Pixel Scroll 2/6/16 A Man, A Plan, A Canal: Pixel Scroll

(1) NO SPOILERS PLEASE. “Star Wars lands preview on Disneyland TV special”, a Deadline.com article, says the special will air February 21 on ABC.

Harrison Ford — Han Solo himself — will give viewers an exclusive preview of Star Wars-themed lands being developed at Disneyland and Walt Disney World during The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60. Ford also will introduce a Star Wars spectacular featuring a live performance of the music of John Williams.

(2) FROZEN IN CARBONITE. If you order quick, you can be in front of the TV that night enjoying a couple of scoops from your Ample Hills Creamery’s Star Wars 4-pack. Cost: a mere $ 36.00.

 

We are thrilled to offer a Limited-Edition Star Wars 4-Pack! Conceived in collaboration with Disney Consumer Products, packaged in collectible containers with original artwork, this 4-Pack set is the perfect gift for any fan or ice cream lover! Each 4-Pack includes two pints of each flavor:

  • The Light Side: a bright marshmallow ice cream with homemade crispie clusters, as well as a smattering of handmade cocoa crispies (to represent the dark side still lurking within the light)
  • The Dark Side: by contrast, is an ultra-dark chocolate ice cream with espresso fudge brownies, cocoa crispies, and white chocolate pearls (to represent the light still hiding in the dark, waiting to burst through)

(3) NY STATE OF MIND. Samuel R. Delany will be inducted to the New York State Writers Hall of Fame in a ceremony on June 7. Previous inductees include Madeleine L’Engle in 2011, Joyce Carol Oates and Kurt Vonnegut in 2012, and Isaac Asimov in 2015.

The New York State Writers Hall of Fame or NYS Writers Hall of Fame is a project established in 2010 by the Empire State Center for the Book and the Empire State Book Festival and headquartered at the New York State Library in Albany, New York, … to highlight the rich literary heritage of the New York State and to recognize the legacy of individual New York State writers. New writers, both living and deceased, have been inducted annually since 2010.

(4) OMG. Here’s a coup —

(5) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 6, 1944 Captain America becomes the first theatrical Marvel Comics release.

Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers-movie-poster

2. IT WAS SHOT IN JUST 23 DAYS.

With a modest $380,000 budget (roughly $3.3 million in today’s dollars), Invasion of the Body Snatchers started filming in Sierra Madre, California on March 23, 1955. If you’re a horror buff, the little city may look a bit familiar, since segments of Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1980) were shot there as well.

In my case it looks familiar because I once lived a block away from downtown Sierra Madre…

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born February 6, 1932 — French film director Francois Truffaut. His only English language directorial movie was Fahrenheit 451 which was also his first color movie.  He played Claude Lacombe in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • Born February 6, 1947 – Eric Flint

(7) SNAP JUDGMENT. Photographer Murray Close’s Greatest Hits.

Jack Nicholson, center, Stanley Kubrick, right.

Jack Nicholson, center, Stanley Kubrick, right.

Murray Close

Murray Close

Murray Close’s introduction to photography and the movie business began with an assignment on Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’. It turned out to be a three year master class that would influence his work from that point on, forging strong links with the film industry and receiving a priceless photographic grounding. With a mentor such as Kubrick and a hunger for strong imagery Close quickly became the first call for Hollywood A List productions.

(8) RABID PUPPIES. Vox Day added another category to the slate today: Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Semiprozine.

The preliminary recommendations for Best Semiprozine category:

  • Abyss & Apex
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Daily Science Fiction
  • Sci-Phi Journal
  • Strange Horizons

(9) GRRM RECOMMENDS. George R.R. Martin names eleven book editors that deserve consideration in “Yet More Hugo Ruminations”

Toni Weisskopf and Jim Minz of Baen, Anne Sowards of Ace, and Sheila Gilbert of DAW were the four legit finalists last year. All four could very well contend again this year….

