Notes from the Other Side of the World (in exile)

Site down...
jonathanstrahan
Well, that's very annoying. I was messing around with the blog and it's been knocked out due to bandwidth problems. I suspect (well, I'm darn sure) that it's because I put a podcast file up there. That would have done the job.  So, at about 2.00am jonathanstrahan.com.au went away.  The problem is it's hosted somewhere I don't have immediate access to, so I need to contact someone else and mess around and see what can be done to re-activate things. No idea how long it could take, but it could easily be down for a day or more.  Most unsatisfying. I always, of course, have the option of posting here, which means that those of you who use a feed see me, but it also means the latest podcast is gone for a while. Very annoying.  Argh.

And no, that doesn't even begin to deal with how annoyed I am at the Australian election,.

What I mean when I say 'safe space'
jonathanstrahan

I started going to conventions in 1986 when I attended Swancon XI. The people at Swancon XII welcomed me and, for the most part, made me feel that I was in a safe space; somewhere I could express myself, be involved, and not feel like I was likely to be judged or harmed.

I attended every Swancon for the next twenty years, and then became an occasional attendee as work and family life demanded more of my time. However, despite that I've usually wanted to attend each year and have enjoyed the times when I've been able to.

I was greatly disturbed, therefore, to hear increasing reports that Swancon was not a safe place: not safe for women, not safe for children, and often not even a place where people could express their thoughts without fear of censure or judgement.   It seemed to me, as I discussed this with a friend, that here was a problem that people like me needed to own, to do something about.  And the way to do something is not to point to other people, to name convention committees as people who should do things, or whatever (though those things may have a place).  It's for people like me (and you, if you attend conventions) to stand up and speak out against unacceptable behaviours, to be present and to make convention environments as safe a space as they reasonably can be.

I mention this now because I was appalled to read a little while ago about the case reported on Crankynick's blog about a woman who had been raped at a Swancon by someone she met at a Swancon. Apparently the perpetrator has admitted that he has done this and is unrepentant.  I don't know enough of the details to know what happened, and in this instance, I'm not sure I need to know more than I do.  An attendee at a convention has been grievously treated and the person who did this has admitted it.  That, it seems to me, is completely unacceptable in modern society (or damned well should be).

crankynick  suggests on  this blog that we need to say this in public and private:

This man is not welcome at SwanCon.  If he attends he’s going to have a shit time. We will shun and ignore him for the most part, and humiliate him in public if that’s what it takes. If he attends alone he will stay that way, and if he attends with friends they too will be shunned and ignored while they continue to publicly support a man who has sexually assaulted a member of our community. The victim of this assault is not to blame, shouldn't have to deal with this on her own, and shouldn’t even have to goddam ask for our support.

I join Nick in this.  This story is appalling (details are here). The man who has done this is not welcome.  The behaviour he has engaged in must not be tolerated. To the extent that I am involved in conventions I agree: this man is not 'one of my people', he is not someone I want near me, my family or anyone else. I reject him and call on you to do this same.

I would also apologise to logansrogue, who I don't think I've ever met, for how badly we have failed her and others like her.  If Swancons -- if any science fiction conventions -- are to continue it must be on the basis that it is understood that this will NOT be tolerated.

As to what I mean when I say say 'safe space' - I mean somewhere any person can go and not feel like they will be physically or emotionally harmed.  Plainly Swancon has not been that kind of place.

ETA: It was pointed out to me that the events related did not occur at a Swancon, though the people in question did meet at a Swancon. While it's important to be factually correct, this does not change the point at all.

 


Notes from Sunday...
jonathanstrahan
Rain finally came to Perth this weekend, and it brought wind, hail and (relative) cold along with it.  That affected some plans. Being soft and weak, girliejones  and I cancelled our plans for a long walk and instead (sensibly) drove to a nearby cafe for a chat and general catch up.  We discussed life, conventions, science fiction, and the finer points of flop.  I then headed home, where I gathered up the family and headed out for a shopping expedition.  It went well enough, with Jessica spending some birthday money and collecting her new spectacles, while they all checked out some bling. I then dropped them home, headed over to the mecca that is JB HiFi to do some completely unnecessary shopping, and then home via the local. 

We had intended to have a few friends over on Saturday, but that didn't quite eventuate. One was sick, one wanted to stay home, and the rest of us quietly rescheduled. This meant Family Movie Night (which had transformed into Family Movie Matinee) with Beverly Hills Chihuahua went ahead early.  The rain swept in, the skys darkened and so we did what made sense. Turned on the heaters, closed the curtains, dialled out for pizza, and hunkered down. All should have been good and quiet and nice, but girl trouble followed the movie, and it took awhile for girls to get to bed.

Sadly, they significantly harshed my mellow (which with the aid of a glass of a very nice Cock + Bull Merlot was very mellow indeed), so it took some time for the evening to settle down again. Marianne and I futzed around and eventually decided to watch Flashdance, which I'd seen when I was 19 yrs old and Marianne hadn't seen at all. I think Marianne enjoyed it, but as part of my trawl through trashy movies of the 80s it was a fail.  I was bored, and after a while started chatting online rather than rely on it for entertainment.  I then headed to bed, having been unable to decide what else to watch.

And now, Sunday. It's almost breakfast time. The girls have football today, and then are most likely going to their grandma's house for a bit. Marianne has Barbie Club, so I should be home working (yes, this means you can drop in unannounced, if you read this).  What will I be doing? Well, the last 48 hours has dropped a new Elric novellete by Michael Moorcock into my inbox along with intros to two collections and a bunch of other stuff. I also need to push some contracts and copyedits out the door, so that's a possibility,  Or, if it rains, I must just play some old Simon & Garfunkel albums and read Leviathan. We'll just have to see.

