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 Volkswager 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.

The Muttrix 7/1

aka Mongrel in a Mange Land

Today’s roundup includes Abigail Nussbaum, Vox Day, David Dubrow, Peter Grant, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Doctor Science, Jennifer Brozek, Noah Ward, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Aaron Pound and cryptic others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and Kyra.)

Abigail Nussbaum on Asking The Wrong Questions

“The 2015 Hugo Awards: One Month Out” – July 1

It should be clear that I don’t for a moment believe in the Puppies’ indignation–this was clearly an attempt to hurt Tor, a company they identify with the left wing despite the fact that it publishes people like Orson Scott Card and John C. Wright (in the end, this will all turn out to be about Vox Day’s hard-on for Scalzi, as so much of this clusterfuck probably is).  But this does not, in any way, excuse Tor’s actions.  For Doherty to buy the Puppy party line–which has been thoroughly debunked so many times–indicates either that the publisher of a major genre imprint is unaware of the year’s biggest news event within the genre, or that he’s a political fellow traveler.  And the fact that Tor, which was so quick to respond to the outrage of a single bigot, has said nothing in response to the outrage of a huge swathe of fandom including many of their own authors (not even to the extent of closing the comments on Doherty’s letter, which quickly became a toxic swamp of vileness and bigotry), speaks volumes about their priorities and how they see their audience.

To be honest, this experience has left me more disgusted and enraged than even the original Puppy ballots.  I expect vile behavior from vile people.  I do not expect it from one of the genre’s biggest publishers.  The fact that my opinion–and the opinion of so many other fans and readers–clearly does not matter as much to Tor as the opinion of Vox Day is not something that I feel inclined to forget or gloss over, and it has been dispiriting to see so many otherwise sensible people rally to Tor’s defense, for example in response to Day’s proposed boycott.  I’m not saying that I want to boycott Tor myself, but I don’t feel that they should be rewarded either.  If Doherty’s behavior teaches us anything, it’s that Tor is, first and foremost, a business, and businesses only respond to one thing.  Treating them like family–as too much of fandom has been doing–is a mistake, because they will take advantage of your loyalty and then stab you in the back, as we’ve just seen.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The hysteria crescendos” – July 1

Why are they still babbling incoherently about us while simultaneously insisting on our totally irrelevant wrongness?

I don’t know. Perhaps they fear that the record influx of Supporting Members are not all reliable SJWs and Truefen flooding in to defend the Hugo Awards by voting to not give out any awards. Perhaps they notice that my site traffic has continue to rise, and that support for both Sad and Rabid Puppies continues to grow as more sane people observe the behavior of the SJWs and realize we were not exaggerating. Perhaps it is simply a reflection of the wider cultural war that has heated up of late. Perhaps it is a reflection of the economic instability that now haunts even those who don’t pay much attention to the economy. Perhaps it is because we use their tactics against them more effectively than they do.

But whatever the reason, it is clear that they are afraid of me, of you, and of the growing number of people who realize that they are incoherent lunatics who possess an insane and immoral vision for society. Let them hurl spurious labels and tell ridiculous lies. It’s what they do. We are immune to all their pointing and shrieking and posturing and preening attempts to DISQUALIFY.

 

David Dubrow

“Hugos, Puppies, and Politics” – July 1

Let’s Set the Table

There is not one element of modern life that has not been politicized in some way or other.  Politics have infected everything from education to science to the environment to professional sports to individual entertainment choices.  That’s inarguable.  Who’s responsible for it can be debated elsewhere, but I defy you to find me one human endeavor that hasn’t been touched by politics.

What the American Left has done is deny that their politics are politics at all; that is, they’ve attempted to normalize their point of view as a non-political viewpoint.  Leftism is, therefore, the natural state of things.  This explains why so many Leftists self-identify as independents, moderates or even apolitical despite espousing left-wing ideas, supporting left-wing causes, and voting for left-wing political candidates.  They’re not being political, they’re just doing the right thing.  Leftists have redefined politics as what other people do, not them.

