Heinlein Bust Contributions Reach 35% of Goal

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein

The Heinlein Society, raising money to pay for the creation and placing of a bronze bust of Robert A. Heinlein in the Hall of Famous Missourians at the Missouri State Capitol building, is now 35% of the way home. The Society has received $2,500 in outside contributions, which added to dollar-for-dollar matching funds from the Heinlein Prize Trust amounts to $5,000 of the $14,000 required.

Put simply, another $4,500 of outside donations is needed to hit the target.

Donations can be made online or by mail – details here.

Joël Champetier (1957-2015)

Joël Champetier in 2012. Photo by Ewe Aya.

Joël Champetier in 2012. Photo by Ewe Aya.

Joël Champetier, managing editor of Canada’s famous French-language sf, fantasy and horror quarterly Solaris, passed away May 30.

Champetier’s first published work, Le chemin des fleurs, appeared in Solaris in 1981. His first YA novel, La mer au fond du monde, was published in 1990. The best of his short fiction was collected in Coeur de fer (1997).

Champetier’s novel La peau blanche was adapted into a 2004 film of the same title, also released in English as White Skin.

La Peau Blanch posterChampetier helped organize Quebec’s annual Boréal Congress, an annual Quebec science-fiction conference. He was on the board of directors in 1984, and again from 1989-1999, then serving as Vice-President from 1994 to 1999.

He won numerous Prix Boreal/Prix Casper/Prix Aurora Awards for fiction, as well as a 1995 Grand Prize for Quebec Science Fiction and Fantasy, for La mémoire du lac, Le secret des sylvaneaux, Visite au comptoir dénébolien and Esclave du sable. Solaris also won several of these awards during his tenure.

He is survived by his wife Valerie and his family.

Pug Jack Barron 5/31

2007_1aka ”He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty puppy!”

Today’s roundup brings you Amanda S. Green, Rachel Iliffe, Sarah A. Hoyt, Vox Day, Lou Antonelli, Camestros Felapton, Jeet Heer, Joseph Tomaras, Lis Carey, Lisa J. Goldstein, Rebekah Golden, and cryptic others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Whym and Hampus Eckerman.)

Amanda S. Green

“The gloves came off” – May 31

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been fighting the urge to respond to a post in a private Facebook group that is supposedly dedicated to the appreciation of the writings of Robert A. Heinlein. I say supposedly because it had become more and more apparent that wasn’t necessarily the case. But the crowning point came when one of the members posted a link to a story about why Connie Willis would not be presenting at the Hugo Awards. I’m not going to get into Ms. Willis’ reasons other than to say I don’t agree with them. But it was her decision and she will have to live with the consequences — good, bad or indifferent.

However, what got to me was the poster of the link starting out by saying that she was a so far unpublished science fiction writer who is just so angry at the “talentless and angry malcontents” who have supposedly ruined the Hugos. Okay, nothing new there. Still, it was a bit surprising to find such a position being advocated in a Heinlein forum, especially when it became clear that the whole issue was that there have been more men nominated for a Hugo and that more men have won than women. Again, nothing new….

 

Rachel Iliffe on Rachelloon Productions

“#HugoAwards Follow Up: Dextrous and Sinister” – May 31

 

  1. 2500 people are not representative of the entire SF fandom.

This is the number I’ve been hearing anyway, from various people–the estimate of who, in recent years, was actually submitting and voting on the books in question. And from what I can make out, these people are also mostly made up of the fan clubs of a certain select group of authors; suggesting they are perhaps not particularly diverse in their opinions.

Again, it’s not that anything untoward happened to lead to that–no one was stopping other people from getting involved, the whole event just seemed to have become more obscure in recent times, but the lack of mass involvement in recent years has been telling. Perhaps the event just hasn’t been publicised properly, I mean–it’s supposed to be like the Emmys for SF, right?

How was this ever going to change, but by some ‘radical’ action? I’m not saying it had to happen the way it did–I would have preferred it hadn’t since so many authors have felt the need to disassociate themselves–but for new life to be breathed into the Hugos, someone had to put them in the spotlight again. And I do think they needed new life.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Truth and Fiction” – May 31

Which brings us to the other “Big Lie” that we just want “pulp” or “adventure” or “old fashioned” stories.

This incredible nonsense doesn’t pass the smell test. None of us has said that. What’s more, as far as I can tell, none of us believes that. I have in the past advised fledglings not to try to write in the style of long-gone-by writers (except the occasional send up. I’ve been known to do Bradbury pastiche.)  Writing styles and tastes have changed.  No one wants to work that hard for their fiction.

Much as I love say Jane Austen, I’m aware styles of prose have changed completely since her day. You see, we are a lot more visual. Also omniscient narrator doesn’t seem to do as well as it once did, because competing with visual media forces writing to employ its one advantage: putting you in a character’s head for a while.

Also, frankly, with some exceptions, I have great trouble reading science fiction published before the sixties or so, because I’m sensitive to language shifts and also because some of the assumptions are risible. (You know the exceptions, Simak, Heinlein and half a dozen others.)

Yes, I just did a post exhorting us to recreate the Golden Age, which I note File 770 immediately echoed, even though it had clear nothing to do with the Hugos. They picked it up because they thought it supported their narrative. One despairs of trying to talk to whole-word-readers.

That post of course exhorted writers to write for their fans not the publishing establishment. And it exhorted the fans to support their writers. It also exhorted writers to be a little more daring with their science (because that’s why science fiction is getting its lunch eaten by fantasy.) In my opinion that’s what Golden Age IS. It was not about writing pulpy. Not that I expect anyone there would get it.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Sad Puppies can’t be wrong” – May 31

Let’s just say their behavior shocked me about as much as the discovery that the sun rose again this morning. There are precisely four things that have surprised me about the SJW response to date:

  1. John Scalzi more or less keeping his mouth shut. Now we know why.
  2. Charles Stross attempting to doxx Castalia and his insane Finnish Nazi theories. I genuinely thought he was smarter than that.
  3. The public approval of Mary Kowal openly buying supporting memberships for other people. It’s so hard to imagine anyone else making effective use of that tactic in the future.
  4. Popular Science being one of the publications in which they planted their hit stories. I knew from past experience they would plant hit pieces in the media. But that would not have been among the first 250 publications I would have guessed.

