Pixel Scroll 2/13/16 He Feels The Pixels Scraping, Scrolls Breaking On His Brow

(1) TIME IN A BOTTLE. Ars Technica tries to figure out how time travel works in Star Trek.

Time travel, while perhaps one of the most interesting devices in the series, is also confusing, befuddling, and inconsistent. In the words of Captain Janeway, “the future is the past, the past is the future; it all gives me a headache.”

While we can’t get too deep into the purported mechanisms behind Trek time travel—they rely on things like “chronotons” whose nature real-world science has sadly yet to discover—it’s still interesting to ponder time travel’s effects. How does it affect the present? Is interference with the past a predestined part of history? Do alterations in the past get mixed into the current timeline?

(2) BIT PLAYER. “Finding Boshek” is the latest in The Numerous Solutions of Billy Jensen.

He was the man who could have been Solo.

I have always been intrigued by BoShek. When Ben Kenobi enters the cantina on Mos Eisley looking for a pilot to take himself, the boy and two droids to Alderaan, his first choice is a smuggler sporting arched eyebrows, killer muttonchops, and a black and white space suit more akin to an astronaut than a fighter pilot. While we cannot hear their dialogue, it is obvious that Kenobi asks him for a ride to Alderaan–and for whatever reason, the space pilot says no.

Was his ship out of commission? Did he have another charter later that day?

Whatever the reason, BoShek turns down the offer, but smoothly motions over his shoulder to the furry beast behind him, in my mind saying something to the effect of “Sorry, I can’t help you. But why don’t you give him a try?”

That furry beast, Chewbacca, then brings Kenobi and Skywalker to the table, Han Solo sits down, the rest is history…and BoShek faded forever into the darkness of the Mos Eisley bar.

Incredibly enough, he solved the mystery.

Commenter Jeremy Miller was so impressed he wrote:

This was a spectacular discovery, but there remains yet another, even more elusive uncredited extra hailing from the Star Wars cinematic universe begging to be found. His character has been named…Willrow Hood…the infamous Cloud City tech who absconded with an ice cream maker during the evacuation of Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. Help us, Billy Jensen. You’re our only hope.

(3) SLATE FIGHTER. Steve Davidson’s thoughtful Amazing Stories post “Whether tis Nobler” follows this introduction with an analysis of anti-Hugo-slate tactics.

GRRM’s laying the blame for the success of No Award at my feet – problematic.  For reasons both personal and voting-related.

I like Mr. Martin.  I particularly admire and am grateful for his unstinting support of fandom over the years.  (By way of example:  he has consistently attended Worldcon even when other, higher-profile conventions have been scheduled for the same weekend.  His stated reason for doing so is “He is a fan”.)  I find him to be, in  many respects, a fine example of the kind of fan-turned-pro that I grew up with, people like Asimov, Bradbury, Clement, Buchanan, Gerrold, others.  They KNOW where they came from, they recognize and acknowledge the support the community has provided to them, they embrace the culture and they pay things forward.

I’m uncomfortable being at odds with him.

On the voting front though, we’re at odds.  We are not at odds when it comes to the general concept of “do not mess with the Hugo Awards”.  Our conflict is based on tactics, not strategy.  Mr. Martin believes that the only consideration ought to be whether or not a work is worthy of a Hugo Award, and further, he believes that this position should trump any anti-slate considerations. Anything less can potentially negatively affect deserving nominees who happen to be on slates.

I on the other hand believe that slates are the primary issue and taking an effective and long-lasting stand against their use and acceptance ought to be the main focus.

(4) VENERA. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler has just read about the Soviet Union’s 1961 Venus probe.

Look out, Venus!  The Russians are coming to open your shell.

Venus, forever shrouded in a protective layer of clouds, may soon be compelled to give up her secrets to a 1400 pound probe.  Launched by the Soviet Union on the 11th, it is the first mission from Earth specifically designed to investigate “Earth’s Twin.”

(5) EXCITABLE BRIN. And in 2016, David Brin got a little revved up by what he heard at two events in California: “Space: so many milestones ahead!”