This, of course, excludes those individuals and organizations that specifically identify as progressive, liberal, or left-wing.

The American Right, vastly outnumbered in the entertainment, education, and journalistic industries, tends to conceal itself among the general public a little more than Leftists.  Outside of political environments, conservatives aren’t as explicit about their beliefs, in part because the right-wing point of view hasn’t been as successfully normalized in popular culture.  Right-wingers aren’t cool.  They’re sticks-in-the-mud who resist change, especially social change.   Who wants to be known as a fuddy-duddy?  A conservative might identify himself as an independent, but he’ll rarely call himself a moderate.  He is sensitive to the politicization of modern culture because he resists social change.   He has his political viewpoints and feels about them as strongly as the Leftist, but outside of places where conservatives gather, he tends to keep his cards closer to the vest.

Until now….

By elevating these surface aspects of diversity, the Hugos have been politicized to deliberately exclude authors based on their skin color, gender, and political viewpoint.  White men need not apply, especially conservative white men.  Or conservatives of any color and gender.  Scalzi and his allies have altered the Hugo Awards to focus on message fiction written by people who fit their definition of diversity, not quality science fiction.  As Leftists, they don’t (or can’t) acknowledge that they’re politicizing the Hugos; to them, they’re simply doing what’s right and good and proper (and keeping the riff-raff out).

What’s amazing is that merely pointing out that the Hugos have been politicized leaves one open to attacks of politicization, as though the accusation is enough to condemn the accuser rather than the accused.  So if I point out that Book A was nominated for a Hugo because it espouses a particular viewpoint, not because it’s a good story, I’m the one politicizing the process.  Combine this with how progressives cannot or will not acknowledge that their point of view is political, and you have a very comprehensive, if utterly transparent defense: it’s the Puppies’ fault that the Hugos are a political football because they accused the Leftists of politicizing the Hugos, which is impossible because Leftists don’t practice politics.  Also known as, “I know you are, but what am I?”  Hence, the Puppies’ efforts to nominate stories based on their criteria are, de facto, illegitimate.  It’s perfectly fine to nominate only Leftist message fiction written by Leftists, but it’s gaming the system to nominate science fiction stories written by conservatives.

It may be that you like message fiction and think that science fiction needs a broader diversity of authors to maintain the genre’s relevance in the 21st century.  In which case it’s only natural that you would decry the Puppies’ efforts.  Just know that you’re also engaging in politics.  You’ve decided to redefine the Hugo Awards to celebrate a political viewpoint rather than promote quality fiction.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“The state of the Tor boycott (and SJW’s)” – July 1

The SJW’s also appear to be trying to conflate the Tor boycott with the Hugo Awards controversy.  Please recall that I didn’t call for a boycott of Tor because of anything to do with the Hugo Awards.  I did so because of the lies and unconscionable actions of a number of senior Tor staff.  It looks to me as if the loony left is grasping at straws here.  Vox Day, who as organizer of the Rabid Puppies is the SJW’s favorite demon, has done a great job cataloging their manic efforts to further polarize and inflame the situation.  I know that some people regard him as all sorts of nasty things because of various incidents in the past, but I don’t know anything about those.  I’ve only had dealings with him since this situation blew up.  In that context, I have nothing but praise for his openness, honesty and willingness to co-operate.

 

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

“Readers, Conventions and Sad/Rabid Puppies” – June 30

…. The problem in both politics and the current Sad/Rabid Puppies kerfuffle is that each side’s assumptions behind the words differ. Conservatives view “liberty” and “justice” in terms of property, while liberals focus on human rights. I’d like to think that moderates realize that both property and human rights are essential to a functioning society.

Likewise in the F&SF kerfuffle, it seems to me that the Sad/Rabid Puppies tend to focus more extensively, at times almost exclusively, on the importance of action, storyline, and individual worth and action, while the more “liberal” side insists that the context of the society/world in which storylines exist should play a far greater role, and that no functional future society should be racially/culturally unidimensional. The Sad/Rabid Puppies appear to believe that the other side wants to continue using the Hugo awards to reward works and individuals that further their goals, while the “liberal” side believes that the Sad/Rabid Puppies want to wrench the awards back to representing the male, patriarchal U.S. culture of the 1950s. That’s an oversimplification, since each group has individuals who don’t fit those definitions, but I think it captures the gist of the conflict.