 

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas

“Still an honor” – May 31

Those of us who feel the Hugo award is an honor well worth pursuing, such a myself, probably feel some resentment – as I do – towards those Sad Puppy “fellow travelers” who have made statements indicating they want to burn down or destroy the awards.

Folks, if you don’t like the award, then why allow yourself to be nominated in the first place? I mean, we can all differ on the meaning, usefulness or value of an award, but if you don’t even believe in it – why bother? It’s a free country, which means we all have the right of free association. Nobody forced you to participate in the Hugo process.

At the very least, bear in mind – in light of the hostility that the Puppy effort has engendered – how your comments hurt those of use who would be proud and pleased to win one of the awards. Heck, I’m still proud to have been nominated, regardless how it turned out.

The “let it burn” folks on the Puppy side are, to my mind, the corresponding opposite of the “No Award everything!’ side on the anti side. I suspect the vast majority of people who care about the subject are in the vary large middle territory.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“367” – May 31

There are exactly 367 Vile Faceless Minions, as it happens, in addition to an unknown quantity of Rabid Puppies, Dread Ilk, and Ilk. As to what their staying power is, and if they are really going to stay interested enough to do this again next year, I have ordered Malwyn and her colleagues to unmuzzle them and thereby permit them to speak for themselves, if they so wish.

 

Camestros Felapton

“On petunias and whales: part 8” – May 31

Puppy slate adds data

The 2015 Puppy slates did not claim to be only nominating conservatives but it is reasonable to assume that if either of the puppy slates was intended to cove works that would otherwise not get nominated then the proportion of conservative writers should be higher. Notably the final nominations had a much smaller set of authors than might be expected. John C Wright was nominated fives times (it would have been 6 but one work was disqualified on a technicality). Given circumstances highly favorable to conservative writers it is notable that the nominations had to include the same writer multiple times (including 3 spots in bets Novella).

 

Camestros Felapton

“On petunias and whales: part 9” – May 31

A conclusion

Dave Freer’s argument does not show what he thinks it shows. The flaws in the argument are:

  1. His description of a left wing category of authors is probably faulty as it relies on key issues that enjoy more popular support in the US public than some conservatives realize.
  2. Consequently his estimate of 15% while accurate for genuinely “solid liberal” people is too low when considering Hugo eligible authors. The likelihoods he needed to model may have an upper range beyond 50%.
  3. The model he uses in his analogy has some flaws but is not unreasonable and the flaws don’t severely undermine his argument
  4. Using his model an expected proportion of 45% for what he calls “red” nominees would produce results that are not highly improbable and which match his analysis of past Hugo nominees for best novel.
  5. His choice of years to analyze may be distorted by avoiding 2004 and by including WorldCon years held in countries other than the US, but his analysis would still hold if his assumption of 15% for reds was correct.
  6. There is some plausible evidence of statistical bias against very conservative authors but overall the evidence of bias is slim
  7. Dave’s argument even if it was sound does not address multiple sources of bias – some of which may be beyond WorldCon (or Puppy) influence

 

 

Joseph Tomaras on Skinseller’s Workshop

“My Last Word on the Hugos” – May 31

Campbell Award for best new writer: This is the category about which I am angriest, and not primarily or even secondarily because this was my first year of eligibility. Remember that “in addition to myself, I have also nominated Usman T. Malik (to whom I would be honored to lose), and Benjanun Sriduangkaew (who is in her second and final year of eligibility, and who I fear is unlikely to win due to some ridiculous drama).” And for a bit more about the latter, see this entry. Puppies aside, I have to question the legitimacy of a ballot with neither Malik nor Sriduangkaew. They are simply out-writing most everyone else in the present cohort.

I know I have read and enjoyed some short-form pieces by Wesley Chu. So I was mystified when I opened the Hugo voters packet, looked at the first page of The Deaths of Tao, and read this Bulwer-Lytton Award-worthy sentence:

The lone black car slunk through the dark, unlit streets, a ghostly shadow creeping past the decrepit warehouses and abandoned storefronts along the South Capitol at the outskirts of Washington DC.

Contrast that to my enthusiastic response to “Totaled” by Kary English. As for the rest of the nominees, they either have never reached my notice, or never merited it. Ballot:

  1. Kary English
  2. Wesley Chu
  3. NO AWARD

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond”

Unfortunately, during as much of the nominated year as I could push through, it’s visually hard to read–light text on dark grey background. I also didn’t find the tone and style of the reviews engaging, but I was probably less receptive because of the dark background and very light, thin text. For me, that’s a dealbreaker. If I’m going to read it, it has to be readable. Not recommended.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot: Novel” – May 31

My main problem with this being on the Hugo ballot is that, as I said, it’s a formula.  It’s comfort reading, the kind of book you turn to when you’ve had a hard day and need to relax, when you don’t want anything too challenging or surprising, when you’re pretty sure the good guys will win in the end.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Turncoat” – May 30

This story was readable. I have read some very old style English books that drone on with details that had greater meaning when they were written. It would have been more fun if I’d thought the numbers provided all had masonic meaning but the author gave no hints to that effect so again I’m not going to credit him with my random imaginings that are really just a desire for this story to have been better.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Totaled” – May 30

This story is the best of those I’ve read in the short story category so far. It made me cry at the end, touched on two interesting points, and was written literately. There’s been a lot of debate about what makes something “Hugo-worthy” and where/if to place something on the ballot if it’s good but not great, bad but not worst, etc. I find it vaguely sad to be reviewing short stories that should have been nominated for being “Hugo-worthy” and being impressed simply by it being written in a well put together English.