Space is looking up. In that more eyes appear to be turning skyward in tentative optimism. A few days ago I participated in a pair of events in Los Angeles, hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and NASA and Fox Studios. The morning event featured Ridley Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, Andy Weir and scientists and screenwriters discussing how the film The Martian may be a harbinger of much more about bold exploration.  The smaller afternoon event, at UCLA put scientists and Hollywood myth-makers together in workshops.  Maybe we’ll get more hopeful tales!

(6) INKLINGS. Glenn Hough has reviewed Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch at Worlds Without End.

In terms of the 20th century, the Inklings, this select group of men, who met, talked, and critiqued each others work, has now become The Example for how a fellowship is supposed to work. Even Paris of Hemingway’s lost generation, with their salons, and creative minds from far more disciples, seems now a pale second place.

Bandersnatch takes us into this crucible, trying to reconstruct from a fly-on-the-wall perspective this extraordinary time and place. Glyer is concerned with two fundamental questions: What did they talk about when they discussed the various works in progress? and What difference did it make within the books they were writing?

(7) CRASHY BOOM. Neatorama remembers “The Sound Effects Genius Behind The Looney Tunes And Merrie Melodies”.

Treg Brown started his career as a sound editor for the Warner Brothers in 1936, and under his guidance the iconic Looney Tunes cartoon sound took shape.

From the subtle inclusion of sound effects in orchestral scores to the hiring of iconic voice actors like Mel Blanc, Treg is the guy responsible for it all.

(8) EO BBC. The BBC aired the first science fiction television program 78 years ago.

Doctor Who may be the world’s longest-running science fiction television series, but it’s not the oldest sci-fi program to have been broadcast on television. That honor goes to another BBC production, which first aired 78 years ago today: a live recording of Karel ?apek’s seminal play, R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). You probably remember that the program was nominated for a Retro-Hugo in 2014.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 13, 1931 — Bela Lugosi is undead in Tod Browning’s Dracula, seen for the first time on this day in 1931.

(10) HOYT DESERVES BETTER. Sarah A. Hoyt has been unjustly attacked, she explains in “The Games People Play”.

The unnamed site, having read the first paragraph and seeing that a post followed, immediately went on to say that research was hard and that, without doing it, I’d done a whole post about the case.  When it was pointed out to them I hadn’t, but the case was a mere jumping off point, they claimed stupidity on my part since the post was an obvious sham or something.

That’s terrible! I wonder what site that was? At first I suspected it was this one. After all, File 770 ran an item about that column the other day which was, indeed, based on the assumption that the introduction signaled what the rest of the column would be about.

Now, I haven’t read the complaint, so perhaps there is more to it, and the complaint is more substantial. …

We’ll stop here and wait til she reads the complaint…

But when J. C. Salomon informed me about the true state of affairs, I responded in a comment:

J.C. Salomon: That’s hilarious — the rest of the column had nothing to do with the lede? I would never have known! Thanks for telling me.

Nothing like Hoyt’s description. So if some blogger “claimed stupidity” on Hoyt’s part, and claimed “the post was an obvious sham,” I’m glad Hoyt is taking him to account, whoever he is.

(11) FANCAST REVIEWS. Geeking Out About… discusses “Road to the Hugo Awards: Selected Fancasts, part 1”.

Finding the time to listen to hour-long episodes of podcasts which are eligible for the 2016 Hugo Awards wasn’t easy for me, but that’s what today’s article is about. The eligibility requirements state that the podcast must be a “non-professional” production—that is, no other company paid the podcaster(s) to make it—and at least one episode has to have been produced during the calendar year in question.

As such, then, I decided to pick one episode from a currently eligible podcast whose description interested me the most and I’ll be basing my recommendations on just the one episode. Unlike the “three episode rule” which I’m borrowing from former GOA contributor Kara Dennison, I think that I’d be able to tell what’s going to be on my nomination and/or platform lists before March 31 from just one episode.

(12) SETTING AN EXAMPLE. Here is Brian Niemeier’s tweet, inviting people to read his post criticizing Matthew Foster for using ad hominem attacks.

See Niemeier’s post “Sad Puppies: Cognitive Dissonance Makes Our Enemies Oblivious” at Kairos.

There are two possible explanations for why Matthew responded to my evidence-based arguments with nothing but ad hominem attacks.

