Pixel Scroll 3/24/16 The Game-Players of Bitin’

octarine

(1) IT’S TIME TO PLAY: NAME THAT ELEMENT. You might remember the petition to honor the late Terry Pratchett by giving element 117 the name Octarine — “the color of magic” from Pratchett’s fiction. An article at Nature Chemistry reviews the competing names up for consideration for element 117 — and others.

SB: Petitions like this provide a lot of insight into how people grieve the loss of public figures, but it’s hard, if not impossible, to associate Lemmy with the periodic table or even chemistry and physics. While Lemmy’s death is still fresh in people’s minds, one has to wonder if future generations of scientists would have any connection to him. The petitioners also reference the large mass and expected metallic properties to connect the element with heavy metal music, which is clever on one level, but Lemmy considered Motörhead hard rock not heavy metal. Besides, lemmium would not fall under any of the acceptable categories outlined by IUPAC for naming elements.

KD: You’re probably right, although the petitions have turned out to be a fun way to get people from all areas of life talking about the new elements. We’ve also seen ‘starduston’ and ‘bowium’, in honour of David Bowie. Another example is the one I set up, to name element 117 ‘octarine’, after the colour of magic in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Obviously I’m biased, but I still maintain that it would be rather appropriate for element 117, which will fall into the halogen group. Octarine is famously described as a sort of greenish-yellow purple, and these are, of course, all halogen colours. It even has the correct -ine ending for the group. According to the mythology of the books, it’s only visible to wizards, witches and cats, which also seems appropriate for an element that’s only been observed by a select few. The odds of IUPAC agreeing to this are probably a million to one but, as Pratchett himself wrote in several Discworld books, million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

SB: Once you described octarine, I can see how it fits into the halogen family. For an idea like this to gain traction though, someone on the research teams would need to be a fan of Discworld and advocate for it. So far, the mythological concepts used for element names have come from Greek, Roman and Norse sources. These classic mythologies tend to have more universal recognition. Is modern fiction the same as cultural traditions used to explain nature in the ancient world?

KD: Well, all stories have to start somewhere. IUPAC’s rules don’t put an age on the mythology rule, and indeed cobalt, named after the sprites that apocryphally lived underground where its ores were mined, might arguably be considered to be more recent. There are forty-one Discworld books, which have been translated into thirty-seven languages; I’m certain they’ll be remembered for many years to come. Likewise, the periodic table will probably be around for a while; any story we reference now will eventually be old…

(2) A VISIT TO THE SIXTIES. The keen-eyed Traveler at Galactic Journey argues that 55 years ago women were having an impact on the field greater than their numbers suggest.

1961. The year that an Irishman named Kennedy assumed the highest office in the land.  The year in which some 17 African nations celebrated their first birthday.  The air smells of cigarette smoke, heads are covered with hats, and men run politics, industry, and much of popular culture.

In a field (and world) dominated by men, it is easy to assume that science fiction is as closed to women as the local Elks Lodge.  Who are the stars of the genre?  Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Sheckley; these are household names.  But if there is anything I have discovered in my 11 years as an avid science fiction fan (following another 20 of casual interest), it is that there is a slew of excellent woman authors who have produced a body of high quality work.  In fact, per my notes, women write just one ninth of the science fiction stories published, but a full fourth of the best works.

(3) AND TODAY? This past year, according to William Shaw’s “The top 5 science fiction stories of 2015” in The Oxford Student, women wrote most of the best sf stories. (Three were published by Apex Magazine, and the other two by Uncanny Magazine.)

3. Pocosin by Ursula Vernon [http://www.apex-magazine.com/pocosin/]

The tone of story is best summarised by its central image of drinking whisky with Death. A contemplative tale about an old woman who takes in a dying swamp god, this is a slow, sad little number which nevertheless sparkles with the sense of wit and worldly wisdom that a story involving passive-aggressive banter with the devil really ought to have. Melancholy without being mawkish, funny without being daft, this is a gem of a story that highlights some important environmental concerns.

(4) WHAT MAKES A NOMINEE A NOMINEE. Brian Paone seems to be getting ahead of himself, but perhaps that’s an occupational hazard for the author of a time travel novel. See “Being nominated for a Hugo award is winning in itself”.

I found out this week that my time-travel romance novel, “Yours Truly, 2095” has been nominated by Hugo Award board member Christopher Broom for the most prestigious award a science fiction novel can receive: a Hugo Award. When I first started outlining the book, back in 2012, my goal was just to finish the book, without making it sound like a big pile of smoldering poo. I never expected 1) how happy I am with the finished product 2) then how many people have bought or read the book in the only 9 months its been out 3) then how many positive 4 & 5 star reviews its consistently receiving and finally 4) that I would ever be nominated for anything, never mind a Hugo!

