Thomas A. Mays Withdraws His Hugo-Nominated Story

After learning during the official announcement that all the nominees in his category came from the Rabid Puppies slate, Thomas A. Mays says he has decided to withdraw his Hugo-nominated short story “The Commuter” from the ballot.

He explained on his blog:

I’ve known for some time that “The Commuter” had made the short list, having been emailed about it by Professor Adams, “The Voice of the Hugos,” on April 10th.  I provided copies of my story for the Hugo Voter’s Packet and accepted the nomination in the forlorn hope I would find my story among a mixed and diverse selection of other stories, stories which came out of fandom as a whole (a whole which includes Puppies . . . ) rather than from any single group’s agenda or manipulation of process.  I knew that it was unlikely, given that my little-known story was only up for the award due to its inclusion on Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies slate, but I had hope.

To be clear, Vox Day and I have worked together before, but I did not request or engineer my appearance on his slate.  I’m very proud of my story “Within This Horizon”, that I contributed to the first Riding the Red Horse anthology, which allowed me to be in the same volume as friends and acquaintances Chris Kennedy, Christopher Nuttall, Ken Burnside, and one of my literary heroes, Jerry Pournelle.  I have been interviewed for Castalia House.  However, Vox and I disagree on many political and social points and I am neither a Rabid Puppy nor a member of his Dread Ilk.  My stories have no real ideological bent right or left.  And while I cannot dispute the experiences of others which brought the Sad and Rabid Puppy movements into existence, I did not approve of the straight-slate bloc voting that so damaged fandom last year.  I was very encouraged when Sad Puppies 4 answered the criticisms that had been levied against SP3.

… I did not ask to be part of any list, but I hoped at the very least that it might bring other eyes to “The Commuter”, readers that might appreciate it for what it was and perhaps honor me with an uncontroversial nomination (or at least a few Kindle purchases).  But, now that all hopes for a clean nomination are dashed, it is my turn to speak:

Rather than eat a shit sandwich, I choose to get up from the table.  

Thank you to all the people who actually read my story, enjoyed it, and nominated it for the Hugo.  I will forever be in your debt.

2016 Hugo Award Finalists

The finalists for this year’s Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer were announced on Tuesday, April 26.

There were 4032 valid nominating ballots (4015 electronic and 17 paper) received and counted from the members of Sasquan, MidAmeriCon II, and Worldcon 75.

BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)

  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

BEST NOVELLA (2416 ballots)

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)

BEST NOVELETTE (1975 ballots)

  • “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb 2015)
  • “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan?Feb 2015)
  • “Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
  • “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)

BEST SHORT STORY (2451 ballots)

  • “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
  • The Commuter by Thomas A. Mays (Stealth)
  • “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
  • “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be WarVolume X, Castalia House)
  • Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)

BEST RELATED WORK (2080 ballots)

  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
  • “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
  • “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com)
  • SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
  • “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY (1838 ballots)

  • The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
  • Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
  • Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
  • The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) (2904 ballots)

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac?Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) (2219 ballots)

  • Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf (Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions; Netflix)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
  • Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)

BEST EDITOR  – SHORT FORM (1891 ballots)

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jerry Pournelle
  • Sheila Williams

BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM (1764 ballots)

  • Vox Day
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Jim Minz
  • Toni Weisskopf

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (1481 ballots)

  • Lars Braad Andersen
  • Larry Elmore
  • Abigail Larson
  • Michal Karcz
  • Larry Rostant

BEST SEMIPROZINE (1457 ballots)

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews, Nicole Lavigne, and Kate Marshall
  • Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele?Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
  • Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie
  • Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine edited by Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

BEST FANZINE (1455 ballots)

  • Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
  • Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
  • File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  • Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie
  • Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale

BEST FANCAST (1267 ballots)

  • 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
  • Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
  • HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo
  • The Rageaholic, RazörFist
  • Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick

BEST FAN WRITER (1568 ballots)

  • Douglas Ernst
  • Mike Glyer
  • Morgan Holmes
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Shamus Young

BEST FAN ARTIST (1073 ballots)

  • Matthew Callahan
  • disse86
  • Kukuruyo
  • Christian Quinot
  • Steve Stiles

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (1922 ballots)

  • Pierce Brown *
  • Sebastien de Castell *
  • Brian Niemeier
  • Andy Weir *
  • Alyssa Wong *

* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility

1941 Retro Hugo Award Finalists

The finalists for the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards were announced on Tuesday, April 26.

