Pixel Scroll 3/22/16 The Scrolls Are Alive With The Sound of Pixels

(1) MEDIA CON INFLATION. Rob Salkowitz at ICv2 says “As The 2016 Con Season Begins, Seams Are Starting To Show”.

Competition for big names is getting crazy. Every show wants the top names to draw fans, but the bidding war for A-list talent is starting to sound unsustainable. I’ve heard reliable reports that the appearance fees for the Wizard World Show in Philadelphia in June, which lists Chris Evans, Chris Helmsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie and the stars of Back to the Future, top $1 million in guaranteed money.

Well sure. Those are all the stars of what seems likely to be 2016’s biggest movie, all in one place.

But this is having a trickle-down effect. Because this is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, the surviving original cast members and just about everyone associated with all versions of the show, are in unusually high demand. Competition to get these names on the marquee has reportedly led to cancelled contracts, bidding wars, waivers of exclusives, a shift from guaranteed revenues for autograph sales to straight appearance fees, and other cutthroat tactics.

Cons need to make that money back somewhere, and it’s coming from three places: fans, exhibitors and sponsors.

Costs are rising for attendees. Badges for 3- and 4-day events are starting to crack the $100 level, and that’s just the start. More and more events are not only adding VIP packages, which start around $195 and can go as high as $800-900, but are also requiring fans to pre-pay for celebrity photo ops and celebrity autographs in advance. SVCC even experimented with charging a $10 surcharge for admission to the Back to the Future Panel in its big room on Saturday afternoon, only to oversell the event and not have room for prepaid customers.

(2) PATHFINDER. Marion Deeds has an excellent report on FOGCon 2016 at Fantasy Literature.

Is 72 Letters Enough? In Search of the Perfect Language

I consider a panel “good” if I come away with new book titles to track down, or lots of ideas. By those two measurements, this panel was the best panel of the convention. Panelists included Ted Chiang, who took his inspiration from the Umberto Eco book In Search of the Perfect Language (The Making of Europe). The other panelists were Cathy Hindersinn and Steven Schwartz, with Michelle Cox moderating. There was another panelist but I don’t remember her name and it doesn’t appear in the program. Hindersinn studied linguistics before making a lateral move and becoming a computer programmer. Schwartz is part of the FOGCon committee and writes speculative fiction and epic poetry. He loves language and he loves to talk about language. Cox has an MA in Church History and theology and is a technical writer.

Chiang is scary-smart, articulate if a bit abstract at times, and serious, but he has a great wit, which was on display during the panel. This panel was held in the large room and, as near as I could tell, there was one empty chair. Several people were standing. The panelists were opinionated, and in some cases their passion outstripped their knowledge; the audience was the same way. It was brilliant.

Chiang used the Eco book as a jumping off point for a discussion and critique of the conceit of a “perfect” language; one that existed in the past, in humanity’s “golden age;” a language that all humans could speak and understand. There are two parts to that idea: universalism; the idea that there is one language every human on the planet can communicate in, (perhaps as a second language); and then a language that has the smallest possible divide between the signifier and the thing signified.

(3) STRANGE PUBLISHING TREND. The New Republic reports “The Mass-Market Edition of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Is Dead”.

We may never know what Lee’s will stipulates, but the estate’s first action in the wake of Lee’s death is both bold and somewhat baffling: The New Republic has obtained an email from Hachette Book Group, sent on Friday, March 4 to booksellers across the country, revealing that Lee’s estate will no longer allow publication of the mass-market paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird…..

That said, mass-market paperbacks have been on a precipitous decline lately, though TKAM’s success, particularly in the education market, makes it a notable exception. But many publishers are moving away from the format. Pressed for further comment, a HarperCollins spokesperson informed me that “Like many American classics, To Kill A Mockingbird’s primary paperback format will be the trade paperback edition.” That’s an important distinction: The general trend in publishing has been against the mass-market and toward more expensive (and durable) editions—many American classics, including The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath no longer have mass-market editions.

(4) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Murray Leinster’s warning is just waiting for tech to catch up. A Logic Named Joe: The 1946 sci-fi short that nailed modern tech. 70 years later, Murray Leinster’s disaster scenario is the internet you know and love.”

The story goes on to tell how “Joe,” a rogue logic with a slight manufacturing defect, becomes self-aware and resolves to provide his owners and all other “logic” users with whatever information they require. Leinster says of Joe:

Joe ain’t vicious, you understand. He ain’t like one of those ambitious robots you read about that make up their minds the human race is inefficient and has got to be wiped out an’ replaced by thinkin’ machines. Joe’s just got ambition. If you were a machine you’d wanna work right, wouldn’t you? That’s Joe. He wants to work right. And he’s a logic, an’ logics can do a lotta things that ain’t been found out yet.

This, in turn, leads to logics around the city providing tips on everything from poisoning spouses to covering up drinking binges and robbing banks. Only when Joe is taken offline is that information hidden away from humanity and order restored.

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born March 22, 1931 – William Shatner. The whole internet is barely big enough to contain everything there is to know about his show biz career. Google revealed to me that Shatner was on the old What’s My Line? game show in January 1965.

He was there to plug the premiere episode of his (then) new lawyer drama series For The People — which fortunately for all concerned failed in time for him to be cast in Star Trek.