  1. False positives: all of his “tells” are in fact rational responses to unknown stimuli.
  2. Cognitive dissonance: lacking contrary evidence against arguments that shook his worldview, Matthew responded with a slew of irrational accusations.

(13) FORCE AWAKENS DESPOILED. As CinemaBlend notes, in How Star Wars the Force Awakens Should Have Ended much of the video is actually dedicated to fixing holes in the movie rather than specifically dealing with how it ended.

[Thanks to JJ, James H. Burns, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

353 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/13/16 He Feels The Pixels Scraping, Scrolls Breaking On His Brow

  1. @TheYoungPretender I have some faith in the nominated person’s ability or judgement when it comes to making effective use of the fact that they would have “control” of that slot once the nominations are finalized, either to turn it down or come up with some other clever plan.

    I’m not sure I’m following you here. If a person/work is on RP/SP slate, they/it becomes a finalist, what kind of clever plan are you picturing? Declining the nomination could put a different RP/SP slate item as finalists. No way to know beforehand. I used the puppy leaders is going to fall flat IMHO. Which leaves us with voters trying to determine what they believe became finalist regardless of being on the slate. It was Hugo quality leaves us open to slates forever and possibly kills EPH or any changes to nominating/voting to prevent slates from taking over the ballot.

    Look at me arguing Steve Davidson’s position. I hold this position. This year the games VD is playing is making it really hard for me to stand by my principles. He has put me in a heads he wins, tails I lose this year for anyone/anything I was previously planning to nominate which he has on his slate who has not disavowed slates.

  2. …and in true BBC tradition it was either never recorded

    78 years ago *nothing* was recorded. The best that was just about possible was Film Recording (point a cine camera at a long persistence TV screen) which introduced all sorts of artifacts. The film companies and cinema chains had very firm thoughts about the BBC setting up in competition.
    The big weekly drama the BBC produced at the time was repeated later in the week, and the technical staff shift (AP Shift) system was created so that the same individuals who had worked on the original transmission also worked on the repeat. The actors were just paid to come in twice.

  3. Camestros Felapton on February 14, 2016 at 10:38 am said: “It does take some amazing categorical twists to be a puppy but a key one is that because they (and Mad Genius in particular) are publishing independently (plus and via Baen) that therefore publishing independently is a Sad Puppy thing and if you oppose Sad Puppies you’ve sold your soul to Big Publishing.”

    Or, you could listen to what people actually say, which is that they can’t get published any other way than independent because of politically based gatekeeping by Big Publishing.

    With a Left-leaning gatekeeper, Left oriented authors experience no difficulties along ideological lines. Round peg, round hole. Therefore anyone who complains must be a liar, self promoter, or some other lower life form. Maybe even a [shudder] Republican!

    Just as an experiment try submitting a story that has some square-peg Conservative elements. See what happens to you. To quote Mr. T, I predict pain.

    3) I look forward to Davidson’s arguments of why Noah Ward needs to win again in 2016, in case Sad Puppies 4 the non-slate slate manages to get a nomination or two up.

  4. For example if a book is first published by a UK publisher and then later by a different US publisher do you get the geolocation determined published version (e.g. if Orbit in the UK and Tor in the US do amazon.uk get the Orbit ebook and amazon.us get the Tor one)

    It has to be a publisher who has e-publishing rights for that region, and for new books from large publishers those seem likely, in practice, to reside with the print publisher.

  5. In honor of our title (and my favorite Jethro Tull song)

    God he voted puppy
    And the slates they wont stop going no they won’t slow down

  6. Wait, you don’t consider yourself part of the commentariat?

    Maybe he’s part of the Bourgeois Z

  7. Completely off topic: is it possible to check whether someone has actually received and/or opened an email?

    Try asking for read receipts.

  8. Just finished The Mechanical. Was an ok book, nice world building, but I never became were interested in what would happen to the people on it. Will skip out on further parts.

    And then Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace… and it was great. It will absolutely get a nomination from me. A setting that is totally different from others, people in it I liked, excellent humour. Really loved it.

  9. Or, you could listen to what people actually say, which is that they can’t get published any other way than independent because of politically based gatekeeping by Big Publishing.

