Pixel Scroll 2/24/16 Happy Jack Wasn’t Tall But He Was A Scroll

(1) PAID REVIEW WORTH IT? Jeb Kinnison evaluates Kirkus Reviews’ reception of sf.

So I was leery of spending my publisher’s money to get a Kirkus review done. The review was glowing, but without the coveted star that tends to get notice from other reviewers and purchasing agents. I was interested in how they had treated other genre books, so I did a quick survey.

It appears that in the past, Kirkus assigned reviewers who were less than sympathetic to the book’s genre and intended audience. This review [of GHOST by John Ringo] made me laugh: …

But other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? This is Ringo. His books aren’t likely to be accidentally purchased by people like the reviewer, so the review is useless for deciding which violent testosterone-infused male fantasy adventure book to buy for people who enjoy that sort of thing.

One of the best writers of science fiction and fantasy, Lois McMasters Bujold, never got a starred review from Kirkus. Here’s the summary of their review of middle Miles Vorkosigan in Mirror Dance: “A well-conceived series, solidly plotted and organized, though heavy going in places and, finally, lacking that spark of genuine originality that would blazon it as truly special.” Kind of missing the point, no?

(2) DOCTOR WHO PUN OPPORTUNITY. We ought to be able to do something with a character who is married to River, and whose series will be hstreamed on Amazon Prime beginning in March.

Welp, it wasn’t the longest of national nightmares, but now it appears it is over. Last week, I wrote about how and where you could watch Doctor Who following its abrupt pulling from streaming services on February 1 of this year. But it wasn’t to last, it seems; Amazon announced today via their Twitter that Series 1-8 of the show will be back on their Prime streaming service beginning in March.

(3) WHEN DID YOU FIRST SUSPECT? I got a kick out of Sarah A. Hoyt’s “Ten Signs That You Might Be A Novel’s Character” at Mad Genius Club. Number 10 and the Bonus sign are especially funny.

1- Nothing is ever easy, nor simple.  Say you are walking across the street to get a gallon of milk.  A rare make of car will almost run you down.  The store that sells the milk will be out of milk. You’ll have to walk across the most dangerous area of town to get to the next store.

This means someone is making you terminally interesting….

(4) FROM REJECTION TO ANGRY ROBOT. Peter Tieryas details “My Experience Publishing With Angry Robot” at Fantasy-Faction.

My journey to being a writer almost never happened. With my new book, United States of Japan, coming out, I wanted to reflect on how I got here and what it’s been like working with the fantastic Angry Robot Books.

Perfect Edge

Back in 2009, almost seven years before I joined the robot army, I’d gotten so many short story rejections, I wondered if I was even meant to be a writer. While I’d had a series of short stories published when I was younger, there’d been a gap of about five years where I’d only gotten one piece accepted. I was devastated when I received that issue and found all sorts of typos and formatting errors in my story. What I thought would be a brief moment of victory had been ruined…..

As the decision to publish was made by the whole of Angry Robot and Watkins Media staff, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It took USJ about four months to get to “acquisitions” which is the meeting where they make their choice to “acquire” or not. I got an email from Phil the week of the acquisition meeting telling me when it was going to happen. I could not sleep the night before and kept on hitting refresh on my emails, awaiting final word. The notification came from Phil on March 5, 2015 with a simple subject line: “You’re in.” Even though it was late, I got up and started dancing in what might be better described as an awkward fumbling of my hips.

(5) HOLLYWOOD READIES SF/F MOVIES. News of three different sf/f film projects appears in Deadline’s story “Ava DuVernay Set To Direct Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’; Script By ‘Frozen’s Jennifer Lee”.

EXCLUSIVE: Selma director Ava DuVernay has just been set by Disney to direct A Wrinkle In Time, an adaptation of the 1963 Newbery Medal-winning Madeleine L’Engle fantasy classic novel that has a script by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee. Deadline revealed February 8 that DuVernay had been offered this film and was also in the mix at DreamWorks for Intelligent Life, a sci-fi thriller scripted by Colin Trevorrow and his Jurassic World collaborator Derek Connolly. DuVernay now has the offer on that film and is in negotiations on a pic that has 12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o attached to a fable about a UN worker in a department designed to represent mankind if there was ever contact with aliens, who falls for a mystery woman who turns out to be one. That film is produced by Frank Marshall, Trevorrow and Big Beach principals Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub.

(6) TRUST & SAFETY. Here’s Twitter’s announcement of the Trust & Safety Council in case you want more info, tweeted February 9. It lists all the members of the Council. (Somebody may have put that in a comment here already.)

As we develop products, policies, and programs, our Trust & Safety Council will help us tap into the expertise and input of organizations at the intersection of these issues more efficiently and quickly. In developing the Council, we are taking a global and inclusive approach so that we can hear a diversity of voices from organizations including:

  • Safety advocates, academics, and researchers focused on minors, media literacy, digital citizenship, and efforts around greater compassion and empathy on the Internet;
  • Grassroots advocacy organizations that rely on Twitter to build movements and momentum;
  • Community groups with an acute need to prevent abuse, harassment, and bullying, as well as mental health and suicide prevention.

We have more than 40 organizations and experts from 13 regions joining as inaugural members of the Council. We are thrilled to work with these organizations to ensure that we are enabling everyone, everywhere to express themselves with confidence on Twitter.

(7) AXANAR SUIT DEVELOPMENT. Inverse discusses why “Paramount Must Explain ‘Star Trek’ in Court or Lose Ownership”.

Enter the lawyers. Obviously, they can claim to own Star Trek because they acquired the series from Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions in the late 1960s. Now they’ve been merged with CBS and that’s how we’re getting both a new TV series and a continuing film franchise. But the Axanar team has a card up its sleeve.

