Reporting Convention Harassment Protects Everyone

Over on John Scalzi's Whatever blog, where popular and/or controversial and/or multiply-commented posts are published with some regularity, the latest is Reporting Harassment at a Convention: A First-Person How To, a guest post by Elise Matthesen regarding a recent encounter with a sexual harasser at a convention and the procedures she followed in filing a formal complaint and report to the convention's committee and the harasser's employer, with suggestions and advice for others who wish to report similar incidents.  Recommended reading for everyone, not just convention committees.

I posted the following as one of the 250+ comments there, but I'm going to publish it on its own here as well:

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I’d like to tell a story. It’s a true story, but it’s an ugly story. It’s a story that still mystifies me in a lot of ways. But think it shows the importance of reporting harassment.

In the late 70′s, at a fairly small convention, two young female Star Trek fans reported to the con committte that they’d been molested by one of the attendees. I don’t know what the details were, but “molested” was the word used.

The committee acted promptly, to their credit, and confronted the suspect.

Here’s the problem: The young women had reported that their molester was “a guy named Bruce, from Arizona.”

I was the only guy named Bruce from Arizona at that convention. So it was me the concom came to.

I was completely mystified, and said so. I was taken to the young women for a visual confirmation.

I was NOT the guy they’d been molested by. They had never spoken with me, and I had never spoken with them. I was in the clear.

The molester was never identified, to the best of my knowledge. But if those young women had NOT reported the incident to the concom, if they instead had just passed the story around the gossipvine that they’d been molested by “Bruce from Arizona”, I might have been privately labeled as a creepy molester. (Since the two Trek fans looked about 14 or 15, possibly as a child molester.) And in that instance, I might never have found out about those allegations for months or possibly years.

This begs the question, of course, of why the guy chose to identify himself as “Bruce from Arizona”. And if he was deliberately falsifying his name, doesn’t that say his intent was to molest those young women? Was it just a name picked from the air? Or was he somebody who knew me, and for unknown reasons wanted any possible blowback to come back on me? Why would someone do that to me? This still mystifies me, nearly forty years later.

So, goddamn, ladies, REPORT, REPORT, REPORT! Because not only does it make it possible to have real consequences for harassers and to deter other harassers, it allows someone who’s been misidentified or falsely accused to try and clear their name.

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(slightly edited for several typos in the original and a math error; this actually happened a bit less than forty years ago, not "over forty years" as I originally wrote.)


This and That -- links, etcf.

Carried Away By Imagination.  From the always amusing, frequently outstanding Tragedy Series webcomic.

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The iPad Commode Caddy.  Only 99.95 from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.  If the roll runs out, you can log onto drugstore.com and order more.  Or, if you're actually thinking of ordering one of these (or, actually, anything from the H-S catalog), you might realize you have just too much money.  (Sending half that money to me instead would help relieve that problem.  No, don't thank me.  I'm just that kind of guy.)

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Harry Connolly writes REMO WILLIAMS: The (Problematic) Adventure Begins, about the 1985 movie based on The Destroyer, a series of "Men's Adventure" paperbacks published since the 70's.  Harry says he hasn't read any of the books, but I read a fair number back in the day.  They were actually more of a satirical series in adventure clothing; the authors (Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, mostly) routinely used issues of the day as springboards for the books' plots.  Politically incorrect and definitely not sophisticated, but frequently amusing; the interaction between Remo and Chiun was often laugh-out-loud funny.  I wouldn't recommend a steady diet of the books, but trying one or two when you're in the mood for brain-candy might be worthwhile. 

Since I was working as a letter carrier and "going postal" was one of the social concerns back then (there were numerous incidents where postal workers cracked mentally and went on shooting sprees); I had a special appreciation for the particular volume pictured here. (Postal employees plot an armed revolt against the US.)

The first Destroyer adventure is available online as a free e-book: Created: The Destroyer.  Several dozen other early volumes are available as e-books for $0.99-2.99.  More recent physical books, including a 2010 fan-written anthology, are available from Amazon and other booksellers.