When I told a friend, and fellow author Randy Blazak, his response was, “this will shoot you into the stratosphere.” I appreciate his enthusiasm for what this might do for my career, but honestly, I’m just on cloud nine that I was even nominated. I’m not even thinking of the future yet.

The award ceremony is in Kansas City during the weekend of August 17. For the first few seconds, I contemplated not going, since being at the ceremony is not a prerequisite, but it was my wife (who I always say might be my worst critic, but my number one supporter) told me, in not so many words, not going wasn’t an option.

So now I will be planning (airfare, hotel, etc) over the next few week to attend an award ceremony–not only any award ceremony, but the most prestigious award ceremony of the year–waiting with bated breath to hear my name and book title called out from the podium. And if it doesn’t win, it will not be a loss. It’s already been a greater win for me than I could ever have imaged 4 years ago when I started writing the book.

Sounds like he poured a bit too much of that timey-wimey stuff into his coffee… The nominations won’t be known til after the first round of voting closes March 31.

(5) SUPERHERO MOVIE MAKERS MAY BOYCOTT GEORGIA. Variety reports “Disney, Marvel to Boycott Georgia if Religious Liberty Bill Is Passed”

The Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Studios indicated opposition to a Georgia religious liberty bill pending before Gov. Nathan Deal, saying that they will take their business elsewhere “should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”

With generous tax incentives, Georgia has become a production hub, with Marvel currently shooting “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta. “Captain America: Civil War” shot there last summer.

“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” a Disney spokesman said on Wednesday.

(6) THE TITANOGRAPHY OF TOLKIEN. NASA has updated the Mountains of Titan Map.

This map of Saturn’s moon Titan identifies the locations of mountains that have been named by the International Astronomical Union. The map is an update to a previous version published in 2012 (see Mountains of Titan), and includes an additional mountain area (Moria Montes), along with several “colles” which are collections of hills.

By convention, mountains on Titan are named for mountains from Middle-earth, the fictional setting in fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. Unfortunately for “Lord of the Rings” fans, Titan’s highest peak is not Doom Mons (see Radar View of Titan’s Tallest Mountains).

(7) DOG HOUSE RULES. Kate Paulk’s latest policy statement, in “Why The Internets No Can Has Nice Things” at Mad Genius Club.

Those who have asked to be removed are being asterisked instead to indicate that they asked to be taken off. My perspective is that this is a list of people’s recommendations. There is no need to ask for permission, any more than anyone needs to ask for permission to post a review or purchase the work. Frankly, I think asking to be taken off anyone’s list of award-worthy pieces is an insult to the people who genuinely believe the work is that good, so unless someone asking to be removed is prepared to institute a policy that requires prior approval before purchasing their work, reviewing it, and so forth, they stay on the list.

If someone wants their very own asterisk on the list, they need only ask me. I’m not that difficult to get hold of, and I am asterisking those who ask on the two list posts. I’ll asterisk someone who asks here, too. There may be a delay, since I do have a rather demanding full time job, but it will happen.

(8) NOTHING SUCCEEDS LIKE SUCCESSION. In the Playpen at Ferretbrain, Arthur B. asks:

How do you become the Sad Puppies organiser anyway? Divine right? Killing and eating the heart of your predecessor? Satanic pacts? Who gets to choose who drives the clown car?

(9) DOUBLE-THREAT. How It Should Have Ended not only corrects the illogical events in the The Force Awakens but does it with Lego characters.

(10) COVER LETTER. Karen Junker provided the text of the email she sent to We Are ALL SF members.

Dear We Are ALL SF patrons, I want to apologize to you personally for not getting in touch with you sooner regarding the cancellation of We Are ALL SF Con. Frankly, I have been very ill and I have not known what, exactly, to say.

The con was cancelled after I resigned from the convention board and without the knowledge or consent of the board. There was a lot of confusion and things became too difficult to save the situation. I was re-appointed back to the board and since my name was still on the legal docs, the bank, and the Paypal account, it fell to me to send refunds. I did so by selling a personal investment so that the funds would be covered. I got the refunds out, but was not able to do much more than that, and it has been so emotionally grueling for me to see a project that I had worked on for over a year and poured much of my own personal money into to be destroyed, out of what amounts to petty nonsense.