 

Marion in Deeds & Words

“The Hugos, 2015, Chapter Five: Big Boys Don’t Cry” – May 31

It’s too long.

I haven’t done an exact word count, but this thing must run about 14,000 words. That is at least 4,000 words too long. A look on the Hugo Awards page tells us that a shorter version of this appeared earlier and this version, which is longer, was published in 2014. If the longer version had provided context it could have been fine. The words here now are like empty calories, and gives a reader too much time to ask too many questions, questions the writer doesn’t answer.

 

The Whispers Airs 6/1

The Whispers, ABC TV’s new series based on Ray Bradbury’s story “Zero Hour,” launches on June 1.

Phil Nichols says in his analysis of the original tale on Bradbury Media

Bradbury’s story is about an alien invasion with a difference. The alien – Drill – finds a way of communicating with Earth children.The children incorporate Drill’s ideas into their play, and eventually enable Drill to take over the Earth. Like John Wyndham in The Midwich Cuckoos, Bradbury manages to tap into something inherently frightening about children. Perhaps they are too innocent, so that they just have to be up to something.

But what Bradbury’s story is really about is… bad parenting. As with another of his classic short stories, “The Veldt”, the parents just don’t pay enough attention to the kids. They’ve got enough adult things to pre-occupy them, and would rather just send the kids off to play, or to sit in front of the TV. Their lack of interest in what their kids are up to, and specifically their lack of interest in the children’s play, becomes the parents’ downfall.

Watch the first five minutes of the initial episodes on YouTube:

2015 Audie Award Winners

The Audio Publishers Association announced the winners of the 2015 Audie Awards at a ceremony in New York on May 28. Winners of interest to genre fans include —

Graveyard Book audie COMP

CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12

  • The Graveyard Book; by Neil Gaiman; Narrated by Derek Jacobi, Neil Gaiman, Robert Madge, Clare Corbett, Miriam Margolyes, Andrew Scott, and Julian Rhind-Tutt; HarperAudio

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION

  • The Graveyard Book; by Neil Gaiman; Narrated by Derek Jacobi, Neil Gaiman, Robert Madge, Clare Corbett, Miriam Margolyes, Andrew Scott, and Julian Rhind-Tutt; HarperAudio

FANTASY

  • Words of Radiance; by Brandon Sanderson; Narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer; Macmillan Audio

MULTI–VOICED PERFORMANCE

  • The Graveyard Book; by Neil Gaiman; Narrated by Derek Jacobi, Neil Gaiman, Robert Madge, Clare Corbett, Miriam Margolyes, Andrew Scott, and Julian Rhind-Tutt; HarperAudio

PARANORMAL

  • The Girl with All the Gifts; by M.R. Carey; Narrated by Finty Williams; Hachette Audio

SCIENCE FICTION

  • The Martian; by Andy Weir; Narrated by R.C. Bray; Podium Publishing

SOLO NARRATION — MALE

  • The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw; by Christopher Healy; Narrated by Bronson Pinchot; HarperAudio

PACKAGE DESIGN

  • The Light at the End; by Nicholas Briggs; Package Design by Alex Mallinson; Big Finish Productions

Doctor Who The Light At the End

The full list of winners follows the jump.

Continue reading

Demon with a Glass Hound 5/30

aka The Pup Who Circumnavigated Hugoland In A Slate Of His Own Making

The roundup includes Lela E. Buis, Samantha Noll, David Gerrold, Max Florschutz, Vox Day, Alexandra Erin, Jim McCoy, David Mack, Wei Ming Kam, Lis Carey, Pluviann, Chad Orzel, Bonnie McDaniel, Ursula Vernon, May Tree, Laurie Mann and less identifiable others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Alexandra Erin. Update: In case you’re keeping score at home, the subtitle is similar to one previously contributed by Dawn Sabados, but not identical.)

Lela E. Buis

“SJWs in space” – May 30

The Puppies debate has some interesting facets, and it’s also an unusual opportunity to observe a little human behavior. One of the main accusations of the Puppies’ spokesmen Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day), Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia is that SF&F has been taken over by social justice warriors (aka SJW) who are pushing a liberal and literary agenda while forcing out old fashioned, right-leaning SF&F. I’ve just been reading about social justice, as it turns out. According to Professor Michael Reisch the definition of social justice is fairly open to question. This mutability means that different groups tend to co-opt the activist strategy and organize to advance their own definition of what social justice really is. Clearly, the Puppies have taken on the mantle and have now become social justice warriors, the very thing they have been loving to hate.

 

Samantha Noll on Dispatches from the Philosophy of Science Association’s Women’s Caucus

“A War of Words and Ideas: Philosophy, Science Fiction, and the Hugo Award Controversy” – May 30

So why is this important for society in general and for philosophers of science in particular? The answer to this question may become clearer when we reflect on why fringe groups are escalating their campaigns in science-fiction and other genres aimed at disenfranchising and silencing entire groups of people. As Kameron Hurley of The Atlantic argues “the truth is that our wars of words and narrative matter, especially those that tell us what sorts of possible futures we can build—and groups like Gamergate, Sad Puppies, and Rabid Puppies understand this.” During a time where the United States is becoming ever more diverse and citizens’ views ever more liberal, the push to suppress this trend is becoming ever more rabid, to appropriately apply Beale’s terminology. Barring those writing from diverse standpoints from receiving formal recognition helps to limit the exposure of these works and thus silences the authors. This is one of the reasons why it is important for those living in a democratic and multicultural society to ensure that those like Beale and Correia are not successful.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 29

Worldcons, as we know them, have been around since 1939. Hugos have been awarded since 1953

Thousands of people have invested an enormous amount of time and energy into keeping the traditions of the World Science Fiction Convention going. Thousands have invested an enormous amount of time and energy in developing an award system designed to acknowledge excellence in the craft.