The Paramount lawsuit claims that this infringes upon “thousands of copyrights” and the Axanar team has asked the simple question: “Which ones?” Because Star Trek now exists over several different universes, time periods, and casts, it’s not so simple. The universe is so spread out, it is almost impossible to define what Star Trek actually is. To that end, the burden is on Paramount to explain what Star Trek is — in a legal sense.

(8) CLIFF AMOS OBIT. Louisville fan Cliff Amos passed away February 22 after a long battle with heart disease. Bob Roehm wrote a fine appreciation on Facebook:

Louisville fan Cliff Amos passed away February 22. Cliff was the founder of Louisville fandom, creating both the Falls of the Ohio Science Fiction Association (FoSFA) and RiverCon. I first met Cliff around 1970 while he was teaching a free university course in SF at the University of Louisville. We had both separately attended the St. Louis worldcon the year before, but had not met. Seeing an announcement of the Free U. meeting, I began attending the weekly gatherings. A year… or two later, the local fan club was organized and in 1975 Cliff chaired the first RiverCon (combined with DeepSouthCon that year). Cliff continued to head RiverCons for several years and was a regular at Midwestcon and Kubla Khan. He was given the Southern Fandon Confederation Rebel Award in 1979, and also chaired the second NASFiC, NorthAmeriCon, that year. His interests were certainly wide-ranging and eclectic (for example, he once appeared on Tom Snyder’s late night talk show as warlock Solomon Weir), and he will be missed by his many friends both within and without the science fiction community. There will no funeral service or visitation but a memorial wake is being arranged for the near future (probably this coming Sunday); details forthcoming.

(9) GAMBLE OBIT. Australian childrens’ book artist Kim Gamble passed away February 19 at the age of 63.

Tashi cover

The much-loved, award-winning artist is known for illustrating the best-selling Tashi books, written by mother and daughter authors Barbara and Anna Fienberg.

Gamble created the lively, elfin boy with the towering curl of hair and gypsy earrings, who looked nothing like the authors initially imagined, more than 20 years ago….

Anna Fienberg called Gamble’s imagination “a magic gift which he shared with the world”….

“Working with Kim was like learning a new way to see. It was perhaps the magical appearance of Tashi that inspired us to go deeper into the mythical land of dragons, witches, giants, ogres … the world lying beneath.”

…Gamble’s favourite book as a child was Moominsummer Madness, by Finnish writer Tove Jansson, and artists he admired included Marc Chagall and Odilon Redon.

When asked about the success of the Tashi series, Gamble said, “It’s very popular because he’s the smallest kid in the class and in every story he’s up against the odds … and he uses his head, he doesn’t fight to get out of the problem. I think kids really just enjoy how cleverness beats brawn.”


  • Born February 24, 1786 — Wilhelm Grimm, historian and, with his brother Jacob, compiler of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
  • Born February 24, 1947 — Edward James Olmos

(11) MORE MARK OSHIRO COMMENTARY. Mark Oshiro updated his Facebook readers about the response to his complaint about sexual harassment at ConQuesT.

3) MidAmeriCon II was the first to make a public statement, which you can find on their Twitter account. I wasn’t expecting a response from them, so I appreciated a very direct message about their commitment to safety for this year’s WorldCon. I *am* going to be at WorldCon, even if some of the people who were responsible at ConQuesT are on staff/the board. WorldCon has become a tradition for me because it was my first introduction to this community, so I will be there and be on programming. Say hello if you like!

4) Chris Gerrib was the first to apologize to me, and I appreciated and accepted the apology. I respect that he did so without being asked to.

5) Yesterday, Kristina Hiner sent me an apology. I am keeping it private because I see no reason to publish it. It is a *very* good apology, and I accepted it, too. I am very thankful for her response, and more so than anyone else, she was the only person I really *wanted* an apology from. I have also informed her that at this point, I actually don’t need each of the complaints followed up on at this point. It seems redundant to me. Everyone knows about the post now, and I don’t need an apology from anyone else. I just wanted someone to inform these people that their behavior was unwelcoming, rude, or hostile. I’ve now done that, so I think the board and ConQuesT can devote time and energy to future conventions instead of last year’s.

Mikki Kendall used the discussion about Oshiro to launch her post “On Bad Cons & How You Kill An Event in Advance”.

I get invited to a lot of cons that have a diversity problem. I also get a lot of requests from cons that claim to want to create anti harassment policies. Aside from my feelings on an expectation that I donate hours of work to strangers for events I have no interest in attending, there’s the sad reality that many small cons are so entrenched on reinventing the wheel they’ve missed the window to do better. Younger fans, fans of color, disabled fans…they don’t have to keep going to cons that aren’t welcoming to be able to connect with other fans. They can go to the big commercial cons, to the smaller cons that do get it & to social media for their community needs. So no, they won’t keep giving cons with bad reps chance after chance. They won’t be patient with serial offenders or the places that enable them. Why should they donate that time & energy to some place that doesn’t want them, that thinks they deserve to be hazed, deserve to be mistreated in order to prove something to bigots?

Bluntly? Most small cons will age out of existence because of bad behavior, because of a focus on the past that prioritizes the social mores of the dead over the actual experiences of the living.

(12) THE LIGHT’S BACK ON. The Wertzone says Pacific Rim 2 re-greenlit for 2018”.

It was on, off and now back on again. Universal and Legendary Pictures are moving ahead with Pacific Rim 2, probably for a 2018 release date….

