Pixel Scroll 4/30/16 Pride and Prejudice and Puppies

Here is your Hugo-themed Scroll.

(1) RIGHT IN THE EYE. These are beauties….

(2) STUBBORN. The G at Nerds of a Feather asks “HUGOPOCALYPSE II: Where Do We Go From Here?” (This was posted the day the nominations were announced, April 26 – I lost track of it while trying get File 770 back online.)

So outside the popular categories, it’s pretty much all RP all the time. And this is the big problem for me, because the clear message is “organize or be rendered irrelevant.” Like I said last year, I don’t want the Hugos to be an annual rerun of the US presidential election. That already takes up too much oxygen as it is, and the Hugos are supposed to be about fans celebrating the best stuff they discovered over the previous year–not voting in lockstep to further someone’s agenda. So I won’t back any proposed counter-slates–not even one that reflected my exact political worldview (and it’s very doubtful that any would). I want nothing to do with that–nothing at all.

(3) ASTERISKS DEFENDED. David Gerrold responded on Facebook to Jim C. Hines’ recent post about the Sasquan asterisks.

…But let’s be honest. There were people who arrived at the Hugo reception and the award ceremony with the intention of being offended, no matter what happened. These were the people who decided that the asterisks were intended as an insult.

I suppose I should be sorry about inadvertently hurting people’s feelings — and I would apologize to people like Toni Weisskopf and Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Ken Burnside (and a few others) if they took it the wrong way. I had hoped that everyone would see it as a chance to laugh away some of the tension.

But the real hurt to all the qualified people on the ballot was the damage done by the slate-mongering in the first place and that’s where the real anger should be directed — not at the attempt to leaven the pain. People who should have gone home with trophies came in behind No Award because the great majority of fans voted no to the slates.

And yet, there is this — despite all the Monday-morning complaining by the outrage committee, the sale of those little wooden asterisks raised $2800 for the Orangutan foundation — and that’s $2800 more than all the pissing and moaning and whining and name-calling raised for anything.

(4) GERROLD DEFENDED. Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag backs David Gerrold at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog.

David Gerrold has a post about Hugo asterisks. I just want to say, the asterisks were there the instant the puppies gamed the Hugos. Putting them into physical form didn’t make it any worse, since the damage was already done. On the contrary, the asterisks let some of us have a physical memento of their first time voting in the Hugos (me!) and raised money for a worthy cause. The people who were hurt by the asterisks deserved to be hurt because they are the ones who put the asterisk there in the first place by gaming the Hugo nominations. The fact that they still don’t get it only proves the point. And it still amazes me that they are stupid enough to think that people gamed the Hugos before they did. The utter willful ignorance of the puppies is astounding.

(5) THE HAMSTER COMMANDS. Ian Mond’s Hysterical Hamster headline may say “Don’t Look Away – it’s the HUGOOOOOS, oh and the Clarke Awards and a truly fantastic book” but he absolutely refuses to explain….

This week saw the announcement of the Hugo Award and Clarke Award nominees – one rinsing the taste of shit left by the other.

As with 2015, Vox Day successfully took a massive crap all over the Hugo Awards, smearing his poo-stained fingers over 64 of the 81 nominees.  If you have no idea who or what a Vox Day is then GIYF because I honestly can’t be bothered explaining it.

(6) HOT LINKS. Spacefaring Kitten has “Rabid Puppy Finalists’ Reactions, Compiled” at Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens. I spotted one I hadn’t seen before –

(7) I’VE BEEN HAD. Depending on what you thought he was talking about, you also may have been had by Chuck Tingle.

(8) IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR. Europa SF takes an in-depth look at a European Retro Hugo nominee in “Karin Boye’s ‘Kallocain’ Nominated As Best Novel for the Retro Hugo Awards”.