There were 481 valid nominating ballots (475 electronic and 6 paper) received and counted from the members of Sasquan, MidAmeriCon II, and Worldcon 75.

BEST NOVEL (352 ballots)

  • Kallocain by Karin Boye (Bonnier)
  • Gray Lensman by E.E. “Doc” Smith (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)
  • Slan by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, Dec 1940)
  • The Ill-Made Knight by T.H. White (Collins)
  • The Reign of Wizardry by Jack Williamson (Unknown, Mar 1940)

BEST NOVELLA (318 ballots)

  • “The Mathematics of Magic” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Unknown, Aug 1940)
  • “The Roaring Trumpet” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Unknown, May 1940)
  • “Coventry” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1940)
  • “If This Goes On…” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940)
  • “Magic, Inc.” by Robert A. Heinlein (Unknown, Sept 1940)

BEST NOVELETTE (310 ballots)

  • “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates (Astounding Science-Fiction, Oct 1940)
  • “Blowups Happen” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept 1940)
  • “The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1940)
  • “It!” by Theodore Sturgeon (Unknown, Aug 1940)
  • “Darker Than You Think” by Jack Williamson (Unknown, Dec 1940)

BEST SHORT STORY (324 ballots)

  • “Strange Playfellow” (a.k.a. “Robbie”) by Isaac Asimov (Super Science Stories, Sept 1940)
  • “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” by Jorge Luis Borges (Sur, 1940)
  • “Martian Quest” by Leigh Brackett (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940)
  • “The Stellar Legion” by Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories, Winter 1940)
  • “Requiem” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY (92 ballots)

  • Batman #1 (Detective Comics, Spring 1940)
  • Captain Marvel: “Introducing Captain Marvel” by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck (Whiz Comics #2, Feb 1940)
  • Flash Gordon: “The Ice Kingdom of Mongo” by Alex Raymond and Don Moore (King Features Syndicate, Apr 1940)
  • The Spectre: “The Spectre”/”The Spectre Strikes! ” by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily (More Fun Comics #52/53, Feb/Mar 1940)
  • The Origin of the Spirit by Will Eisner (Register and Tribune Syndicate, June 1940)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) (250 ballots)

  • Dr. Cyclops written by Tom Kilpatrick, directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack (Paramount Pictures)
  • Fantasia written by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, directed by Samuel Armstrong et al. (Walt Disney Productions, RKO Radio Pictures)
  • Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe written by George H. Plympton, Basil Dickey, and Barry Shipman, directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor (Universal Pictures)
  • One Million B.C. written by Mickell Novack, George Baker, and Joseph Frickert, directed by Hal Roach and Hal Roach, Jr. (United Artists)
  • The Thief of Bagdad written by Lajos Bíró and Miles Malleson, directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, and Tim Whelan (London Films, United Artists)

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) (123 ballots)

  • Merrie Melodies: “A Wild Hare” written by Rich Hogan, directed by Tex Avery (Warner Bros.)
  • The Adventures of Superman: “The Baby from Krypton” written by George Ludlam, produced by Frank Chase (WOR)
  • The Invisible Man Returns written by Joe May, Kurt Siodmak, and Lester Cole, directed by Joe May (Universal Pictures)
  • Pinocchio written by Ted Sears et al., directed by Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton Luske (Walt Disney Productions, RKO Radio Pictures)
  • Looney Tunes: “You Ought to Be in Pictures” written by Jack Miller, directed by Friz Freleng (Warner Bros.)

BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM (183 ballots)

  • John W. Campbell
  • Dorothy McIlwraith
  • Raymond A. Palmer
  • Frederik Pohl
  • Mort Weisinger

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (117 ballots)

  • Hannes Bok
  • Margaret Brundage
  • Edd Cartier
  • Virgil Finlay
  • Frank R. Paul
  • Hubert Rogers

Note: Category has 6 nominees due to a tie for 5th place.

