Pixel Scroll 7/27 Riffing on AD&D

A long-eared geezer, eight stories and an embarrassing admission in today’s Scroll.

(1) Today’s birthday boy is… Bugs Bunny. He’s 75 years old.

(2) David Steffen answers “Why Do I Value The Hugos?” on Diabolical Plots.

[Excerpt is the second of seven points.]

I’ve been following the Hugos closely for several years, trying to read and review as many of the nominated works as I can digest between the announcement of the ballot and the final deadline.  I also follow the Nebulas, and I glance at the results from other SF genre awards, but for me the Hugos take up most of my attention come award season.  With this eventful Hugo year, it crossed my mind to wonder why the Hugos specifically, and whether I might perhaps be better off devoting more of my attention to awards that don’t collect controversy the way the Hugo Awards always seem to do, and in escalating fashion these last few years….

  1.  The Hugos Have a Long Reading Period

The Nebulas and the Locus awards have very short reading periods (the period of time between the announcement of the ballot and the voting deadline) of only about a month.  If I want to read as much of the fiction as possible, that’s not nearly enough time–I can’t finish all the short fiction, let alone start the novels.  The Hugo ballot is announced around Easter weekend (usually early April or so) and the voting deadline is at the end of July, so there are nearly four months to try to do all the reading.  The Hugo Packet isn’t released right at the beginning of the reading period, but usually enough of the short fiction was published in online venues so that I can fill my reading time with Hugo material.

https://twitter.com/LisaR_M/status/625448045316943872

(3) Then maybe Lisa would rather hear about – Worldcon site selection?

Spacefaring Kitten thinks it’s only fair that Helsinki win the right to host 2017 because all the other contenders have already had a turn…or seven.

A few facts to consider:

Five last countries that have hosted a Worldcon: United States (2015), United Kingdom (2014), United States (2013), United States (2012), United States (2011). Next year, the Worldcon will be in United States. In case the bid for Washington DC in 2017 (that is sort of a favorite at the moment, I guess) is successful, that’s third United States year in a row, and given the fact that there are only US bids for 2018 at the moment, it’s quite probably going to be four years of back-to-back United States Worldcons and seven United States Worldcons in eight years. That’s a lot of United States in one paragraph.

Competing for the 2017 Worldcon location, there are also bids for Montreal (in Canada) and Shizuoka City (in Japan). After 2000, the Worldcon has been in Canada twice (2009, 2003) and in Japan once (2007). Now, I’m sure that all proposed locations would hold a wonderful convention, but Helsinki would certainly be something new.

worldcon(4) Toymakers have got to protect the brand. Or, “Why Thomas the Tank Engine Doesn’t Kill Anybody in Ant-Man.

“I believe in Edgar [Wright] and Joe Cornish’s original drafts it was a train set,” Reed recalls. “At some point in the process that predated my involvement it became Thomas. As I came on, they had not secured the rights to Thomas. We had to do this whole thing where we did this presentation for the people who own the rights to Thomas. Thank God they agreed and found it funny, but there were definite stipulations. For example, nobody could be tied to the tracks and run over by Thomas. Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil Thomas. Thomas had to stay neutral in the battle, which was always our intention. Like anybody, they’re protective of their brand. I didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the rights to that. There are certain things I was going to be devastated about if we couldn’t have them. Thomas was one, because… you could do any kind of toy train, but the personality of that thing and the eyes moving back and forth give it a whole vibe and took it to another level.”

(5) Another Castalia House child prodigy! Jeffro Johnson reports in “First Session Report for my Daughter’s Dungeon Design!”

At the age of nine, my daughter has designed a 15 level dungeon, gotten paid for her work, and received back playtest report. It doesn’t get any better than that…!

It’s true – and entertaining, too.

(6) The Official Tolkien Calendar 2016 featuring artwork by Tove Jansson will be released on July 30. The cost is £9.99.

Jansson, who passed away in 2001, is well-known worldwide as the author and artists behind the popular Moomin series. As an accomplished artist, she provided the artwork for the Swedish editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Hobbit (also later used in Finnish editions). In Boel Westin’s autobiography of Jansson, she is quoted as saying “The figures are banal: dwarves, gnomes, fairies, dark-elves. But the scenery is luring in its macabre cruelty … Haunted woods, pitch-dark rivers, a moon-lit moor with burning wolves.

2016 Tolkien Calendar(7) Ursula K. Le Guin is offering writing advice through an “Online Fiction Workshop” at Book View Cafe. Use the form at the post to submit your question.