There are some other outstanding editors who deserve your consideration as well, however. So let me bring a few of them to your attention. Starting with my own editor, ANNE LESLEY GROELL, of Bantam Spectra…. And then there’s Tor. David G. Hartwell has won three times, and so has Patrick Nielsen-Hayden, but there are lots of other terrific editors at Tor who deserve some recognition. DIANA PHO, who edits our Wild Cards books. MOSHE FEDER, who discovered Brandon Sanderson. HARRIET MCDOUGAL, Robert Jordan’s editor who put together this year’s WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION. And LIZ GORINSKY…. So, okay, lots of good strong candidates right here in the US of A… but you know, there are some great choices on the other side of the Atlantic as well. All the great editors are not American, you know, and the Hugo is not restricted to US companies. A lot of British and European fans joined worldcon last year to vote for Finland in 2017. I hope that most of them will take the time to nominate… and that they will look beyond the US publishing scene and rectify a decades-long injustice by nominating MALCOLM EDWARDS of Gollancz/ Orion and JANE JOHNSON of HarperCollins Voyager for the Hugo. For those of you reading this who are not writers or editors and maybe don’t know this stuff — Malcolm Edwards and Jane Johnson are the two giants of British SF and fantasy….

And neither one has EVER been nominated for a Hugo, let alone won. We should fix that now. I was certain that Malcolm and Jane would finally get some recognition year before last, when worldcon went to London… but the Brits, it appears, were asleep at the switch, at least where this category was concerned

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

201 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/6/16 A Man, A Plan, A Canal: Pixel Scroll

  1. This will likely be Harriet McDougal’s last chance to win an award. Its hard to pick best editor, but she basically edited the Wheel of Time companion. So you can see the editing job there. She edited Wheel of Time, Enders Game/Speakers for the Dead, and Gene Wolf among others. If anyone deserves 1 nomination for a life time of work its Harriet.

  2. @Wildcat

    Even if everything else goes sideways, I’m fairly confident BDP will get awarded since the category is so resilient and recognized to be above slate influence. So a completely Hugo-less MACII seems very, very doubtful.

    I agree. It has an exponent close to 1, so it scales with number of nominations, and it usually gets more total nominations than anything except Best Novel. However, it’s an extremely unsatisfying category because the winners can’t be bothered to attend. They just send a thank-you letter. So when I visualize a convention with no awards, adding a single award where the recipients don’t care about it doesn’t make it better for me.

  3. Is there a masterlist of who edited what Genre books this year? How do you figure out who edited what other than when specific authors mention them?

  4. I’m sorry, but wittering on about saving the Hugos is utter nonsense; the only people who benefit from that sort of melodrama are VD and the dead elks. I really don’t understand why anyone is providing him with the one thing he wants, which is people paying attention to him, and, Dog forgive, taking him seriously.

    I suggest a brisk walk followed by a decent ice cream; at least that way some sense of proportion may return, and if it doesn’t you will still have done something enjoyable.

  5. Guess: You do, in general, have to wait for specific authors to mention them. Most people aren’t really in a position to nominate for this award; it’s very much an insider thing. Now, in general I don’t think we should expect everyone to nominate for every award – nominating is a way of bringing things to a wider audience – and I’m annoyed with slates for distorting this. But this one is particularly obscure.

    Laura Resnick: I think book editors totally deserve an award; I just don’t think the Huog voters are well placed to judge it. It would be good if someone were to institute an award, judged in some other way, which could still be presented at WorldCon. Unfortunately I have no power to bring this about.

  6. Greg, think of it this way–there are people who would know, substantially in advance, that there would be no Hugo. These are people running the con.

    I see no way, if there were literally NO Hugos going out, that they would still make people sit for two hours in a room just to suffer that fate. They’d figure something else out, unless somebody truly loathed the presenter that year and wanted to give them nightmares.

  7. On Dark Orbit:
    @Steve Wright, I think that’s an apt analysis.

    The central conceit is magnificent, and quite well-done IMHO. It’s such a clear, vivid example of creating a culture which feels both alien and yet very, very easy to relate to. Aliens whose alienness you feel like you understand.

