Mike Resnick’s Galaxy’s Edge Editorial

By Mike Resnick: Thanks to all the stink raised by both sides at Worldcon, I have an editorial, “The End of Worldcon as We Know It”, in the just published issue of Galaxy’s Edge. It’s accessable online for free…and if you’d like to run it in File 770, you have my blessing.

The End of Worldcon As We Know It

The recent brouhaha (a much better word than kerfluffle) over the Hugo ballot has caused a number of people, online and elsewhere, to proclaim that this is The End of Worldcon, at least the End of Worldcon As We Know It.

So it’s probably time for a little history lesson, because you know what will actually cause The End of Worldcon As We Know It?

Peace, camaraderie, and tranquility.

You think not?

Do you know what Fredrik Pohl, Donald A. Wollheim, Cyril M. Kornbluth, and Robert A. W. Lowndes have in common? I mean, besides their positions as giants in the annals of science fiction, with Wollheim and Pohl being Worldcon Guests of Honor, Kornbluth being still in print six decades after his premature death, and Lowndes editing for close to half a century?

They were all stopped at the door and not allowed to attend the very first Worldcon back in 1939.

No kidding. It was clearly going to be the End of Worldcon before it was even born.

It’s all written up in The Immortal Storm: A History of Science Fiction Fandom in the 1930s, by Sam Moskowitz, the guy who turned them away. (It seems they wouldn’t sign a pledge to behave and to not distribute Futurian John Michel’s Communist diatribe at the convention. Of course, while these four and Michel were being refused entry, Dave Kyle quietly brought a bundle of copies of Michel’s tract, Mutation or Death, into the con.)

It has become known in the field’s history books as The Exclusion Act. Well, in those histories written before 1956…after which it is known as the First Exclusion Act.

Move the clock ahead and stop it in 1964, the year of the Breendoggle.

You don’t know about the Breendoggle?

It seems that the Pacificon committee decided to bar the spouse of a major writer from attending, and this caused quite an uproar, to the point where literally half of fandom was threatening to boycott the convention if he came, and the other half threatened to boycott it if he was not permitted to attend. It was certainly going to be the End of Worldcon As We Know It.

At the last minute, the spouse elected not to attend, and the Worldcon went off as scheduled. So who was the spouse, I hear you ask? Walter Breen, the husband of Marion Zimmer Bradley. And why didn’t the committee want him to attend? If I tell you that he’d been arrested for pederasty in 1954, and died in jail in 1990 while serving time for child molesting, I think you’ll be able to intuit it.

Clifford D. Simak was not only a fine writer, but probably the most decent and gentle man ever to appear in this field. He was the Guest of Honor at the 1971 Worldcon, during the height of the truly acrimonious Old Wave/New Wave War. He spent most of his Guest of Honor speech talking not about himself, or his writing, or even science fiction, but rather attempting to make peace between the warring sides. Alas, he was too rational and made too much sense; the war continued unabated.

But (I hear you say) this End of Worldcon As We Know It is being caused by Hugo balloting, not all that other stuff that delights fannish historians every few years. Surely there’s never been a problem with voting before!

OK, guys—come back from Barsoom and Mesklin and Hyborea, and spend a little time in the real world again.

Not that long ago, in 1989, the Hugo Committee received a number of ballots for a certain up-and-coming artist. Problem was, most of the voters’ memberships were paid for with consecutively-numbered money orders from the same post office. The committee decided not to allow his name on the ballot, though he had enough paid-for votes. (I am told that some people are publicly buying and giving away a number of memberships to this year’s Worldcon. I have no idea what the Hugo committee plans to do about it.)

Of course, that’s far from the only “irregularity.” Remember a couple of years ago, in 2013, when there were only three short stories on the ballot? The reason for that is embedded in the Hugo rules: to make the ballot, a nominee in any category must receive at least 5% of the ballots cast.

Now remember back to 1994. Not the same situation, you say? You just looked, and there were five short stories nominated.

Well, you’re almost right. Only three short stories received 5% of the nominations. So the Hugo Administrator, in his infinite wisdom, added two novelettes to the ballot to fill it out—and sure enough, a novelette won the 1994 Hugo for Best Short Story.

Ah, but this year will be different, I hear you say. This year we’ll be voting No Award in a bunch of categories, and history will thank us.

