Pixel Scroll 5/22/16 Pixelpotamus vs. Scrolloceros

(1) PRECISION. In “Save the Allegory!” on Slate, Laura Miller calls on writers to actually define “allegory” correctly.  She quotes from C. S. Lewis’ The Allegory of Love at length and makes lots of superhero references.

What people usually mean when they call something an allegory today is that the fictional work in question can function as a metaphor for some real-world situation or event. This is a common arts journalist’s device: finding a political parallel to whatever you happen to be reviewing is a handy way to make it appear worth writing about in the first place. Calling that parallel an allegory serves to make the comparison more forceful. Fusion says that Batman v Superman is a “none-too-subtle allegory for the fight between Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.” (It is not.) The Hollywood Reporter calls Zootopia an “accidental anti-Trump allegory”—this despite the fact that there is no literary form less accidental than allegory. The meaning of the word has drifted so far that even works that aren’t especially metaphorical get labeled as allegory: A film about artistic repression in Iran is a “clunky allegory” for … artistic repression in Iran.

Allegory or metaphor: The distinction might seem obscure and academic to many readers. Shouldn’t allegory be grateful to get any attention at all? Isn’t it just an archaic literary mode that nobody uses anymore? Yes and no. About the only people creating true allegories today are political cartoonists. But a culture never entirely discards its roots, and allegory, which first appeared in the waning years of the Roman Empire, is one of the foundations of Western literature. Maybe if we understood it better, we’d realize how much we owe to it.

(2) NEXT AT SFWA. While detailing her writing and travel plans for the summer, Cat Rambo also previews SFWA’s upcoming activities in “Catching My Breath and What’s Coming Up”. In her second year as the organization’s president, she will be putting some needed infrastructure in place.

In SFWA areas, I’m focusing on a new committee that I’ll be working with, the Membership Retention Committee, whose job will be to look at the new member experience for SFWA members as well as how to keep the organization useful for members. (If you’re interested in volunteering with that, feel free to drop me a line.) Other efforts include a) working with SFWA fundraising, b) a small musical endeavor that I just prodded someone about and which involves Tom Lehrer (yes, that Tom Lehrer), and c) helping out where I can with some of M.C.A. Hogarth’s amazing efforts, such as this mysterious thing here lurking under a tarp that I am not at liberty to discuss. *mouths the words “SFWA University” then is dragged away by the SFWA honey badgers while shouting something about a guidebook*

Three other important SFWA things:

  1. I’ll be watching the results of our decision to admit game writers with keen interest. I can tell you that the initial set is criteria is being voted on right now and I expect to see it announced soon.
  2. An effort is in the works that I think will prove a lovely tribute to longtime SFWA volunteer Bud Webster and which will, in the longtime SFWA tradition, provide a benefit for professional writers at every level of their careers.
  3. And we’ll (finally) be announcing some of the partnerships we’ve been making — you saw reps from Amazon, Audible, BookBub, Draft2Digital, Kickstarter, Kobo and Patreon at the Nebulas and those relationships are going to extend beyond the weekend and give our members special resources and relationships at all of those companies — and others, including one that I am super-stoked to have facilitated.

(3) DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH. Neil deGrasse Tyson gives his view about how long you could survive on each planet in our solar system. It’s a 2015 video.

(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 22, 1859 — Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

(5) POSERS FOR TINGLE. Neigh, a thousand times neigh!

(6) EVERMORE. The Baltimore Sun quotes lots of people involved with the convention in “Balticon grew to 50 as sci-fi, fantasy grew more mainstream”. Several are Filers.

Even 50 Balticons later, Ray Ridenour remembers his introduction to the annual gathering of the Baltimore region’s science-fiction and fantasy aficionados.

Ridenour, then a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, recalls taking the elevator to the top floor of the city’s since-demolished Emerson Hotel. This was the first Balticon put together by the then-4-year-old Baltimore Science Fiction Society, and he had little idea what to expect.

“As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, I heard something very noisy and stepped back in,” he recalls. “Two guys roared by in a wheelchair; one of them was singing loudly, the other was pushing loudly. They careened down the hotel aisle and then zoomed in another direction and disappeared.”