(6) TODAY’S OTHER BIRTHDAY BOY

trekkie-recipe-william-shatners-cappuccino-muffins_w654

(7) RECORD STRAIGHTENER. Larry Correia has been unfairly charged with abandoning the battlefield, as he explains in “The Guardian’s Village Idiot Declares Another Career Ruined”.

I wasn’t going to write anything about SP, but it has come to my attention that a new narrative has arisen amongst the mushy headed dope punditry of fandom, because they are always scrambling for something to get their collective panties in a bunch over. This time it is that Brad and I are cowards—and are probably misogynistic women haters too—because we abandoned poor female Kate to their mighty wrath.

Well, you’ll have to forgive Brad’s cowardice, because he has been deployed by the US Army to the Middle East for the last year, supporting missions against terrorists, but that’s nothing compared to the courage it takes to have a good fandom slapfight. (And really? Scared of what? There are only so many ways you guys can send out a press release alleging that somebody is a racist).

And you’ll have to forgive me too, because I thought I had made my point in 2014 that the system was biased, and I was done. Only Brad asked me to come back to help in 2015, so I did, and after the CHORFs proved my point for me far better than I ever could—wooden assholes and No Awarding the most deserving editor in the business—I said at the end of that I was done.

Why am I out? Mostly because it was a giant time suck, and I’ve got stuff to do. Unlike most of my detractors, I actually write books for a living. I wrote a novella worth of posts on SP in public, and another one worth of emails on the topic behind the scenes. Then there is the joy of spending an hour on the phone with reporters, so that they can quote one sentence from you, and then quote paragraphs from some dolt who knows jack about the topic but belongs to the right clique.

Honestly, in the time I spent on Sad Puppies, I probably could have gotten another book out the door. Plus in 2016 I’ve got my European research trip, I have a new business venture I’ve not talked about at all, I bought a big chunk of property, and mountain fortress compounds don’t build themselves. All that’s in addition to the three novels that are coming out this year, the short fiction collection I have to put together, and the MHI anthology I have to edit.

So I could either try to prove again the point that I’ve already proven, or I can get paid more. Hmmm…. Tough call.

(8) A PUPPY SURPRISE. Apparently Jeffro Johnson was the last person on Earth to realize this was the game plan from Day 1. “Comments on Sad Puppies IV and Rabid Puppies II” at Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog.

You know, I have to say… making the Puppies lists for Best Related Work was a real shock for me. That’s just not something that ever even occurred to me as being a possibility. Maybe it’s a bit ironic, but it’s actually humbling to have even a modest number of people think that well of me. I honestly don’t know what else to say, but “thank you.” So: thank you! 

(9) HONORED. Cheah Kai Wai (Benjamin Cheah) is also pleased to be included. See “Rabid Puppies Recommended”.

I am greatly honoured to accept such praise, and am deeply humbled by the fact that there are people who believe I am worthy of standing beside such luminaries as Stephen King and Andy Weir. Looking at the rest of the Rapid Puppies recommendations, I am fully confident that the recommendations will live up to the Rapid Puppies’ mission of making the Hugos great again.

Further, I am especially pleased by Vox Day’s inclusion of Space Raptor Butt Invasion. Science fiction is the literature of ideas, allowing radical concepts to be explored in great detail. This story is indubitably a masterwork that skilfully portrays interspecies non-heterosexual relations within a vividly-created science fictional universe, and would surely be a shoo-in for the Hugos among certain quarters.

(10) REMOVAL REQUEST. In revolutionary Boston the tea had to be thrown overboard. This time it jumped.

Emma Newman speaks “Regarding Tea and Jeopardy being included on a certain list”.

All I know is that I would like Tea and Jeopardy to be removed from this latest list. I don’t want something that Pete and I spend a hell of a lot of time and energy creating to be associated with anything like this. Our podcast has made it to the nominations shortlist two years in a row on its own merit and if we are lucky enough to be shortlisted for a third time, I want it to be because people listen to the show and are moved to nominate it. Nothing more.

Sadly, it seems that requests to be removed for the Sad Puppies 4 list are being ignored. Whilst part of me agrees that people can put whatever they like into a list on their own website, the part that values courtesy disagrees with the refusal to respect a creator’s requests to remove something from it. I’m sorry if this hurts the feelings of the people involved, but no matter what the intentions are this year, no matter the reasons why our podcast made it onto that list, I personally do not want my work to be associated with it.

(11) SECOND CUP. Peter Newman affirms the request in “Tea and Jeopardy, Hugo nominations and Sad Puppies”.

To be clear, I have never solicited the attention of this group, nor do I endorse it. I was not asked if Tea & Jeopardy could be included and I am told that requests to be taken off the list will be ignored. That said, I’d like Tea & Jeopardy to be taken off the Sad Puppies 4 list.

(12) SCHMIDT ASKS OUT. Bryan Thomas Schmidt tells Facebook readers he’s unhappy to find himself on the Rabid Puppies slate.

So apparently the abominable Vox Day put me on his Hugo list this year. First I heard if it. I have paid NO attention this year to lists, etc. I would demand removal but he clearly cares not what people think and states flat out he will not entertain removal requests. I “No Awarded” him last year and would again. I do not approve of this and see it as his attempt to do me further harm. Just going to ignore.

