When Kevin and I were in Canada for the Moving Trans History Forward conference this year, one of the people we met was Charles Ledbetter. It used to be the case that I was pretty much the only person talking about trans characters in speculative fiction, but now there are at least three people doing PhDs in the subject, all of them trans identified. Charles is one of them.
A unique feature of Charles’ research is that they are looking, not at works that get wide distribution (which up until recently meant works written by cis people, for cis people), but at works published by independent presses, in fanzines, and self-pubished material. Charles rightly surmised that they would find much earlier examples of trans-authored works this way. Consequently, even though they are based at the University of Tübingen in Germany, Charles is spending time in Victoria going through the archives looking for material.
If you happen to know of anything that would fit the type of work Charles is looking for, I’m sure they would love to know. Bogi Takács and I have both been corresponding with Charles, and Kevin has suggested a bunch of webcomics, but there’s bound to be more out there.
In November, to mark Trans Day of Remembrance, the folks at UVic asked Charles to give a public lecture. I have finally found time to watch it, and it is good stuff. (And I don’t just say that because I get cited.) I was particularly pleased to see the Transvengers comic mentioned. Hopefully some of you will find it interesting too.
Bristol University has many fine academics on its staff, but undoubtledly one of the best is Professor Ronald Hutton. Here he is giving a lecture on the origins and purposes of fairy stories.
In the Q&A I discoverd that “trow” is an Orkney/Shetland word for “troll”. Local opinion has it that the town where I live was originally called Tree-bridge (treow-brycg in Old English), or True-bridge. From now on I am going to assume it is actually Trollbridge, because that’s much more cool.
Thanks to John Reppion for the link to the lecture.
The lovely people at UWE Feminist Society filmed my talk from last night and have put it on their Facebook page. Serious video skillz there. They’ve sent me the file and I’ll get it up on YouTube or Vimeo sometime, but in the meantime the Facebook version is available.
This talk is designed to give an overview of just how different attitudes to gender were in the past. None of it is in-depth history, though I’m quite happy to talk about parts of it in more detail, and I try to note where my knowledge isn’t very deep.
The video does include the Q&A, and one audience member asked for more information about African practices. I don’t know a huge amount about Africa, but someone who does in Bisi Alimi. Last night he wast tweeting about just the sort of things I would have mentioned had I known about them in time. I linked to the thread here.
Content note: inevitably I talk about castration, and about people having sex.
The talk comes in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. Both are just over half an hour long.
Huge thanks to Tessa and her colleagues for making me so welcome.
Four years ago, when Helsinki was first bidding to hold Worldcon, I did a video tour of the venue. You can find that here, but a few things have changed since then so I thought it would be worth re-visiting the venue. In particular you may have heard scare stories about construction work. Thankfully that turns out to be pretty much a non-event as we don’t need to go near the parts of Pasila station that are being dug up. Of course the room allocations that I mentioned in the older video may have changed too, but I didn’t have facilities staff around today to explain things.
Here is the latest video, in which I manage to mispronounce Messukeskus in a variety of spectacularly wrong ways.
A whole lot of you will be flying into Helsinki for Worldcon over the next few days, and will be wondering how you get from the airport to the city. So I made a video of what I did when I arrived. For the princely sum of €5 you can get a train from the airport to either Pasila, the station by the convention center, or Helsinki Central. The full journey takes just 28 minutes, and the trains are very frequent. Here’s how it is done.
Update: In answer to Lynn’s question in comments, the schedules are available online here. The trains have a gap in service between roughly midnight and 5:00am, but there are a number of bus services that full the gap. The 615 is half-hourly through the night.
Here are some more photos I took of the dinosaurs on view at Bristol Zoo.
As usual with animals, getting them to stay still to be photographed is not always easy. Some of them, such as the Pachyrhinosaurus, were gently snoozing. Others were very busy. The most active of them was the dilophosaurus, which seemed to fancy itself as a dragon and delighted in spraying small children with water. Here it is in action. (The background noise is the rain.)
Better photos and more information about the various creatures can be found here.
Those of you who were unable to attend Susan Cooper’s Tolkien Lecture on Fantastic Literature at Pembroke College on Thursday can now enjoy her performance virtually. Huge thanks to Gabriel Schenk for getting this online so quickly.
Fox Fisher has posted his video report on this year’s Trans Pride. I have embedded it below. I’m somewhere at the back of that huge crowd outside the Marly at the beginning, but otherwise the film is entirely Cheryl-free, so it is safe to watch.
Thanks to some really quick work by the folks at Pembroke, this year’s Tolkien Lecture, given by Terri Windling, is now available to enjoy online. They have a podcast version and a video version. You can find them both, along with some photos, here, and it would be nice to pop over there and say thank you. But I know people are put off by the need to click through to things so here, by the magic of embedding, is what you need.