I have enough vigor and stamina these days to write poems, for which I am very thankful. It takes quite a lot of vigor and stamina to write a story, and a huge amount to write a novel. I don’t have those any more, and I miss writing fiction.

Reliable vigor and stamina is also required to teach a class or run a workshop, and so I had to give up teaching several years ago. But I miss being in touch with serious prentice writers.

So in in hope of regaining some of the pleasures of teaching and talking about writing fiction with people who do, I’m going to try an experiment: a kind of open consultation or informal ongoing workshop in Fictional Navigation, here on Book View Café.

I hope it will work its own process out as we go along, but here’s how I plan to start:

I invite questions about writing fiction from people who are working seriously at writing fiction.

(8) Explore the author’s earliest novels in Part I of SF Signal’s Interview with Samuel R. Delany.

Q: Your new book, A, B, C: THREE SHORT NOVELS, takes the reader back to the beginning of your career by offering up your first three novels. What is it about these works that impelled you to offer them up again?

Samuel R. Delany: With all these books’ clumsinesses and immaturities, I think—I hope—I was trying for something that is probably harder and harder to see with time’s passing. Indeed, it may never have been there. The only thing that might have thrown some highlighting onto it at the time they were published were slight differences between them and what was then coming out in the genre. Because so many changes have taken place in the background against which individual works now register, however, it’s harder and harder to read the signals.

(9) The Guardian included Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves on its 70 title longlist for the “Not The Booker prize”.

If you want to become part of this noble process, all you have to do is vote for two books from the longlist, from two different publishers, and accompany those votes with a review of at least one of your chosen books in the comments section below. This review should be something over 100 words long, although, as the rules state, we probably won’t be counting all that carefully.

Readers have until August 2 to vote titles onto the shortlist.

(10) After using geometric logic to deduce the wrong writer behind “Ray Blank’s” real-life identity, I was informed by a friend that it’s not even a secret. Eric Priezkalns says it’s him:

Ray Blank is the pen name I use when submitting speculative fiction to publishers.

And just in case I needed more convincing, my friend also ran comparative text samples through IBM Watson Personality Insights. Because science!

Really, though, it’s just not any kind of a secret.

[Thanks to JJ, Mark, Will R., Jonathan Olfert, and John King Tarpinain for some of these stories. Title credit to Soon Lee]

250 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/27 Riffing on AD&D

  1. 1. FROM KU-FU TO TAI-TASTIGON
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart
    God Stalk, P. C. Hodgell
    The Bridge of Birds was good at the time, I’ve not read God Stalk, but this has the write-in:

    Glen Cook, The Black Company

    2. WEST COAST MAGIC
    Wizard of the Pigeons, Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm
    Tea with the Black Dragon, R. A. MacAvoy

    Somehow WotP did not grab me like TwtBD.

    3. THE SWORD OR THE CHORD
    The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
    War for the Oaks, Emma Bull

    4. TOTALLY STRAIGHTFORWARD NARRATIVE
    Soldier of the Mist, Gene Wolfe
    The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

    I’m not sure I’ve read that Wolfe, but TAG is a favourite that beats the best I’ve read of Wolfe (which I generally like), so…

    5. WE DON’T DIE, WE JUST MOVE TO OTHER BODIES
    Daggerspell, Katharine Kerr
    The Silent Tower, Barbara Hambly

    Neither rose above average for me.

    6. MYTH MADE FLESH
    Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
    Fire and Hemlock, Diana Wynne Jones

    Nope.

    Dianna Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle

    7. TITANIA VS. MORGAN LE FAY
    Little, Big, John Crowley
    The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

    Not even close. LB a little uneven in places, but very ambitious, whilst TMOA was just tedious.

    8. HELL IS OTHER ANGELS
    The Darkangel, Meredith Ann Pierce
    To Reign in Hell, Stephen Brust

    I really liked the Brust, but this one belongs to

    Michael Moorcock, The War Hound and the World’s Pain

  2. Morris:

    Here’s why I’m voting Helsinki first:

    1. I want to go to Finland.
    2. Their bid looks good.
    3. Their information supporting the bid looks good.
    4. Smorgasbooooooord.
    5. I want to go to Finland.

    Snowcrash:

    It’s not working too well for poor Brad. Mind you, given that his idea of an outspoken liberal is probably includes Scalzi!, I fear he’s not gonna do too well.

    He’s already cited Scalzi as an outspoken liberal.