He’s also got an asterisk next to his name on the Sad Puppies 4 List now, too.

In fact, Schmidt says he would rather not be considered for the Hugo at all.

Although I am flattered when friends say they nominated me for the Hugo, please do not waste votes on me this year. I do not want to participate in this broken, biased process, at least until perhaps people of all creeds and levels can be fairly considered without politics ruling the day. I would decline a nomination if offered, though I highly suspect there will be no need. Instead, please consider MISSION: TOMORROW for the Locus Awards. Thanks.

(13) LIMITING DAMAGE. David D. Levine also got his short story “Damage” asterisked by asking to be removed from the Sad Puppies 4 List in a comment.

(14) SUPPORT FOR KATE PAULK. Amanda S. Green in “Cranky Writer is, well, cranky” said —

As for those who don’t want to be associated with SP4, I suggest you go back and look at what Kate has done throughout the year. The list is not something she pulled out of thin air. This is a list that is based solely on recommendations made by anyone who wanted to take part. By telling Kate you don’t want to be associated with the list, you are basically telling your readers — your fans and the people who buy your work — that you don’t value their support. You are letting fear of what a few in the industry might think of you override what should be important: keeping your fans happy. Unless, of course, you don’t give a flip what your fans think and you like slapping them in the face for daring to support your work and recommend it for what has been one of the most prestigious prizes in the industry.

(15) BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARDSHELL. Alexandra Erin brings back the field’s most insightful reviewer, John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired) – “Sad Puppies Review Books: Yertle the Turtle”.

The villain of the piece is a turtle named Mack who is so dissatisfied with his place in the world that rather than climbing the ladder and making something of himself, he instead blames society for such petty things as the pain in his back and his lack of food. Not content to merely complain, he uses his extraordinary power and privilege to impose his will upon all other turtles. Lacking the gumption and will to raise himself up, he instead only tears down, and will not be satisfied until all other turtles have been brought down to his level.

(16) DELVING. Alexandra Erin’s “Nineteen Puppy Four” contains her opinion of the Sad Puppy worldview and motivations.

Well, so much for the notion that this year’s litter of Sad Puppies were kinder, gentler, or even more moderate than last year’s. Over the past weekend, when the initial reactions to their new list were still more initial, Sarah Hoyt posted a response that was… well, we’ll say “typically hyperbolic”, but also quite telling.

A lot of it follows the “BUT MOM, I’m NOT Touching Him!” school of legalism that sprouts up whenever reactionaries try to argue with or by what they think is progressive logic, but as she goes on, she eventually compares Puppy critics to such nuanced things as German citizens whipped into a frenzy of anti-Semitism by the Nazi party, only “worse” because those who disagree with the Pups are doing it of our own free will. In the same piece, she refers to those who dissent from her party line as being slaves bound in chains.

(17) NOT THE DOG IN THE NIGHT. Paul Cornell can still hear them.

(18) AND NOW ABOUT SOME BOOKS. Book Smugglers Publishing thinks you will be interested in Superheroes in Space.

Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow has earned a Starred Review by Publishers Weekly, a super great review by Foz Meadows over at Hugo Award winner A Dribble of Ink and has sold TV rights. Broken is Book Smugglers Publishing’s first novel and the opening act in The Extrahuman Union Series….

Introducing readers to Susan Jane Bigelow’s sprawling series in which Extrahumans will fight wars, overthrow governments, fall in and out of love, have life-changing adventures and travel the stars in search of a home—and their promised freedom—Broken is out now and is available as a trade paperback and ebook (EPUB & MOBI) from all major retailers online. The print book contains the novel, two illustrations from Kirbi Fagan, and a sneak peek at Sky Ranger, the second book in the series (published this June). The ebook edition also contains a prequel short story, Crimson Cadet, as well as an essay from the author and a Q&A with the artist.

(19) ET TU PENTAWERE? Scanners do not live in vain when it comes to extracting secrets from the mummies of Pharoahs.

The New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramesses III was assassinated by multiple assailants — and given postmortem cosmetic surgery to improve his mummy’s appearance.

Those are some of the new tidbits on ancient Egyptian royalty detailed in a new book by Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and Cairo University radiologist Sahar Saleem, “Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies” (American University in Cairo Press, 2016).

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Darren Garrison, and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peace Is My Middle Name.]

411 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/22/16 The Scrolls Are Alive With The Sound of Pixels

  1. (17) NOT THE DOG IN THE NIGHT. Paul Cornell can still hear them.

    This is particularly scrumptious given the fact that it is y’all doing all the talking about Sad Puppies. Kate took recommendations and put out a list. All else is Mike Glyer et al combing the interwebz, looking for Puppy-related comments on other people’s blogs, trying to squeeze out another drop of outrage juice.

    That’s what I call a successful campaign. Thanks for all the help, kiddies.

  2. Today, in “don’t quote me, I’ll quote you”, Hoyt is upset at Jim Hines for tweeting a screenshot of her previously discussed mini-rant

    It kind of makes Hoyt’s rant about being quoted out of context seem silly when one notices that Hines included a link to her entire blog post with the quote. Anyone who wanted to go and see her full frothy rant could easily do so.

