Pixel Scroll 11/14 The 7 Pixels of Highly Effective Scrolls

(1) Here is Hampus Eckerman, “A happy Filer on way to see The Martian.”

Eckerman on way to see Martian RT COMP

(2) But did he know that The Martian is a comedy? Nobody else knew it either until the people who run a set of Hollywood awards started playing games —

The Martian is one of my favorite films of 2015. It was intellectually stimulating, inspiring, thrilling, and even funny here and there, but was it a comedy? I don’t think so, but that’s the opinion of Hollywood Foreign Press: the organization behind the Golden Globes award. Apparently, the film is being shuffled over into comedy so it’ll have a chance to snatch a few awards–any awards–from the grasps of lighter fare: something that it won’t be able to do in the drama category, where there’s stiffer competition.

(3) In case anybody is really going to Mars, NASA wants to have spacesuits ready:

NASA is not wasting any time in developing new spacesuits to be used in a variety of locations for the Journey To Mars. Two new suits, PXS and Z2, were introduced in October and they have now reached the stage of working advanced prototypes.

The PXS, or prototype exploration spacesuit, was developed to improve performance on extra-vehicular activities (EVAs), spacewalks, in low-earth orbit or outer space. The suit aims to minimize the amount of equipment necessary for long duration EVAs. The PXS has a versatile approach to fittings. Many features are 3D printed, so the suit can be personalized for any crew member and for different types of EVAs.

(4) Remember Westworld, “Where nothing can possibly go wrong…”? If you’re going to the screening of Westworld at the Ace Hotel in LA on November 15, please note that the correct start time is 1:00 PM, not 2:00 PM as displayed in the original show banner.

Westworld screening COMP

(5) Neil deGrasse Tyson will start a 10-city speaking tour in January 2016.

Join Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, award winning- astrophysicist, author, and host of FOX’s Cosmos for an evening of engaging conversation on science, exploration and the world as we know it.

(6) Fantasy Faction has an extensive and quite interesting report of the Gollancz Festival for Writers.

On Sunday, 18th of October, prolific SFF publisher Gollancz held the Gollancz Festival for Writers, as a sort of addendum to the already sold-out Gollancz Festival 2015. It had a smaller line-up of authors compared to the main festival itself, and focused solely on writing (obviously). I was gutted that the main festival sold out so it was a pleasant surprise when this was announced, and I snapped up tickets immediately.

The main line-up consisted of Ben Aaronovitch, Joe Abercrombie, Joanne Harris and Joe Hill. Out of these four, I’d only read Abercrombie, and I’ve also seen him at events twice before (including Fantasy-Faction’s own Grim Gathering). Joe is one of my favourite writers and also a joy to see speak, so I was already thrilled to be going, but also seeing three other authors I’ve not seen before was a massive bonus.

(7) David K. M. Klaus sent a link to Daniel Castro’s op-ed at Computerworld, “’Ban the killer robots’ movement could backfire”.

Efforts to establish a global ban on offensive autonomous weapons — a.k.a. “killer robots” — have intensified in recent weeks. This uptick in lobbying comes on the heels of an open letter calling for such a ban from a group of artificial intelligence and robotics researchers, including well-known luminaries such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Noam Chomsky.

Unfortunately, these efforts have stigmatized much-needed research on autonomous robots that will be central to increasing economic productivity and quality of life over the next half century — but only if the technology is able to be developed. Rather than allowing those predicting a techno-dystopia to dominate the debate, policymakers should vocally champion the benefits of autonomous robots — including in the military — and embrace policies designed to accelerate their development and deployment.

Klaus responded:

“Ban the Killer Robots!” sounds like a demonstration-slogan shout in a scene on Futurama or something from an Ed Wood movie, but this article is about a real organization with real concerns.

From tele-operated drones to rudimentary A.I. in battlefield machines, they’re worried about the further mechanization of war against enemies of a lower technological level which would still be using human soldiers.

Nobody uses the word “cylon” but it sure as hell was the first thing that came to my mind.

And — I am not making this up — according to Twitter, one of the followers of “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots” tweets is Edward James Olmos.

I keep remembering this quotation by Allen Ginsberg, that “We live in science fiction.”  That’s always resonated with me as prophetic, and it becomes more and more true every year.

(8) The BBC would like to get Tom Hanks on Doctor Who.

‘Doctor Who’ has attracted some impressive guest stars over the years including Brian Blessed, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, and more recently Maisie Williams, but it seems like the Beeb has its sights set on an even higher stratosphere of names for the future.

Peter Capaldi, the actor currently in the lead role, says his BBC bosses asked him to tap up Tom Hanks to appear on the hit sci-fi show.