The sad problem is that the unspoken simplistic assumptions on each side ignore their commonalities, and the fact that, for F&SF to continue as a vital form, elements of both sides need to be represented and that neither should “dominate” the awards. Of course, since the politicians and all too many voters haven’t been able to comprehend this concept, why should mere readers and authors?

 

MInTheGap

“Should Christians Engage in the Culture War?” – July 1

Gird Up for the Battle

This group of individuals have decided that they will go down fighting.  It seemed to begin in a movement now called GamerGate.  A journalist was found to have insider ties with the gaming industry that was biasing her reporting.  The flare-up occurred where game designers started to stand up for the rights to make the games they wanted to make, which is only a problem to those that expect that games should meet some arbitrary societal norms—whether it’s the number of females, what clothing they wear, how the racial balance is, and other social issues.

The battle opened up another front on the side of Science Fiction in a clash over the Hugos and the banning of a lifetime member of the Science Fiction Writers of America over a tweet on the SFWAAuthors twitter account promoting a blog post which some took offense to.  This lead to higher participation in the Hugo Awards presented by the SFWA, in which those that had previously not been allowed to participate managed to dominate the categories.

While this is not Christian in nature (some Christians are participating, but the movement in and of itself is not Christian), these people believe that it’s best to fight back against the social justice tyranny they see being forced upon them.

 

Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“Dear Transformative Works Fandom: Please think about voting for the Hugo Awards” – July 1

…I’m particularly encouraging my friends in transformative works and Tumblr fandom to consider voting because you-all are younger than the average Hugo voter (Worldcon members tend to be aging baby boomers, like me), which is good for the future of the award and the fandom, and because many of you have a lot of insights and opinions about visual and audio media: comics, fancasts, TV shows, art….

Should you go to Worldcon?

Last year’s Worldcon was in London, the one before that was in San Antonio, Texas, next year’s is in Kansas City. Because Worldcon moves around, because it’s put together by volunteers, and because it has few or no actors attending, it never gets terribly large compared to Dragoncon, much less ComicCon. Currently, Sasquan has about 4000 attending members and 5000 supporting members, from five continents … plus one in Earth orbit.

Compared to other cons you might have attended, Worldcon runs light on high-gloss movie, TV, and game presentations, but heavy on cosplay and music. Cosplay isn’t just in the halls, there’s also the Masquerade, a judged costume and stage show that always includes some staggeringly beautiful and complex presentations — last year’s Best in Show Winner, “Aratalindale”, for instance, depicted the Valar from Tolkien’s Simarillion. Worldcon music includes performances, filking, and many types of dancing. There’s an Art show and Artist’s Alley, of course. Alas, the deadline for the Writer’s Workshop has passed, but there are lots of other opportunities to talk about writing and fanworks.

I’ll make another post about this year’s Hugo nominees, some historical background, and some possible guidelines about what to look for, but I want to keep it separate from this one. Reblog, tell your friends, think about getting more of us into the structures of SFF fandom. I believe we’re the future of the future, and I encourage you to take up that shiny shiny mantle.

 

Jennifer Brozek

“Travel and Awards” – June 30

I ended with LepreCon in Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it was hot. Really hot. Like 110+ degrees hot. However, it was a great convention. Highly recommended. Small, enthusiastic, and great guests of honor.

In particular, I was pleased to meet Dayton Ward, whom I know from IAMTW, and David Gerrold (most famous for “Trouble with Tribbles.”), who soothed all my fears about the Sasquan Hugo Awards ceremony. After talking with him about my concerns (David is the host), I feel like I can relax and just enjoy the ride. That’s a huge deal for me.