BEST FANZINE (63 ballots)

  • Futuria Fantasia by Ray Bradbury
  • Le Zombie by Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker
  • Novacious by Forrest J Ackerman and Morojo
  • Spaceways by Harry Warner, Jr.
  • Voice of the Imagi-Nation by Forrest J Ackerman and Morojo

BEST FAN WRITER (70 ballots)

  • Forrest J Ackerman
  • Ray Bradbury
  • H. P. Lovecraft
  • Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker
  • Harry Warner

Sponsor a Bench at MidAmeriCon II

MidAmeriCon II’s Patty Wells and Melissa Morman are looking for help furnishing the exhibit hall at this year’s Worldcon in Kansas City. Here’s their pitch:

One of the advantages of being favored with five acres of exhibit hall is that we have the room to make our dreams come true. One of our dreams is to put a river through it — so we have also gone and put a park alongside that for good measure. And what is a park, or a river, without park benches to sit on and admire the view or converse with a friend?

At the Worldcon in London a couple of years ago, the convention scattered benches throughout the Fan Village and other parts of the Exhibit Hall, and asked fan groups to sponsor a bench with a plaque commemorating their group, their bid, or a member of their group on it. This idea was well-received by the fannish community and much fun. M2 is continuing this tradition (it’s been done once, so it’s now a tradition, right?).

We are therefore offering you and your group the opportunity to get your message out, publicize your group, or memorialize a lost friend. The benches we are ordering for the fan fair are a lovely metal bench in a design sure to add to your local con should you take the option of taking the bench home after the con.

There are multiple ways you can participate:

OPTION 1 — Sponsor a Plaque ($150)

Send us your group’s name and/or message and we will have it engraved on a plaque that will then be attached to one of the park benches (see above). If, like many of us, you are traveling to KC from distant lands, the plaques will be removable for you to take home as a memento for the group or person you honored. We will have the plaque made with your message. The plaques will take two lines of text, with roughly 20-25 characters per line.

OPTION 2 — Sponsor a Bench! ($200)

This gets your group’s message on a plaque AND you can take the bench with you when the convention is over as a comfortable addition to your next fannish event. And if you are taking the bench home, arriving during Exhibit Hall set up and decorating your bench in some fannish fashion to make it more memorable is encouraged.

OPTION 3 — Sponsor a Bench AND a Park ($500)

Want more exposure for your group? Sponsor a pocket park along the river! Surround your bench with flora and maybe even some fauna; make it distinctive! M2 will name the park after your group and place an acknowledgement sign in the park which may also contain a custom message (“Come to your party on Friday night!”, “Vote for Trantor in ‘99”, or even “Ygnvie is a Louse!”). With this option, you may again take the bench home with you (along with its plaque!) as well as the acknowledgement sign.

If your sponsor dollars are received early, your sponsorship can be acknowledged in the convention’s pocket program.

For more information, please send an email to:

mmorman@earthnet.net or contact Melissa Morman on FB.

Thank you for your consideration. The more we personalize something as large as a Worldcon exhibit hall, the more fannish the Worldcon is.

Record-Setting Number of Votes for 2016 Hugo Nominations

MidAmeriCon II reports over 4,000 nominating ballots were received for the 2016 Hugo Awards, nearly doubling the previous record of 2,122 ballots set last year by Sasquan, the 73rd Worldcon held in Spokane, WA.

This is the eighth consecutive year the record has been broken. Prior to Sasquan, Loncon 3 (2014) received 1,923 ballots; LoneStarCon 3 (2013) 1,343; Chicon 7 (2012) 1,101; Renovation (2011) 1,006; Aussiecon 4 (2010) 864; Anticipation (2009) 799 — each a new high-water mark at the time.

MidAmeriCon II reports there were 12,715 eligible nominators, also a record. These consisted of the members of Sasquan, and all the members of MidAmeriCon II and Worldcon 75 who had joined by January 31.

The finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 26 via MidAmeriCon II’s social media.

The finalists will be released category by category, beginning at Noon CDT (1 p.m. EDT, 10 a.m. PDT, 6 p.m. London, 7 p.m. Western Europe), through the convention’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MidAmeriCon2/) and Twitter feed @MidAmeriCon2

The announcement will begin with the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards then continue with the 2016 Hugo Awards and Campbell Award.

The full list of finalists will be made available on the MidAmeriCon II website directly after the completion of the live announcement, and will also be distributed as a press release to all MidAmeriCon II press contacts.

The full press release follows the jump.

Continue reading

Pixel Scroll 4/13/16 The Dark Nightfall Returns

(1) FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK. A teaser trailer has been released for the Leonard Nimoy documentary.

(2) KEENE LEAVING HWA. Brian Keene cites over a dozen major organizational failures by Horror Writers of America in “Why and When I Will Begin Boycotting the HWA”, a list that ends —

*And most recently (as of today) allowing an avowed white supremacist and fascist who has previously demonstrated a bias against others based on their race, religion, etc. to participate as a Bram Stoker Award Jury member — an award which will include candidates of various races and religions…..

…Effective 1/1/17 (when the new year’s memberships become active) I will no longer work with anyone who is a then-Current member of the HWA, including writers, publishers, editors, etc. I will not give cover blurbs, introductions, or anything else. If I am asked to be in an anthology, and the anthology is being edited by a then-current HWA member, I will decline. If I am asked to submit a novel, and the publisher is a then-current HWA member, I will decline.

So… if you’d like to work with me in 2017, or you’d like my help with something going forward, I’m very happy to — provided you are not a member of the HWA as of January 1, 2017. Consider this an eight-month notice, which I think is more than fair.

I realize that this decision will put me at odds with both dear friends and fellow mutually-respected peers. That’s okay. It won’t be the first time that has happened. But this is my decision. I am not a Conservative or a Progressive, and I hold the extremists in both camps with contempt. But I am a human being, and a father, and I know what is right and what is wrong. Discrimination of someone based on their race, religion, creed, etc. is wrong.

We endorse things by our participation in them. This current debacle — and previous debacles — are not things I endorse, and I will not, in good conscience, contribute my name, my money, my talent, my draw, or my platform to them.

(3) BE MY GUEST. This is not a problem File 770 has, however, Melanie R. Meadors’ advice to prospective guest bloggers makes a lot of sense — “How to Write a Publicity Query Email That Won’t get You Blacklisted by Bloggers” at Bookworm Blues.

8. Offer them content that will draw readers to their blog. Bloggers are not your bitches. They aren’t working for you. They have a blog because they want people to read them. The harsh reality is that book spotlights get skimmed or skipped. No one cares. Anything that is easy for you, the author, is usually the least effective. Bloggers want content. They want an author’s unique view of things, they want to offer their readers something to entertain and inform them. They want something that will be shared on social media. And really, that’s what YOU want, too. You are doing a publicity tour so that you can actually reach readers. Not just so you can check off a box that says “stuck crap up on the internet.” Spotlights don’t reach readers in a memorable way. Posts that make them laugh, let them hear your voice, and show them who you are hit readers in a positive way that will make them click on the link to your work so they can learn more. That type of content is good for bloggers and is good for you. Tell them what type of post you are interested in, and if possible, even offer them a topic.

(4) STANDING UP. Randall at Catalyst Game Labs wrote his “I’m Standing Up” post before Ken Burnside’s appeared, but he subsequently linked to Burnside which is how I came across it:

I’ve certainly not been perfect. I can look back across a lifetime of con attendance and gaming and cringe now and then at stupid comments I’ve made. And for that, I publicly apologize to any woman who ever felt as though I didn’t respected her, or made her feel as though she is less valuable as she is to our hobby, community, and industry.

And perhaps for that very same sense, there are men who feel ashamed to stand up. Well shake it off. Do the right thing. Stand up. This will only change if we shine a bright enough light down into those repugnant currents. If we get enough people saying this is not okay we just might push those currents down where they’re too afraid to come out any more.