Not that he’d actually have to parallel any role he’s done in movies, but Hanks has experience with some of the show’s familiar tropes – he’s been through a time paradox in Radio Flyer, had his own Pompeii moment in Joe Versus the Volcano, and had an extended lifespan in The Green Mile.

(9) John King Tarpinian has been catching up on Scream Queens: [Spoiler Warning]

I watched the other night’s episode this afternoon, they had a big belly laugh scene. Jamie Leigh Curtis is taking a shower, the opening of which is shot-for-shot the same as her mother did for Hitchcock.  Except that Jamie beats down the bad guy saying, “I’ve seen the movie like fifty times.”

(10) WIRED’s article “We Flew a Lego X-Wing Into the Death Star Because Awesome” has a clever video of exactly what you’d expect from that title.

You can’t make an omelette, they say, without breaking a few eggs. Well, you also can’t blow up a Death Star without crashing a few X-wings. (That was the lesson of Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, right?) But while that sucks if you’re Porkins or one of his pilot brethren, the collision of X-wings and Death Stars makes for some pretty awesome destruction.

(11) Today In History

  • November 14, 1964:  Santa Claus Versus The Martians is released – generally regarded as one of the worst films ever made…

(12) Today’s Birthday Girl

Man, this has been a shitty year in many ways, and one full of life lessons that apparently the universe felt were overdue. Some of those I’m still grappling with. I am so freaking behind on this book it’s not even funny, but thank god for both the wonderful time spent writing in California this summer and the kick in the ass that NaNoWriMo has administered. I’m feeling hopeful about that again and making steady progress.

At the same time among the bumps there’s been plenty of bright spots. Among them my first novel, my first appearance in a Year’s Best collection (edited by Joe Hill, no less), and my first acceptance to longtime goal Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (I have been submitting there for over a decade now). I’ve had nineteen original publications come out since my last birthday, and twelve are currently forthcoming, including a team-up with Mike Resnick. Rachel Swirsky and I are working on some projects together, which is terrific fun. I have a good half dozen stories already spoken for. My collaboration with Bud Sparhawk finally got accepted so he can stop nagging me about why it hasn’t sold yet.

(13) So H. P. Lovecraft was actually a good Democrat? Scott Edelman ran this quote in a 2010 blog post, “What H. P. Lovecraft Thought of Republicans”.

As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.

(14) You can buy Forrest J Ackerman Presents Music For Robots, created by Frank Coe, on iTunes for $9.99.

The album was released in 2005. It seems that some (all?) of it has already been uploaded to YouTube.

[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus, Hampus Eckerman, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

294 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/14 The 7 Pixels of Highly Effective Scrolls

  1. I need to point out that emotions seem to be pretty fundamental to the decision making process, so it’s probably that you can have an effective decision maker with emotions and no intelligence, but not one with intelligence and no emotions.

  2. @red: (Predestination)

    I liked it, too, but Ex Machina’s also on my ballot… for some similar reasons. EM got into my head and had a fun time playing with what it found there.

    …which, in an odd form of word association, reminds me of a Bad Science example I remember from the past couple of weeks. I forget which work it was in, but after being informed that EM scans have been blocked, the response is to go to visuals. Last time I checked, visible light was part of the EM spectrum.

  3. @Hampus Eckeman

    Seth Gordon:

    “To a first approximation, Lovecraft hated everybody.”

    He did? They why did he spend so much time writing letters to others, helping them and praising them?

    He hated people in general, he quite liked a few as individuals.

  4. The Brin is excellent too.

    It sounds like Brin(I am presuming it’s David B) is on a roll. Didn’t someone say his story in the Old Venus collection was also one of the best reads?

  5. @RevBob

    Yes, Ex Machina has a spot, along with Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian…and unless The Force Awakens crashes and burns, I imagine it will take the final place.

  6. I can’t wait for the Puppies to claim Age of Ultron or Antman were robbed of places on the ballot when they are beaten by a Mad Max film and one based on a Heinlein story. Hugo voters are such highbrow snobs!

  7. redheadedfemme: I just watched Predestination. This is the movie that was granted an extra year of eligibility at Sasquan. I’m certainly glad that motion passed, as it’s going straight on my ballot.

    It’s really well-done, isn’t it? I thought it actually improved on the short story (though of course they had to add a lot more material as the original story is only 7 pages long). I though Sarah Snook deserved an Oscar nomination for that role.

  8. @JJ

    Jryy, gur Svmmyr Obzore fghss jnf cynlrq hc n ovg zber guna arprffnel, V gubhtug, naq gung fprar ng gur raq jurer Wnar/Wbua ernyvmrf ur uvzfrys vf gur Svmmyr Obzore naq fubbgf uvzfrys qvqa’g arrq gb or gurer–vg whfg sryg gnpxrq ba. Gur onfvp zvaq-gjvfgvat cybg jnf zber guna rabhtu gb pneel gur svyz. But you’re right, Sarah Snook’s performance was Oscar-worthy.