In Boye’s novel, the “World State” is locked in a condition of perpetual war with the “Universal State” to the East; both states – each of them claustrophobic warren-like male-dominated repressive societies – are gripped by paranoia and fear, with Thought Police ubiquitous. The protagonist’s fatal invention of the eponymous truth drug only generates further repression in the “World State”, as the involuntary self-betraying inner thoughts of everyone are now punishable. He eventually becomes a prisoner scientist in the “Universal State”, where he continues his work. As in Orwell’s novel, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.” – The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

“Kallocain” by Karin Boye (Bonnier)

Seen through the eyes of idealistic scientist Leo Kall, “Kallocain‘s depiction of a totalitarian world state may draw on what Boye observed or sensed about the bolshevic dictatorship of Soviet Union, which she visited in 1928 and the Nazi Germany. An important aspect of the novel is the relationships and connections between the various characters, such as the marriage of the main character and his wife Linda Kall, and the feelings of jealousy and suspicion that may arise in a society with heavy surveillance and legal uncertainty.

One of its central ideas coincides with contemporary rumors of truth drugs that ensured the subordination of every citizen to the state. Both Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” (1932) and Boye’s “Kallocain” are drug dystopias, or societies in which pharmacology is used to suppress opposition to authority. However, unlike “Brave New World”, where a drug is used to suppress the urge to nonconformity generally, in Kallocain a drug is used to detect individual acts and thoughts of rebellion.

Kallocain has been translated into more than 10 languages and was adapted into a television miniseries in 1981 by Hans Abramson.

(8) CANON PREDICTION. Camestros Felapton asks “Is N.K.Jemisin’s The Fifth Season a Science Fiction Classic?”

There is a rhetorical rule of headlines that if they are phrased as a question then the answer is actually “no”. Strictly, I also have to say “no” but only because we can only declare a novel a ‘classic’ retrospectively, after years in which its influence and critical impact have occurred. However, I’m posing the question because I feel that the answer that will come 10 years, 20 years, 30 years down the line is “yes”. I think this is a book that will shape authors and will be studied and will be cited by many as their favorite SF book. I suspect in 20 years time when people are moaning about the books nominated for the Hugo awards not being as good as the books in the past, people will point at The Fifth Season and say ‘there is nothing this year that is as good as that’.

However, I know that is a hard position to defend. So I’m going to go off on some tangents. Bear with me. Readers should also be aware that the book deals with themes of violence and physical abuse, some of which will be discussed below.

(9) HE READ THE NEWS TODAYS. John C. Wright tells how the mainstream media coverage of the Hugo nominations falls short of his standards in “We Also Call Them Morlocks”.

I used to be a newspaperman and newspaper editor, so I know the business, and I understand the pressure newspapermen are under to lie, and lie, and lie again.

Some, as did I, resist the temptation.

Others, many others, very many others indeed, not only give into the temptation to dwell in falsehoods, but bathe in falsehood, dive into it, drink it, anoint themselves in it, baptize themselves in it, breathe it in, absorb it through every skin pore, mainline it, insert it as a suppository, and perform unnatural sexual acts with it, and in all other ways regard falsehood as a holy calling, and deception a sacrament.

However, even so, the true shocking nature of the falsehood, the insolence of it, the recklessness, the sheer magnitude of it, cannot truly be felt except to one, like me, who has been on the receiving end.

It is astonishing to hear newspapermen who have never made the slightest effort to contact you, who neither interview you nor quote anything you say, nor offer the slightest scintilla of evidence, reporting your innermost thoughts and motivations hidden in the most secret chamber of your heart, and to discover that your motives are the opposite of everything you have said, thought and did your whole life. Astonishing.

Here is a roundup of some links of various media outlets who decided that their honesty, integrity and sacred honor were worth selling in return for the questionable gratification involved in spreading an untruth so unlikely to be believed….

(10) SLATE FATE. “Vote Your Conscience” says Steve Davidson at Amazing Stories.

My argument against slates has always been about the methodology, not the presumed issues that gave rise to them (be it push-back against diversity or the juvenile temper-tantrum that is Beale).  My advancement of the No Award strategy (and I was not the only one to suggest it) was predicated on the idea that a hard and fast line could be established:  either a work had been slated or it had not been.  This directly addressed the methodology of the puppy protest, in effect saying “slates and campaigning are not the way to go about registering your protest”.  It did not address the questions of whether or not their arguments were valid, nor did it shut them out of the process.