 

Noah Ward

“Who Decides The Best SF/F Novels?” – July 1

A recent Sad Puppies related discussion lead to the topic of how well the Goodreads Choice Awards match up with the Hugo nominations. Thus I decided to actually find out, and therefore compiled a list of the works that had appeared on both awards….

Hence the results produced by the last four years of Goodreads Choice Awards imply that the Hugo awards might not the best indication for what the fans consider as the best Fantasy or Science Fiction. Which in turn would suggest that the ‘Puppy narrative’ would posses a kernel of truth when it comes to Hugos being out of touch with the fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yet another kernel to be placed into the sack.

Nevertheless, I cannot say that the Puppies have had a noticeable effect on the actual nomination results themselves. Just like the three years prior; the Hugo ballot is still filled by the same number of appearances from the Goodreads list, and we have that one highly ranked work while the rest come from somewhere nearer to the bottom end of the list….

Goodreads (2013) & Hugo (2014):

  • – A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time) (2nd in Fantasy)
  • – Ancillary Justice (20th in Science Fiction) (Won Hugo)

Goodreads had 119,222 votes cast in Fantasy, 108,739 votes cast in Paranormal Fantasy, and 75,642 votes cast in Science Fiction.

Goodreads (2014) & Hugo (2015):

2/5 of Hugo nominees were found on Goodreads.

  • – Skin Game (3rd in Fantasy)
  • – The Goblin Emperor (16th in Fantasy)
  • – Ancillary Sword (12th in Science fiction)
  • – Lines of Departure (20th in Science Fiction) (Withdrawn)

Goodreads had 233,644 votes cast in Fantasy, and 146,367 votes cast in Science Fiction.

4/5 of Hugo nominees were found on Goodreads.

[Survey also covers four earlier periods.]

 

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

“Hugo Reading – Novella” – July 1

[Comments on all five nominees.]

I only was able to complete one of the stories in this category from start to finish, the rest just don’t deserve to be on the ballot at all. I guess I’ll give “Flow” a ranking, probably below “No Award”, and leave the rest off. It’s sad, though. There must be some better works out there, but having three pieces by the same writer in one category? That’s just pathetic. Perhaps that’s what they mean by “sad” puppies?

Seriously, though, I really want to hear from the people who nominated these works. I want to hear why they thought these stories deserved the Hugo. I want to know what it is about these particular works that makes them literally the BEST things they read in 2014. I need to know what criteria those readers were using to pick these works, because for most of them I cannot fathom what would possess anyone who actually read the stories to say, “Yes, this is the best of the year.” And I particularly cannot believe all three of those Wright stories were seriously considered that good by anyone, much less by enough people to get them nominated.

 

Aaron Pound on Dreaming About Other Worlds

“Review – Analog Science Fiction and Fact: Vol. CXXXIV, No. 11 (November 2014) by Trevor Quachri (editor)” – June 30

Following in a pattern established by Analog over the last few years, Flow by Arlan Andrews, Sr. is another story fragment masquerading as a novella. Unlike many of the other stories chopped up into shorter lengths as a result of this odd editorial practice, Flow doesn’t feel like the filler in between other, more interesting parts of the story. Instead, Flow feels like filler between other filler.

 

Roger BW’s Blog

“Hugo 2015: Graphic Story” – June 30

[Reviews all five nominees.]

Well, none of these makes me want to dash out and read the next chapter. Maybe I shouldn’t vote in this category at all: these comics are evidently not aimed at me. If I do, it’ll be purely by my enjoyment, in which case Sex Criminals comes top, Saga bottom, and the other two in between, Rat Queens probably above Ms. Marvel. I really have no feel for what’s “Hugo-deserving quality” here.

This Will Ring Your Chimes

The magnificent series of mashups in yesterday’s comments deserves to be collected in a post. Thanks to the incandescent Kyra and the sublime RedWombat, Simon Bisson, Jim Henley, and Camestros Felapton.

Kyra

“Dr. Suess’ Lord of the Rings”

I am Samwise. I am Samwise. Samwise I am-wise.

Samwise Gamgee! Samwise Gamgee! I do not like Samwise Gamgee!