    …but then there’s the mysticism element. Which at the beginning I mostly found really annoying. Finishing the book, I’m no longer sure what I think of it; in many ways, I think my visceral dismay at taking the mysticism seriously is exactly what the book is about. That’s a damned neat trick! (But does it alleviate the fact that the mystic bits just weren’t fun to read? I’m not sure.)

    And then, as you say, there’s just a whole bunch that… doesn’t seem to quite make sense. One of the things that really bugged me was the described culture they meet – I had a lot of trouble swallowing the economy, the availability of food, the social structure, the near-total lack of men (and then what happens with sex and reproduction?). All these elements that simplified the culture to something very intriguing and beautiful and dramatic, but don’t seem to me to actually be workable if you give them any serious considerations.

    I think the book also had some serious issues with structure. Like, Thora’s narration kept straying back to flashbacks of her previous mission, which seemed to have no bearing whatsoever on anything going on now. It kept feeling like “OK, let’s take a break from this story, and I’ll go tell you about some other story that’s already over.” For most of its run, I just didn’t feel it was significant to the primary thread and characters (heck, including Thora herself), and I didn’t feel like it was very interesting in its own right. Or another thing was, the first portion of the book was very heavy on intrigue and machinations and dark secrets. And then gradually those all just fizzle away. Each for its own reason (I think they’re all reasonably justified), but it mostly feels like a ton of tension just gradually sagging into slackness. Like the text invests in a lot of excitement upfront to carry us into the meat of the story, but once it gets there, the first section feels useless and sagging in retrospect; it doesn’t match up to the rest of the story and it doesn’t provide any payoff.
    Mind you, Dark Matter is an ambitious book and it pulled off something I consider really cool; I can see where the structural choices came from. But, they took their toll.

    Minor point: I listened to Dark Matter as an audiobook. I’m new to audiobooks. I really liked the reader as Sara, but after the first few chapters, she started doing all these hugely exaggerated voices for all the new characters! I can’t tell you how much that threw me off. It might be par for the audiobook course; for me, it was really weird. The particular combination wound up making a lot of dialogue feel very campy and artificial, which I don’t think I’d have felt had I read it in text.

    What I haven’t mentioned is how much I adored Moth. Part of what made the story work for me, misgivings and all, was the elegant way that someone from “our” culture goes and lives among theirs, and Moth, from “their” culture, comes and lives amongst “our” kind of people. Her scenes and reactions and observations were wonderful.

    …I kind of wish I could get another half-dozen authors to each take a stab at writing this book, because I feel like one of them would get it in its incredible perfect ultimate form. Buuuut it doesn’t really work like that. And I enjoyed this enough to be able to enjoy the excellent central conceit, even if the surroundings and the development could have been better.

    (I may or may not be putting this on my Hugo ballot; I’m mulling whether the strengths are enough for me on this. It’s the kind of book I wouldn’t recommend to most of my friends; I don’t think they’d enjoy it much, devoting so much effort to hunting down the one Big Idea in the middle.)

  8. Oh, random request:

    Anybody want to pitch me on the plot of Jemisin’s The Fifth Season?

    I haven’t read many 2015 novels; I’ve got time for one or two more before noms commence. Fifth Season has come up a lot, but I’ve been putting off looking into it. Because, well, I don’t like post-apocalyptic as a genre or setting much. And because I haven’t really seen anybody talking about its plot to any degree, so I get the sense that might not be the book’s selling point.

    But I don’t feel like I’ve gotten a clear sense of what it is from the reviews so far. I’ve got the setting; I think I’ve got the theme, as it were. But would somebody like to tell me about the plot?

    (Prompted by Steve Wright’s review, which does mention plot strongly, but didn’t got into detail 🙂 )

  9. Greg Hullender on February 7, 2016 at 11:12 am said:

    Last year, there were 3,587 people eligible to nominate (just because they were members at the previous con.) 2,122 actually did so. This year, there are 5,950 eligible because they were members at Sasquan. It’s plausible to assume there will be at least 3,500 nominations this year.

