Monthly Archives: November 2014

Interstellar: Science Meets Hollywood Meets Future

I don’t think we’ll reach the stars via a wormhole placed conveniently near Saturn. Nor do I think the wormhole will necessarily terminate in a favorable location in another entire galaxy. In terms of Interstellar, I use the term “favorable” loosely, since all of the original planetary explorers who traveled through the wormhole ended up dying in short-order while landing on one of the 12 “favorable” planets.

Look at what I’m giving away! In Interstellar, the planet occupied by Matt Damon appears to have been particularly poor, though not immediately fatal. There are more than sufficient stars and planets in our own Milky Way for exploration.

interstellar robotsI also don’t think we’ll have robots that look and act like the ultra-cool robots in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, though I wish we would and could. The picture depicts, I believe, the robot TARS going out to rescue Anne Hathaway on a water-covered planet with 1.3 earth gravity where they have the giant 500 foot waves (estimating). Fifty story waves. The Golden Gate bridge is approximately 22 storeys in height.

We had trouble figuring out how the actors could be wandering around in calf-deep water with no sense of water receding, considering that a ginormous 500 foot wave was thundering toward them. Also, the time difference between the waves was a bit odd, considering there was supposed to be no dry land on the giant water planet (giant/small???). Near a black hole and no sun, so totally …

I could make fun of Interstellar for being rough-hewn, confused science fiction (how could it do the wormhole, time dilation and 5 dimensions so well, a genuine filmmaking first, along with the “human element” – and the rest of the story so poorly?). I could rip apart one of my favorite films by the same director, Christopher Nolan, as well: Inception. But I like both films despite “elements one could rip apart.”

I suppose one of my favorite moments of the film was a truth that I doubt was endorsed by film consultant, famous physicist Kip Thorne. The young scientist Brand (Anne Hathaway), daughter of the older scientist Brand (Michael Caine), talks about love being able to transcend time. “We can’t understand it,” she says. “It’s not science. But love is the one thing we know that transcends time and space.” She gave some examples of how love has nothing to do with what we perceive as “survival.” This was during the part of the 3-hour movie (it’s LONG) in which Matt Damon isn’t there for no reason (as humorously pointed out by one reviewer who guessed plot elements based in practical factors – for example, a major movie star isn’t going to be one of the 12 Lazarus explorers if he isn’t going to survive, and isn’t going to have some sort of important plot twist, probably a bad one!). Matt Damon’s character has obviously never been in love and may God help whatever poor creature would be so foolish as to love him. Despite the other characters’ repeated commentary: he’s hardly “the best of us.” The sense that love transcends time and space is something everyone understands because everyone who has ever loved has experienced this feeling.

Interstellar is wonderful because it combines these human emotions with quite a bit of real science and a plausible, if not “ultra-realistic” way for people to leave the solar system and travel to the stars. I love the science (that works or tries, such as the depiction of five dimensions) in Interstellar. The parts of the film that are less-scientific, such as the motivation to leave Earth (the “blight” – never really explained, except there are mentions that it “breathes nitrogen” so it’s a living organism) and the anti-tech, retro-attitudes of the doomed earthbound – I didn’t care so much for.

A lot of space enthusiasts like the simple, Luddite presentation of the earthbound doom-and-gloom crowd, because they find the attitudes to be what they oppose and dislike. And those attitudes are certainly out there. Interstellar has been criticized bitterly via Huffington Post and similar publications because of its pro-interstellar exploration theme. “Having destroyed this one, people will go destroy more planets!” is one of the themes. These commenters are people who object to any funds being spent on space exploration, having little understanding of the relative amounts of money involved. They are likely the audience for 2% “cash back” credit cards. They don’t think Homer Simpson is dumb; they agree with him much of the time.

The “blight” destroying the Earth in the film seems at first to be like mysterious M. Night Shyamalan “blight.” What is it? It’s THE BLIGHT … it kills OKRA … it CHOKES people. It ruins baseball games by creating GIANT DUST STORMS. I took it to be “global warming” until the lecture about nitrogen, etc. The film attempts to make the point that “the Earth doesn’t want us any longer” (as opposed to “we destroyed the Earth!”). Pishtosh. The trees are attacking (if you’ve seen The Happening, you know what I’m talking about).

Interstellar is also a ground-breaking movie because it has two genuine stars: the oldschool space pilot Cooper played by Matthew McConaughey, and his daughter, poor “Murphy’s Law” Murph, played as an adult by Jessica Chastain. I had the feeling while watching that even at its 3 hour length, there was plenty of footage that didn’t end up in the final film. I suspect it was Jessica Chastain footage.