If you see any public statements about me, please disregard. They are patently untrue. I have a proven track record over the past 15 years in the literary and SFF community. Why someone would attack me or an organization I am attached to is beyond me. I have spent a large sum of my own money in the past few years, putting on writers’ events and workshops and conventions and conferences. We Are ALL SF was no different. I am heartbroken that this great con, which would have been so much fun, was destroyed. I hope to see you again at another thing, some day, somewhere. I wish you well in your work and in your life. Yours, Karen Junker, Chairman, We Are ALL SF Foundation

(11) GIVE THEM LIBERTY. As always, plenty of Baen authors will be attending Libertycon 29 (July 8-10) — Griffin Barber, Rick Boatwright, Walt Boyes, Robert Buettner, David B. Coe, Larry Correia, Kacey Ezell, Bill Fawcett, Charles Gannon, Sarah A. Hoyt, Les Johnson, Mike Massa, Jody Lynn Nye, Gray Rinehart (Master of Ceremonies), John Ringo, Tedd Roberts, Chris Smith, Brad Torgersen, David Weber, Toni Weisskopf, and Michael Z. Williamson.

(12) MISSED ONE. I could have included John Scalzi on the list of “Science Fiction Writers Who Were Never Drunk on Saint Patrick’s Day”. Here’s an excerpt from his post “Why I Don’t Drink or Use Drugs” at Whatever.

It’s true: I don’t drink alcohol except in very rare circumstances (like, half a glass of champagne at my wedding), I’ve never smoked cigarettes, I’ve never taken an illegal drug, and outside of Novocaine at the dentist’s office, I’m generally reluctant to take legal drugs either; my wife always expresses surprise if I go to the medicine cabinet for ibuprofen, for example.  So what’s the story there?

(13) MOST FUN SINCE ADAM. Tor.com collects their favorite tweets from #TheInternetNamesAnimals in “Boaty McBoatface Inspires An Epic Naming Battle on Twitter!”

(14) AN INDISPENSIBLE CULTURAL LANDMARK. The Ukulele Batman vs Bagpipe Superman – Theme Song Battle.

(15) IT WAS BARELY MADE TO START WITH. A remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space? Too late! It was released in the US as video-on-demand last month.

Now the long awaited remake of the classic film is here! In this edge-of-your-set, visually stunning, re-imagination of the original story, “Plan 9” is a spectacular sci-fi/horror adventure with jaw-dropping effects and zombies galore! It’s the film Ed Wood wished he made!

No matter what they say, I was not waiting for this.

And despite all that’s holy, a novelization also came out in February.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Janice Gelb, Mark-kitteh, Hampus Eckerman, Taral, and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

234 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/24/16 The Game-Players of Bitin’

  1. To the God Stalk machine! A.k.a. I support @Lenore Jones in her box checking.

    /cleaning house makes me punchy

  2. My favorite game show moment was on one of the incarnations of The Newlywed Game where they asked the couples, “In what direction does the sun rise in your neighborhood?” and got a variety of answers and then some of the couples argued about it.

    It is a trick question. The sun rises directly in the east only 2 days per year. The rest of the time, it is various amounts north or south of that. And to think, we are stuck with that misconception because Shakespeare wasn’t skilled enough to fit “It is the South-East By East, and Juliet is the Sun” into his meter.

  3. I only speak for myself but:

    when I learned of the wooden asterisks, I immediately thought of Breakfast of Champions (…it looks like this *).

    I also chuckled; I’m pretty sure that the presenters were VERY miffed over the puppy kerfuffle; determined to present themselves as “above the fray” for the awards and equally determined to let their friends and family know exactly where their sympathies laid.

    The asterisks prior use to denote “aberrations” in various statistical records provided perfect cover and legitimacy.

    Placing the use of these awards in the perfect position of being a symbol that everyone could interpret as they saw fit. The puppies “insulted” the entire process for more than a year. If they chose to be insulted by the wooden asterisks, they only had their own actions to blame.

  4. @ rob_matic

    I discovered Andrea K Höst when Amazon’s “also ordered” algorithm popped _The Pyramids of London_ up below a steam punk book I was looking at.

    _The Pyramids of London_ is now one of my nominees for Best Novel and I have been steadily working my way through her backlist. _Pyramids_ is still my favorite, but the _Stray_ books probably top the list for number of times re-read (three at last counting.).

    @Jim Henley

    Cat: I watched the Hugos presentation on the live stream. As the asterisks were being presented for the first time, I thought, “This is in really bad taste and if it’s not a deliberate dig it was a complete failure in thinking things through.” I didn’t need to buy into anyone else’s interpretation to conclude that. It was my immediate reaction.

    You are entitled to your opinion; I just want to remind everyone there are different schools of thought on this, and plenty of us nonPuppies didn’t see it that way at the time and still don’t–whereas Puppies pretty much universally tout it as known to be intended as an insult. We don’t need to believe them on that; they are good enough at self-pity without encouragement.

