Pixel Scroll 2/16/17 This Scroll Is Spelt Raymond Luxury Pixel, But It’s Pronounced ‘Godstalker Manfile’

(1) TINGLE ON TV. SORT OF. I’m told Chuck Tingle appeared live via remote camera on Comedy Central’s @Midnight last night and that the video is “definitely NSFW.” And that Tingle was disguised (face covered) each time he appeared. I haven’t had a chance to watch the show yet, I’d better mention…

(2) TRAD V. INDIE. Jim C. Hines isn’t trying to referee the debate about which business model works best for writers. However, people selling their work in a variety of ways shared their income data with him and he has compiled it in “2016 Novelist Income Results, Part 2: The Large/Small/Indie Breakdown”.

Indie authors still have the largest median income, which was predicted by only 19% of the folks in our informal Twitter Poll. The large press authors once again take the highest average. (I think this is mostly because of one large press author whose income was significantly higher than any others.)

(3) BEST IN SF ROMANCE. Veronica Scott lists the nominees for the 2017 SFR Galaxy Awards at Amazing Stories.

First a word about the awards themselves – a panel of well-regarded scifi romance book bloggers and reviewers make the selections, with each judge naming five or six novels, graphic novels or anthologies that they found memorable during the preceding year. The formal description of the awards’ intent, as taken from the website: “The theme of the SFR Galaxy Awards is inclusiveness. Instead of giving an award to a single book, this event will recognize the worth of multiple books and/or the standout elements they contain. The basic philosophy behind this approach is to help connect readers with books.”

Although the awards are serious, each judge gives their reasons for selecting the books, as indicated a bit light heartedly in the title of their short essays…

(4) A KIND WORD. James Davis Nicoll sets Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Rule of Names” before the panel at Young People Read Old SFF. And this time butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths….

(5) WHY CLARION. Nancy Jane Moore rhapsodizes about her experience as “A Tricoastal Woman: Clarion West 1997” at Book View Café.

There are lots of reasons to go to Clarion West or Clarion. Yes, you will learn a lot about writing. Yes, you will get to know writers and editors. And yes, the intensity of the workshop will push you to do your best work. I’m glad for all those things.

But what really made me happy was living in a community of writers for six weeks. There is nothing like pacing the hall at two in the morning, trying to figure out how to fix a scene, and finding that someone else is also up struggling with a story.

By the end of the workshop, I wanted to figure out how to live permanently in a community of writers. I’d gladly have spent the rest of my life at Clarion West. Well, OK, with a bit less intensity, because I couldn’t have kept up with the lack of sleep and exercise much longer.

Alas, I have never figured out how to do it, though I still have fantasies about getting together to buy an apartment building with a bunch of other writers. Hell, I’d probably even be willing to live in a dorm room with the bathroom up the hall as I did at Clarion West.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 16, 1923 — In Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born February 16, 1953 – Mike Glyer
  • Born February 16, 1957 LeVar Burton

(8) MOVING ON. There’s a difference between being interested in the Hugos and feeling a sense of stewardship about them. I still feel that we’re seeing through the completion of unfinished business. On the other hand, Abigail Nussbaum, in “The 2017 Hugo Awards: Why Hugo?”, explains why she feels the award doesn’t command the same level of interest for her as last year.

The issue, therefore, is this: it’s not just that the Hugos are trivial, but that the Hugos are solved.  If last year and the year before, we had a strong argument for seeing participation in the Hugos as an important and even progressive act, this year it seems largely meaningless, precisely because the difference between the best-case and worst-case outcomes is so small.  Let’s say the Rabid Puppies come back for a third try this year, and manage to get their trash on a lot of ballots.  So what?  They’ll just get knocked down in the voting phase again, and the only people it’ll really matter to will be the ones who lost out on a nomination–and I say that as someone who did lose out on a Hugo nomination, twice, as a result of the Rabid Puppies’ actions.  Given the current state of the world, lousy Hugo nominations are pretty far down my list of things to get upset over.  And on the other hand, if the Puppies have given up (or, more realistically, moved on to greener pastures, of which there sadly seems to be an abundance), I think we all know by now that the result will not be some progressive, radical-lefty shortlist.  The Hugo will go back to what it has always been, a middle-of-the-road award that tends to reward nostalgia and its own inner circle.  Yes, there has been progress, and especially in the shadow of the Puppies and their interference–2015 best novel winner Cixin Liu was the first POC to win in that category, and 2016 winner N.K. Jemisin was the first African American.  But on the other hand, look at the “first”s in that last sentence, consider that they happened a decade and a half into the 21st century, and then tell me that this is something to crow about.

