To Sail Beyond the Doghouse 5/19

aka Chronicle of a Slate Foretold

Hitched to the sled today are Spacefaring Kitten, David Gerrold, Vox Day, Jim Henley, John C. Wright, Jim C. Hines, Lis Carey, Martin Wisse, Chris Gerrib, Joe Sherry, Rebekah Golden, Bob Snyder, and the masterpiece of Brian Z. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Rev. Bob and Kary English.)

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Kittens

Unfisk / refisk / fisk² – May 19

All I know about smoking ruins is that if that’s to happen, Elric the Prince of Ruins will be pleased. Frankly, I don’t think that anything is truly lost in either case. A Puppy-sponsored work getting a Hugo is not the end of the world and there have been weak winners in the past (and maybe all Puppy-nominated works aren’t that weak). No Award winning means that the majority of the Worldcon voters didn’t enjoy the works on the Rabid Puppies slate (plus the two or three additions that Sad Puppies managed to get up there on their own) and/or they weren’t ready to give in to a campaign of tactical voting, and that’s fine too.

I wonder who are the “CHORFs” Brad’s talking about there. Kevin J. Maroney hasn’t been suggesting that you should vote No Award over everything, slate or not. Neither has Teresa Nielsen Hayden, or Steve Davidson, or Anita Sarkeesian, or John Scalzi, or Karl Marx, or Barack Obama. I’ve been following the discussion rather closely and I remember reading one single blog post in which someone said that the voters should do a blanket No Award thing, and I think nobody was very keen on the idea.

Brad, is it possible that you’re exaggerating?

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 18

Coming back to a comment someone made here about “threats of ostracism” — no.

In all the articles I’ve seen, nobody has said, “We’re going to shun X, Y, and Z.”

Because … nobody in fandom has the power to lock anyone out.

But what is possible is that people will choose on their own not to associate with those who they perceive as toxic.

It’s not even an organized boycott. It’s just a personal reaction.

An example from the 70s: There was a C-list author whose behavior toward women was so creepy that when he entered a room, several of the women would quietly and discreetly excuse themselves and leave. He was never specifically ostracized — but individuals were choosing to spend their time elsewhere. That’s the most you’ll ever see in fandom.

And here’s how that works on the larger level:

There are opportunities that are occasionally offered to authors. You get invited to speak, you get handed an award, you get to be a Guest of Honor, sometimes you even get a lifetime achievement plaque. All very nice. But if you have a reputation for being hard to work with, and there are a lot of authors and artists who have that reputation — or if you’re the center of a major controversy, one that you created yourself — the organizers of those opportunities are going to look elsewhere for honorees.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“King Log or King Stork?” – May 19

The moment that the SJWs in the science fiction community decided they could exclude individuals from it (and whether the SFWA expulsion was technically real or not is irrelevant in this regard), that meant the open community concept was dead. The principle was established. Now we can exclude Eskimos, people with big noses, people with little noses, people who look funny, or people who smell bad; in short, we can openly exclude anyone we have the power and the desire to exclude. There is no longer free speech in science fiction.

There is no longer freedom of expression or thought. It is now a simple ideological power game and we are ready to play that game with extreme prejudice. There is no need for discourse. There is no need for dialogue, for compromise, or negotiations. There is nothing to discuss. They laid out the new rules.

They laid out the new consensus. We not only accept them, we’re going to use make far more ruthless use of them than they ever imagined. Once we were content to let the twisted little moral freaks do and think and say what they wanted, but now they have claimed the right to tell US what to do and think and say we’re not going to tolerate them anymore. We are the sons of the Crusades and the daughters of the Inquisitions. This is a game we know how to win.

 

Jim Henley on Unqualified Offerings

“The Puppies of This Generation and the Trainers of Ever Afterwards” – May 19

What occasioned considerable jocularity in comments was Wright’s statement that

For the record, I write literary fiction…

People laughed at this because many of them have read Wright’s stories and/or essays and found them to be bad. But I have no problem with Wright’s claim whatsoever. Not because I think his stories and essays are actually good. I haven’t read them. People who seem to be acute readers have found his Hugo-nominated work wanting or worse, but even if, as I suspect, they’ve got it right, I still have no problem with Wright calling his own work “literary fiction.”

 

John C. Wright in a comment on File 770 – May 19

I notice this debate consists of two points, endlessly repeated: We say that for which we stand, what our goals and methods and motives are, publicly and repeatedly. The enemy pretends we said something else and that are motives are whatever impure and horrible impulse happens to be at hand. We state that we said what we said and that our motives are what we said. The enemy pretends we did not say it. And repeat.

Now, just as a matter of logic, who has access to knowledge about our inner secret motives? How did we communicate our goals to each other and to our voters aside from public statements of our goals?

