Episode 110: Live with Gary K. Wolfe

After a final July hiatus we’re back! This weekend Gary and I headed to the Waldorf Room to discuss thoughts on Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 and SF set within our Solar System, World Fantasy Award Lifetime Achievement recipients Alan Garner and George R.R. Martin, and recent issues at Readercon. As always, we hope you enjoy the podcast!

5 thoughts on “Episode 110: Live with Gary K. Wolfe”

  1. Thank you for weighing in on the Readercon thing and for doing so with a good deal more anger and passion than I would normally associate with this podcast.

    I’ve listened to the Coode St Podcast from the start and, as someone who exists on the margins of SFF culture, I have often found the ‘Coode Street Experience’ to be quite alienating for reasons that relate to the whole Readercon debate.

    There was one particular podcast (I forget which one) where you and Gary talked about the open and progressive nature of the field before moving on to discussing your experiences sitting on Charles N. Brown’s porch. I found it astonishing that you failed to realise the tension between these two visions of the field… how can the field by open and progressive when it’s all about the boy’s club of who gets invited to sit on Charlie Brown’s porch?

    To me, this tension lies at the heart of the Readercon thing as Readercon is about the tension between the field’s stated values (openness, inclusivity, zero-tolerance of stalkers) and its actual values (closed social networks and preferential treatment for ‘our friends’). Had Rene Walling not been a well-known fan with ties to the Worldcon establishment then chances are that his lifetime ban would have stood but because he knew people and people knew him to be ‘a good guy’ the stated principles of Readercon went out the window.

    As someone who has long existed on the margins of SFF culture, I found it very heartening to hear someone in as prominent a position as yourself speak out against the tendency to close ranks and hide these things behind a sort of bigfen omerta. The same omerta that has served as a barrier for non-white, non-male and non-straight people for so long.

  2. Hi Jonathan –

    Thank you for commenting. I appreciate it. I don’t particularly want to revisit the Readercon discussion that we had on the podcast, but I would re-iterate what I hope the podcast makes clear. The behaviour at the heart of the Readercon debacle is a cancer in our field. Both the behaviour that started it, which is contemptible and cannot be tolerated, and what certainly appeared to be a boy’s club closing of the ranks (I don’t know if it was, but it certainly looked that way, and in this instance that’s critical). The whole issue is something I feel passionately about, and something I feel every single member of our community needs to own.

    As to the “Coode St Experience”: I can see how it could appear to be a dichotomy, especially for someone who is on the margins of the field or who might for whatever reason feel that they are. I’ll certainly remember it. I can only say that, for the most part, the field has been warm and welcoming to me, and my blind spot is that I tend to assume that it is to everyone else (and try to make it so).


  3. Hi Jonathan,

    I just wanted to also say how much I agree with what you say about the Readercon issue. We do need to own this as a community, and that means admitting that the perpetrators are within our community – rather than assume, as Readercon seem to have done, that the perpetrators are peripheral assholes about whom we do not care too much, and then furiously backtrack when this seems to be the case. And yes, not applying the mandate automatic penalty as set out in the policies suggests that the Readercon Board consider themselves not bound by the con’s policies, and that is horribly anti-democratic.

  4. In re: your musings about Hugo nominations and losers, I will confirm that David G. Hartwell had the most nominations before winning–34. (There are only 5 people who have received 34 or more Hugo nominations in toto.) The Iron Man award for most nominations without winning at all, and the longest run, is Stanley Schmidt, who has been nominated for some form of Best Editor for 33 years straight, plus an additional fiction nomination in 2001.

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