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If Your Dog Could Text:  Via Accordion Guy Joey Devilla, Text From Dog.

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At Kung Fu Monkey, John Rogers writes "ARCANUM: Immortality Is So, So Creepy", an interesting post about some of the thinking behind his ongoing webcomic for Thrillbent.  A quote:
"In 1900 the percentage of the American population over the age of 45 was 17.8%. In 1950 it was 28.4%. As of the last census the share of the US population over 45 is 36.4%. Hell, the 65+ share's gone from 4.1% in 1900 to 13.3% in 2010. More and more people still in the society, with greater and greater influence, still constructing societal and legal norms based on emotional, psychological, cultural and technological frames of reference that are less and less relevant."

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In 1934 the newly formed Decca Records signed Bing Crosby as the first artist on their label.  The second artist signed had a name that must have been a joy to small children and immature adults everywhere:  "Whoopie John" Willphart, American polka pioneer:

Why, yes, the vocals (by Don Burqhardt) are a little creepy, aren't they? 


Not The Arm: More Medical Fun & Adventure

So, spent about four hours at the Mayo Hospital Emergency Room Sunday.

When I woke up Sunday morning, I sat up... and fell over.   I always thought "The room is spinning" was just a figure of speech.  No, it actually felt like the room was spinning.  And like I was being pulled strongly to the right while the world spun.

Over the years, I've had occasional instances of being light-headed, dizzy, or unsteady on my feet.  This was worse than any of those times.  At least an order of magnitude worse.

I fell back on the bed.  After a moment or two the dizziness and vertigo stabilized.  I tried sitting up again, more slowly... and the second wave of vertigo was even stronger than the first.  This time I had rising nausea to go with it.  Fortunately there was a plastic tub next to the bed that I was able to grab and dump the contents from to use as a catch basin; what I was having were not quite dry heaves.

The retching woke up Hilde, who asked me what was going on.  "I am having severe dizziness and nausea.  I think I need to go to the Emerency Room.  I am scared."   No joke about that last.  It was frightening to be that helpless.  If I'd been someone living alone, I would have had to crawl to the phone to get help.

Hilde called for Tabbi.  We used Hilde's wheelchair to get me out to the car, then Tabbi went back in and brought Hilde out.

What I was diagnosed with was "Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo".  That will not be the name of my next rock band.

What it is, is that small granules in the inner ear, otoconia. break loose from their usual location and travel into part of the inner ear where they're not supposed to be, totally throwing off your perception of position and balance.  The main treatment is a series of physical head-turning exercises that are intended to let the loose particles fall back into their normal area, where they can slowly dissolve.

from dizziness-and-balance.com
The head exercises I was put through at the ER triggered more vertigo and nausea, but which calmed down after several moments focusing on a fixed object.  Once I'd gone through them, there was a lot of subsequent relief.   (The exercises are effective in about 80-90% of cases.)  I was given several prescriptions for nausea and dizziness, and told I should not only continue the exercises at home if I continue to have problems, but make an appointment with the PT/Rehab department for further practive with the exercises.

I feel better.  Tired, and still a bit light-headed, but at least I can walk and move around (a little carefully, to be sure).  Probably shouldn't drive until I've recovered more.

One of the possible causes for BPPV is head trauma.  I didn't get a hit on the head, but Saturday was spent clearing out the room I'd used for my (rarely-used) office and making it able to move our son Chris, who's moving back in with us for a while after several years living in Las Vegas, into that room.  That raised a lot of dust and dander, and I spent the day wheezing and dripping and sneezing.  When I sneeze, I tend to sneeze hard, and I wonder if forty or fifty hard sneezes, along with at least a hundred noseblows -- I went thru three handkerchiefs -- might have added up to the same effect a smack up the side of the head might have had.

Just another fun day at Chez' Arthurs.  I could do with a little less fun of this sort.