 

 

Jim C. Hines

“Hugo Thoughts: Short Fiction” – May 19

No Award will be scoring pretty high in this category. That doesn’t mean I think all of the stories are bad. (Though I don’t think they’re all good, either.) But it’s one thing for a story to be competent or interesting or fun. It’s another thing for that story to be award-worthy, for me to consider it one of the best things published in the past year. Four of these stories don’t clear that bar for me, and the fifth I’ll have to think about a little more.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Plural of Helen of Troy (from the collection City Beyond Time), by John C. Wright” – May 19

There’s a plot here, but time travel can make even a simple plot complicated, and Wright has no interest in people following the story. The nonlinear storytelling was a “feature” I didn’t need in a story where I already had difficulty caring what happened to the characters.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Pale Realms of Shade (in The Book of Feasts & Seasons), by John C. Wright” – May 20

Based on reading all the other Wright fiction nominees, I kept waiting for this to go bad places. It didn’t. It’s a solid story that, given it is explicitly religious fiction, expresses beliefs and values that have a strong and positive resonance for me. It won’t work for other people for the very reasons it does work for me, and it’s not so good that it blows me away, but this is the first of the Puppy nominees whose placement on my ballot I will have to think seriously about.

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“My gods it’s full of puppy poo!” – May 19

That gets you two of last year’s best novels and nobody will force you to read the Kevin J. Anderson. Many of the other categories are of course soiled with Puppy droppings you don’t want even if free, but there are some gems among the dross. Especially so in the Best Graphic Story category, with no Puppy nominee included and complete PDFs of Sex Criminals Vol. 1, Saga Vol. 3, Ms Marvel Vol. 1 and Rat Queens Vol. 1.

Though the Hugo Voting Packet should be seen as a bonus, rather than an inalienable part of buying a supporting membership for Worldcon, for plenty of people this of course has been the main benefit of membership, after getting to vote for the Hugos and all that. For those people this year’s packet is far from a bargain, despite the presence of the books listed above. Another reason to smack down the Puppies..

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Hugo Packet – Thoughts” – May 19

Best Related Mike Williamson’s Wisdom From My Internet is everything the Amazon preview promised, namely random crap half-assedly puked into book format. Yeah, I get that it was parody, but I’m not amused by it. Antonelli’s Letters from Gardner is better (small praise indeed) but seems mostly an excuse for an anthology of Antonelli’s short fiction. No Award for the whole category.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Short Story” – May 19

“On a Spiritual Plain” / “A Single Samurai”: One thing that I found very interesting about reading through the nominated short works is that they pair very closely in my head in how I would rank them. Antonelli’s story of a faith (of sorts) on an alien world and a man trying to lead a human spirit to wherever “moving on” turns out to be. It’s a simple story, but cleanly told. The comparison between human faith and that of the alien is interesting. “A Single Samurai”, on the other hand, is a story of action, of one samurai taking on a kaiju about to terrorize the samurai’s land. There is a certain spirituality to the samurai’s thoughts and actions and an economy to the movement and pacing of the story. On a different day, I could flip my ranking of these two stories.

 

Rebekah Golden

‘2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Orphan Black” – May 18

I can easily see how the whole series deserves a Hugo and this episode definitely has individual merit.

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story: Reviewing Sex Criminals” – May 18

Well this one definitely captured the “graphic” part of graphic story.

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Grimm” – May 19

It was good, it was entertaining but I’m hung up on the history of the Hugo Award and the depth of respect I feel for past winners. Grimm is good, and this episode is good, but it’s not that good.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Turncoat” – May 19

For a story where there is so much happening there is very little going on.

 

 

Brian Z. on File 770 – May 19

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Castalia House that day;
The score stood 16 of 20 with one story out of play.
And then when Kloos withdrew at first, and Bellet did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few turned off the stream in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only John C. Wright could get a whack at that–
We’d put up even money now with John Wright at the bat.

But Vox preceded John Wright, as did Bryan Thomas Schmidt,
Resnick already had 36, and Schubert, he had quit;
So upon that Evil League of Pups a pall was settling in,
For there seemed but little chance for John Wright’s editor to win.

Thomas Schmidt’s Kickstarter was still in its final surge,
And Vox, the much despised, had so far failed to reemerge;
And when the list was opened, and the pups saw what had occurred,
There was Resnick safe at second and poor Bryan hugging third.

Then from 5,000 pups and more there rose a lusty bark;
It echoed through the group blogs, it rattled Riverfront Park;
It blasted like a ray gun shining from the Golden Age,
For John Wright, mighty John Wright, was advancing to the stage.

