Stephen Kennedy (1945-2015)

Stephen Kennedy. Photo by Ed Hulse.

Stephen Kennedy. Photo by Ed Hulse.

Art dealer and pulp enthusiast Stephen Kennedy has passed away reports Ed Hulse, whose appreciation of his friend is posted here.

Before he fell ill in recent years, Kennedy was an art dealer in historic American paintings with an emphasis on Maurice Prendergast, Oscar Bluemner, and American Illustration art of the 20th century, operating under the name Kennedy Twentieth Century Art, on West End Avenue in New York, NY.

Among the artists and estates he represented were:  Walter Baumhoffer, Oscar Bluemner, Hannes Bok (estate), Eliot Clark, James Daugherty, Ratael De Soto, John Gambin (estate), R.G. Harris, Richard Lillis (estate), Charles Prendergast, Maurice Prendergast, Andre Racz (estate), Margery Ryerson, and J. Allen St. John (estate).

He established the Richard Lillis Scholarship in 1994 for the Art Student’s League, and pioneered Pulp Art with Robert Lesser, culminating in the Pulp Painting Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 2003.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Curt Phillips for the story.]

Atlas Barked 7/4

aka Time Enough To Read Even The Puppy Nominees

Today roundup hors d’ouerve includes Tim Hall, Adam-Troy Castro, Vox Day, Patrick McCulley and John Zeigler. (Title credit goes out to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and Daniel Dern.)

Tim Hall on Where Worlds Collide

“Geeks, Mops and Sociopaths” – July 4

There’s an interesting post by David Chapman about the life-cycle of subcultures. He identifies three types of people who enter a subculture at different stages. First there are the “Geeks”, the creators and hardcore supporters. The come “Mops”, the more casual supporters whose numbers are necessary for a scene to grow big enough to be economically viable. Finally there are the “Sociopaths”, who want to exploit everything for profit without caring about the subculture itself, taking a short-term slash-and-burn approach that destroys the thing in the process…..

I certainly don’t agree with him on the necessity of gatekeepers to preserve the purity of a subculture; that smacks too much of elitism, and gatekeeping is one of those things that can so easily turn toxic. This is especially true when you have what amounts to a turf war between competing subcultures over a disputed space; the whole Sad Puppies/Hugo thing, and the ongoing Gamergate culture war are prime examples.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – July 4

Wright is outraged that I would imply anti-Semitism in this language, and wants us to know that he loves the Jewish people and indeed angrily bans any holocaust deniers who show up on his blog. Well, bully for him. So what we really need to take from this is that he wasn’t targeting Jews, with those words, but simply and clumsily doubling down on his previously stated hatred for homosexuals. That’s much different.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Recommendations: Best Editor” – July 4

This is how I am voting in the Best Editor categories. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 388 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

Best Editor, Short Form

  1. Vox Day
  2. Jennifer Broznek
  3. Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  4. Mike Resnick

Best Editor, Long Form

  1. Toni Weisskopf
  2. Anne Sowards
  3. Jim Minz
  4. Vox Day
  5. Sheila Gilbert

 

John Zeigler on Sharrukin’s Palace

“My 2015 Hugo Ballot” – July 4

My sole motivation here is to read and appreciate genre fiction from (almost) any source. The dispute certainly motivated me to become involved with the process for the first time, but I’ve done my good-faith best to evaluate nominees as if the dispute was not taking place. In particular, for individual writers or editors I’ve deliberately avoided reading blog pages or social media, concentrating instead on neutral sources and the body of work.

[Lists everything on his Hugo ballot.]

 

For Tonight, the Fourth

fireworksBy James H. Burns: I’ll put the blame, or really, that’s credit, on File 770, for getting me more ready than even usual to think about fireworks.

I was reading the Ray Bradbury “Fire Balloons” piece, a few hours ago, and it got me to Googling. I was tempted to leave a response with all the neat information I found about what’s also called “fire lanterns,” how to make them, how to fly them (including a few You Tube tutorials), as well as the discovery that shouldn’t have been so surprising, that you can order a whole bunch of different varieties of the constructs from Amazon…  But I didn”t want to be responsible for any potential disasters, near or otherwise.