    Here’s a hint for Hoyt: The quote “in context” doesn’t make you look any better. In fact, the impression one gets from reading the entire blog post in question is worse than what one would get from just reading the quote Hines selected.

  3. Praisegod Barebones’ brother was burdened with the name If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebones.

  4. Steve Wright, you mean your name isn’t pronounced “STEE-vee Wah-RIG-h-t?

    Co-incidentally, I heard a Canadian podcaster say a Maori placename yesterday. I could see why he thought it had two syllables, but it actually has four.

  5. So hey, Phantom, about that proof you have to back up your claim about Valente being a chief Puppy-Kicker prior to this…any sources yet? Blog posts? Tweets? Anything?

    I can’t help but notice you’ve ignored the question twice now, from multiple people. Now, I am sure that you are only dropping the most truthful of truth bombs over here, and would certainly never utter a completely unsourced falsehood so….you can prove it, right?

  6. @Tasha Turner
    The Justin L. Piece was recommended for Hugo Award consideration by Nerds of a Feather, which is how I stumbled upon it. I found his analysis is pretty even-handed, which basically means he had plenty of guilt to pass around to all parties involved. He’s fairly harsh on the Puppies, so I’m trying to understand why you found the article lacking. Am I missing something? Landon made the shortlist of nominees in 2014, so it’s not like we’re talking about someone new or extreme here.

  7. @Mike Glyer,

    Because I cannot resist quoting James Nicoll:

    “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

  8. @Phantom

    So hey, Phantom, about that proof you have to back up your claim about Valente being a chief Puppy-Kicker prior to this…any sources yet? Blog posts? Tweets? Anything?

    Well, now that you look like you’re dodging the question, add my voice to the chorus. Any proof? Any proof? Bueller??

    [crickets]

  9. That’s what I call a successful campaign.

    Yes. Yes it certainly is what YOU call a successful campaign. Yes it is.

  10. Yes. Yes it certainly is what YOU call a successful campaign. Yes it is.

    Which, of course, doesn’t mean squat in the real world.

  11. @Mike Glyer: Nah, in all seriousness, there are far too many names and languages for that. Considering its global, hegemonic reach nowadays, of course you will have people of all kinds of naming systems using English, but most of it is still “marked” enough that many people would look at it and protest, “That’s not an English name!” (Compare Michael or Claire to Meihui or Dadepo.)

    I’m not a huge fan of the original quote tbh!

  12. He’s fairly harsh on the Puppies, so I’m trying to understand why you found the article lacking.

    Well, I mostly found it lacking because his analysis was often lazy and counterfactual. He engaged in a lot of false equivalences – bloggers working to get a blogger nominated is not even close to the same thing as campaigning for a political slate. Highlighting works by women and minorities is not even close to the same thing as campaigning for a slate. Hurley isn’t “angry because it gets blog clicks” (for the most part, I don’t really see a lot of angry posts by Hurley to begin with). And so on.

    Plus his whole rant about how the “cost of voting has to be reduced”, how the WSFS has to stop having “early morning committee meetings”, and complaints about “institutional cronyism” are so ill-informed that one wonders exactly what planet he is living on.

  13. In looking around, I thought this discussion of the Justin L. article was very interesting in that there are a lot of outside observer opinions expressed (along with a number of insiders as well).

  14. In looking around, I thought this discussion of the Justin L. article was very interesting in that there are a lot of outside observer opinions expressed (along with a number of insiders as well).

    The problem is that they jump onto the “reduce the cost of supporting memberships” right away, which ignores the economic realities of running Worldcon and running the Hugos. Running the risk of making the awards economically unfeasible isn’t going to do anyone any good.

    Plus, they (and Landon) run straight to the assumption that having a voting poll of tens of thousands of only casually interested voters is necessarily a good thing. The Goodreads Choice Awards has that, and it isn’t treated all that seriously by anyone. The Hugos have built up their reputation as the most prestigious award in genre fiction with some close variant their current system in place for decades, so how would it improve the award to make radical changes?

  15. My first experience of Hitchhikers was the tv show, 1982? Maybe because hearing it ruled out any false readings, it was always clear to me that it was the name of a car, even if not a model I knew.

    The MMPB ban looks like pure money-grabbing to me.

    I understand Jim’s point about SP4. In some ways, it responded to all the criticisms made of last year – the nominations were open to all, transparent, there was no political (or crony) test applied. (It didn’t, couldn’t address the question, why compile a list at all?) But anything that carried the Sad Puppy name was going to be tainted by previous years. People don’t want to be associated with SP3 or the Rabid Puppies, and keeping the name keeps all those connections. So it’s a bit, “Okay, you wouldn’t eat the food when it fell in the dirt, whatever. But now I’ve brushed all the dirt off and you still won’t eat it! You’re just being difficult!”

    Nobody has mentioned Thou-Shalt-Not-commit-Adultery Pulsifer, and Two-Dogs-Bucket-of-Water (and his unfortunate older twin)?

  16. jrlawrence on March 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm said:
    Praisegod Barebones’ brother was burdened with the name If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebones.

    I wonder if his buddies called him “Christ” or “Damned”?