The man’s story is fine: we know this story. If just about any guy had the chance to save all of humanity, he’d make the same choice as Daddy Cooper. He’d be just about as agonized upon learning the bad things he later learned (“You Are Screwed – You Will Never Get Back”). He’d be just as committed as Daddy Cooper was at the end to go out and do Adam and Eve with Anne Hathaway on her lonely desert planet. Did I give away the end? Yes I did … if you can’t guess this one from at least the time Cooper and Brand are the only explorers left …

Jessica Chastain’s story is truncated, but we get the female rage and burning desire to know. Look at me! Listen to me! It’s crudely portrayed, but there’s a funhouse mirror version of what today’s young women are experiencing in the comparison between the forward-thinking, active, curious and creative Murph and her less-adventurous, farmer brother Tom (played by Casey Affleck – whom I guessed was Ben Affleck’s brother without seeing his name in the credits or knowing he was in the film in advance; such is sibling resemblance among people you don’t know from a hole-in-the-wall in real life, but you feel you “know” by seeing portrayed 20 feet high in front of your face over the years).

“Was her husband supposed to be gay?” Bruce asked when we were later discussing a scene that seemed inexplicably confrontational at the Cooper family farm toward the end of the film. Jessica Chastain and her husband (I think this was Topher Grace) leave the farm and Casey Affleck, angry brother Tom, returns steaming up in his truck after Jessica Chastain has for some unknown reason set all the corn on fire (conveniently extinguished by one guy with a shovel – it’s a movie conflagration). Topher Grace holds a tire iron up in an unconvincing fashion (he’s standing well behind her so if he swings it, he’s as likely to hit her as he is to hit his future brother-in-law), and he has other moments of looking bemused, confused, or otherwise not-in-charge and pussy-like. He’s supposed to be Jessica Chastain’s coworker at this point, but it’s obvious the two will marry and have children.

So, Murph does her job and saves humanity with the help of her father. Some may quibble at the tortured back-and-forth connection of the beginning and the end of the film. They might quibble at the extreme time dilation plot … but it will be the first time that time dilation will have been portrayed coherently as part of a genuine film plot, including its effect on people’s emotions and lives. The film does telegraph a lot … for example, Matthew McConaughey’s character Cooper wakes in a hospital bed near the end of the film on “Cooper’s Station,” a large space colony with artificial gravity, he assumes it’s named after him, and is made fun-of … it’s named after his daughter who saved humanity by uniting quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity. Either that or discovering quantum gravity. Some such.

And that, to me, is really what Interstellar achieved. It imagined a female as something beyond what Anne Hathaway’s character was in the film (a scientist, following in her father’s footsteps … but in reality, hopelessly in love with a dead man). It proposed that a father and daughter’s relationship could be something mythically akin to Icarus and Daedalus, only Daedalus, this time, wouldn’t die.

Over the many-eon future, these stories will be played out, large and small, and I do believe, interstellar (if not intergalactic – and if there are such wormholes out there able to be traversed … BFD anyway; wherever they terminate). Of course there are such people who think that spending any money or time to leave this planet at all are “evil.” There are people who think rewriting history as suggested in the beginning of the film (“The moon landing was faked to bring down the former Soviet Union”) is a fine idea.

The more insidious “Luddism” I think, is the one that can’t see what Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan, as well as the actors in Interstellar have done with the characters. People don’t go see spectacles like Interstellar for the acting, but it’s an amazing film for portraying such a huge story with such subtle, nuanced acting and human-level storytelling. People might think that Jessica Chastain’s character is one-note (how could she remain so angry with her father for so many years?) – well, what world was she born into? Her anger isn’t just her father, it’s everything. And, it’s multilayered anger, as the film suggests that the soon-to-occur (unrealistic, sure) “blight” set everyone back in so many ways. And single-handedly, almost – she changed that.

Yes, I like Interstellar. It’s a film for the future and Christopher Nolan, the storyteller with the eye and heart for the future as well.

EdHelper Grants Students Special Privileges, AKA Civil and Human Rights

Like everyone else on my end of the spectrum, I saw an “educational” handout given to the child of libertarian parents entitled “Being a Good Citizen.” It’s authored by Phyllis Naegeli. The copyright date is 2008.

Ed Helper Being a Good CitizenIt looks just like every other school handout.