This, I believe, is a position that falls in line with the thinking of the vast majority of Hugo Award participants, who welcome anyone who wishes to join – so long as they respect the culture and institutions of the community.  No one is saying to puppies “do not participate”.  All that is being said is “don’t game the system”.

In conjunction with the No Awards voting strategy, I also strongly (and repeatedly) urged everyone who might have something nominated for an award last year or into the far future, to make a public statement that they do not want to be included on a slate and, if they become aware that they have been, they publicly ask to be removed.  Further, I asked that voters respect those public statements and to treat such nominees as if they were not on a slate, should they appear on the ballot.

This strategy does not rely on compliance from puppies.  This year there are several nominees who made such statements, found themselves on a puppy slate, asked to be removed and were ignored.  I have no problem including those authors on my ballot.  I am positive that the vast majority of voters have far less angst over including them in their votes than they do over other works that “would have been on the ballot anyway”, but which are not backed up by slate repudiation.

Absent repudiation, questions remain:  are they happy to be on the ballot regardless of how they got there?  Are they ok with being used as a shield?  How will they feel if it turns out that some other, non-slated work was knocked off the ballot because they said nothing?  (Recognizing that they have no control over placement on a slate is no cover for not having said anything previously.)

(11) THESE THINGS MUST BE DONE VERY CAREFULLY. Mal-3 at Conceptual Neighborhood says “There Is An Art to Trolling….”.

A long time ago at the 2000 World Horror Convention I got to witness Dan Simmons troll the absolute shit out of Harlan Ellison. It was at a panel about getting works adapted in Hollywood, and Ellison has historically had kind of a terrible time getting his stuff through the studios, and he was going on in incredible detail about how the process was horrible and everybody involved was awful and so forth and so on. And then Dan Simmons would break in and just say, with a big kinda dopey smile, “Well, I had a great time!”

Every single time Ellison would start going off on a tear Simmons would come back with that line, and Ellison just kept getting angrier and angrier and it was the funniest goddamned thing.

That’s kind of what I’m seeing here with Chuck Tingle: somebody tried to weaponize him and now it’s not working like it should. Pity, that.

[Thanks to Will R., Gregory N. Hullender, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

159 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/30/16 Pride and Prejudice and Puppies

  1. Wooden daggers! Not only are daggers the thing that comes after asterisks, but wooden daggers are useful against vampires.

    (Okay, with only a dull point on them.)

  2. lurkertype: (Okay, with only a dull point on them.)

    Perfectly appropriate for the topic.

  3. More Leftover 2015 Reading:

    The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin
    I enjoyed this, but it didn’t knock my socks off. Part of that is probably because I had figured out the big reveal about halfway through. I remember being more wowed by her Inheritance Trilogy. But her worldbuilding and character development were pretty well done in this book. I’ll be reading it again in a few months, before I read the sequel, so I may end up being one of the ardent converted.

    Speak Easy (novella), by Catherynne M. Valente
    This is a fairytale (The Twelve Dancing Princesses), mashed up with Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, in a Roaring 20’s setting with magical realism. If you enjoy Valente’s ornate prose, you’ll probably love this. I find that it wears thin on me and starts to feel contrived and cloying very quickly. And it seemed like the story kind of just petered out, rather than having an ending. It’s worth the read, though.

    Abducticon, by Alma Alexander
    This is a great fun, palate-cleansing novel about a SF con with the theme “Robots and AIs”, in which it turns out that some of the cosplayers aren’t wearing costumes. If you’ve ever worked as a member or volunteer — on a con committee, or even for a club or philanthropic organization — you’ll recognize and be amused by the personality types and political machinations. Good fun and well worth the $2.99 Kindle price.

  4. JBWeld said:

    The proper order is asterisk, dagger, double dagger, double S, double vertical bar, pilcrow.