But then, it was also time to look to the skies.

I’ve always loved fireworks.

Who could not?

When I was a boy, you could see the suburban town pyrotechnics show from the corner in front of my house, even though the launch field was miles away.

As a three year old, it was thrilling just to stay up a little bit later than usual, to see the sky light up with so many new jewels. I’m not sure if I realized, at the time, that this was concurrent with the beginning of the Gemini missions, to which I would also soon become devoted.

On the Fourth, my cats — many of my cats, through the decades — would hide under the bed for hours, and Jenny, the great Dalmatian who I had the privilege of knowing from when I was eleven years old, until I was twenty-four, had to get a tranquilizer. This, of course, is the only major downside to fireworks in one’s town; our pets’ reactions…

But has there not always been a science fictional aspect to all this spectacle, beyond Bradbury, and just in its natural state?

I can remember how thrilled I was when I finally got to start launching some fireworks, of my own…

In the 1970s, I had become good friends with long time fan, Paul Jones (we were both in our teens!). Paul was part iof a New Jersey contingent of fandom that would often help out on the security for some of the Manhattan comic book and science fiction conventions, including Chip (then Chuck) Nanco, and the late Charlie Hawse. (Charlie, in the 1980s, wound up helping the great comics artist Murphy Anderson, on coloring some of his assignments. Nanco also did some terrific comics work,including illustrating a Classic Comics adaptation, for Marvel.)

Getting to know these guys was one of the luckiest breaks of my life, and ultimately resulted in my spending many happy weekends, for years, in Jersey; in some of the prettier rural parts, you don’t usually hear about. Paul had a long time friend, Emil — now a computer scientist with many patents –whose home wound up being the centerpiece for many of our parties, and get-togethers. Before the Fourth, we’d drive down to a parking lot in Little Italy, in Manhattan, where somehow someone knew there’d be a gentleman selling fireworks from the back of his car…

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but there is a great deal of joy in lighting a match, igniting a fuse, and watching some new brilliance, however, temporary, join the skies above.

(In 1976, there was a rather interesting night when a few hundred genre folk journeyed to the top of a mid town Manhattan hotel, to watch a fireworks display, during Phil Seuling’s International Comic Art Convention …)

In late July of 1989, driving back to New York from the Atlanta Fantasy Fair with one of the convention dealers of the era, I stopped at one of the huge fireworks shops along the way. It remains rather extraordinary, for the uninitiated, to see stores the size of a 7/11, or even a CVS or Walgreen’s, filled with nothing but thousands of roman candles, and the like.

I picked two bags worth, looking forward to lighting them off, at my boyhood home.  Intriguingly, my Dad, a lifetime science fiction fan, an engineer, and a World War II vet, had no time for what he considered such Tom Foolery. It was my mother who happily joined my girlfriend and me, as we lit the variety of delights. And when one rocket errantly dipped into a neighbor’s backyard, they all went running back into the house. (Thankfully, no harm was done, anywhere!)

(And yet, my Dad loved the smell of the smoke bombs I’d sometimes play with, safely, outdoors.  Afterwards, it would be only a matter of moments, before one of us would look at the other, and say, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory.”)

Just a few weeks earlier, I had seen what still remains one of the amazing sights of my life.  I was flying back to La Guardia Airport in New York on the Fourth of July, after the Chicago Comic Con, when as the plane approached Queens, we were flying above the fireworks. Watching such displays from this new perspective, is extraordinary.

Firework shows at sports stadiums can also well be worth your time. There are great exhibitions where you can tip one’s head back in your seat, and easily pretend that you are somehow immersed in some sudden series of nebula… (Often the shows are provided gratis, as a bonus, after a ballgame.)