    I don’t know where you got those numbers.

    I just went and looked it up and there were 8,867 people who were members of LonCon3 eligible to nominate in the 2015 Hugos. Add to that anyone who was not a member of LonCon3, but joined Sasquan or MidAmeriCon II before the deadline, and that’s your 2015 nomination pool. That’s waaaay more than 3,587.

    There are 10,529 people who were members of Sasquan eligible to nominate this year. Add to that anyone who was not a member of Sasquan, but joined MidAmeriCon II or WorldCon 75 before the deadline, and that’s your 2016 nomination pool. That’s waaaaaaay waaaaaay over 5,950.

  10. @Stevie

    I suggest a brisk walk followed by a decent ice cream; at least that way some sense of proportion may return, and if it doesn’t you will still have done something enjoyable.

    I’m a big believer in experimental testing. I’ll give this a try and report back. (I might skip the walk part.) 🙂

  11. @ULTRAGOTHA

    I just went and looked it up and there were 8,867 people who were members of LonCon3 eligible to nominate in the 2015 Hugos. Add to that anyone who was not a member of LonCon3, but joined Sasquan or MidAmeriCon II before the deadline, and that’s your 2015 nomination pool. That’s waaaay more than 3,587.

    I only counted the ones who actually cast a vote on the final ballot in 2014 or 2015, figuring the rest were unreachable. I should have made that clearer.

  12. @Standback: I actually think the Orem flashbacks turned out to be structurally crucial; but you’re right, it was hard to see that at first, so that made reading them seem like an annoying irrelevance (and yeah, not as interesting as the main plots). Firstly, Thora’s mystic journey culminated in her return to Orem; that was the key to her comprehending world-traveling by being thought of, and also it served as an example to beware, avoid people who think you into a form that’s wrong for you. Secondly, all the second-hand information about Orem led to Sara misunderstanding Dagan Atlabatlow (in a manner that didn’t reflect well on her; and it was one of those “why can’t people just talk to each other?” moments that are frustrating for readers). So again, a theme of perceptions and misperceptions; Sara (or was it Thora?) said she admired Dagan for being able to not be mis-shaped by people mis-thinking him.

    I was disconcerted by how literally this book carried out the idea that perception creates reality (explaining things with quantum gobbldygook didn’t help me take them seriously). But I guess that one of the things spec fic can do is illustrate ideas by putting them into a concrete form. After all, people do, to a degree, bend themselves in accordance with the roles that other people see them in; Thora had been thinking about how she was different when with her family even before Iris, and her reflections on the role she slipped into at home will sound familiar to many people. So in this novel we have Gilman exaggerating and literalizing some ideas about perception that may deserve to be taken seriously. We do understand what we see through a haze of our preconceptions. Just how much do personal and social factors affect what people “see”? Gilman would say “a lot”, others might argue she’s overstating it.

    I found this book disconcerting, and kind of rough reading. Like you say, it makes it hard to get into the book when some of the points are expressed in a form that’s hard to take seriously, like mysticism. And although the underground culture was fascinating, it was diminished by the fact that it could only work by magic (getting food from other worlds).

  13. There are thousands of reasons to be a member of WorldCon that have nothing to do with the Hugos. Those folks got the information from the con. They were perfectly reachable. They just didn’t nominate for lots of valid reasons.

    The Puppy sweep blindsided people last year. I highly suspect the percentage of eligible nominators actually casting a nomination ballot will be much higher this year.

  14. @Vasha: Might not have time to write more tonight, but it sounds like we had similar reactions. 🙂

    In the meantime, I’d love a link to the previous comment you mentioned, if you can find it handily – I didn’t manage to find it, oddly enough :-/

  15. @Standback

    Anybody want to pitch me on the plot of Jemisin’s The Fifth Season?

    (Secondary-World Fantasy) For thousands of years, “Orogenes” (people with Earth Magic) have kept parts of this extremely geologically-active world stable enough for civilization. Despite their best efforts, there are occasional “fifth seasons,” times when runaway volcanic activity causes years of darkness across the world’s single continent. People fear and hate orogenes, the government uses them, and they’ve got problems of their own.