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Saturday night, among the other stuff cleaned out of the office was a box of papers and corespondence that had belonged to Edna, Hilde's mother, before Edna's death about ten years ago.  We went thru it to see what should be kept, what trashed, and what sent to Edna's granddaughters.  I was struck that the commonest theme in letters from family and old friends, most of whom were around Edna's age, was to talk about the latest medical problems they or others were having.

It led me to wonder if I spend too much time on this blog talking about our own medical issues.  Let me know if I'm straying into TMI teritory, OK?


The Arm: The Weasel Gets Weird -- Unexpected Changes

In my last update to the seemingly neverending saga of coping with the breaking the hell out of my right arm last December, I reported that I'd decided to go ahead and have the revision surgery, replacing the standard replacement humerus head implanted in December (and which had seemed to be failing, resulting in quite a lot of pain) with a Reverse Shoulder Arthroscopy, a different type of replacement shoulder joint, hopefully (but not guaranteed) to reduce the amount and intensity of pain I was having.  That surgery was scheduled for June 28th.

And then, beginning last weekend, an unexpected thing started happening.

The arm started hurting less.

Quite a lot less.  I've gone from six extra-strength Tylenol and two Aleve (or, occasionally, one Aleve and a Celebrex) per day (about the maximum dose you're supposed to take per day, or start worrying about liver and kidney damage), all the way down to one or two Tylenol and one Aleve.

I don't know why it's hurting less.  No apparent rhyme, no apparent reason.  I don't know if it's going to last, or if the pain will rack back up at some unknown future date.  But you'd think I'd be relieved and grateful for the change.

In actuality, I experienced an anxiety attack that came close to panic.

For the first several months after the acccident, I seemed to be making slow but steady progress in recovery.   So I thought I'd probably be able to go back to work sometime in late spring.  Then the arm started getting worse again in late March, and planning on the future went into a cocked hat.

When I finally decided, about two weeks ago, to go ahead with the second surgery, it meant that I'd know what my life would be like for at least rest of the summer and most of fall:  Surgery at the end of June, the arm in a sling and immobilized 24/7 for at least six weeks, followed by at least several months of physical therapy.  After that, things would be uncertain again until it became clear if the second surgery had made any improvement.  But at least I knew what would be happening for the next four months.

But when the arm suddenly started hurting less, I had to start wondering if the second surgery was absolutely necessary.   The arm still aches, but the aching is a lot less intense, and I've had very few of the sharp stabbing pains I was having before.  Two weeks ago I was at the point where I was sure I needed the new surgery.   And now... I'm not sure.

Which makes the future very uncertain again.  Which is very upsetting and anxiety-inducing.

So.  After nearly a week of the lower pain levels, a few decisions have been made.  The revision surgery has been cancelled.  I'll be referred to a physiatrist, a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  We'll try and work with the arm to get its strength and stamina back, or at least better.

I'm still, whatever happens, going to end up with pretty significant limits on how high I can reach with the arm, and how much I can carry.  But the pain has been the most compelling problem these last months.

I also had an out-of-pocket consultation with the doctor who does Hilde's pain-management for her own significant problems.  I got a fairly long list of non-surgical, non-narcotic treatments and medications that might be useful in dealing with the remaining pain.  (One of the suggestion was for adhesive Lidocaine patches.  Hilde used those for pre-surgical pain before one of her joint replacements some years ago, and we still had a partial box way at the back of a closet shelf.  So I tried one today for the aching, and it helped significantly.  This makes me hopeful that I can continue to keep the pain at tolerable levels.)

(Hilde and I get most of our medical care from Mayo, who I mostly think of as wonderful.  But surprisingly the only pain-management service Mayo has is part of the Neurology department, and it only treats back pain.)

There are still a lot of  "If's" and "Maybe's" and "Possibly's" floating around in the forthcoming months.  But for the moment, things are better than they have been.