I didn’t actually see much of the Sunday events. I needed to grab an interview with my friend Kathy Caton who has been shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards (in the LGBT role model category) this year. Kathy was busy at Radio Reverb producing a show, so I headed on up to their studio and did radio stuff for a while before heading home. Some of that may end up on Shout Out eventually, and of course I’ll put all of the audio up on my gender podcast at some point. In the meantime, I have found a couple of vlogs on YouTube that will give you a taste of the atmosphere.
The second one has a brief glimpse of me in the background, but it is very brief so it should be OK for you to watch it without risking going blind.
Here is the fourth episode of Time Out of Mind. It features Anne McCaffrey. The fifth and final episode, shot at the 1979 Worldcon, has already been uploaded to YouTube by someone else and can be found here.
Aside from the small amount of copyright material in the John Brunner episode, everything appears to have gone up OK. Fingers crossed it will stay there. Of course I hope that the BBC still have the original files somewhere, and will one day produce decent quality versions of the series for sale, but for now I hope you have enjoyed what we have got. Thanks again to Arnold Aiken for sending me the recordings.
Here’s the third episode in BBC2’s 1979 series, Time Out of Mind. It features Michael Moorcock, but comes with bonus appearances from M. John Harrison, Tom Disch and Fred Pohl. There are also some clips from a Jerry Cornelius film that You Tube has not (so far) objected to. Mike and Mike are their usual, uninhibited selves and do not shy away from slagging off those whose work and/or tastes they deem not up to scratch.
Here’s episode 2 of Time Out of Mind. When I first uploaded this to YouTube they complained about copyright content within the video. As this was likely to cause the whole thing to be pulled I edited it the remove the offending sections. They were a clip from a dramatization of Brunner’s story, “The Last Lonely Man”, and a montage of images of pollution with a soundtrack of music by Eno. Neither segment is vital to the episode.
OK folks, here we go with the first of the full Time Out of Mind episodes. This one features Sir Arthur C. Clarke. It runs for about 25 minutes.
For those coming new to this, the series was first broadcast in 1979, following a UK Worldcon in Brighton at which a lot of footage was shot. These videos are digitized from VCR recordings kindly supplied by British fan, Arnold Aiken.
If all goes well (meaning that no one objects) I’ll post the other three later this week.
Here is a clip from episode 3 of Time Out of Mind, the 1979 BBC2 series about science fiction. It features Michael Moorcock, with a little bit of supportive nodding from M. John Harrison, complaining about what a bunch of conservative old fuddy-duddies the science fiction community is made up of.
The amusing thing from my point of view is that I was reading Moorcock and Harrison as an excited teenager, so I see them as an older generation. And yet I have already been consigned to the bin of “evil old white man”, so goodness only knows what they are now. Heck, Moorcock lives in Texas, which probably makes him an ur-conservative.
By the way, Fred Pohl is interviewed during the program, and is quite gracious about the whole thing.
Following up from yesterday’s clip of Sir Arthur, here’s a clip from episode 2 of Time Out of Mind, featuring John Brunner. In it Brunner explains why he has taken to writing near-future SF (books like Stand on Zanzibar, Shockwave Rider and The Sheep Look Up) instead of the space opera he was writing early in his career.
In another part of the show Brunner talks about Stand on Zanzibar and notes that in it he predicted a world population of 7 billion. We are now past that. The book is set in 2010, and we are past that too.
I’ve talked before about the BBC2 series, Time Out Of Mind, which was made in 1979 and featured several science fiction writers. I’m lucky enough to have digitized video recordings of the programmes (thank you, Arnold Akien!). The final episode, filmed at the 1979 Worldcon in Brighton, has been made available on YouTube and has not yet attracted the attention of any lawyers, so I’m thinking of doing the same with the rest.
While I’m getting the material uploaded, here is a teaser from the first episode in the series. It features Sir Arthur C. Clarke and in the clip he is holding a press conference in a hotel room. Look out for a young journalist there with his camera. You may recognize him, despite the fact that he’s not wearing his now-customary black clothing.
Update: Neil says it can’t be him because he wasn’t there. So know I want to know who it is, and why he has stolen Neil’s hair.
The latest episode of Claire Parker’s Time 4 T radio show is now available as a podcast. It includes a segment featuring Brighton-based poet, Alice Denny, and a lengthy interview with a trans woman who financed her surgery by working as a dominatrix. In between these is a segment featuring James Marcus Tucker who, together with Michael Urwin, has been producing a fascinating series of videos interviewing the QUILTBAG community in Brighton. The most recent two episodes feature Fox from My Transsexual Summer, Alice Denny, and E-J, whom I met when I gave a paper in Brighton last year. There are also a couple of guest appearances by a very cute cat whom I believe is Fox’s owner. They are quite short and worth a listen if you are interested in trans issues.