No award system is perfect — but it’s hard to argue with a system that has recognized the excellence of Dune, Left Hand Of Darkness, Starship Troopers, Ringworld, The Stars My Destination, Dragonflight, Stand On Zanzibar, Flowers For Algernon, City On The Edge Of Forever, Aye And Gomorrah, Blink, and other works that not only represent the best of the year — they also redefine what’s possible in the genre.

To some extent, there is an element of popularity in the voting. To some extent, there is an element of promotion by publishers and authors. To a larger extent, the problem with the Hugos is that the field has gotten so big and so sprawling that it’s impossible for any fan to be as widely read as in the past. This is why recommended reading lists are a great help.

There’s also a tradition of respect in fandom.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 29

Some people have advocated going to Amazon and Goodreads and other sites to post one-star reviews of works by authors whose views they oppose.

Please, don’t do it.

It’s a failure of integrity.

If you’ve read the work, then post your honest opinion, good or bad. But punishing an author by down-voting his/her work — that’s not fair to the author, to the work, or to readers who are looking for useful reviews.

If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.

 

Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“I’m Not a Fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy?” – May 30

I may not be a Science-Fiction and Fantasy fan.

Which is shocking. I always thought I was one. But no, according to a lot of these posts and comments I’m seeing and reading, I am not a “fan.” Or, to use the terms that some of the insulars have started to use, I am not a “trufan,” a term which, quite honestly, reminds me quite a bit of the ridiculous amount of self-inflicted (and mostly declarative) segregation in the gaming community between the “PC Master Race” and the “Console Gaming Peasants.” The console gamers aren’t really gamers, you see. They’re just casuals.

 

Caitlin on Devourer of Words

“Why I am voting for the Hugo Awards this year” – May 30

In general, I am disappointed that a small number of people think they have the right to dictate what the genres of sci-fi and fantasy consist of. In particular, people like Vox Day make me physically ill, and I don’t want promising new authors with awesome new ideas to leave the genre because of them. Vox Day in particular deserves to be defended against: this is a guy who doesn’t believe women should be allowed to vote…

 

 Vox Day onVox Popoli

“Eric Flint, SJW”

You know, we’ve wondered who was going to the new Hitler ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proved to be such a washout in that regard. My money was on Putin, so I had absolutely no idea it would turn out to be me. Someone get Hugo Boss on the line, we’re going to need some snappy new outfits for the VFM, stat! Let’s address the issues as Mr. Flint, real deal SJW, puts them forth.

  1. I don’t share Hitler’s views on race, as I have a basic grasp of human genetics and I am neither a eugenicist nor an Aryan supremacist.
  2. On the subject of Jews, I am a Zionist who edits and publishes the eminent Israeli military historian Dr. Martin van Creveld.
  3. I’m not opposed to women learning to read and write. I am opposed to women being encouraged to obtain advanced degrees in the place of husbands and children. Unlike Mr. Flint, I can do the demographic math.
  4. I don’t support honor killings. I never have.
  5. I don’t hide what I really believe. Mr. Flint claims to know what I really believe without me ever putting it into words because, and I quote, “peekaboo”. If anyone is “a fucking clown” here, it is observably Mr. Flint.
  6. I’m not trying to win Hugo Awards. I don’t care about winning awards.
  7. I have no delusions of grandeur. I’m not the one who keeps running to The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, The New Zealand Herald, NPR, Popular Science, or the Wall Street Journal to talk about me. I haven’t issued a single press release or called a single member of the media about the Hugo Awards or anything else, for that matter.
  8. Western civilization is in peril. In large part thanks to idiots like Mr. Flint.
  9. I don’t like to portray myself with a flaming sword. That was the brainchild of the Star Tribune photographer who was taking pictures of me for a story the paper was doing. Apparently he was onto something, as it’s an image many people have remembered….

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“How big is the doghouse?” – May 30

So, Kate Paulk has been tapped as the standard-bearer of next year’s Sad Puppies campaign. She has declared that next year’s Hugo ballot-stuffing initiative will be done in a transparent and democratic manner. This does not fill one with confidence, since Brad Torgersen has made the same claims about this year’s ballot-stuffing initiative.

It also needs to be pointed out that it hardly matters who leads the Sad Puppies campaign or what they do or how they do it, as this year’s otherwise failed campaign only managed to achieve accidental relevance through the fact that the successful Rabid Puppies campaign largely copied and pasted their agenda.

With all that in mind, I have to say that I’m interested in Kate Paulk’s post about what she considers to be Hugo-worthy work only as an academic matter. If the list she assembles using it winds up being the ballot, it will likely be only because someone truly nasty as well as small-minded got behind her and started shoving, as happened this year.

 

Jim McCoy on Jimbos Awesome SFF Book and Movie Reviews

“Kate Paulk’s ConVent” – May 30

Before I get too far into the book, I wanted to mention Kate’s involvement with the Sad Puppies. She is next year’s evil, evil, evil ringleader. If you support evil, mean people who evilly think that you should evilly vote for good fiction written by evil people who evilly put story over message (because they’re evil) she’s worth supporting. Oh, and her book also kicks ass, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I just wanted to take a minute to give evil praise to Her Evilness, The Duchess of Snark. Does that make me evil? Probably. I’m OK with that. Now, onto the book.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Ones Who Walk Away from Fandom” – May 30

It’s more than a little amusing. And those who walk away are the wise ones, because, as it has been sung:

Never kick a dog
Because it’s just a pup
You’d better run for cover when the pup grows up!