  9. Every time I see David Brin’s name I have this weird moment of “urgh, that guy” – which is nothing to do with him at all, but due to superficial name resemblance to Dave Sim. I’m sort of hoping eventually it goes away.

    PS. I’ve had to step back a bit on commenting the last few days for reasons but I’m still reading everything and I wanted to say –

    @Mike Glyer, your selections for the Scrolls and other posts are always really good, even if right now I’m mostly not saying so as much as I’d like or in the detail that I’d like.

  10. Old Venus Table of Contents
    1.“Frogheads” by Allen M. Steele
    2.“The Drowned Celestrial” by Lavie Tidhar
    3.“Planet Of Fear” by Paul Mcauley
    4.“Greeves And The Evening Star” by Matthew Hughes
    5.“A Planet Called Desire” by Gwyneth Jones
    6.“Living Hell” by Joe Haldeman
    7.“Bones Of Air, Bones Of Stone” by Stephen Leigh
    8.“Ruins” by Eleanor Arnason
    9.“The Tumbledowns Of Cleopatra Abysee” by David Brin
    10.“By Frogsled And Lizardback To Outcast Venusian Lepers” by Garth Nix
    11.“The Sunset Of Time” by Michael Cassutt
    12.“Pale Blue Memories” by Tobias S. Buckell
    13.“The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” by Elizabeth Bear
    14.“The Wizard Of The Trees” by Joe R. Lansdale
    15.“The Godstone Of Venus” by Mike Resnick
    16.“Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts By Ida Countess Rathangan” by Ian Mcdonald

    I got through the first 8 stories before I had to return it to the library (I tend to prioritize reading novels; to me, short stories are a bit of a chore because I don’t get the same emotional payoff as I do from novels).

    Of the first 8, I thought only the Haldeman and the Leigh were noteworthy. It will be interesting to see how the rest compare when I get the book back.

  11. @Seth: Lovecraft hated everybody.

    I’m not sure that focusing on hatred is the best way to think about racism.

    It’s possible to be a racist without hatred or anger: all that’s required is assigining a whole group of human beings to the “non-human/animal” category.

    He might have hated lots of white people too, but he didn’t consider them animals/filth.

    Focusing on individual emotions and the more extremist statements of those emotions allows everybody else cover.

  12. The household Lovecraft expert can’t remember where the book with that particular quote has gotten to. So you’ll just have to believe me that Lovecraft had some choice words for Democrats too.

  13. Haven’t seen Predestination yet. The Martian is already lower than my top five SFF films of the year, though, so it’s not in the running anymore for me.

    Ex Machina is still in the top five, although it could get bumped off. Mad Max: Fury Road is also in the top five, and is much less likely to get bumped off as it’s near the top. (What We Do in the Shadows and Inside Out are also both currently in my top five.)

  14. I’ve seen two films this year, but they were both good so that’s… Currently my Long Dramatic Presentation shortlist. Getting to five films is going to be unfun, and I’ve all but given up on watching enough television to meaningfully nominate in the Short category beyond short films – of which I have two that I liked enough.

    Watching things is hard.

  15. @Meredith: Every time I see David Brin’s name I have this weird moment of “urgh, that guy”

    I have that too, and it has nothing to do with a confusion with Dave Sim (whose work I’m aware of but not familiar with). For me, Brin falls into the same group as Whedon; back 15 to 30 years ago, their thoughts seemed progressive and forward-thinking, but the more of their work I see/read and the more of their behind-the-scene thoughts I hear/read about, the less they seem to be aware of and responding to current thoughts and discussions, and the more ossified they seem. It’s too bad.

  16. @ Greg Hullendar
    “As for intelligence arising via evolution, obviously it did so at least once, but that took over 4 billion years, and it involved creatures that could reproduce themselves. Software systems do not, as a general rule, reproduce. Therefore they can’t experience natural selection.”

    I don’t think the 4+ billion year timescale between the first reproducing cells and human intelligence is a good metric. The goal of evolution wasn’t intelligence, the first 2 billion years there wasn’t even enough free oxygen available for multicellularity, complex animals didn’t show up until about 600 million ya, disasters wiped out more than 50% of all species of those animals at least 5 times since then, and various smaller set-backs in-between those 5 big ones are some of my reasons.