    RedWombat:

    I feel similarly about those who voted against Hero and the Crown.

    As do I about those who voted against WAR FOR THE OAKS.

    And THE NEWFORD STORIES.

    Bums. Bums, allaya.

  3. @Kurt: “He’s already cited Scalzi as an outspoken liberal.”

    How utterly unsurprising. I do like the point GRRM raised though, which of course, Brad ignores fully:

    “Loud” liberals and radicals do not win Hugos either, historically. Fair or unfair, a large portion of the electorate reacts negatively to stridency and anger, no matter if it comes from the right and left. Joanna Russ never won a Hugo. Norman Spinrad never won a Hugo. Michael Moorcock never won a Hugo. J.G. Ballard never won a Hugo. All outspoken “loud” liberals and feminists. If your conspiracy theories were true, they should each have a shelf of rockets by now.

  4. Yeah, I’m with Rev Bob—good on contemporary and classics, but with a preference to comic fantasy vs. the high stuff, so I can only vote in ONE of these brackets:

    6. MYTH MADE FLESH?Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock?Fire and Hemlock, Diana Wynne Jones
    Diana Wynne Jones: write-in vote for Chronicles of Chrestomanci (specifically Witch Week, Nine Lives of Christopher Chant, and Charmed Life.)

    Also, I missed a lot of 1980s fantasy because in the 80s I was between 0 and 10 (all at the same time! I existing in a state of temporal flux for the entire 1980s. One day I’d be 8, next one 2… it was kinda effed up.)

    But angst teen Kyra is awesome. I would totally have dated her as a teen

  5. @rob_matic:
    I’m announcing my 2023 bid for MY APARTMENT. ALL OF WORLDCON CAN FIT IN IT I PROMISE. Advantages: It’s in the Valley (of L.A.), so parking is easy.

    Advantages: Will be forced to create an actual black hole to fit Worldcon in my one-bedroom apartment.

    Disadvantages: Yeah, black holes are awesome… but it’s the valley.

  6. While I think GRRM is an eloquent speaker who makes excellent points, I can’t help noting that Joanna Russ did win a Hugo.

  7. Greg: I’m announcing my 2023 bid for MY APARTMENT.

    Ooo, can I be on the ConCom for MachCon??? I’ll organize the Green Room (not to be confused with the bathroom) and the parties.

  8. Disadvantages: Yeah, black holes are awesome… but it’s the valley.

    As long as it’s at the other end from me. (Although there are some parts that I wouldn’t mind seeing eaten by a black hole.)

  9. I’m always amazed at people like BT … people who somehow learned how to write without seemingly ever learning how to read.

  10. I really hope I’m not too late to vote!

    THE EIGHTIES!
    1. FROM KU-FU TO TAI-TASTIGON
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart
    God Stalk, P. C. Hodgell

    God Stalk. No question. I even tracked down the Meisha Merlin editions, which wasn’t easy, to get my fix.

    2. WEST COAST MAGIC
    Wizard of the Pigeons, Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm
    Tea with the Black Dragon, R. A. MacAvoy

    It has to be the MacAvoy. She’s the reason I first struck up an email conversation with the man I’m now married to. I’d accidentally gotten him confused with someone else at the gathering of Fidonet sysops, and emailed him about a MacAvoy book, thinking he was the other guy. The rest is history.

    3. THE SWORD OR THE CHORD
    The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley
    War for the Oaks, Emma Bull

    Very, very, very hard choice here, but I’ll have to go with the McKinley and a cold cloth over the eyes.

    4. TOTALLY STRAIGHTFORWARD NARRATIVE
    Soldier of the Mist, Gene Wolfe
    The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

    The Dragon Waiting, by Mike Ford.

    5. WE DON’T DIE, WE JUST MOVE TO OTHER BODIES
    Daggerspell, Katharine Kerr
    The Silent Tower, Barbara Hambly

    Another hard one. I’ll go with the Hambly.

    6. MYTH MADE FLESH
    Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
    Fire and Hemlock, Diana Wynne Jones

    Fire and Hemlock, no question. And Cassy B, remind me to loan you my copy.

    7. TITANIA VS. MORGAN LE FAY
    Little, Big, John Crowley
    The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

    Oddly, unlike almost everyone I know, I gave up halfway through The Mists of Avalon because I didn’t care about any of those people. Besides, LITTLE BIG!