    As the novel opens (i.e. in the first few pages), one of them uses his power to wreck the world, causing a fifth season that may last for centuries or more–ending civilization entirely. The rest of the novel tells three stories focused on an orogene woman (two in flashback) which ultimately help us understand why he did it.

    The text makes the “orogenes” very real. We feel their pain, but we understand why the locals fear them too. The book is rich and complex–it doesn’t give easy answers to anything. the story is complete in that all the questions we asked in chapter 1 are answered by the end, but it is just the first novel of a series.

    I don’t rate novel-length fiction, but suffice it to say that this is currently #1 on my Hugo shortlist. And I’ve already preordered the sequel.

  16. There is also the fact that not everyone joins a WorldCon in time to nominate (honest! I never did before this year)–so what you really need are the membership totals during the nominating period, which (I imagine) would be much, much more difficult to parse for past WorldCons . . .

    In any case, whatever happened in the past, this year will be different because more people are aware of what is, or might be, going on. So we’ll see what we’ll see, in a month or two.

  17. @Greg: You are a mean, lean, summarizing machine.

    The rest of the novel tells three stories focused on an orogene woman (two in flashback) which ultimately help us understand why he did it.

    That’s the line I was looking for, I think.

  18. @ULTRAGOTHA

    The Puppy sweep blindsided people last year. I highly suspect the percentage of eligible nominators actually casting a nomination ballot will be much higher this year.

    That’s a happy thought that goes well with ice cream. 🙂 I’ll end my part of this discussion on that note.

  19. Mary Frances on February 7, 2016 at 1:45 pm said:

    There is also the fact that not everyone joins a WorldCon in time to nominate (honest! I never did before this year)–so what you really need are the membership totals during the nominating period, which (I imagine) would be much, much more difficult to parse for past WorldCons . . .

    There’s no real way of getting that, short of working your way through each membership list and unduplicating people. And even that won’t do it for you because there are always lots and lots of people who are members of a con but not on the public membership list. John Lorentz might be able to tell you the total number of people eligible to nominate last year. I have no idea how private WorldCons consider that number.

    Since it’s after January 31, 2016 David McCarty might be able to tell you for this year. Same caveat applies.

    I, myself, have nomination-rights-granting memberships to Sasquan, MidAmeriCon II, and WorldCon 75. But I only get ONE nomination. So they would have had to unduplicate me TWICE out of their database.

  20. Greg

    The walk is optional but good ice cream is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

    Further to my getting things in perspective I’m about to embark on Detective Strongoak and the Case of the Dead Elf, which looks as if it might be fun.

    I do very much regret that Pterry will write no more, but the wisdom of the dwarf battle cry Today is a Good Day for Someone Else to Die stays with us…

  21. The best ice cream I have ever had was from the Orkney Islands. Creamy and rich without being greasy. Not as sweet as some. Just….perfection. I wish I could go back just to eat their ice cream.

  22. Michael Eochaidh: Isn’t that Close sitting on a stool to Nicholson’s left? He’s more or less in the background.

    It might be. I can’t tell. Here’s a shot taken at the same time, and an enlargement of it.

    I looked briefly for older photos of Close but could not find any; it’s hard for me to tell whether that’s what he would have looked like back then.

  23. Guess: This will likely be Harriet McDougal’s last chance to win an award. Its hard to pick best editor, but she basically edited the Wheel of Time companion. So you can see the editing job there. She edited Wheel of Time, Enders Game/Speakers for the Dead, and Gene Wolf among others. If anyone deserves 1 nomination for a life time of work its Harriet.

    I’d like to see Harriet recognized as well. However, the qualification for Best Editor Long Form, according to the WSFS Constitution Section 3.3.10 is: The editor of at least four (4) novel-length works primarily devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy published in the previous calendar year that do not qualify as works under 3.3.9. (works in 3.3.9 are anthologies, collections and magazine issues).

    As far as I’m aware, the WoT compendium is the only book Harriet edited last year.