    I am also a little puzzled. I also watched the live-stream, prepared for an uncomfortable two hours of tiptoeing around the elephant in the living room, trying to pretend that this was a normal year (which made me uncomfortable because it would have been lying, and lying in a way that benefitted the Puppies.) When I saw the asterisks, it was a relief that the organizers of the ceremony had actually acknowledged what was going on instead of trying to pretend the Puppies hadn’t abused the system, like a family trying to pretend in front of company that nobody is fighting; everything is fine when it’s totally not. And I thought it was extremely thoughtful and kind of the organizers to do this by concentrating solely on the positive ways the SFF community had come together to support the awards.

    What approach do you envision to the ceremony that would have been better? Different people feel differently about these things; would you have been more comfortable with a “nothing to see here; everything is normal” approach that hid the Puppy situation? Or is it only that it was an asterisk that was a problem; would a star or a dagger (I think that’s the name for the footnote symbol that you use when you’ve already used one asterisk on a page) have been better? Or did you have some other better approach in mind?

    @Mike– by the time Gerrold put the meme about Republicans up on his FB something like six months had passed–six months of the same people who invented “wrong fans having wrong fun” feeling publicly sorry for themselves (sometimes melting down in the process) and broadcasting their interpretation of the asterisk wide and far. Supposing this is an association Gerrold commonly makes, I think it is pretty obvious how he could have acquired that association well after the fact.

  5. @Standback: I don’t want to really go into it too much*, but here are a few of my thoughts re: The Just City. I recognize that I don’t have the most charitable take on the book. I found it simplistic; I kept waiting for the “big ideas” that are apparently its strong suit to materialize and got kind of disconnected when I didn’t see any. The Just City was too full of convenient plot devices and bludgeony (but spotty) sorts of lecturing, leading to breathtaking revelations like “slavery is bad” — a conclusion which, according to one main character, was the “shining moment” of the city’s short history.

    SPOILERS FOR THE JUST CITY. BEWARE!

    Apollo is so startled by someone choosing to be a tree rather than have sex with him that he is impelled to question his (being-a-god-induced) sociopathy, at least with regards to “lesser” beings. Not one, but two goddesses explain it to him. And he seems to get it: other people, even not-gods, want “volition and equal significance”. End of story in Chapter 1! But I guess he doesn’t really get it and needs to live it, so then we get the rest of the book, where he has to (re)learn it in mortal form.

    Also, granting women volition and equal significance, even fractionally for those from historically unequal cultures, is something they really want — and for which they will put up with a lot of crap. Who knew?

    Because, coincidentally, Athene has just decided to facilitate an experiment by creating Plato’s Republic, the model for which, if wrongly conceived in parts or vague in so many others, at least treats men and women as theoretically equal. Athene’s Republic is explicitly an experiment, in a contained setting, built to last maybe 100 years. Both she and Apollo think it’s interesting, but both also indicate that they expect it to be limited or fail.

    Then Apollo has to convince Athene to participate. What was her original intent? Set it up and leave? She does agree to come, although once there she just ends up sitting in the library and reading all the time, so she doesn’t seem to be all that engaged with the great experiment — unless someone questions her, in which case she gets conveniently prideful and prickly.

    Anyway, this re-establishes the problem: the lack of “volition and equal significance” of at least some of the participants in the experiment. The original masters have to (randomly) pray their way in, but everyone else is “dragooned” — and being dragooned is wrong, even into utopia, even if the vast majority of the dragooned are happy it happened. Gee, could this all be avoided by allowing those children that wish to leave to leave (as Athene did with three of the original masters)? I guess we won’t do that, we’ll flog them instead. Because reasons.

    This is the problem: the goddess of wisdom sets up the experiment in conveniently clumsy ways and/or allows her steering committee to do so, e.g.:

    she’s arbitrarily stuck with a random set of lab rats with unequal (and lacking) skill sets, and she just lets them sort it out;
    she creates a market for slave children (why in local time?) by buying (rather than rescuing) slave children, but despite seeing the past and the future she doesn’t notice or ameliorate the situation (despite, we are assured, having “…always felt deeply uneasy about slaves. Always.”);
    further to this, she accidentally creates slave robots by choosing models that are too smart — yet can’t repair themselves or communicate.

    Something this haphazard is doomed to fail — but she already knows this. Because in the end, it isn’t really her experiment. It’s the masters’. She is “helping”. She gets kind of bored of it in the middle. Yet she is left holding the bag at the end as Sokrates’ rhetorical punching bag. Apparently all the decisions of all the committees of all the masters are ultimately her fault. Raw deal!