    8. HELL IS OTHER ANGELS
    The Darkangel, Meredith Ann Pierce
    To Reign in Hell, Steven Brust

    I’ll have to abstain, not having read the Pierce. And the Brust, while good, isn’t his best work.

  11. @ David Goldfarb
    Thanks, I hadn’t known that. It was for her wonderful story, “Souls”, not my 2 favourites, The Female Man and The Two of Them (which led to me reading Suzette Elgin, yay!). And How to Suppress Women’s Writing is not only a hoot to read but also a very good suggestion list. And her other critical collections …including the immortal “I think somebody’s trying to kill me and it’s my husband” (IIRC), a hilarious takedown of the “Gothic” novels available everywhere in my youth.

  12. Jim Henley — I may have to keep to the other path, of pretending that there’s a non-existent sequel to this non-existent book, because as I recall the ending didn’t make sense to me except as something that needed to be explained in the next book. That’s why I say that I “have” to read it again: because my memory is fuzzy and I feel the need to investigate further.

    And I’m an atheist, so what Pope Francis says means nothing to me*, unless he’s a fan of Wolfe and can explain the ending to me.

    *As a completely irrelevent and probably meaningless aside, am I the only one who, after saying or writing the phrase “This means nothing to me” always hears the voice of Midge Ure singing “Aahhh, Viennnnaaaaa!”? And feels the urge to join in?

  13. Diana Wynne Jones: write-in vote for Chronicles of Chrestomanci (specifically Witch Week, Nine Lives of Christopher Chant, and Charmed Life.)

    Charmed Life is from 1977, so could find a valid place on the 60s/70s poll. And will almost certainly be a write in if it’s not. Though there are the first three Dalemark books, Dogsbody, The Power of Three and Eight Days of Luke (which should be read by anyone who loves American Gods) fighting for that write in place.

  14. I’ve read almost nothing in this bracket. But I’ll join in on the Sad Mercenary slate:
    1. FROM KU-FU TO TAI-TASTIGON
    Write-in:
    Glen Cook, The Black Company

  15. NelC on July 29, 2015 at 1:28 am said:

    And I’m an atheist, so what Pope Francis says means nothing to me*, unless he’s a fan of Wolfe and can explain the ending to me.

    He is a fan of Jorge Luis Borges – if that helps 🙂

  16. I’m calling voting closed on the eighties bracket. Results will be posted soon.

  17. THE EIGHTIES – RESULTS

    Write-in votes were extremely strong in this bracket, notably including two write-in votes for Wizard’s Bane, three for The Black Company and The Warhound and the World’s Pain (both of which shall be taking home a Pulvapies Prize), and an astonishing thirteen for The Dragon Waiting, for which I have … special plans.

    WINNER, seeded: Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart – 31 Flanian Pobble Beads
    God Stalk, P. C. Hodgell – 12 Flanian Pobble Beads
    A solid win for Bridge of Birds, which shall be moving on to the all-period rounds as a seeded candidate, leaving fans of God Stalk bitter and sniffling (*sniffle*).

    WINNER, seeded: Tea with the Black Dragon, R. A. MacAvoy – 29 Flanian Pobble Beads
    Wizard of the Pigeons, Megan Lindholm – 6 Flanian Pobble Beads
    Early support for the Lindholm made this contest look close for a little while, but then the MacAvoy pulled ahead and never looked back. Another solid win, and another seeded candidate. The Last Coin, Master of Five Magics, and (I think?) Mother London all got a vote as possible alternatives here.

    WINNER (TIE): The Hero and the Crown, Robin McKinley – 18 Flanian Pobble Beads
    WINNER (TIE): War for the Oaks, Emma Bull – 18 Flanian Pobble Beads
    Ladies and gentlemen, IT’S AN EXACT TIE! Only the second one in all the brackets to date. Both candidates will be advancing to subsequent rounds, in a manner as yet to be determined. The Golden Naginata, The Alchemist, The Dreamstone all got an alternative vote here.

    WINNER, seeded: Soldier of the Mist, Gene Wolfe – 23 Flanian Pobble Beads
    The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers – 18 Flanian Pobble Beads
    An extremely close match throughout, but Soldier of the Mist emerges as the definite winner. The Anubis Gates gets an “Alley Man” award, and Soldier of the Mist will be seeded in the all-period round.

    WINNER: The Silent Tower, Barbara Hambly – 17 and a half Flanian Pobble Beads
    Daggerspell, Katharine Kerr – 8 Flanian Pobble Beads
    An early lead for Daggerspell gave way to a healthy win for The Silent Tower. Reindeer Moon, Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and The Ladies of Mandrigyn all got a vote as alternatives.