  24. Greg Hullender on February 7, 2016 at 12:18 pm said:

    [BDP is] an extremely unsatisfying category because the winners can’t be bothered to attend. They just send a thank-you letter.

    Not always the case. The team behind Galaxy Quest accepted in person and were delighted to win it. There were two actors from The Lord of the Rings in San Jose to accept the award that year. And it’s wrong to say that they don’t care. Orphan Black will have their Hugo Award trophy appear in an episode next season. (They wrote to The Hugo Awards to get permission, which they didn’t need, but we were happy to tell them, “Yes, yes, and tell us which episode and when it will air and we’ll promote it.”)

    -=-=-

    Regarding both Best Editor awards: The dissatisfaction with them is why I’ve proposed eliminating them both and replacing them with Best Publisher, Best Professional Magazine (which would subsume existing Semiprozines, also eliminating the complication of defining “semi-professional”), and Best Anthology or Collection. For those people who believe in the Conservation of Hugo Number, there would be no change: three categories deleted and three added.

  25. @Kevin Standlee

    Regarding both Best Editor awards: The dissatisfaction with them is why I’ve proposed eliminating them both and replacing them with Best Publisher, Best Professional Magazine (which would subsume existing Semiprozines, also eliminating the complication of defining “semi-professional”), and Best Anthology or Collection. For those people who believe in the Conservation of Hugo Number, there would be no change: three categories deleted and three added.

    Is there any way to help you with that?

  26. @Greg Hullender:

    Go all out. Nominate, get your friends to nominate, lend them your books if you have to. Nominate all five spots, if you possibly can. (Obviously don’t nominate stuff that’s not worthy or which you didn’t read.) But don’t let him sweep the entire ballot.

    Let me be frank: no. I’m not gonna do all that. Some people may, and more power to them. But while I’m not happy about the attempted freeping of the Hugo awards, it is far from the most important thing in my life. And it’s certainly not something I’m going to make a pest of myself about to my friends. In the end, even reading “to nominate what I truly love to save the Hugos” can feel like a chore, and in the final analysis, it too is dancing to VD’s tune if it feels like a chore.

    You can consider this either failing to do my duty or recognizing that I don’t have a duty here in the first place. Either one is fine. But I said a year ago that trying to save the Hugos by “greater participation” was a fantasy, so it’s not like I didn’t warn you.

  27. @Kurt Busiek:

    I, like many others, am going “marshmallow? Come on, it’s the light side, not the white side. How about a nice French vanilla, or whatever the ‘butter’ is in butter pecan and butter crunch?”

    Marshmallow. Crush them, Empire.

    Yeah, really. Bad enough to pay nine dollars, but for a tiny tub of candy? A well-done French vanilla is a treasure.

  28. I’m about halfway through Dark Orbit right now, looking forward to joining the conversation on it. (I always seem to be a day or two late for these things.)

  29. By Heavens, we have harnessed the horses and loaded up the chariots, and taken social media by storm so that our enemies are dust crushed beneath our boots.

    I mean really, how could Patak not have realised that messing with the recipe of their lime pickles was an Act of War? However, since their speedy submission and promises it will revert to the original, deserves some mitigation, subject to our guidance, ie the chariots…

  30. Re: Dark Orbit, I get the feeling that there is some deliberate subversion of expectations going on in it, in places. (Like, when the chap with no head turns up, early on, and it looks like there’s going to be a murder-mystery or thriller plot going on… only it turns out there’s a simple explanation, much later. Or the way the Sara/Atlabatlow situation is built up, only to resolve itself as a misunderstanding.) My problem is, I’m not sure how much of this works, and how much it distracts from the overall theme.

    It’s still a strong book – it’s certainly worth reading, and I’m at least considering it for my nominations shortlist (except there’s a lot of stiff competition out there!) And, at least for me, the way the story looped back into Thora’s previous experience worked – it turned out that the way people saw her on Orem was crucial, too.