Ridenour asked someone walking by if they had any idea what was going on. “‘Oh, yeah,'” came the reply. “‘That was the president of the club.'”

Ridenour, now 68, a graphic artist and designer living in Hampden and a veteran of every Balticon since, knew he was in the right place. “So I said, ‘Well, these guys look like they know how to party.'”

…Baltimore natives Miller, 65, and Lee, 63, authors of a series of books set in the Liaden universe, were guests of honor at Balticon 37 in 2003. Veterans of Balticons dating to the mid-’70s — they met at Balticon 10 in 1976, when Lee won a short-story contest Miller had helped start — they have been married since 1980.

Balticon’s strength, Miller says, lies in its deep fan base. At a time when many fan gatherings have become massive affairs staged by professional organizations whose business is organizing conventions, with an emphasis on movie- and TV-star guests, Balticon is still organized and run by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and skewed toward the written word.

“Balticon hasn’t lost touch with the fact that it’s a bunch of fans putting this together, for their own interests and the interests of their friends,” Miller says.

(7) DUNGEON N-COUNTER. Jo Lindsay Walton tweeted this sample of what goes on in the Sputnik Award’s Dungeons of Democracy.

(8) ARE GO. Michael Flett describes the 2015 revival in “Thunderbirds 1965” at GeekChocolate.

…Adhering strictly to the ethic of the late sixties, wires are visible, the motion and expressions of the puppets are limited but still capable of expressing great character, and while Tracy Island is extended by the use of archive footage of tropical islands there can no justifiable objection to this use of stock footage nor in the famous launch sequences or any repeated shots of flybys, as this was all part and parcel of the original productions.

What is undeniable is the loving recreations of puppets, props, sets and machines, from Lady Penelope’s wonderfully shiny pink Rolls Royce FAB1 to the Thunderbirds vehicles themselves, the characters themselves graced by the creations of costume designer Liz Comstock-Smith who has crafted an exquisite new wardrobe for Lady Penelope, much to the chagrin of her chauffeur Aloysius Parker who in addition to his other duties must act as porter.

“When one is visiting, one tries to look one’s best,” his employer drily responds as she arrives at Tracy Island in opening episode Introducing Thunderbirds, less of an audio adventure now granted a visual dimension than, as the name would suggest, a showcase of International Rescue’s secret base and the amazing vehicles used to perform their daring missions.

Adapted from the soundtrack of F.A.B., The Abominable Snowman offers more in the way of spectacle with big explosions from the opening moments as a fire rages at Meddings Uranium, named of course in honour of the late special effects designer Derek Meddings who worked on many Anderson shows and later progressed to several James Bond films….

(9) STOP FIGHTING THE LAST WAR. Jim Henley, in “Hugo McHugoface Has Sailed”, offers his own frame for the Hugo reform discussions.

…Various options – including some kind of jury component and restricting voting rights (e.g. to only attending members) – have raised the objection that “They change the fundamental character of the award.” That class of objections fails to recognize the core truth: the character of the Hugo Awards has already changed. Again, the character of the Hugo Awards has already changed.

The Hugo Awards have become an internet poll in the age of Boaty McBoatface, freeping and chan culture. Nobody set out to make them this, and ex ante it was reasonable to imagine that the supporting membership fee (currently $50) was enough of a gating function to keep LULZers and trolls from targeting the process for abuse. But experience shows that there are enough motivated bad actors willing to spend that much to tie up the bulk of the ballot with whatever works their whims inspire them to place there, motivated by any combination of venial and mortal sins.

There is no question of preserving the character of the Hugo Awards. That ship has sailed, and it is not named for David Attenborough. The question is how can the award process be restructured so that future nominees and award winners will be of a character consistent with the Hugo tradition for the ’70 years prior to the mid-’10s.

I suppose the other question is how long it will take Hugo fandom and WSFS members to admit this.

(10) VERBAL AUTOPSY. Toby Litt tells Guardian readers “What makes bad writing bad”.