 

 

Wei Ming Kam on Fantasy Faction

“The pros and cons of the voting processes behind major SFF awards: Part 2” – May 31

This year, there is reportedly a massive upsurge in people buying supporting memberships of Sasquan, so basically people want to vote in the awards but have no interest in going to the con. Normally, the number of people who vote in the awards is small, so it’s reasonable to say that the upsurge is a result of the resentful manchildren making this year’s awards political. SADFACE. SAD SASQUATCH SADFACE.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Revenge of Hump Day–Hugo Nominated Best Fanzine” – May 31

It’s all perfectly competently and clearly written. I’m sure it’s well-received by its intended audience. On the other hand, I don’t see any exceptional excellence.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Sex Criminals Volume 1:One Weird Trick (Sex Criminals #1-5), by Matt Fraction (writer) Chip Zdarsky (artist)” – May 30

This one I did not expect to like. I got a surprise. It’s intelligent, thoughtful, does some really interesting things, and Suzie, as an adult, is a librarian, and a well-done librarian is always a win for me, Yes, it’s self-indulgent. So sue me.

 

Pluviann on The Kingfishers Nest

“On a Spiritual Plain – Lou Antonelli” – May 30

Imagine a great caravan of giant aliens travelling across a bleak and open plain, above them the most glorious auroral display fills the sky, and travelling with them is a human chaplain on a segway enclosed by faraday cage. This image comes from Lou Antonelli’s ‘On a Spiritual Plain’ and it deserves fanart. It’s the best part of the short story, and the idea of a faraday segway in particular really tickled me.

 

Award-Winning Reading

“Best Fan Artist” – May 28

Fun fact: I almost voted No Award for this entire category. Now I’m voting for Elizabeth Leggett and No Award for everything else. I went looking at each nominees website to make sure that I was looking at everything that is award eligible. Ninni Aalto, Brad W. Foster and Steve Stiles all have similar styles (to my very untrained eye) that just does not appeal to me. Add in that I didn’t find the subject matter that interesting, and there is no reason for me to vote for any of them. I like that Spring Schoenhuth’s work consists mostly of jewelry. I don’t really recognize most of it though, and again the style doesn’t really appeal to me, so I won’t vote for her.

Award Winning Reading

“Totaled by Kary English” – May 29

There is some science talk in this story, but it was unobtrusive and easy to understand. It was just enough to give the story weight without pulling attention away from the storyline. The writing is beautiful. Descriptive, but concise. It really drew me into the story in a way that I was not expecting.

 

Award-Winning Reading

“On a Spiritual Plain by Lou Antonelli” – May 28

I liked the writing style. Not overly wordy but descriptive enough to ground the reader. I do also like that the story made me confront the idea that I decided what the story was about when I was halfway through and then got mad when it didn’t follow like I thought it should. While I’m a bear to be around when that happens, I like to be reminded that authors can do whatever they please without catering to my idea of what it should be.

Chad Orzel on Uncertain Principles

“Hugo Reading: Not-Novels” – May 30

In the short fiction categories, two of the longer nominees were weirdly incomplete. “Flow” by Arlan Andrews and “Championship B’Tok” by Edward Lerner are perfectly fine, but just… stop. I wouldn’t object to reading more in either setting, say if these were the introductory chapters of longer novels, but as self-contained stories, they’re kind of lacking.

“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra is a complete alien-contact story, and good enough in a Heinlein-pastiche sort of vein. It’s maybe a little shaggy, but it’s enjoyable enough. “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is kind of stupid and pointless, featuring a world where gravity literally reverses itself after the narrator gets dumped. I’m not sure it’s all that much more stupid and pointless than last year’s “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere,” though, and that ended up winning, so…

“A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond is built around the nice image of a samurai climbing up the back of a mountain-sized monster in an attempt to kill it, but doesn’t quite pay off, and the bits where the narrator explains samurai stuff were kind of tedious. “Totaled” by Kary English may have been the best of the lot, a brain-in-a-vat story that had some genuine emotional content.

I don’t think any of these are brilliant, but I didn’t find any of them strikingly awful, either (“The Day The World Turned Upside Down” comes closest, but remained at “sigh heavily but keep reading” rather than “close the file and move on to the next thing”). I suspect there were probably better stories out there, but I say that almost every year that I read the short-fiction nominees, so…

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“Don’t crush THAT Hugo, hand me the SNARL” – May 30

Decades later I would find out that “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” did not barely lose out to “No Award”, and that “Blows Against the Empire “ by Jefferson Starship had actually come in second place. I know that the Jefferson Starship supergroup that put out “Blows Against the Empire” was not really the same band that “Built This City” in  1985 (“Worst song of the 80s” by a Rolling Stone Reader’s poll), but the fact that they had the same name, and several of the same members, makes me think it was better that “No Award” won in that year. In addition to the dubious distinctions of most “No Award” winners, and for propelling films like “Flesh Gordon” (nominated 1975) to prominence, the Best Dramatic Presentation has been a place where stories too far ahead of their time could be reconsidered in a digested visual format some of the members of fandom could better relate to.

 

Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo Project: ‘Wisdom From My Internet’” – May 30

I picked “Wisdom From My Internet” to review first, mainly to see if all the rumblings I’ve heard about it are true, and it is indeed the worst thing to disgrace the ballot in decades.

May I be perfectly frank for a moment?

Great Cthulhu, kill me now.

What the hell is this shit?

I really don’t want to hurt Michael Z. Williamson’s feelings, but I’m afraid it’s going to be unavoidable.

 

 

May Tree in a comment on File 770 – May 29

Voting for Noms On a Summer Evening

Whose noms these are I think I know.
His blog is quite a silly show;
He will not see me stopping here
His lousy choices to forego.

My Siamese Cat must think it queer
To stop without a Hugo near
But I must set aside this slate
And vote again another year.