After having said all this, you’re probably now expecting me to make some huge turnaround, to explain to you why the Hugos still matter, and why it’s still important to talk about them and nominate for them.  But the thing is, I can’t….

(9) GET TO KNOW YOUR GUFFERS. Voting on the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund (GUFF) delegate to Worldcon 75 contiues until April 1.’ The candidates’ platforms and general information about voting is here. The online ballot is here. Voting is open to all interested fans, regardless of nationality.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald is interviewing the candidates online — Donna Maree Hanson, Sam Hawke, Belle McQuattie, and the tandem of Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein. Her first two interviews are up —

You’re currently working on a PhD focused on feminism in romance. How have you found this has impacted on your SFF writing?

The PhD studies so far have benefited my writing. Part of the study involves reading widely–French philosophers, feminist theory, queer theory–and I find that all mind-expanding. I’m not free to write as much as I’d like but I find with a bit of discipline (say an hour a day, at least) I can do both the PhD and write. I take a writing day once a week too. I don’t think you can study romance without touching on feminism and gender, and that is interesting to say the least. As I’m undertaking a creative writing PhD, l will be writing a novel. That novel is going to be an SF novel, post-human, focussing on gender equality and romance too. To write that novel I have to read SF dealing with that topic as well as straight romance, which is part of my research. Lots of reading. I read Left Hand of Darkness aloud to myself so I could experience it at a deeper level. So it’s a journey that I can bend to include both sides of my interests in genre.

What are you most looking forward to about Worldcon 75?

Is it cheating to say everything? I’m really looking forward to talking to fans and learning more about other areas of SFF that I don’t get exposure to normally, especially because I don’t know much about European SFF. I’m really excited to explore Finland and see another part of the world. I’m also a super huge fan of moose, and I’m hoping to see some … from a very safe distance.

(10) FAKE KNEWS. NakedSecurity tells how everyone, including members of Congress, can spot a fake twitter account. Personally, I don’t think the problem is that they are that hard to spot, but that want to believe the messages and don’t stop to ask the question.

When was it created?

As the Washington Post notes, the fake Flynn account was created a day after the authentic @GenFlynn went offline. Suspicious timing, eh? The creation date can be helpful in spotting bogus accounts, particularly when they’re created at the same time as major news breaks about whatever parodied/spoofed person they’re based on.

(11) ZETA OVER BUT NOT OUT. Mothership Zeta announced plans to go on hiatus four months ago, and the new issue of the magazine confirms that it will be the last issue for now. Here’s a quote from Mur Lafferty’s editorial.

The discussion you hear from nearly every short fiction publication is the worry about money. We are an experiment from Escape Artists, the awesome publisher of free audio fiction; we knew we were taking a risk with creating an ezine that you had to pay for.

We’re fiercely dedicated to paying our authors, our nonfic writers, our artists, and our editorial team. We did our best with the budget we had, but once the money ran out, we had to take a hard look at ourselves. So we are taking some time to figure out a new way of delivering this publication.

We have no current plans to shutter the magazine for good. We are going to take the next few months and look at our options. We may come back with a crowdfunding effort through Patreon, Kickstarter, or IndieGogo. We may come up with other solutions. But we all believe in this magazine, and believe that the world needs satisfying, fun science fiction now more than ever. We want to bring that to you.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Mark-kitteh, David K.M.Klaus, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

86 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/16/17 This Scroll Is Spelt Raymond Luxury Pixel, But It’s Pronounced ‘Godstalker Manfile’

  1. So interesting thing about the writers collective. In Japan, back in the ’70s, there was an apartment building that became an informal manga-ka collective, called Tokiwa-sou. Many of the greats lived there, including Tezuka, lived there, and what came out of that building basically shaped the industry and artform. I’d be interested to see what would happen with a similar collective for SF writers

  2. (8) MOVING ON.
    Well, it’s still important to the fans who nominate & vote. So there is that…

    I think we all know by now that the result will not be some progressive, radical-lefty shortlist. The Hugo will go back to what it has always been, a middle-of-the-road award that tends to reward nostalgia and its own inner circle.