…Bad writers continue to write badly because they have many reasons – in their view very good reasons – for writing in the way they do. Writers are bad because they cleave to the causes of writing badly.

Bad writing is almost always a love poem addressed by the self to the self. The person who will admire it first and last and most is the writer herself.

When Updike began writing Rabbit, Run it was either going to be a great technical feat or a humiliating misjudgment

While bad writers may read a great many diverse works of fiction, they are unable or unwilling to perceive the things these works do which their own writing fails to do. So the most dangerous kind of writers for bad writers to read are what I call excuse writers – writers of the sort who seem to grant permission to others to borrow or imitate their failings.

I’ll give you some examples: Jack Kerouac, John Updike, David Foster Wallace, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou. Bad writers bulwark themselves against a confrontation with their own badness by reference to other writers with whom they feel they share certain defence-worthy characteristics….

(11) DOWN UNDER FAN FUND. Julian Warner, Justin Ackroyd and Lucy Huntzinger officially announced that the winner of the 2016 race is Australian fan Clare McDonald-Sims. She was the only candidate. The administrators say voting numbers to follow. McDonald-Sims will attend MidAmeriCon II.

(12) IT’S STILL NEWS TO SOMEONE. Fanac.org now has James V. Taurasi’s classic fan newzine Fantasy Times online, published from 1941-1955.

Also, congratulations to Jack Weaver, Fanac.org’s Webmaster of 20 years, and the site’s software developer, who received a special award at FanHistoricon in Virginia last month.

weaverplaque

(13) TANK FOR THE MEMORIES. NPR covered yesterday’s transfer from the harbor to the museum – “A 66,000 Pound Space Shuttle Fuel Tank Is Parading Through The Streets Of LA”.

fuel tank

The last remaining space shuttle external propellant tank is moved across the 405 freeway in Los Angeles on Saturday. The ET-94 will be displayed with the retired space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center.

A massive space shuttle fuel tank is winding its way through the streets of Los Angeles Saturday, on a 16-mile trek heading to the California Science Center.

It’s set to be displayed with the space shuttle Endeavor. The tank, which was never used in a mission, is the “last flight-qualified space shuttle external tank in existence,” according to the science center…..

As The Associated Press reports, the giant tank started moving at midnight from Marina del Rey, where it “arrived by barge Wednesday.” It’s crawling along at about 5 mph, the wire service reports, and is expected to take 13 to 18 hours to reach the science center….

The tank was donated by NASA, and Science Center President Jeff Rudolph tells Danielle that he’s thrilled to acquire the tank.

“As soon as we got Endeavor, we said we got to see if there’s any way we can get that one remaining external tank,” he says. Danielle adds that the center is hoping to eventually add booster rockets to the display.

According to the center, that means it will be the “be the only place in the world that people will be able to see a complete shuttle stack — orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket booster — with all real flight hardware in launch configuration.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Will R., Brian Z., and Jim Henley for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

141 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/22/16 Pixelpotamus vs. Scrolloceros

  1. I think Dr. Tingle is pretty funny…but man I find some of his humor really difficult to understand. What I mean is the diction and prose I find incredibly difficult; it’s just hard for me to understand and get at what he’s really saying to understand the jokes.

  2. On “giving up” on the Hugos.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t see GRRM’s & Henley’s statements on the subject anything other than surrender.

    The Hugo awards are not something that can be “ruined for all time” unless good people decide to give up.

    It might help spur their commitment to know that giving up is one of the end games for the griefers.

    We’re talking about a “reserved popular award” that is given out by an ad hoc group of volunteers that have managed this successfully for 61 years!

    It will take at least as long for a handful of cry-baby troublemakers to “destroy” it, and then only if the rest of us let them win.

    So it takes a few years to sort things out. There are people who have been working towards winning one – or even being nominated for one – their entire lives.

    I have – ok, I’ll use the word – “faith” that fans can eventually figure this out; patience and fannish creativity will see us all through the BS, just don’t give up while they’re working on it.

  3. @Heather Rose Jones

    I may be the person you remember bringing up the “Dr. Tingle” references, although I was thinking more in terms of the contexts and motives for other people using the honorific.

