Come on with me to Orcus
Leave your mother
And her worries behind.
Your dearest wish
Will lead to adventure
So come, little Summer,
It’s leaving time.
When you’re in Orcus
Birds going to speak like people
Women will shape-change
And frogs grow on trees.
But what’s that behind you?
It’s the Queen-in-Chains’ servant.
The Houndbreaker’s hunting;
Time to fly.
This is a thread to discuss, speculate about, and squee over Ursula Vernon’s new web serial Summer in Orcus, without worrying about spoiling it for people who aren’t caught up.
Note that the introductory lyrics are entirely drawn from the blurb and the first episode; I don’t know any more about what’s going to happen than anyone else. Except Ursula, I suspect.
(Also, it’s free on the web, but your attention is of course drawn to the Patreon and Paypal links on the front page.)
Normally when we use the phrase think of the children, it’s dismissive. And rightly so. The abstract possibility of children’s presence, a low-resolution notion of children’s safety, has been used as a club or a gag far too often. And the worst of it is, the people who say it are not thinking of the children, or they’d stop crying wolf and save that argument for when it really mattered. (When this is can be determined by listening to the children: a related skill, and indeed a basic prerequisite.)
I’ve read many stories about family breakdown in the news, heard them in conversation, seen them in my wider circle of friendship and acquaintance. These stories usually center on the adults whose relationships are in trouble, but I often find myself thinking of the children, wondering how they’re faring, wondering what hurt they’re suffering. Wishing someone could teach them how to navigate the situations they find themselves in far too young. So many of them will cope, but at a cost—one they’ll be paying interest on for years.
One thing that’s gone past my Twitter stream this last week is a British family court judgment written to be accessible to the people it affects: a mother who “often finds things hard to understand”, plus two children aged 10 and 12. Content warning for gaslighting. (But not, mercifully, for any neglect or physical or sexual abuse.)
I like this judge. He seems to be trying to give his intended audience the tools to deal with their situation, both explicitly and by example. So he says things like:
He also talks about everyone in the story as people, with comprehensible motivations and reasons for their actions. The policewoman who was upset when Mr A put a video of her visit up on YouTube. Mr B, who has served time for violence and drugs offenses, but still tries to be a good father. The headteachers who have dealt with the family. The officials who exaggerated and skipped steps while reacting to the family’s trip to Turkey. Even Mr A, for good and ill.
And he talks about the children in the same way, with the same language. He writes with an awareness of what makes up their lives: school, home, parents and stepparents, grandparents, vacations; he treats these things as seriously as he does terrorism, religious extremism, crime, imprisonment. In doing this, he shows the children that they matter as much as adults do. That they have, as Jo Walton would say, equal significance.
This is what thinking of the children looks like. Thinking of them as people in need of concepts and tools for dealing with the situation they’re in and the people around them. Thinking about how to minimize the damage they’ll suffer from these chaotic circumstances. Thinking about how to support the good relationships in their lives and reduce the impact of this bad one.
Yes, please, let’s think of the children.
This is part of the sequence of Dysfunctional Families discussions. We have a few special rules, specific to the needs and nature of the conversations we have here.
Previous posts (note that comments are closed on them to keep the conversation in one place):
Available at the NESFA Press table at MidAmeriCon; also at a reading and signing by the author tomorrow, Thursday, 18 August, 2 PM in 2203 in the convention center.
To reiterate, yes, it’ll be available online from NESFA Press (and via other online ordering options) after MidAmeriCon. And yes, an e-book will be available by and by.
Is Star Trek Beyond a movie with a good feel for the original show, or a super-sized ST:TOS episode? Is Zachary Quinto’s Spock a grown-up Wonder Twin? And are Jaylah’s facial markings evidence that Star Wars fandom persists in the Star Trek universe?
All this and more.
MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, Kansas City, Missouri, August 17-21. Appearances subject to change, check your pocket programs and newsletter updates, contents may settle in shipping, you know the drill. Thanks to the concom and especially Ian Stockdale for their help and patience in arranging all this.
The explanatory notes appended to some items in this list are my own, not MidAmeriCon’s.
Wednesday 1 PM, KCCC 2209 I Remember Big MAC Joe Haldeman, Mike Resnick, Janice Bogstad (m), PNH “Big MAC” was the slang term for the first MidAmericon, 40 years ago in 1976. Based on the Worldcon’s growth from 1972 to 1974, it was expected to be unprecedentedly huge. In fact it wasn’t. But it was a lot of people’s first Worldcon—mine, and Tom Doherty’s, to name just two. And in innumerable ways it set important patterns and precedents for decades of Worldcons to come.
Wednesday 2 PM, KCCC 2207 Does SF Still Affect How We Think About the Future? Michael Swanwick, Cynthia Ward, Adam-Troy Castro, PNH
Wednesday 5 PM, KCCC “Heinlein Stadium” Opening Ceremony: Meet the Guests of Honor Ruth Lichtwardt (chair), Pat Cadigan (toastmaster), Michael Swanwick, Tamora Pierce, Kinuko Y. Craft, PNH & TNH
Wednesday 6 PM, KCCC “Olympus Mons” Fandom Rocks! Introduction and Docent Tour Geri Sullivan, TNH Teresa, Geri, and a lot of extremely interesting rocks, large and small. Geology nerds rule.
