the Patreon, and I hope you’ll click and pledge and support.

Right now the support is for making vids and podcasts and writing non-fiction and not directly for me writing fiction. Why? Because I am a s.l.o.w. writer of fiction. And deadlines do not change that one iota. But I find that my own creative projects are much less draining than my freelance assignments. The opposite, actually: they energize and inform my fiction writing. So by pledging money to me for making vids and podcasts and writing essays and columns, you’re supporting me writing fiction as well.

Plus, you know you wanna see more You Done Fucked Up vids.

You can Make It So[2].

Footnotes

  1. You really should! It’s a great interview, if I say so myself.[]
  2. To all those who click and pledge: Thanks![]

Awards Season Is Upon Us #3: My Not-Fiction Hugo Reccommendations

awards

Hugo nominations are due in 10 days! And I have some more recs for you, this time in the categories that aren’t fiction. You can find my fiction recs here and after that you should check out which Hugo nomination categories I’m eligible for and hopefully you will deem me worthy of your nomination nod.

I don’t have a rec for every not-fiction Hugo category. I don’t have a good sense of the field for some, and the others I don’t care about as much (dramatic presentation, for ex). So I’m happy to read other people’s recs or just wait for the final ballot before consuming everything and making a decision.

Best Related Work

A Critical Review of Laura J. Mixon’s Essay” by Édouard Brière-Allard

I know my listing this will be interpreted as some pro-Requires Hate move and more proof that I am her specialest best friend[1]. Sorry y’all: No. My strong recommendation for this essay is about my strong conviction that if a person is going to publish a call out post with a long list of receipts, it needs to adhere to some strict standards evidence, labelling, and truth. Mixon’s post about Benjanun did not, and this essay is, in part, about explaining that. It points out the huge problems with that post and is an important part of the conversation about the fallout from the post. It’s long. Longity-long. It’s well worth reading.

Invisible 2, edited by Jim C Hines

This anthology series about representation in SFF is so important. The essays cover all the big questions when it comes to representation–why it’s necessary and needed, the effects of bad representation on individuals and culture, the effects of good representation, getting beyond false binaries of choice, and much more. This is an anthology that’s just as important for fans and readers to have as it is for genre writers.

A Wiki of Ice and Fire

There are a ton of fan-maintained wikis around, and I know many of them are great. This is one of the best I’ve ever come across. It’s well organized and edited, kept up to date consistently, and contains a breadth and depth of information that astounds me. Even George RR Martin uses this wiki to look up details of character and history (or so I hear). This wiki is why I can have conversations with people about Game of Thrones even though I haven’t read any of the books or watched much of the show.

The Call of the Sad Whelkfins: The Continued Relevance of How to Suppress Women’s Writing” by Natalie Luhrs and Annalee Flower Horne 

Bad Life Decisions: In Which Natalie Luhrs Reads a Theodore Beale Book for Charity 

Sad Puppies Review Books: Children’s Books Reviewed By Childish Men by John Z. Upjohn

This book collects all the excellent SP review posts, hilarious send-ups by the ever funny Alexandra Erin. Stuff like this is why she’s also on my Best Fan Writer list.

Best Editor (Long Form)

Devi Pillai, Orbit Books

Devi is the editor at Orbit that acquired N. K. Jemisin’s books and for that she should have won a Hugo long ago. Nora agrees with me: “Devi has done a lot to help change the face of the genre. It’s in large part thanks to her influence that Orbit Books has consistently cranked out some really edgy, different, high-quality fiction in its relatively short lifetime. The books she likes are anything but the same-old same old; there’s no formula in her fantasy, no tiresome adherence to tradition at the expense of a good story.”

Her authors also include Kate Elliott, Gail Carriger, Lilith Saintcrow, Joe Abercrombie, and Kate Locke among many others. If you loved The Fifth Season or any other book Devi edited, then she should be on your list of nomintees.

Miriam Weinberg, Tor Books

Miriam edited Fran Wilde’s Updraft and V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic.

Best Editor (Short Form)

Nisi Shawl

Co-editor of Stories for Chip

Ann VanderMeer

For me, this is based mainly on her editorial work for Tor.com. She consistently acquires outstanding stories by amazing authors.

Ellen Datlow

Similar story here. I’m not that into horror. But the stories Ellen acquires for Tor.com are always worth reading and often surprise me with how much I like them even if they’re horror or dark fantasy.

C.C. Finlay

Charlie turned F&SF into a magazine I wanted to read on a regular basis instead of something I threw across the room on a regular basis.

Best Semiprozine

Luna Station Quarterly

Strange Horizons

Uncanny Magazine

Best Fancast

Fresh Out of Tokens

Less Than Or Equal

A podcast dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of geeks facing inequality in their industries, hosted by the awesome Aleen Simms.

Best Fan Writer

Mark Oshiro

Alexandra Erin

Natalie Luhrs

Tanya DePass

Édouard Brière-Allard

Please share your recs in the comments!

Footnotes

  1. I still have a long essay of my own in me about that and why that’s very much not the case, and one day I’m sure I’ll have the emotional fortitude to write it.[]