Pixel Scroll 11/1 Rank Election

(1) If you are fan who drinks, the newly reopened Clifton’s Cafeteria would like to tempt you with these two science fictional libations –

drinks at Cliftons

(2) “Another Word: Chinese Science Fiction and Chinese Reality” by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu, in Clarkesworld, talks about the themes of other Chinese writers after these introductory comments about the domestic reception for his own work.

China is a society undergoing rapid development and transformation, where crises are present along with hopes, and opportunities coexist with challenges. This is a reality reflected in the science fiction produced there.

Chinese readers often interpret science fiction in unexpected ways. Take my Three Body series as an example. The alien-invasion story takes as its premise a “worst-case” scenario for relationships among members of the cosmic society of civilizations, which is called the “Dark Forest” state. In this state, different starfaring civilizations have no choice but to attempt to annihilate each other at the first opportunity.

After publication, the novels became surprisingly popular among those working in China’s Internet industry. They saw the “Dark Forest” state portrayed in the novels as an accurate reflection of the state of brutal competition among China’s Internet companies….

Authors (myself included) are often befuddled by such interpretations.

(3) From “’Star Wars’: Their First Time” in the New York Times.

Ridley Scott: I had done a film called “The Duellists” and was in Los Angeles to shoot at Paramount, and I honestly think Paramount had forgotten. I remember saying, I’m Ridley Scott, and they said who? So David Puttnam, one of the greatest producers I’ve ever worked with and the most fun, said, “Screw them, let’s go see [“Star Wars”] at the Chinese [theater].” It was the first week. I’ve never known audience participation like it, absolutely rocking. I felt my “Duellist” was this big [holds thumb and forefinger an inch apart], and George had done that [stretches arms out wide]. I was so inspired I wanted to shoot myself. My biggest compliment can be [to get] green with envy and really bad-tempered. That damn George, son of a bitch. I’m very competitive.

(4) Andrew Porter was interviewed, complete with photo, for “Longtime Brooklynites Reflect on a Changing Brooklyn” on Brownstoner.com:

Now you can put a face to me and my non SFnal opinions about recent changes in Brooklyn Heights, where I’ve lived for 47 years.

I’m sure you’ll also appreciate the comments, one of which accuses me of hating Brits!

(Daveinbedstuy accuses – “Andrew Porter sounds cranky; as he usually does on BHB. I wonder what he has against ‘Brits.’ And bringing up ‘granite countertops’ Really????????”)

(5) Jim C. Hines on Facebook:

I HAVE WRITTEN THE FIRST 22 WORDS OF MY NANOWRIMO NOVEL!

The NaNo word counter says at this rate, I’ll finish by January 20, 2022.

I suppose I should probably keep writing, eh?

(6) “Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910” is on exhibit through February 26, 2017 in the newly renovated Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition Gallery of the National Museum of American History.

Travel with us to the surface of the moon, the center of the earth, and the depths of the ocean – to the fantastic worlds of fiction inspired by 19th century discovery and invention.

New frontiers of science were emerging. We took to the air, charted remote corners of the earth, and harnessed the power of steam and electricity. We began unlocking the secrets of the natural world. The growing literate middle class gave science a new and avid public audience. Writers explored the farther reaches of the new scientific landscape to craft hoaxes, satires and fictional tales.

Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910 is accompanied by an online exhibit.

(7) Francis Hamit, a novelist and film producer who is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, has published A Perfect Spy, a memoir about his first two years at the University of Iowa when he was a dual major in Drama and Business. While he narrates the ongoing dramatic social changes that were transforming society and the university in 1965 and 1966, he also covers the impact of the sexual revolution, the sudden rise of a drug culture, and the beginnings of the anti-war movement at the University of Iowa, from a first-person perspective.

“I saw the first draft card burnt,” Hamit says; “And I would see the last anti-war riot there several years later. I was also very disturbed by the rise of all kinds of drug use in and around Iowa City. Unlike almost everyone else I knew, I did not think this ‘cool’. I saw people ruining thier lives by refusing to tell the police who’d sold them the drugs: facing years in prison. I offered to help them find the dealers if they would leave my friends alone. How I did this is narrated in A Perfect Spy, which is a 118-page excerpt from my forthcoming book Out of Step: A Memoir of the Vietnam War Years.