It says things no educated American would ever say. I’d like to think it says things no un-injured human would say.

Item 2 says, “When you are a citizen you have rights. Rights are special privileges the government gives you.”

Thanks, Uncle Sam!

Item 7 says “Someday you will be given the right to vote.”

I could go on. You can make the picture bigger and see the thing in all of its poorly-written glory. I don’t use those words loosely. Since this handout is about “Being a Good Citizen,” it’s apparently unimportant that it be written strictly in English. Ms. Naegeli is uncertain about pronoun case. For example, “In our country, you have free speech.” YOU have free speech, student and future Good Citizen. A country that doesn’t belong to Ms. Naegeli and her friends? Not so much.

OK, so here’s the deal. This is an old handout. It comes from an old-school looking, childish website. The handout itself is somewhat changed and slightly less-sucky now. Truth Revolt points out that Naegeli first came under fire for writing this in 2009 and the lesson was changed. Naegeli apparently stated she was a “Christian” online, and also said that she couldn’t be held responsible for what she’d written and furthermore, did not own the rights to her own writing.

Ah.

What is this childish-looking website “EdHelper.com” anyway?

Libertarians are forwarding this thing EVERYWHERE. Here’s a clue for teachers who are paying the annual fee to use this website and copying their junk: if you can’t find the address of the website or the name of the owner, and there is NO INFORMATION about who writes the handouts, one of the handout authors says she doesn’t have the “rights” to her work, there’s something wrong. You should neither be paying for, nor using these handouts.

By the way, this is the best information this professional international business planner can find on “Edhelper.com.”

EdHelper.com
625 Tivoli Psge
Alexandria, VA 22314
Owner: Russell Frey

The phone number for this business (which I will not list) appears in online listings as responsible for unauthorized credit card charges. Some databases state there are 5 employees. Others state annual revenue is estimated at $1 million. The owner settled an international arbitration dispute over the site’s name in 2009. Russell does not want to be found or contacted. “edHelper is supported through an online-only model. Our support team is available via e-mail and is more than happy to help you with any support that you need.” EdHelper hires writers and editors, like this third-grade teacher and mom. Through her, I learned there was also an “EdHelperBaby.com” and indeed – it’s the same sort of website.

Phyllis Naegeli, the author, is quite prolific. She’s also a home-schooler herself.

We’ve had a lot of commentary about how bad various education standards are. Many people who oppose the Department of Education and who advocate smaller government also support home schooling.

Edhelper.com seems to be primarily a home-school site, and I just reviewed half a dozen different “Language Arts” topics and handouts that would not meet regular standards for the subjects they cover, much less specialized state-level standards or even the dreaded, confused “Common Core.” A review of Phyllis’ writing shows the pronoun problem is consistent, though she wrote a very nice fictionalized story about Galileo.

The lesson here is: we live in a world where people who think the government grants us special privileges known as rights get to put their materials out to schools everywhere. And the people who notice there’s a problem with this think the government is so powerful, it’s indoctrinating all of our children.

No. It can’t even ensure that materials of appalling dreadfulness aren’t copied, recopied, and handed out over and over and it can’t even ensure that shady-ass, fly-by-night websites like EdHelper.com aren’t distributing complete and total bunkum.

This isn’t socialism, folks. It’s greed and idiocy.

 

 

 

The Secret to Young-Looking Women

Is love.

Amy July 2014To love requires a loss of self.

But what you gain in return is so much more.

Ron struck me to the core with his thoughts on writing and being a creative artist.

It’s called “Hard Work and Opportunity.” This is as we were raised; this is as we believe. Ron’s website has always been called “Persistence.” It meant sticking to what he said he would do and sticking to the hard work as a writer.

I always had the easy way. I never “suffered” to write. It was a joy to get up at 5:00 a.m. and write until 7:00 when Meredith woke when she was little. Always the writing was all that I had. I turned my back on it not because I was lazy, but because I thought it was a foolish thing to do. I thought “You have to work to support your family. You will make only a few dollars through this writing, so you’d better learn to earn your living and support your family well.”

Certainty was always a value to me — before now. I wanted to know. Wanted to know I was doing the right thing. Wanted to know that I was on the right path.

We cannot know this.

I have just enough ego to do this thing that I do. Others are hesitant. They don’t want to put their truest thoughts forward. They feel they’ll be mocked, or worse, ignored. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m here to say – it’s not that bad. If you love what you do, you’ll continue.