Well, it just so happens that No Award has triumphed before. In fact, it has won Best Dramatic Presentation three different times. (Bet you didn’t know that Rod Serling’s classic “Twilight Zone” series lost to No Award, did you?)

But the most interesting and humiliating No Award came in 1959. The category was Best New Writer, and one of the losers was future Worldcon Guest of Honor and Nebula Grand Master Brian Aldiss, who actually won a Hugo in 1962, just three years later. That No Award was so embarrassing that they discontinued the category until they could find a sponsor eight years later, which is how the Campbell Award, sponsored by Analog, came into being.

Please note that I’ve limited myself to Worldcons. I haven’t mentioned the X Document or the Lem Affair or any of the other notable wars you can find in various pro and fannish histories (or probably even by just googling them). This editorial is only concerned with The End of Worldcon As We Know It.

And hopefully by now the answer should be apparent. You want to End Worldcon As We Know It? Don’t feud. Don’t boycott. Don’t be unpleasant. Don’t be unreasonable. Don’t raise your voices in mindless anger.

Do all that and none of us will recognize the Worldcon that emerges.

With Six You Get Sleigh Dogs 7/2

aka My Enemy, My Alpo

Today’s roundup ropes and brands Peter Grant, Mike Glyer, Anonymous, John Seavey, Adam-Troy Castro, Lou Antonelli, Shaun Duke, Sarah A. Hoyt, Duncan Mitchel, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, Gef Fox, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, and Brian Niemeier. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day James H. Burns and Kyra.)

Comments on Bayou Renaissance Man post “The State of the Tor Boycott (And SJW’s)” – July 2

Peter Grant

I’d say it’s certain that we’re on track to cost Tor a six-figure sum this year, and probably that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Mike Glyer

Could you share the calculation behind this estimate?

Anonymous

If he’s talking gross sales and not net, the calculation is simple: X people not buying Y books for an average price of Z.

Lets say that, the boycotters normally buy…. 10 Tor books each, 3 HC, 7 PB (or ebook equivalents). That’s about what, $130 in gross sales by Amazon prices? 800 people boycotting * 130 =104,000.

John Seavey

Well, first off, you’d need to cut those prices by 30% or more, because Tor sells the books wholesale to retailers who mark it up to SRP. Retailers would be taking that hit, but it’s spread among all retailers.

But more importantly, where is Peter getting a figure of 800 boycotters who spent $130 per year on Tor books pre-boycott? The number of people willing to send an email, thr absolute minumum in time and effort, topped out at 765. And many of those admitted they didn’t like or buy Tor books. I’d say you can half that number, probably even quarter it. Then take another 30% off for the wholesale discount. So it’s probably hitting Tor to the tune of $20,000 a year.

Peter Grant

@John Seavey: Those figures are not mine, but another commenters. My figures, based on actual e-mails and many conversations, plus discussions with others involved, are considerably higher in terms of the number of individuals involved. The amount they used to spend on Tor books ranges from $10-$20 per year all the way to a couple of hundred dollars.

Multiply your guesstimate of $20K by at least seven, and you’ll get close to what I consider to be the current impact of the boycott. The word is still being spread by supporters, and more people are joining it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the financial impact rather higher by the end of the year. Time will tell.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 25

Rabid-puppy moment of the day: John C. Wright, who is now advising readers that he really doesn’t want anybody to boycott Tor because it would hurt him, wants “Mr. {Moshe} Feder, Miss Gallo, and Mr Nielsen Hayden to get back to the their job of editing books, and cease moonlighting as…” {among other things} “Christ-hating crusaders for Sodom.”

To be sure, he represents this as something he would say if he wasn’t keeping firm control of himself in order to avoid escalation, something he (heh heh heh) Isn’t *quite* saying, at least not at this point, but something he would say if he were to offer an opinion, so please don’t misrepresent him as actually saying it.

But he does make it clear that he would say this, quite happily, in a parallel world not very far removed from this one.

No, he’s not saying any of that, not really, but you, his alleged followers, can say whatever you want, nudge nudge, wink wink.