    And yet even those filthy communists at Tor publish the likes of David Weber and John C. Wrong. So it’s not like conservatives can’t be published. Perhaps these conservatives who can only self publish aren’t very good?

  10. The Phantom on February 14, 2016 at 11:32 am said:
    Camestros Felapton on February 14, 2016 at 10:38 am said:
    Or, you could listen to what people actually say, which is that they can’t get published any other way than independent because of politically based gatekeeping by Big Publishing.

    With a Left-leaning gatekeeper, Left oriented authors experience no difficulties along ideological lines. Round peg, round hole. Therefore anyone who complains must be a liar, self promoter, or some other lower life form. Maybe even a [shudder] Republican!

    Just as an experiment try submitting a story that has some square-peg Conservative elements. See what happens to you. To quote Mr. T, I predict pain.

    Oh those left leaning oublishing gatekeepers! You mean like how Mark Levin is published by Simon & Schuster and Glenn Beck also…and Donald Trump’s latest politcal work or how Sean Hannity is published by HarperCollins, who also publish Ted Cruz (under their imprint Broadside Books)

  11. @Hampus

    Envy of Angels was something, wasn’t it? There’s a sequel called Lustlocked out now, and a short on Tor.com.
    I thought Lustlocked didn’t play out quite as well as Envy, although it does feature an excellent take on goblins with a very interesting choice of goblin king…

  12. I also thought Envy of Angels was great and it’s on my nomination list (which isn’t yet a ballot because I’m still PIN-free) too.

    @Tasha Turner – This year the games VD is playing is making it really hard for me to stand by my principles. He has put me in a heads he wins, tails I lose this year for anyone/anything I was previously planning to nominate which he has on his slate who has not disavowed slates.

    Eh. This pretty much encapsulates much of my reasoning for why ignoring slating, except in a “yup, that’s a slate all right” way, is the best course. Since I remain unconvinced of VD’s strategic genius (I’m pretty sure my dogs are better fitted for a game of wits than any strain of Puppy), I think it’s heads or tails he loses, so long as a majority of people pay no attention to the head clown. No matter what anyone does, VD will declare victory, but I do think not working around him in any way will make the hollowness of that declaration painfully obvious to almost everyone.

    @Phantom, thank you for learning new tricks. Italicizing quotes makes it much easier to read your posts.

    I don’t actually care about the politics of the authors I read and doubt publishers do either, so long as it doesn’t result in boring message fiction. It makes a convenient narrative though.

  13. While some may be drawing battle lines between self-pub-conservative and corporate-pub-evil-SJWs, I’ve seen evidence that it cuts both ways. Yesterday I read a piece concerning a YA story where most of the background gay characters got mysteriously deleted before the book went to press. A large part of my own self-pub decision had to do with not wanting my brown-skinned cast to end up whitewashed on the cover; I’ve heard of a lot of examples where that kind of thing has happened – even recent ones. Since I’m kind of an anarchist who grew up preferring underground comix and zines to Marvel superheroes, self-pub wasn’t a difficult choice.

    I’m fine with being written off as a no-talent hack who couldn’t handle the rigorous corporate publication process, but I deny being oppressed by any sort of liberal conspiracy.

  14. @Tasha

    Beyond simply decline the nomination? I’m not sure. Taking the nomination and then taking one’s name out seems to be the only real option that hopefully clears the way for a an un-slated nominee. I said that more as a way of not foreclosing anything. But yeah, I’m of the opinion that I’m not going to not nominee something because of our would be soooper genius. But I will vote against it, barring some damn special special pleading.

    I realize I may end up putting stuff I like below No Award if the author does not pull out, which would stink. There’s one thing I know – the stuff hurt by Teddy will still be good stuff, still be purchased and read or enjoyed. The sabotaging of its award chances would be sad, but wouldn’t detract from its quality. Whereas Teddy only lives for his horseshit little plans, his publishing house only exists for his schemes, and the stuff it produces is poop otherwise. Having him lose so he can babble about XanaD’OH! gambits hurts him far more than it hurts anything he trys to hijack.

  15. Phantom :

    Just as an experiment try submitting a story that has some square-peg Conservative elements.

    You mean like the conservative who had sold over 200 million books, and had works simultaneously charting no.1 in TV, movies and as books back in 2008?