Yesterday, I texted some local friends in my new neighborhood of Franklin Square, Long Island, to see if there was a fireworks show nearby.  Everyone said that if I was lucky, there’d be fireworks on my street.

And they were right.

About nine P.M., as I walked out my door, and down the path, there were clusters of meteoric wonder to all corners of the wind, and just a few houses away from me…  There were a variety of holiday colors that simply didn’t exist, once upon a time; in a fiery cascade that couldn’t help but thrill me.

I came back in after a while, to catch some baseball, and write some of these words…  I think I’ll be going back out again,  in just a little while to catch what’s usually a late night encore.

I’m always surprised when some science fiction fans I’ve met are not fond of fireworks.

Was this not, after all, the beginning of the space age?

 

Bradbury’s Nostalgic July 4 Memory

The Glorious Fourth--sending up the fire balloon 1871Ray Bradbury’s Fourth of July reminiscence from The New Yorker (2012).

…While I remained earthbound, I would time-travel, listening to the grownups, who on warm nights gathered outside on the lawns and porches to talk and reminisce. At the end of the Fourth of July, after the uncles had their cigars and philosophical discussions, and the aunts, nephews, and cousins had their ice-cream cones or lemonade, and we’d exhausted all the fireworks, it was the special time, the sad time, the time of beauty. It was the time of the fire balloons.

Even at that age, I was beginning to perceive the endings of things, like this lovely paper light. I had already lost my grandfather, who went away for good when I was five. I remember him so well: the two of us on the lawn in front of the porch, with twenty relatives for an audience, and the paper balloon held between us for a final moment, filled with warm exhalations, ready to go.

I’d helped my grandpa carry the box in which lay, like a gossamer spirit, the paper-tissue ghost of a fire balloon waiting to be breathed into, filled, and set adrift toward the midnight sky. My grandfather was the high priest and I his altar boy. I helped take the red-white-and-blue tissue out of the box and watched as Grandpa lit a little cup of dry straw that hung beneath it. Once the fire got going, the balloon whispered itself fat with the hot air rising inside.

But I could not let it go. It was so beautiful, with the light and shadows dancing inside. Only when Grandpa gave me a look, and a gentle nod of his head, did I at last let the balloon drift free, up past the porch, illuminating the faces of my family….

Signal Boost For Danielle Wolverton Search

Kevin J. Anderson is helping get out the word:

The daughter of my very close friend David Farland (Dave Wolverton) is missing. Dave is a well-known, bestselling author of epic fantasy and Star Wars. Please help us get a signal boost by sharing this around:

David and Mary Wolverton’s 27 year old daughter Danielle is missing. She drives a Silver Toyota Yaris with a dented hood. Last seen Tuesday (June 30) driving north on I-5 in Los Angeles. This is a recent photo of her at her brother’s HS graduation. If you see or hear anything, please contact your local police department, or the Wolverton family in Southern Utah (St. George area).”

People posting on the Dave Farland Facebook page call her Danielle Wolverton, so I have followed that usage here.

Recommended Genre Work with Mature/Older Protagonists

Compiled by Dawn Sabados: When Bruce Baugh requested recommendations of sf, fantasy and horror with mature/older protagonists (“Sing, o muse, of stories about people in their forties and beyond”) the harvest was plentiful.

Dawn Sabados has turned the lot into another GoodReads list she titled, in a burst of misguided enthusiasm, “A vile and cowardly ort of feces recommends mature protagonists”.

Dawn also briefly explained a couple of points in an email —

Now that I know I can only add 100 titles, I did skimp a bit. I only add three Discworld books.

Someone else will have to make the spy thriller one, though. I’m not willing to put my name on a list of stuff “as good as le Carre.”

Ayes Wide Mutt 7/3

aka The Doxxer Rebellion

In today’s roundup: Malcolm ‘f.’ Cross, Tom Knighton, Dorothy Grant, Adam-Troy Castro, David Gerrold, Mike Resnick, Lawrence Person, John C. Wright, Nicholas Whyte, and Patrick May. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and Kurt (not Kent) Busiek.)