There was ease in John Wright’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in John Wright’s bearing and a smile on John Wright’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No rabbit in the crowd could doubt ’twas John Wright at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he dipped his pen in ink;
The hoi polloi applauded as he urged them to the brink.
Then as Social Justice Warriors began to jibe and snip,
Defiance flashed in John Wright’s eye, a sneer curled John Wright’s lip.

And now the silver-plated rocket came from off the stage,
And John Wright stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy penman the trophy unheeded sped–
“Remember, nits make lice,” said John Wright. “No Award,” the Emcee said.

From Ustream, thick with puppies, there went up a muffled howl,
While Torgersen swooped in again like Weasley’s Great Gray Owl.
“BOO HIM! BOO THE CHORF!” shouted someone in the thread;
And it’s likely they’d have booed him had not John Wright raised his head.

With a smile of Christian charity great John Wright’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the show go on;
He signaled to the Emcee, and once more the rocket flew;
But John Wright still ignored it, and Mr. Gerrold said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the rabid puppies, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from John Wright and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his fingers strain,
And they knew that John Wright wouldn’t let that rocket by again.

The sneer is gone from John Wright’s lip, his teeth are clenched in rage;
He scratches with hyperbole his pen upon the page.
And as Due holds the envelope, he continues to compose,
And now the air is shattered by the force of John Wright’s prose.

Oh, somewhere on the favored fen the sun is shining bright;
The filk is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere pups are yelping, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy at Sasquan –mighty John Wright has struck out.

605 thoughts on “To Sail Beyond the Doghouse 5/19

  1. Danny Sichel on May 20, 2015 at 11:29 am said:

    I don’t find instances like Harlan Ellison’s boob-honking or Randall (G)arrett’s shotgun-propositioning cute or charming

    I know about the Harlan incident. But what’s this about Randall Garrett and a shotgun?

    Randall Garrett’s standard greeting to every woman he met, young, old, married, or visibly pregnant, was a crude request for coupling.

    He meant it too. There are numerous tales of his pecadillos at various public and private spaces at various conventions.

  2. On the Crusades: currently there is a trend among sections of the right to try and rehabilitate the crusades without actually paying much attention to the actual events that occurred. They tend to confuse them with the Reconquista of Spain and ignore the fact that rather than Christians fighting to regain territory Christianity had lost it was primarily Catholic Norman Franks trying to grab territory that had never been controlled by north-west Europe ever and which, in the process, helped to undermine the actual Orthodox Christian Empire that was in the region.

  3. “Turncoat” – My head-canon is that “Benedict” is telling this story decades later to the next generation of Team Human. The comparison of ship-AI to human experiences is simply to help build a rapport with the humans, not something that the AI thought at the time.

  4. ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ was urban fantasy. Thorne Smith was writing urban fantasy in the 20’s, Leiber and Heinlein in the 40’s (Conjure Wife, Magic Inc).

  5. Happyturtle on May 20, 2015 at 11:41 am said:
    “Turncoat” – My head-canon is that “Benedict” is telling this story decades later to the next generation of Team Human. The comparison of ship-AI to human experiences is simply to help build a rapport with the humans, not something that the AI thought at the time.

    If only there was the slightest hint of anything like that in the story itself.

    If the readers have to so much creative work to make the story make sense, there is a problem with the writing.

  6. Jack Lint:”I wasn’t expecting the children of the Inquisition…”

    Just to fold this into the Warhammer discussion:

    http://product-images.highwire.com/2282524/inquisition5.jpg

    It also just dawned on me that you could take any piece of Imperium-centric art from Warhammer 40k and paste “This is what Rabid Puppies really believe.” and it would be on target far more often than not.

  7. omm: “OMG I love Glittery Hoo Hah as a trope name. I’ll bet that came by way of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books,”

    They adopted it, but it first started on Television Without Pity – I was there. It was instantly recognizable as awesome.

    I’ve finally found a defense of KJA! And – it’s because he’s sold a lot of books. And “He puts fan enjoyment ahead of cause of the day message fic, and then cranks out works.” Well, I agree with the “cranks out” part. Oh, and they’re media tie-ins. Yep, noticed that – pretty much any discussion of “so what Star Wars books should I read” will have someone saying “but not the KJAs”. My mom, who absolutely loves *all* the original Herbert Dune books (yes. All of them), cannot stand the KJAs. Given that the media tie-in group someone linked to recently has made him a Grand Master, I doubt he really cares that he doesn’t have a Hugo.

    “Not content with setting Man on his new evolutionary path, integrated posthumanity was determined to cleanse his present and future of contamination from his past”

    I agree with the person who compared it to D&D – Eclipse Phase, specifically. My GM came up with a more concise, coherent version of a similar backstory, but then he puts more effort into worldbuilding our campaigns than a lot of published authors seem to do.