    I don’t think the Hugo needs to be a progressive, radical-leftyaward. It is its own thing, and yes it had (until the Puppy Years) a certain predictability in the sorts of works that get nominated. Even so, if you look at its history, it has evolved over time. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

    There are plenty of other awards out there so if Nussbaum is losing interest in the Hugos, that’s fine with me.

  3. The pixels that scrolls are made of.

    (“We are such pixels
    as scrolls are made on, and our little page
    is bounded by a file.”)

  4. Soon Lee: I don’t think the Hugo needs to be a progressive, radical-leftyaward. It is its own thing, and yes it had (until the Puppy Years) a certain predictability in the sorts of works that get nominated. Even so, if you look at its history, it has evolved over time. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

    You’ve summed up my own feelings pretty well. I found it ridiculous that the Puppies insisted that the Hugo Awards needed to be something more conservative, rather than simply the awards given out by Worldcon members; I find it ridiculous for anyone else to insist that they must be more radically progressive, rather than simply the awards given out by Worldcon members.

  5. It’s worth pointing out that “Hidden Figures” isn’t eligible because it’s not fiction. From the article, that didn’t stop people from nominating “Apollo 13,” but it certainly should have.

  6. Greg Hullender: It’s worth pointing out that “Hidden Figures” isn’t eligible because it’s not fiction. From the article, that didn’t stop people from nominating “Apollo 13,” but it certainly should have.

    That horse has already been beaten to death, and at least two past multi-year Hugo Administrators have weighed in pointing out that the “or related subjects” part of the WSFS Constitution was specifically added in by Worldcon members to cover works such as:
    1996 Best Dramatic Presentation Finalist Apollo 13
    1984 Finalist The Right Stuff
    1981 Finalist Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
    1970 Winner News coverage of Apollo 11

    So, yes, Hidden Figures is quite eligible for Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form this year.

  7. (10) Alas, fighting battles against fake Twitter accounts, I fear, is much like fighting the sea. In the immortal words of Donaeld the Unready:

    Canute. What a loser. Can’t even hold back the sea. It’s just water. We’re going to be so tough on the sea. Canute was too soft. Sad.

    Of course for a fully balanced view one should also consult The Jorvik Times.

  8. It’s worth pointing out that “Hidden Figures” isn’t eligible because it’s not fiction. From the article, that didn’t stop people from nominating “Apollo 13,” but it certainly should have.

    It might help you to actually look at the rules before making such nonsense pronouncements:

    “3.3.7: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Any theatrical feature or other
    production, with a complete running time of more than 90 minutes, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during the previous calendar year.”

    John Lorentz, Hugo Administrator 1998, 2002, 2006, 2015

  9. JKT: Who else has had Steve Martin’s King Tut as an earworm today?

    (Raises hand)

    And how could that have happened, hmm?

  10. Greg Hullender on February 16, 2017 at 7:51 pm said:
    It’s worth pointing out that “Hidden Figures” isn’t eligible because it’s not fiction. From the article, that didn’t stop people from nominating “Apollo 13,” but it certainly should have.

    It is fiction – the central characters are based on real people and core elements of the story are historical events BUT it certainly isn’t a documentary. Several key characters are inventions as are some events portrayed. Kevin Costner’s character isn’t a real person and that non-real person didn’t take a sledgehammer to a bathroom sign. So fiction. Not real but based (very closely) on reality and about real people and real events.IMHO

  11. Seems to me that Abigail Nussbaum is feeling depressed. I was fine with the Hugos being a middlebrow award before the puppies and look forward to it being a middlebrow award again. It’s the kind of stuff that I like to read.

