Weekend Updatery and Miscellaneous, 6/8/15

A catchall post for a few things. 

* I spent the weekend in Berkeley, California for the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival, and in my opinion the folks running it did pretty well for the first shot at the event. There were a few hiccups here and there, but by and large people seemed to enjoy themselves, and I’m happy to say my events were well-attended. My first event was a reading and Q&A, followed by a panel on climate change and fiction, which also included Paolo Bacigalupi, Edan Lepucki and Antti Tuomainen. I also got to see several friends there, which is always a joy, and on Saturday evening got to hang out with a bunch of writers, including Paolo, Kim Stanley Robinson and Karen Joy Fowler, discussing writing and publishing. It was a pretty nifty time, in short, and enough so that I didn’t mind several hours in the air, both ways, to be in the Bay Area less than 48 hours overall.

The picture above, incidentally, taken from the balcony of the University Club at the top of Memorial Stadium, where the book festival held a welcoming party for writers. It was a lovely time; I hung out with my friend Olivia Ahl (events coordinator for the Bellevue branch of the University Bookstore (that’s University of Washington, not Cal)), author Suzanne Young, and Wired editor Adam Rogers. I also met Otis Chandler, CEO of Goodreads, who also happens to be a fellow alumni of my high school, the Webb Schools of California (he graduated a few years later than I) and his wife Elizabeth. Otis and I talked obscure high school lore whilst everyone about us looked on tolerantly.

In any event, I thought the Bay Area Book Festival was a success, and can’t wait for future installments.

* Over the weekend I also ran a fundraiser for Con or Bust, in which I invited folks to post a picture of a happy puppy, and for every picture I would donate $1. As a result we got to see about three hundred different doggies in the thread, either pictured or linked to, which makes it arguably the most adorable comment thread in the history of Whatever. In the end there were 317 comments, some of which were repeats as people tried alternate methods to post pictures of their pups, but eh, I rounded up and donated $325 to Con or Bust. The donation is now already sent off, so well done, everybody. You and your puppies can be proud. Also, if you yourself are looking to donate to a worthy cause, consider Con or Bust. It’s pretty cool.

* On a (very) tangentially related note, Jim Hines did some yeoman work over the weekend doing a quick early history of the Sad Puppies, using their own words to help make the picture more clear for the confused, which at this point could be everyone. Jim somewhat mercifully skates over the part where Theodore Beale makes the Sad Puppies his arguably unwitting tools for his own purposes (i.e., the “Rabid Puppies” slate, aka the “Let me just use the Hugos to promote my own little not terribly successful publishing house here” slate), but it’s otherwise pretty comprehensive, and a good primer.

It’s not escaped notice that I’ve been slacking on my Hugo/Puppies commentary recently, but honestly at this point there’s not anything new for me to say. It’s a low-information movement begun in craven entitlement, with a political element tacked on as a cudgel, taken over by an ambitious bigot, and I’m sorry for the several excellent people I know who have gotten wrapped up in this nonsense one way or another. That’s pretty much where I’ve been on it for a while now. When I have anything new and useful to add, I’ll make note of it.

* So that we won’t go out on a low note, and to usher in Monday, may I present the following exchange between me and Chuck Wendig on Twitter, which to my mind amply explains why Twitter does and should exist:

And off we go into the week!

24 Comments on “Weekend Updatery and Miscellaneous, 6/8/15”

  1. My takeaway is that, though an infinite number of monkeys are needed to type Shakespeare, writing Scalzi only requires a few hundred chipmunks. Sigh, seems like everyday brings another weird new corollary to Moore’s law…

  2. Gulliver, you have that wrong-way ’round–chipmunks only require one scalzi to reproduce the works of Scalzi.

    In this chipmunk-squirrel war, are we talking red squirrels or gray squirrels? Cause chipmunks might be able to take reds, but there is no way they are beating gray squirrels–those guys are big, fast, and they do not give up, ever.

  3. I went to the book festival as well, and enjoyed myself quite a bit. I thought it was a nice way to connect readers who might never go to a con with publishers, writers, and booksellers. I hope they do it next year. I bought a bunch of books, including Lowriders in Space, for my daughter. yeah, for her.

