And no, that doesn't even begin to deal with how annoyed I am at the Australian election,.
And no, that doesn't even begin to deal with how annoyed I am at the Australian election,.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the meantime, if you spot this let me know. I have an itching to do some posting.