    WINNER: Fire and Hemlock, Diana Wynne Jones – 19 Flanian Pobble Beads
    Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock -13 Flanian Pobble Beads
    A match that stayed close for a long, long time, but DWJ pulled into a convincing lead at the end. Return to Neveryon, The Elfstones of Shanara, and The Chrestomanci Books got the alternative votes here.

    WINNER, seeded: Little, Big, John Crowley – 37 Flanian Pobble Beads
    The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley – 6 Flanian Pobble Beads
    The blowout match of the round, Little, Big will be moving on as a seeded candidate, and The Mists of Avalon shall fade into the mists. Voice of Our Shadow and Road to Avalon got alternative votes.

    WINNER: To Reign in Hell, Steven Brust – 15 Flanian Pobble Beads
    The Darkangel, Meredith Ann Pierce – 5 Flanian Pobble Beads
    A solid win for To Reign in Hell, but with the smallest number of votes of any victor. Some said Brust has better, and how TRiH does in subsequent rounds remains to be seen. The Bridge, Midnight’s Children, The Fallen Country, and Taltos all got votes as possible alternatives.

  18. Rose Embolism on July 28, 2015 at 2:16 pm said:
    Having played in sessions where “Chain Lightning” was deployed, I am very surprised it took that long to calculate its effects.

    Chain Lightning wasn’t as bad as Fireball in my experience.

    “A Fireball expands to fill 27,000 cubic feet. It is targeted into a 5? x 5? x 20 hallway, that opens into an angled 30? long room that is 40? by 10? at the far end. Are any of the party outside the blast radius? Do you care, because you cast the damn thing fifteen feet away from you?”

    And then there was Meteor Swarm, which shot off a HALF DOZEN fireballs. That’s the sort of thing that causes a DM to drink heavily.

    One of my favourite bits in the Shadowrun 3rd edition rulebook was the example of explosives going off in a confined space. It was full of sarcastic remarks about how many times over the victim had died while continuing to calculate the total damage dealt, and referred to itself as the “chunky salsa rule” at one point.

  19. NelC, now you’ve got me with such an Ultravox earworm that I have tears in my eyes.

  20. Tom Galloway, Morris Keesan:

    Would either of you care to add anything about how your top choice would result in an entertaining, informative, or otherwise great convention, rather than just arguing about whose imaginary turn it is?

    Everyone:

    Can we stop with the “I’m sure it would be a perfectly good convention” as a dismissive phrase about sites one wants to vote against? The expectation of an enjoyable experience is actually an important factor in the decision for most Worldcon voters.

  21. jordan179: If you mean, “Will we just give up and accept the Tor Clique controlling the Hugos, which will remain prestigious,” the answer is “Hell, no.” Either the Hugos will be returned to the control of fandom in general, or you’ll keep them by changing the voting rules in such a way that they become purely the Tor Awards To Their Own Favored Writers.

    My goodness, Jordan Bassior’s a Puppy. Well, that certainly says… something.

    (For anyone who wasn’t on rec.arts.sf.written back in the day, Jordan was a frequent poster with strong political leanings. I remember feeling that he meant well.)

  22. Danny: oh, wow, I hadn’t made the connection. I guess I’m not terribly surprised.

  23. @NelC
    . . .am I the only one who, after saying or writing the phrase “This means nothing to me” always hears the voice of Midge Ure singing “Aahhh, Viennnnaaaaa!”? And feels the urge to join in?

    Not a good idea to do so, though. He gets annoyed.

    Yes, I did attend one of his solo gigs where someone did (on “Dancing . . .” as it happens, Bruce). And no, it wasn’t me: I have the tape to prove it. (He was recording himself, and selling tapes from the stage immediately after the show.)

  24. *wondering if I should admit I have no idea what “seeded” means–no need to take time explaining, I shall Google if I decide I really wish to know* Right now, it’s just fun to squee over some of my favorite books (though, yeah, srs, some of you will not appear in the will that I have sworn to create this fall because, erm, turning 60 and I’m thinking it would be a good thing* Actually none of you are, snicker, but it’s such a good threat!

  25. One of my favourite bits in the Shadowrun 3rd edition rulebook was the example of explosives going off in a confined space. It was full of sarcastic remarks about how many times over the victim had died while continuing to calculate the total damage dealt, and referred to itself as the “chunky salsa rule” at one point.