  12. (8) MOVING ON

    I’ve seen a few other comments that the Hugo conversation has gone quiet. Obviously there’s no great pile of slate announcements and sturm und drang to get everyone talking so I suppose that’s natural.

    “middle-of-the-road” is fair enough (although the Hugo voters do sometimes go for a shiny new debut novel), but of course that’s a natural result of being a vote with first past the post – the results tend towards the middle. Whereas a juried award can say to themselves that they’ll save a slot for this years exciting new experimental novel in the interests of making the shortlist interesting and relevant, there’s no way for several thousand people to collaborate in that fashion.

    (11) ZETA OVER BUT NOT OUT

    I very much hope we see the return of MSZ, it’s been a delightful addition to the scene. I have the new issue 6 to enliven today’s dull train journey.

  13. Mark on February 17, 2017 at 12:42 am said:

    (8) MOVING ON

    I’ve seen a few other comments that the Hugo conversation has gone quiet. Obviously there’s no great pile of slate announcements and sturm und drang to get everyone talking so I suppose that’s natural.

    I think also 2015 was a BIG NOVEL sort of year in a way 2016 wasn’t quite as much. For example, Seveneves was very much marmite but it generated a lot of column inches as a novel, as did The Fifth Season of course and to a lesser extent Uprooted. The finale of the Ancillary books was another event.

    I’m not short of choices for my Hugo novel picks this year but I feel they are more understated than the 2016 picks (i.e. 2015 novels)

  14. (8) MOVING ON

    Mike, I think your touching on stewardship is very apt.

    I understand what Nussbaum is saying; I certainly don’t fault anybody for less focus on the Hugos in these insane, energy-sapping times. At the same time, it’s a little heartbreaking for me to hear even the implication that the battle was the important bit, and now that it’s effectively been won, the actual business of celebrating and discussing our genre — the thing we were actually battling over — is of lesser importance.

    Of course, Nussbaum makes clear that she cares about the Hugos, and concludes by categorizing nominations as affirmation, in contrast with resistance. I feel like affirmation is valuable particularly when it’s alongside resistance. Affirmation is establishing, in ways large and small, the alternative to the thing we’re resisting.

    So It’s hard for me to read Nussbaum saying that you can’t argue the Hugos are important — even within this particular context. I would phrase it more like this: the Hugos are no more and no less important than they always have been. That doesn’t mean that other things, that are more important, more urgent, that outweigh this weird amazing award of ours, haven’t come along. Things that demand our immediate attention and focus. But the Hugos are just as important as ever. What they aren’t, this year, I hope, is a battleground.

    Battlegrounds are more urgent than institutions. But heaven forbid that battles should become the only thing we see as important.

  15. Yay, Title editior!

    Just finished The shepheards crown, the last novel of the late Pratchett. I saviored it for a long time, but figured I had to read it sometime… It was a novel about Death (concidently the second Ive read this year) and new beginnings. Its a Tiffany Arching story and they are always sweet and personal and less flashy. And this was true for the shepheards crown as well. There are some very touchy scenes in it (especially read in the context of Pratchetts health at that time) and I enjoyed it. If you put that part aside however you cant help to notice that the story itself is rather a short one and something we have seen before. And you do feel the third act was a bit rushed to get finished, some elements are not so well tied up or underused imho. But in total a much beter novel that Raising steam and a good book and ending to the series. Ive enjoyed it, but it wouldnt be my favorite pick out of the Discworld canon (of which Ive read all novels, but not all short stories).

    The fifth scroll is the deepest.

  16. @Camestros

    Good point. There are 2016 books that could generate really interesting discussion if they make the finalists, like Nine Fox Gambit or All The Birds in the Sky for playing with genre, but nothing that’s generated the immediate buzz of “Has Stephenson lost it Y/N?” or “Is The Fifth Season a new classic?”

    @Nigel (and @Mike)

    In the end, the real Hugos were the friends we made along the way.

    I pretty much demand that this be a scroll title.