    I think part of our problem with AI is that we don’t understand intelligence/consciousness well enough to direct a machine towards it via something analogous to natural selection or otherwise. We think some other animals are self-aware/conscious and that other animals have different levels of intelligence. And we’re not exactly purely reasonable critters either, we’re bundles of emotions, impulses and drives that we barely understand. I suspect, though, that something like emotions – desire to survive/sense of self, desire for reward, satisfaction, curiosity, etc. – may be fundamental to an independent consciousness developing in a machine. But that may just be me thinking that intelligence must look like me. ;^]

    It’s a fascinating subject, that’s for sure, which is probably why so many SF stories speculate about it.

  17. @Lexica

    The sum total of my knowledge of Brin at this time is “people on File770 keep complimenting his work” so I wouldn’t know – but if his opinions are similar to Whedon’s I can safely say he’s less sexist than Dave “women are Voids without a glimmer of understanding of intellectual processes” Sim, which is a plus, I guess, if a very low bar?

    I feel like Whedon – and I agree with you that he could do with some updating, by the way – has a hard time because during Buffy he basically ended up as the face of male feminism in television, which no-one human could possibly live up to. His screw ups get amplified in a way that other creators don’t have to deal with – but he rarely responds to criticism well, either, so I don’t know. I just feel a bit like people hung too many hopes on him.

    (But the mysterious lack of Asian people with speaking roles in Firefly was just plain weird considering the world-building.)

  18. Predestination is definitely on my list right now– Sarah Snook was incredible and I didn’t hate Ethan Hawke (this is a high bar to clear for me). I thought it improved upon a short story that, in finally actually reading it (as opposed to reading ABOUT it), was kind of meh. I actually thought gur Svmmyr Obzore guvat– univat gung or Lrg Nabgure Vapneangvba bs Wnar/Wbua— jnf na rkpryyrag pubvpr. Ure/uvf jubyr yvsr jnf nobhg gelvat gb pbaarpg jvgu gur bar crefba fur/ur ybfg– ure/uvf lbhatre frys, naq va qbvat fb, vasyvpgrq nyy gur gentrql bs ure/uvf yvsr ba ure/uvzfrys. Znxvat ure/uvz gur obzore nqqrq nabgure ynlre gb gung.

    The Martian and Ex Machina are also on my list. Ant-Man probably as well. Haven’t seen Mad Max yet.

  19. I had an interesting conversation with a friend this weekend about David Brin’s women characters, inspired by a discussion on designing aliens in SF where someone brought up a number of authors who may be very good at coming up with plausible *aliens* but appear to be incapable of writing human *women* for beans (names which came up included Larry Niven, James P. Hogan, and Jack L. Chalker.).

    My friend noted that *on* *paper* Brin’s female characters look terrific — tough, smart, capable, high-achieving. But in *practice* they always seem to wind up as appendages of some man or other, a father or a suitor or some such, and they don’t really do much and act in flat, stereotyped ways and even when one is running, say, an entire guerilla insurgency, somehow she ends up as little more than a supporting character to the fellas.

    It can be oddly disheartening when authors who are gangbusters at designing aliens fail utterly at writing human women.

  20. Well, there’s always Brin’s Glory Season, with it’s gene-engineered matriarchy, where almost all of the characters are female, including the protagonist. Though you can tell he was trying so hard not to step on anyone’s toes with that one; writing on tenterhooks, you might say. Still, I think it did a pretty good job of avoiding several obvious stereotypes and clichés. Though I also think its fair to say that it fell short of really being a feminist work, despite looking a lot like an attempt at one (it was—controversially—nominated for a Tiptree). It’s a mixed bag. I liked it, but I understand why some people don’t.

  21. @Peace

    That would probably bother me. When I get round to reading more of his stuff it will be interesting to see if that stands out.

  22. And honestly, Peace, I think you’re being a little harsh on The Uplift War. Yeah, the romance was a little cheesy, but overall, I thought Athaclena was a much more developed character than whatzizname. Of course the chimpanzee pilot (male) damn near stole the book from both of them, but that almost goes without saying. He was a chimpanzee. And it’s true that Athaclena wasn’t actually a human either, but she was definitely a female alien.

    Really, characters in general aren’t really Brin’s strong suit, but he does have a few memorable ones. And Athaclena’s one of my favorites.

  23. . Of course the chimpanzee pilot (male) damn near stole the book from both of them

    Fiben Bolger most definately stole the book imo. That being said Athaclena was a much better character than the son of the govenor. When she qrpvqrf gb fnpevsvpr gur vafhetragf tnvaf gb yvzvg qnzntr gb gur sentvyr rpbfcurer vg vf n znwbe gvccvat cbvag va gur jne naq nsgre gur nqiragher vf bire fur eriregf gb gur fgnaqneq Glzoevzv sbez; ure lbhgushy qnyyvnapr qbar jvgu.