“I was already in place,” Hamit added; “A perfect spy who made no pretenses of approving of recreational drugs. I didn’t do anything with them, but simply watched and listened so I could collect some useful intelligence for the police. At the same time, I became involved with some very interesting women who were part of the Sexual Revolution. That was part of a larger social revolt. None of what happened then can be viewed in isolation, so I’ve just tried to be as truthful as possible while changing a lot of the names of the people to prevent embarrassment.”

A Perfect Spy will be available exclusively at first from November 12, 2015 on Amazon Kindle for $5.00 and can be pre-ordered now. A print edition will be available in March, 2016 with a suggested retail price of $12.00 from most bookstores.

(8) “The artist who visited ‘Dune’ and ‘the most important science fiction art ever created’” – a gallery of Schoenherr at Dangerous Minds.

Frank Herbert said John Schoenherr was “the only man who has ever visited Dune.” Schoenherr (1935-2010) was the artist responsible for visualising and illustrating Herbert’s Dune—firstly in the pages of Analog magazine, then in the fully illustrated edition of the classic science fiction tale. But Herbert didn’t stop there, he later added:

I can envision no more perfect visual representation of my Dune world than John Schoenherr’s careful and accurate illustrations.

High praise indeed, but truly deserved, for as Jeff Love pointed out in Omni Reboot, Schoenherr’s illustrations are “the most important science fiction art ever created.”

(9) Jason Sanford posted a collection of tweets under the heading “The fossilization of science fiction and fantasy literature”. Here are some excerpts.

https://twitter.com/jasonsanford/status/660782118356783104

https://twitter.com/jasonsanford/status/660783781654233088

https://twitter.com/jasonsanford/status/660789856075948034

Although I have friends that do exactly what Sanford complains about, he doesn’t hang with them, read their fanzines, or (I’d wager) even know their names, so I’m kind of curious whose comments sparked off this rant.

Personally, I’m prone to recommend Connie Willis or Lois McMaster Bujold if I’m trying to interest someone in sf – though both have been around over 25 years and aren’t spring chickens anymore either.

People recommend what they know and esteem. It’s perfectly fine to argue whether recommendations will win fans to the genre, but it seems petty to act as if pushing “classic” choices is a war crime.

(10) John Scalzi was more or less content with Sanford’s line of thought, and responded with “No, the Kids Aren’t Reading the Classics and Why Would They”.

Writer Jason Sanford kicked a small hornet’s nest earlier today when he discussed “the fossilization of science fiction,” as he called it, and noted that today’s kids who are getting into science fiction are doing it without “Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein and Tolkien.” This is apparently causing a moderate bit of angina in some quarters.

I think Sanford is almost entirely correct (the small quibble being that I suspect Tolkien is still common currency, thanks to recent films and video games), nor does this personally come as any particular shock. I wrote last year about the fact my daughter was notably resistant to Heinlein’s charms, not to mention the charms of other writers who I enjoyed when I was her age… thirty years ago. She has her own set of writers she loves and follows, as she should. As do all the kids her age who read.

The surprise to me is not that today’s kids have their own set of favorite authors, in genre and out of it; the surprise to me is honestly that anyone else is surprised by this.

(11) “The kids” who don’t read the classics are one case, would-be sf writers are another, explains Fynbospress in “Slogging forward, looking back” at Mad Genius Club.

Kris Rusch has also noted how many young writers she’s run into who are completely ignorant of the many, many female authors who’ve been in science fiction and fantasy since the start. Among other reasons, many of their works have gone out of print, and the new writers coming in may not have read the old magazines, or picked up the older, dated-artwork books at the used bookstores. So they really, truly, may not know that their groundbreaking new take has been done to death thirty years before they came on the scene, or that they’re trying to reinvent a wheel that has not only been invented, it’s evolved to all-wheel drive with traction control.

(12) I can’t say that Vivienne Raper is going where no one has gone before in responding to the latest Wired article about the Hugos — “Five reasons why the ‘Battle for Pop Culture’s Soul’ isn’t about ‘white men’”.

[First three of five points.]