In the last update, I said the pain was like having a bad-tempered weasel strapped to my arm.  It growled a lot, and sometimes started clawing and biting at the arm.  Well, at least for the time being, it's being a lot nicer, growling less, and even sleeping some of the time.

A well-behaved weasel.


Data Point: Re the SFWA Bulletin

Part of the recent kerfuffle in SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) was over Issue #200 of the SFWA Bulletin using a warrior woman in a chainmail bikini (on a snow-covered mountainside!) for its cover image.

I was a SFWA member from the late 1980's until 2009.  (I let my membership lapse then because I hadn't written or sold anything for three years by that point.)  Since I tend to keep anything printed on paper longer than any sensible person would, I thought I'd go thru the back issues of the Bulletin I still had accessible, and see if anything similar had ever been used on a cover.

It turned out I had 55 issues from 1988 to 2005 available on my shelves.  (There are more unshelved issues in various boxes, but I didn't want this to turn into a Major Project.)  Those earliest issues, under the editorship of George Zebrowski and Pamela Sargent, used photos for their covers:

Mark McGarry was the next editor, and he tended to use fan-art or repurposed professional art for the Bulletin covers.  Mark Kreighbaum followed, and tended to use semi-abstract digital art for the issues he edited.

The closest thing I found to a "cheesecake" cover was this George Barr cover under McGarry's editorship.  The slim, aesthetic alien might be considered "beefcake". 

To find a woman in a skimpy outfit, you have to look a little closer, in the background behind the central figure.

Shades of some of the costumes on the original Star Trek!  Is it sexy?  Yes.  More to the point, though:  Is it absurd?  Barr's illustration looks like a desert environment, and most of the characters seen are wearing loose and/or skimpy clothing.  So I don't think it's completely absurd or ridiculous.  (One might complain she's overdressed -- did I just say that? -- in a fashion sense for a casual trip to the marketplace.)

Compare that to wearing a metal (!) chainmail (!) bikini (!) in the snow (!!!).

So overall, from the issues I have on hand, I'd have to say that the SFWA Bulletin has pretty well avoided depicting unrealistic women on its covers.

The woman depicted on Bulletin #200's cover is actually supposed to be Red Sonja, the character originally created in one of Robert E. Howard's stories.  The notorious chainmail bikini actually originated in the Conan comic book version published by Marvel in the 1970's.  But that wasn't what Red Sonja originally wore in that comic.  A little history:

The original artist for the Conan comic was Barry Windsor-Smith, and the outfit he dressed Red Sonja in was this one:

And here's a representation of the three faces of Sonja, as described by Howard and later illustrated by Roy Krenkel, as Barry Windsor-Smith drew her, and the chainmail bikini re-design by Esteban Maroto:

illustration by Frank Thorne

Red Sonja was originally a pirate, so the Howard/Krenkel version makes a lot of sense: Loose clothing for fast movement on deck, and, hey, you really don't want to wear a lot of heavy armor or chainmail when one of the main dangers in a shipboard melee is getting knocked or pushed overboard.

On the Windsor-Smith version, the bare legs and granny-panties are problematic, but the chainmail shirt gives good protection to torso and arms; it's even got a high collar for some neck protection as well.

And then we come to the chainmail bikini.   *sigh*  This is a ridiculous costume.  This is an absurd costume.  It's been ridiculous and absurd since the very first time it appeared in comics.  People have been pointing out how ridiculous and absurd it is since that very first appearance.  Yet it's been the iconic costume for the character for over thirty years.  And it's also been one of the main things people point to when they say comics are read by frustrated pimply teenagers who wank off over women depicted in comics because they can't get their hands on real porn (or real women).  It's also one of the main things people point to when they say the comics industry caters to those wank fantasies for the sake of sales.  I can't really think of a good counter-argument to that.