  24. @ Meredith
    “Watching things is hard.”

    Do as much as you can, when you can, and only if it’s still fun! If you end up with zero noms in some categories, so be it. After everyone helped me through my mini panic a while ago, I decided I’m probably not going to spend a lot of time on Long Form Editor or Graphic Story or Related Work because they’d likely take more spoons than I want to spend on them. So be it again. Several categories may only get 1or 2 noms for similar reasons, and I say the third time, so be it. 😉

  25. re: David Brin

    He was one of our favorite writers in the 80s-90s. His portrayal of women, for the time, wasn’t all that bad. Not saying it couldn’t have been better and he hasn’t moved forward on the subject much in the last 35 years, true. Thankfully, the Suck Fairy hasn’t sprinkled a lot of her dust on his Uplift universe, at least for me. I can still reread and enjoy without wincing too much, probably because the aliens and uplifted Earth animals are so fascinating and so central to the plots.

    Uplift War was my favorite of the series and Athaclena and Fiben were the stars of the show. Given the description of the Tymbrini, Athaclena acted like a Tymbrini (and the most knowledgable adult) within the plot.

  26. @Xtifr:

    I like Athaclena too. But in many respects she feels like a walking anime character. It seemed to me she acted more like a stereotypical human teenage girl than anything else. She never seems to really cut loose with her alleged alien trickster abilities. Her father is the one who solves the problem, not her.

    That the young human many she has to protect is an undeveloped character compared to her only seems to point up how much her much more interesting character could have done.

    The fella’s importance is emphasized and his point of view dominates, despite his blandness and lack of ability. She seems to become the exotic, competent but not threateningly so female satellite to him.

    As with several of those other authors, the story and aliens are so well done I ache for the missed opportunities.

  27. Meredith: Watching things is hard.

    junego: Do as much as you can, when you can, and only if it’s still fun!

    This is great advice. I push myself to read short fiction; otherwise, I would read almost none, because my biggest enjoyment, by far, is novels. But I interleave that with novels, and when I get to feeling that it’s too much of a chore, I set it aside for a while.

    If my/your Hugo nomination ballot does not have 5 things in every single category, that’s perfectly okay.

  28. Predestination:

    This one is high up on my list. I didn’t know what I was watching, began to think “hey, this is just like All You Zombies”, worried for a bit, and “hey, this is absolutely perfect”. Some great acting, too. I thought that thing at the end wasn’t needed, but I didn’t resent it, and Not-A-Genre-Person I watched with said it sealed the deal for him, and made the looping clear.

    (He also said it gave him the good kind of headache, but I was good and didn’t tell him to read more sff for the millionth time.)

    Soon after, we watched I’ll follow you down, which was horrible. This isn’t pertinent to this year’s Hugo’s at all, but I feel compelled to share my suffering with people who care that sff movies are good. The whole thing was a mess (and a very obvious one, and Rufus Sewell was inexplicably making twirly-mustache villain face the whole time. Why?

    Also on my list thus far, Fury Road, The Martian and Ex-Machina (although I didn’t think much of the characterization/acting for both male leads, which is surprising, because I thought Oscar Isaac could do no wrong). I’ve watched very little genre tv this year, so it’s probably going to be all movies. Where should I start, considering I’m not a huge super-hero fan?

    Also, is Mune, the Guardian of the Moon going to be eligible. The story is a little didactic (ok, a lot), but the world, and the art! Also, I feel the six-year-old should get a tiny chance to vote in the Hugos.

    What We Do in the Shadows was a delight, but then it outstayed its welcome. I would have loved it as a half-hour sitcom. And I hated Tomorrowland.

  29. @ JJ
    “If my/your nomination ballot does not have 5 things in every single category, that’s perfectly okay.”

    Yeah, I finally figured that out. 🙂

    Is this your first year nominating too?

    I’m fortunate that I love shorts. It was a Bradbury very short story that introduced me to SF. My son feels the same way you do, though. He loves the longer mental and emotional investment in world-building and characters. To me short stories are like a song that can strongly evoke a mood or vignette or surprising insight with only a few minutes investment with the best lingering in the mind and popping up at odd times. The baby novel categories are often just that, short novels allowing for slightly more complex worlds and characters to tell less involved stories than a novel.

    I admire your working at the short fiction. I was never interested in comics and decided that I’m not going to try to read enough to nominate this year. After reading the finalists for 2015 and 2016 maybe I’ll feel confidant and motivated to try nominating next year.

  30. junego: Is this your first year nominating too?

    No, I’ve been doing it for a few years — but this past year was the first where I made a concerted effort to seek out and read recommended short fiction prior to the nomination deadline this March.

    Which was then completely negated by the ballot being filled with Puppy Poo.