There are many reasons why I might be “angered” by previous Hugo winners.  And none of them are anything to do with ‘the increasingly multicultural makeup’ of the awards:

ONE

Science fiction’s most prestigious award‘ for Best Novel was decided in 2014 by fewer than 4,000 voters.

TWO

The Best Short Story for 2014 got onto the ballot with fewer than 43 nominations.

THREE

Popular blogger John Scalzi has won more Hugo Awards (inc. best fan writer) than Isaac Asimov – author of I, Robot – or Arthur C. Clarke. He also has 90K+ Twitter followers.

(13) Jeb Kinnison at Substrate Wars is more analytical and lands more punches in “The Death of ‘Wired’: Hugo Awards Edition”. Here are his closing paragraphs.

The various flavors of Puppies differ, but one thing they’re not is anti-diverse — there are women, people of various colors, gays (like me), religious, atheists, and on and on. The one thing they have in common is that they oppose elevating political correctness above quality of writing, originality, and story in science fiction. Many of the award winners in recent years have been lesser works elevated only because they satisfied a group of progressives who want their science fiction to reflect their desired future of group identity and victim-based politics. For them, it is part of their battle to tear down bad old patriarchy, to bury the old and bring themselves to the forefront of culture (and incidentally make a living being activists in fiction.) These people are often called “Social Justice Warriors” – they shore up their own fragile identities by thinking of themselves as noble warriors for social justice. Amy Wallace places herself with them by portraying the issues as a battle between racist, sexist white men and everyone else.

She then goes on to give some space to Larry Correia, Brad Torgerson, and Vox Day (Ted Beale). While her reporting about them is reasonably truthful, they report that she promised to interview Sarah Hoyt (who ruins the narrative as a female Puppy) but did not do so, and left out material from other interviews that did not support her slant. Tsk!

The piece is very long, but written from a position of assumed moral superiority and elite groupthink, a long fall from classic Wired‘s iconoclastic reporting. It’s sad when a quality brand goes downhill — as a longtime subscriber, I’ve noticed the magazine has grown thinner in the last year as ad revenues declined and competition from upstarts like Fast Company ate into their market. Now they are me-tooing major controversies for clicks. Once you see this dishonesty in reporting, you should never view such sources as reliable again.

(14) Sometimes I suspect AI stands for “artificial ignorance.”

If the programmer of this tweet-generating robot was literate, they could easily discover that the words Portugal and Portuguese are not even mentioned in this U.S. Census definition of “Hispanic or Latino.”

(15) “The Original Star Wars Trilogy Gets An Awesome Force Awakens-Style Trailer” via Geek Tyrant.

I’d warn that there are too many spoilers, except you’ve already seen the original trilogy how many times?

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Mark-kitteh, Will R., JJ, Trey Palmer, Francis Hamit, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

594 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/1 Rank Election

  1. 1. Doctor Who [Classic] (3 – Spinward)

    2. Star Trek: The Original Series (1 – Trailing)

  2. @Meredith:

    Books worthy of a Hugo nomination are those books that are nominated for a Hugo nomination. ;’)

    Seriously, there’s thousands of books published every year, so there’s almost certainly dozens of books that are of excellent quality that never get anywhere near the Hugo shortlist. Singling out one favorite for not being picked really seems counterproductive.

  3. To clarify my comment (if clarification is needed): I absolutely think that Three-Body Problem, The Goblin Emperor, and Ancillary Sword were worthy Hugo nominees, as were Lock In and City of Stairs.

  4. Rose: the word favorite does not appear in the WSFS Constitution. The word best appears some 20-odd times.

  5. Kyra, I agree with you about The Three Body Problem. I felt Ann Leckie made a strong showing but should probably win for one of her subsequent novels, not one so close to the uneven start of her novel-writing career. I thought The Goblin Emperor fell flat on its face. I invited you to say if and why your 11 choices were better than those making or nearly making the shortlist. Given the overall acumen you’ve displayed around here, I bet they probably are. But you don’t have to say if you don’t want to.

  6. 1. SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3 – Spinward)

    2. TO BOLDLY GO WHERE I AM NO MAN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1 – Rimward)

  7. Doctor Who (classic)
    Star Trek (classic)

    Between the two the question of how to tell SF stories using the medium of television and what stories can be told was set out. There isn’t Babylon 5 or even Buffy without them.