These stories, at best second-rate,
Were stuffed by Pups (and GamerGate?!)
The rockets they would try to sweep
Their wounded egos to inflate.

The Puppy Poop is much too deep,
My sanity I’ll have to keep,
And “No Award” before I sleep,
And “No Award” before I sleep.

 

Laurie Mann on Facebook – May 30

This is not a joke. This group, Snarky Puppy, is playing in the INB Theater 3 months after the Hugo Awards are presented in the same building.  http://www.inbpac.com/event.php?eventID=270

Snarky Puppy

Cadigan and Aldiss GoHs at BSFA/SFF Meeting

The British Science Fiction Association reiterated yesterday on its Facebook events page that Pat Cadigan and Brian Aldiss will be the guests of honor at the group’s Annual General Meeting to be held in conjunction with the Science Fiction Foundation on June 6.

That’s great news for Cadigan fans in particular, as Pat has been undergoing treatment for cancer in recent months.

The AGM, and a mini-convention co-hosted by BSFA, SFF and the Imperial College SF and Fantasy Society, will take place on the Imperial College campus. See details here.

2015 Russ Manning Award Shortlist

The nominees for the 2015 Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award have been announced by Comic-Con International.

  • Jorge Corona, artist of Feathers (Archaia), Goners (Image), and Teen Titans Go (DC)
  • Leila del Duca, artist of Shutter (Image)
  • Vanesa R. Del Rey, artist of Hit (BOOM! Studios)
  • GABO (Gabriel Bautista), artist of The Life After (Oni Press)
  • Greg Smallwood, artist of Moon Knight (Marvel) and Dream Thief (Dark Horse)

manning_art_0The Manning Award goes to a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics. The award was created in 1982 and named for the artist known for his work on the Tarzan and Star Wars newspaper strips and the Magnus, Robot Fighter comic book. Manning also was a popular guest at early San Diego Comic-Cons.

The winner will be chosen by past Manning award winners and Russ Manning assistants and made public at the Eisner Awards ceremony on July 10 at Comic-Con International.

2015 Bill Finger Award To McGregor, Stanley

Don McGregor and the late John Stanley have been selected to receive the 2015 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing, which is given under the auspices of San Diego Comic-Con International. Each year the selection committee, chaired by Mark Evanier, selects two recipients, one living and one deceased.

Don McGregor began his career writing comic books with work for Warren (Creepy, Eerie) in 1971, and in 1972 he joined the editorial staff at Marvel Comics. Before long, he was writing for Marvel where his work became known for its unique voice. His runs with the character Black Panther in Jungle Action and on Killraven in Amazing Adventures drew strong fan response, as did his later efforts for other publishers: Detectives, Inc; Sabre, Nathaniel Dusk, and the acclaimed Ragamuffins. He also wrote Zorro both for comic books and comic strips.

McGregor will receive his award in a ceremony at Comic-Con on July 10.

John Stanley is best known for writing and occasionally drawing Little Lulu for Dell Comics from 1945 to 1959, turning Marge’s single-panel gag cartoon into a popular and hilarious series of stories and creating most of the supporting cast for Lulu’s world. His rich characterizations and humor made for a memorable series, and he applied those skills to other Dell and Gold Key comics, including Nancy and Sluggo, Melvin Monster, O.G. Whiz, and Thirteen (Going On Eighteen). As with his contemporary Carl Barks, Stanley’s work was almost completely anonymous, but avid fans unearthed the secret of who was doing that superb work. Stanley left comics for other work in the early seventies and passed away in 1993.

His Finger Award will be accepted by his son, James.

In addition to Evanier, the selection committee consists of Charles Kochman (executive editor at Harry N. Abrams, book publisher), comic book writer Kurt Busiek, artist/historian Jim Amash, cartoonist Scott Shaw!, and writer/editor Marv Wolfman.

The Bill Finger Award honors the memory of William Finger (1914–1974), the first writer of Batman. Many have called him the “unsung hero” of the character. The award was created in 2005 at the instigation of Jerry Robinson.

The Bark Between The Stars 5/29

aka If All Puppies Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?

Here in today’s roundup: Martin Wisse, Sarah A. Hoyt, Alexandra Erin, Lela E. Buis, Bruce Baugh, Adam-Troy Castro, Vox Day, Daddy Warpig, Phil Sandifer, Shaun Duke, Spacefaring Kitten, Rebekah Golden, Dave Noonan, Lis Carey, Aziz Poonawalla, Charlie Jane Anders, Natalie Luhrs, and Kyra. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and May Tree – who independently submitted the same item — and Owlmirror.)

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Your writer’s group would not be angry with this” – May 29

That’s the sort of bollocks you hear a lot of science fiction readers talk about, that they want prose that’s transparent, “doesn’t get in the way of the story”, doesn’t demand any attention paid, doesn’t challenge. There’s of course a huge inferiority complex running through parts of science fiction, resulting in the dismissal of everything that smacks of the literary and difficult. That’s what you see here. It’s not bad persé, it’s just a bit unambitious.

And to be honest, the Hugos too often have been that already. There are plenty of middle of the road novels that have been nominated and won it. Do we really need more of that, or do we rather have something a bit more challenging? Cetainly the Puppy nominees aren’t the answers: by all reports they mostly fail even Paulk’s rather low standards.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Pure Gold” – May 29

We know the air of collegiate comradery is a lie, to an extent. Note I said to an extent, and I’ll explain later.

Part of my amusement at the reaction to the whole Sad Puppies thing has been the very same people saying there were never politics in SF being the very same people who once told me that there were rifts I didn’t see in the field and that some people in the early two thousands still didn’t talk to each after arguments over the Vietnam war back in the day.

And anyone who has read Heinlein’s bio knows about the other rifts in fandom and among professionals way back before that, a lot of them political.

But this is to an extent, because to another extent… Well, guys, we’re all pretty weird. We spend our days writing about worlds and futures that don’t exist.