    It’s difficult to see an animus against conservatives when a conservative has managed to outsell, say, GRRM by about eight to one.

    Granted, Crichton isn’t publishing that much these days, but it’s difficult to ascribe that to liberal gatekeeping…

    So, let me ask you a simple question to expose your motivated reasoning, Phantom – what would it take to falsify your position? Three conservative authors in current publication? A dozen? Automatic acceptance of every piece of fiction submitted by a conservative author, no matter how badly written? What?

  16. Leaving aside the special pleading about how Baen isn’t really “proper” trad pub, among the core puppies Hoyt has been published by Ace and DAW, Paulk also by DAW, and Freer by Pyr. Then there’s all the non-puppy authors enthusiastically embracing hybrid and self-pub, like puppy unfavourite Chuck Wendig. The split they point at simply isn’t there.

    If MGC confined their cheerleading for self-pub to just talking about its pros and cons (which they often do well), rather than needing to take digs at other authors for pursuing their own success in different ways to them, they’d come over a lot better.

  17. nickpheas on February 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm said: And yet even those filthy communists at Tor publish the likes of David Weber and John C. Wrong. So it’s not like conservatives can’t be published. Perhaps these conservatives who can only self publish aren’t very good?

    Is anyone’s first attempt “very good”? Is there no mid-list, just A-list?

    Camestros Felapton on February 14, 2016 at 12:46 pm said: “Oh those left leaning oublishing gatekeepers! You mean like how Mark Levin is published by Simon & Schuster and Glenn Beck also…”

    Oh, you mean how proven money makers can get published by people who publicly and loudly hate their guts? It’s amazing how many good socialists are willing to take money from conservatives. One would think they’d have more ideological backbone than that.

    Charon D. on February 14, 2016 at 12:55 pm said: “Yesterday I read a piece concerning a YA story where most of the background gay characters got mysteriously deleted before the book went to press. A large part of my own self-pub decision had to do with not wanting my brown-skinned cast to end up whitewashed on the cover; I’ve heard of a lot of examples where that kind of thing has happened – even recent ones.”

    Yes. So perhaps you can sympathize with authors told to delete other things that -they- care about for political purposes.

    Cheryl S. on February 14, 2016 at 12:49 pm said: “@Phantom, thank you for learning new tricks. Italicizing quotes makes it much easier to read your posts.”

    Even an old dog can learn.

    “I don’t actually care about the politics of the authors I read and doubt publishers do either, so long as it doesn’t result in boring message fiction. It makes a convenient narrative though.”

    Apparently your opinion of what publishers care about is incorrect. Given the plethora of posts regarding the sex/race/orientation of authors and how much more that matters than the content of the story, it would appear to be wildly incorrect.

  18. @Cheryl S.

    I don’t actually care about the politics of the authors I read and doubt publishers do either, so long as it doesn’t result in boring message fiction. It makes a convenient narrative though.

    New authors I read I don’t usually know their politics. Most authors whose politics I do know is because they make a big deal of it online. If it’s only a part of their author bio or an occasion mention I wouldn’t know about it. Of my top 20 favorite authors I may know 5 of their political leanings (democrat or republican).

    I do know how a larger percent of favorite authors feel about particular issues related to the books they write. But I assume, like me, they aren’t cardboard cutouts and likely have nuanced political opinions.

  19. Camestros Felapton asked:

    For example if a book is first published by a UK publisher and then later by a different US publisher do you get the geolocation determined published version (e.g. if Orbit in the UK and Tor in the US do amazon.uk get the Orbit ebook and amazon.us get the Tor one) or is it some other super complex thing beyond the ken of man?

    Well, when I tried buying an MP3 off of Amazon UK Music because it wasn’t available from the US Amazon, my eligibility to purchase it was determined by the country in the billing address of my credit card.

    OTOH, Amazon UK has always been happy to let me purchase physical things with a US credit card. So there might be yet a third way of handling e-books…

  20. World Weary: Hey, just finished Traitor Baru Cormorant. At about the halfway point, I realized that I didn’t care anymore. I put it down and caught up on File 770 comments for a few days. Unfortunately, I was still bored with it when I picked it up again.