  8. @junego: To paraphrase, “The best revenge is reading well.” 😉

    @Will R.: Never read a Gibson book in my life. Heard he had a book last year. Don’t remember what I heard. Limited reading time. (shrug) Own “Southern Reach” omnibus hardback. Got it late in 2014 at World Fantasy. Still haven’t read it. (shrug) Way o’ the world, chum.

    Probably miss your favorite 2015 book, as well. Not outta spite. No apologies due you, neither.

    Taking File770 commenters as stand-in for Hugo Best Novel voters makes no sense.

    Sufficient other clues provided above by more articulate folk than me.

  9. Here’s why best is totally irrelevant to my question: If one novel ends up “best”* then the other four on the shortlist must not have been “best”. Since the debate is whether the Hugo’s have somehow failed because The Peripheral wasn’t on the shortlist (or the longlist) then the question isn’t whether The Peripheral would have been “best” but whether it would have been worthy of a nomination – I’m taking this as a given, for now – and then, as a follow-on from that, why the (at least) seven works that would have kept The Peripheral off the list would have been somehow not worthy. If five of those seven to eleven works were worthy – and I think you’d have to make a very good case if you wanted to say there weren’t five – then the award nomination process was successful. The rest is, I’m afraid, a matter of taste and more than a little luck.

    *And frankly best is a silly word for it, but that’s the convention for awards so it gets used. I listed above a number of prestigious awards, all of which picked different works, and none of those winners weren’t on the Hugo shortlist. “Best”, at best (ha!), means “Best with this particular group, whatever size or type they might be, in this year and at this time, because in twenty years the same or similar group might have picked something entirely different”.

    The other question, of course, was whether Will R.’s argument had anything more to it than disappointment that his favourite – Will R.’s “Best”, if you like – wasn’t on the list. That would be very understandable, and I’m sympathetic, but as an argument it lacks substance.

  10. Did I already mention that using Filers as the representative group of Hugo voters doesn’t work, since if Filers had their way Goblin Emperor would have won? A group of voters, sure, but betting on the official results based on prevailing opinion here might lead you astray.

  11. “And frankly best is a silly word for it, but that’s the convention for awards so it gets used”

    No, it’s the point of having the award. And it presumes that the Worldcon-going (and supporting) community will take it seriously. If you and others (including “puppies”) don’t, you’ve trampled over the wishes of those who gifted you with this award.

  12. Apropos of nothing, sometime ago a poster here (Aan) came up with a css code that could be used to highlight or blank out certain commentors, based on their IDs. Tegans compilation of the various killfile / highlight codes are here:

    http://realtegan.blogspot.com/p/file770-stuff.html

    If you’re using Stylish, you can use the following link in Userstyles.org to install the killfile, with a selection of trolls already included, automatically:

    https://userstyles.org/styles/118122/aan-s-plonk-file-script

  13. @Meredith

    As an incantation of banishment “shoo” leaves a little to be desired.

    After some thought I’ll add my voice to the Buffy camp over TOS. While I had some issues with Buffy’s characterization (Faith was much more interesting, shame the spin off didn’t get greenlit. Her brief outing with Wesley in Angel showed what could have been) it was must watch to me at the time and still something I rewatch sometimes. I tried recently to rewatch TOS and struggled.

  14. Either way, it didn’t work. 🙂 But give me a substantive reply sometime if you have the chance.

  15. . SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
    Don’t like either one. Rather than choose which I dislike least, I’ll vote for Red Dwarf.

    2. TO BOLDLY GO WHERE I AM NO MAN
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1 – Trailing). Tempted to say tie, though. Both excellent shows.

  16. Meredith on November 4, 2015 at 9:20 am said:
    Here’s why best is totally irrelevant to my question: If one novel ends up “best”* then the other four on the shortlist must not have been “best”. Since the debate is whether the Hugo’s have somehow failed because The Peripheral wasn’t on the shortlist (or the longlist) then the question isn’t whether The Peripheral would have been “best” but whether it would have been worthy of a nomination – I’m taking this as a given, for now – and then, as a follow-on from that, why the (at least) seven works that would have kept The Peripheral off the list would have been somehow not worthy. If five of those seven to eleven works were worthy – and I think you’d have to make a very good case if you wanted to say there weren’t five – then the award nomination process was successful. The rest is, I’m afraid, a matter of taste and more than a little luck.