Putting this in perspective, John C. Wright is trying to stave off a boycott of the publisher who pays him, because of a creative director there who dared to suggest that some of his movement are neo-Nazis, and he’s doing this by applying the adjective “Christ-Hating” in part to an editor named Moshe who wears a yarmulke. He’s doing this while closely allied with a small press writer/editor who thinks we might all want to thank a racially-motivated spree killer someday.

“I’m not a Nazi, but damn the Jews, and mass murder is fine with my buddy here.” ….

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“Spell my name right” – July 2

Since I am a fellow traveler, not a ring leader of the Sad Puppies, I’ve never felt the same emotional investment as other people. I do know that I have a temper that can be set off by punching the wrong button, and I’ve always tried to control that. Some bystanders to the ongoing controversy have noticed that, too.

When I was growing up I was called Pollyanna by my mother because I refused to punch out people who disagreed with me. My father considered any discussion that ended short of gun play as cordial. It was an atypical childhood.

In a discussion yesterday on a web site about my blog post yesterday, one person said:

“I find Antonelli a bit more reasonable than the rest of the puppies. He has stated that the slate was a big mistake, has said that he doesn’t like the use of the word SJW and has said that it shouldn’t be a SP4 next year.

“I think he’s one that it is actually possible to have a discussion with and not just getting talking points back. Main problem is that he seems to have the temper of an irritated grizzly that missed his morning trout.”

In light that I am Italian, have diabetes and the body build of a bear, this is the most insightful thing anyone has ever said about me. Got me down, cold.

P.S. I still think any incarnation of Sad Puppies next year is a bad idea, and I will certainly not participate in any manner.

 

Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

“On Unofficial Blacklists: Why I Keep a Mental List of Authors I Won’t Read” – July 1

To be clear, I don’t stick someone on my DNR list for having different political views than myself.  I DNR authors because of how they express those views.  There are a lot of authors who don’t share my worldview.  Most of those authors aren’t on my DNR list because they have never given me a good reason to put them there.  We disagree.  That’s it.  Big woop.  They’re not actively trying to have my mother’s rights stripped away, nor are they arguing that women should be assaulted for their own good or defending acid attacks or claiming that people of color are half-savages.  We just disagree with me (or other people) about things.  If we ever discuss those differences, it’s most often a discussion.  No rants and figurative rock throwing.

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Why Are You So Angry?” – July 2

….Last time I rose above peeved was reading Irene Gallo’s comments, and fortunately being on this side of the keyboard, I couldn’t reach through the monitor. When hands started shaking on keyboard, I went upstairs and perpetrated violence on waxed floors, which more or less fixed it. Or at least got rid of the strength to do anything.

But I think the trolls who as “Why are you so angry?” though it’s mostly an invalidating technique are also aware that we have reason to be angry. H*ll, they’d be angry if they were us, right?

And so… and so, I’ll give the reasons we have to be angry.

  • Anyone who goes against the Marxist line and points out that they’re lying gets persecuted and there are attempts to destroy them, ranging from professional to real destruction. Peter Grant and I should be grateful all they did was tar us with racist, sexist, homophobic and neo-nazi, particularly when those accusations are risible to anyone not deep in koolaid guzzling territory.

 

Duncan Mitchel on This Is So Gay

“An Area Which We Call The Comfort Zone” – June 22

Bradford concludes by asking the reader, “Are you up to this challenge?”  I wonder who she imagines her reader to be.  A straight white cis male could reasonably respond that he reads primarily work by straight white cis males in order to avoid writing that he actively hates, or that offends him so much that he rage-quits reading it.  (Something like this is the expressed motive of the Sad Puppies / Rabid Puppies who enraged a lot of science-fiction fandom by stacking the Hugo Awards ballots with work that didn’t offend their sensibilities or politics.)  The challenge she offers her readers is not the challenge — which is not the right word — she offered herself, and I’m not sure she realizes that.  My problem with Bradford’s piece is not that she focuses on race, gender, and sexuality illegitimately, as some of her white male critics accused her of doing, but that she’s not clear in her own mind about what she’s doing, or what it means.  To non-straight-cis-white-male readers, increasing the number of non-straight-cis-white-male writers they read means something quite different than the same program will mean to straight white cis male readers.  I must say, I was taken aback by her claim that she began reading only “stories by a certain type of author.”  It seems to me that she chose to read stories by several different types of authors, unless she read only stories by queer transgender women of color, and it doesn’t appear that she did….