This has unfortunately meant that Guillermo Del Toro will be unable to return to direct, having already moved on to other projects. However, Del Toro will still co-write (with Jon Spaihts) and produce the movie. The new director is Steven S. DeKnight, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer veteran who went on to create Spartacus and is currently working on Netflix’s Daredevil. The film will be DeKnight’s directorial debut.

(13) THIS COULD RUIN ANDY WEIR’S SEQUEL. This video argues we can reach relativistic speeds using new technologies.

Imagine getting to Mars in just 3 days… or putting points beyond our solar system within our reach. New propulsion technologies could one day take us to these cosmic destinations making space travel truly interstellar! NASA 360 joins Professor Philip Lubin, University of California Santa Barbara, as he discusses his NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) for energy propulsion for interstellar exploration.


(14) ADMIT IT, YOU DO. Motherboard asks, “Why Do We Feel So Bad When Boston Dynamics’ New Robot Falls Down?”

Even though all the things the engineers do to mess with the robot are done to showcase its ability to correct itself, recover from falls, and persevere in performing tasks, the human tendency to anthropomorphize non-sentient objects is so strong as to override our common-sense knowledge that Atlas is an object incapable of feeling. Engineers commonly kick robots to demonstrate their ability to recover, and it always feels a tiny bit cruel. It’s a strange quirk of the brain—though the tendency is stronger in some people than in others.

(15) A LONG TIME AGO IN DOG YEARS. Some Sad Puppies writing on Facebook are grieved that I have not excerpted Stephanie S.’ “Opening a Moderate Conversation on Fandom with ‘Standback’” atThe Right Geek.

Let’s talk first about what I like to call the “pre-history” of the Sad Puppies. For the past fifteen years (at least), the character of fandom has shifted in a way that many Puppies find very troubling — and by the way, for the vast majority of our number, this has nothing to do with race, gender, or sexuality. A significant number of us are women who accept the precepts of first wave feminism at the very least. A number of us are “people of color.” And a number of us are gay or, at minimum, amenable to leaving gay people alone to live their lives as they see fit. No — what has disturbed the Puppies is the increasingly strident tone that many fans have adopted in support of their favored cultural and political causes. In our perception, the vague “codes of conduct,” the “shit lists,” the pilings on, the endless internet flame-wars, and the non-falsifiable accusations of racism/sexism/homophobia/etc. have all created an environment that is extraordinarily hostile to points of view that don’t hew to a particular left-wing party line. The result? We’ve felt unwelcome and stomped on for what, to our mind, should be recognized as sincere and well-meant differences of opinion.

Over the same time frame, the Puppies have also become concerned about the artistic direction of our field. The “Human Wave” movement, the “Superversive” movement, and the more generalized complaints about “message fic” and “grey goo” that started gaining steam before last year’s Sad Puppies campaign are all flailing attempts by the Puppies to describe the flatness we’ve perceived in many recent award winners — particularly in the shorter fiction categories, where the stylistic sophistication and emotional catharsis beloved by creative writing professors and MFA programs the world over appear to be crowding out more accessible stories with identifiable plots and recognizably science-fictional ideas.

(16) EDIT AND GET CREDIT. Michael J. Martinez singles out for praise and award consideration five editors who worked on his fiction in 2015.

Yes, these are editors I’ve worked with. Each one of them has contributed both to the quality of my work as well as my ever-ongoing education as a writer. They are also lovely humans, which goes a very long way with me.

(17) ANY SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY. Radio Times found a very funny site: “Someone is pretending to be the IT guy at Hogwarts and it’s hilarious”.

Let’s be honest: magic is great and everything, but if Hogwarts didn’t have WiFi, we probably wouldn’t be so interested.

A Tumblr account called The Setup Wizard took this premise and ran with it. The blog is the fictionalised account of an American muggle named Jonathan Dart working as Hogwarts’ first IT guy. The somewhat grumpy character is constantly solving problems and handling the struggles of being a Muggle in a magic world.

How is it that the first person in this school I’ve successfully been able to explain network bandwidth to is the 500 year old partially decapitated ghost?

Today I taught a centaur how to use a hands free Bluetooth headset. Apparently he really felt the need to make phone calls while wielding a bow and arrow.

[Thanks to Will R., Michael J. Walsh, Reed Andrus, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

892 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/24/16 Happy Jack Wasn’t Tall But He Was A Scroll

  1. @Vivienne FWIW, I am 44.

    @James I understand that Gliese 710 could get within a light year of the sun. Which is wild!

  2. Wow, I need to check out more mainstream lit fic; I have obviously been missing out.

    There’s a hilarious CanLit novel whose title I have sadly forgotten that shows what “Middle Aged EngLit Prof has Affair with Hot Young Student” looks like from the HYS’s point of view.

  3. Peace Is My Middle Name – It was late and I was feeling punchy. It had been a very long day. And, I’ll admit that the sense of entitlement really rankled me. Often, when that happens, language and phrasings I can’t use at work tend to come out.

    It was a not very polite way of saying that, for one is putting one’s work out for review (and even public consumption), one really needs to accept that not all reviews will be glowing. Not everyone gets a star. Part of being a professional (and an adult) is dealing with that. Professional review journals are used by some of us in our work and if their reviewers start to worry about author and fan feelings when writing their reviews, their contents wouldn’t be as useful as they are now.

    Seriously, though. Not everyone gets a star. I feel like folks should have learned this in elementary school.

  4. @Cat Unfortunately, most of the stuff I’m talking about was MFA student work.

    I can ask around for literary fiction that has beautiful voice – genuine offer. Off the top of my head, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is quite beautiful. I’ve used that as a primer for writing descriptions.