    *And frankly best is a silly word for it, but that’s the convention for awards so it gets used. I listed above a number of prestigious awards, all of which picked different works, and none of those winners weren’t on the Hugo shortlist. “Best”, at best (ha!), means “Best with this particular group, whatever size or type they might be, in this year and at this time, because in twenty years the same or similar group might have picked something entirely different”.

    The other question, of course, was whether Will R.’s argument had anything more to it than disappointment that his favourite – Will R.’s “Best”, if you like – wasn’t on the list. That would be very understandable, and I’m sympathetic, but as an argument it lacks substance.

    I’ve been contemplating the current bracket, and reading voters’ comments I find it interesting that a fair number of people are basically meh for at least one bracket.
    Further, I’d suspect that probably everyone involved has a show (The Prisoner) or two (The Avengers, Farscape) that they have a lot more love for than at least one of the final four.

    Yet I don’t think anyone suspects the brackets voting is somehow set up wrongly, or there is any skulduggery, sock puppet voting, unfair rolling of the evil dice, or any kind of undue influence from our generous bracket-maker.
    it’s just people, and peoples’ minds and hearts work like that, and voting works like that.
    “Best” is a construct of many competing measures: broadly popular, skillfully made, historically important, inoffensive, easily accessible, irrationally loved, etcetera.
    Depending on who your actual voters are, and how your voters assess each component, perceptions of “best,” and decisions about things like most-loved are going to vary.
    (Hence, with books, in a given year different works will win different awards; it’s essentially all picking from the same long list, but with differing priorities.)

    Here, for lots of reasons, the final four tv bracket choices – and soon the final two and last one – all make complete sense.
    They are indeed “best,” regardless of all the left-over love for works that went down in flames a bracket or two ago.
    That last bracket was the long list, this bracket is the list of nominations.
    Substitute book titles, and you can pretty much see The Peripheral maybe three brackets back.
    There’s a lot of love for things that didn’t go the whole way.

  17. Brian Z: Do you believe, like that textbook in Dead Poet’s Society, that artistic works can be graphed to prove which work is objectively and provably “The Best”? If not, what in the world are you on about? Nominators will nominate what THEY THINK are the best, going by the severely limited set of works they’ve encountered. Maybe the nominators last year didn’t even know Gibson had published a book. Maybe they did, but, like me, bounced off his work in the ’80s, and so prioritized reading other works. Maybe they meant to read it, but simply ran out of time. Maybe they read it and simply didn’t like it. Maybe they read it and liked it, but thought five or more other works were better. Maybe they loved it, but forgot about it when it came time to fill out their ballots. And, of course, there were very probably those who read it, loved it, and put it on their nominating ballots.

    There are literally thousands of professionally published SFF books published every year nowadays. It’s physically impossible for anyone, even the late Harriet Klausner, to read them all. That’s why it’s so important to use the wisdom of crowds, and to nominate honestly, rather from someone else’s list.

    Do you have the same problem with the Oscars? Do you think that Eddy Redmayne was unquestionably the absolute best actor of all the thousands of people working in the film industry last year? Or is it just possible that all subjective awards, when they call themselves the “Best X”, mean the best X as chosen at that time and place by those particular choosers?

  18. IanP on November 4, 2015 at 10:03 am said:
    @Meredith

    As an incantation of banishment “shoo” leaves a little to be desired.

    It works with raccoons.

    Last night I won the respect of the inhabitants of the cheerleader mini-dorm next door by vanquishing teen-aged raccoons who were squabbling in a tree.
    (There was loud raccoon scuffling and cursing so that the poor kids were afraid to come out their door.)
    In addition to “Shoo” may I recommend OOGAH BOOGAH and arm-waving?
    Or not.

  19. “Best” is a subjective term. Everyone’s going to have their own ideas of what the best works were each year. (And anyone who doesn’t realize that is too foolish to bother arguing with.) Awards like the Hugos are an attempt to determine a rough consensus on what work we’re going to call the best this year. Anyone who thinks it’s actually going to result in choosing “the best” work of the year probably still believes in Santa Claus. You might as well complain that the Hubble Telescope hasn’t spotted the actual eye of God out there somewhere.