    Please insert a heart-eyes emoticon here, plus a certificate for one internet. 😀

  5. ASTERISKS: For the most part, my feelings align with Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag’s and Soon Lee’s and even David Gerrold’s. But the arguments in favor of the asterisks being benign, being justified, being just acknowledging the elephant in the room, seem to wander a little too often into uneasy territory. It’s not up to the jokester to decide who’s allowed to be genuinely hurt by the joke. See also the charge of “has no sense of humor,” an allegation I’ll always be suspicious of; despite its appropriateness in the case of JCW or VD, it’s also something bullies and bigots say when their victims don’t laugh along with them. Basically, I’m uneasy because some of the things said in the course of the arguments are double-edged weapons.

    The closest I can come to reconciling my conflicted feelings about this is, I acknowledge there were people who were genuinely hurt, and I regret that. But I also reserve my right to prioritize their genuine hurt lower than the genuine hurt felt by those whose community is sustaining ongoing attacks by the vandals with whom they (those hurt by the asterisks) seem aligned (to admittedly wildly varying degrees).

    Shorter me: “I sympathize with the asterisks, but it’s complicated.”

    @Doctor Science, quoting THE AUTHORITARIANS: But mostly, cynicism manifests as a way of accepting the status quo.

    Yes. See also the use of “And you’re surprised?” as a way of silencing those who express anger at injustice.

    @cmm:

    All that fiber from eating pages from the 1873 edition of the dictionary is good for the system, but you have to remember to drink enough liquid or everything stops up.

    I LOL’d.

    He tars pretty much all reporters as lying liars (except for the ones from that noted bastion of journalistic integrity, Breitbart) while he pats himself on the back for never giving into that temptation.

    Not reporters. “Newspapermen.” Because it wouldn’t be JCW without taking every opportunity to re-arm the English language with those sexist constructions the rest of us are trying to leave behind.

    I wonder whether his completely serious reference to “coloured people” in his current essay is meant to exemplify his archaic diction or his erudite allusions to the classics.

    Also racist constructions.

    @alexvdl, quoting VD: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that drawings and computer representations are not child pornography.

    Has it indeed? I think it’s more complicated than that. Apparently it can still be prosecuted as “obscene,” with significant legal consequences.

    Obligatory link to Comic Defense Legal Fund.

    Obligatory link to Neil Gaiman’s “Why Defend Freedom of Icky Speech?“, which builds up to Gaiman’s decision to support the CDLF:

    So when Mike Diana was prosecuted — and, in 1996, found guilty — of obscenity for the comics in his Zine “Boiled Angel”, and sentenced to a host of things, including (if memory serves) a three year suspended prison sentence, a three thousand dollar fine, not being allowed to be in the same room as anyone under eighteen, over a thousand hours of community service, and was forbidden to draw anything else that anyone might consider obscene, with the local police ordered to make 24 hour unannounced spot checks to make sure Mike wasn’t secretly committing Art in the small hours of the morning… that was the point I decided that I knew what was Obscene, and it was prosecuting artists for having ideas and making lines on paper, and that I was henceforth going to do everything I could to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

    I don’t, for the record, think anyone should be prosecuted for drawing naked pictures of Ms. Marvel. What was unjust in Diana’s case is unjust in all cases. My only point is that VD’s “it’s been ruled not pornography in the US” is simplistic at best and arguably irrelevant to the reality of current US law and precedent.

    @Aaron, about JCW’s delusions: Because buying one story once from an author means that all of their other stories have to be good enough to be Hugo-worthy.

    Hell, awards aside – buying one story once from an author doesn’t even mean that the editor in question will buy another story from that author. I can’t be the only author with firsthand experience of that.

  6. I believe my post has been held in moderation due to repeated invocations of Naughty Cartooning, as might happen when discussing VD’s defense of a certain shortlisted fan artist. Sending up the Mike-signal! 😀

  7. lurkertype wrote:

    Wooden daggers! Not only are daggers the thing that comes after asterisks, but wooden daggers are useful against vampires.

    (Okay, with only a dull point on them.)

    Indeed, Blade, Marvel Comics’ streetwise, tough-talking, blaxploitation-based vampire hunter (eventually played on screen by Wesley Snipes) used wooden daggers in his first appearance and nearly killed Dracula with them.

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