    And Gilman has a nice, clear, unpretentious, very lucid prose style – a little while ago, I was singing the praises of Cat Valente’s extravagant writing in Radiance, but “clear, unpretentious and lucid” works for me too.

    On an unrelated note, I now feel the urge to take Greg Hullender prisoner and force him to write my synopses for me. Very neatly summarized, sir!

  31. They are talking smack about our own Kurt Busiek in the Atlantic!

    Perhaps most importantly, he’s a character who deeply feels his responsibilities, but still manages to be cheerful, funny, and down to earth—the defining characteristics of Kurt Busiek’s alternate-universe tale Superman: Secret Identity (2005). Secret Identity in particular is worth noting for another reason: it’s the only Superman story to graft the refinements of Stan Lee’s underdog Spider-Man back onto Superman. As a result, it’s the best Superman story of the decade and perhaps one of the best of all time.

    Oh. I guess that’s not so bad, really.

  32. So why people are dropping and adding categories, I would still like to see one for series. One of some sort. One can make it applicable to series greater than 1 or greater than trilogies. But I tend to look at series like television shows and novels like movies.

  33. Kevin Standlee on February 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm said:

    Orphan Black will have their Hugo Award trophy appear in an episode next season. (They wrote to The Hugo Awards to get permission, which they didn’t need, but we were happy to tell them, “Yes, yes, and tell us which episode and when it will air and we’ll promote it.”)

    I’m pleased to hear that. Orphan Black’s win for BDP brought out my loudest cheer of the night.

  34. @Greg Hullender: I really rather wish you had ROT13’d that summary of The Fifth Season, because I think you have at least one really major spoiler in there. (How the three narrative threads fit together is not immediately obvious, and the moment I figured it out — triggered by one well-chosen word — was one of the best moments of the book for me. I’d hate to have someone else deprived of that pleasure.)

  35. So, Bruce Schneier and I are working on an academic paper about the E Pluribus Hugo proposed voting system. We’ve been given a data set of anonymized votes from 2015. I don’t want to give all the results away but here are a few, now that people are actually voting for this year’s Hugos:

    -A typical category had around 300 ballots which voted for more puppies than non-puppies, and about half of those ballots were for puppies exclusively. There were few ballots which voted for half or fewer puppies (typically only a few dozen). The average number of works per ballot per category was around 3.
    -There were some weak correlations among non-puppies, but nothing that remotely rivals the puppies’ coherence. In particular, correlations were low enough that even if voting patterns remained basically dispersed, raising the average works per ballot per category from 3 to 4 (33% more votes total) would probably have been as powerful in terms of promoting diverse finalists (that is, not all puppies) as adding over 25% more voters. In other words: if you want things you vote for to be finalists,
    -EPH would have resulted in 10 more non-puppy finalists overall; at least 1 non-puppy in each category (before accounting for eligibility and withdrawals).
    -SDV would have resulted in 13 more non-puppy finalists overall.
    -Most other proportional systems would probably have resulted in 13 or 14 more.
    -The above numbers are based on assuming the same ballot set; that is, that voters would not have reacted to the different voting system by strategizing. If strategizing is not used unless it is likely to be rational, that is a pretty safe assumption with EPH; less so with other proportional systems. Thus, other systems could in theory actually lead to fewer non-puppy nominees / less diversity than EPH.

    Feel free to promote this to a front page post if you want. Disclaimer: EPH is not intended to shut the puppies out, but merely to help ensure that the diversity of the nominees better reflects the diversity of taste of the voters.

  36. Kevin Standlee on February 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm said:

    Greg Hullender on February 7, 2016 at 12:18 pm said:

    [BDP is] an extremely unsatisfying category because the winners can’t be bothered to attend. They just send a thank-you letter.

    Not always the case. The team behind Galaxy Quest accepted in person and were delighted to win it. There were two actors from The Lord of the Rings in San Jose to accept the award that year. And it’s wrong to say that they don’t care. Orphan Black will have their Hugo Award trophy appear in an episode next season. (They wrote to The Hugo Awards to get permission, which they didn’t need, but we were happy to tell them, “Yes, yes, and tell us which episode and when it will air and we’ll promote it.”