Now let me be absolutely clear, here: Harassment or bullying of any sort against anyone for any reason—be it gender, race, religion, you name it—is not okay. And if I hear anyone around me gatekeeping with that tired old mantra “you’re not a real gamer,” I’m gonna slap that down. Catalyst employees know this and swiftly take care of any such situations. (If anyone has ever had any issues that were not treated appropriately by one of our employees or Catalyst agents, feel free to email me randall@catalystgamelabs.com and I’ll immediately follow up). So this filth laps onto far too many. But it seems pretty clear to me over the research I’ve done that women, by a large margin, take the brunt of this hurt.

For anyone that feels even a moment’s regret over any of this, or experiences they’ve had, please spread this post. Plenty of others are doing the same and doing it well. But we need to do it more. I’m adding my voice to theirs to swell the chorus and shine a light on those currents.

And for all those amazing gamers that make the hobby brilliant for millions of people all over the world, thank you!

I’m a white, male gamer. And I’m standing up.

(5) ASIMOV DEBATE. The 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate topic “Is the Universe a Simulation?” was discussed by panelists on April 5 at The American Museum of Natural History.

What may have started as a science fiction speculation—that perhaps the universe as we know it is a computer simulation—has become a serious line of theoretical and experimental investigation among physicists, astrophysicists, and philosophers.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, moderated a panel composed of David Chalmers, Professor of philosophy, New York University; Zohreh Davoudi, Theoretical physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; James Gates, Theoretical physicist, University of Maryland; Lisa Randall, Theoretical physicist, Harvard University; and Max Tegmark  Cosmologist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(6) BILLIONS BEYOND FANDOM. Martin Morse Wooster passed along two fannish points from a profile of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman by Nicholas Lemann in the October 16 issue of New Yorker.

1. In middle school in the mid-1980s, Hofmann was a game tester for Chaosium, located near Hofmann’s home in Emeryville.

“Hoffman got himself into one of the groups, and then returned to Chaosium, offering to correct errors he had found in a set of role-playing scripts for Dungeons & Dragons that the company had published.  He wrote a detailed memo and took it to Steve Perrin, a major game developer (All the World’s Monsters, RuneQuest, Elfquest) who was working at Choasium at the time.  ‘He looked at it and said, ‘This is good feedback,’ Hofmann says.  So they gave me another scenario pack to review.  He also began writing reviews for Different Worlds, a gaming magazine that Chaosium published, and getting modestly paid for his work.”

2. Peter Thiel, a friend and college classmate of Hofmann’s, said that Hofmann “was entranced by Snow Crash, a science-fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 1992, which takes place in a twenty-first century California where government has collapsed and people create avatars and try to find a new way to live through a technology-based virtual society called the Metaverse….

….Hofmann was playing with a set  of ingredients that he had first explored at Stanford, with Thiel and others–fantasy gaming, computer technology, philosophy–and thinking about whether there was a big idea that could enable him to have a major effect on the world, first through a business and then through the creation of an entire social system.”

“So sf and fandom is responsible for LinkedIn!” says Wooster, and he asks, “Can we collect royalties?”

(7) FIRST LINES. Rachel Swirsky studied her first lines and other authors’, now the third installment in her series answers the question “First Lines Part III: What Can They Do?”. Here are two of her seven points:

After giving close reading to a dozen first sentences, half mine and half others, I’m ready to make a list of things that a first line can do (although probably no first line should try to do all of them).

  1. Include a mystery the reader wants to solve by reading the next sentence.
  2. Set a fast reading pace.

(8) FINNISH WORLDCON’S FIRST PR. Worldcon 75, to be held in Helsinki in 2017, has issued its first Progress Report. Download it or read it online here. The contents include:

  • Tips on small talk with the guests of honour
  • Finland: An assortment of notes and information
  • The word for Worldcon is Maailmankongressi
  • Finnish fandom: Some unique characteristics

You can go directly the online magazine (done in a format where you digitally flip pages) by clicking here.

(9) TOHO BRINGS BACK GODZILLA. Kotaku says “Japan’s New Godzilla Movie Looks Awesome”.