    Maybe she’s not supposed to be all that bright, or not very canny about the mortal realm, or at least fatally detached. Apollo is certainly shown to have the same failings, although his incarnation lets him overcome this, I suppose. She’s the goddess of wisdom, but that doesn’t seem to factor in. It seemed too pat, though. Just like no one wanting to ask Athene for help with fixing the robots when it was convenient that they not ask. Or that the masters worry all the time about how their dependence on the robots will create a problem if they break or get liberated, but there are never any actual consequences.

    I thought the tone was too quixotic. Ignorantly trying to comfort someone who showed cowardice in the face of danger by saying “don’t worry, you’re just a girl” (i.e., you/we have been socialized a certain way, it’s not your fault) is a thought crime worth a lot of soul-searching, recriminations, and a resentment that extends for years (even after apologies and visible improvement). Being a serial rapist who never questions it? Hey, let’s just let it go (and/or spark conflicted musings about body/mind dichotomies in the victims) — and why not become a great friend to the local rock star (Sokrates) and a well-respected thought leader while you’re at it. The broken stair works everywhere!

    By the way, let’s allude to master/student sex, but just not go there.

    And hey, interference in the experiment is wrong; we have so much commitment to the (often flawed or loosely defined) rules of the Republic that we abandon defective babies in the woods! Unless the great friend of the god Apollo has postpartum depression, in which case let’s just handwave that away through actual divine intervention.

    All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    Perhaps the lesson is “everyone is fallible”. The gods. The masters. Even the children. You can’t build a utopia because (like the robots) you apparently just can’t get the parts. You can’t force people to like things, even if they are “objectively” great. This didn’t seem like much of a revelation to me. Perhaps if they could have held out to the end, when the first native Republican children were mature…but there were too many mistakes, hidden agendas, etc. to get that far. 100 years? More like 10.

    Too many strawmen, convenient lapses in judgment, interpersonal indulgences (never too much rope for Kebes, I guess), and so on, for my taste, with not enough reward. I understand there’s a sequel, but I don’t think I’ll read it.

    Do let us know when your podcast is on, though; it would be interesting to hear your take.

    *Look at this wall of text; what a fibber!

  6. Yup, The Phantom and other Young-Canines-of-Varied-Dispositions frequently refer to the “*” as “assterisk.”

    And there I was, thinking it just showed they couldn’t spell …

  7. @steve davidson:

    The asterisks prior use to denote “aberrations” in various statistical records provided perfect cover and legitimacy.

    Placing the use of these awards in the perfect position of being a symbol that everyone could interpret as they saw fit. The puppies “insulted” the entire process for more than a year. If they chose to be insulted by the wooden asterisks, they only had their own actions to blame.

    My emphasis. It’s like you’re not even trying. Have the honesty and the guts to say, “Of course I believe the asterisks were intentionally insulting and I am glad.” But don’t lie about the Puppies “choosing to be insulted” by a deliberate slight.

  8. @Cat:

    What approach do you envision to the ceremony that would have been better? Different people feel differently about these things; would you have been more comfortable with a “nothing to see here; everything is normal” approach that hid the Puppy situation? Or is it only that it was an asterisk that was a problem; would a star or a dagger (I think that’s the name for the footnote symbol that you use when you’ve already used one asterisk on a page) have been better? Or did you have some other better approach in mind?

    I think Gerrold and Due should’ve let the verdict of the voters be the statement on the topic. Happily, the voters thoroughly repudiated the slate candidates, as was the voters’ right. That was a powerful rebuke, including for people right there in the stands. In that context, the asterisks were overkill. And had the voters gone the other way, the asterisks would’ve looked peevish; Gerrold and Due would’ve come off as sore losers.

  9. So after 6 months of Pups insisting the asterisk was a butthole instead of a sports reference, Gerrold threw up his hands and said, “okay, fine, you win. You wanted to be sphincters, you are now.” * Six. Months. of them doing their usual thing of putting words in people’s mouths. They got what they wanted and yet they’re not happy as per usual.

    @Cat: b’zackly.

    @bloodstone: Thanks for your wall o’text. That’s what I’d thought from non-spoilers, only now I see it’s worse. Feh.

    * Because let’s face it, Sad Pups are Republicans; they use all the same rhetoric and dogwhistles. Occasionally they claim to be libertarian, but they’re way too enamored of authoritarianism to actually be that, and way too hung up on policing others’ behavior, esp. as regards sex and drugs. Real libertarians don’t think the government should care about your sex life, orientation, or gender. They don’t care if you’re gay, and they don’t sniggeringly fixate on it like Puppies do. I guarantee Republicans spend more time thinking about sodomy than most gay men do.