To write what it is you’re really supposed to write isn’t easy. It’s very difficult for people who don’t have the huge egos of some writers or commenters. It seems as though folks like this have lots of certainty. They have no doubt what it is they do is something worthwhile, and something worth others reading or listening to.

So it’s like Route 66. It was there. It’s still there. It’s not easy to find. It takes persistence and commitment. It might be easy to do the tourist spots. It’s harder to find the real road.

It’s a journey, step by step. It is love and commitment and courage all rolled in one. Some people may not understand the courage part. That’s because they’re not hesitant. They don’t fear mockery or negative commentary as much as others.

As to commitment, that’s the part that comes when you don’t know what to say — or worse — you do know what to say but you are afraid to go there.

That is, what it is. And love is the secret to young-looking women.

Free: available to all.

 

Women are Blessed

Some times you have to thank your friends for being there, and I will do that.

true love native americanBut did I really need to read yet another foul-mouthed complaint as to “who’s right and who’s wrong” liberally littered with the “c-word” and every other expletive and totally splashy as to how totally awful it is for women and how any man who wants to express that he’s a man or any type of … well, anything at all … he’s the “enemy?”

No, I did not.

So I remembered. First thing this morning, the moment this picture depicts occurred in my own house, in my own life.

And what a blessed thing that is. I’m waiting for someone to tell me “This is native American people, Amy. You can’t use a Native American picture to describe your own life and emotions.”

Oh.

Well, maybe not. Maybe I should find a couple of Rehab Generation specials embracing to illustrate.

I have told people what a freak I am. What a bizarre, strange, unusual, off-brand individual I am. Raised my daughter, fought through untold things, but here I am, complaining complainer with a Master’s degree, more work than I can handle, more than adequate food each day, living in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, blessed by my students, my friends, my family. Blessed to have been able to do just about everything any rational human being would ever desire to do. Blessed to be able to do what I love each and every day. Blessed with freedom. The freedom to express my mind, to be who I am, to wear what I want, to transport myself where I wish, when I wish.

I have friends around the world! I have been so blessed, so very blessed. What I write here is a blessing.

I do not have to fear losing 10 of 13 babies, like my great-grandmother. I do not have to fear being attacked late at night while living alone, by a terrible killer like my grandmother. I do not have to fear my house burning down and having to leave in the middle of the night and take a train to parts unknown, with no money or friends. Like my great-grandmother. I do not have to fear war and sudden attacks by enemies who hate me because of the way I look, the language I speak – like my grandmother.

I don’t have to bring glasses of scotch and cigars to nasty old guys who won’t even look me in the eye, like my mother.

I do not have to wait on rich women and “dress them” the way they like, like my grandmother.

I am the freest person imaginable. And I have the freedom to love. And I do.

We are living in the best of all possible worlds so far. And there are hundreds of millions of us! Among the nearly 8 billion in this world, more and more men and women join the freest of the free every day.

With great freedom comes responsibility, of course.

Just stop using the “c-word.” Because there’s people who really know what that is, who really have suffered untold depredations. And as much as this internet mess hurts, as hard as it is to not get a job, or not get a contract, or not get the attention we think we should –

We are blessed. We have been given the freedom from the daily struggle to feed ourselves, to survive, to make sure our children live … and what it’s about is learning to live and love and to help others do the same.

Not curse and rage and abuse just because you can.

Glamour of the God-Touched: Book 1 of Garrick’s Saga

Friday evening, Bruce and I went to see Richard Shindell at a very small venue: Old Templar’s Hall in Poway, CA (North San Diego County).

richard shindellAfter seeing Carlos Santana the prior weekend at House of Blues in Vegas, I was thinking “Well, we’ve danced through the show of a lifetime …” We were just thinking “a nice evening of music.”

(Hang in there … this is about Ron Collins and his new fantasy series, ultimately).

I could do a couple of paragraphs about the iron wheel-like bodies of the typical attendees at folk concerts like Richard Shindell. But …

In its way, Richard Shindell’s 2 hours of music was the equal of Carlos Santana’s — the show of a lifetime. Carlos isn’t just a musician of course, he’s a life-force. He is a powerful force for good in the world. I spent 3/4 of the show dancing next to his sister, also a bright, fiery spirit whose sidelong glances and smile filled me with joy.

And in his way, so too is Richard Shindell a force for good in the world. If you don’t know who he is, as I did not as recently as a week ago, he is originally from New York, a singer-songwriter who has lived in Buenos Aires for a few years, where he has raised his family (his wife is an Argentinian professor).