    I thought the book started out really promisingly, but by the halfway point, I was finding all the dissection of political and military strategy to be getting rather tedious. It’s not that I don’t find political and military strategy interesting; it’s that I felt it was emphasized far more than the character development and action (which is what I really go for).

    I actually thought that the ending was fairly well-telegraphed from various ambiguous remarks Baru makes throughout the book as part of her narrative, and found it not terribly surprising.

    I was expecting to love the book, based on things some other people had said, so it was disappointing.

  21. @Matt Y: as I tried to say in the piece, I actually think that being on a slate is going to negatively affect chances for winning.

    I included all of the broad possibilities because that’s accurate and honest. Everyone has to make up their own minds.

  22. @stevie

    After blowing dust off the email mail administration hat I’d have to say that the subject of email reciepts is a vexed one.

    If you’ve already sent it then almost certainly not. If you haven’t, then most mail clients have an option to add an received and/or read reciept request to the mail. But the recipients client has to honour it and doing so is not always the default. If it does then you get a mail back saying it has been received/read.

    This tends to work better in large corporate email systems than ad hoc internet ones. Used to get asked this a lot in a previous job, used to have a hard time explaining that once it left our gateway all bets were off…

    I’d be tempted to re-read Morgaine too, but my copy of the omnibus edition is on furlough.

  23. Well, I am in favour of ignoring puppidum, or any other group, altogether when I nominate; I shall be nominating on the quality of the works I have read, watched, listened to, whatever. I have zero interest in expending even nanoseconds contemplating adjusting my nominations because one or more idiots have a ludicrously self inflated idea of their own importance.

    I shall vote that way as well; last year’s Hugo Packet demonstrated with crystalline clarity that it was perfectly possible to vote on merit and still end up voting No Award in a tranche of categories; if you are going to stuff a ballot then you could at least have made some effort to stuff it with stuff which didn’t lead to bleeding eyeballs and a very hefty bill for the Glenlivet consumed to get through the wretched experience.

    So no, merit is the watchword, and the only question I have raised so far about the workings of the process is that of Genevieve Cogman’s position vis a vis publishing in UK/US; like JJ I had it on my Hugo novel shortlist, and now I must defer it till her US publication next year, when far more people will have had the chance to be enthralled by it.

    I will confess to a degree of angst about this, because we lost PTerry last year and The Invisible Library is an amazing riff which starts off with the kernel of an idea of his, and then runs with it in a host of different ways. Scintillating stuff, and I’m pretty sure he would have liked it.

    Finally, I have been thinking long and hard about the nomination of editors of long form; I’m still not going to take GRR Martin’s advice and trust him to tell me who the good editors worthy of Hugos are. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not going to nominate and vote for one or more editors who refuse to tell me what books they edited. I suppose there may have been times when I might have been that naive, but after living in the City of London for over 30 years I have lost my dewy eyed innocence.

    Therefore I shall certainly be nominating Sheila Gilbert, and almost certainly be nominating the other half of the Daw editors, Betsy Woolheim. Anyone who made the sort of suggestions to CJ Cherryh to make Down below Station publishable has made such a huge difference to the field that I honour her, and I’ve already read some of the books Daw Books have published this year and really liked them. FFS, Betsy edits Cherryh!

  24. Ah, yes, those evil librul gatekeepers keeping so many brilliant conservative writers down, except for all the ones they, y’know, actually publish. That totally doesn’t sound like sour grapes in the slightest. You’d think the all-powerful free market would have taken care of it by now, but presumably not even Adam Smith can stand before the power of the SJWs.

    (Come to think of it, wasn’t VD gonna totally buy Tor and rival Amazon by this point? Or does he still have a year left in his master plan?)

    Now, me, I self publish because I understand economies of scale, and that I’m not writing staggering bestsellers with these, but small, interesting stories of a weird length that a few thousand people will want to read very much. Which is a nice profit for me and too small for big houses to deal with. Meanwhile, the books of mine that can conceivably move fifty or a hundred thousand copies a pop are best left to the big house, who can properly market them.