    I estimate that I read around 50 2014 novellas, novelettes, and short stories — which is really good, for me, because I would only ever read novels if given the choice. Shorter fiction does not last long enough, generally, for me to get that feeling of satisfaction (which is why I’d dearly like novellas such as Kress’ Yesterday’s Kin and Valentine’s Dream Houses be made into full novels — for me, they were great, but they weren’t “complete” stories).

    I’m going to try to beat that tally this year — Puppies notwithstanding.

  31. junego: I admire your working at the short fiction. I was never interested in comics and decided that I’m not going to try to read enough to nominate this year. After reading the finalists for 2015 and 2016 maybe I’ll feel confidant and motivated to try nominating next year.

    I’m not “into” graphic novels, and I figure that my efforts at the short fiction are sufficient challenge for me that I can in good conscience leave the graphic novel category to those who enjoy, and are knowledgeable about, the year’s offerings (though I do read the Hugo finalists in that category and vote on them).

  32. @ JJ

    re: Shorts
    Ouch on all that effort being slated. It may not be better this year either. If EPH passes things should return to near normal, hopefully. I think the Pups will dwindle as an organized force after that. Weirdly, part of me hopes they show enough strength next year to ensure EPH gets up voted. That hole needs to be plugged.

    re: Graphic stories
    You’re “sacrificing” enough by reading the shorts, imo 😉 Your reasons sound much like my son’s. He wants to feel a deeper, longer emotional and intellectual experience when reading.
    The only reason I’m considering the comics is because I actually enjoyed reading Saga, Rat Queens and Ms. Marvel this year. The storytelling was more compelling than I expected and I was intrigued by the technical issues discussed by Filers. I wouldn’t do it only for duty. We’ll see how goes.

  33. She acts more like a stereotypical human teenage girl

    While I disagree about the stereotypical part, she behaves like a teenage girl because that what she is.

    Her father laments at one point that being brought up by him and having only humans for company wasn’t good for her. He worrys she won’t develop properly as a Tymbrimi since he himself is considered by his peers to have a callow sense of humour. This also explains why she isn’t as much of a trickster as would be usual for her race.

  34. @Tintinaus:

    None of that explanation makes her a more interesting character, I’m afraid.

  35. Every time reading for the Hugo’s feels like a chore I go off and read stuff “just for fun”. It’s important that those of us who vote stop leaving the nominating to others. At the same time it’s important that we maintain our love for SFF and not turn the process into a chore or I think we lose sight of the goal. If you find reading a chore or are forcing yourself to read types of things you don’t like are you going to be able to determine the “best”*?

    Sample some of the things in categories you don’t care for based on recommendations by those you trust. Who knows you might find your taste have changed. But as others have pointed out if you’ve only read a couple things in a category and they seem good to you nominate them.

    I’ve been voting on the Hugo’s for over 5 years. Prior to 2 years ago I was lazy and let others nominate and I just voted but didn’t nominate. Year before last (2014) I nominated a few things as the concom did a great job of reaching out and making sure people knew how to nominate and they sent a number of reminders. This year (2015) I didn’t nominate as there were issues with my membership name/email which never got fully fixed although I was able to vote. This year I’m paying more attention and will make sure there are no issues as well as reading more recent works and keeping a Hugo list. I’ve got a huge TBR list which I’m working my way through, I’ve got an Amazon Hugo wishlist, I add books to the Goodreads Hugo list (10 last night), share what I’m reading here/Goodreads/Twitter/FB/husband, get books out of library, and more. I’m up to 244 books/shorts/novellas/novelettes I’ve read according to Goodreads 2015 reading challenge (doesn’t catch up to 20% of my reading).

    I know I won’t have 5 things for each category. Long editor – how do we figure this out? Artist – again not sure how to know whose eligible for what. Graphics are hard as I’m not sure if what I’m reading is eligible and I don’t know if I’ve got the spoons to contact creators to ask – most of what I read is Kickstarters/webcomics published in book format with additional stuff added as stretch goals.

    I’m focusing on categories I regularly read with additional stuff from recommendations here from filers with similar taste. Honestly I think if more voters did this during the nomination stage we’d see changes in the number of things nominated, # of votes for the top 5, I’m not convinced we’d see different types of work nominated and showing up in the top 5 (once EPH and 4/6 are ratified).

    *however you define best.