Would you bear the ring with me?

I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee. I will not bear the ring with thee.

Would you bear the ring to Bree?

I will not bear the ring to Bree. I will not bear it willingly. I will not bear the ring with thee. I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee.

Would you bear it to Weathertop, where ringwraiths stab you when we stop?

I won’t bear it to Weathertop if ringwraiths stab me when we stop. I will not bear the ring to Bree. I will not bear it willingly. I will not bear the ring with thee. I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee.

Would you bear it to Rivendell, where Glorfindel and Elrond dwell?

Not Rivendell, where elf-lords dwell. Nor Weathertop, stabbed when we stop. I will not bear the ring to Bree. I will not bear it willingly. I will not bear the ring with thee. I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee.

Would you? Could you? Through the Mine? (Gandalf will die, but he’ll be fine.)

I would not, could not, through the Mine.

You could bear it now and then. Maybe to Lothlórien!

I would not to Lothlórien. Nor through the Mine, no matter when! I won’t bear it to Rivendell, where Glorfindel and Elrond dwell. I won’t bear it to Weathertop if ringwraiths stab me when we stop. I will not bear the ring to Bree. I will not bear it willingly. I will not bear the ring with thee. I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee.

The Morgul Vale! The Morgul Vale! Would you, to the Morgul Vale?

Not to the Vale, Lothlórien, nor through the Mine, no matter when! I won’t bear it to Rivendell, where Glorfindel and Elrond dwell. I won’t bear it to Weathertop if ringwraiths stab me when we stop. I will not bear the ring to Bree. I will not bear it willingly. I will not bear the ring with thee. I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee.

Say! Past Shelob? Just past Shelob? Would you, could you, past Shelob?

I would not, could not, past Shelob.

Would you, could you in orc jail?

I would not, could not in orc jail, nor past Shelob, nor to the Vale, Lothlórien, or through the Mine. I won’t, and that’s the bottom line. Not Rivendell, nor Weathertop. Not where elves dwell or ringwraiths stop. I will not bear the ring to Bree. I will not bear it willingly.

You will not bear the ring with me?

I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee.

Could you, would you, to Mt. Doom?

I would not, could not to Mt. Doom!

To drop it in a lava flume?

I could not drop it in the flume! I will not take it to Mt. Doom. I will not take it to orc jail! Nor past Shelob! Nor through the Mine! Or to the Vale! I must decline! I won’t bear it to Rivendell, where Glorfindel and Elrond dwell. I won’t bear it to Weathertop If ringwraiths stab me when we stop. I will not bear the ring to Bree. I will not bear it willingly. I will not bear the ring with thee. I will not bear it, Sam Gamgee.

You will not bear it. So you say. Bear it! Bear it! Come what may. Bear it come what may, I say.

Samwise! If you let me be, I will bear it. You will see … Say! Gollum, with his nasty cough, just went and bit my finger off! Then fell right in the lava flume, after I bore it to Mt. Doom! And I bore it through the orc jail, and past Shelob, and through the Vale, Lothlórien, and in the Mine where Gandalf died (but then was fine). And I bore it to Rivendell, where Glorfindel and Elrond dwell. And I bore it to Weathertop, though ringwraiths stabbed me at that stop. And yes, I bore the ring to Bree. I bore that ring most willingly. I’m glad I bore that ring with thee! Thank you, thank you, Sam Gamgee!

 

Kyra

Middlemarch/Red Book of Westmarch

> “And if you replace taking the ring to Mordor in Lord Of the Rings with a young woman making an unsuitable marriage in a perhaps misguided effort to valourise the intellectual over the sensual, you get Middlemarch.”

Miss Undomiel had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Lúthien appeared to Gondorian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments, which by the side of provincial fashion gave her the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Red Book of Westmarch,—or from one of our elder poets,—in a paragraph of to-day’s broadside …

 

Simon Bisson

“Melville’s Ring World (or The Big Dumb Object)”

Call me Louis Wu. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having far too much money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on Earth, I thought I would explore about a little and see the livable parts of Known Space. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before the organ banks, and snarling up at the face of every Kzinti I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to space as soon as I can. This is my substitute for wirehead and tasp. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the stars. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the skies with me.