    What I don’t do is whine that there must be some REASON they don’t want the books I self-pub, it must be politics, blah blah. Because that’s way too close to the perennial cry of the rejected artist–“I’m just too real for them to handle! I’m too far ahead of my time! They just don’t understand my genius! That agent was stupid! They could have had the next Hemingway, but I’ll show them! They just want to play it safe! I’m too daring! You’re obviously fat anyway, I only swiped right because I felt sorry for you! RESPECT MY ALPHA GENIUS!!1! Blah blah!”

    Feh.

  25. IanP

    Thank you for your response; I suspected it would be the case, but thank you for confirming it.

    ——–

    There are some right rotters in the world: I’ve lost several copies of the various Morgaine books that way. The odd thing is that said rotters never pick on things which you are Meh about. I wish you well and profoundly hope that you get it back!

  26. @stevie

    De nada.

    Current custodian of Chroniicals of Morgaine is fairly reliable but has a TBR mountain similar to many hard core filers.

    If you require more fortitude for this years Hugo packet I’m working my way through a bottle of this And can heartily recommend it. Or the Glenfarclass 105…

  27. Wait, first The Phantom claims that trad publishers are too socialist because they won’t publish conservatives, then he’s complaining that they’re not socialist enough, because they will publish conservatives provided those conservatives write books that sell well?

    1) Nothing makes him happy, ever, right?

    2) I note that his model gets a lot simpler if we strip out the political stuff and assume trad pub aims to publish books that sell well.

    In the meantime I expect the people who can’t get trad pubbed fall into three groups. 1) People who write books that would sell but tradpub wrongly believes they wouldn’t. I doubt this is very common, or a publishing house with a better prediction system would rise and clean up, but it happens. I think The Martian was a case like this, right? 2) People who are good writers but follow their own idiosyncratic star in a direction most of the reading public isn’t looking. Several filers whose writing I love have work that falls into this category and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 3) People whose sales problems are… not a result of the idiosyncrasy of their artistic vision.

  28. Is there any difference between an author who is asked to delete something for political reason and an author who is asked to delete something because the editor doesn’t like it for non-political reasons? If the editor asks you to delete the Brussels sprout scene because they don’t like Brussels sprouts or think people will react badly to the Brussels sprouts scene, how is that any better or worse than the editor who thinks you should trim the 70-page speech on Objectivism?

  29. While I remember can anyone recommend for or against the Quantum Gravity series by Justina Robson? I kept seeing them in the Waterstons on Princes St before it turned in to a Disney Store. Sounded interesting in a Shadowrun kind of way. But I’ve never gotten round to them.

  30. Jack Lint: One assumes that normally when an editor is asking for changes, the editors actually have the best interest of the book at heart. In at least one (failed attempt) case of things (specifically, references to a gay character) being removed for political reasons, the story suffered for it by becoming much less coherent (which would be why the main editor vetoed the copy editor’s changes, as this was a copy editor overstepping bounds).

  31. @IanP:

    I’ve read the first one or two QG books and own the rest, but it’s been a while. I remember them as a decent blend of cyberpunk and fantasy, out of the mainstream and therefore intriguing, but I forget the specifics offhand.

  32. Cat :

    Wait, first The Phantom claims that trad publishers are too socialist because they won’t publish conservatives, then he’s complaining that they’re not socialist enough, because they will publish conservatives provided those conservatives write books that sell well?

    1) Nothing makes him happy, ever, right?

    That’s why I asked him what evidence would falsify his claim.

    A question he has conspicuously not answered.

  33. @Jack Lint Is there any difference between an author who is asked to delete something for political reason and an author who is asked to delete something because the editor doesn’t like it for non-political reasons?

    Political reason is defined by the author complaining so NO in my experience.

    It’s similar to is the message overtaking the story? Much of the time, after good editing/finished copy, it depends on the reader.

  34. Have we already done these?

    The Doors of His Pixel, the Lamps of His Scroll.
    I Have No Pixel, and I Must Scroll.
    Time, Considered as a Scroll of Semi-Precious Pixels.

  35. The Phantom on February 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton on February 14, 2016 at 12:46 pm said: “Oh those left leaning oublishing gatekeepers! You mean like how Mark Levin is published by Simon & Schuster and Glenn Beck also…”

    Oh, you mean how proven money makers can get published by people who publicly and loudly hate their guts? It’s amazing how many good socialists are willing to take money from conservatives. One would think they’d have more ideological backbone than that.