  10. @lurkertype

    Because let’s face it, Sad Pups are Republicans;

    I don’t know it’s so much as they’re Republican (as in the US political party, since some of them, for example Dave Freer, don’t live in this country), but they certainly are conservative and authoritarian. I don’t remember which thread it is now, but I read a rather nasty dustup at Mad Genius Club over abortion, with the typical whines about the “human right to life” of the fetus that somehow manage to overlook the more important person with the more important right to life and bodily autonomy, the already established human woman.

    (One commenter there, Hyrosen, took a lot of abuse, including Dave Freer’s idiotic habit of removing his comments outright or restricting him to x number of comments with x number of lines. It’s like Freer doesn’t trust his commentariat to take such trolls, if they actually are such, to task, as Mike does here. At any rate, this Hyrosen came off as an intelligent, interesting person. I wish he’d wander over into our neck of the woods.)

  11. I have to agree with @Jim Henley on the Asterisks. After stating they were going to do what they could to honor the finalists and put on a good awards show the asterisks were out of place. I know there was a lot of joking about them beforehand but that didn’t make the awards an appropriate place for them.

  12. Bonnie McDonald: I also noticed Hyrosen waging sanity in Freer’s comment stream. Much as I admire his persistent truthtelling, I also felt he was commenting there because he regarded MGC as his community, and he had no reason to leave.

  13. @Bonnie: I was thinking of the slate campaign leaders, who all live in ‘Merica. I guess overseas ones are whatever the equivalent is in their country. BNP? The FN? Putin fans?

  14. I’ve read quite a lot of comments by Hyrosen and find them thoughtful and well explained. He is one of the few persons at MGC who doesn’t seem steeped in hyperbole or who blindly follows the partyline. I think he would be a fun person to meet over a pint.

  15. @Laura et al, re: asteriskii:

    Vonnegut is one example of the asteriskasshole connection; certainly not the only one.

    A more recent example, and quite a vivid one, is Community‘s Greendale Community College flag.

    In the show, it’s submitted as a joke, and enthusiastically adopted by the clueless Dean. It’s used as a running gag throughout the series.

    My point being, of the many, many Puppy complaints… this one isn’t a stretch. As Tasha and Jim have pointed out, you don’t get much credit for saying “Well it doesn’t offend me.”

    I certainly recognize that the Hugo Ceremony masters were in a fairly miserable place. It’s rare to be under that much scrutiny, and in such a touchy position, and trying to soldier through the ceremony not even knowing what the results were going to be. I can’t be too harsh on them for making a misstep. But I’m also not going to say “No, there was no misstep, that was absolutely fine.”

  16. @JJ– BDP Short Form Shortlist:

    “World of Tomorrow”: This is a 15-minute short film by Don Hertzfeldt, nominated for an Academy Award this year. It’s available on Netflix US to stream.

    “Welcome to Nightvale” is a free podcast, each ep about 20-25 minutes long; you’d probably have to listen to the first 3 episodes to get a feel for it, but can then jump into the aforementioned “Triptych” or their live show “The Librarians.”

    “Limetown” is a much shorter free podcast, only 6 episodes, and glorious. “Napoleon,” ep 3 or 4, is on my list.

    Rick & Morty (animated TV comedy): Total Rickall and The Wedding Squanchers.

    iZombie: Pilot episode (also on Netflix US to stream).

    Tiny Hamster Is A Giant Monster: Hovering around my 6th slot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQte2nz80Is

    Person of Interest, “If-Then-Else” from season 4.

    Jessica Jones season 1 is on my BDP Long Form Short List.

  17. @bloodstone: re: Just City

    ROT13 for spoilers. Vagrerfgvat, I say!

    —-

    Vagrerfgvat. V nterr jvgu zbfg bs/nyy lbhe cbvagf. (Fbzr bs gur guvatf lbh frr nf cybg-ubyrf V frr nf ernfbanoyr be jryy-whfgvsvrq, ohg V frr jul gurl obgure lbh.)

    Jung V srry V tbg bhg bs gur obbx, gung lbh qvqa’g, vf gung nyy gur frys-rivqrag synjf naq ceboyrzf bs gur cerzvfr ner ragjvarq jvgu n irel *nfcvengvbany*, aboyr, Hgbcvna cebwrpg.

    Lbh *pna’g* ohvyq n hgbcvn, abg rira vs lbh’ir tbg tbqf ba lbhe fvqr — ohg ba gur bgure unaq, vfa’g ohvyqvat n hgbcvn xvaq bs jung rirel bar bs hf jbhyq ernyyl yvxr gb qb? Vfa’g ohvyqvat n orggre fbpvrgl bar bs bhe shaqnzragny rssbegf, bar bs gur guvatf gung bpphcvrf hf zbfg?