 

RedWombat

A Tale of Two Empires

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a more civilized age, it was a more barbaric age, it was long long ago, it was far far away, it was the season of Jedi, it was the season of Sith, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Coruscant, we were all going direct to Korriban–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were an emperor with a pointed jaw and a lord with a plastic face, on the throne of the Empire; there were an admiral with no jaw and a princess with a fair face, on the throne of the Rebellion. In both factions it was clearer than crystal that things in general were settled for ever and there would be no need for prequels ever again.

 

Red Wombat

Ring and Ringwraith

IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single hobbit in possession of the One Ring must be in want of a volcano.

However little known the feelings or views of such a hobbit may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding armies, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their squadrons.

“My dear Foultongue,” said his second to him one day, as he was roasting cave spiders over an open flame, “have you heard that the Ring is come to Mordor at last?”

Foultongue replied that he had not.

“But it is,” returned she; “for Urguk has just been here, and she told me all about it.”

Foultongue made no answer. His spider was nearly well-done.

“Do not you want to know who Is bearing it?” cried his second impatiently.

“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

(Presumably an excerpt of Ring and Ringwraith.  And I would be very surprised if no one had done it before.)

 

Jim Henley

“Dashiell Hammitt, Red Barkfest”

I first time heard Puppyville called Poopyville by a red-diapered SJW named Hickey Dewey in the con suite at Wiscon. He also called his butt a boot. I didn’t think anything of what he had done to the movement’s name. Later I heard fen who could manage their u’s give it the same pronunciation. I still didn’t see anything in it but the meaningless sort of humor that made richardsnary the nerd’s word for dictionary. A few years later I read Wisdom From My Internet and learned better.

–Dashiell Hammett, Red Barkfest.

 

Jim Henley

To Wound the Autumnal Fandom

So howled out for the in-crowd to give him an award.

The in-crowd answered with blogs.

All you know I know: tweeting astronauts and bank-clerks glancing at the Kindle during lunch; editors refreshing Facebook pages and gun shop owners wiping a thumbprint from a steel barrel; #blacklivesmatter; know that dark women in writers’ groups shook their heads last week because in six months award season has paled outlandishly; how bile tastes after you’ve read John C. Wright essays, sober, a whole month.

A whole month he slated, reader suggestions tucked in an iCloud folder (the unread one), listening to his friends mention recent publications.

–Samuel R. Delany, Dog-gren.

 

Camestros Felapton

1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. “Wait – isn’t this a science fiction novel already?” he thought as he entered the hallway that smelt of boiled cabbage and old mats. “I thought the idea was to transpose SF/F novels onto classic literature” he pondered as he passed the huge coloured poster, too large for indoor display, that had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features.

Then he recalled the work he had done that day – excising the lies S.J.W. Goldstein had somehow snuck into the library catalogues of Oceania. He tried hard to focus on the today’s truth. 1984 was literary fiction not science fiction and always had been…

 

Simon Bisson

“Phlebas And Loathing In The Culture: Hunter M Thompson”

We were somewhere around Schar’s World on the edge of the Command System when the glands began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive. …” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the jump lane was full of what looked like huge GSVs, all swooping and screeching and diving around the ship, which was going about 100 times lightspeed in the grid with the top down to the Clear Air Turbulence. And a voice was screaming: “Minds! What are these goddamn knife missiles?”

Then it was quiet again. Kraiklyn had taken his shirt off and was pouring some liquor on his chest, to facilitate the hyperspace jump. “What the hell are you yelling about?” he muttered, staring up at the sun with his eyes closed and covered with wraparound Idiran sunglasses. “Never mind,” I said. “It’s your turn to drive.” I hit the brakes and aimed the Very Fast Picket toward a convenient asteroid belt. No point mentioning those Ships, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.