    Proven money makers who prove a distinct market exists to which the major publishing houses establish specific imprints (with editors etc) that market to a section of the US population – just so those ‘good socialists’ (aka major multinational corporations like NewsCorp – you may have heard of Rupert Murdoch – who own HarperCollins) can make money from people. Naturally that lends great credibility to your theory that employees of these companies intentionally go out to lose money (an are allowed to do so by their bosses all the way up the corporate chain) by censoring right-leaning authors systematically.

  36. Petrea Mitchell: Well, when I tried buying an MP3 off of Amazon UK Music because it wasn’t available from the US Amazon, my eligibility to purchase it was determined by the country in the billing address of my credit card.

    Actually, I think it’s determined by the address you give Amazon itself, not the credit card. I’ve gone into my Amazon account, changed the address to a UK address (I was in the UK at the time), and had no problem buying ebooks with a US credit card. When I got home, I tested it: you can also do this if you are not in the UK, just by temporarily switching to any UK street address that you happen to know . . . but I’m told that if you do it too often and Amazon catches you, they get Really, Really Annoyed.

  37. Oh hey, email questions. Something in my wheelhouse.

    Short answer: No, there’s no completely accurate way to determine if someone has received, opened or read a specific email. The SMTP protocol that internet mail is based on doesn’t offer the tools to do these things. The protocol itself was never designed for the use it receives today and is a great example of why building something as a temporary fix will come back to haunt you forever. It doesn’t offer several things that you would think would be requirements in a mail system:

    * Guaranteed delivery
    * Tamper-proof email body
    * Sender verification (a.k.a did this really come from Whitehouse.gov?)

    When you send an email you are quite literally flinging bits into a void and hoping that hundred of thousands of dedicated system administrators have done their jobs well enough that it will reach your intended recipient(s).

    That being said, a bunch of people have made it their life’s work to get around the limitations imposed by SMTP. If you send someone an email with an HTML image tag in it, for instance, and the recipient’s mail reader is configured to load those images without prompting them, you can monitor the web logs of the server that hosts the image for a request. This is the most common method of doing what you are asking for. Several mail providers will do this type of thing for bulk or mailing-list related services, but fewer do it for one-off emails, and all can be subverted if your target is using the right mail reader on the other end.

  38. Xtifr
    I did one that was one letter off from the second one. I used a search to find it and found that somebody did one a word away from it back in July, months before I’d started hanging out on this particular street corner. Damn time-traveling plagiarists.

  39. Is anyone’s first attempt “very good”? Is there no mid-list, just A-list?

    Uh…yes? Lots of people write first novels that sell very well. Girl on the Train, most famously recently. Clan of the Cave Bear (and we can quibble about whether it was deathless prose, but it moved copies) was a first novel that sold very, very, very well. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone…Carrie…these are just massive bestsellers here, and off the top of my head, you understand, but one could dig and find all kinds of things.

    But honestly, this seems like a non sequitur from you. Are you seriously suggesting that conservatives should somehow be immune from trunk novels and polishing their craft? Because that’s the weirdest special pleading I’ve heard yet. LOTS of people don’t sell their first novels, or their second, or their tenth, until something strikes. Why should conservatives be immune from what’s pretty darn normal in the industry?

  40. Why should conservatives be immune from what’s pretty darn normal in the industry?

    Because The Phantom believes that conservative authors are all special snowflakes who deserve special treatment and coddling to shelter them from the harsh evils of the free market.

  41. 400 Billion Pixels,
    The Weirdscroll of Puppygeddon,
    Hivers Against Humanity,
    Life During Scrolltime

  42. The Phantom on February 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm said:
    So perhaps you can sympathize with authors told to delete other things that -they- care about for political purposes.

    Based on my pre-self-pub research, I would say corporate publishers are more likely to shoot down all kinds of ideas, including politics, that seem like they’ll stir up more trouble than profit. I will grant you that I was more likely to notice and take offense when the circumstances aligned with my own confirmation biases. I tend to have the most sympathies for artists that would rather compromise their profit margin than their art, but I’m sentimental.

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