Foozzzball (Malcolm ‘f.’ Cross)  on Weasyl

“My ounce of bile: Yarn is cowardly” – July 3

….Here’s the thing. These guys (and a very, very few women) are all screaming, defensively, that they’re writing good old fashioned YARNS. Entertaining STORIES. Books with rocket ships on the covers instead of that inconvenient new-fangled social commentary. And they point at luminaries like Heinlein, and Asimov, and all those golden age authors.

Heinlein who was talking about contemperaneous issues like the cold war, the morality of total warfare, free love, the impact of new and changing technology and the need for retaining simple skills (such as the much loved slide rule), and was a man who spoke very much to the issues of his time. Asimov who attacked major issues of his lifetime like eugenics and social engineering through his work (what, you think Foundation’s psychohistory has nothing to say about the pursuit of social purity?), wrapping up issues of perception and belief and creation in rip-roaring stories.

These men were not writing yarns. They were products of their time, attacking the issues of their time. That they did so skilfully, entertainingly, and thought-provokingly is testament to their genius. They were not saints, their opinions are not sacrosanct, they, like any other person, held opinions agreeable and disagreeable.

You know who else wasn’t just spinning yarns? Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game is fundamentally about the boundary between being a soldier and a human being. It’s implicitly about genocide, about hands on the big red button, about the ignorance required to perform such a terrible action and remain innocent. It was originally a short story written in 1977, in the middle of the cold war, and rewritten as a novel by 1985, just as the cold war got terrifying all over again. Attacking the issues of his day, OSC put together a masterpiece. And then, quite honestly, he started looking at his personal bugbears instead of the wider world, and never did anything so good again in his life. That’s when he started writing yarns.

Fiction isn’t about entertainment. It never has been. From the earliest stories we’ve told ourselves, the myths that grew into religions, Aesop’s fables, the fairy-tales you were told as a child, they’ve all been about communication. Discussion. Opening a dialogue. They are vehicles for exploring, and thinking about, the world. This is all fiction, not just science fiction…..

 

Tom Knighton on According To Hoyt

“On Villainy” – July 3

…Right now, the most popular villain is the turdnugget who decided to walk into a church in Charleston, SC and kill people for nothing more than the color of their skin. This is something that the vast majority of us are unable to comprehend. I mean, skin tone is as arbitrary a dividing line as hair color or eye color, so why kill people for just that factor?

We can’t grasp it, yet it happened. I refuse to actually write the turdnugget’s name anywhere, because I don’t want to give him any more press. He already got his fame, which I suspect was a factor in his attack, but I refuse to add to it. It’s a small effort to keep people from mimicking his efforts.

All too often, people think of “villains” as those who oppose them on whatever issue they hold dear. Monsanto is the villain to people like “Food Babe”. The NRA is the villain to the gun control crowd. The Sad Puppies are the villains to the Puppy Kickers. The flip side is also generally true as well.

The thing is, most of us have never truly experienced real “villainy”. We’ve never witnessed the pits of dead Albanians following the break-up of Yugoslavia. We never witnessed the Rwandan tribal slaughter. Many of us have never met a Jewish concentration camp survivor. To us, that level of villainy just doesn’t exist except as an abstract…..

And yet, there are those who are ready to ascribe such motives to us. They’re ready to link this turdnugget to us, despite the fact that most of us not only decry his actions, but we actually supported several authors who don’t fit the “white, Mormon male” narrative (to say nothing of the fact that authors were nominated that we may disagree with politically).

Look, I’m going to make this clear. Bigotry is stupid. Racism is beyond stupid. All we have ever wanted is people and works to be judged based on quality, both the quality of the person and the quality of the work. Anyone who opposes a work because the author is black, or a woman, or gay, or a socialist is a moron. Anyone who dislikes a work because the author is white, or male, or straight, or a conservative/libertarian is just as much of a moron.