Paradoxically, narrowing her focus in one respect broadened it another: by deciding to read more work by women, by people of color, by non-heterosexuals, and so on allowed Bradford to encounter writing and perspectives she might otherwise have missed.  There is too much to read out there, and no matter what we choose to read, there is vastly more that we can’t.  But even straight white cisgendered men aren’t all alike, and there’s as much range among their work, as much to learn and discover in it, as there is among queer trans women of color.  And if Bradford hasn’t discovered plenty of offensive, infuriating content in the work of non-white etc. writers, maybe she hasn’t been paying enough attention…..

 

John C. Wright

“Larry Correia and his Twit Service!” – July 3

The world reeled in flabberghastizement to read this generous announcement from the International Lord of Good Sense, Larry Correia:

So the author of 50 Shades of Grey did a Twitter Q&A, and in a series of events that came as a shock to exactly nobody on the internet except for the author and her publicist, trolls showed up to mock the hell out of her. The author was unprepared and it was a public relations disaster.

Meanwhile, I am an author who loves to fight with morons on Twitter.

That is why I am excited to offer an exciting new free lance service to publicists. The next time you want to do a Q&A wi…th your author on Twitter, simply retain my services and give me temporary access to your author’s Twitter account. The author can answer all the legitimate fan questions, and I’ll respond to the trolls as if I’m the author. Trust me. Fans love it when an author takes on a whole internet and wins.

For a low fee of $1 per character I will handle all of those pesky idiots for you. Is your author too kind to tell them to shut their stupid hipster faces? I’m not! Order now, and I will throw in the F word absolutely free! That’s right, every time I use the F word in a tweet it costs you nothing. This means huge savings for you.

But wait, there’s more! Retain my services now, and I’ll give you half price on special terms like Douchebag, Goony Beard Man, Rainbow Haired She Twink, Assclown, and more!

For more information and a collection of my greatest hits, contact my spokesmanatee, Wendell, at CorreiaTech headquarters, Yard Moose Mountain, Utah.

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part XII: The Big Three of Science Fiction” – July 2

The twelfth essay in Transhuman and Subhuman by John C. Wright corrects the popular misconception that the third member of the Big Three Campbellian authors, alongside Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, wasn’t Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Bradbury, but A.E. van Vogt…..

Hard science fiction, says Wright, “consists of two elements…first, a social or philosophical commentary about man’s place in the universe…second, a fascination with the nuts and bolts of legitimate speculation into the near future of technical advance…” Campbell was the first to popularize stories combining both elements.

Describing the definitive mood and spirit of Campbellian tales is difficult these days, Wright contends, because they were “an extension of the scientific optimism and classical liberalism of the time.” A further characteristic of Campbell’s stories was “…a touching childlike faith in Theory, and, for conservatives (in the brilliant words of William Briggs) ‘Love of Theory is the Root of All Evil.’”

 

Gef Fox on Wag The Fox

“Chasing Tale [July 2, 2015]: Hugo, I’ll Stay”  – July 2

I received my Hugo Voter Packet last week, and with it were the majority of nominated works which I must now attempt to read before the end of July so that I can place an informed vote on which books are most deserving in my view of receiving awards. After reading a half dozen or so thus far, it is … a mixed bag. So … yeah. I’m not reading a bad book cover to cover. No way. So, depending upon how many of these erroneously nominated works fail to hook me, it may not be such a slog to read through the entire packet after all.

 

Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“Hugo Reading – Novelette” – July 2

  • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium”, Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, 05-2014) I quite liked this one. It felt like it needed one or two more go-rounds with an editor to finish polishing it, but it had good ideas, a functional and nasty threat and a character I liked as the lead. It was a good length for what it was trying to do. There were some questions and plot holes, but the set-up was good enough I didn’t really worry about them until thinking about the tale in reflection. In short, a solid story. I’m not sure it’s Hugo worthy, but it was good.
  • “Championship B’tok”, Edward M. Lerner (Analog, 09-2014) This story made me very upset. Not because it wasn’t good, but because it was moderately ok and interesting… and then it just ended. No conclusions, no solutions, no answers. It just ended. I don’t know, but I kind of expected the novelettes to be self-contained, or at least be the end of a chapter and not stop before any resolution. I wouldn’t call this the best story even before the abrupt ending, but with that ending? No. Just no.
  • “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed, 04-2014) A charming little story with a little bit of whimsy along with some very odd science. It’s also a romance story gone bad. It’s an ok story, but I’m not sure it really deserves the Hugo.
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House”, Michael F. Flynn (Analog, 06-2014) I tried to read this. I started it three times but just couldn’t get into it. The language turned me off, I guess. I just couldn’t do it. I’m seeing people referring to this as “bouncing off” a work. I suppose that’s descriptive enough. This work was not for me and will not be on my ballot.
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, Rajnar Vajra (Analog, 07/08-2014) This one came oh so close. It’s almost there. It was a good tale, written with a lot of sarcastic wit. It was the wit that amused me the most, but it almost went over the top multiple times (which I guess would mean for some folks it did go over the top). It almost nailed the landing, but the impact wasn’t nearly as great as I expected. I’m not sure where it stumbled, but it missed something in there that made it not quite as good as it ought to have been. Hugo worthy? No, not really.

 

CLANKY!

il_570xN_746079840_5m3vBy James H. Burns: You can keep your Robby, and Gort, and even your C-3PO…

Because the first robot of my childhood appeared as a chocolate syrup container:

CLANKY.

Beginning sometime around 1963, Clanky was a product from Family Foods Incorporated. But I was surprised to find out some years ago – when watching Clanky’s original TV commercial on the internet — that it may have been meant to be a SPACEMAN.

Either way, by 1965, a thoroughly washed out container soon became one of my favorite bathroom toys (along with rubber band-propelled ships, diving submarines powered by baking soda, and Crazy Foam)!

In fact, it’s entirely possible I imagined Clanky as another almost forgotten fantasy character from the early ’60s, Diver Dan.

Diver Dan was a syndicated live-action, roughly six-to-seven minute daily program, telling a serialized story over a week or two; designed to be shown along with cartoons and the like, on the era’s popular local kids TV shows. Dan was portrayed by an actor (Frank Freda) in an old-fashioned diving suit (hence, his resemblance to Clanky), who interacted with puppet fish, including the villainous Baron Barracuda (who spoke like Bela Lugosi, and whose sidekick, Trigger, somehow managed to keep a lit cigarette in his mouth)!

Almost all of the puppets were voiced by Allen Swift, a veteran of the classic 1950s NBC kids show, Howdy Doody, who was fresh from hosting his own children’s program for several years, on WPIX, in New York, and who was just on the verge of launching a long-time, successful career as a voice over artist (with occasional Broadway, and Off-Broadway stage work. (Born Ira Stadlen, he was also the father of Broadway veteran Lewis J. Stadlen!)

Ingenuously, Diver Dan was filmed with an aquarium between the camera and the set, making everything truly appear “under water.”

The adventures of Dan and his friends — Goldie the Goldfish, Sea Biscuit the Sea Horse, Skipper Kipper and Doc Sturgeon — were actually quite charming. They often featured whom I’m pretty sure was one of my very first crushes, Miss Minerva the Mermaid, played in full beauteous form by actress Suzanne Turner. (I’m also pretty sure I soon got her confused with the Chicken of the Sea mermaid, then featured in the brand’s television ads…)

My parents would pick up a Clanky for me at Valley Poultry, in Franklin Square, Long Island — a cold cuts specialist, and small grocery (what some folks used to call an “appetizing store.”)  (Known for the last several decades as “Valley Caterers,” the market actually should have been famous, for many of those years, for having corned beef and pastrami to rival that of the best delicatessens in Manhattan!)

I don’t know if Clanky was otherwise difficult to find in my neighborhood. (We had an A&P, Shoprite and Hills in our immediate Valley Stream/Elmont environs); but food product distribution, then as now, except for the biggest brands, could be quixotic.  Family Foods was based in Chicago, and internet references say that the “chocolate flavored syrup” made its way as far as California.

Valley Poultry (known to some, back then, as Franklin Poultry) was also notable for having a small farm-like area with chickens, turkeys and other barnyard creatures. I can still remember that my favorite of the animals was a unique rooster whom my parents and I nicknamed “Bumpy Head.” (We’d sometimes wonder where he went, when it was raining….)