In the wake of SFWA Bulletin #200's cover, people objected to the absurd, ridiculous figure depicted there.  In response, Jim Hines -- who's done a number of popular posts at his own blog about unrealistic depictions of women on SF/Fantasy book covers -- was asked to contribute an article about images of women in SF to Bulletin #202.  I haven't read that article, and I don't know if it's been published anywhere except in the Bulletin, but I'd expect that Jim probably said a number of wise and perceptive things about the subject.  (Whatever he may have wrote seems to have been thoroughly overshadowed by the blowback on Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg's "lady editors/anonymous attackers" column.)

The sad thing is that an opportunity was missed.  If the Hines article had been commissioned for the issue with the Red Sonja cover, it could have been prominently highlighted on the cover text.  In that instance, the Red Sonja depiction might have served as a visual aid, an adjunct, a bad example, for the Hines article.  Publishing it two issues afterwards was an instance of locking the barn door after the horses bolted.


A Few Brief Thoughts On MAN OF STEEL

It's loud. 

It's long.  (Only two hours.  Felt longer.)

I could have used a break from the extended action/fight sequences.

Also: "shaky cam". 

The sheer amount of destruction in Smallville and Metropolis must have caused at least 50,000 or so deaths.  (I was reminded of Kid Miracleman's London rampage in Alan Moore's MIRACLEMAN comic.)  Yet we see few actual deaths or bodies, and most of those seem to be members of the military.

I'm getting a little tired of seeing falling/collapsing/exploding skyscrapers in sci-fi action movies.  (This movie has a lot of falling skyscrapers.)

I thought the best action sequence in the movie was actually the rescue from the oil rig.  A bare-chested Henry Cavill on fire actually communicates a sense of this guy is not fucking human better than a skinsuited-and-caped Henry Cavill punching through buildings like a bullet.  Once he puts on the costume, he becomes less interesting.*

Perry White and other Daily Planet employees, with the exception of Lois Lane, barely impinged on the story.  (And why did the writers decide to turn irritating twit Jimmy Olsen into irritating female twit Jenny?)

In short, while I enjoyed the movie, I had some reservations, and thought it could have been better done.

*I have a fondness for superheroes whose costumes are "off the rack".  Wild Dog is one, a vigilante whose crime-fighting outfit is largely sports equipment and who drives a pickup.  I especially liked Iron Munro, a "pre-Superman" in t-shirt and jeans Roy Thomas created for YOUNG ALL-STARS, a teen-team-superhero comic set in the early days of WWII.

Wild Dog
Iron Munro


The Arm: Latest Update, or, Wearing the Weasel

At last report, in early May, I was waiting to see a different orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion before committing to the Reverse Shoulder Arthroscopy surgery  recommended by my doctor at Mayo.  The second surgery will "probably" reduce my current pain levels, but even if fully successful I'll still have reduced strength and range of motion in my right arm for the rest of my life.

I saw the second doctor on May 8th, then waited for him to send his recommendations to the Workmens Comp office and to my Mayo doctor.  Then waited until the Mayo doctor got back from an out-of-town trip to have a phone consult with him.  Then waited until my Workmens Comp caseworker got back from her out-of-town trip.  Then found out she needed a second recommendation for the surgery from my Mayo doctor, to reflect that he'd received and considered the second doctor's findings.  So had another consult with the Mayo doctor a couple of days ago, rather more in-depth than we'd done over the phone.

The second doctor also recommended surgery, but the RSA surgery was one of several possible paths he suggested.  Another was to re-do the standard joint replacement surgery I'd had in December, with hopefully better results. And of course the option of learning to live with chronic pain was also brought up.

That last one's not really an option, however.  At this point, pain relief is my top priority.  Rebuilding strength and stamina in the arm come second.  Range of motion actually comes in third.  It doesn't really matter how much range the arm has, when it hurts too much to actually do  much of anything with it.

The degradation in usability and increase in pain that started in late March seems to have not only continued, but even worsened somewhat in the last few weeks.  I still usually manage to get through the days by taking lots of Tylenol and Aleve, but there've been a couple of recent days where the pain was sharp enough and persistent enough that I took half a T-4 (Tylenol with codeine) to get some relief.