    Bar bs gur guvatf V ernyyl ernyyl yvxr nobhg gur obbx vf gung gur pvgl QBRF jbex – ohg abg sbe rirelobql. Vg nppbzcyvfurf nznmvat guvatf – juvyr orvat irel synjrq. Guvatf yvxr gur qrongr ba gur Jbexref — gur nppbzcyvfuzrag gurer vfa’g zreryl erpbtavmvat “fynirel vf onq,” vg’f trggvat gbgny ohl-va sebz na ragver fbpvrgl, qrfcvgr gur pyrne qnatre gb gurve vzzrqvngr frys-vagrerfg, naq trggvat gung ol ernfbarq qrongr. Gung’f… gung’f dhvgr na nppbzcyvfuzrag.

    Gb fbzr rkgrag, *nal* vqrny vf n xvaq bs fgenj-zna. Naq V guvax jung n ybg bs gur obbx vf nobhg vf ubj gubfr fvzcyvfgvp, vapbzcyrgr vqrnyf pna gnxr lbh dhvgr n qvfgnapr — OHG, vg’f nyjnlf n onynapr. Orpnhfr gur zbzrag lbh guvax gung lbh’er *evtug*, gung lbh *ner* rkpryyrag engure guna vaperzragnyyl *chefhvat* rkpryyrapr, gung’f jurer lbh penfu naq ohea. (Naq gung’f jung lbh frr va gur ynfg qrongr — abg gur *ragvergl* bs gur Whfg Pvgl orvat haqrephg; Fvzzrn naq Ncbyyb cbvag bhg reebef va Fbxengrf’ nethzragf nf vg’f tbvat ba. Naq gurl’er cerpvfryl guvf – gung gur Whfg Pvgl fubhyqa’g or qrsraqrq nf univat *npuvrirq* rkpryyrapr, bayl nf chefhvat vg.)

    Fb, vs lbh’er ernqvat naq frrvat *whfg* gur boivbhf synjf… Jryy, gurl’er qrsvavgryl gurer. Ohg VZUB lbh’er zvffvat bhg ba gur ubcrf, gur wbl, gur nppbzcyvfuzrag, gung ner gur obbx’f bgure unys. Gur qrfver gb *ohvyq*, gb svanyyl znxr n fbpvrgl gung JBEXF, QNZZVG. :C

  18. @Greg:

    I really liked the Napoleon episode of “Limetown.” Awesome choice.

    Can you expand on the eligibility of “The Librarians” for Night Vale? That’d be my NV pick (fantastic show), but the first performance was January 2014. I know the recording wasn’t available until 2015, but does that really make it eligible, if an extension wasn’t requested?

  19. @Standback: My understanding is that unrecorded, unreleased live performances do not disqualify the recorded version. A similar situation might be a novelist doing an advance reading of her novel in December of 2014, with a release slated for February of 2015. The release date of the recorded work determines eligibility.

    (I don’t think there’s ever been a case of a sci-fi play being popular enough to be a finalist for a Hugo.)

    Greg “Not even one of the most argumentative people on this site!” M.

  20. @Greg: Well, as I have space on my BDP-Short ballot, that sounds like a convincing argument to me 🙂

    (But man we had better get this figured out before Harry Potter and the Cursed Child debuts!)

  21. Greg
    I envy your ability to settle on only one or two episodes of Rick and Morty. If I were nominating, I might choose the season opener with all the time streams, or (and I think this is even likelier) the brain leeches one that introduces our old friend Mr. PBH. A trace of that one remains in the animated intros, I see, though the one for that episode sadly, is not used every week.
    That’s if I have the timeline right enough to be sure they’re eligible. We all know that the world dodges a bullet every time I don’t buy a voting membership.

  22. @ Greg

    (I don’t think there’s ever been a case of a sci-fi play being popular enough to be a finalist for a Hugo.)

    I’ve seen a few tweets on the topic of a Dramatic Long Form nomination for Hamilton as alternate history. I don’t know how serious the tweeters were–I think it’s rather a stretch. All else aside, the entry bar for being able to make an informed judgment is awfully high. (Though, as it happens, I’m lucky enough to be within that particular intersection of audience and Hugo voters.)

  23. Greg on March 27, 2016 at 3:27 am said:

    My understanding is that unrecorded, unreleased live performances do not disqualify the recorded version. A similar situation might be a novelist doing an advance reading of her novel in December of 2014, with a release slated for February of 2015. The release date of the recorded work determines eligibility.