    (re Garrett) “He meant it too. There are numerous tales of his pecadillos at various public and private spaces at various conventions.”

    And when the answer was no, how did he take it? (I’m not completely shocked, I’ve known people who grew up in the 60s and hung out in places where that would be a perfectly normal greeting.)

  8. Danny,

    It was mentioned in a previous post. Garrett used to go up to women and say “Hi! I’m Randall Garrett. Let’s fuck”.

    Also aparently Asimov was such a renowned perv, it was jokingly suggested he do a talk on the Positive Power of Prosterier Pinching at one con.

  9. “Turncoat” – My head-canon is that “Benedict” is telling this story decades later to the next generation of Team Human. The comparison of ship-AI to human experiences is simply to help build a rapport with the humans, not something that the AI thought at the time.

    Awwww! I like that one!

    ….man. …how long do you think it would take to put together an anthology of stories rewriting/rehabilitating/”inspired by” the Puppy slate nominees?

    …Kickstarter?

  10. I’m sorry. I apologize for the last post. It was meant in jest, and it was mean-spirited.

    I have not read most of the SP/RP nominees, and they’ve got their fans regardless of my own personal opinions.

    “Rewriting” other people’s stories would be malicious, and even joking about it is mocking writers for writing, which is not what I want to be doing.

    Sorry about that. Carry on.

  11. >> Next year is the final chance of seeing Terry Pratchett on the ballot. His last two novels are due out, and while I’ve not read them I’ve little doubt that they’ll be worth reading.>>

    Another thing to consider:

    Pratchett was nominated before, and declined the nomination, in part because he felt he was plenty successful enough without a Hugo and he’d rather see the attention and boost go to someone else.

    Now that he’s passed on, nominating him could seem like a final chance at honoring and thanking him, but it could also be seen as ignoring his wishes, getting him on the ballot at a time he can’t say “No thanks, folks, let the next guy in line in instead.”

    Different people will have different views on this (and perfectly valid ones, I expect), but it’s at least worth thinking about.

  12. “And when the answer was no, how did he take it? (I’m not completely shocked, I’ve known people who grew up in the 60s and hung out in places where that would be a perfectly normal greeting.)”

    He seems to have taken it with cheerful equanimity. Garrett had something of a reputation among the men authors of his acquaintance as a loveable rogue and trickster. It is quite … Illuminating to hear so many Big Names laughing about Garrett’s hilariously relentless groping and pursuit of girl fans in their reminiscences of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies.

    The women authors who spoke of him tended to be more tight-lipped about him, but weakly smiling and generally going along with the masculine merriment.

  13. “Turncoat” – My head-canon is that “Benedict” is telling this story decades later to the next generation of Team Human. The comparison of ship-AI to human experiences is simply to help build a rapport with the humans, not something that the AI thought at the time.

    That’s a cute idea; I like it. But if that’s the case, telling it in the present tense seems a bit odd. Plus, are the children of spacefarers going to have much idea what a “knight” is?

    I’m reminded of Lois McMaster Bujold saying “every pitch has a catch” by which she meant that the reader brings experiences (and sometimes interest and enthusiasm) to the story that change the way she perceives it. The Puppies have different interests than I do, and they’re considerably more willing to do headwork to make their stories deeper and more meaningful to them. I, by contrast, understandably resent being played for a patsy and appointed to meekly crown some Puppy pick “best” and so I’m not approaching the story in the same enthusiastic headworky manner.

  14. The women authors who spoke of him tended to be more tight-lipped about him, but weakly smiling and generally going along with the masculine merriment.

    Judith Merrill rather famously dumped and ashtray over his head.

  15. Judith Merrill rather famously dumped and ashtray over his head.

    Okay, I read that, and I slowly started to smile. Presently I had to stop because I was in danger of splitting a lip by smiling too hard.

    Thanks.

  16. The Puppies have different interests than I do, and they’re considerably more willing to do headwork to make their stories deeper and more meaningful to them.

    Wait, is this a thing some readers do?

    I’d never heard of that. At least, not in this context (I think I’ve heard of headcanon, but mostly referring to, like, ongoing series with rotating writers and network constraints, so there are naturally a million holes that don’t work smoothly).

    I’d be fascinated to hear more, if this is seriously something that’s an element of some people’s reading experiences.

  17. A couple loose threads:

    Using your middle initial is OK, but if someone is using your middle name, you’re often in trouble. It’s either your mother who is upset with something you have done or else you’ve tried to shoot a sitting president. Or something in-between.