Besides taking a lot of analgesics, I try to avoid activities that might cause the persistent ache to turn into sharp stabbing pain.  When I move the arm, I try to move it slowly and carefully.  I try to not lift or carry anything weighing more than a few pounds, or for a long period.  In short, the most effective pain-avoidance strategy has been: Don't do jack with that arm.

An extra hassle to all this has been not just the pain, but the fear of pain, the apprehension that trying to do anything with the arm will set it off.  I'm in a near-constant state of hyper-alertness, constantly asking myself: "How far will I need to reach out with that arm?  Can I do it using my other arm?  Will I have to lift, or squeeze, or twist anything?  Will that hurt?  How badly will it hurt?  How long will it take to recover?  Is this worth doing at all?"  This, above and beyond the physical pain, gets tiring.

I do do stuff with the arm, but nothing heavy, and nothing for an extended period of time.  Even very light work like sorting papers will increase the pain after a while.  When the aching gets intense, I've found I can reduce the recovery time by putting the arm back into its post-surgical sling and letting it rest for several hours.  And one of the few things I've found that I can do for a reasonable length of tie is sit at the computer and keyboard; by resting my right arm on the arm of the chair and bringing the keyboard and/or mouse closer, I can even type or browse the Internet for a reasonable stretch.  (One of the main reasons why you're seeing more postings here than prior to the accident.)

Yeah, something like this.
It's sort of like having a bad-tempered weasel strapped to your arm.  Most of the time the little bastard just lays there and growls; but sometimes he'll have a sudden psychotic break and start clawing and biting.
"Don't do jack" is not a viable long-term strategy, however.  Recovery isn't just a matter of being able to return to work; it's being able to do the things that need to be done in my personal life.  That includes being a caregiver to Hilde, and being able to do the household chores and tasks that need doing.  If I wasn't having the chronic pain, I'd be able to cope with a lot more of that even with a partially-disabled arm.

When I talked to my doctor at Mayo on Friday, he went on at some length to impress on me that there are no guarantees that I'll come away from the RSA surgery with any significant improvement.  I will definitely still have an impaired range of motion, and I won't have as much strength and stamina in that arm as before the injury.  There will "probably" be less pain, but there may still be some pain in the arm afterwards, and there's the possibility of no improvement in that area either.

From the medical articles I've read, shoulder surgery in general is a tricky job.  It's even trickier for a traumatic shoulder injury like mine, and trickier still for a revision procedure to a previous surgery like the RSA would be. I came across a discussion forum for shoulder-surgery patients, and one of the participants whose problems also started with a traumatic injury -- thrown from a horse and trampled -- has had six surgeries and still has chronic pain and little use of her arm.

I don't want more surgery.  I don't want more months of an immobilized arm followed by months of physical therapy.  But if the alternative is to try and live with the current status...

Well, even the hope of improvement is something.

In short, I'm scheduled for the RSA surgery on June 28th.

If the results of the surgery are good, I'll probably be able to return to work sometime in the fall.  If the results are less than good, I may have to start thinking in terms of Long Term Disability (and all the paperwork and complications that would entail).


Blast From The Past - POINTS OF HONOR by Thomas Boyd

Points of Honor, Thomas Boyd, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925

Points of Honor is a collection of short stories by Thomas Boyd, best known for his novel of World War I soldiers, Through the Wheat.  TTW received a good deal of critical acclaim and support, including from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Maxwell Perkins.  Boyd was seen, for a while, as one of the leading lights of post-WWI American literature.   But his subsequent books never got the sales or acclaim of that first novel, and his fame faded away.  He died of a stroke at age 37; Boyd's own war-time injuries may have contributed to that early death.

Where Through the Wheat's focus was on actual combat experiences, Points of Honor is mostly set during periods between the actual fighting, or in rear-line settings, or (in "The Long Shot") follows a soldier's return to the US after being injured in a mustard-gas attack.