Older son who aspires to medicine (and is engaged in preparation to practice it) tells me that only people with a compulsion to work at healing (and he says it’s a compulsion) understand other people with the same issue. Well, guys… Yeah, same for writers, and to an extent for fans.

I’m not going to tell you that I love all my colleagues. There are many I loathe, many I cordially detest, many I tolerate, and, yes, many I love dearly. Weirdly, this doesn’t rift across political lines (of course, my politics being what they are, they are at best cross-sectional to real world politics) or even correlate to those I like to read. Yeah, curse it, some of the ones I loathe write pretty good stuff. (Shakes fist at great novelist in the sky, who has a sense of humor.)

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“The Puppies come so close to getting it, so often.” – May 28

…I stumbled across a post by Dave Freer from February called “To Serve One Master — The Reader“.

The major thrust of the blog post is the idea that however an author intends a work to be received is secondary to how readers receive it, which… okay. This is something that it’s taken me a long time to accept as an author, but I have to say that I am in general agreement with it.

The thing is, it’s weird to see a self-professed Puppy saying this. After all, these are the same people who, whenever someone starts talking about the racist or sexist content of a work, respond with “BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE AUTHOR MEANT! YOU CAN’T KNOW WHAT’S IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS! YOU’RE JUST READING INTO THINGS!”

 

Lela E. Buis

“Puppy Debate Maxing Out” – May 29

I’ve been involved in work-for-hire for the last couple of weeks, and am just coming up for air. Checking around my virtual environment, I notice the debate about the Hugo’s seems to have gone past the point of raging insults and into slash and burn territory.

This is a process that’s encouraged by the nature of the Internet itself. If this were a space opera, for example, the plot would play out something like this: The Puppies make a raid and take over territory at the Hugo Awards. Because this is considered an aggressive action, defenders of the award would assemble a force to shake them loose. They’d all let fly with photon torpedoes and phaser cannons set to “kill.” If the forces had to resort to hand-to-hand combat, they might bring out their light sabers and go at it in Star Wars style. The result would either be that the Puppies are driven off, or else they prevail and put down roots in their new territory.

The problem with this scenario, of course, is that all the battles are actually virtual. They’re being fought on blogs, websites, Twitter and Amazon accounts and in a few news outlets. This means that there can be no really decisive victory. Defenders of the Hugos can score against the other side with a well-turned phrase, but not really take back the stronghold.

 

Bruce Baugh on Google Plus  – May 28

Kate Paulk will be organizing the Sad Puppies 4 effort for next year’s Hugos, so it’s interesting to see what her creative priorities are. Two things of note, for me…

#1. Her guideline #7, “The prose is invisible.”, seems like a good way to toss out some of sf/f’s best writers, including Vance, Wolfe, Lafferty, and so many others.This line from Jack Vance’s “The Last Castle”, for instance, is delightful and very much visible: “In the end, death came uniformly to all, and all extracted as much satisfaction from their dying as this essentially graceless process could afford.” Prose I stop to admire in delight, or wonder, or the kind of bewilderment that leads to insight is a big part of why I read, and always has been.

#2. There’s nothing on her list about world-building, at all. This isn’t unique to this piece, either. None of the Puppies have much at all to say about world-building. I read sf/f for other places and times just as much for specific characters and stories within them, and one of the things that can make a work great is its setting. But seriously, they just don’t talk about world-building, which seems to me like talking about cooking shows and never wondering how something tastes.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – May 29

…Even if you’re Eric Flint and write exactly the kind of fiction the Puppies like, if you think the Puppies have no case, if you write several blog posts addressing them with logic, if you criticize Brad Torgersen in particular, you are a CHORF guilty of Saul Alinsky tactics and should be subjected to demands for apology.

Can we just make a rule in life that if you invoke the name of an old lefty who has been dead for decades and who is in fact unknown to most people who harbor left-wing beliefs, to attack criticism for crying out loud, you are at best a silly silly person?

 

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Olympian indifference of Johnny Con” – May 29

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich As a white straight male capitalist, I’m happy for @scalzi’s $3.4 million book deal. But how many women/POC are squeezed out because of it?

I had estimated 680 on the basis of other SF publishers’ current initial advances, but I stand corrected. …Tor is funding 13 more John Scalzi books at the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors. As a side note, it is informative to see how much initial advances from major publishers have shrunk over time; the advance for my first published novel in 1996 was $20,000.

Those who have thrown hissy fits over Sad Puppies supposedly slate-blocking as many as 12 authors and preventing them from receiving recognition for their work at the Hugo Awards would do well to consider the fact that Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you’re the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed.

 

Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

“On the Hugo Awards: Two Scholarly-ish Projects to Come (An Announcement)” – May 29

A lot of us in SF/F circles heard of the rumors circulating about the Hugos in the weeks prior to their announcement.  I heard many rumors from some of my friends, and many more circulated (or were revealed as truth) through RP/SP circles and through those with far more industry clout than myself.  Since last year’s Hugo Awards were also controversial, I had the feeling that these rumors were going to indicate a blow-up that we hadn’t yet scene.  And so I turned to a friend of mine for help:  Aaron Beveridge.

Aaron is one of the co-creators of MassMine, along with Nicholas Van Horn. MassMine was created with the intent of helping academics acquire meaningful data from social media platforms (specifically, Twitter).  Their program is pretty complicated, so I’ll let you go to the website and learn all about it (there’s a video and everything!).  Aaron, it turns out, is one of those enthusiastic individuals who believes, as I do, that collaboration is critical to academic work, and so it didn’t take any effort at all to convince him to help me collect data and put together the projects below.

