Thursday, February 07, 2013

DDOS and a MESS and SASS

Reposted from my Facebook page from Wednesday night:

The web site for the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) has been down most of the day because of a cyber-attack. The interruption apparently commenced at 10 a.m. and the site has been up and down all day The attack is called a DDOS, which I had to look up. The best explanation I read said "DDOS, short for Distributed Denial of Service, is a type of DOS attack where multiple compromised systems -- which are usually infected with a Trojan -- are used to target a single system causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack."

The SFWA is in the process of having its annual election, and there has been some real viciousness in its forums. An officer stepped in a couple of days ago to moderate the forums, and things quieted down considerably - and then this attack happened.

Most people would assume the two things are related. I really don't know, or care. After I launched my campaign for vice president last year, and saw the way I was attacked, I stopped campaigning and helped organize a new writers group (although I remain a member of the SFWA).

SASS (Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling) fills in the middle ground between people who are fans and readers, and hard-boiled pros who make (or want to make) their living as writers. It's a nice for someone like me, who has a day job.

One thing I'm proud of is SASS - which has its own Facebook page - takes a lesson from fraternal groups (such as the Masons) and specifically prohibits internal discussions of religion or politics. That way people of all faiths and political backgrounds have a neutral common ground where they can learn and encourage each other in writing and appreciating speculative storytelling.


I shared the post with all the interim officers of SASS. Dario's comment on his own page is worthy of repeating:

Dario Ciriello: Lou, I was honoured to be invited last summer to be interim Chairman of the new SASS until (now imminent) board elections, when I will step down, and I accepted the post precisely *because* SASS expressly disavows political or religious agendas and prohibits members from doing so under its auspices. As I've frequently stated, I abhor intolerance, incivility, and proselytizing of every kind.

Even as an atheist with some ultra-liberal leanings I'm frankly amazed that everyone that happens to hail from Texas or who has strong religious views--as many of my own good friends do--is vilified by certain people in the SFF community, as was the case in this recent Tweet (names omitted, publicly searchable): "...too bad SASS never got off the ground--it'd be a great resource for identifying the racist a-holes in SFF."

Wow, sounds like someone's creating an enemies list, doesn't it? This sort of thing has disgusted me since my first Worldcon, when I saw Larry Niven booed and hissed by half the audience on a panel for simply making a rather mild joke. Intolerance, rudeness, and ad hominems disgust me whether from the far right or far left. A plague on ALL their houses.

Well, I think it's great that SASS *is* getting off the ground. A neutral, safe forum for fans, readers, and new, non-pro writers is both needed and doesn't threaten any existing organizations. Power to you, Lou.

In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Why can't we all get along?"

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"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

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