    This area is uncharted, but the general rule for a dramatic presentation is that live performances are eligible when performed, and thus I would tend to think that a recording of the same performance would be ineligible in a subsequent year. A studio recording of a show previously performed live might be newly eligible. Nobody knows; it’s never been tested.

    (I don’t think there’s ever been a case of a sci-fi play being popular enough to be a finalist for a Hugo.)

    2006 Best Dramatic Presentation finalists: Lucas Back in Anger and Prix Victor Hugo, both of which were performed at the 2005 Worldcon.

  24. @Kevin Standlee: Ha! You have fallen into my cunning trap, drawn like a moth to a flame to Hugo arcana and appeared in the comments thread where I will now… I didn’t think this through. 🙂 As a playwright, I’m glad to know about the 2006 examples. Now all I need to do is write another sci-fi/fantasy play, but have this one be amazing and best-selling.

    @Kip W: Rick & Morty is one of my very favorite shows of all time, but Night Vale and Limetown are immensely deserving as well. The season opener was an astonishing example of stretching animation in a new direction.

    @Heather: I’m a giant Hamilton fan, but it seems pretty clearly straight up history (vs. alternate history) in the mode of 1776, and Miranda’s talked about that being an influence. If/when Lin-Manuel Miranda does grace us with a sci-fi fantasy musical… BDP Long form, here we come!

  25. @Kevin Standlee:

    Yeah, that does make more sense.
    Now that I think about it, probably the correct course of action is to request an eligibility extension in the year the show is first performed, on the assumption that it’ll get more nominators the following year, once a recording is made available.

    Maybe I’ll write up a proposal for extending the eligibility of their 2015 show… ::grin::

  26. Oh, great. I suppose that this is going to be an annual thing now, where a bunch of posers who have one person nominate them start plastering PR sites and their websites with statements bragging about being Hugo Nominees. 🙄

    Do these authors not understand that this is a really good way to piss off Hugo voters to the extent that they will not be willing to read the author’s books, much less nominate them for a Hugo?

  27. Research. What ever happened to researching stuff before showing your ignorance to the world? Please I’m begging authors out there to give it a try. Google before posting so you don’t look foolish. You do it for your books. Do it in real life.

  28. Kathryn Sullivan on March 29, 2016 at 9:39 am said:

    Sending out an alert to @Kevin Standlee that there’s another author announcing Hugo nominee status….Hope it’s just another case of cluelessness and not someone out there deliberately misleading folk.

    She knows. She’s not clueless. She’s “trying to make her way as an author” and says “It’s PR…even the trad publishers do this.” I suggested that she ask Tor Books, and specifically Senior Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, how they feel about such things. Nevertheless, her claim, while misleading, does not appear to be technically untrue, assuming that at least one of the ~20K people eligible to nominate this year nominated her work.

    There is a post on The Hugo Awards web site as well as posts to the Awards’ Facebook page and Twitter feeds that indirectly touch upon this issue. THA.org generally does not try to give people who engage in such behavior publicity we do not think they have earned, and therefore we do not name the individuals.

    JJ on March 29, 2016 at 7:35 pm said:

    Oh, great. I suppose that this is going to be an annual thing now, where a bunch of posers who have one person nominate them start plastering PR sites and their websites with statements bragging about being Hugo Nominees.

    Yes, probably. This isn’t even the first year it has happened. That’s why WSFS officially abandoned “nominee” as an official term. Should someone claim to be a Hugo Award finalist or winner who is not, it would be a violation of the WSFS service marks and the WSFS Mark Protection Committee would take appropriate action. But given that “nominee” isn’t an official term anymore and we probably couldn’t have enforced the older usage anyway due to the “plain meaning” claim, there’s not a whole lot that can be done other than to look disapprovingly upon misleading attempts to claim honors one has not earned.

    Do these authors not understand that this is a really good way to piss off Hugo voters to the extent that they will not be willing to read the author’s books, much less nominate them for a Hugo?

    I’m assuming they subscribe to the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” school of thinking.

    I do sort of wonder if any of them will come back in a few months to complain that the Hugo Awards web site isn’t listing them as a “nominee” because they weren’t in the top 15 places.

  29. @Kevin Standlee I do sort of wonder if any of them will come back in a few months to complain that the Hugo Awards web site isn’t listing them as a “nominee” because they weren’t in the top 15 places.

    Let’s hope not. If so I guess us mean trufen can do a PR campaign dashing hopes and destroying dreams by posting Hugo terminology truth.

  30. @Tasha – welcome to the club! (Or as welcome as a member with impostor syndrome can make you.)

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