And today, the juxtaposition, in memory, of Clanky, an icon of the future, with such a bucolic scene, strikes me as uniquely American…!

Unbeknownst to us, in the mid 1960s, was that the grazing ground was soon to become part of a paved over parking lot.

Yet, intriguingly, it was also at Valley Poultry that I encountered one of the rarest of 1960s fantasy totems. At the front of the shop were gumball machines which would sometimes vend trinkets or toys or other unusual paraphernalia —

Including Marvel Comics items (Captain America, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Hulk…)

6800767By 1966, merchandising of the Marvel Comics line was at its initial apex, fueled by the syndication of the Marvel Super Heroes cartoon show, broadcast daily across the United States.  One of the most unique items were stickers featuring a dynamic image from the artwork of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck and company (co-inspired by the imagination of Stan Lee!)

These mementos of the fantastic — single frame vignettes of action and adventure — were incredibly evocative of the era, and now are so rare that there are almost NO images of them on the internet.  I had, in fact, forgotten about them, until 1988, when I picked up one of Lancer Books’ 1966 Marvel Comics paperback reprints, and there were Thor stickers glued to the inside cover!

(Magic, when we’re children, can be much easier to come by — and astonishing to think that it once could be had for a nickel!)

Clanky, it should be remembered, debuted at the height of the first major inception of interest in the manned space program. It was also the season of the Ideal Toy Company’s Mr. Machine (a windup, rolling, top-hatted, see-through “mechanical man”) and Marx’ Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots (which Clanky preceded). On television, one could watch Fireball XL5’s Robert the Robot, Rosie on The Jetsons, and eventually, the automaton on Lost In Space (never called anything but by the sobriquet, “Robot.”).

When I began shopping on eBay in the late 1990s, a Clanky (near mint, albeit empty!), became one of my very first purchases.

(A Clanky can still be found, easily, for roughly ten bucks.)

He is, of course, a happy remnant of another playtime’s future.

But as I look at the little fella across my office, I find it intriguing that such a memento of yesterday (and one of the few souvenirs of that particular generation to remain so readily accessible):

Can still be filled with so many tomorrows.

Celebrate George Clayton Johnson’s 86th Birthday at Mystery & Imagination

GCG86 COMPGeorge Clayton Johnson celebrates his 86th birthday on July 11 at Mystery & Imagination Bookshop in Glendale.

Johnson wrote the first aired Star Trek episode, had multiple Twilight Zone credits, co-authored the novel Logan’s Run, and the script for the original Ocean’s 11.

See you July 11, 2 p.m., at Mystery and Imagination, 238 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91204

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Alex Irvine Wins on Jeopardy!

The Alex twins, Trebek and Irvine.

The Alex twins, Trebek and Irvine.

By Tom Galloway: SF/fantasy/comics writer Alex Irvine won Wednesday’s episode of Jeopardy! with a whopping $26,000, and will defend his championship today.

While he obviously did well, he made a horrible Daily Double wager. He got the final Daily Double as the last clue in the game, meaning the scores after his answer would be what they’d be in Final Jeopardy!. Irvine had $20,000, and the player in second place had $12,800. To my shock, he wagered $5000, which makes no sense.

If he wagered $5600 and got it correct, he’d have a lock tie game with exactly twice the score of second place. If he wagered $5700, and got it correct, he’d have a lock win with more than twice second place’s score. For either of those, if he missed, he’d still be in the lead. $5000 just keeps him in the lead, whether or not he gets it correct or not, and doesn’t provide any sort of lock if he does get it correct.

As it happened, he missed the Daily Double, and then was the only player to correctly answer Final Jeopardy!, so it didn’t matter.

2015 World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Awards for Campbell, Tepper

Ramsey Campbell and Sheri S. Tepper have been selected to receive World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell: S. T. Joshi predicts “future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood.”

The English author, editor and critic has been writing for well over fifty years. He sold his early stories to editors including August Derleth and Robert A.W. Lowndes. He was only 18 when his first collection, The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants (1964) was published by Arkham House. He is the Lifetime President of the British Fantasy Society.