    There’s also a large volume of (non-experimental) work that’s not SF&F by convention only. For example, Instruction Manual for Swallowing by Adam Marek. There’s also Beacons: Stories of Our Not So Distant Future, which has at least one experimental short.

  5. The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere
    If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love
    Eros Philia Agape
    Jackalope Wives

    So let’s get this straight, your claim that the Hugos have become to “lit-fic” is based upon five examples, two of which weren’t even nominated for a Hugo, and three of which are very clearly centered in science fiction and fantasy as a genre? (Since you seem to be leaving magical realism out of the genre, for reasons that are entirely unclear). Given that during the time frame these stories were drawn from (2009-2015), there were roughly ninety short fiction nominees, having three of the Hugo nominees be examples of “lit-fic” is a pretty weak basis for your claim.

  6. My understanding is that while statistically one can say “it’s pretty unlikely a star would happen to be on a beeline for a collision with the sun at all, let alone just as humans evolved”, at present from the data we have, we cannot set a minimum value for the closest GL 710 will get to us.

  7. @nigel I didn’t say anything to your earlier point about certain things being “debates,” but since you’ve raised it again in another form, I’ll just second it now. It feels as if the whole world has become a talk radio feedback loop sometimes.

    For my part, I’m trying to be better at just hearing people’s opinions without having to join in. Results have been mixed.

  8. There’s a definite LitFic stereotype “Old man looks back over his life remembering those he has and hasn’t screwed, both literally and figuratively.” Sometimes that’s even combined with SF – Margaret Attword’s Oryx & Crake would be a prime example.

    And I honestly don’t see that in the bulk of the things Vivienne and her cohorts are complaining about. There are works where the form is more than the plot, If I were a Dinosaur perhaps. There are works that really aren’t SF at all, save for a single line, like that growing up black in Florida novella from a couple of years ago… Walakaka Springs or something like that?

  9. I’m somewhat surprised, given all the talk of literary fiction, that no one has brought up Mr. Wright.

    Also under 40 in case it matters.

  10. Lois

    I felt an outbreak of sarcasm coming on, but managed to avert it; there are a lot of things which require courage of a considerably higher order than publishing a story which would undoubtedly generate publicity because the author thereof notoriously has a penchant for non-consensual sadism.

    I’m not even sure that involves courage at all, and if I’m going to applaud courage I try and ensure that we are, in fact, dealing with courage, as opposed to the belief that, say, dropping one’s trousers is a courageous act because the vast majority of people wouldn’t do it. The vast majority of people wouldn’t deliberately set fire to their first born either, but courage is not a relevant issue.

    There are, of course, decisions which do require courage even when they do not directly endanger the person who has to make them; for example, the head of a resuscitation team has to decide when to stop trying. When the day dawns that Neil Clarke has to make those sorts of decisions, as opposed to the oh look, lots of publicity here I might regard him as worthy of respect because he’s at the sharp end.

    Admittedly he’d have to have put in 12 years of his life working his rear end off to get to lead a resuscitation team, and he doesn’t have a functional time machine which would enable him to do that, so at the moment, here in 3560, I think he’s perfectly free to publish any stories he likes, just as I am free to read any stories I like. That doesn’t mean I have to believe he’s acting courageously, nor does it mean that I am under some sort of obligation to refrain from noting that the maxim there’s no such thing as bad publicity appears to be in play…

  11. RE: GL710: From out of space comes a runaway [star] hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction!

  12. Vivienne Raper on February 25, 2016 at 6:08 am said:
    @andyl How many people writing on this blog are younger than 40? Go on, raise your hands.


    I offer this as a datapoint, not to brag, because it sounds egotistical as hell to say it, but I won a Hugo at 35, so if the argument is that this is an award for old people by old people, I’m a point against it.

    Now, as it happens, I agree that Worldcon has an aging problem. I have ranted about this, lo these many seasons! But I eventually stopped, because there are windmills I have no desire to tilt at and because I attended Loncon 3, which had a marvelous demographic range and soothed some of my angst on the matter (which, after San Antonio, had frankly been pretty high.) So I am content to wait and see more cons before I get panicky.

  13. Any editor should be free to publish what they want to publish. Clarke has decided to publish some of beesknees stuff; earlier, during the kerpupple, another editor dropped one of the puppies work’s.

    And the readers will, individually, decide to read or not read. And to apply whatever moral compass they’re comfortable in doing so.

    If I were accepting fiction, I would have my own short list of authors who are welcome to submit elsewhere. It’s MY opinion that they’ve abused the public in one unacceptable fashion or another and I don’t want cash from my pocket supporting that.

    Do you want to see diversity of opinion in action? Take a look at one of the long lists of short story nominees for the Hugo Award. Not the short list of finalists, but the list that has hundreds of stories on it, many of which only receive a single nomination.

  14. In re: boycotts: I don’t wish to contribute directly to the upkeep of people whose views I find reprehensible. (Except insofar as I’m a socialist, but that’s another line of discussion.) I also find that people’s reprehensible views tend to drift into their work more than their fans would have you believe. So I’m not going to buy work by any of the Puppies, or any issue of a magazine that publishes Requires Hate. I will buy Lovecraftian work, insofar as the guy’s dead; I think my responsibility there is basically not to try and defend him when other people point out that he was *amazingly racist*.

    @RedWombat: See, I did not know that, and now I know that, and I feel like a slacker. 😉

  15. @Vivienne Raper, I’m just going to quote the whole thing and break it up for responses:

    For many readers, the Hugos are more than ‘the opinions of Worldcon fandom’. They reflect a long tradition of rewarding exceptional writing in the genre. A stamp of quality, if you like.