Wednesday 7 PM, KCCC 2204 The Interstices of Historical Fiction and Fan Fiction Lyda Morehouse (m), Heather Urbanski, Sumana Harihareswara, TNH
Thursday 11 AM, KCCC 2209 The Future of Work Eric James Stone, Renée Sieber (m), TNH
Thursday noon, KCCC 3501H Is Cyberpunk Still a Thing? Pat Cadigan, Matt Jacobson, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, James Patrick Kelly, Cory Doctorow (m), PNH
Thursday noon, KCCC 2206 What Is a Fan Writer? Rich Lynch, Guy Lillian, Foz Meadows, Goldeen Ogawa, Lyda Morehouse (m), TNH
Thursday 1 PM, KCCC 2209 As You Know, Bob…: The Fine Art of Exposition Stanley Schmidt, Eric James Stone, Tamora Pierce, Kevin J. Anderson, Matthew S. Rotundo (m), TNH One of Teresa’s signature subjects.
Thursday 1 PM, KCCC 3501B An Introduction to Conventions for Professionals Gay Haldeman, Janice Gelb, Bill Sutton, Matt Wallace, PNH Professionals new to old-line SF fandom? Here’s what you need to know. Starting with, It’s Not About You.
Thursday 2 PM, KCCC 2203 Making Conversation: Reading and Autographing TNH Teresa reads from the new collection, then signs. Copies will be on hand for sale.
Thursday 3 PM, KCCC 2206 The Past, It Ain’t What it Used to Be Elizabeth Bear, David Gerrold, Ctein (m), TNH
Thursday 3 PM, KCCC 2503B All Our Yesterdays: How the Worldcon has Covered Fandom’s History Over the Years Joe Siclari (m), Clare McDonald-Sims, Rich Lynch, PNH
Thursday 4 PM, KCCC 2503A What’s New from Tor Tom Doherty, Beth Meacham, Liz Gorinsky, Miriam Weinberg, Jen Gunnels, Irene Gallo, Patty Garcia, PNH In which we announce that everyone at the Worldcon and the entire populations of Yorkshire, Barcelona, and Gary, Indiana have now been hired as editors at Tor Books. You will find your intake forms beneath your seats. Prepare to ascend.
Friday 11 AM, KCCC Art Show Art Docent Tour (advance signup required) Ctein, TNH Teresa and Ctein give their opinionated tour of the art show, as they have every year since mumble-mumble.
Friday noon, KCCC 2208 The Future Is a Different Country Andrea Philips, Edward Lerner, Kathleen M. Goonan (m), PNH
Friday 1 PM, KCCC 2210 Making Print: How Technological Changes Affect What We Read Beth Meacham, John D. Berry, Jim Murray, TNH I actually wrote the official precis for this item: “The history of publishing is a history of changing technologies. Web presses made the pulp magazines and cheap paperbacks possible. Cheap offset printing created a forest of tiny magazines. We all know, or think we know, about the first-order effects of DTP and the Web. And then there’s the intersection of technological change and distribution methods. What’s the history we don’t fully understand? And what’s next?”
Friday 1 PM, KCCC 2208 An Idiot’s Guide Revisited Karl Schroeder, Cory Doctorow, PNH In the long-ago futuristic year of 2000 AD, Alpha Books’ “Complete Idiot’s Guide” series published Cory Doctorow and Karl Schroeder’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction, complete with cover quote and preface by me. Now, in the post-singularity world of 2016, we scrabble down from our hanging egg sacs to re-examine this period piece.
Friday 2 PM, KCCC 2209 Feminism in Science Fiction: When It Changed Jeanne Gomoll, Eileen Gunn (m), PNH Katy drives like a maniac.
Friday 3 PM, KCCC 3501D Moderation and Community Management John Scalzi and Teresa Nielsen Hayden A dialogue.
Friday 5 PM, KCCC 3501H Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden: Fractal, Interstitial, Fannish Tom Whitmore (m), PNH & TNH Tom Whitmore interviews us, without a net.
Friday 6 PM, KCCC 3501H Hamilton as Alternative History and Fan Fiction Rachael Acks, John Chu, Sunil Patel, Mark Oshiro (m), PNH Work, work!
Saturday 1 PM, KCCC 2210 Editors: Not Just a Single Job Anne Sowards, Jim Minz, Liz Gorinsky (m), PNH & TNH
Saturday 3 PM, KCCC 3501D The Secret History of Science Fiction Michael Swanwick, Gordon Van Gelder, Eileen Gunn, TNH All the gossip, some of it true.
Saturday 4 PM, KCCC 3501F In Memoriam: David G. Hartwell Kathryn Cramer, Tom Doherty, Michael Swanwick, PNH
Sunday 1 PM, KCCC 2209 Transcending the Genre Tom Easton, Rich Horton, Jennie Goloboy (m), TNH
Sunday 2 PM, KCCC 2211 Kaffeeklatsch (advance signup required) PNH & TNH
Sunday 4 PM, KCCC “Tucker Stage” Closing Ceremony Ruth Lichtwardt (chair), Pat Cadigan (toastmaster), Michael Swanwick, Tamora Pierce, Kinuko Y. Craft, PNH & TNH
In our first Manhattan gig in a very long time, Whisperado will play Arlene’s Grocery at 95 Stanton Street (one block south of Houston, one block east of Allen) this coming Thursday, August 4, at 8 PM. In the words of fearless leader Jon Sobel, “New songs, new energy, and of course a shot of the same old crankiness.”
Because the previous one is at well over a thousand comments. Oops!
Also, Worldcon members, today is your last day to vote in this year’s Hugo Awards.