  17. Wait, if I’m going by avatars, Standback is TWO people?

    This is why I’ve stuck with the one I have since about 2005. It stays the same so I don’t confuse myself and others. It looks enough like me that it was sufficient for an online pal to recognize me when we met IRL.

    (9) Who are these Rapid Puppies? Yet another faction?

    @spacefaringkitten: Hee. Also, your name is great.

    @JJ: Your last category title is awesome and I shall avoid them.

    How tiresome and tiring it must be to go looking for insult even when none is offered. Larry must spend HOURS a day following his “enemies” on Twitter and reading all the thousands of comments here on File 770 to look for something he can pretend is about him to fulminate about. It can’t be good for his blood pressure and psyche (wups, forgot: he’s a Manly Man, they don’t have psyches). Doesn’t he realize he’s just amplifying the signal of his “enemies”?

    @Mark-kitteh: Only every Christmas? LUXURY!

    Publishers seem to have settled on trade paper as their favored format. It’s my LEAST favorite, combining the fragility of MMPB with a substantially higher price, plus it takes up more room on the shelves. But they’re maximizing their profit. I still see MMPB on grocery store racks, which don’t include SF, just endless formulaic romances (not the good ones) and equally endless serial-killer “thrillers”, even more formulaic. As HRJ speculated, I’ve gone to ebook for my “disposable” reading instead of MMPB — same price, but takes up no space.

    @Oneiros: I used to know someone who was in the extended family of the dude in charge of the most recent standardization of Thai to Roman alphabet. Uncle Whoever was well-known to be both mentally ill and a complete alcoholic who often did illogical things on a personal whim. That’s how they explained the spelling.

    I’d do better with Russian novels if someone could just render all the half-dozen names used by one person into one. Even if it was long. I have a theory that Russian novels have only 20% as many characters as people think, it’s just that every character has so many names.

    @Richard Gadsden: Americans don’t use the company name, only the name of the model. Tasha has a CR-V, I have a Prius, guy across the street has a Corvette and a Navigator (and Americans know thusly that he is really into conspicuous consumption; his wife has a Corolla). Only in upscale things do you get the company name, like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Tesla, maybe Mercedes. Minivans are just minivans, no matter who makes them.

    The Poser covers are just terrible. They all look alike, even when they don’t follow the pattern so ably satirized by Jim Hines. I’d think you could find someone on DeviantArt or suchlike who could draw/paint/shop something good-looking and original for a low price.

    JCW’s is… not as bad as some of them. It still defies both anatomy and physics. Wrists and cloth do not work that way. And how did Mr. Victorian Decency allow such a scantily-clad jezebel to grace the cover of his new book? Houri! Courtesan! (entire page of Roget’s omitted) Poser pr0n is a thing, but shouldn’t that photo have given the biggest prude (in all modesty) pruding today the vapors?

  18. Disappointed. I didn’t catch the origin of the Wales comment and thought we were about to enter the realm of long Welsh names.

    How did people type, “Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch” before cut and paste?

  19. I keep losing interest in the Landon piece because he keeps saying things that just aren’t so.

    Trying to persuade Hugo nominators (and SFF readers in general) to be more active about looking for pieces by women and minorities, and trying to persuade women and minorities (and SFF fans in general) to buy memberships and nominate their favorite things isn’t at all like trying to persuade a bunch of conservatives to abandon their favorites and settle on a slate of acceptable second bests to increase their political power over the nominating process.

    He keeps wandering off into stuff about the Republican Party that just doesn’t apply here. He wants (I think) to pull the Republican Party back from being the party of hate; more power to him but I am not interested in reading about it.

    He wants to prescribe to the WSFS what it should do about the Hugos when he doesn’t give the impression of knowing much about it in the first place. No, I’m not going to nominate it. I have already found things I like better in that category.

  20. How did people type, “Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch” before cut and paste?

    Slowly, carefully, and with much sighing.

  21. To make everyone feel rather better about themselves: I only just now looked up and understood the reference in Ford Prefect’s name.

    I can’t remember how many years it was between seeing ‘Little Me’ on stage, with a female character named ‘Belle Poitrine’, and the time I ran into it in a context where it was clear what it meant, but it was more than a decade. (And I appreciated it when I did get it.)

  22. How did people type, “Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch” before cut and paste?

    It can just be called Llanfair PG or Llanfairpwllgwyngyll (its real name before the mid-Victorian publicity campaign).

  23. The Landon thing picks up on a view of the Hugos which is quite widespread and which, though it has been exploited by the SP promoters, is held by lot of people who are not at all puppyish in other respects; that the purpose of the Hugos is to represent everyone who is interested in science fiction, and clearly something has gone wrong if it fails to do so.

    I don’t share this view. The Hugos represent a particular community – literary convention fandom – which is only a subset of the wider community of people who are in any way actively fannish, which is itself a subset of the yet wider community of people who read/watch and enjoy science fiction. There seems no reason which this community should not give awards. You may ask why anyone else should take notice of its awards, but that simply depends on whether it is in fact able to come up with good stuff. An awards process which represented everyone would be unworkable, partly because the field is too diverse to develop a meaningful consensus, partly because an award is a recommendation, and cannot work as such if there is no wider community to recommend things to.