    Right, I believe that was you. Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t sure what you were getting at when I read your comment back whenever. It’s been simmering in the back of my mind since then.

  4. @Heather Rose Jones – Or I might be over-thinking the matter…

    I use the honorific because I’m amused by the concept of a Doctor of Holistic Massage, something that does not exist. I maintain my LMP license, which might or might not be part of my joy in Dr. Tingle’s title.

  5. @Dr. Jones. Chuck Tingle claims in his Amazon bio to have a PhD in holistic massage, hence the Dr. I’m not sure why some people use the title, but I don’t think your interpretation here is correct – I don’t get the impression that people think the real person behind the persona has a PhD

  6. Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag wrote:

    So, say… if x number of ballots have y number of identical nominations in z number of categories, the ballots will be disallowed. First, the rules would have to be changed to define a slate ballot and make it clear they aren’t allowed, then the administrators would have to be given the authority to use strict guidelines to disallow ballots that are clearly slating. Then the griefers would find a way around the rules by slating in fewer categories or something.

    The rules would have to be changed to disallow slate voting; I’m not sure they would need to have strict, objective definitions of what a slate is. In fact, I suspect that might be counterproductive for the reasons you outlined.

    We’re trying to find a solution that seems objective and fair to a problem that may not be solvable in an objective and fair fashion. On Jim Henley’s linked post, “Thoreau” made an astute comment:

    If you want certain cultural norma to hold, you need to look at culture, not algorithms.

    I can’t help but suspect that slates are kind of like pornography: pretty difficult to define by some kind of objective, univerally-agreed upon standard, yet pretty easy to pick out.

  7. @Steve Davidson

    Jim Henley’s post wasn’t counseling despair but was a call to action. One objection to several proposals to modify the Hugo nomination process is they would alter the character of the awards. Jim is pointing out the character of the awards are already altered by current circumstances. Choosing to do nothing, or choosing a suboptimal fix, to retain the character of the awards just enshrines the current change in character.

    My read of it anyways.

    (Now I’m hearing the lyrics to Roll the Bones in my head…)

    ETA: ninja’d by Jim himself

  8. @ Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag

    Fighting people who are being jerks for the sake of being jerks is a boring and annoying game.

    This is pretty much my sentiment as well. I’m all for taking reasonable actions to prevent bad actors from screwing something up. But it feels like a lot of people are putting a lot of energy into engineering elaborate solutions purely from the love of engineering. And I have a hard time loving the system for the mechanics of the system, as opposed to the underlying purpose.

    Let’s hope that the community never loses sight that the underlying purpose is to recognize and honor people and works that we consider to be worthy. And there are so very many ways we can achieve that purpose that the bad actors can’t touch.

    (Just one little Who in Whoville here)

  9. I’m going to Balticon as well and am interested in a meetup, preferably on Saturday.

  10. @Steve Davidson

    I’m wondering which Henley you read. Over the past few weeks, I think he’s been pretty consistent in counseling a fix that will actually fix things, and calling on people to consider things they usually might not find comfortable to the ends of getting a troll shield that works.

  11. Ack! And it wasn’t Roll the Bones it was Freewill…

    (If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice)

  12. @James Davis Nicoll: User would like to respond but has fallen from chair and cannot reach keyboard.

  13. “This is pretty much my sentiment as well. I’m all for taking reasonable actions to prevent bad actors from screwing something up. But it feels like a lot of people are putting a lot of energy into engineering elaborate solutions purely from the love of engineering. And I have a hard time loving the system for the mechanics of the system, as opposed to the underlying purpose.”

    Yep, sure is love of engineering. It is not chance that most people discussing in those threads are programmers or mathematicians. Which is not bad, because it is better people doing something they like and are interested in than doing something that drains them of energy.

    But I am a bit afraid that if only programmers discuss the solution, everything is seen as an engineering problem.

  14. Viewing Mars: for those who missed seeing Mars last night because of clouds or whatever, please note that while last night was opposition (full Mars), Earth and Mars are still getting closer to each other, and the point of closest approach won’t be till the 30th. Getting closer compensates for the fact that Mars is now past full, so tonight is actual peak brightness!