    I find it rather endearing when the people behind the movies do appreciate the Hugos. Thanks for pointing those out.

  37. Zenu on February 7, 2016 at 4:32 pm said:

    So [while] people are dropping and adding categories, I would still like to see one for series….

    This was proposed last year in Spokane (starting at page 17). The proposal was eventually referred to a committee to report back last year. Series is, like YA, one of those ideas that sounds good in concept but is thorny in execution.

  38. Tonight’s read — Dark Orbit, by Carolyn Ives Gilman

    (I have not yet read the discussion of this book that took place earlier in this thread. I will go back and do so after I write my impressions.)

    An expedition to a newly discovered habitable planet runs into strange troubles. Good book. This book sits at the intersection of philosophical SF and hard science fiction, and is brimming with ideas. It doesn’t quite pack the unsettling heft of Halfway Human, but there’s a lot of food for thought here, while at the same time I found it both a page-turner and a quick read.

    I do have one objection, though, which is that the characters seemed a bit thin. Not paper-thin or one dimensional; Moth and Sara and Thora all had personalities. It’s a more minor complaint than that. But I nonetheless sometimes felt that the characters existed to convey particular ideas, rather than the ideas being conveyed through characters who felt independent of them, if that makes sense.

    (Going back to read previous comments now.)

  39. @Jameson Quinn,
    Thanks for the update. So EPH if it had been in play last year, would have prevented Puppy shut-outs? That is good to know.

  40. Oh, to follow up the Hugo PIN “I got mine/I didn’t get nuffink” stuff…

    Today, on Twitter, they said:

    If you haven’t received your Hugo PIN, it may also be worth checking your spam folder. Email subject is “Hugo Nominations Are Now Open!”

    If you have not received your Hugo PIN, please email hugopin (at) midamericon2.org to check membership & email address details.

    I did so, and got my PIN very swiftly thereafter.

    Haven’t checked to see if it works, but I got it…

  41. My reactions to things people have been saying here about Dark Orbit:

    1) The mysticism.

    Didn’t bother me at all. A major *point* was, what if some of what we thought was mysticism was actually a kind of science? And the answer was, in part, (A) that some mysticism would still be bullshit, and (B) that some advocates of science in its current form would have a hard time accepting the reality of the part that wasn’t bullshit. Makes sense to me.

    2. The alien culture

    I’m not sure whether some parts of their society fall apart if you think about them too hard, or if the object there was, you’d think a society that operated this way would make no sense and be unable to function, but only because you’re enmeshed in the preconceptions of your own society. I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt.

    3. The flashbacks to Orem

    I think these fulfilled a role in the book, explaining both an aspect of the “Ground” science and why Thora was open to it, but I wish they had been more fleshed out. They were just kind of there and gone.

    4. The resolutions of various subplots

    I don’t mind a bait-and-switch, but yeah, some of the stuff wasn’t so much “this resolved unexpectedly!” as “… Oh, that was all? Seems like an awful lot of time spent on that, then.” I know some of that was about perception, but even so, that very last reveal especially was kind of, “aaaaaaand OK that was the big secret we’re done here bye!”

    5. Moth is great

    Moth *is* great!

  42. Jameson Quinn: So, Bruce Schneier and I are working on an academic paper about the E Pluribus Hugo proposed voting system. We’ve been given a data set of anonymized votes from 2015.

    I’m presuming that what you’re saying is that you’ve been given a set of anonymized nomination ballots, and that what you’re talking about here are nominations, not votes?

  43. Jameson Quinn: So, Bruce Schneier and I are working on an academic paper about the E Pluribus Hugo proposed voting system. We’ve been given a data set of anonymized votes from 2015. I don’t want to give all the results away…

    Please tell me that I’m understanding you correctly: You were given this data so that we could determine how well EPH would or not work, and you’re withholding the information from Worldcon members because you want to publish an academic paper?

    Because if so, dude, that is totally not “on”. That is not why you were given the data.

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