So here is how this came about. We enjoyed Santana so much that I thought, “I’ll look at some of the good venues in L.A. and see who’s playing …” McCabe’s Guitar Shop had a sort of uninspiring lineup, except I saw “Richard Shindell” and his description looked good. “No one bad plays at McCabes,” I thought. I listened to his music and it was like “We’re going.” But he was playing the evening before in San Diego area (Poway … the Templar’s Hall) and I thought, this looks like just as small a venue as McCabe’s and we won’t have to struggle with parking in Santa Monica. We won’t have to stand in line on the street …

According to Mike Casil, “Live music is good for your soul.” Yeah.

Listening to Richard Shindell was like attending a Quaker meeting with Jesus Christ playing guitar.

His songs tell stories. He has the eye of a great writer, and the musical gift as well. His songs are poems and stories at the same time. He got a pretty good (5-star) review from the UK Telegraph for his 2011 album 13 Songs You May or May Not Have Heard Before.

According to the reviewer, “Richard Shindell is a master songwriter but has probably escaped the worldwide attention his music deserves because he is about as far from the celebrity circus as you can get as a successful performer.” There’s one comment on the review – from an apparent jazz expert.

I sat there in the Quaker hall amid the iron-backed, immobile folk aficionados, tapping my heel, beside Bruce tapping his big foot and swaying back and forth, and this kinship feeling overtook me. “His songs are like my stories,” I thought. He’s interested in people, just as I am; these stories are not the expected. He sees the people he sings about clearly, flaws and foibles, courage and conviction. He believes in redemption. These songs weave back and forth, bittersweet, funny — a smile here, eyes moistening with tears there.

Glamor of the God TouchedSo my closest writing friend and partner, Ron Collins, has asked me to read his fantasy books in his 8-book series, Saga of the God-Touched Mage. The first book, Glamour of the God-Touched, has just been released.

Ron and I came up together if there’s such a thing in this thing that we do. Ron’s been the Analog guy; I’ve been the F & SF gal. We were at least a decade too late to go the route experienced by my mentors and friends Jim Blaylock and Tim Powers. By the time Ron and I came up, NY publishing was already a mess and it was almost impossible to publish good original science fiction or non-generic fantasy at novel length. If either of us had done what was required to do this, there would be no Glamour of the God-Touched. It would be a different book. Less Ron. More whatever the required flavor he would have been ordered to create would be. He would have done it, too. Ron’s the hardest-working writer I know, with the best heart. If an editor had ordered him to do anything, he would have trusted them. He would have done it. He would have made it “not-Ron.” At least at first.

Something has happened in the past decade, in music and in publishing. Richard Shindell has released his most recent album and CD (for which he is touring), as well as 13 Songs You May or May Not Have Heard Before. He has his own recording studio in Argentina.

Ron is releasing his own books via SkyFox Publishing. I’ve founded Chameleon … someday I might release my own books as well.

Those are the facts. Here’s the feeling. It’s like this song from Richard Shindell.

Ron’s books (Saga of the God-Touched Mage) about Garrick are about a god-touched mage amid a time of great trouble. They’re fast-paced, yet thoughtful. The writing is clean — Garrick a complex character that doesn’t fit in any of the “expected” boxes, though he may remind some readers of anti-hero characters they may have read in “expected” books of the past. Garrick’s magic isn’t clean at all, and it’s out of his control in many ways. To survive, he must do terrible things. He’s a most-unwilling hero.

I’m pretty sure that what I saw on that little Quaker meeting-hall stage: a master musician, singer and songwriter, at the top of his art — a man who would have played for one other person gladly, or no one else at all — is a lot like what Ron is doing.

In the ideal, of course, people who are really incredible at what they do, people with a gift, would be “the most famous,” but the ideal only strikes seldom. Carlos Santana is mad-famous and he is that good and he is that true. He isn’t “better than” Richard Shindell. He’s just had a different life and made different choices.

Ron isn’t putting his books out himself because he isn’t “good enough” to publish conventionally. He’s putting them out himself because they are his own books, in every sense of the word.

I can assure all readers who love fantasy and good stories that they will love the Saga of the God-Touched Mage. The first book is $2.99 right now on Amazon. You won’t get a Frappucino for less than that. And the Starbucks drink won’t enrich your life. It will just expand your waistline.

 

 

 

 

Would You People Like Some Whine With Your Cheese?