  36. It’s worth noting the context of Lovecraft’s “Republicans” quote–at the time, the Republican Party was still most associated in the American consciousness with Lincoln’s overthrow of slavery. The South was universally Democratic primarily due to that fact–you can still find a few hard-right Democrats now and then in the Deep South, because the Republican brand was so toxic in the post-war era that it was impossible for a Republican to win no matter what their policies were.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats were just beginning to find their new issue of lower-and-middle class based populism, and it was still centered primarily with Roosevelt. Nobody in the Democratic Party in 1936 was taking a stand on race, because they understood full well that their coalition depended on racism–Truman was even a member of the KKK at one point, not because he personally subscribed to their beliefs but because it was politically necessary. For Lovecraft to be pro-Democrat and anti-Republican in 1936 fits perfectly with his stated beliefs on race.

    It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act “lost the South for a generation”, in the words of LBJ, and Nixon’s conscious decision to court racists (his so-called “Southern Strategy”) that the political lines were redrawn into what we know them as today. The names of our political parties may have stayed the same, but their philosophies are completely different.

  37. @John Seavey
    re: political party history

    Good points on the changed character of the parties. IIRC the Republicans were the liberal reformers until the 20s-ish. The Democrats had strong ties in the South and had resisted the Republicans who *won* the Civil War and backed Reconstruction and Progressive reforms from the 1850s to the 1920s. Neither party was way out front on racism post-Reconstruction, though, sadly.

    I think Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, et al. would be appalled at what the GOP has become.

    The point is that from the 20s to the 60s you could be a New Deal Democrat and a rabid racist at the same time. I certainly had a whole bunch of relatives in the South who were anyway.

    If Lovecraft was a Democrat in 1936, his views on race would have been somewhat outside the mainstream thought, but not that far out from some southern Democrats.

  38. My great great grandfather was one of the founders of the Republican party, a staunch abolitionist and powerful proponent for citizenship and civil rights for blacks until the day he died. His children were heavily involved in civil rights, the labor movement, minimum wage laws, anti-child labor, factory safety regulation, and food safety regulation.

    That is what the Republican Party meant in the nineteenth century, and was still how it was thought of in the early twentieth.

  39. @johnseavey: While I agree about Republicans being considered the more racially progressive party before the 60’s, senate.gov denies Truman was in the KKK, saying that he was accused of it when he entered national politics but that he actually fought the Klan in Jackson county. (Can’t link, alas.)

  40. It isn’t exactly that watching stuff for nomination is a chore, more that watching stuff makes me physically unwell – I get dizzy and light-headed and low blood pressurey and pushing through it ends badly because then I don’t remember anything I watched. For reasons best known to my body that frankly I think they’re a bit silly, but essentially come down to “stimulation” – the more I enjoy something or the more interesting it is, the harder it is to watch, whereas silly mindless stuff that’s fun but not anything to get excited about is easier (still not easy, but easier). You can probably see why that wouldn’t work too well with seeking out the best stuff of the year!

    Still, yes, even if I can’t fill out the ballot I’ve got some choices which I think would be worthy contenders regardless, and that’s okay too. Kung Fury and The Oceanmaker for short (I’m also tempted by the videos for Public Service Broadcasting’s Gagarin and Go), The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road for long. If I get through some more stuff by the deadline, yay, otherwise I’m not going to worry too much except for the occasional frustrated whinge about it being hard. 🙂

    I don’t plan on nominating for Editor Long at the moment, since I feel it would be inconsistant with my conclusion that the category should be abolished and replaced with something more appropriate. I’m still on the fence about Short. I definitely want to try for Related Work, though, since there have been some great options flagged up throughout these threads that I want to read anyway. 🙂 Graphic Story is tricky since I’m a comics fan but also kind of poor and keeping up with comics is pretty difficult without spending quite a bit. I’m keeping a close eye on what gets recommended here and elsewhere to try and focus my reading (that counts for all categories, but especially Graphic Story).

  41. @Peace: And how would you have felt if the roles were reversed? Yes, she didn’t solve everything by herself, but she was a teenager, and the story wasn’t a wish-fulfillment fantasy for teenaged girls. Many characters all contributed to the ultimate resolution. But she was one of the two primary focus characters, along with the chimpanzee. And if she derived power from the guy towards the end, well, is that any different from, say, a hero who derives power from the princess he’s rescued?

    Honestly, is the problem that Brin doesn’t do women very well, or is it that he doesn’t do humans very well? Character development in general doesn’t seem to be his strength. He designs fascinating alien species, but how many of his alien characters have great depth? He’s a great world-builder, and a decent plot-designer, but of all the characters in all his books, I think Athaclena is one of the most developed he’s ever written. None of the characters in Startide Rising ever stuck out for me the way she did. Most of his books seem to be awash in interesting but not-well-developed characters. He makes them make up in quantity and variety what they often lack in depth.

    And then there’s Glory Season. Say what you like about his characters, female or otherwise, Brin did at least take a stab at writing a feminist fantasy. And he seemed to take pains to avoid making it either a utopia or a dystopia. (Best demonstrated by the fact that some critics have called it the one, while others have called it the other.)