    But I do think traditional fandom bears part of the responsibility for this. Partly because of its use of the word ‘fan’; for some people it means someone engaged in fannish activity (as opposed to those who ‘just read the stuff’); for others it just means an enthusiast. When traditional fans use ‘fan’ to mean a member of their community, others may hear them as saying that they (the others) are not real enthusiasts. That’s not the intention, but it can come over that way. So when the Hugos are advertised as fandom awards in which all fans can take part, ordinary readers may think it means them, and be confused to find that it doesn’t. ‘If these awards represent all fans, why do I have to make a contribution to a weird event called a “convention”? Why are there awards for odd things like semiprozines, which ordinary readers know nothing about?’ (Of course, everyone is welcome to join the community; that’s not in question. But some people may be puzzled about why they have to join a community; aren’t they already members of the only community that matters, that of people who read science fiction?)

    I think another thing that contributes to this is a narrative one hears quite often, according to which at one time science fiction was a secret; only members of fandom knew about it. So, of course it made sense that awards should be decided on by members of conventions then, because they were the only people in a position to do so. But now science fiction is something with mass popular appeal, so awards should represent everyone. As I understand it, this isn’t actually true – Mike produced some figures a while ago which showed that the proportion of actively fannish people to those who read the stuff has remained fairly constant, though both have expanded. The Worldcon of 1953, the first to award Hugos, had 750 members. (Some in the 50’s were a lot smaller.) I’m fairly sure more than 750 people read science fiction in that year. But if you don’t see this, you may well get the impression that the Hugos have become unrepresentative.

  24. And nicknames aren’t always shorter than the original.

    Nancy was a nickname for Ann. Speaking of nicknames longer than the original.

    The mid-19th century got very, um, creative in its naming. (I’ve seen ‘San Francisco’ as a given name, shortened to ‘Frank’. Among other oddities. I still haven’t figured out where ‘Sigisamer’ came from, or how it was pronounced, and I feel a bit sorry for the man named ‘Santa’. ‘Stillson Allen’ and ‘Morris Minor’ got the additional baggage long after they were born.)

  25. @Sean
    For starters Justin Landon’s understanding of how women and minorities started showing up on the Hugo is wrong. From there the piece goes downhill in regards to facts, any knowledge of Worldcon/Hugo history, and moves onto the need to fix something which isn’t broken.

    Did you know there were internal problems from the start of Worldcon? The Great Exclusion act of the first Worldcon . We regularly have kerfuffles in fandom. What’s going on now is no different except we have social media and can fight about it easily in front of the entire world.

    It’s always been a small number of fans voting on the Hugos compared to the number of people reading SFF. The award is prestigious because the few are considered by the wider world to be right much of the time.

    I think @Aaron and others covered the rest.

  26. (7) I assumed that Larry Correia, who mostly seemed to disappear from Puppy chatter about halfway through SP3, was pulling back because Puppying was taking too much time away from his writing and too much focus away from his career, and he chose to refocus on that–a decision that I thought the other Puppies would have been sensible to emulate, though none did. I thought it also possible that he had recognized by then that teaming up with VD had been a mistake and decided to look for the nearest exit.

    This is the first commentary of Correia’s I recall seeing for months. Still belligerent and abrasive, I see. How refreshing, in our rapidly-changing world, to see that some things remain constant.

    (10) & (11) It’s hard to think of anyone MORE unlikely that Emma and Peter Newman to wade into a controversy, speak sharply, or seek a quarrel. When people like them ask to be removed from your endorsements list and publicly dissociate themselves from you, you really, REALLY should think over just how badly you’re running your life.

    (14) Paulk, Green, and the Puppy den really seem to have trouble comprehending that people specifically don’t want to be associated with THEM, don’t they? For them to interpret “I don’t want to be on a Puppy list or associated with the Puppies” as “I don’t want people to read and enjoy my books” is so idiotic that even a stalk of overcooked broccoli would be too intelligent to fall for that schtick.

    (16) & (17) Pretty much what Alexandra Erin and Paul Cornell said there. Yep.

  27. Accepted Trevor, Renewed Wisberry, Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith White and the ever-popular Fly-Fornication Richardson.

    Preserved Fish is another genuine example. And, in a different way, Mahershallalhashbaz Dyer.

  28. Peace, there’s surviving evidence that If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barbones, was familiarly known as Damned Barebones.

    I can’t right now remember the full name of the guy who was known to his friends as Waitstill.

    I love Puritan names, though I’m glad I don’t have one.

  29. The mid-19th century got very, um, creative in its naming.

    Charlottesville is often referred to by students at the University of Virginia as Hooville, or Hookville.

  30. For them to interpret “I don’t want to be on a Puppy list or associated with the Puppies” as “I don’t want people to read and enjoy my books” is so idiotic that even a stalk of overcooked broccoli would be too intelligent to fall for that schtick.

    For them to do otherwise would be to require them to face the reality that most people outside of their tiny inward-facing circle genuinely regards them as assholes.