 

Red Wombat

From H.P. Lovecraft’s Rebecca

Last night I dreamt I went to many-columned Y’ha-nthlei again. It seemed to me I stood by the dark reef leading to the sea, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There were scorch marks and torpedo holes upon Devil’s Reef. I called in my dream to my grandmother, and had no answer, and peering closer through the eldritch swirls of the water I saw that the reef was uninhabited. No Deep Ones swam from the cyclopean caverns, and the little tidepools gaped empty and forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the reef before me.

(Actually…you could totally rewrite Rebecca so that the dead wife is a Deep One and goaded her husband into shooting her when she realized that she was acquiring the Innsmouth Look…but the Venn diagram of overlaps for that particular audience is probably an infinitesimal sliver.)

 

Camestros Felapton

The Case of the Naked Sun by Sir Arthur Issac Asimov Doyle

On glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Elijah Baley, I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange, but none commonplace; for, working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic. Of all these varied cases, however, I cannot recall any which presented more singular features than that which was associated with the well-known Spacer family of the Delmarres of Solaria. The events in question occurred in the later days of my association with Baley. It is possible that I might have placed them upon record before, but a promise of secrecy was made at the time, from which I have only been freed during the last month by the untimely death of the lady to whom the pledge was given. It is perhaps as well that the facts should now come to light, for I have reasons to know that there are widespread rumours as to the death of Dr. Rikaine Delmarre which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth.

 

Camestros Felapton

District Metamorphosis by Neil Blomkamp

Translated by Frans Kafka

One morning, when Wikus van de Merwe woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible alien ‘prawn’. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His mouth pedipalps, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.

“What’s happened to me?” he thought. It wasn’t a dream. His room, a proper human room although a little too small, lay peacefully between its four familiar walls. A collection of relocation papers lay spread out on the table – Wikus was a manager at MNU – and above it there hung a picture that he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and housed in a nice, gilded frame.

A Hot Time In The Old Fandom Tonight

File 770 has a Clipping Service category, however, this may be the first time it has ever featured a literal clipping.

David Doering’s fanhistory searches on Google yielded the newspaper article reproduced below, which inspired him to comment —

First, gone are the days of such colorful journalism. Second, MSFS meetings in Saginaw in 1949 sure were a blast! How come the LASFS didn’t have such fun?

 

Art Rapp in paper

2015 Elgin Award Candidates

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has announced the candidates for the Elgin Award.

Named for SFPA founder Suzette Haden Elgin, the awards are presented in two categories, Chapbook and Book. To be considered, chapbooks must contain 10-39 pages of poetry and books must contain 40 or more pages of poetry. The books must have been published in 2013 or 2014.