    Then many readers would be wrong. The Hugos are precisely ‘the opinions of Worldcon fandom’ and while a Hugo nomination or win is a lovely thing for an author, artist, editor, what makes work exceptional and memorable is the work and how others interact with it, not whatever awards it receives.

    If the tastes of Worldcon fandom drift away from the tastes of most SF&F readers (e.g. because they largely award the sub-genre of literary SF&F), then the award becomes largely irrelevant. I’m certain that the people awarding the British Turner Prize love unmade beds and bare bulbs, but the Turner’s ‘brand’ of art is completely devalued. The only purpose of the Turner Prize, in my view, is to give me something to laugh at.

    I’ve never seen any evidence that the Hugos have ever represented the tastes of most SFF readers, but I’d be willing to look at any you produced.

    Ultimately SF&F is now a big place with many sub-genres and fandoms. You need to decide whether the Hugos are now merely the awards of a single literary con? Or whether they should represent fandom in all its diversity – intellectual, religious, international, and political?

    Why would the nominators and voters of a relatively small con represent the vast web that is SFF fandom? And how could they do that? Any group is only representative of itself and tends to coalesce somewhere, leaving it less reflective of those who aren’t represented by the majority.

    In other news, my partner has received a PIN and I have not. However, I’m excited to see some movement. Yay for MidAmeriCon II.

  16. Loncon 3 upset Sad Puppy Founder LC precisely because there was greater diversity than he expected; it cheered RedWombat up for exactly the same reasons. London itself has over 8,000,000 inhabitants from just about all over the world, including, I am happy to say, one from an exceedingly obscure part of the Egyptian desert.

    I repeat, yet again, that I would be thrilled if Puppidum set up its own conventions and awarded its own prizes; what pisses me off is that they appear either not to comprehend that it actually requires work, or believe that other people should do all the work whilst they issue orders from on high. This isn’t going to happen…

  17. Cheryl S. on February 25, 2016 at 8:43 am said:

    In other news, my partner has received a PIN and I have not. However, I’m excited to see some movement. Yay for MidAmeriCon II.

    If you use gmail, your PIN may have wound up in the “Promotions” tab (that’s where mine went.

    Also, the PIN mailing will take place over two days, so if you don’t get it today, you should get it tomorrow.

  18. I had a duplicate PIN. Today an email arrived in my Gmail promotions tab that had the same PIN, but it worked this time. I did have to swap my first and last names when logging in though.

  19. Ultimately SF&F is now a big place with many sub-genres and fandoms.

    And therefore, if devotees of every one of those sub-genres and fandoms is looking for their favorite stories to be validated with Hugo Awards, most of them will be disappointed. The fault is not with the Hugos or the organizations that award them, but rather, with the people who project inflated expectations onto them.

    You can encourage more people who agree with your taste to join the Hugo voting pool, but you have to accept the risk that your favorites will lose. Or you can go off and create your own award, but you have to accept the risk that nobody outside your circle will care who wins it.

  20. @Steven, thanks for the info. Our PINs are coming to the same email address so it’s not that mine is hiding from me. I wasn’t being sarcastic, btw. The MidAmeriCon staff has my unfettered admiration for their hard work (I’m sure they didn’t anticipate the problems they’ve had).

  21. RedWombat: I was 31 when I first won a Hugo. I joined fandom when I was around 15 — and thought then people in their thirties were middle aged. That also means when I joined, there were people who had attended the first Worldcon who were still in their 40s. This whole age thing is so subjective.

  22. K8 on February 25, 2016 at 8:08 am said:

    Peace Is My Middle Name – It was late and I was feeling punchy. It had been a very long day. And, I’ll admit that the sense of entitlement really rankled me. Often, when that happens, language and phrasings I can’t use at work tend to come out.

    It was a not very polite way of saying that, for one is putting one’s work out for review (and even public consumption), one really needs to accept that not all reviews will be glowing. Not everyone gets a star. Part of being a professional (and an adult) is dealing with that. Professional review journals are used by some of us in our work and if their reviewers start to worry about author and fan feelings when writing their reviews, their contents wouldn’t be as useful as they are now.

    Seriously, though. Not everyone gets a star. I feel like folks should have learned this in elementary school.

    I still agree with your points.

    Believe me, I understand about the temptation to use snappy one-liners. I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt the urge to say something clever and confrontational.

    It seems to me, though, that such things tend to overshadow the arguments they are attached to.

    Anyhow, no harm, no foul.

  23. I admit, I didn’t feel sorry for the robot until I realized he wasn’t going to grab the hockey stick and smack the tech around.

    But I spent a long time waiting for that to happen.

  24. Sarcastic Rant begins

    As to creating an alternative award to Worldcon I made suggestions to help two people who showed interest in doing so. I didn’t spend significant time doing so. I think it was in the 5-15 hours grabbing stuff I knew, pointing to resources, people who might help, and issues around their idea and ways to fix some of them and putting it together in a readable comment. From what I can tell neither did anything with them which is fine. As I said I didn’t spend much time on it.

    Worldcon created and nurtured the Hugos. Unlike some of the other organizations mentioned in this thread we are getting criticized for becoming more inclusive in our Awards instead of staying mostly white dudes most of the time. All you have to do to impact the Hugos is get a supporting membership, read SFF from the appropriate years, nominate based on eligibility (not as easy as it sounds), nominate what you as an individual think is the best from the appropriate year, vote on the resulting ballot. You can even encourage your friends to vote by simply letting them know how easy it is to become a supporting member. No need for drama if all the I didn’t know I could vote stories are for real.