    (Even if you did see Mars last night, you might want to go out again tonight and take another look.)

    And if you still have clouds, well, tomorrow night should be nearly as bright as last night. But really, the big event is in two years from now, when Mars will be over 60% brighter than it is now! (The full bright/dark cycle for oppositions is about 15 years.) So mark the date, 2018-07-27, on your calendar.

  15. Just to note that “Dr. Chuck Tingle” can be rearranged to spell “Dutch clerking.” Not sure if that’s a clue.

  16. But it feels like a lot of people are putting a lot of energy into engineering elaborate solutions purely from the love of engineering.

    My general impression is that people are trying to find something that can be sold to the Business Meeting that won’t leave a vulnerable culvert for soft devilmen to exploit.

  17. Xtfir, where in the sky should I be looking? (I understand Mars will be near the moon….?)

  18. Jim et al:

    Ok then, I directly object to the statement and concept that “There is no question of preserving the character of the Hugo Awards. That ship has sailed, and it is not named for David Attenborough. The question is how can the award process be restructured so that future nominees and award winners will be of a character consistent with the Hugo tradition for the ’70 years prior to the mid-’10s.”

    To borrow the metaphor: the ship is still under construction in drydock. No one is thinking of even selling tickets yet – they’re still trying to decide on the thread count for the sheets in 1st class.

    The character of the Hugo Awards IS being preserved in the work that is being done to get past the hiccups we’ve experienced the past couple of years. Fans working together to solve a near-insoluble problem BECAUSE they are PRESERVING THE CHARACTER OF THE AWARDS DURING THEIR PROCESS.

    If it weren’t, we’d have adopted a quick fix like banning bad actors, or turning the awards into a juried one.

  19. Starting to wonder if Chuck Tingle is Banksy. Though I still think he has an air of Andy Kaufman about him.

  20. Chad Saxelid on May 23, 2016 at 11:56 am said:
    Chuck Tingle noticed that Sooper Genius VD never bothered to register a website for the Rabid Puppies. Tingle has fixed that..

    You would think that a tactical genius would have registered….

    Never mind. Carry on.

  21. @Cassy B: look for the really bright red thing in the sky, near the moon. Look closely. If it twinkles, it’s probably a star, so look for an even brighter red thing.

    I dunno; I’m so used to spotting planets that I don’t give it much thought any more. I think it will be slightly south-east of the moon tonight. But if you’re really not sure, there are probably on-line sources that have a more reliable method than my usual just-look-for-Mars-and-there-it-is technique. Unfortunately, my method works for me, so I’m not sure what those sources would be. 🙂

  22. @Soon Lee:

    You would think that a tactical genius would have registered….

    So are you saying that Voxman left his rear open for attack?

  23. @Heather Rose Jones
    But it feels like a lot of people are putting a lot of energy into engineering elaborate solutions purely from the love of engineering.

    I agree, and I think that a big part of the reason for that is trying to avoid a social solution that might end up being worse than the current problem. For example, having a jury that discards unacceptable nominations could itself be vulnerable to being gamed, our at least accused of being unfair.

    Like surgery, I think the idea is to do the least injury while hedging the best result. We may end up with a social solution, but it may take a couple years of engineering attempts first, even if things continue to be bad.

  24. I think Dr. Chuck Tingle should open a university. Then everyone can reference “Tingle U”

    If he opened it in Farley, CA, it could be:

    CHUCK U/FARLEY

  25. Xtifr, I have the handicap of living right next to a very major city, and, even worse, two miles from one of the busiest airports in the US. So the light pollution around my house makes it something of a banner day when I can actually see The Big Dipper or Orien’s Belt. <wry> That being said, I did spot Jupiter when it was near the moon about a month or so ago, so I have some hopes for tonight….

  26. My take on “Dr.” Chuck Tingle is that somebody thought it was funny to put “Dr.” in front of “Tingle.” No PhD, JD, DSW, DVS, MD, DO, PsyD or DD required.