    Initialisms/Acronyms are very popular with the US military and often people who have served or have read a lot of MilSF will use them like some sort of secret argot. (Does MilSF count?) Oddly, there’s some assumed machismo about using abbreviations. My favorite is use of GSW on police procedurals. While it may be easier to write GSW instead of gunshot wound, you’re actually adding a syllable when you say it.

    The usual assortment:

    Have Pup Will Travel
    To the Green Dog Parks Beyond
    Puppies like Small Elephants
    I Know Why the Caged Puppy Barks
    Slouching Towards Spokane

  18. Headcanon is indeed a big part of many fandoms. For smaller ones it’s something of a godsend. And some works really do go out of their way to encourage it.

    Few would suggest that works should win literary awards on the strength of their fans’ headcanons though.

  19. The best tie-in novel I ever read was probably the Ian Watson WH40K Space Marine. It’s cosmic horror, it’s milSF, it’s bildungsroman, it gets a bit homoerotic (although not very so). It even has a few jokes.

    Early Games Workshop stuff definitely had a bit of satire going on, although I don’t think they were putting bright line between violence-is-awesome and this-is-all-a-bit-silly-really. That’s where things like orcs being basically football hooligans come from. A lot of the first WH40K was just grabbed from the things they liked, so you had a psychic navigators guild (from Dune), Judges (from Judge Dredd) and powered armour space marines (from Starship Troopers) fighting Space Orks with war machines that belch smoke and are painted scarlet because “red wunz go fasta”. Later they defined their own universe better and prefered to be consistent to making jokes.

  20. @Peace:

    My friend points out that this is a *writers’* uprising, not a readers’.

    In some ways it reads like the ultimate Authors’ Big Mistake.

    I think that’s about the size of it, yes.

    Re: “Turncoat” – my impressions on reading it for the first time, as a liveblog by someone who reads and (usually) enjoys mil-SF:

    – Suit of armor is a ship with armor?
    – The torpedoes get a class name but the frigate doesn’t? And WTF is a “deep-space torpedo,” anyway?
    – Point defense lasers are a shield, not a sword. It’s right there in the name: “point defense lasers.”
    – End of second paragraph: not impressed. Needs editing, to say the least.
    – Fourth paragraph: “Today”. No, period goes inside the quotes…
    – Time measurements based on…wha? No, that’s stupid. Who the hell would design a system to use remote pulsars to calibrate timekeeping? Maybe it could kind of make sense if the ships never approach relativistic speeds; does everything happen in the context of a single solar system? No, we’ve got “deep-space torpedoes.” Nonsense!
    – “Wireless skulljack”? Um, no. I wonder if the author watches a radio television.
    – “I must tolerate their presence” – real charmer, this one. Reminds me of the “virus with shoes” attitude from The Matrix.
    – See, the other ships get a class name!
    – How does a ship “bristle” with sensors?
    – He spells out “eight hundred ninety-six” but not “103,” “648,” or “644”? Bad editor! No cookie!
    – “Their specifications have not changed.” This is war, and you expect changes to be obvious? Stupid frigate!
    – Why are you kicking the planetoid?
    – Is the correct title “Sensors” (first use) or “Sensor Master” (second use)? Bad editor! Go fix!
    – 20 gravities? I hope there’s a good inertial damper on board, or else the ship just solved that pesky infestation problem…
    – Launching torpedoes at 400g, and the planetoid’s still able to give ’em a boost? No! Bad astrophysics!
    – “it will appear as if the torpedoes have appeared” – gobbledegook!
    – They’re still using meters and days, but minutes have become “decasecs”?
    – Sweat-drinking nanites? How much sweat are these guys producing for that to be necessary? Maybe he should lower the temperature instead of worrying so much about the CO2…
    – Oh, so now you like humans? Bad characterization…
    – Tightly-focused bursts? Are those like specific generalities?
    – Why does a ship AI visualize data at all, let alone in color?
    – The torpedoes use warheads to deploy flak?!?
    – Wait, the ship fired the first spread, but the sensor master has to order the second one… and the ship can countermand him? At least, I assume that’s the ship giving the “Weapons on my command” order originally; looking back, it’s not really clear.

    Okay, this makes no goddamn sense. If I were considering this for an anthology, I might read to the end of the battle scene, just for my own curiosity, but this is where I’d reject it. It would need a ground-up rewrite to reach “serious consideration” level, let alone acceptance. Skimming ahead, I see garbage like “Eight point nine decaseconds” – in other words, 89 seconds. Pointless obfuscation.

    I’ve got nothing against a solid space battle, but this one makes less sense than a description of porn as sticking fingers into belly buttons would. If I were feeling charitable, I’d include a link to On Basilisk Station in my rejection letter.

