A lot of material out there because of the Hugo voting deadline tomorrow but if you want more than the three items I included in today’s Scroll then Google is your friend.
(1) Today in History!
1932: Walt Disney released his first color cartoon, “Flowers and Trees,” made in three-color Technicolor.
1976: NASA released the famous “Face on Mars” photo, taken by Viking 1
(2) And Today’s Birthday Boy and Girl – what a coincidence!
Born 1965: J. K. Rowling
Born: Harry Potter (main character of Harry Potter series)
(3) “The Tom-cademy Awards: The Only Awards Show Exclusively for Tom Cruise Movies” is part of a weeklong Cruise-themed series on Grantland. The author anoints Emily Blunt as the Best Supporting Actress of any Cruise movie.
The wonderful thing about EoT is that it’s really funny. It achieves that by not pretending the audience has never seen a time-travel movie. Instead, Edge of Tomorrow claps the audience firmly on the shoulder and, smiling, asks (rhetorically), “Hey, wanna see Tom Cruise get iced?” And, as it turns out, watching The Character Named Tom Cruise getting killed in fun and interesting ways, ways that show just enough exposed cranium to make the exercise mean something, is pretty invigorating.
But! Do we not, paradoxically, also want to see The Character Named Tom Cruise succeed? To save the world and get the girl? Yeah, of course we do. This is Tom Cruise we’re talking about. And it’s Blunt, playing it straight the whole time while kicking a Ripley-in-Aliens level of xenomorph butt, who has to downshift from hero-on-a-recruiting-poster to woman-who-we-kind-of-want-to-see-kiss-Tom-Cruise in order to make Cage’s journey from charming coward to soldier/love interest believable. He’s the hero we deserve, that we also need to see die.
Genre films Minority Report (Best Visual Effects) and Interview With The Vampire (Best Costume Design) also take home the hardware.
(4) Janis Ian, who now writes in the sf field, has her own Bill Cosby story from when she was a teenager preparing to sing her hit song on The Smothers Brothers show in 1967.
In her post, Ian accused Cosby of publicly outing her as a lesbian, based on a chance meeting backstage at a television show.
“Cosby was right in one thing. I am gay. Or bi, if you prefer, since I dearly loved the two men I lived with over the years. My tilt is toward women, though, and he was right about that.”
(5) On to tamer subjects – the Worldcon business meeting. Kevin Standlee hopes to discourage complaints while rewarding the reader’s attention with a good discussion of why meetings adopt Roberts Rules or the equivalent:
The reason that parliamentary procedure is complex is that it’s trying to balance a bunch of contradictory rights. If you’re someone who is convinced that your personal, individual right to speak for as long as you want and as many times at you want trumps the rights of the group to be able to finish the discussion and reach a decision in a reasonable time, well, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be happy with any rules that allow for limits on debate. If you’re someone who has no patience with debate and just wants the Strong Man to Make Decisions, you’ll never be pleased with rules that allow for people to debate and reach a group decision through voting….
And he invites your help to improve how WSFS meetings are run.
WSFS rules are complicated because the people who attend the meetings have effectively voted for complexity, but also because some of the complexity is required to protect the rights of members, both individually and in groups, and including the members who aren’t even at the meeting. If you have a better way for deciding how we should run things, the onus is on you to propose something. As long as you just complain that “it’s too complicated,” without proposing something both easier and workable, don’t expect to be taken seriously.
(6 ) Russell Blackford on Metamagician and the Hellfire Club delivers “The Hugo Awards – 2015 – Summation”.
Even if there is a legitimate grain of truth somewhere amongst the complaints of the Sad Puppies group, their actions have led to an exceptionally weak Hugo field this year and to some specific perverse outcomes. If the Sad Puppies campaigners merely thought that there is a “usual suspects” tendency in recent Hugo nomination lists, and that politically conservative authors are often overlooked in recent times, they could have simply argued their case based on evidence. Likewise, they could have taken far wiser, far more moderate – far less destructive – actions to identify some genuinely outstanding works that might otherwise have been missed. What we saw this year, with politicised voting on an unprecedented scale, approached the level of sabotaging the awards. I repeat my hope that the Sad Puppies campaign will not take place next year, at least in anything like the same form. If it does, my attitude will definitely harden. I’ve been rather mild about the Sad Puppies affair compared to many others in SF fandom, and I think I can justify that, but enough is enough.
I really can’t understand how Blackford processes the ethics of the 2015 situation, this being the third go-round for Sad Puppies, that “enough” had not happened already to warrant a stronger expression of his disapproval, but a fourth iteration will.
(7) The short “fisking” in history — Larry Correia strikes back at Sad Puppies references in The New Yorker’s Delany interview The boldfaced sentences below are literally 66% of what he had to say.
The ensuing controversy has been described, by Jeet Heer in the New Republic, as “a cultural war over diversity,” since the Sad Puppies, in their pushback against perceived liberals and experimental writers, seem to favor the work of white men.
Diversity my ass. Last years winners were like a dozen white liberals and one Asian liberal and they hailed that as a huge win for diversity.
Delany said he was dismayed by all this, but not surprised. “The context changes,” he told me, “but the rhetoric remains the same.”
Well, that’s a stupid conclusion.
Alert the bugler to blow “Taps” over the fallen standards of Correia fisks….
(8) Cheryl Morgan tells fans don’t give up.
Look, there will be some weird stuff in the results this year. There may well be a few No Awards given out, and possibly some really bad works winning awards. It is not as if that hasn’t happened before, though perhaps not in the same quantities. On the other hand, people are talking about the Hugos much more this year than they ever have before, and in many more high profile places. In addition vastly more people have bought supporting memberships, and we are looking at a record number of people participating in the final ballot. All of those people will be eligible to nominate next year. This isn’t the way I would have liked to get that result, but it is a result all the same.
for the first time EVER, I just voted for the Hugo Awards. I suspect it would have been fun any other year.
— MamaDeb (@_mamadeb) July 30, 2015
(9) John Scalzi realized he would have a more restful day if instead of discussing the Hugos he spent his time doing computer maintenance.
Windows 10 71% downloaded. Horrible gulping, weeping sounds coming from the basement. I mean, more than usual.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) July 29, 2015
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, David K.M. Klaus and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit to File 770 contributing editor Soon Lee.]