  27. Kurt Busiek: If he opened it in Farley, CA, it could be:

    CHUCK U/FARLEY

    Hey, that’s genius! (Really genius, not sooper genius.)

  28. Mars will be much brighter than any star right now. At its very dimmest, it’s still brighter than Polaris or any of the Orion’s Belt stars. And, of course, it’s nowhere near its dimmest right now. 🙂

  29. @Steve Davidson: “I directly object to the statement and concept that “There is no question of preserving the character of the Hugo Awards. That ship has sailed, and it is not named for David Attenborough. The question is how can the award process be restructured so that future nominees and award winners will be of a character consistent with the Hugo tradition for the ’70 years prior to the mid-’10s.””

    Object all you want, but he’s right. One cannot preserve what no longer exists.

    The Puppies changed the character of the Hugos. They found a weakness, exploited it, and show no signs of stopping of their own volition. They’ve paved the way for others to do the same, so there’s a big yawping hole in the boat now. That’s a fact.

    The Hugo nomination process is now broken. The boat is taking on water at tremendous speed. Talking about how great the boat used to be and how well it worked before that pesky iceberg came along will do nothing to repair the boat. Continuing as if nothing has changed and future winners of the award will effortlessly maintain the status gained by prior winners is simply delusional.

    EPH is one step, and probably an insufficient one on its own. Objections that one proposal or another will “change the character of the Hugos” miss that key point, and giving those objections too much weight is akin to prioritizing the arrangement of deck chairs above patching the hull. If we want the Hugos to be anything like what they were before the Puppies came along, we cannot “stay the course.” We have to change the character again, to bring it closer to the original.

  30. What Rev Bob said.

    My take is mucking about with technical fixes isn’t going to work, the only thing that will do is giving the ability to disqualify the ballots from bad actors to the Hugo Admins. As was mentioned above, you know a slate when you see it.

    Remember that, if VD could have been bothered, all but 4 slots on the ballot would have been from his slate – the only non-slated nominees are the 3 novels and one short story, aren’t they? Not sure about fan writer, maybe he didn’t nominate 5 there.

    All this fiddling around with 3SV etc is just rearranging deckchairs. It’s strong hugo admins or a strong counterslate, from my point of view. And counterslates suck much more than strong admins.

  31. Chris S on May 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm said:
    All this fiddling around with 3SV etc is just rearranging deckchairs. It’s strong hugo admins or a strong counterslate, from my point of view. And counterslates suck much more than strong admins.

    Disagree. 3SV would be more in line with the spirit of the Hugos & looks workable. Strong admins would be a last resort for me, and I expect for most of the WSFS membership. A Hugo with counterslates is no longer a Hugo IMO.

  32. @6: the Balticon chair appears to be claiming they’re the first to invite all their past guests for an big-round-number convention. I hope that’s a newspaper misquote rather than her error; I know Wiscon re-invited everyone for their 30th, and I suspect others have to. Maybe this was the first time it’s happened at a 50th? There are very few regionals that have run 50 times without a break; Balticon gets props for this.

    But it feels like a lot of people are putting a lot of energy into engineering elaborate solutions purely from the love of engineering.

    I don’t think so. A lot of people are looking for something that will not require that every Worldcon committee find someone who can make defensible judgments based on subjective criteria rather than objective rules. This has two obvious features: it gives no substance to the griefer claims of tampering, and it takes a huge load off the committee — a move I’m very much in sympathy with, having been on the Noreascon 3 committee.
    Potter Stewart could get away with “I know it when I see it” because there were only 8 people to challenge him — and they could outvote him if he went off the rails. (The fact that the 9 can refuse to review anything didn’t hurt; all ~4000 ballots would need to be reviewed.) An engineering solution may creak and clank, but it can be followed.

  33. Chip Hitchcock: @6: the Balticon chair appears to be claiming they’re the first to invite all their past guests for an big-round-number convention. I hope that’s a newspaper misquote rather than her error; I know Wiscon re-invited everyone for their 30th, and I suspect others have to

    WindyCon and BayCon did too. I believe we’re up against that familiar phenomenon of there being no acknowledged history that you can’t easily Google.