  21. Nate: “f our authors win… we win. If no award wins… we win. And if you no award everything… we still win.
    And please understand… we will be back next year. The slates aren’t going away. If anything they’ll just merge into one bigger more powerful slate than the two that dominated this year.”

    SOory it is more complicated that:
    If No Award wins a category with an ODD number of votes then we win. (this will invoke a subcommittee to then determine who ‘we’ are)
    If No Award wins with a prime number of votes you win but only if rule 1 doesn’t apply.
    If No Award wins everything then you lose UNLESS you throw a number greater than 7 on a D20.
    If Vox Day wins a category then you lose because the “we all voted ironically” rule comes in play.
    If John C Wright wins a category then the “its opposite day” rule comes into effect.
    If one of the secret-SJW-ninja candidates win then you lose. The secret-SJW-ninjas have infiltrated the puppy nominess and have ensured some of the nominated works contain subliminal messages advocating social justice.
    If John Scalzi wins then George RR Martin wins based on the “but those guys weren’t even nominated” rule.
    Alexandra Erin has already won.
    The Roland Barthes Memorial Hugo Award for post-structuralist reading will go to whoever wins in the arm wrestling contest between Vox Day and Theodore Beale.

    Other rules and winning conditions available on request.
    Rules subject to change.

  22. Also, headcanon can take many forms, from filling in narrative gaps to fix fic.

    The thing is, most people that go deep into such things actually acknowledge the shortcomings of the works they love that inspire those very headcanons.

  23. XS – Thanks! I’m definitely off on a tangent here; I’m not saying anything about the awards, I’m just interested to hear about this concept, which I’m completely unfamiliar with.

    Could I trouble you for an example or two for “smaller fandoms where it’s a godsend” or “works that go out of their way to encouragement”? I don’t really know where to start reading up on this 🙂

  24. Kim Newman (as Jack Yeovil) wrote some great books as part of various Games Workshop tie-ins. I think some of them are better known than the games they were originally written for.

  25. Chiming in on “Turncoat”:

    It’s a good first draft.

    Back when I was at Clarion, I wrote a MilSF story that had the ships zooming about in space like Richthofen and Mannock were flying them on the first page.*

    Needless to say, that got edited out in later versions. 🙂

    There are some germs of good ideas there — and I *like* good space opera.

    But so many little things read wrong, and kept tossing me out of the story — for example, in no particular order:

    1) the naming convention for AIs and ships made no sense, and seemed to have no pattern other than “A number, a Greek letter, and something sounding cool.”

    2) the sudden revelation of “We can take over enemy ships” at least some of the time did, indeed, come out of nowhere — at least as far as I could tell. We’d seen “I can hack into your systems”, but it required hardware access I did *not* see referenced at all with the battleships.

    3) The use of “day” is lampshaded, but even the humans use decaseconds. This jarred.

    4) As has been pointed out, the use of “Benedict” was …very narrowing in terms of the story’s audience, and as a punchline, well…

    As I said — there were problems that could probably have been fixed with a good workshopping or two. But that’s too low a bar for a Hugo vote from me.

    * In critique session, after everyone in the group called me on that, and it was time for my response, I took the first page off my manuscript, set it on fire with a borrowed cigarette lighter, and dropped it in the ashtray next to me. Clarion was a weird time. 🙂

  26. @Nyq Only:

    If Vox Day wins a category then you lose because the “we all voted ironically” rule comes in play.

    This is the point at which my silent amusement at your post first became audible. It became moreso throughout the rest. If this doesn’t get picked up for tonight’s roundup I will start my own slate campaign in response.

  27. I would rather see Pterry remembered fondly and sincerely for the scope of his career than given a Hugo repurposed into a lifetime achievement award.

  28. “Could I trouble you for an example or two for “smaller fandoms where it’s a godsend” or “works that go out of their way to encouragement”? I don’t really know where to start reading up on this ”

    Sure! Smaller fandoms might be older books that still have a devoted following hungry for more material. That definitely holds true for some videogame fandoms. Fans of the older Final Fantasy games that came out before 7 hit the mainstream stand out. They’re a dedicated bunch who love characters and stories that came through a filter of technical and storytelling shortcomings and haven’t had the benefit of a ton of sequels or remakes.

    Videogames also present an easy example for works that encourage it, from high player-agency stories like Mass Effect and Dragon Age to games that have vague narratives rich for interpretation like Limbo or the first Silent Hill, which is full of ambiguity and seemingly contradictory details. Non game examples would include any work whose author admits is left open for audience interpretation. And then there’s David Lynch.

    Hitting tumblr and just searching for “headcanon” may turn up quite a lot to go through, both silly and serious.

    You’ll probably wind up going through a lot of porn though.