    In homage to my long ago Shadowrun group, I tried to include the chunky salsa line in a book not long ago.

    And then my editor was all “This is not appropriate for eight year olds” and I’m all “Are you kidding? Eight year olds would love this!” and then she cut the line out because I am just not allowed to have any fun at all.

  26. Terry, 🙂

    I threw in a comment at George’s blog, and reproduce it here because I’m vain. This is me responding to Torgersen (he takes care of the slates while the Master is away):

    It would be a lot easier to believe “If NO AWARD wins several categories, it’ll be a sign that the culture war is not only dominating, but that literary merit has been scuttled entirely in favor of identitarianism.” if you folks had ever made any significant effort to explain what the literary merit of the work you nominated is. Why IS “Wisdom from My Internet” superior to the second volume of Patterson’s Heinlein biography, or Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman, or the World Of Ice And Fire companion volume, for instance? We don’t know. We’ve asked, but none of you will say.

    Compare this to the Reading for Rockets thread at Making Light, or countless threads on File 770, where people enthusiastically get into exchanges about styles of prose, how strong the fantasy element is or isn’t in The Goblin Emperor, how accessible actual Chinese history is for Western readers and how it shapes expectations for demonstrative/reserved behavior, whether the exposition about online gaming in The Three-Body Problem is too much or not enough or just right, how much the fairly gonzo physics toward the end of TBP affects people’s sense of the whole, angles on the complexities of Radch society in Ancillary Sword, kinds of violent event and kinds of description of violence and how they affect various readers’ appreciation and enjoyment, and lots more. There’s just nothing like that for anything you folks pushed.

    We do get the occasional individual saying things like “it made me sad” and “I liked how the AI changed its mind” and other very basic comments. But if any of you, and particularly if any of you principals on either slate, are prepared to discuss literary merits at all, you’ve hidden it dazzlingly well. We’ve therefore had to fall back on discussion with each other, in the absence of your input past formulating and pushing the slates.

  27. Petrea: You seem to be working from the assumption that people don’t care if a convention is good as long as it’s where they want. I think people are looking at multiple proposals that *all* have as a baseline “this will be well run by an experienced crowd, entertaining, and enjoyable.”

    The obvious *next* step, then, is to think, “well, if the con will be its usual enjoyable and informative self at any of these places, what differentiates them?” at which point, one talks about location, logically.

    They’re not dismissing the importance of enjoyment. They already have that covered.

  28. (And FWIW, the last Worldcon I made it to was Torcon 3. I’d have tried for Montreal but it was a time that was good for family life and terrible for travel. I’m not likely to make it to ANY before 2020 unless there’s one in Minneapolis or Regina or here again – and I know Winnipeg ain’t bidding – or at a lucky time in Alberta or BC)

  29. NelC:

    As a completely irrelevent and probably meaningless aside, am I the only one who, after saying or writing the phrase “This means nothing to me” always hears the voice of Midge Ure singing “Aahhh, Viennnnaaaaa!”? And feels the urge to join in?

    You are not the only one. Just reading the phrase can have that effect on me.

    Peters:

    Can we stop with the “I’m sure it would be a perfectly good convention” as a dismissive phrase about sites one wants to vote against?

    I don’t think they mean it dismissively, but rather as an acknowledgment that they’re not voting for something else because they think that site would do a bad job of running the show.

    But as long as we’re making requests, can you stop asking people not to express their preferences in ways you don’t approve of? Let ’em say what they think. If they think that we should try other places before Japan gets another go-round, they should say it. If they want to specify that they prefer Site X for reasons other than that they think Site Y would do a bad job, they should say it.

    I think Washington DC would do a fine job but I can’t get excited about going to Washington DC in August, due to the humidity. If saying that happens to be against your preferred rules for how I express my thoughts, big deal. It’s an honest reaction.

  30. BrightGlance,

    Yay for Michael Scott Rohan. I love pretty much all his stuff but his Winter of the World series is something special. To tie in with another convo stream, I created a D&D class – the MageSmith based on Elof. A nerfed fighter type with the ability to read the aura of magic items and identify them, capable of limited item based magics and some thief abilities relating to traps and locks

  31. Kyra,

    I found Wintermind first and given that at the time most small-mid US releases only came to Australia as remainders it was years before I found a copy of Masters of Solitude.

    A series that comes to mind in a similar vein(that I also have a hard time tracking down copies of is Paul O Williams’ Pelbar Cycle.