This post serves as an official announcement for the projects that Aaron and I are working on.  These include the following:

1. MassMine-ing the Hugo Awards:  Social Media Reactions and What the Data Tell Us….

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’The Day the World Turned Upside Down’ by Thomas Olde Heuvelt” – May 29

I was pleased that a Lightspeed story made it. It’s a very good magazine that won the semiprozine Hugo last year, after all, and it has published some pretty awesome fiction in 2014 as well. I’m quite sure I nominated two stories from the magazine for the Hugos, plus the whole magazine in the semiprozine category, plus the editor John Joseph Adams in the editor category.

I don’t read absolutely everything LS publishes, though, and Olde Heuvelt’s story was new to me. Naturally, I had some great expectations. Too bad this story let them down.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Single Samurai” – May 29

It’s fairly obvious that Diamond had a vivid image of this story in his head, the problem is that at the end I did not. I think some of this is related to the fact that Diamond so utterly identified with the character he was writing that he did not see the foibles of the character’s personality.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Semi Pro Zine” – May 29

Wow! A whole category with no Puppy Shit smeared all over it.  I didn’t intend to read these because I did want to read more shitty short stories. So Beneath Ceaseless Skies sat open in my Moon+ for a couple of days before I started reading and then… shock!  The first story was good! The second story is good too!  Holy crap. So I went looking and discovered the Puppies apparently couldn’t find any right-wing nutjob Semi Pro Zines so I may actually get to read some decent stuff. Finger’s crossed.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Fanzine” – May 29

My notes and rankings for the Best Fanzine category of the 2015 Hugo Awards.

  • Journey Planet
  • Tangent Online
  • The Revenge of Hump Day

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”  – May 29

I watched all of these movies before I saw them on the Hugo nominations list. They are all good movies, and worth a bit of hard earned down-time to watch. I get to review them without reflexively asking “Would anybody want to watch/read this?”, and get down to the more important business of defining my own personal opinion. All good reviews are subjective because they arise in part from the reviewer’s enjoyment of the subject, and resonate with the reviewer’s reasons for picking up the subject of the review to begin with.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Zombie Nation, by Carter Reid” – May 29

A complete loss, in my opinion.

 

Aziz Poonawalla on Beliefnet

“G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel nominated for Hugo Award — and needs YOUR support”  – May 29

In 2013, Saladin Ahmed’s book Throne of the Crescent Moon was nominated for Best Novel, losing out to John Scalzi’s Redshirts – a tough loss indeed, but a significant honor in its own right. And way back in 1980, Steven Barnes’s The Locusts (co-written with Larry Niven) was nominated for Best Novelette, losing out to George R.R. Martin. There may be other Muslims whose works were nominated that I am overlooking, but to the best of my knowledge no Muslim has ever taken home the iconic Huge Rocket statue.

This year, however, that all could change: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, is nominated for Best Graphic Story. This is huge news and a tremendous recognition by the SF/F community of the cultural, literary, and social impact of Ms. Marvel – which is almost impossible to summarize, but this article at the venerable AV Club magazine is a pretty good primer: “One year later, Ms. Marvel’s influence is felt far beyond the comics page”

 

Charlie Jane Anders on io9

“Someone Will Livetweet Vox Day’s Debut Novel For Charity” – May 29

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity….

 [Update: In case it’s not clear, she will livetweet her reaction to the book, one page per tweet, not the actual text of the book.]

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Bad Life Decisions: Make Me Read Theodore Beale” – May 29

So you can help me raise some money for RAINN (or a charity in your country which does the same sort of work).  For every $5 donated to RAINN, I will read and  live tweet one page of this 399 page delight with the hashtag #readingVD. I’ll also re-publish the tweets and add additional commentary by chapter here at Pretty Terrible–those’ll go up as I finish each chapter (there are 29 chapters in the book, as well as a prologue and an author’s note).

However, I’m not going to read any of it until we’ve raised at least $500–and I’d like to raise that by June 11.  If we manage to raise $2,000 I will read the entirety of Theodore Beale’s Eternal Warriors™: The War in Heaven™.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Rabid Puppies Review Books: HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON” – May 29

harold

Reviewed By Special Guest Reviewer Theophilus Pratt (Publisher — Hymenaeus House)

This instructive tale tells of a young man who all by himself creates a road which he then travels down, makes a mountain which he climbs, then saves himself from falling by conjuring a balloon which he hangs onto until he can bring into being a basket capable of supporting himself. His boundless creativity allows him to shape a whole civilization of buildings until, amusingly, he re-creates the very house he started out from and sleeps the sleep of the just, knowing that everything he has in life was fashioned by his own hand.

Amusingly, this book was sold to me as a work of fantasy when it is in fact the most realistic work of fiction I have ever encountered. If anything, it was too realistic to be fiction, a fact I found very amusing. Flipping through its pages proved to be instructive, as I began to see it was nothing more than a thinly veiled if amusing allegory for my own inimitable life.

Did I not provide myself with the only light I ever needed to walk by, as Harold did? Have I not always made my own road, and even left it when even it proved too stifling to my boundless intellect? Has not my dizzying intellectual magnitude taken me to the height of peaks so high that even I cannot long find purchase upon them? And when I fall, whom do I rely upon to prop myself up except myself?

 

Kyra in a comment on File 770 – May 29

Turning and turning in the widening blog
The puppy cannot hear the puppeteer;
Things fall apart; the Hugos cannot hold;
Mere doggerel is loosed upon the fans,
The canine tide is loosed, and in Spokane
The ceremony of awards is drowned;
The fest lacks all conviction, while the trolls
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some aggravation is at hand;
Surely the Slated Hugos are at hand.
The Slated Hugos! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image of a nominee story
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert prose;
A text with turgid body and an end wholly bland,
A phrase blank and meaningless about guns,
Is moving its dull verbs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant reviewers’ words.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That sixteen nominees in fiction slots
Were read like nightmares in my shaking Kindle,
And what rough book, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Sasquan for its award?