  29. The Puppies have different interests than I do, and they’re considerably more willing to do headwork to make their stories deeper and more meaningful to them.

    Wait, is this a thing some readers do?

    Absolutely they do. We just saw Happyturtle doing it, to choose one example. I can’t give you much in the way of examples off the top of my head because we don’t tend to notice our own headwork* (at least I don’t.)

    But I remember Lois McMaster Bujold (I think…I’m obviously getting old. But it was either her or Barbara Hambly) mentioning it in a talk at a con once, that her parents just Could. Not. Understand. what she and her friends saw in Star Trek. Meanwhile she and her friends were cleaning it up in their heads–resolving inconsistencies in plot or characterization, etc, sometimes by consulting with each other in the process–and this cleaned up version of the show was what they loved, and not the occasionally silly and campy version on TV whose flaws were all too apparent to her parents.

    *Note that I’m using “headwork” here because I’m not quite sure it’s the same thing as “headcanon.”

  30. Re: Pratchett: I agree with those who have deep reservations about his later books.

    I would suggest that the last Discworld book where I really think he was at the top of his game was Making Money (although I liked some of the ones after that, I think that was the peak). Reading Raising Steam was a little like . . the Uncanny Valley of Pratchett prose. I kept thinking, “Didn’t anyone else see the problems? Couldn’t someone have opened up Making Money, and this, and showed him how he used to do scene setting, and character voice, and having the characters behave consistently, and plot foreshadowing, and so on…”

    But perhaps everyone who could have done so thought it would have been too cruel. And to be honest, I am not sure I would have had the heart to do it either, in their place.

    It does occur to me that now that it is no longer possible to hurt his feelings, those who now have control of his remaining works can, perhaps, put more effort into editing the work into something more like he would have done ten or so years ago. So keep that in mind.

    Which reminds me, since no-one mentioned it: I don’t know Lyn Pratchett, other than seeing her name at the front of every book by Terry Pratchett, but given that she explicitly shares the copyright to the books, she presumably has the right to withdraw works from award consideration, if she so chooses.

  31. Alexandra Erin says:

    I would rather see Pterry remembered fondly and sincerely for the scope of his career than given a Hugo repurposed into a lifetime achievement award.

    Besides, there’s already something Worldcon does that’s considered as the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award– inviting a person as a Guest of Honor. Which Sir Terry was in 2004.

  32. Standback on May 20, 2015 at 12:01 pm said:
    The Puppies have different interests than I do, and they’re considerably more willing to do headwork to make their stories deeper and more meaningful to them.

    Wait, is this a thing some readers do?

    I’d never heard of that. At least, not in this context (I think I’ve heard of headcanon, but mostly referring to, like, ongoing series with rotating writers and network constraints, so there are naturally a million holes that don’t work smoothly).

    I’d be fascinated to hear more, if this is seriously something that’s an element of some people’s reading experiences.

    Well, sure. For example, I have run into authors who rely on reference to particular songs as a shorthand for emotional development and resonance.

    For people familiar with the songs, the work is done, and they presumably “get” more or less the mood and atmosphere the author is trying to convey. Everyone else is left high and dry.

    Or this: One time at a friend’s recommendation I picked up a particular author. The first book I found to read was a few into a series, so I expected to be missing some of the context and needing to fill it in. So far no problem.

    But then there came a magical battle and suddenly people were hurling technical terms at each other with no context or description. Just “so-and-so opened her hand and hurled a leven bolt.” Um, okay.

    After several paragraphs of people throwing unexplained gobbledygook at each other I had the annoyed thought that these were simply stage directions for readers to make up little movie scenes in their heads, and that if the reader had the vocabulary list they could create their own inner show. But as a story it was lacking all implication, all magic, ironically.

  33. Cat: “*Note that I’m using “headwork” here because I’m not quite sure it’s the same thing as “headcanon.””

    I’d lean towards seeing it as to circles on a Venn diagram that are only mostly overlapped.

  34. “A number, a Greek letter, and something sounding cool.”

    Oh, yes, that. A name should not remind me of 7-Zark-7 any more than it should remind me of Jar Jar Binks, but for all that character was clumsily slotted in, at least its name rolled off the tongue better than Alpha 7 Alpha.

  35. I’ve been saving the whole series of Pratchett/Baxter collaborations for the coming Pratchett drought so no comment on the quality of those

    As I understand it, those are defined as “Pratchett/Baxter” because a) they’re by Baxter, based on a short story that Pratchett wrote in the early ’80s [it’s what he had planned to work on if Discworld hadn’t succeeded]; and b) because the name “Pratchett” on a book = sales.

  36. ‘Head-canon’ just means I thought about it long enough to imagine more about the story. It doesn’t have to be part of a big connected fandom.