There are real villains in this world. How about some of the people screaming the most about villains try something different and start looking at real villains for a change.

 

Dorothy Grant in a comment on Tom Knighton’s post “On Villainy” at According To Hoyt – July 3

I suspect that people who have very little life experience and not much in the way of bedrock principles shrink their scale of villainy to fit their experience.

The best example of this is the root of the Tor boycott; Irene Gallo was upset at people voting for the Hugos in ways that did not benefit her logrolling clique, and she started calling her customers and her own authors neo-nazis and the books she had even worked on “bad to reprehensible.” In her pampered, privileged world, someone not giving a plastic statue to the clique that was certain they deserved it is the worst villainy possible.

Then there’s my husband, who has traded fire with real, actual neo-nazis and dealt with their carbombs and terror tactics. He was working on ending apartheid and giving every human being in South Africa the vote and the recognition of their human dignity. The worst villainy possible that he’s seen… let us pray fervently to all our spirits and deities that we never see its like again.

 

 

John C. Wright in a comment on File 770 – July 3

“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.”

What a vile and cowardly ort of feces this is. I see the method here is merely to make so many false and outrageous accusations that no one can possibly refute them.

Since I am an open philosemite, active supporter of the State of Israel, an unapologetic Zionist, and married the daughter of a Jew, and since I immediately ban any holocaust deniers who dare to show their subhuman snouts on my blog, the accusation that I am an antisemite is beyond libel, beyond madness.

Why not simply accuse me of being a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater while you are at it?

The Christ-haters hate Christ because they are Social Justice Warriors, which is a religion that is jealous, and excludes the practice of Christian and Jewish faith alike.

It was the God of Abraham, the God worshiped by all practicing Jews, who destroyed the city of Sodom and outlawed the practices which made that name a curse. I am being reviled precisely because I love and fear the God of Moses.

I am against the SJWs precisely for the same reason I am for the Jews. I hate bullies and cowards, and I hate liars, and I hate antisemitism with an unquenchable burning hatred, and I love the people that God loves.

Mr Glyer, for a while, you had won my respect, as you seemed to be an honest fellow, trying to maintain some sense of fairplay. I called your blog a wretched hive of scum and villainy as a joke, which you took up.

But this is beyond the pale, that you should print such things of me, or aid and condone these libels. I trust you will reprint these remarks of mine in a prominent place.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – July 3

…I am aware that I’ve been cited in Larry Correia’s environs, though as far as I know not specifically by Larry Correia (I am careful to make that distinction), as the “stupidest man in science fiction.” Some of my friend Brad Torgersen’s pals have come here to spew rage at me and calling me a false friend for daring to tell Brad that on this subject, at least, he has his head so far up his own ass that he can’t see daylight. I had an illiterate crazy guy come here to slam me for my liberalism, and when the height of his wit was that I should put on my big boy pants, I pretty much plowed him under with a demonstration of how ploughboys should not draw on shootists. And then there’s Tom Monaghan, who has yet to discover the comma, but who has showed up at least one convention panel just to hop up and down in his audience seat and yell at me.

These are glimpses. It is possible that I have not been under any further discussion at all, by these people, because I am that much beneath their notice, and that would make me tremendously happy; it is also possible that there are extended exchanges about what a low-life idiotic liberal prick I am, and this I cannot care much about either, because aside from these manifestations I have not seen it…..

I don’t know. There may be entire threads out there, closed to me, about what a piece of shit I am.

This does not particularly please me. Making enemies can be fun, but having enemies is not.

So why do I persist in doing stuff like pointing out that a guy who uses the phrase “Christ-Hating Crusaders for Sodom” when talking about a Jew, and counts among his allies a lunatic who cheers on spree killers, has little basis for high moral dudgeon at the suggestion that the movement of which he’s a part extends to the realm of neo-Nazidom? Why would I put myself in the cross-hairs of those among his fans who are exactly as crazy in potential as he is in rhetoric?

Simply put: because the one discussion thread I cannot escape is between my ears, and the one troll I cannot block is my conscience…..