  17. 8) The waves go in, the waves go out. The tube goes out, the tide goes in. Frankly, afer the last couple years, I would be surprised if we got something at the level of say Ancillary Justice every year. But on the other hand, I think the influence of the last couple years will be felt by new and old writers, and affect oncoming awards. The tide may come in and out, but the shoreline can shift as well.

    And then again… In my shortlist for categories outsidee of novels? I have some pretty intense very modern stuff. I am cursed with choices for short stories, for example. It’s still a golden age, as far as I’m concerned.

  18. Mark-kitteh: I pretty much demand that this be a scroll title.

    I totally fifth that emoticon. 😀

  19. 8)
    Maybe if the Puppies have decided to less intensely contest the Hugos this year in their own special way (not proven of course, we’ll see when the nominations come out), then the more natural rhythms of the award will assert themselves more visibly. As mentioned upstream, it seems we are in a strong novellla and short story cycle, and not so much for novels. But that’s just 2016. 2017’s awards will be different (Scalzi vs Hurley, maybe?)

  20. Mark on February 17, 2017 at 1:40 am said:

    @Camestros

    Good point. There are 2016 books that could generate really interesting discussion if they make the finalists, like Nine Fox Gambit or All The Birds in the Sky

    You’ve been looking at my secret list of Hugo nominations 🙂

    Just on both of those, where The Fifth Season picked me up by my ankles, aggresively stole my socks (and my lunch money), shook me around for awhile and then left me dazed wondering where my foot coverings went, both All The Birds and Ninefox appeared to leave my socks exactly were they where but quitely snuck back over several months, dismantled my socks, thread by thread and then reconstituted my socks some distance from my feet creating the distinct appearance of me having my socks blown off very, very slowly as if captured by a timelapse camera.

  21. I am very happy with the Hugos not being a battle ground. I want to read because it is fun, recommend because it is stuff I like, nominate for the same reason. Not because it is in the defense of civilization against the barbaric hoards.

    I don’t want to take the Hugos too seriously. It is goofy fun and with that I’m satisfied.

  22. 8: I think Nussbaum is confusing lack of adrenaline/fannish response time with what I’ll call lack of interest. Those train tracks just aren’t as exciting without a wreck now, are they?

    The Puppies (Rabid in Particular) have bigger fish to fry now that their dreams of a new (bigoted) world order appear to be on the brink of fruition, there’s little point in attacking an award they’ll soon be able to destroy by fiat (or so they probably believe); the only question in their minds is whether or not the purge of SJW authors and publishers should happen before or after…

    The Fans are tired. Fandom, in the collective, is hard to rouse, but it becomes a juggernaut once arisen. It usually fights defensively, which means that it is strategically important to rest between battles, as it is doing now. With Worldcon moved overseas, (and the rules changes in place), everyone is waiting to see…has the Bismarck been sunk, or is it still afloat…the recon planes have still not reported back…they’re seeing wake in the water, but oil too….

    The Hugo Awards will always be important to fans. They will (mostly) reflect the consensus of the fans…and lets not forget, it used to be that the Fan awards were regarded as just as important, if not more so, than the other awards. The emphasis on novel category of the past decade or so is a skewing of the institution all by itself.

    Up the Hugo! Forward Fandom! (We are the Legion of Tomorrow!)

  23. There still does not seem to be a tedious puppies 5 website. This is no bad thing.

    I’ve read nothing here about any incontinent puppy campaigning. Again, not complaining. Could STI be doing it all by email? Perhaps. Does imply remarkable message discipline that it could be emails which stay secret.

  24. @NickPheas

    They do have private hangouts etc, so it’s conceivable that there’s some secrit plan, but like you say that would be pretty good discipline from an undisciplined bunch.

    Someone did pay up to register a SP5 address in 2015 shortly after they launched SP4, but they’ve obviously not got round to using it. I applaud their apathy, long may it continue.

  25. @ Camestros:

    It is fiction – the central characters are based on real people and core elements of the story are historical events BUT it certainly isn’t a documentary.

    It also projects events from the 1950s onto 1961-62. By the time of the first American space flights, the three women portrayed in the film had already got their promotions and (I believe) NASA had already been desegregated. They did have to fight those battles, but somewhat earlier, so the movie is “based on a true story” fiction rather than straight-up fact.