    The Hugos continue to do what they’ve done since the beginning. Select works that have a sufficient combination of popularity and quality to be chosen as our designated example of “best” for the year. Asking them to do anything more—or anything else—would just be silly.

  20. (And anyone who doesn’t realize that is too foolish to bother arguing with.)

    That’s why I’m surprised any of you bothered, but I’m glad you all did because your comments were great. 😀

  21. FINAL FOUR
    1. Doctor Who [Classic] (3 – Spinward)
    2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1 – Rimward)

  22. Lauowolf:

    “As an incantation of banishment “shoo” leaves a little to be desired.

    It works with raccoons.

    Last night I won the respect of the inhabitants of the cheerleader mini-dorm next door by vanquishing teen-aged raccoons who were squabbling in a tree.
    (There was loud raccoon scuffling and cursing so that the poor kids were afraid to come out their door.)
    In addition to “Shoo” may I recommend OOGAH BOOGAH and arm-waving?
    Or not.”

    I do think the correct response is to this troll is…

    RIDDIKULUS!!

  23. Kendall: @Bitty: I’m baffled; it sounds like book X was your favorite, but misses some ineffable “Hugo” quality – yet it doesn’t sound like it has flaws.

    There is nothing wrong with Book X, but there also wasn’t anything about it that made me sit up and say “this is different/superlative/groundbreaking/special”. It goes back to different books hook different people. A Darker Shade of Magic is *exactly* the sort of book I love, and it was well done. So it was a book that hooked me particularly, because that’s the sort of book I am naturally drawn to.

    But it didn’t leave me breathless the way The Mechanical did. The worldbuilding was fine, but not nearly as outstanding as in Updraft. When I first read Three Parts Dead, I was like wow, this is a really unique (and brilliant!) way of looking at magic.

    So ADSoM thoroughly grabbed me (as did The Buried Life), but when I’m sitting down to decide what is award worthy, I feel there are other books that have that something special or new or extraordinary. I’d say that ADSoM and The Mechanical are my favorite books so far this year. But one feels like it has that extra special quality to it and the other does not. I do not love it any less. And it’s definitely in the top 10. But is it more award worthy than The Just City? Than Dark Orbit?

    I’d be struggling with how to fill slots 4 and 5 no matter what, because that’s the nature of the game (as I said, I have about 4 books that all feel like they rank the same to me). But since I *am* struggling and need to find some way to cut 4 down to 2 beyond flipping coins, it does cross my mind that maybe I should give preference to something that stands a chance of making it on the ballot given it’s a slate year. I’m cranky that it’s even a consideration, but then again, I need *some* method to go by so maybe that’s one.

  24. I shouldn’t have read people’s comments, there were such good arguments deployed that I kept on changing my mind. It’s the initial classics of the genre vs two shows that deserve to be modern classics because they showed where the genre could go next.

    1. SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3 – Spinward)

    2. TO BOLDLY GO WHERE I AM NO MAN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1 – Rimward)

  25. Why, Meredith, are you arguing against the position that there should be no subjective element whatsoever in the Hugo winners? That’s quite the strawman.

  26. Will R. I do think it’s a weird system that can overlook something like this. We can debate whether it should have won, but to not at least surface this for readers, for me, feels broken… And Peripheral wouldn’t have been anywhere in this discussion. It wasn’t just down the list…it didn’t exist, somehow. That’s the part that seems broken to me.

    Do you actually hear what you’re saying? This is exactly the sort of bullshit the Puppies claimed.

    The Hugo process is broken because not enough nominators liked The Peripheral to push it onto the longlist, even though I liked it enough to believe that it should have been there. In other words, I am right, and the Hugo nominators who didn’t nominate it are wrong.

    The Hugo process is working exactly as it should. The longlist (sans Puppy crap) is the aggregate result of plurality of the best books as Hugo nominators judged them. The fact that your personal choice was not in the plurality does not make the process broken — it just makes your choice part of a minority.