PS: And yes, I couldn't get to the real blog this morning, so here's this.


Early Monday morning, coming down...
jonathanstrahan
The projects are blurring right now. It's 6.45am on a Monday morning in June.  My mother's seventy-one today - as full of energy and fire as she's ever been. Sophie and I went out to dinner with her and the rest of the family last night to celebrate - Jessica's been sick so she stayed home with Marianne.  I was filled with delight at Sophie's seven-year-old poise and intelligence and sense of humor, charming the family all over again, as if it were necessary.  She was smart and funny and charming, and the evening was pleasant.

I woke this morning, planning to have a quiet early coffee, maybe read a little, and work through some things I have to do.  I opened my email and there was a story submission from C.J. Cherryh. I don't know if I can articulate quite how it made me feel. I started reading Cherryh's work back in the mid-1980s, probably 1984 (25 years ago!). I dove into her work, and read it obsessively until just a two or three years ago, when life began to demand my attention more obsessively. I've loved her work, been provoked and stimulated by it, and now here I am (well, here Lou and I are <g>) with a story of hers.  I'm almost -- *almost* -- afraid to read it.  And it comes on top of some great stuff that's come in this week from Nicola Griffith (you've read Slow River, right?) , Caitlin Kiernan (you're reading her, right?), Chairman Bruce (I don't have to say it, do I?), Pat (Synners!!!), and others.  My head's turning.  All at once I'm reading, buying, and editing stories for the steampunk short book, Conquering Swords, Eclipse Three, and Subterranean.  I'm loving this!  I'll post more about some of these soon, but I'm too busy, struggling to keep track of exactly what goes where and when, but getting there.



Updatery
jonathanstrahan
Well, I guess this one's for everyone over at LJ who'll actually see it.  No progress on fixing the blog, mostly because I've not done much. Instead went off and saw the doctor today, to follow up last week's plumbing excursion. Having now had the all-clear on my cardiovascular system and my alimentary system -- which is good -- it seems I now need to focus on other things.  Happiness.  Still, if I can get the weight down and the stress managed, that would be good.

These are, as always, busy times at Merton Way.  While Marianne focuses on child-rearing and replacing broken toilet seats and clotheslines, I'm trying to get myself moving forward again. We have a birthday this weekend, then I'm off to Adelaide next weekend, which should be fun. Before then I have to do the editing on the review columns for what my friend Tim politely calls 'A Certain Magazine'.  I also am trying to get contracts and so on moving for the various projects,  That seems to be happening, which is good. I'm also test driving the new earphones - a bit big alas, but I'm hoping to fix that with eartips.  Will see.

In happy news, I bought a wonderful story from Ellen Kushner the other week for Eclipse Three. We've had some very interesting exchanges about the story and I'm delighted to have it. And then, yesterday, I was very excited to buy another story, this time from Nicola Griffith. I loved her book Slow River, so this was definitely a GOOD thing.  Lou and I pushed ahead with Conquering Swords, this time buying a very good new story from Tim Lebbon. We also got some very encouraging confirmations that stories are coming from C J Cherryh, Michael Moorcock, and Gene Wolfe, amongst others, which was very pleasing.  I also pushed ahead significantly with The Best of Larry Niven and Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter Beagle. I seriously need to focus on a couple other projects, like the Subterranean special issue and the Best of Leiber, but was happy to make sure these were on track.

Other than that, I've been reading Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold - my first of Joe's books and really good (wait till you read his Conquering Swords story) - and listening to Son Volt and Beth Orton.  The weather out there is beautiful.  These are not bad days.




Dead blogs and good weekends
jonathanstrahan
Well, dear readers, it seems the problems with the main blog continue. Although I've become an increasingly peripatetic blogger of late, I do want it to be functional and hopefully interesting and useful, so the fact that it's dead again is a matter of some great concern. The main problem right now, though, is that I don't really want to devote the time to fixing it. I'm trying to spend less time online right now, and more time either with the family or getting projects done. So, a quandary for the moment.

The dedblog ate several fascinating posts about the weekend, which I'm not motivated to reconstruct. Suffice to say, a good time was had by all. I spent time with the family on Saturday, did the family movie night thing, talked to Charles and had a lovely afternoon with girliejones at Mia Cafe. We chatted, we laughed - it was relaxing and fun.  Now, on to the week. We have line edits to do Lou!! And I owe you manuscripts and stuff, Bill.  And lots of other stuff. Busy busy.


Dreamwidth
jonathanstrahan
This is just a quick test crosspost. Got myself a dreamwidth account - thanks Sharyn! and will now most likely go back to posting regularly at the regular places.

(no subject)
jonathanstrahan
If the blog was working, this is when I would post that we're in the 'dropping out' phase for Eclipse 3. Five writers in 48hrs. Crunch time!

WordPress blog is dead
jonathanstrahan
Well, I didn't expect to end up back here. Is there anyone out there? I think this is syndicated. Maybe. Hmm. Anyhow, something has temporarily killed the main blog at www.jonathanstrahan.com.au/wp.    Please don't give up on it, it can still come through. I'll do some database surgery tonight or tomorrow and hopefully all will be well.

In the meantime, if you spot this let me know. I have an itching to do some posting.

(no subject)
jonathanstrahan
I don't quite know how to describe this weekend. It's supposed to be the post-craziest period in my life wind-down, where I take it wasy before heading off to WorldCon.  Instead there was a disturbing doctor's visit which has left me paranoid and completely thrown for a while.  Very scary, really.  And then the family were lovely and I got to spend some time catching up with girliejones, which was very cool.  We got to talk about short fiction, Australian SF and stuff, and I was distracted from my thoughts for a while, which was a good thing.

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