  4. | And off we go into the week!

    I first read that as “and of we go into the weeds” and was thinking “Wait, weren’t you guys *already* way off in the weeds?”

  5. There was also the Irene Gallo thing this weekend. Do you agree with her stance?

  6. AV:

    As I’ve made my own stance on the matter abundantly clear — in this entry, even! — it’s a simple matter of looking at what my stance is to see if I agree with her.



  7. Otis Chandler, huh? That’s a name that resonates with this LA native. (“Resonates” being an understatement.) I remember shopping at Buffum’s Department Store and only much later figuring out the relationship between the Buffum family and the Chandler family.

  8. Ok, now I’m afraid. Just yesterday my husband and I were discussing what would happen in a neighborhood chimpmunk vs squirrel rumble. Then I find this. Clearly, it’s a sign. I’m not sure of what, but it’s a sign.

  9. The only problem I had with the festival was they seem to have incorrectly calculated how popular some panels would be. I had an advanced ticket to the climate change one and still had to sit on the floor. People were clustered 3 deep around the doors, and it was SUPER hot and humid in there (Which is thematically accurate, but we really didn’t need it). Also, making it from one end to the other is pretty impossible in the ten minutes given, like between Scalzi’s two appearances. My feets are sore.

    Other than that, it all went really well. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and was polite. It looked like everyone either bought or got at least one book free, the food was ever so tasty. I didn’t go into the children’s area, but it looked they were having fun as I went past it. I enjoyed the sessions I went to, and heard about others that sounded good too. I got 3 free books from the art installation, bought one from UofC Press, and got two tote bags, a pen, and several bookmarks. The master gardeners from UC gave me a little pepper garden in a Ziploc, and a fabulous bee headband with antennae.

    Pretty sure the squirrels enjoyed all the leftover food.

  10. When I was a widdle kid, the Chipmunk vs. Squirrel rivalry was basically singing Alvin vs. flying Rocky. I went with the flyer (and his moose pal), and never looked back… Secret Squirrel, MGM’s Screwy Squirrel, Hammy in “Over the Hedge”, Scrat in “Ice Age”, Slappy and Skippy in “Animaniacs”, Sandy Cheeks, and now Marvel’s greatest Superhero without a movie in development is The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

    I don’t mean to reignite the War of the Tree Rodents that you and Chuck have just settled, but if you are truly “several hundred chipmunks in a trench coat”, I’m a little disappointed. I have heard from a reliable source that Jeff VanderMeer is colony of no more than 80 squirrels (and we all know Ursula Vernon came out as a wombat years ago).

  11. The Irene Gallo thing has now become a Tom Doherty thing, as he posted an open letter on Tor.com about it. Which of course didn’t go far enough for the Puppies and went too far for the anti-Puppies. What a circus.

    (I’ve heard allegations that Vox Day intentionally waited until Nebula Weekend to make a stink about the whole thing. Wouldn’t surprise me.)

  12. Irene Gallo is a friend and I think she’s generally awesome, and I note that she’s offered an apology, which I think was an appropriate thing for her to do. As far as I’m concerned the matter is settled.

    And more to the point for this thread, I have no further interest in discussing it here, and given other events of the day I wouldn’t be in the mood to moderate the discussion even if I did have an interest, so let’s go ahead and consider it tabled. Thanks.

  13. I’m probably in the tiny minority here, but I’m glad you’re slacking about the Hugo kerfuffles. It doesn’t interest me at all, and I’d rather read about other things.

  14. ” I also met Otis Chandler, CEO of Goodreads, who also happens to be a fellow alumni of my high school, the Webb Schools of California (he graduated a few years later than I) and his wife Elizabeth. Otis and I talked obscure high school lore whilst everyone about us looked on tolerantly.”

    For definitions of “talked obscure high school lore” equal to “discussed how to further SJW goals and crush the military SF running dogs”. It all becomes clear now. Another facet of your perfidious cabal revealed!


    Sorry, I seem to have lost my head there for a moment. Must have been something I ate. How odd.

  15. I will shortly send you for review my unsolicited manuscript, “Old Chipmunk’s War”. I am sure you will treat it with all the consideration it deserves.

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