  32. Kurt Busiek:

    But as long as we’re making requests, can you stop asking people not to express their preferences in ways you don’t approve of?

    As moderator, I think I should explain why I make no comment on these occasions. Asking people not to express themselves in a certain way is an assertion of privilege — I regard it as a rhetorical tactic, not an appeal to some universally-held etiquette. Most commenters seem immune to these claims of privilege, but if people mutually agree to modify their approach to a topic, well, that’s how a discussion works.

  33. David Goldfarb,

    I am sorry you were soured on Bridge of Birds. I had the opposite reaction from a couple of my friends, one Chinese, one not but who spends most of his time in China. They both liked how some of the side characters were based on real people.

  34. Mike:

    Yeah, my response borrowed the phrasing as a rhetorical tactic, too. I figured as long as it’s been used three or so times that I recall, I’m willing to object to the idea of trying to herd people into one person’s acceptability range.

    If it’s persuasive, great. If not, ehh.

    My apologies for not noticing autocorrect had decided I was responding to “Peters,” though, not Petrea.

  35. Lenora Rose:

    Petrea: You seem to be working from the assumption that people don’t care if a convention is good as long as it’s where they want.

    When a person says they care about X, I prefer to listen to them and believe that they genuinely care about X, rather than filling in my own interpretation that they really care about Y instead.

    I am, however, working from a desire to see every bid given its best possible chance to shine. And this is part of the campaign, even if you’re not part of the bid committee. The post in the roundup, the comments here– every one of them is being read by potential site selection voters.

    Because I do think that people care about a good convention– so don’t lose your chance to speak to that!

  36. My 2017 Worldcon preference would be Montreal, but with the DC in 2017 bid splitting the North American vote, I’m betting that Helsinki will win so I’m not bothering to pony up the $$ for site selection. I’m sure Helsinki will hold a very fun Worldcon, but I can’t afford the trip there. Others’ mileage may vary, of course.

  37. For someone who refuses to interpret others’ words, it seems very odd that you seem to read any attempt to promote either the “world” part of Worldcon or a particular country as “our country is awesome and loves SF and you’ve never been here” as” trying to tell the voters they are bad people if they don’t vote for your candidate” or as “but none of these other countries count as part of ‘the world.'”

    Because I haven’t seen anyone, in their discussing why they are bidding, say either of those things. I’ve seen plenty of discussion about how problematic it is that the US and North America so thoroughly dominate, but those very discussions, the ones you say you want spacefaringkitten and others to have in one breath, are the very ones you’re tarring a moment later by reading them as “trying to tell the voters they are bad people if they don’t vote for your candidate”.

    Nor do I think I am assuming anything out of line with peoples’ stated motivations by saying they seem to be including a default assumption that the con is well set up.

    A) When I’ve seen Worldcon site discussions in previous years at, say, Making Light, issues with adequate hotelling, downtown transportation, experience running a Worldcon, etc HAVE come up (Including for Spokane in 2015). Their absence in the debate this time may not constitute evidence, but it is suggestive.

    B) The very line you decry as dismissive, “I’m sure it would be a perfectly good convention” is strongly implying that yes, on the bids debated, the basics of con organizing and fun have been covered even for the places one is bidding against, and not solely for the favoured candidate.

  38. Me, I assume a Worldcon will be fun no matter where it’s held. So my interest is selfish: Can I get there? If I can’t, can some of my friends?

  39. RedWombat on July 29, 2015 at 10:31 am said:
    In homage to my long ago Shadowrun group, I tried to include the chunky salsa line in a book not long ago.

    And then my editor was all “This is not appropriate for eight year olds” and I’m all “Are you kidding? Eight year olds would love this!” and then she cut the line out because I am just not allowed to have any fun at all.

    I honestly wonder sometimes if adults actually get kids at all

    (I say this as a 38 year old kid)

  40. Petréa Mitchell on July 29, 2015 at 7:16 am said:

    Tom Galloway, Morris Keesan:

    Would either of you care to add anything about how your top choice would result in an entertaining, informative, or otherwise great convention, rather than just arguing about whose imaginary turn it is?