  37. Jim Henley: “If this doesn’t get picked up for tonight’s roundup I will start my own slate campaign in response.”

    Suggestion for naming your slate: Sad Dogies Roundup.

  38. “Sad Dogies Roundup.”

    Oh, my… has anyone filked “Git Along Little Dogies” yet? Because a song with “It’s your misfortune and none of my own” in the refrain is just *begging* for it…

  39. >> ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ was urban fantasy. Thorne Smith was writing urban fantasy in the 20’s, Leiber and Heinlein in the 40’s (Conjure Wife, Magic Inc).>>

    THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO (1883) is urban fantasy.

    At the time all of these came out, they would have been called something else, of course, because “urban fantasy” is a marketing category that arose when there was enough of this stuff coming out for people to see a value in lumping it all together and giving it a name. That seems to have happened around the work of de Lint, Terri Windling and Emma Bull, though as noted they call their stuff “mythic fiction” now, leaving the UF term to the fangbangers and the asskickers of the fantastic that front the subgenera these days.

    So on the one hand, figuring out the first story that fits the definition of UF is historically interesting, but the term was coined around them what popularized it in the 1980s, and popularization was more important than actual invention to that.

    When I encountered de Lint, it didn’t occur to me that it was a new subgenre, since I’d read THE BORROWERS and HALF MAGIC and lots of other books where fantasy happened in a modern setting. It was just that what I’d read before had mostly been aimed at children (aside from things like OPERATION CHAOS and “Magic, Inc.”).

    [Though “Magic Inc.” isn’t urban fantasy per se, it’s alternate-timeline fantasy, since the magic is openly known and used and regulated. It’s set in a modern world that has some resemblance to ours but clearly isn’t, while THE BORROWERS could be ours and we just didn’t know about the fantasy.]

    Thorne Smith, along with some early Robert Bloch and others doing comedic contemporary fantasy in the 30s through the 50s, was what I think of as “screwball fantasy.” I’d love it if someone was doing that today…

  40. Jim Henley: “If this doesn’t get picked up for tonight’s roundup I will start my own slate campaign in response.”

    Well if it doesn’t get picked up that means I won.

  41. @cmm: “From the discussion here about other cons, I think I should make more of an effort to travel and visit more of them because they do really sound like fun.”

    In case you missed the news, TimeGate is happening this weekend in Atlanta. I’ll be there, and I’m particularly looking forward to meeting the two headlining guests. As for your remark about attending alone: my room reservation looks like I’ll have a spare bed, but (a) I keep late hours and (b) I believe our genders differ, so offering it might come across as skeevy despite honorable intentions. (All I expect from a con roommate – of any gender – is that they chip in on the bill, leave my stuff alone, and don’t make a mess of the bathroom.) There is an overflow hotel with shuttle service, though, and I’ll chat with just about anybody.

    @Ryan:

    I should also mention that I read “Turncoat” on the website, so maybe some of the flaws were corrected for publication; that’s a solid point. Even so, it speaks poorly of the author that he would keep the weaker version online.

  42. More examples of head-canon:

    In Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas is a lesbian and in love with Elizabeth Bennet.

    Breq, of Ancillary Justice, sings “Eye of the Tiger” when she’s training.

    When my husband and I were reading Childhood’s End, we were annoyed that there were so few women in the book, so we decided all the Overlords were female. (Imagine our surprise when Charles Dance was cast as Karallen in the upcoming Syfy miniseries!)

    It can be anything like this, silly or serious. I’m not the only one, right?

  43. Happyturtle: You’re not the only one: In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Judge is actually a Hanna-Barbera minimally animated character, and *that’s* why he wants to kill all the classic ‘toons.

  44. Personal headcannon: R2D2 is the Sith Lord that Palpatine discusses with Anakin at that watery opera thing in Episode 3.
    I annoy my children by analyzing anything R2 does in any episode or any tie-in material on that basis.

    Not only are the prequels improved but also the ‘Droids’ cartoon series from whenever that was.

  45. @Mike Glyer:

    Suggestion for naming your slate: Sad Dogies Roundup.

    Exactly what I’d expect from a member of what I call the NSOFHs: Name-Suggesting Obstreperous File770 Hosts. This is a very good acronym and I will keep using it in expectation that other people enthusiastically take it up.

  46. @Happyturtle:

    Breq, of Ancillary Justice, sings “Eye of the Tiger” when she’s training.

    Literally choked on my drink.

  47. I’ve heard the more disparate elements in Silent Hill: Homecoming click into place if you just consider the hero to be deeply in the closet.

    Apparently that headcanon enriched the experience for more than a few fans, even turning some negative opinions of the game around.

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