  31. Some recent novellas from the tor.com line that I’ve read:

    The Drowning Eyes
    by Emily Foster – there’s a fantasy world of islands and ships, where weather-controlling Windspeakers allow for safe passage, and a rough-and-ready ships’ crew take on a passenger with lots of cash and an urgent need to be somewhere else. I thought it was going to get rather cliched but the middle section had some good characters and an interesting ambiguity about how the Windspeakers get created (although it was a theme that The Fifth Season looked at much better). Unfortunately I didn’t think it stuck the ending at all.
    Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal – apparently an expanded version of an Audible-only novellette, this is a really interesting and elegant story. The protagonist makes a living in a near-future of perpetual access to data and helpful AI by finding antiques with genuine provenances for wealthy collectors. So, when she gets kidnapped in some woods, the biggest shock is that she’s cut off from her technological aids and forced to rely on her own thoughts. There’s perhaps not that much to the story, but MRK really digs into her theme and fills the whole story with it. One thing though – there’s a gimmick in which the story is being typed on an antique typewriter, and so there are typos and so on. Sent me mad.
    A Song for No Man’s Land by Andy Remic – fantastical horror set in WWI trenches is a fine idea, and the imagery running through the story is easily the best thing about it. There’s some sort of nature spirits in No Mans Land who are really unhappy about their trees getting shelled, and they somehow link to the protagonists childhood experiences as well – it’s actually a bit confusing, particularly when a perspective change gets thrown in, but that might be intentional. I believe this is going to be a series and I’m hoping it’ll find its feet a bit.
    Pieces of Hate by Tim Lebbon – Did not like, might rant a little. I made it to the end of the book to find a note clarifying that this isn’t a new story at all, but dates to ten years ago. It is presumably being revived to lead off a new series, but this might explain why it’s badly below par for this novella line. Firstly, it’s grimly grimdark with some extra grim on top in a way that came over as really edgy, oh, about ten years ago. Next, it starts with a bonus novelette sequel, which made me go all Paulks tavern when a story that was going to be about pirates started with a gunslinger walking into Tombstone. The plot makes sense soon enough but why put the sequel first? Anyway, there’s an anti-hero who has been made immortal to hunt a shapeshifting demon through the ages who keeps on beating him again and again leaving him with permanent wounds, his motivation being that (sigh) that the demon killed his wife and child in a suitably grimdark way. There’s actually the kernel of a good idea in this, as the demon appears to be committing what are now famous historical murders and atrocities, which could lead to some interesting stories, but it’s a grim meh from me.

    The best by a long way is the Mary Robinette Kowal story, I definitely recommend people pick that one up at some point.

  32. @Laura Resnick
    Since you’ve stopped by could you answer a couple quick questions?

    Is Dave the Mighty Steel-Thewed Avenger eligible for a Hugo this year? How many words is it?

    You can blame Alex Svartsman for mentioning it will be in Funny Fantasy on his latest Unidentified Funny Objects Kickstarter which sent me Googling. I found and enjoyed reading it to my husband last night on Urban Fantasy from February 5, 2015 .

  33. Nobody has mentioned Thou-Shalt-Not-commit-Adultery Pulsifer, and Two-Dogs-Bucket-of-Water (and his unfortunate older twin)?

    And let’s not forget Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler.

  34. (7) I assumed that Larry Correia, who mostly seemed to disappear from Puppy chatter about halfway through SP3, was pulling back because Puppying was taking too much time away from his writing and too much focus away from his career, and he chose to refocus on that–a decision that I thought the other Puppies would have been sensible to emulate, though none did. I thought it also possible that he had recognized by then that teaming up with VD had been a mistake and decided to look for the nearest exit.

    Good luck there.
    —-
    The Old Man says, “Lad, look out there to the field. Do ya see that fence? Look how well it’s built. I built that fence stone by stone with me own two hands. I piled it for months.”

    “But do they call me Larry-the-Fence-Builder? Nooo…”

    Then the old man gestured at the bar. “Look here at the bar. Do ya see how smooth and just it is? I planed that surface down by me own achin’ back. I carved that wood with me own hard labour, for eight days.”

    “But do they call me Larry-the-Bar-builder? Nooo…”

    Then the old man points out the window. “Eh, Laddy, look out to sea…Do ya see that pier that stretches out as far as the eye can see? I built that pier with the sweat off me back. I nailed it board by board.”

    “But do they call me Larry-the-Pier-Builder? Nooo…”

    Then the old man looks around nervously, trying to make sure no one is paying attention.

    “But ya cuddle up to just one Rabid Puppy…”

  35. Data point from the US: pace lurkertype, I drive a Saturn. If pressed to distinguish it from other Saturns, it’s a Saturn wagon. But it’s only an SW2 if I’m filling out a form asking for its model. Later, Saturn branched out from just the S and L series, and the resulting models seem to get referred to by just model name. At least the Vue does.

    To me, there really doesn’t seem to be a rule. Depends on who you’re talking to and where you are, depends on the context of the conversation, depends on how recognizable the model name is, depends on whether [Model] or [Maker Model] became the thing that falls most trippingly off the tongue.

    Thus: Mom currently drives a Vue. Before that she drove a Nissan. When I was just growing up she drove a Chrysler New Yorker. I hear people refer to Honda Civics but also to Elements. It seems pointless to try to make a rule out of these observations. There will always be too many exceptions.

    @Tasha Turner: I’d forgotten how bad the Justin L piece was. I’m sorry I read it once. I’m really sorry I’ve read it twice.