  27. FILE 770 LIVE-ACTION TV TOURNAMENT AND BRACKETS – FINAL FOUR RESULTS

    The overdogs came to play in the quarterfinals. Three of the four top seeds conquered their regions. The one underdog, third-seeded Classic Who, brought with it one of the most extensive pedigrees in SFTV history. Based on the results of the quarterfinals, everyone expected both matches to be close. But that’s – why they play the games.

    1. SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
    Babylon 5 (1 – Coreward)
    Doctor Who [Classic] (3 – Spinward)

    The Gallifreyan team felt pretty good about itself coming into the semi-finals. “We weren’t even supposed to be here,” said Four, adding, “Of course, we’re rarely where we’re supposed to be.” On the other side, there seemed to be a certain tension; the Epsilon Eridani franchise was supposed to be there, so losing would be, going strictly by the numbers, an embarrassment. “I’m just trying to keep the peace and give the galaxy time and space to heal,” said B5 team captain John Sheridan. “Also, to beat those Timelord bastards. Excuse me – I mean, not take anything for granted against a tough opponent.”

    It was a classic battle of opposites: tide versus cliff; fly versus dray; other thing that moves around a lot versus yet other thing that doesn’t. The Whovians hoped to use their greater maneuverability to advantage as they had all tournament; the Babylonians stuck to their strategy of dominating the center of the field. Each team determined to play their game not the other guy’s game for 60 minutes, and each did just that.

    The problem for the Whos from Whoville was that, while the TARDIS was bigger on the inside, the five-mile-long O’Neill cylinder of the “Babblers” was bigger yet. And the Doctors kept being overcome by the desire to go off and do other things – visit other places and other times – in the heat of play. “French toast during the Renaissance!” said Six – the Sixth Doctor, that is. “It was a punch line to your human comedian. I call it Tuesday!” It was while the Doctor was having French toast during the Renaissance, and slipping bits under the table to his robot dog, that the Fivers – not the Fifth Doctor, the other guys – opened up their first big lead, and this was, as it happened, right after the opening whistle.

    “Before we got back,” said small forward Sarah Jane Adventure, “they were ahead 10-2, and we never recovered. I told him! On the other hand, I’m pretty impressed that we scored 2 points from 10 light years and 500 years away. But we needed to improve our focus and – oh look! Emperor Trajan! Got to dash. Pip pip, as we all say over here!” Final score:

    Babylon 5 – 35
    Classic Who – 22

    2. TO BOLDLY GO WHERE I AM NO MAN
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1 – Rimward)
    Star Trek: The Original Series (1 – Trailing)

    The Boomer classic and the Gen-X touchstone faced off in a contest of number-one seeds, and this match lived up to its advanced billing. Each side seemingly had an answer for the other. The Sunnydale Side countered the Enterprise’s bench strength of red-shirted substitutes by once again activating every potential Slayer on Earth. Rupert Giles matched Science Officer Spock both logically and musically. Willow Rosenberg kept Engineer Montgomery Scott busy with a cascading series of enchantments that kept threatening to reverse the polarity of the warp containment field.

    That cleared the court for each team’s leader to face off against the other. The Enterprise’s James Kirk couldn’t equal Hellmouth captain Buffy Summers’ athleticism, but he kept her off balance with a string of frankly unprofessional, ham-handedly flirtatious trash talk. For Summers’ part, she kept landing blows, but found that the point of her wooden stake could not penetrate the fabric of Kirk’s torso-shaping truss. The Scoobies took a 17-12 lead into halftime, but the Trekkers went on a 6-1 post-intermission run to tie it at 18. BTVS extended its lead to as much as 6; ST:TOS fought back to within 1. It was only at the very end of the game that the former Watchers’ Council franchise finally put a little distance on their opponents by applying their crucial advantage: the team’s women got to actually do things.

    “I’m a vengeance demon,” pointed out shooting-guard Anya. “And I had a pretty long backlog of complaints against this Kirk guy from women of various skin tints. Mostly green. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Final score:

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer 33
    Star Trek: The Original Series 28

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer heads to the finals to take on Babylon 5. Star Trek: The Original Series will face Doctor Who (Classic) in the consolation match – as soon as Captain Kirk manages to stuff his entrails back under his truss.