Chapbooks
The Book of Answers • Herb Kauderer (Written Image, 2014)
request .pdf from hkauderer@yahoo.com
A Guide for the Practical Abductee • E. Kristin Anderson (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014)
If the World Were to Stop Spinning • David Clink (Piquant Press, 2014)
request .pdf from davidlclink@gmail.com
Selected Regions of the Moon • J. E. Stanley (NightBallet Press, 2013)
request .pdf from editor Dianne Borsenik at nightballetpress@gmail.com
Seti Hits Paydirt • David C. Kopaska-Merkel (Popcorn Press, 2014)
request .pdf from jopnquog@gmail.com
Spaces of Their Own • Russell Jones (Stewed Rhubarb Press, 2013)
Stairs Appear in a Hole Outside of Town • John Philip Johnson (Graphic Poetry, 2014)
request .pdf from johnjohnson68510@gmail.com
Undoing Winter • Shannon Connor Winward (Finishing Line Press, 2014)
Wolf Skin • Mary McMyne (Dancing Girl Press, 2014)
request .pdf from mary.mcmyne@gmail.com; sample poems at marymcmyne.com/wolf-skin/
Full-length Books
Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems 1971-2012 • Bruce Boston (Dark Renaissance Books, 2013) request .pdf from bruboston@aol.com; sample poems and illustrations available at bruceboston.com/DarkRoadsSampler.html
The Dishonesty of Dreams • A.J. Odasso (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2014)
request .pdf from ajodasso@gmail.com
Dreams from a Black Nebula • Wade German (Hippocampus Press, 2014)
request .pdf from wadegerman@gmail.com; SFPA voting members can also request a print copy here: info@hippocampuspress.com
Fearworms • Robert Payne Cabeen (fanboy comics, 2014)
download .pdf at https://www.dropbox.com/s/plrit0imzsrhgzq/FEARWORMS.Review.Galley.pdf?dl=0
The First Bite of the Apple • Jennifer Crow (Elektrik Milk Bath Press, 2013)
The Grandson of Heinrich Schliemann & Other Truths and Fictions • David Lunde (Mayapple Press, 2014)
request .pdf from jbkerman@mayapplepress.com
Gravedigger’s Dance • G.O. Clark (Dark Renaissance Books, 2014)
request .pdf from goclark@att.net
The Haunted Girl • Lisa M. Bradley (Aqueduct Press, 2014)
Hungry Constellations • Mike Allen (Mythic Delirium Books, 2014)
request .pdf from mythicdelirium@gmail.com
If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? • Matthea Harvey (Graywolf Press, 2014)
An Inheritance of Stone • Leslie J. Anderson (Alliteration Ink, 2014)
The Madness of Empty Spaces • David E. Cowen (Weasel Press, 2014)
request .pdf from decowen@mapalaw.com
The Manufacturer of Sorrow • Michelle Scalise (Eldritch Press, 2014)
request ebook from Darkiss566@aol.com
Mourning Jewelry • Stephanie Wytovich (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2014)
request .pdf from books@rawdogscreaming.com
noise of our origin • Dietmar Tauchner (Red Moon Press, 2013)
request .pdf from editor Jim Kacian at jim.kacian@comcast.net
The Offspring of the Moon • John W. Sexton (Salmon Poetry, 2013)
request .pdf from latearrivalonearth@eircom.net
Our Rarer Monsters • Noel Sloboda (Sunnyoutside, 2013)
Prophets • Peter A. Salomon (Eldritch Press, 2014)
The Rings of Ganymede • Kendall Evans (Alban Lake Publishing, 2014)
Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience • Laura Madeline Wiseman (Lavender Ink, 2014)
Space Traveler • Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press, 2014)
request .pdf from bengrossberg@gmail.com
Sweet Poison • Marge Simon & Mary Turzillo (Dark Renaissance Books, 2014)
request .pdf from MSimon6206@aol.com or maryturzillo@earthlink.net
Unexplained Fevers • Jeannine Hall Gailey (New Binary Press, 2013)
Venus Intervention • Corrine De Winter & Alessandro Manzetti (Kipple Officina Libraria, 2014) request .pdf from a.manzetti@hotmail.it

2015 Rhysling Awards

The winners of the 2015 Rhysling Awards have been announced by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. The recipients were selected by a vote of 68 SFPA members.

Short Poem Category

First Place

  • “Shutdown” by Marge Simon in Qualia Nous, ed. Michael Bailey (Written Backwards, 2014)

Second Place

  • “Science Fiction (with apologies to Marianne Moore’s “Poetry”)” by Ruth Berman in Dreams and Nightmares 98

Third Place (4-way tie)

  • “I Imagine My Mother’s Death” by Bryan D. Dietrich in The Pedestal Magazine 74
  • “The Peal Divers” by Francesca Forrest in Strange Horizons, 3/17/14
  • “Extinction” by Joshua Gage in Star*Line 37.3
  • “After the Changeling Incantation” by John Philip Johnson in Strange Horizons, 2/3/14

Long Poem Category

First Place

  • “100 Reasons to Have Sex with an Alien” by F.J. Bergmann in 2014 SFPA Poetry Contest

Second Place

  • “Six Things the Owl Said” by Megan Arkenberg in Goblin Fruit, Spring

Third Place

  • “The Perfect Library” by David Clink in If the World Were to Stop Spinning (Piquant Press)