  34. It’s World Turtle Day today. So look out for a fly-past by the Great A’Tuin.

  35. Book report:

    “Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire. A great premise, beautifully creepy prose, and not the expected ending.

    My only problem: it’s a murder mystery, and it fails what I call The John Donne Test (“Any man’s death diminishes me”). The Test is: Is there a second murder? If there is, you fail, boom. If it’s a mystery story without *any* murder, you get an A.

    Plenty of mysteries fail the Donne Test and are still good, but I basically quit the whole genre (one of my favorites) cold turkey maybe 15 years ago because *none* of them were passing. None. Lots of Sherlock Holmes stories pass the Test; many even get As. If Doyle could do it, modern writers should be able to, too.

  36. FWIW: I think there is a compromise position for allowing a voter decision on admin or moderator recommended changes to the ballot. This can be balanced with things like extended eligibility for works removed and possibly shifting appointment of the moderators to the previous WorldCon to take pressure off the admins. Not sure how many folks are actually following the 3SV threads so mentioning it.

    I’ll be quiet about it on this thread from now out. I feel like I’m interrupting a perfectly good thread when there’s one already available for rule change discussions and bun fights 🙂

  37. Soon Lee:

    A Hugo with counterslates is no longer a Hugo IMO

    Where do you get the “counterslates” idea from?

    When we talk about the admins doing something, I believe we’re referring to what Greg H. & I propose, a method I call “Trust, But Verify”:

    1. An Eligibility Jury is formed including people from the current concom, the previous one, *and* the one before that. All EJ members have voted in at least 5 of the previous 7 years. Total membership is 4-7.

    2. For each finalist (not each ballot or nominee), the EJ votes on whether it “tends to bring discredit on WorldCon”. Votes to remove could be unanimous, n-1, simple majority or super-majority (not sure yet).

    3. When a finalist is removed, the first runner-up goes on the ballot, and the EJ votes again.

    4. The final ballot for the membership shows all 5 finalists, and *also* lists any removed candidates.

    5. Members may vote for any removed candidate; if it gets more votes than No Award, it goes back into the final standings.

    I don’t see how this counts as “counter-slating”.

  38. I had a feeling that a Martian solution – one engineering solution after another until we get back to Earth – wasn’t going to work. We need an Alien solution – throw it out of the airlock.

    We’re dealing with people who have weaponised the concept of openness to lock everyone out. This doesn’t mean we have to abandon the concept – but it does mean we can’t be absolutist about it.

    ETA: Well played, Dr Tingle.

  39. Chip Hitchcock:

    Does Trust But Verify strike you as a horrible amount of work for the concom? Note that it doesn’t involve reviewing all the ballots, just the finalists.

  40. > “The Test is: Is there a second murder? If there is, you fail, boom.”

    Bearing in mind I haven’t read Every Heart A Doorway yet (it just arrived in the mail!) — in a general way, I don’t understand this criticism. Is it just a personal preference on your part?

  41. augh! s/have to/have too/.

    @Doctor Science: Doyle reflected his times (including his beliefs in spirits and rigidly-correct answers); why should a contemporary murderer not be able to strike again, as in life, when not faced with auctorially-generated omnipotence? (For that matter, note that even Holmes didn’t always prevent future murders; cf “The Five Orange Pips”.)

  42. TBV would of course be denounced by certain parties as a villainous attempt to ensure that only the elect can be considered for a rocket, but frankly, by this point, anyone prepared to give that argument the benefit of the doubt is a git.

  43. 10) From the article: [Bad writers] don’t understand that even historical novels or science fiction novels are a response to a particular moment. And pretending that the world isn’t as it is – or that the world should still be as it once was – is disastrous for any serious fiction.

    Which is why a book like the Heinleins of the 1950s would not be able to win a Hugo now.

  44. Kyra:

    It’s a personal preference with a philosophical basis. I used to read a *lot* of murder mysteries, and the number of bodies per book just started to weigh on me. For me, it feels debasing, as though only one human life isn’t interesting or important enough to be worth a book. And it also becomes a kind of fridging, where people keep dying for the sake of the protagonist’s storyline.

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