    I think both the DC committee and the Helsinki committe are capable of putting on a good Worldcon. I’m less convinced of the Montreal committee, and I really don’t know anything about the current Japanese group, except for some of their non-Japanese members. The DC committee contains many of the Usual Suspects who work on American Worldcons every year, which means a DC Worldcon is likely to be another instalment of the same convention I’ve been to 10 times this century. I’ve never been to a Finnish convention, but I enjoy (and prefer) novelty, and those non-Finns who have reported back from Finnish conventions have had nothing but good to say about them. Given the choice, I’d rather go to a convention that I haven’t been to than go to one that I’ve been to many times. The videos that the Helsinki bidders have uploaded to YouTube show an impressive convention center, and an admirable sense of humor.
    And location matters, as was proven in 1988 when the presence of the New Orleans French Quarter right outside the doors rescued what could have been a disastrous trip, and again more recently in 2011, when a well-run convention in an okay convention center wasn’t enough to counteract the Ghu-forsaken hellhole that was Reno. Saying that DC in August isn’t as bad as DC in July seems to be to be a classic case of “damning with faint praise”.
    Montreal is quite nice at this time of year, but we’ve been there quite recently, and I’d rather go somewhere else. And I’ve been to Shizuoka, and have no wish to go there again, since in my opinion it had little to recommend it (in spite of an apparently decent convention center).

  41. David W. on July 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm said:

    My 2017 Worldcon preference would be Montreal, but with the DC in 2017 bid splitting the North American vote, I’m betting that Helsinki will win

    I don’t think you understand how preferential voting works. In the voting system that’s used for site selection, if no candidate wins a majority of the vote, then the choice with the lowest number of votes gets eliminated, and the votes for those ballots get transferred to the second choice, and so on through successive rounds until there’s a choice with a majority. If there is a “North American vote”, then one would expect DC voters to list Montreal as their second choice, and Montreal voters to list DC as their second choice. If together these voters outnumber the Helsinki voters, then there’s not “splitting the vote”, and whichever of the N.A. bids has more votes will defeat the Helsinki bid. The presence of the Shizuoka bid complicates this, but doesn’t change the principle. In a preferential (“Australian ballot”) system such as is used for Hugos and Worldcon Site Selection, “splitting the vote” shouldn’t be an issue.
    I’m hoping that you’re right and that Helsinki will win, but if it does, it won’t be because of vote-splitting.

  42. Kyra: 5. WE DON’T DIE, WE JUST MOVE TO OTHER BODIES
    Daggerspell, Katharine Kerr
    The Silent Tower, Barbara Hambly

    As I understand it. we’re allowed to nominate alternate entries that better fit the title?

    Touch by Claire North…

  43. DC in August is Schrodinger’s month. Around half the month is genuinely delightful: low-80s and low humidity. It’s not just “not as bad as August” but nigh-autumnal. The other half of August can be pretty bad, very much like the worst of July. You never know quite where the good and bad are going to fall, though there’s a somewhat higher probability of Good August happening later in the month.

  44. As a native New Englander, my mind boggles at the characterization of “low-80s” as “genuinely delightful” and “nigh-autumnal”

  45. Contrariwise I have walked from Cambridge to Brookline along the Charles in February, so I’m very happy with 82-degree weather. 😀

  46. Thank you for explaining the preferential system, Morris K. I was confused about how it worked, and I’m grateful for being enlightened.

  47. Contrariwise I have walked from Cambridge to Brookline along the Charles in February, so I’m very happy with 82-degree weather. ?

    I think I’d rather walk along the Charles in February, myself.

    I was watching a video earlier today, of Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman and friend in a car, driving along, and it took me a moment to realize I was achingly jealous that they were driving through somewhere where there was snow on the ground. I like that I don’t have to shovel it (often), but I’d like to experience more of it than I do.

    My ideal temperature range is maybe 55-65. Jacket weather. And low-but-not-desert humidity.

    So I very much prefer the idea of Helsinki in August to Washington DC in August. I don’t say everyone else should. If they did, everywhere I like would be crowded.

  48. My ideal temperature range is maybe 55-65. Jacket weather. And low-but-not-desert humidity.

    So I very much prefer the idea of Helsinki in August to Washington DC in August. I don’t say everyone else should.

    As a resident (and native) of California, Helsinki sounds much more pleasant than DC at this time of year. But so does 82F, with humidity that’s under 50%.

  49. Jim Henley on August 2, 2015 at 2:13 pm said:

    Contrariwise I have walked from Cambridge to Brookline along the Charles in February, so I’m very happy with 82-degree weather.

    Conversely, today I walked from Dorchester to Lexington, along Mass. Ave. Except perhaps for crossing the Harvard Bridge, I would have been happier doing this in February.
    Think how boring the world would be if we all liked the same things.

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