  28. JJ: they didn’t “not think The Peripheral was a great book” or “think Lock In etc. were the better books.” It just wasn’t on their radar or was – going by comments here – actively ignored.

    What was the best book of 2014 to go beyond gender binary? The Peripheral. Best kick-ass weaponry? The Peripheral. Compelling social message? The Peripheral. Sheer worldbuilding? Peripheral.

    Or at least, when I get ready to nominate for the Hugos and see a novel getting the reception that one did, I tend go “hmm, I think I’ll have a look,” not, “oh, him again.” I had been under the impression that might be a part of the job that it might be good to aspire to.

    Perhaps not.

  29. I am convinced that Giles secured his team’s victory by secretly replacing the dilithium crystals with Gold Blend. They didn’t even notice…

  30. @Jim Henley

    It was only at the very end of the game that the former Watchers’ Council franchise finally put a little distance on their opponents by applying their crucial advantage: the team’s women got to actually do things.

    I cut a bit from one of my reminders that was something roughly along the lines of “women as leaders versus men as leaders” (only it referred to both matches). 😀

    Great write-up as usual. 🙂

  31. Brian Z, that’s all very well and good, but I didn’t even know The Peripheral existed until you started talking about it upthread.

    It never crossed my radar. And I read dozens of novels a year. Probably close to a hundred last year.

    So don’t blame the fans. Blame Penguin’s marketing department. And rather than berating me for not having heard of it, tell me why I should read it.

  32. Cassy B: Penguin did fine. It was seeing one of his many readings on Youtube that prompted me to plunk the cash down. And I wasn’t blaming you or anyone personally for anything – though now that you’ve raised the point, I do think that if you read a hundred books that year and you missed the 250 reviews from October to February, it is possible you weren’t looking.

  33. @Brian Z.: This thread now properly centers around praise for my bracket write-ups. That Hugo business is a distraction.

    @Meredith: Thank you! For your kind words and for showing leadership. 😉

  34. Or at least, when I get ready to nominate for the Hugos and see a novel getting the reception that one did, I tend go “hmm, I think I’ll have a look,” not, “oh, him again.” I had been under the impression that might be a part of the job that it might be good to aspire to.

    It’s not my job, or anyone’s job, to read works we’re pretty sure, from experience reading the author’s other books, that we would bounce off of, just in case they’re worth a Hugo nomination. And as for “the reception”, what reception? Like I said, it was barely on my radar. I can’t swear for sure that I’d even heard of it before this fall.
    Not only is it impossible for one person to read All The Books Published In One Year, it’s also impossible for them to Read All The Websites. Especially if they’re trying to read books, too.
    If I’d been a Hugo voter this year (couldn’t make it fit the budget) and if it had made the shortlist, sure, I’d have read it, or at the very least read enough to know how I’d want to vote on it. And I may well have loved it. But as it is, there are only 24 hours in the day, and I’m going to prioritize reading things I think I might enjoy, either from hearing about them from friends or from browsing at the library or bookstore.
    The way you’ve gushed about it, next time I’m at the library I’ll check to see if they’ve got a copy. But fair warning: Lydy gushed passionately and elequently and persistently about Bold As Love (and she even knows me in real life, and so has some idea of what I might or might not like) and I still didn’t care about any of the protagonists. Sorry Lydy. I just couldn’t get past the scene with the yvgreny fuvg-rngvat. Just because one person loves a book with a deep and passionate true love doesn’t mean that any other given person will.

    This is why it’s important for everyone to nominate the books that knocked their own personal socks into orbit. Who knows, maybe a few dozen Puppies would have heard the buzz you speak of, read The Peripheral, and loved it, and so nominated it instead of The Yawn Between the Stars, and it might have made the shortlist. Or maybe they’d have nominated something that’s even more to your taste than The Peripheral that you’ve still never heard of or not gotten around to reading. But we’ll never know, since so many Puppies didn’t nominate their own tastes, but subsumed their taste to the will of the Evil League of Evil instead.

  35. @Bitty: Thanks for elaborating; this makes a lot more sense to me now (and I believe I overinterpreted how you were talking about the one book) (a book that’s on my to-buy list, as it turns out!). I still stand by “ignore slating,” though! 😉

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