I would like to address the issue that, when I comment regarding bad things that happen to others, I will refer to my own experience, use the first-person, and refrain from making broad statements using pronouns like “you” and “them.”

An unwelcome reminder of the ways in which abusive behavior tends to manifest in the sci-fi/fantasy “community” recently emerged in the form of Laura Mixon’s exhaustive, thorough and brutal (for those of us who are survivors) documentation of the multi-year abuse/harassment/intimidation/terror campaign of an individual that … well, nobody really knows who this person is. It’s a creep who convinced good writers over the past couple of years that they shouldn’t be doing their own best work. The person managed to get a lot of guilt and self-injury out of her/his targets. She/he forced a lot of people into serious self-harm, caused tremendous pain, and even got some victims close to suicide. Fortunately, no one known did take his or her own life to escape the brutal, vicious attacks.

I certainly thought about killing myself in 2007 when the individual we refer to as “Mr. Moron” decided to up the ante in Alan Rodgers’ custody battle by putting up a giant web page that alleged that Alan murdered our baby Anthony, and just in case that wasn’t true, I did it, or even my daughter (age 12 at the time Anthony died two years earlier). Then, he publicized it to mailing lists of up to 30,000 people. This wasn’t new information; it wasn’t true information. It was wild, vicious speculation, and just as the entire previous 10 years of other harassment/stalking/false accusations/assaults and threats had hurt mostly children and failing that, innocent women … this one went that way, too.

It was not that I was unaccustomed to such difficulties. As I noted above, the terror campaign had gone on for, in my case, 8 years, and in Alan’s case, much longer than that. His children never knew a life without fear.

Why, why, why, I’ve been asked – WHY would you put up with something like this? Why, because I’m 10-10 on the ACE scale (Adverse Childhood Experiences). As my best friend once put it, “When you live in Crazyland, Crazyland seems normal.”

Anyway, I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2007 because the web page that suggested I murdered my own baby pushed me over the edge into the real McDeal. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Dying quickly by any means, and I do include fire, would be more merciful than full-on PTSD.

It’s inaccurate and unfair to suggest I went through this alone. I praise God every day that I did not, and am so grateful for my close friends and family who went through this with me. And I thank God that I was able to get help.

But here’s the deal. This stuff Laura Mixon has been documenting about has gone on for years. Many writers, readers, fans and even gamers were affected. As I said, some people even considered taking their own lives. Many are afraid to even reveal their names right now for fear of being attacked again. This is far from an isolated incident. It’s just the most dramatic one in recent years, and it affected many innocent victims.

So I will use the “you” word now. I will give a prescriptive directive. YOU – sci fi people – YOU people who think you are part of this “community” need to better yourselves beyond the level depicted by one of our best writers — the small town scapegoaters Shirley Jackson wrote about in “The Lottery.”

There’s a legal term, prima facie – it means “on the face of it.” On the face of it, the harassment and abuse Laura Mixon documented was absurd in its excess and brutality. It’s hard enough to get good work reviewed honestly — here was an individual trashing the best work of good-hearted, caring, goodwilled writers and it went on for years! Readers who spoke up honestly were attacked as well. This abuser should have been disregarded years ago and told “no” with each instance of abuse; instead, it seems she/he is up for a John W. Campbell award!

Well that is just so awesome for people who haven’t hurt anybody who are contributing decent, honest work to the world — work that might entertain and enrich the lives of others. People think that the writing isn’t associated with the individual; i.e. a complete and total bastard can write great work.

False.

How many hours did this individual spend harassing, trashing, stalking, threatening and abusing others? Countless.

How many thousands of hours does a real writer spend in the chair to do real work? Many more than the dedicated abuser, I am certain.

The years of my life I could have spent writing my best work that were lost to my abuser and harasser (who also contributed to the early, untimely death of Alan Rodgers, a writer so far above and beyond the abuser that the abuser cannot even conceive of the difference) are gone. I can never get this time back.

And neither can those abused and harassed by this nameless, faceless, genderless Campbell nominee whose work I’m relatively certain will be just about as “special” as the abuse she/he spewed.

We, as a community, owe it to ourselves to stop allowing these things to happen. We as a community cannot continue to allow the uninjured to passively sit by and let the injured such as myself once again take up arms and fight. I suffered silently for years, only speaking up when it was obvious that even when a court ordered the material removed from the internet, it wasn’t going to go away. I learned the sad truths of the “system” and learned that the only defense was …

to live life well. To be happy, to grow, learn, love and in the words of my good friend David Brin, yes – my friend David … thrive!