Campbell has already racked up career honors including a Bram Stoker Award for lifetime achievement (1999), the International Horror Guild Awards Living Legend (2007), and as a World Horror Grandmaster (1999).

He has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award 15 times, with four wins. He has won three Bram Stoker Awards and 12 British Fantasy Awards.

Sheri S. Tepper

Sheri S. Tepper

Sheri S. Tepper: Her first fantasy novel was The Revenants (1984), however it was preceded in publication by her True Game books (King’s Blood Four and Necromancer Nine, both 1983), and Wizard’s Eleven (1984). She has written 36 genre novels.

Her novel Grass was a 1990 Hugo nominee, her novella “The Gardener” a 1989 World Fantasy Award nominee. She has had four novels shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and had seven works listed for the Tiptree Award.

She has also written horror as E.E. Horlak, and mysteries under the pseudonyms A.J. Orde and B.J. Oliphant.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Asimov’s Laws Violated

“A robot has killed a contractor at one of Volkswagen’s production plants in Germany, the automaker has said,” reports the Guardian, spinning an industrial accident into an internet sensation.

The 22-year-old was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate, Hillwig said.

He said initial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process. He said it normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them.

A programmable materials-handling machine is properly called a robot, however, the writer’s clever use of the verb phrase “has killed” invites the reader to imagine that the robot has agency in this case because the phrase is equally valid for deaths inflicted willfully (“a man has killed”) or passively (“a falling wall has killed”).

And anyway, the Guardian reads like the soul of discretion alongside Liberty Voice’s hysterical story “German Robot Kills Volkswagen Worker as Real Rise of Machines Reported”:

A German robot has killed a worker at the production unit of Volkswagen, in an incident which reveals the real rise of machines in the modern age. This can be considered as one of the first reported incidents which is evidence of machines and robots rising against the human race. With the fast-paced development in technology and growth of artificial intelligence, many sections of the society including scientists, sound skeptical when they are asked if humans will always be able to control the far superior and intelligent robots that we have built or will build in future. Considering the speed at which humans are becoming completely dependent on machines, it has been predicted that machines and robots will soon take over our lives, with many suggesting that it has already happened….

Here at File 770, of course, we practice responsible internet journalism, which is defined as repeating the irresponsible story verbatim with a skeptical introduction. Because cake, having and eating too!

Sasquan Membership Keeps On Rising

Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, picked up 460 members over the last three weeks of June.

Supporting memberships, which continue to sell at a tremendous pace, account for 58% of the latest tally.

As of June 30, Sasquan had 9,776 members, including 3,945 attending and 5,410 supporting members.

A $40 supporting membership is the minimum requirement to become eligible as a voter in 2017 site selection or to vote on the winners of the Hugo Awards. Sasquan has sold 3,645 supporting memberships since January 31.

Here is how the new totals compare with the figures on June 4:

Sasquan Total Members
6/4/2015 9,316
6/30/2015 9,776
Increase    460

 

Adult Attending Members
6/4/2015 3,800
6/30/2015 3,945
Increase    145

 

Supporting Members
6/4/2015 5,140
6/30/2015 5,410
Increase    270

2016 DeepSouthCon Website Goes Live

ABC Deep South Con 54 has launched its new Web home page and PayPal portal.

Fans can now register for ABC DSC at the price of $50 for adults or $25 for children under 12. That price will increase later, so get in before the change.

The URL is: http://www.abcdsc.com. More pages will be added later.

The website features original art with a classic feel from Fan Artist Guest of Honor Julia Morgan-Scott.

ABC DSC is recruiting department heads to join the committee. Contact them if you have any interest in running part of the con.

ABC Deep South Con will be held May 13-15, 2016 at the Doubletree Hotel in Roswell, GA (Holcomb Bridge Road exit of Georgia 400). Hotel prices and reservation information will be announced shortly.

A Documentary About “Tolkien’s Great War”

Today marks the start of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916. The Wade Center at Wheaton College took the occasion to post a link to a half-hour documentary released last year about J.R.R. Tolkien’s experiences in World War I.

The video was created by Elliander Pictures for a centenary exhibition at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where Tolkien attended. The film makers are also former pupils of the school.

For the centenary the school assembled a vast museum-quality display of WWI artifacts and they have kept online a fully informative website and an extensive photo gallery of the exhibit.