    What gets frowned on, as was explained to LC at the very beginning of SP1, and to every SP leader since, is slating (saying vote for this versus this is eligible), insulting and threatening all of Fandom/fandom/Worldcon voters i.e. Let’s make liberals heads exlode, making statements without providing proof/citing sources/linking to claims (secret cabal, changes in voting habats, I didn’t win because I’m a conservative not because it was tough competition).

    I know this is really hard for latecomers to wrap their head around. The narrative sounds credible. You’ve seen the various puppy leaders called racist, sexist, homophobic. You didn’t like or didn’t read but dislike some of the stuff which was nominated or won the Hugos. You didn’t know you could nominate and vote. Your angry. But please take a few minutes to ask yourself a few questions:

    1. Why aren’t there links or sources cited when claims are made x said/did this and why aren’t the bad books listed because this should be easy to do. I do it all the time when two sides argue. I go grab the link to the source material they are arguing about and the quotes relevant to their discussion. I love the Internet age. Some days I have to do this in the same discussion multiple times because new people join and don’t read previous comments. It only takes a minute if you keep a copy of regularly needed stuff in a document or memo on your tablet/computer.

    2. Why not do a positive campaign first to get the vote out encouraging people to vote for their favorite conservative authors and give it 5 years to take – change takes time – why lead with Get my book a win and make heads explode

    3. Why are all other Awards ignored such as Goodreads Peole’s Choice which is way bigger than the Hugos

    4. Why not work in parallel to create a new award dedicated to the books you love while you are getting so much media attention if what’s important to you is seeing these books get the honor they deserve

    I’m 49 so I guess I’m old. I was greying at 21. I may have been under 40 when I started paying attention to Worldcon. A number of my Worldcon friends who are involved in comcon (you know people doing the work so we can rag on them) are in their 30s (they may have started in their 20s I’m not sure). So in a few years they’ll be old and grey.

    Worldcon attendees do tend to be older. That may be due to being a con which constantly changes location so costs more than regional conventions held locally. Local conventions have possible hotel costs and membership. A moving convention frequently requires long distance travel, taking extra time off from work, more likely needing to commit to hotel rooms. Older people are more likely to have the budget and jobs allowing time off than younger people. I hear millenials are having a difficult time in today’s economy.

    However pictures do not reflect the Hugo voters: those who nominate and vote from afar by paper and now electronically wouldn’t show up in pictures at a convention. A number of Worldcon convention goers have no interest in the Hugos. They love the convention. Who knew? Oh yeah fandom and those who use Google to learn the history of stuff one opines on rather than just the sides of current scandals. Some of us were taught these research skills in our early education, as teens, or in our 20s at colleges and universities. Turns out it’s good for real life also. Who knew?

    /sarcasm /rant

    Turns out I have thoughts. Lots of them.

    ETA: evil SJW using logic instead of insults.

  25. 1)

    All questions of paying for reviews aside, and speaking as someone who read the novel in question (and yes, I did lose a bet) – has anyone seen a more succinct and accurate review of Ghost?

  26. @Paul “I understand that Gliese 710 could get within a light year of the sun. Which is wild!”

    I am so looking forward to seeing that . . . oh, wait–1.4 million years?

  27. Damn you, Standlee!!!! Beating me to the punch again. *shakes fists* (I sometimes think he has some sort of tracking device that tells him when I am getting my first cup of coffee and thus able to deal with the internet and runs to comment before I get a chance.)

    Now, although it has been stated by a bunch of people already, the Hugo Awards belong to the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). Worldcon is the annual meeting/convention of the World Science Fiction Society, managed by a “convention committee” at a “site” determined by WSFS members two years prior. Therefore, the Hugos belong to Worldcon. If you would like to change them (categories, nomination process, voting process, eligible works), I will be more than happy to help you draft the appropriate amendment and we will hear it out at the Business Meeting. As long as people are civil (debate need not be factual, but does need to be civil) we can put any change from any two Worldcon members to the floor.

    As for the under 40. ME!!!!!!!!

    I am under 30 (for a little while longer anyway). I will point out that there was also an entire Worldcon bid begun by a group of under 40s (DC17 was originally an idea of Warren Buff, Chris Hensley, Kris NChanter Snyder, Meg Frank, myself, and a bunch of others). There are also now under 40s running a NASFiC bid. There are under 40s chairing Arisia (a 4,000 person convention in Boston).

    Would I like to meet more people my age at cons? Sure. But, to be honest, I don’t have a lot of time after seeing all of my friends my age that are already at cons and introducing them to the friends I have brought with me. Fandom isn’t necessarily greying, what is greying is Worldcon committees and they aren’t greying, just moreso there is a lot of institutional inertia that the younger generation has to overcome. That is happening right now (I point you to the fact that an under 30 is Chair of the Business Meeting; multiple DHs at MAC2; would have been multiple DHs had DC17 won; and I am pretty sure that Worldcon 75 is also pulling in younger fen for their committee, though without personal knowledge, I am not commenting on anyone’s age).

  28. @NickPheas With due respect, I’m not using ‘literary’ as a slur here and I think you’re oversimplifying the breadth and depth of that genre. Most literary writing isn’t about old professors leching over their students.

    There is a style of writing that I’d describe as ‘programme fiction‘ that is largely incompatible in style and structure with thought-provoking ideas. There is a conspiracy theory that this was deliberate – that the CIA encouraged the teaching of this style of fiction to suppress communist ideas 🙂

    Some of the short stories I’ve quoted here (and there are others) are written using the techniques and styles of programme fiction, and don’t contain interesting speculations about the future (or anything else) as a result.

    There are other issues too, of course…

    @Cat I’ve had recommended The Sea by John Banville as an example of beautiful writing with little substance.