    I was skeptical when I saw who recommended the link. Then I began reading it, and bailed at…

    Unfortunately, this has created some measure of hysteria within science fiction and fantasy fandom, who have been pretending for years that the Hugo Nominations weren’t already horribly easy to manipulate.

    This dismissing of WSFS fandom’s genuine hurt and anger last year as “hysteria”, and the way he misrepresents “respecting the spirit of the awards and whom they honor” as “pretending they weren’t easy to manipulate” tells me quite a bit about the author’s biases and whether his article is likely to become enlightening as it goes on.

    Attn: Rev. Bob – The Perk code for today is PUPPY. This worried me greatly – the hell, Perk is aware of VD’s recent press release?! Then it was explained to me that today is National Puppy Day.

  36. Aaron
    There’s the problem with those tiny, inward-facing circles. All people see from the outside is a bunch of asses.

  37. @Paul (@princejvstin): For your reading at TOR: Writing Women Characters Into Epic Fantasy Without Quotas by Kate Elliott.

    What a fantastic palate cleanser. Great article. Tons of non-fiction books to add to my TBR. Thanks @Paul for the article share.

  38. Chicago Hope character “Lisa Catera” got her name because, for reasons that probably involved illegal drugs in the marketing department, the Cadillac Catera ads didn’t try to sell it, they asked you to “lease a Catera”.

    I think the character lasted longer than the car model did.

  39. @Lois Tilton:

    Jim Henley – I take your point. I certainly wouldn’t condemn anyone who expressed sympathy or compassion for Paulk, but I’d have to say that such a person would be far more saintly than I.

    Steve Davidson’s comment is quite relevant to what I wrote

    That’s totally cool. I’m sure people got value out of it. I only mentioned its irrelevance to what I personally wrote because it was addressed to me. 🙂

    Basically, I was talking about sympathy*, and Steve replied about judgment. But I never said how we should judge Paulk. My own judgment of Paulk’s conduct is pretty harsh. It’s just that judgment and sympathy are different things.

    As another example, I judge John C. Wright’s conduct harshly. He is passionately attached to his sins of Envy, Wrath and Pride. (“And the greatest of these…is Pride.”) And he’s an energetic bigot across several axes. But do I know what it is to be a man sliding out of middle age with dubious health and career prospects and a family whose future is unsecured? Oh boy do I. So I do feel sympathy for Wright in those moments when he is not actively brandishing his wickedness like a good-conduct award.

    —————————
    *Not interested today in trying to parse distinctions among words like sympathy, empathy, compassion etc. Pick one you like.

  40. There’s a probably apocryphal story that in the 1960s, British TV creators had a formula of elements that every show needed. One of these things elements was an attractive woman, described in the formula as ‘male appeal’. This was shortened to ‘M appeal’, hence the name of Avengers character – Emma Peel.

  41. Sean I am so very sad and disappointed that I did not find this in time to nominate it for best related work on the Puppy IV website: Justin Landon’s opinion on how to fix and end the current Hugo war… EVERYONE (on both sides of this war) PLEASE READ THIS. Nominate it even…

    The Justin L. Piece was recommended for Hugo Award consideration by Nerds of a Feather, which is how I stumbled upon it. I found his analysis is pretty even-handed, which basically means he had plenty of guilt to pass around to all parties involved. He’s fairly harsh on the Puppies, so I’m trying to understand why you found the article lacking. Am I missing something? Landon made the shortlist of nominees in 2014, so it’s not like we’re talking about someone new or extreme here…

    In looking around, I thought this discussion of the Justin L. article was very interesting in that there are a lot of outside observer opinions expressed (along with a number of insiders as well).

    Yes, you are missing something — as are both the Landon article and the Reddit discussion to which you linked. What’s missing is a fundamental understanding of what the Hugo Awards are, how they are structured, and how they work.

    Pretty much everyone involved in those pieces is offering advice based on making the purpose and the substance of the Hugo Awards something completely different from what it actually is.

    Worldcon members, who own the Hugo Awards, have set them up to be the way they are for several very specific reasons — including that the awards are intended to represent the preferences of Worldcon members. And the Hugos have achieved enormous prestige that way.

    Completely changing the purpose and the substance of the Hugo Awards would utterly destroy not only the point of having them, but the prestige that they’ve acquired.

  42. I think that was Holly Lisle?

    (reads link)
    Oh, dear. And I really liked her earlier work – which she took the trouble to disavow in passing in that thread, as not having reached the purity of political outlook that her more recent work attained.

    This may explain why I haven’t enjoyed her more recent work that much. I used to love her humor, but her current tone seems pretty grimly inflexible…

  43. @Laura Resnick
    Hope you don’t follow through on a previous threat on Scalzi’s blog to kill me if I nominate you for a Hugo. My husband and I haven’t laughed so hard over a story together in ages. One of the best I’ve read of 2015 shorts. 😀

  44. Zil:

    I wonder when in English it started to be that names became meaningless. Did the rise of Christianity and its holy book full of foreign names spearhead the change?

    The Curiousities of Puritan Nomenclature that other people have linked to covers more than just Puritans; it’s a history of English naming conventions starting around the 12th century, showing how new groups of names arrived in waves – first the Conquest, then Old Testament, then Puritans, then my personal favorite the double name.

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