Here's a telling quote from the Foreword:
"...these stories may serve to correct the impression that I hate war.  That would not be my business.  But it is my business not to glorify it; it is my business to perceive it truthfully and to set down those perceptions in such a way that they may be shared by whoever is kind enough to read them.  Hate war!  Hate the ambitious who casue the wars and the financiers who grow fat on them.  Hate the people who believe sleek lies.  If we must hate let us hate causes; it is futile to hate effects.  If I hated war I should lie about it, thereby saving myself a good deal of sweat, labor, and anxiety occasioned by the endeavor to be honest."

Not all the stories are fully successful.  Several come off as more like extended vignettes.  "The Uninvited", with its Registration of Graves Department investigator tasked with finding poorly documented burial sites, works well as a traditional detective story.  Most end with irony, frequently bleak. 

"The Long Shot" is the story that got turned into the 1930 movie BLAZE O'GLORY, mentioned at the end of this post.  Reading some of the information available about Boyd, it turned out he despised movies for leading people away from reading books.  It must have galled him to the max that the bleak protagonist of this story, a former soldier trying to return to his previous career as a machinist, was turned into a Broadway entertainer for the film version so song and dance numbers could be inserted into the movie.  Considering how dark and bitter the original story is, it's hard to imagine the movie's changes being anything but a travesty.  (I don't know if copies of BLAZE O'GLORY have survived the 80+ years since it was filmed.  At best, I suppose it might have been something like Steve Martin's 1981 PENNIES FROM HEAVEN, a bleak Depression-era story with musical inclusions that left audiences mostly off-balance.)

Duncan Milner, the protagonist of  "The Long Shot", shares a good deal of experiences with Boyd himself.  Gassed in the war, unable to return to his previous machinist career, troubled relationships in his personal life.  Milner, a sniper in the war, ends up murdering the lover of his unfaithful wife.  The final irony is that the judge who vilifies him for taking another man's life and sentences Milner to the scaffold is the same man who, as an officer in the war, spotted targets for Milner to kill.

"The Long Shot" is also noticeable because of its portrayal of a veteran struggling to readjust to civilian life, his struggles with the after-effects of his war injuries, and his difficulty in finding assistance, both from friends and family and from the government, in making that transition.  It's an early portrayal of PTSD and the difficulties faced by returning veterans.  As such, it's still a very pertinent story.

His better-known novel Through The Wheat can still be found in print, but I don't believe this story collection is currently available anywhere.  I read a copy of the original 1925 printing via InterLibrary Loan.


On SFWA & Sexism

If you follow many of the SF/Fantasy sites online, you've probably seen, at the least, references and links to a recent brouhaha over the SFWA BULLETIN and some particularly provocative comments by columnists Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg.  If you haven't, author Jim Hines has compiled a long list of links to sites discussing the controversy.

I've said before that my Number One Rule is "Try to not be an asshole."  I got around to formulating this rule by, well, being an asshole on past occasions.  I've learned to recognize some of that past assholery (sometimes with an assist from other people rubbing my nose in it), and try to use that recognition to avoid further social or intellectual errors.

Sometimes that assholery involved attitudes toward or statements about women.  There are a few fanzines or apa mailings from my early years in fandom that I would gladly burn all copies of, because of offhand remarks I made therein.  (Was I really so utterly clueless?  Yes.  Yes, I was.)

So it disturbs me to see two writers I respect, even older than I am, writing words that the twenty-year-old-me might have written.

I'm especially sad to see such a lack of self-awareness from Barry Malzberg, who I've always regarded as one of the Wise Old Men of Science Fiction.

One observation: When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, "Lady" was what my family named our dog.

(Caveat: I am sixty goddamned years old, and not being an asshole is still a work in progress.  I try; I'm not always successful.)


Dickens Is GRRM's Number One Fan

Charles Dickens reacts to HBO's latest episode of Game of Thrones:

"Dear George:  Thanks, dude! 
Now maybe people will stop ragging on me
 about offing Little Nell!"

[image from Wikimedia Commons]