  29. Betcha in 1970 some folks said, what’s the point of going to Heidelberg? Those Germans can start their own damn convention. Surely the Japanese and the Finns have their own awards. Of course it is supposed to encompass all of SFF fandom – at least, the fandom of the printed word. Otherwise what would be the point of all this.

  30. @Mike Glyer – I came at it sideways, I think–I was an adult long before I got into fandom as such, so alas, the standard I-am-a-loner-and-lo-I-have-found-my-tribe origin story did not apply.

    It’s a good origin story, just not mine. (Not meaning to imply that it must be yours either, mind you.)

  31. Recent reading:
    lots of Christie — the complete David Suchet Poirot box set came out and put me in the mood, and I discovered that there is an ebook collection of all 50 Poirot short stories, and also a collection of ALL the Marple stories (12 novels, 20 short stories)
    In genre:
    City of Blades was good, but I didn’t like it quite as much as as its predecessor. The use of present progressive tense kept pulling me out of the story for some reason. I don’t remember if City of Stairs had the same quirk.
    The Ballad of Black Tom checks a lot of boxes for Lovecraftiana, but I don’t think it really works as a whole. The sections where the story had atmosphere that worked instead of feeling like it was just going through the motions weren’t the Lovecraftian ones. And even outside the supposedly spooky stuff, there was an important plot point regarding a “shocking” straight razor that fell flat for me — what else would a poor black man in the 1920s have shaved with?

  32. While walking the dog (oddly enough) I focused in on one of the things that gets me going when it comes to puppy stuff:

    I have my own personal tastes, opinions and preferences, especially when it comes to fiction. Truth be told, if Klaatu arrived in 1985 and told us that the Earth would be destroyed if any new science fiction were written from that point on, it wouldn’t have bothered me. I still have not read everything from 1898 till 1985. I did just fine with the magazines back then, had no need for social networking; computers were fun to play with but the web – who needs it? Lets see if there’s anything decent to watch on one of the four television channels. Good thing they shut down at 2 am, otherwise I might not get any sleep.

    And if all I’d remained was a reader and helper at conventions, my opinions and preferences wouldn’t impact anyone else – except perhaps if my Hugo nominations combined with others to change the finalists list or the winner.

    But then I got this Amazing Stories thing (and then I lost the funding that would have seen it start up sooner rather than later) and I had to accept a certain amount of responsibility. (Well no, I could have done anything I wanted to with it, including turning it into a porn site that I am assured would have drawn good traffic based on the name alone.)

    I chose to accept a certain amount of responsibility: one thing I chose to do was to hold the name in trust for the community. It will not be sold to anyone who would use it for a porn site. It will not ever fall into non-fannish hands again. Even if it sits forever, it will never be the brand for Canadian travel magazines.

    Another responsibility I chose to accept was recognizing that my tastes in fiction were not in line with that of a modern SF/F/H magazine seeking to publish new, cutting edge, vibrant, evolutionary/revolutionary fiction.

    Once we get going with new fiction, I’ll step aside and hire someone to edit who has demonstrated an ability to find good works, someone who professionally appreciates where we’ve come from and where we’re going. (When I hire someone, I hire to enable and support, not micro-manage, btw.)

    My goal is to provide an outlet for and to support the growth of short fiction and the genre, not to mention the community that made it what it is today. Not to try and foist my personal tastes on everyone else.

    Amazing could easily become a haven for “pulp” or SF of the kind we knew before 1985 and paying for that fiction would insure that I could probably fill the pages with exactly what the puppies are claiming they want.

    But here’s the thing: I don’t believe that my tastes (nor even my ability to influence taste) need to be what everyone should want or even like.

    Back when Ted White was editing the magazine (editor when I did most of my reading of and submitting to it), I loved the job that he was doing because I could count on the fact that there would be at least one, if not two, stories that I really liked, a couple more that were “ok” and the remainder worth reading, even if they weren’t my cuppa. No issue was a disappointment. (And there were always those great Fabian covers to look at.)

    Even then I was happy having a fifth (or less) of the content being right up my alley. I never once thought of writing to Ted (who did publish several of my LOCs) to tell him that every single issue should only contain the kind of fiction that I liked.

    And here I am today, working hard at deliberately suppressing the influence that my tastes and preferences might have on the field – in favor of what I perceive to be the better course, that of bearing in mind what is best for the field, while puppies (who I believe my personal tastes align with pretty well) are agitating for exactly what I will not do. (Don’t confuse that alignment thing with a belief that self-proclaimed puppies are turning out work I approve of: having a desire for “good ol’ rocket ships, BEMs and rayguns” is not the same as writing it well)

    And THAT is what gets to me every time I read their BS: arrogance on so many levels, including the belief that their tastes ought to be everyone else’s.

  33. Also, while I know little about concoms, it makes logistical sense that they’d run older on average than fandom or cons in general. Assuming you have to be eighteen to be on one…well, most people are in college from 18-22 or so, and then struggling to get established in their careers/relationships/etc in the next five to ten years. And then if you’re going to have kids, that’s usually your thirties (and while I do know people with young kids who run LARPs and similar, they’re relatively rare and that’s slightly smaller) and it seems like fewer people under 40/50 would, on average, have the time to devote to the kind of huge organizational commitment that makes me want to hide under my desk with a bottle of Scotch at the mere thought.

  34. I was going to resist the pile up except maybe to say that I’m yet another person under 40 and that for me the Puppies lost any credibility to complain about diversity when they chose a full slate, blocking everyone else’s choices.


    Literary fiction with rocketships and stylistic twiddles is new to the genre.

    makes me wonder if Vivienne Raper has read any sci-fi. Literary sci-fi (or fantasy) isn’t new at all.