  42. @Xtifr:

    That’s a fair point. Maybe the problem is writing humans in general. In Brin’s work (and the other authors mentioned) the humans do tend to be pretty flat compared to the aliens.

    On the other hand, I do have it on good authority from women and girl readers close to me that it can be tremendously dispiriting when the flat cardboard male human at least comes up with ideas and saves the day and the narrative keeps looking out through his eyes, while the flat cardboard female human frets and acts all instinctual and occasionally goes undercover as an exotic dancer.

    Don’t get me wrong. I did and do love Brin’s books. It’s part of why I’m disappointed in the parts that don’t work.

    In the idom of one of my young relatives (talking about James P. Hogan’s work):
    It’s like, the science is awesome and the ideas are cool and the aliens are amazing and the men are doing all cool stuff and then, wow, cool, a woman scientist shows up and … Aw, dammit.

  43. @jayn: You are entirely correct; Truman was part of the Pendergast machine, but he was not a Klansman. Still, there were plenty of places in that era where Klan support was necessary to stand as a candidate.

  44. @ Peace
    What a wonderful family history to have! You are rightfully proud of it. All of my male relatives, save one gggrandfather and a distant cousin, fought for the Confederacy (many as volunteers yet!) and almost every branch of the family owned slaves at one point or another.

    I realize there were many individuals who were staunch supporters of racial equality throughout that historical period. My remarks about the racial policies of the parties by the early 20th century were in regard to my understanding of the leadership, factions and actual policies/decisions/deals made that ceded control of the South back to the Democrats (and the former slave-owners) by about 1880 and opened the way for the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow suppression. I’m sure there were many Republicans who opposed those decisions and deals (and the corruption during Reconstruction), it sounds like your family would have been among them.

  45. Old news, but here’s an interesting article on how Richard Scarry rewrote his own 1963 children’s book in 1991 to get rid of a lot of sexism.


    The Sword In The Stone (1963)
    Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)

    Shrek (2001)
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

    Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
    Fantasia (1940)

    Conan The Barbarian (1982)
    The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

    Night Watch (2004)
    Snowwhite and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

    Big (1988)
    Brotherhood of the wolf (2001)

    Hogfather (2007)
    The Mummy (1999)

    Princess Mononoke (1997)
    Jumanji (1995)


    Elric of Melnibone, Michael Moorcock
    Zoo City, Lauren Beukes

    Death, The High Cost of Living, Neil Gaiman
    Gossamer Axe, Gael Baudino

    Dragon Bones, Patricia Briggs
    The Deed of Paksenarrion, Elizabeth Moon

    The Shattered World, Michael Reaves
    The Myth Books, Robert Asprin

  47. 1. Holy Grail (Bring out your dead!)
    2. I… I’m going with Shrek, sorry
    3. The dice are evil. Thoroughly evil. Aaargh. Abstain.
    4. Nightmare Before Christmas
    5. Snow White
    6. Big (with a meh)
    7. The Mummy. Hogfather was just… not what it should have been.
    8. Mononoke
    4. The Myth Books (that’s perVECT!)



    Abstain – not sure I’ve seen the former, but I’m not that into Python (heresy, I know).

    Shrek (2001)


    Abstain – I can’t vote against Centaurs, but “Wonka” was surreal fun. I should vote “Fantasia” but I will just abstain.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

    Night Watch (2004)

    What did someone say about comparing apples to hedgehogs?

    Big (1988)

    I’m not familiar with “Wolf,” but come on . . . it’s BIG!

    The Mummy (1999)

    Awesome movie – it had it all! Action, humor, magic, spooky-scary-stuff, romance, etc.

    Jumanji (1995)


    Death, The High Cost of Living, Neil Gaiman
    Gossamer Axe, Gael Baudino

    Abstain – The only pair in this Bonus Bracket where I’ve read even one of them, and honestly I’m not sure “Death” would make a good movie. Plus IIRC, I liked her better as a guest star in “Sandman”; or maybe I just haven’t read this mini-series in way too long? Hmm.

    Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)

    Let me be the fifth knight to say Nee!

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

    A movie that gets more beautiful everytime I watch it.

    Conan The Barbarian (1982)

    Nightmare… was great, but Conan…Conan sees them crushed before him

    Night Watch (2004)
    Snowwhite and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

    Abstain. Both I’ve watched. Both were meh

    Brotherhood of the wolf (2001)

    Big was creepy

    The Mummy (1999)

    Unfortunately, none of the Discworld adaptations were great. And Mummy was *really* fun

    Princess Mononoke (1997)

    Hime-sama for life!


    Abstain all.

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