  26. OK, so I was galvanized into action by the Puppy imbroglio… but I’m actually looking forward to a time when the Puppies have stopped yelping, the Sturm und Drang has subsided a bit, and the Hugos have returned to a sort of normalcy. It’s all very well fending off the encroaching forces of the alt-right, but I’ve had to read a hell of a lot of bad SF over the past two years, and I’m not downcast at the prospect of seeing a Hugo shortlist that’s full of stuff that, y’know, people have just liked. Doesn’t have to be politically progressive (not that that’s a bad thing, of course), doesn’t necessarily have to be Great Literature… just, well, the ordinarily popular entries for an ordinary popular award. I’d much rather see that than another year’s worth of Puppy poo.

  27. In honor of “Old” King Tut, I’ll bypass the estimable Steve Martin’s well-known performance and reach back to the highly honorable and educational 1923 single written by the prolific and popular Harry Von Tilzer and recorded by the (likewise) duo, Billy Jones and Ernie Hare.

  28. I’m hopeful that things will settle down. I would love to have a short list with some new to me things on it that are amazing!

    The nice thing about the Hugos for me this year is that I can think about it when I’m stressed out about The State of the US, and have done what I can do about that. So it is a relief to look at my novella longlist and try to decide which ones should go on my nomination list! I’ve also read so many wonderful books this year by authors who are new or new to me! Thinking about the Hugos is kind of a respite for me.

    Now back to work!

  29. (11) ZETA OVER BUT NOT OUT

    I very much hope we see the return of MSZ, it’s been a delightful addition to the scene. I have the new issue 6 to enliven today’s dull train journey.

    I propose (give permission to use with no obligation for recognition and recompense) the title of “Mothership Double Zeta” for the return of the magazine.

    (Nobody here is going to get that reference).

  30. (Nobody here is going to get that reference).

    Am I right in thinking ‘colony drops’ here?

  31. “I don’t want to take the Hugos too seriously. It is goofy fun and with that I’m satisfied.”

    Yes!
    Its an award, its designed to raise interest in something we like, for something that takes our mind off vitaly important stuff.

  32. We’re an influential bunch.

    AUGH. “Were an influential bunch.” This is not autocorrect. This is my BlackBerry’s little bug of garbling text. Although usually it looks more like i i i than actual words. Anyway, I am not a futurian. I just had my head handed to me by one.

  33. @JJ:

    Mark-kitteh: I pretty much demand that this be a scroll title.

    I totally fifth that emoticon.

    I second fifth it!

    Edit: Also guys I finished Three Parts Dead — holy crap!

    (Sorry I also went drinking tonight – that’s all I got right now – but Two Serpents Rise got bumped up my TBR for after The Wheel of Osheim [already decided as my next read right now])

  34. For me the Hugos were a buying signal until recent decades. Now they are an anti-buying signal. It is what it is. The majority Hugo voter does not share my tastes. This is unlikely to change.

    I’m impressed with the individuals dedicated to reading gobs of new stuff every single year to sort through what they like. I’m uninterested in taking the time to do this. Only two books published in 2016 that I would nominate. Monster Hunter Memoires: Grunge and Appendix N. Appendix N is a wonderful supplement published in 2016 focused on role playing games and influences on those.

    Some of the other things I read published in 2016 were good, but not great. I’ve seen movies and episodes of SF stuff that was wonderful – but that is not a passion.

    Most of what I read is new to me, but may have been published a very long time ago. I’m reading Robert E. Howard’s detective and horror short stories and Creep Shadow! at the moment. All were published before 1950. But I also reread things regularly. I’m also reading the first Buck Rogers newspaper compilation. All of this is “new to me” and very enjoyable – but all were written before I was born.

  35. @Camestros: both All The Birds and Ninefox appeared to leave my socks exactly were they where but quitely snuck back over several months, dismantled my socks, thread by thread and then reconstituted my socks some distance from my feet creating the distinct appearance of me having my socks blown off very, very slowly as if captured by a timelapse camera.

    I reached the end of Ninefox Gambit and realized I’d only thought I was wearing socks the entire time.

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