  35. Still under 40! Whoo!

    “Bears Discover Fire” – literary claptrap about bears becoming sentient
    Slaughterhouse Five – literary exploration of trauma and PTSD. Not even genre; it’s all flashback and delusion

    (Damn; I wanted to do a third but I wanted to stick to actual Hugo winners/nominees and my brain is failing me. Stupid brain! No cookie!)

    PSA: Please do not stick cookies in your brain. #TheMoreYouKnow

  36. @Darren
    That I didn’t know. Coolness.

    And now we know how Thundarr will happen 🙂

    Details 😉

  37. Most literary writing isn’t about old professors leching over their students.

    But there is a particular sub-genre, which is often very well represented in things like Man Booker prize which very much is of the “old man remembers his mistakes”. (professors leching over students is too specific, that wasn’t my term).

    To grab quotes from wikipedia from a handful of recent Booker winners.

    “The book tells the story of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by memories of a love affair with his uncle’s wife and of his subsequent experiences as a prisoner of war. Post-war, he finds his growing celebrity as a war hero at odds with his sense of his own failings and guilt.”

    “The Sense of an Ending is narrated by a retired man named Tony Webster, who recalls how he and his clique met Adrian Finn at school and vowed to remain friends for life. When the past catches up with Tony, he reflects on the paths he and his friends have taken.”

    “Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and Treslove’s chequered and unsuccessful record with women qualify him as an honorary third widower. They dine together at Libor’s grand apartment in central London: it is a sweetly painful evening of reminiscences.”

    “The novel’s narrator is 39-year-old Veronica, the sibling who was closest to Liam. She looks through her family’s troubled history to try to make sense of his death.”

    “The story is told by Max Morden, a self-aware, retired art historian attempting to reconcile himself to the deaths of those whom he loved as a child and as an adult.”

    I’m afraid I don’t know enough formal literary criticism to assess that LRB peice, but I don’t see anything as predictable in Hugo winners.

    Aside: The only person on my Hugo nomination list who’s age I know is 25.

  38. I hadn’t thought about it before, but since a friend espoused this point of view to me I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I think it’s possible the Axanar lawsuit could represent a grave threat to fan creative works like fan films or even fanfic.

    If the Axanar people win, it could cause IP holders who had previously been on the fence or even permissive about fan creative works to take another look. If permitting them could lead to expensive lawsuits or loss of control over their franchise, they might be inclined to reverse themselves and start cracking down. Even if the Axanar people don’t win but do manage to make the lawsuit lengthy and expensive, it’s still an incentive not to risk it.

    Remember the time Marion Zimmer Bradley and a fan who submitted a work for an anthology got in a tussle over rights to it, and that had the effect of turning many authors against fanfic altogether, because why subject themselves to that legal risk? I see the same thing happening here, all over again. That worries me.

  39. @Brian Z: “Betcha in 1970 some folks said, what’s the point of going to Heidelberg? ”

    You could not be more wrong.
    1. there were three non-US worldcons prior
    2. in order to win, Heidelberg needed to get a majority vote of attending worldcon members three years prior to the convention.
    3. those german fans who had their own awards thought enough of the institution to work within it to obtain the honor of hosting a worldcon.

    Your comment makes it clear that your view is one of “either or” (not to mention a bit twisted) rather than value added. Fans in Heidelberg thought so much of Worldcon that they wanted to have their own. And you know what else? It WAS their own convention. Participating added value to their own activities and added value to Worldcon. (Not to mention the fact that most of worldcon attending fandom itself said “cool! Germany!”.)

    Work with. For everyone’s benefit. These are the things you seem unable to understand.

  40. steve davidson,

    Obviously the bid for Heidelberg was successful and the con was held and people went.

    I said I bet there was some grumbling then too.

    So you’re right. Similarly, the Puppies thought so much of Worldcon that they wanted to participate. By your logic, which I agree with, this “added value to their own activities and added value to Worldcon.”

  41. Mark: In voting news, I had the dreaded “Duplicate PIN” bug, but have just had a new email with a correct working PIN, hurrah. It had generic wording, so I suspect it’s part of a new round of emails to those affected.

    I’ve received mine. They’ve labeled the items this time to match the fields. A nice extra step. The first time I had to manually type my password instead of copy and paste. My password manager doesn’t see the name fields so I have to type them in each time but my member number and password our working thank goodness as its a long, meaningless to me password.

    Unfortunately on the iPad using Safari there is a formatting issue with the form itself – the Macll copyright information shows on top of the Short Editor part of the form. Refreshing the page makes you sign in again and loses everything.

    But I have a working password. Me, for the first time ever a Worldcon and I managed to work things out so I can nominate electronically. Woo hoo. I’m excited. I’m finally going to be fully part of the process.

    After looking the form over it turns out I’ll need to spend some time getting additional data to properly fill each item out. I should have taken my oft given advice and done more research so I’d be prepared for this exciting moment.

  42. Isabel Cooper on February 25, 2016 at 9:27 am said:

    Also, while I know little about concoms, it makes logistical sense that they’d run older on average than fandom or cons in general. Assuming you have to be eighteen to be on one….

    Bad assumption. There’s no such requirement in general. (There might be individual conventions who impose such requirements, but that’s up to them, and not a general requirement.)

  43. The Puppies didn’t try to “participate.” They tried to hijack the Hugos to benefit themselves and their friends, talked about making liberal heads explode, and slagged off both the fans actually doing the work, and all the other fans not voting their way.

    That’s not participating, or “adding value.” That’s being a pack of unsocialized spoiled brats.

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