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – July 3

Because silence equals death.

I don’t know Brad or Larry or most of the others who have spoken up on the puppy side of the kerfuffle. I only know them by what they post online.

They may be good people. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I disagree with them. I disagree with their perception of SF. I disagree with their interpretations. But I would never use that disagreement as a justification for behaving unethically.

I don’t speak for anyone else, but I think I know why so many others of merit in the field — George R.R. Martin, Eric Flint, Connie Willis, John Scalzi, Adam-Troy Castro, Mary Robinette Kowal, and many others — have spoken up. It’s why I have spoken up.

For those who missed it the first time, and who think I’m a terrible person — well, yes I might be, but I’ll say it again. I would have cheered a recommended reading list. I would have discovered books I might otherwise have missed.

But the slate-mongering was wrong. It wasn’t about the quality of the work. It wasn’t about excellence. It was about a political agenda. And the justifications that have been offered — “we’re creating diversity and inclusiveness” — are disingenuous. (That’s the polite word for pants-on-fire lying.) You don’t create diversity and inclusiveness by denying other people a fair opportunity.

And when I have asked for some discussion, for some explanation why the authors of the slates felt their nominated stories represented “best of the year,” how do these stories represent excellence in the genre, no one has stepped up to the microphone to answer that question, except the usual crickets to indicate an embarrassing silence. When we read the comments by those who are sludging their way through their Hugo packets, we do not find the joyous exhilaration of excellence. We see reactions that range from skeptical to hostile, confirming the perception that the slates were motivated by political bias.

So, yes, I have spoken my opposition to the slates. I have spoken my opposition to the name-calling (regardless of which side it’s coming from), and I have spoken my opposition to the political polarization of this community. I would call it a disastrous miscalculation — except that I wonder if perhaps this polarization is exactly what a couple of the people behind this mess intended from the beginning.

If you want to talk about what makes for a great science fiction story, I’m interested. I’m there. If it’s a conversation I can learn from, I want to be a part of it. If it pushes me in the direction of being a better writer, sign me up.

But all this other stuff — slates and name-calling, boycotts and shit-stirring? I’d say “include me out” except as I said above, silence equals death. ….

 

Mike Resnick in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine

“The End of the Worldcon As We Know It” – July 3

….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.

 

Nicholas Whyte on From the Heart of Europe

“2015 Hugo fiction: How bloggers are voting” – July 3

For three of the last four years, I carried out a survey of how bloggers were planning to vote in the Hugos. Last year this proved a fairly effective methodology, calling Best Novel and Best Short Story correctly and pinging the actual winners as front-runners for Best Novella and Best Novelette. In 2013 two winners were clear and two were missed (including Best Novel). In 2011, however, my survey failed to pick a single winner of the four fiction categories. So this should be taken as a straw poll, necessarily incomplete and this year earlier than usual. There is certain to be a selection bias in that people who feel more strongly are more likely to blog about it; so we have no insight into the preferences of less articulate or invested voters.

Having said that, the results are interesting. In particular, No Award appears to be leading in all the short fiction categories (though not necessarily decisively in every case), and there is no clear single front-runner for Best Novel….

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Novel Category” – July 3

[Comments on all five nominees.]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Skin Game
  2. The Goblin Emperor
  3. Ancillary Sword
  4. The Three Body Problem
  5. The Dark Between the Stars

I would really like to give “Skin Game” spots 1-3 and “The Goblin Emperor” and “Ancillary Sword” spots 4 and 5 to demonstrate my real preferences. The other two novels aren’t what I consider Hugo quality, but I’m leaving them above No Award because they’re no worse than some recent winners like “Redshirts”. (I’m not hating on Scalzi. I think all of the “Old Man’s War” series is Hugo worthy. But “Redshirts”? I’ve read better fanfic.)

If Kloos hadn’t declined his nomination, I would have ranked “Lines of Departure” just after “Ancillary Sword”.

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.