For the first time in over a decade, there’s a new Godzilla movie coming from Japan’s Toho Studios. This one’s being directed by none other than Neon Genesis’ Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.

 

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Terhi Törmänen,  David K.M. Klaus, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Hugo Award News from MidAmeriCon II

The nomination period for the 2016 Hugo Awards and the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards will end tomorrow, March 31, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -0700).

MidAmeriCon II tweeted that the nominees will be announced and the ballot published on April 26. Voting will open May 15 and close July 31. The winners will be revealed at the Hugo Awards Ceremony on August 20.

The Hugo voting site had a service outage for awhile but is now back online:

2016 Hugo Administrator Answers Question About EPH Testing

Mad Genius Club columnist Dave Freer received an answer to an accusatory letter he wrote to MidAmeriCon II’s Hugo Awards administrators about voting data shared for purposes of testing the “E Pluribus Hugo” proposal.

He published Dave McCarty’s reply as part of his column today, interrupting every single sentence McCarty wrote with a boldfaced rebuttal three times as long. I became curious what McCarty’s letter would have looked like if it had been properly quoted. This is the text, minus Freer’s fisking.

Mr Freer

With the passage of the EPH proposal at the Sasquan business meeting, the members of WSFS began the process of substantially altering the method for selecting Hugo finalists.

The method being proposed is novel.

There is no prior example to let the members of WSFS understand completely how this method might operate when used in the Hugo awards.

As such, it was imperative that EPH be tested with meaningful data and those results reported to the next business meeting at MidAmeriCon II.

To accomplish this, Sasquan made its Hugo nominating data available to MidAmeriCon II for testing. MidAmeriCon II provided access to two researchers (Bruce Schneier and Jameson Quinn) and worked collaboratively with them to test the counting method.

The data was anonymized prior to it being shared for testing. A random key was assigned to the voter, and this key was reset to a new value in each category, so a voter who participated in six categories was given six unique keys. The data was also normalized to standardize choices and further anonymize the ballot data.

The researchers were given the data under an NDA, and while some analysis results were released prematurely, the NDA was not broken, as no voter data was shared by them.

The researchers’ technical paper is under academic review.

A more complete report to the business meeting will be made public later this spring or early summer.

The particulars of handling the privacy and secrecy of the Hugo nominators and voters is a responsibility handed each year to the Hugo subcommittee of each year’s Worldcon. Additionally that team is charged with protecting the interest and the integrity of the Hugos. We take these responsibilities very seriously.

I can assure you that neither we, nor the administrators of the Sasquan Hugos, contacted the employees of Tor, or any other publisher, prior to the release of the Sasquan final ballot, except to the extent that we will attempt to contact all nominees, and such contacts may be through their publisher, in the cases where the individual nominees have no other published contact information. This may allow a publisher to know some works that have qualified for the final ballot, but only the works published by that house, and only to the extent that we do not have any other contact information.

MidAmeriCon II welcomes all fans, as exemplified in our code of conduct, available at http://midamericon2.org/policies/code-of-conduct/. Each Worldcon’s convention committee and staff is unique to that Worldcon, and experiences at Sasquan should not be assumed to be relevant to MidAmeriCon II.

I understand your inclination to publish my response publicly, I would only ask that you publish the response in full if you do.

Dave McCarty – Hugo Administrator

MidAmeriCon II

Sasquan Masquerade Discs Ready

Syd Weinstein announces he has finished work on the Sasquan Masquerade recording. You can order it here, in either of the two common formats.

Sasquan Masquerade – Available in Blu-Ray or DVD version

The Masquerade disc contains all of the presentations, including the young fans, as well as the awards and the Tom Smith half time concert for over three hours of content. The presentations and the awards have been edited to add more views, stills, and complete credits for each costume.

The Blu-Ray version is NTSC 1080i High Definition as recorded on-site. The DVD version is a down convert to standard definition. Combo Packs include the DVD and the Blu-Ray copy.

He is also working on a Hugo Awards Ceremony DVD.

Information about pricing, shipping, and combo deals are available at his website.